§ 31. Dame Irene Ward
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what action he proposes to take in response to the claim submitted on Tuesday 8th November by the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association.
§ Dame Irene Ward
In view of the fact that the President of the Royal College of Surgeons, the President of the Royal College of Physicians, other high medical opinion and the whole of the House of Commons support this scheme, may I ask my right hon. Friend when he thinks democracy is going to work and the will of the people is going to prevail?
§ Mr. Peake
This claim has been repeatedly examined by successive Ministers of Pensions over a very long period, and they have all come to the conclusion that it is not possible to pick out and treat specially the aged limbless persons and to distinguish those cases from other equally deserving cases of persons suffering equal disability but who have not lost a limb.
§ Mr. Simmons
Is the Minister aware that there is very strong feeling on this matter on both sides of the House and that in Room 14 last week a very large meeting was held for people to express their opinions? Is he aware that the average age of these men is 64 and that they are dying at the rate of a thousand a year? Something must be done quickly or it will be too late.
§ Mr. Peake
Of course, we have recently increased the basic pension by a very substantial figure nad we have also increased the retirement pensions for the aged. Those men have benefited from the increases in both classes of pension. What no Minister of Pensions has felt himself able to do has been to pick out limbless persons as such for some special benefit. I know that if it were done it would be bitterly resented by other classes of pensioners, such as the paralysed, who would think that they were being unfairly treated.
§ Mr. Marquand
In view of what the right hon. Gentleman says about picking out the case of limbless persons, has he considered modifying the comforts allowance to include in it some element of compensation for age and the effect of war injuries upon it?