HC Deb 03 December 1946 vol 431 cc191-2
21. Mr. Parkin

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has now considered the representations made to him on various matters, including the abolition of the 10-year limit for family allowances; and what action he proposes to take.

23 and 24. Sir Ian Fraser

asked the Minister of Pensions (1) if he will now state whether it is his intention to remove the ban which prevents the wife's allowance being paid when she has married 10 years after her husband's disability;

(2) if he will make a statement about widows' and orphans' allowances.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

Yes, Sir. His Majesty's Government have decided to make the following changes with effect from 1st January, 1947:

Allowances for Wives and Children

The requirement that marriage must take place within ten years of discharge will be abolished. This means that a disablement pensioner of either World War in receipt of pension at the standard rates will be eligible for allowances for his wife and children of his marriage irrespective of the date of his marriage.

South African War Disability Pensioners

Allowances will be payable for the wives and children of officers and men suffering from disablement due to service in wars before 1914 if they are in receipt of pension at the standard rates applicable to World War cases.

Pre-South African War Widows

There are a few widows of campaigns before 1899 in receipt of modified pensions from the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation. Grants will be made to the Corporation to enable them to raise those pensions to World War rates.

Orphans' Pensions

The pension of the infirm total orphan will be increased to 26s. a week at the age of 18.

Attendance Allowance

The minimum attendance allowance payable to a 100 per cent, disablement pensioner whose condition necessitates some regular attendance will be 10s. a week, and adjustments will be made in the rate of allowance payable in certain other cases. Applications will not be necessary but the task of identifying and dealing with the many thousands of cases affected, particularly those where wife's and children's allowances are involved, will take some time.

Mr. Parkin

Is the Minister aware that this clean-up of long outstanding anomalies and injustices will give great satisfaction; and could he indicate to the House approximately how many people are involved? Also, could he take an opportunity, either now or at an early date, to make a statement on another long outstanding problem, the question of the seven-year limit of entitlement for benefit?

Mr. Paling

The number of people affected will be about 50,000 to 55,000. The seven-year limit is a matter already under consideration.

Sir I. Fraser

Will the Minister make it clear—it does not seem clear from his statement—whether every child born of these marriages is subject to an allowance?

Mr. Paling