HC Deb 09 November 1948 vol 457 cc1353-4
1. Mr. Symonds

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has considered the suggestion made to him by the hon. Member for Cambridge that he should take special measures to call the attention of the war disabled to the various allowances and services now provided by his Department.

The Minister of Pensions (Mr. Marquand)

Yes, Sir, I propose to send a personal letter to each disablement pensioner enclosing a special leaflet telling him of the various benefits for which he may be eligible and giving other information which may be useful to him. In the letters I am also inviting pensioners to discuss their problems with my welfare officers. By this action, I hope to ensure that every war pensioner receives the full benefits to which he is entitled. The first letters will be sent this week, but bearing in mind the very large number of letters involved and considerations of staff economy, it will be several months before the distribution is completed.

Mr. Symonds

May I put one question to the Minister which arises from his very welcome announcement? If a pensioner now discovers that he has for some time been eligible for one of, these extra allowances, and makes successful application for that allowance, will payment be made to him from the date of his application or from the time he became eligible for the new allowance?

Mr. Marquand

It is the rule that pensions are payable from the date of the application. In very exceptional circumstances sometimes the rule is waived and the pension made somewhat retrospective.

Mr. Tolley

Will not the right hon. Gentleman consider making a detailed announcement through the national Press and the wireless so that not only may disabled men know of the situation, but the general misunderstanding which has taken place as a result of misrepresentation may be removed?

Mr. Marquand

I hope that this Question and the answer will serve to draw attention to what has been done.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braith-waite

Is the Minister aware that the action which he has announced cannot obscure the fact that the whole question of disability pensions should now be reviewed and a Select Committee appointed?