§ 20. Mr. Simmons
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will introduce legislation to subject the Instruments altering rates of war pension to control by Parliament.
§ Mr. Peake
No, Sir. I do not consider that there is any need to alter the present arrangements, which have worked very well over the past 30 years. As the hon. Member is aware, it is always possible for the House to discuss the subject of war pensions by arrangements made through the usual channels.
§ Mr. Simmons
If the Minister is not prepared to alter the Instruments by which these increases and alterations are made, will he regard it as a point of honour that the House should be given an opportunity to discuss them, because hon. Members were precluded from doing so during the debate on the National Insurance Bill?
§ 26. Mr. Simmons
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will give an assurance that there will be no hardening of the conditions governing the award of pensions 2415 and allowances to war widows and war-disabled pensioners because of the increase in the monetary value of the pensions and allowances; and if he will give a further assurance that his Department will take special action on behalf of all badly-disabled men, especially the ageing veterans of the 1914–18 war, whose disabilities have worsened and now warrant an increased assessment.
§ Mr. Simmons
Is the Minister aware that this is a friendly Question, inspired by the fact that there is disturbance over the administrative changes in his Ministry whereby most regional officers, trained in the sympathetic appreciation of the problems of the disabled, have been superseded by National Insurance appointees, and that the position of the Deputy-Secretary for War Pensions has been abolished altogether? Will the right hon. Gentleman assure us that this does not mean a hardening of attitude?
§ 29. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance from what date increased war pensions will be payable; and when they will be paid.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
Does that mean that these people will have to wait until the end of March before they get the increases that the Minister promised for the end of February? What is the advantage of having war pensions dealt with by Royal Warrant if they are subject to the same kind of delay as that experienced by all the other people who have to await legislation?
§ Mr. Peake
They will not all have to wait until the end of March. Different categories of war pensioners—officers and other ranks, for example—come under different administrative arrangements. There is a very complex system of supplements and allowances, the increases in which have to be operated as well. However, we hope that by the end of March or earlier all war pensioners will get the increase to which they are entitled.