HC Deb 21 April 1958 vol 586 cc589-90
1. Mr. W. Wells

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance on what grounds he has refused to date the pension awarded to Mr. E. Clarke, 70, Ryle Street, Walsall, from the date of Mr. Clarke's disability.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. W. M. F. Vane)

The reason is that under the relevant Order in Council, as the hon. and learned Member was informed on 12th March, the normal practice which has existed since 1920 is that war pensions are awarded as from date of application.

Mr. Wells

Will not the hon. Gentleman set himself a good example in answering Questions, which we are all glad to see him doing, by looking a bit further into this case to see whether there are not some exceptional circumstances which warrant a departure from the normal rule? Is there not a case for reconsidering the whole of this rather harsh rule, which has the effect that when a man is a bit slow in pressing his own claims, perhaps for some very good reason, he is prejudiced for the rest of his life?

Mr. Vane

The rule is not necessarily harsh. It has been accepted as sound by Governments of all parties for thirty-seven years. The reason is basically administrative. All cases are taken on their merits, but if the hon. and learned Gentleman knows of any reason why this particular case should be treated as an exception, I hope he will let us have it.