HC Deb 25 January 1945 vol 407 cc968-71
62. Mr. Vernon Bartlett

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he proposes to modify the Royal Warrant so that allowances may become payable to wives of pensioners who have married after disablement has occurred.

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. M. MacMillan) on 19th December last.

Mr. Bartlett

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that reply does not give any satisfaction and that the fact that disabled men cannot get the allowance if they marry after disablement causes more discontent than anything else?

Sir W. Womersley

No, Sir, I am not aware of that at all, but I am aware that a statement of policy was made on behalf of the Government and that still remains the policy of the Government.

63. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Pensions how many ex-Servicemen suffering from gas in the last war have applied for consideration under the special procedure; and how many of these applications were rejected.

Sir W. Womersley

I regret the records of my Department are not kept in a form which would enable me to furnish the information asked for, but I can assure my hon. Friend that liability would be accepted for disablement due to the effects of gassing during the last war however belated the claim.

Mr. Sorensen

Will the Minister give the approximate figures of the number of rejections and the percentage?

Sir W. Womersley

No, Sir, because I do not think it would be of interest to anyone.

Mr. Sorensen

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I asked for this information because it would be of use to me and he has no right to say what he has stated just now?

67. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Pensions how many applications have been received from disabled ex-Servicemen of this war for pensions; how many have been granted; and how many are still under consideration.

Sir W. Womersley

As the answer is rather long and contains a number of figures I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Where a man's service is terminated on the recommendation of a medical board his papers are automatically referred to my Department and no application for pension has to be made by the man himself. At the present time under 2,500 such cases are under consideration and except for about 100 of these the man is still in receipt of Service pay and allowances. An ex-Serviceman who was discharged for other than medical reasons or who considers he is suffering from some additional disability may submit a claim to my Department; under 400 of these claims are at present awaiting settlement. In all some 185,000 disablement awards have been made. If the hon. Member has also in mind appeals to the Pensions Appeal Tribunals I have received in all rather over 40,000 appeals in respect of both death and disablement of Service personnel. Of this number 18,000 are still in action in my Department, including 2,000 where on appeal I have admitted aggravation and awarded pension. Many of these latter appeals will not be pursued.

68. Miss Ward

asked the Minister of Pensions whether members of voluntary organisations proceeding to Europe to assist either the Services or liberated countries are covered for pension benefits for injury sustained as a result of enemy action, illness contracted through the nature of the work or illness aggravated as a result of conditions of service.

Sir W. Womersley

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to her on 20th July, 1944, in reply to a similar question as to the personnel of voluntary organisations assisting the Services. Analogous conditions apply to other civilians, ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, who give assistance in liberated countries.

Miss Ward

Am I right in assuming that a woman who helps our troops abroad as a Red Cross worker, and contracts typhus or tuberculosis, will not obtain a pension in spite of the fact that she is rendering service to our troops?

Sir W. Womersley

No, Sir, the answer I gave was, that for a war injury she would receive the same compensation as a civilian in this country.

Miss Ward

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that this is not a war injury?

Sir W. Womersley

If it is not a war injury, I am not responsible.

Miss Ward

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment.

70. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Pensions how many applications have been received for War Service Grants and how many granted; what is the total weekly amount being paid; and what is the average amount of the individual grant.

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

Approximately 1,300,000 applications for war service grants have been received, and in approximately 960,000 cases awards have been made. The number of allowances at present in payment is 410,000 at an average of 12s. a week and a weekly cost of about £250,000.