HC Deb 17 February 1948 vol 447 cc964-5
5. Mr. Amory

asked the Minister of Pensions at what age pensioners unable to compete in industry are entitled to an extra allowance of 11 per cent.; what are the qualifications; of what sum is such an allowance a percentage; how many pensioners of the 1914–18 war are receiving such allowance; and at what annual cost.

Mr. Buchanan

The hon. Member's Question apparently arises out of an erroneous statement which I made during the Debate on the Adjournment on 18th December last, and I am glad to have this opportunity of correcting it.

A special hardship allowance of 11s. 3d. a week—not 11 per cent., as I then stated—is payable, irrespective of age, to the partial disablement pensioner of the recent war who, because of his disablement, is permanently incapable of resuming the occupation he followed before his war service or of following one of equivalent standard.

This allowance is not payable to the 1914–18 war pensioner for the reason given to the hon. Member by my hon. Friend in reply to a Question on 10th February. The pensioner of the 1914–18 war who, because of his pensioned disablement, has ceased to be able to compete in industry received an unemployability supplement up to 20s. a week, together with an increased allowance for his wife. About 6,500 such supplements are in payment to pensioners of the 1914–18 war at an annual cost of £345,000.

Mr. Amory

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that very clear explanation, may I ask him to bear in mind that the hardship allowance is not really of very much use to ageing pensioners, because it does not apply to those of the 1914–18 war?

Mr. Buchanan

I have a great deal of sympathy with that perfectly fair point. I am looking at it. I have met ex-Service people and Members on both sides of the House about it. There are certain administrative difficulties. If I can overcome them, I shall certainly look at this matter with a very great deal of sympathy.

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