HC Deb 29 November 1949 vol 470 cc938-9
38. Mr. Symonds

asked the Minister of Pensions to what extent the 1914–18 war pensioner is participating in the improvements in pensions and allowances which have been put into operation since 1945.

The Minister of Pensions (Mr. Marquand)

The Twenty-fourth Report of the Ministry, recently laid before the House, indicates numerous ways in which pensioners of the 1914–18 war have benefited by those improvements. For example, some 300,000 allowances for wives and children of 1914 war pensioners have been added to the pension roll as a result of the improved conditions for payment of such allowances. Of the total of 39,000 supplementary allowances in payment on 30th September, 1949, some 16,400 represent payments to 1914 pensioners.

The Twenty-fourth Report includes tables which analyse the payments now being made to a typical group of 25 very severely disabled pensioners of the 1914 war, and show the improved position of such pensioners. The Report also describes how the special needs of the 1914 war pensioner are being met by means of the Ministry's Welfare Service. About 250 motor cars have so far been provided to seriously disabled 1914 pensioners.

The present annual expenditure on pensions and allowances in respect of 1914 war pensioners, including widows and dependants, is approximately £1½ million higher than in the year ending 31st March, 1946.

Mr. Symonds

Will my right hon. Friend take what steps are open to him to bring these very welcome facts to the notice of ex-Service men's organisations, and those interested in the welfare of "World War I" pensioners?

Mr. Marquand

I have been asked by my advisory committee to draw the special attention of local war pensions committees to these and other facts and to the report generally, and I am taking steps today to do so. As the ex-Service men's organisations are represented on the advisory committee and on the local war pensions committees, I think they will have every opportunity of getting to know about it.

Sir Patrick Hannon

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many of these cars, which have been appropriated for ex-Service men and disabled persons, have been allotted to the Haig Homes in Birmingham?

Mr. Marquand

I would require notice of that question.