HC Deb 01 November 1954 vol 532 cc24-5
29. Mr. Callaghan

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will grant an increase in pension to the 400 totally disabled ex-Service men of the first war who are drawing an alternative pension and who have had no increase of any sort since 1919.

Mr. Peake

I cannot usefully add to what the Parliamentary Secretary said about alternative pensions generally in reply to a Question by the hon. and gallant Member for Cheltenham (Major Hicks Beach) on 20th October.

Mr. Callaghan

Will the Minister reconsider this and take into account that there are 400 of these men, mostly wounded when they were young, that they have lived their lives in a state of disablement, that the average age is 64, that the cost of giving them an increase would be £14,000, and that the most any could draw is £5 a week? Does he not think that the State should do something for these men?

Mr. Peake

These men have been exceptionally treated and have drawn something higher than the standard rate throughout their period of disability. Whenever the standard rates are improved, they have the option of going on to the standard rates if those are higher than the pensions they are receiving. I have no doubt that some of these men will be able to exercise that option when I announce my new proposals for war pension rates before Christmas.