HC Deb 23 June 1949 vol 466 cc425-6
14. Mr. Manningham-Buller

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when he first raised the question of the issue of free motor cars to disabled British ex-Service men with the Government of India; and when he expects to get their decision thereon.

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker)

I first called the attention of the Government of India to the question of free motor cars for disabled British ex-Service men on 8th December, 1948. I have continued since then to impress on them our view of the urgency and importance of a favourable reply.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any indication at all when that reply is likely to be forthcoming?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am hoping for it very soon, and I am going to press for it; and I hope a special opportunity of getting the answer will arise in the near future.

Air-Commodore Harvey

In the meantime will the right hon. Gentleman represent to the Government that funds should be made available so that cars can be issued to these men while he is awaiting a decision?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I should have to consult my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that.

15. Mr. Manningham-Buller

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations the number of disabled British ex-Service men whose pensions and other benefits are the responsibility of the Government of India.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The administration of pensions for British members of the Indian Forces is, by agreement, divided between the Government of India and His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Government of India deals with pensioners who reside in India or Pakistan: we deal with the rest. I am afraid we do not know the number of disabled British ex-Service men in India and Pakistan who have been granted pensions. I am advised, however, that it must be small.

The numbers dealt with by my office are as follow: Officers and men, 2,437; widows and other dependants, 970. These figures include all those who have been disabled since the beginning of the first world war.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Does that mean that those in relation to whom the right hon. Gentleman has given figures have to wait for any increased benefits, such as the issue of free motor cars, until the Government of India consent?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, certainly it is only on the original terms that we administer the pensions.