HC Deb 23 June 1953 vol 516 cc1665-7
22. Mr. George Craddock

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that Mr. F. Skelly, of 62, Charteris Road, Bradford, was refused a war pension between 1943 and 1951; and, in view of the reinstatement of pension in 1951 based upon medical evidence which proved that the disability arose from war service, if he will consider making payment of pension retrospective to a date in 1943 and so remove an injustice done to Mr. Skelly.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions (Brigadier J. G. Smyth)

As my hon. Friend told the hon. Member in a letter of 6th May, he can find no exceptional grounds on which Mr. Skelly could be awarded arrears of pension from 1943; he made no approach to the Department between 1943 and 1951 and it seems clear that he was not prevented by reasons outside his own control from making an earlier application for reinstatement of pension.

Mr. Craddock

Whilst thanking the Minister for that reply, may I ask him why the fact that this man is a Christian Scientist and believes in faith healing should not be taken into account? Whilst it is true that there was a period during which he was not under medical supervision, I do not think that because of his beliefs the man should be incommoded in respect of receiving his pension for the period stated in the Question.

Brigadier Smyth

As the hon. Gentleman knows, my hon. Friend has gone very carefully indeed into every aspect of this case, but he cannot find any reason for back-dating the pension for eight years. To start with, he has no means of knowing the extent of the disability throughout those eight years. If the hon. Gentleman has any new evidence with regard to the case which he has not already put in the correspondence, we should certainly like to see it and would look into it.

23. Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will allow Mr. R. Munro, of Ridgewood Viewfield, Inverness, who was 100 per cent. disabled in World War I, a constant attendance grant, and an unemployability grant.

Brigadier Smyth

My hon. Friend is arranging to obtain an up-to-date medical report on Mr. Munro's condition and when this is received will consider whether a constant attendance allowance can be granted. Mr. Munro is receiving a "wounds pension" and under the Royal Warrant my hon. Friend is not empowered to award an unemployability supplement to an officer who is in receipt of this special pension, which is higher than the standard rate of war pension. Mr. Munro receives by way of "wounds pension" and retirement pension more than he would get if he were transferred to the standard rate of war pension and became eligible for the unemployability supplement, which is not payable with a retirement pension.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

May I ask my hon. and gallant Friend if he is aware that this man, who was 100 per cent. disabled as the result of a wound received in action in World War I, is wholly dependent on his wife and is totally unable to work, and that there has been no increase in the award which was made to him in 1923, since that date, although the letter telling him of his award said that it would be liable to re-adjustment according to increases or decreases in the cost of living? In view of the vast increase since then, does my hon. Friend not think it is time that this pension was readjusted?

Brigadier Smyth

With regard to the first point, that of the constant attendance allowance, the pensioner was examined two years ago with a view to seeing whether he would be eligible for it. When we received the representations of my noble Friend we took steps to have the pensioner re-examined and, when that examination is completed, I will inform my noble Friend. With regard to the second point, the pensioner has been on a higher rate of pension than the standard rate, so I do not think he has been unfairly treated. Should his present rate drop below the standard rate he can transfer on to the standard rate at any time, but at the moment his pension is higher than that received by equivalent people.

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