HC Deb 21 May 1942 vol 380 cc350-3
26. Commander Sir Archibald Southby

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in the event of a member of the Forces being killed in action who had joined the Forces from the Civil Service and whose Service pay had been augmented to bring it up to the Civil Service rate, his widow's pension would be at the ordinary Service rate or whether a higher pension would be paid by reason of the deceased man's service in the Civil Service?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

The widow of a civil servant who is killed in action as a member of the Armed Forces receives the same rate of pension as the widow of any other member of the same rank.

Sir A. Southby

Will the Minister answer the last part of my Question, which is whether any augmented pension is paid to the widow by reason of her husband's previous service in the Civil Service?

Sir W. Womersley

I must have notice of that matter.

Sir A. Southby

May I point out that it is the last part of my original Question, and the Minister has therefore had the notice? May I have an answer?

Sir W. Womersley

I have given the answer that, so far as my Department are concerned, we pay the same pension to a widow of a civil servant as we do to the widow of anyone else.

Sir A. Southby

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment at an early opportunity.

27. Major Milner

asked the Minister of Pensions the number of applications received by the War Service Grants Advisory Committee to the latest convenient date, distinguishing between applications from officers, men and members of the Women's Services; and indicating the number of cases in which grants have been made and the average amount granted?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions (Mr. Paling)

The total number of applications received by the War Service Grants Division of the Ministry is 732,749, made up as follows:

Officers and nurses 3,107
Other ranks (men) 727,320
Women's Auxiliary Forces 2,322
In the first category the grants made number 1,187, in the second 584,417, and in the last 595. The average amount of the grant is 13s. 2d.

Major Milner

While thanking my hon. Friend for those figures, which are rather surprising, may I ask him whether these applications are on the increase or the decrease?

Mr. Paling

They are decreasing slightly.

28. Major Milner

asked the Minister of Pensions how many pensions appeal tribunals are now sitting in respect of cases arising out of the last war; whether he can give the number of cases of refusal of pension during the present war; and whether he is now prepared to set up a minimum number of tribunals to deal with appeals arising therefrom?

Sir W. Womersley

There is now no whole-time tribunal sitting to deal with Great War cases. Two part-time tribunals in Great Britain—one covering England and Wales and the other Scotland—meet as required. I regret that it would not be in the national interest to give the figures requested in the second part of the Question, and with regard to the last part of the Question I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) on 14th May.

Major Milner

Would the Minister say why it is not in the national interest to give the number of pensions which have been reduced, and whether he is aware that the demand for pensions appeal tribunals is rising and must be met at a very early date?

Mr. Silverman

Has the Minister given any consideration to the proposition, which was made to him some time ago upon an Adjournment Debate, and can he say what his attitude is towards it?

Major Milner

Is the Minister aware that there is considerable controversy as as to whether that proposal is likely to commend itself to those concerned?

Sir W. Womersley

My reply to the hon. Member is that this matter is still under consideration and that we are consulting those most concerned in this matter, who represent the Service men. In reply to the Question of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, I am sorry that he was unable to attend the last meeting of the Advisory Committee, where I stated I was calling a special meeting of that Committee to deal with the very question he has just raised.

29. Colonel Carver

asked the Minister of Pensions the number of applications by Service men invalided from the Army which have been refused to date; and what proportion of them were in respect of tuberculosis, bronchitis, rheumatism and heart disease, respectively?

Sir W. Womersley

It would not be in the public interest to give the figure asked for in the first part of the Question; as regards the second part of the Question, the proportions were 4.7 per cent., 10.4 per cent., 2 per cent. and 5.7 per cent.