HC Deb 15 November 1945 vol 415 cc2314-6
36. Mr. Cobb

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that some officers and other ranks, pensioners of the last war, were unable to draw their pensions during this war on account of their being in enemy hands or living in occupied territory and that the accumulated pension has, in some cases, been in the hands of the Government for five years; and if he will have compound interest paid on these sums to these pensioners.

The Minister of Pensions (Mr. Wilfred Paling)

I am aware of the position referred to by the hon. Member and have arranged for these, arrears to be disbursed as and when it becomes practicable. I regret, however, that I can see no grounds for the proposal in the last part of the Question.

Mr. Cobb

Is my hon. Friend aware that pensioners in the Channel Islands have had to wait up to five years and three months for their pensions, and that, in the meantime, they have had to sell their household goods in order to live?

38. Mr. Shurmer

asked the Minister of Pensions if, in view of the hardships caused to wives and children of servicemen killed whilst on leave, he will consider taking steps to amend the Royal Warrant to cover such cases.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

The basic principle governing the award of a war pension to the widow and children of a member of the Forces is that death must have been due to war service. This criterion is not satisfied in the case of a man killed on leave inasmuch as his death cannot be related to the compulsions of service.

Mr. Shurmer

I asked the Minister whether he will consider amending the Royal Warrant. Does he not know the hardship that has been caused throughout the country to wives and children of men killed whilst on leave. Are they not on duty for the whole time of their leave, and will he amend the Royal Warrant so that their wives and children shall be entitled to a pension?

Mr. Paling

The Royal Warrant was amended, to a large extent, a short time ago, and a man is covered now up to the time he actually enters his home and from the time when he leaves his home to go back to the Service. During the time that he is home on leave he is considered to be his own master and is not covered for that period.

Major Guy Lloyd

Are the Government prepared, as the Prime Minister hinted soon after taking office, to consider the whole question of the Royal Warrant with a view to revision?

Mr. Paling

The Royal Warrant is under review generally.

39. Mr. Garry Allighan

asked the Minister of Pensions what are the steps that an ex-Serviceman can take to appeal when his pension is reduced from 100 per cent. to 20 per cent. without any medical examination.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

A decision to reduce an award of disability pension granted by my Department is taken only after a complete and full medical examination has shown that there has been sufficient improvement in the pensioner's condition as to justify such a course. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind I shall be glad to inquire into it.

40. Major Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he intends to arrange for the grant of pensions to the dependent or partially dependent mothers of men killed on active service to be as of right and payable without a means test.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

As the hon. and gallant Member is no doubt aware, the whole question of war pensions is at present under review, and in these circumstances I am not in a position to make a statement on any particular aspect.

Major Boyd-Carpenter

Will the right hon. Gentleman, in reconsidering the matter, bear in mind what was done after the last war, even if it involves sacrificing the means test?

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