HC Deb 23 July 1941 vol 373 cc882-3
44. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that Mr. and Mrs. Franklin receive no old age pension; that Mr. Franklin suffers from total disablement through the last war, and has been confined to his bed for eight months; that their son, Edwin Franklin, while home on leave, was killed by enemy action in an air raid; and why the parents are not allowed a pension for the loss of their son under such circumstances?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

I am glad to be able to inform the hon. Member that as a result of certain improvements which I have recently been enabled to introduce in the determination of need in parents' cases, it has now been found possible to award a pension of 5s. a week to Mrs. Franklin with effect from 14th June, 1941, at which date the deceased son's employers ceased to pay to his parents the difference between his Army pay and his wages.

Mr. Smith

While no one appreciates the importance of that answer more than I do, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that the spirit of the people living in the industrial areas is worthy of more consideration than 5s. a week; and will he also consider the need for speeding up the administrative machinery so that hard cases of this kind may receive earlier attention?

Sir W. Womersley

When the circumstances of this case are known I do not think there will be any indignation. This man and his wife are drawing 50s. a week pension from my Department in respect of the last war, and £1 a week comes from a son who is serving in the Army, including allowances. We think the figure we have given is reasonable.

Mr. Smith

Might not the Minister have informed the House that the man is totally disabled, arising out of his service in the last war, and that he can hardly walk about?

Mr. T. Smith

What is the maximum that can be paid?

Sir W. Womersley

It is 17s. 6d. for two parents and 15s. for one.