HC Deb 09 December 1947 vol 445 cc819-21
1. Mr. Turton

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has now reconsidered the claim of Mr. E. Burgess, of Daggett House, Pickhill, to a disability pension in consequence of gunshot wounds received in the 1914–18 war, in the light of the report of a well-known Harrogate surgeon that his present incapacity is entirely due to his war wounds and is as great as if his leg had been amputated through the thigh.

The Minister of Pensions (Mr. Buchanan)

I am glad to be able to inform the hon. Member that a grant of pension will be made in this case. Mr. Burgess is at present in a Ministry hospital, and when investigation of his condition has been completed I will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Turton

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for that reply may I ask whether he can say from what date the award will take effect?

Mr. Buchanan

As the hon. Gentleman knows, this case has been the subject of argument between him and previous Ministers for, I think, about 12 years or something in that region. He would be a very clever man who could say on what date the award will commence.

2. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Minister of Pensions whether the fixing of the basic rate for 100 per cent. disability at 40s. per week on 6th December, 1919, was related to any particular industrial wage or group of wages or any other standard of income; and whether the prevailing rate of 45s. a week is so related.

Mr. Buchanan

I regret that there is nothing which I can usefully add to the answers which I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Chertsey (Captain Marsden) on 18th November.

Mr. Cooper

Does not the Minister agree that the cost-of-living index figure is more in the nature of a measure of variation than a basis for assessment, and can he say what is the yardstick of income for this assessment? Has he any records in his Department which show how this figure was arrived at?

Mr. Buchanan

I have read fully the findings of the committees appointed to deal with this matter, and, frankly, I cannot make up my mind on what yard-stick the figure was computed. If I could, I would tell my hon. Friend.

4. Lord Willoughby de Eresby

asked the Minister of Pensions how many pensioners drawing a 100 per cent, disability pension are in receipt of a constant attendance allowance of 40s. per week and how many are in receipt of a constant attendance allowance of 20s. per week or less.

Mr. Buchanan

The approximate numbers at 30th September last were 420 and 4,200 respectively.

Lord Willoughby de Eresby

In view of the large difference between the two figures I would ask the hon. Gentleman whether he could consider altering the regulations or the Royal Warrant so it is possible to make graduated payments of between £1 and £2 to meet cases of individual hardship.

Mr. Buchanan

I think the House will agree with me generally that it is inadvisable to chop and change the Royal Warrant for little bits here and there. If I have to change the Royal Warrant, let the House and myself look at the Warrant in its general aspect so that we might not chop and change, but make general arrangements to make improvements on this point amongst others.

Lord Willoughby de Eresby

If the Royal Warrant is changed, will the hon. Gentleman consider this particular point sympathetically.

Mr. Buchanan

I will certainly look at it sympathetically.