HC Deb 16 November 1959 vol 613 cc774-6
10. Mr. John Hall

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what steps he takes to ensure that every limbless war pensioner receives all the benefits to which he is entitled.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

In 1957 I sent an individual letter to war disablement pensioners, with a leaflet, drawing their attention to the various benefits to which they might be entitled, and explaining how to claim them. As I said in the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Gough) on 22nd June, the problem of ensuring that pensioners receive all their entitlements is a continuing one, and my welfare officers, war pensions committees and their voluntary workers, the ex-Service organisations, the Press and, last but not least, hon. Members all help to secure that they do so.

Mr. Hall

Whilst appreciating everything that is being done in this direction, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend is aware that B.L.E.S.M.A. claims that a large number of limbless ex-Servicemen are unaware of the benefits which they can claim? Can my right hon. Friend suggest any other way of drawing their attention to their rights?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As my hon. Friend will have gathered from the Answer, I am very concerned that all disabled ex-Servicemen should receive all they are entitled to. I said in my Answer that a very wide variety of methods are used, and the organisation to which my hon. Friend referred itself does most admirable work to this very end.

Mr. Rees-Davies

As B.L.E.S.M.A. has been mentioned in this connection, as one of those who serve B.L.E.S.M.A. may I ask whether my right hon. Friend would not agree that, after the admirable steps which are being taken by his Ministry, the best way of ensuring that limbless ex-Servicemen get their benefits is to see that through this Association they are advised of those benefits? Some of the people, in fact, do not pursue their reading material, but through this Association they are able to obtain advice. I am afraid that I cannot agree with the implied criticism of my right hon. Friend's Department contained in this Question.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I did not take this to imply any criticism, but I do agree with my hon. Friend very much that all the ex-Service organisations do a first-class job in this respect, particularly from the point of view of seeing that claims which have some justification are put forward and without raising false hopes in other cases—which is equally important.