§ 27. Mr. Shepherd
asked the Minister of Pensions the number of totally disabled ex-Service men who are unemployable; and the average weekly payment made to them.
§ The Minister of Pensions (Mr. Heathcoat Amory)
The number of ex-Service men receiving from my Department pensions at the total disablement rate and also the unemployability supplement is 16,170; the average weekly payment made to them is approximately £6. This will shortly rise to about £6 5s. with the improvements about which I told the House on 9th July.
Can the Minister say how these figures are divided between the First and Second World Wars?
I am afraid I cannot do so without notice. The figure which I have quoted is the average of all pensioners in both wars. If the right hon. Gentleman will put down a Question I shall be very glad to supply an answer.
§ Mr. Driberg
Could the hon. Gentleman say whether totally disabled men who have become temporarily unemployable through having to go into hospital for treatment for a few weeks receive a special allowance equivalent to the unemployability allowance?
No, Sir. The unemployability allowance is paid only for a protracted period of unemployment. When a pensioner is in hospital and unable to work he receives a treatment allowance equivalent to 100 per cent. and, if he is in receipt of unemployment benefit, I think that he also gets sickness benefit under the National Insurance Scheme.
It would be better if the hon. Gentleman put down a Question on that point, because it is rather a complicated matter.
§ 28. Mr. Oliver
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will now consider amending the existing regulations to admit of the provision of motor cars to disabled ex-Service men who have lost both legs below the knees having regard to the hardship caused to these men in getting to and from their places of employment.
I regret that in present circumstances I can hold out no hope of an extension of the existing arrangements for the provision of motor cars to seriously disabled pensioners. I am always prepared to consider providing the pensioners in question with motor propelled invalid tricycles if they are unable to use public transport in order to obtain or retain employment.
§ Mr. Oliver
In some cases tricycles are completely inadequate for the purpose of getting to and from employment. Will the hon. Gentleman see whether he can exercise any discretionary power to see that when a motor car is the appropriate vehicle for the person concerned he shall be granted one?
Fortunately most of those with double amputations below the knee are fairly mobile, but if their injuries are such that they are to all intents and purposes immobile and have lost totally or almost totally the use of their limbs, they would be eligible for consideration for a motor car.
§ Mr. Mellish
Would the hon. Gentleman look at this matter again? We know his generous approach to these matters. He will know that there are a number of cases which, because they do not conform to the regulations, although they are in fact immobile unless they wear special supports, causing great pain and discomfort, do not qualify for a motor car although they do for an all-weather car.
I should be delighted to look at any evidence which anybody can give me that our present arrangements are inadequate.
§ Mr. Chetwynd
Is there still a waiting list for motor cars in respect of double amputees above the knee?
The numbers on our waiting list are just about equal to the number of motor cars which we expect to get in the near future.