HC Deb 06 May 1952 vol 500 cc186-8
51. Mr. George Jeger

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the front cover of the current issue of the "British Legion Journal" has caused disabled men who have read therein the incorrect allegation that they can only receive 55s. for 100 per cent. disablement to be unaware of their rights under the new pensions scheme; and whether he will take action to inform all concerned the actual pensions payable.

The Minister of Pensions (Mr. Heathcoat Amory)

Yes, Sir. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. McAdden) after my statement in the House on 9th April.

I am particularly anxious that all disabled pensioners should be in no doubt as to the benefits to which they may be entitled. Therefore, when sending disablement pensioners the increases in their pension payments effective from the first pay day in May, I propose to enclose a special leaflet giving up-to-date information about the pensions and supplementary allowances which are available.

Mr. Jeger

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that news will be received with great satisfaction and that the country will be very pleased indeed that he is following the line laid down by his predecessors in his present office? Would he not agree that it would be a great advantage in questions of ex-Service pensions if the British Legion were to leave politics entirely out of its consideration of the welfare of its members, and, in particular, if it were to have as its president a non-politician?

Mr. Amory

The Chairman of the British Legion has seen me and given me an assurance that the British Legion had no intention of misrepresenting the position. I have accepted this assurance, and I am prepared to leave it there for the present.

Sir Ian Fraser

Is my hon. Friend aware that the British Legion not only disseminates information—and correct information—in a widespread manner about pension matters, but also fights scores of thousands of cases to see that its members get their rights? Is he further aware that the only people who have been misled by British Legion propaganda are a few touchy politicians who are tender because they have not done enough for these men?

Mr. Amory

I am grateful for the help that many members of the Legion give my Department on many occasions, and I am more anxious than I can say that those friendly relations should subsist between us. As regards the last part of my hon. Friend's question, if I feel that misleading statements have been made, then I feel it is my duty to correct them.