HC Deb 21 July 1943 vol 391 cc889-90
45. Lady Apsley

asked the Prime Minister whether, as a result of further consideration, he will increase the present annual grant of £10 to a holder of the Victoria Cross?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

As my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister informed my hon. Friend on 29th June, the normal pensions payable to recipients of the Victoria Cross may be increased in cases of need to £75. This figure was fixed in 1921. Further inquiries have been made, but they do not show any evidence of general complaint as to the adequacy of this special provision. I do not think any change in this well-established practice is called for.

Lady Apsley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there has been no material change in this rate since 1857 for the ordinary recipients of the Victoria Cross? Does he not agree, in view of present-day values, that £10 is nothing more than an insult to a fighting man and that in order to be equal to its original value that sum ought to be £50 or even £100?

The Primo Minister

I do not think this is a matter to be settled entirely on a money basis, and I do not propose to advise the House to make any change.

Sir A. Lambert Ward

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the vast majority of the recipients of this great honour would prefer to receive it free of any pecuniary benefit?

Major Leighton

Does the Prime Minister realise that the award of the D.C.M. carries with it 6d. a day and that the award which goes with the Victoria Cross would work out at just under 7d. per day in value?

The Prime Minister

If we are to compute these matters by money values, I should be strongly in favour of much larger sums; but I think that would alter the character of these awards.