36. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in connection with the basic rate of pensions granted to ex-Servicemen in the war of 1914–18, or the war of 1939–45, he will now consider in creasing the present level of 45s. a week for the 100 per cent. disability, since the present rate bears no relation whatever to the rise in the effective cost of living, or to the increase in pay of nearly all other wage-earners throughout the country.
§ The Minister of Pensions (Mr. Wilfred Paling)
The present basic rate of disable- 758 ment pension for men of both world wars was fixed by the Government only about 12 months ago. Since then there has been no general change in circumstances to justify any further revision. I would remind the hon. Member that pension is paid without regard to earnings, and the great majority of pensioners are able to earn. Moreover, the pensioner may be eligible for one or more of a number of additions to his basic pension. He may qualify for allowances of 10s. a week for his wife and 7s. 6d. a week for each of their children, in addition to any allowances payable under the Family Allowances Act. If, through his pensioned disablement he is likely to remain unemployable he may receive an additional allowance up to 20s. a week, and the allowance for his wife may be increased to 16s. a week. If he needs constant attendance he may receive an allowance up to a maximum of 40s. a week if he is very severely disabled.
Mr. De la Bère
Does the Minister appreciate that this 45s. a week pension for 100 per cent. disability is not in any way related to the rise in the effective cost of living; does he further realise that pledges, both actual and moral, were given that never again would these disabled ex-Servicemen be neglected or be in want; and how can this House tolerate these 100 per cent. disabled ex-Servicemen being given this paltry sum, which is absolutely inadequate for their bare requirements of life? It is an absolute scandal.
§ Mr. Paling
We are carrying out our pledges. These men will not go through the same experience again. Most of these men had earnings, and so far as those earnings have gone they will partake of extra benefits. The hardship that arose out of the 1914–18 war was in relation to men who could not earn, for whom we have nearly doubled what they were getting previously.
§ Mr. Shurmer
In view of the statement my right hon. Friend has made, will he make sure that every man who is unable to work and is on 100 per cent. disability pension knows of the extra allowances that he can pick up?
Mr. De la Bère
In view of the fact that these are broken pledges, I give notice that I shall raise this matter again with the 759 full force at my command. These dis-abled men have been let down by the Government.