HC Deb 27 January 1944 vol 396 cc836-8
14. Mr. Molson

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that Mrs. C. McGowan, 22, Howard Street, Glossop, made application for a pension in August, 1943, in respect of her son, who was presumed on the 25th July, 1943, to have been lost on the 27th December, 1942; and why no decision in this case has yet been notified to her.

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

This claim took an exceptionally long time to settle, chiefly because of the conflicting statements as to the character and extent of the son's support of his mother. On the basis of the latter's earlier statements it would not have been possible to admit the claim but the careful inquiries undertaken by my Department enabled an award to be made and also led to an increase in the existing pension in respect of another son.

16. Mr. Foster

asked the Minister of Pensions the number of mental cases discharged from the three Services, Army, Navy and Air Force; the number who have made application for pensions or allowances and the number accepted by his Ministry as being due to war service.

Sir W. Womersley

The cases of all members discharged from the Forces as invalids are considered by my Department without any application from the member concerned. It would not be in the national interest to state the number of members discharged on grounds of mental ill-health or the number of awards made in such cases.

Mr. Foster

Can the Minister state the number of cases that have been accepted by his Ministry and what number have been accepted for pensions?

Sir W. Womersley

No, Sir. I am not allowed to give any figures connected with discharges from the Forces. I will, however, ask my hon. Friend, if he has any case in his constituency which he feels any doubt about, to bring it to me. I will give my personal attention to it.

Mr. Foster

Could the Minister let me have the figures privately?

Sir W. Womersley

No, Sir.

17. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Ian Fraser

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will state or publish a White Paper to show the comparison between the pensions, including any additions thereto by way of economic cost of living, supplementary constant attendant or similar allowances, payable in the United Kingdom and in each of the four Dominions, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, respectively, in respect of a 100 per cent. disabled private soldier and his wife and children, with any conditions relating thereto.

Sir W. Womersley

A statement on the comprehensive lines suggested could only be compiled by reproduction of the greater part of the disablement pension codes referred to. Any attempt to bring the differing provisions into exact relation with one another would involve an amount of labour out of proportion to the value of the results, which must be misleading unless the statement were supplemented by information as to cost of living, wage levels and social service benefits available.

Sir I. Fraser

Could not my right hon. Friend give us a fair summary, in two or three pages, which would enable the House and the country to judge these matters—not figures only, but also the relative cost of living?

Sir W. Womersley

No, Sir, it would not be possible to do so without an enormous amount of labour. At the moment, my Department is hard pressed to get on with the cases of our men who are appealing now.

Mr. Shinwell

Surely, there is no difficulty in asking Dominion Governments to furnish a statement showing the rates of pensions and allowances paid, and making it available to Members?

Sir W. Womersley

I must repeat that a mere statement of the amount paid would not be sufficient for a comparison. Other factors must be taken into account, and it would involve an enormous amount of research work to give them to the House.

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