HC Deb 01 March 1967 vol 742 cc494-5
27. Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if, in view of the fact that holders of the Military Medal gained in the Second World War are entitled to a gratuity of £20 or an addition of sixpence a day to their pension, he will make a similar award to those who are still alive who won this medal in the First World War.

Mr. Boyden

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Bothwell (Mr. James Hamilton) on this matter on 13th February, 1967.—[Vol. 741, c. 36.]

Mr. Farr

As that was a thoroughly unsatisfactory reply, will the hon. Gentleman agree with me that it is disgraceful that a Government who are prepared to spend another £600 million in the public sector next year will do absolutely nothing for this handful of old veterans, to compensate whom would cost only a relatively very small amount? Cannot he look into the matter again?

Mr. Boyden

The objections are financial and administrative. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 3rd June, 1960, by his right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser).

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Will my hon. Friend deal with this matter with generosity? Will he bear in mind that the Conservative Government failed to grant anything to these men who have served in the Forces, and will he please deal with them generously?

Mr. Boyden

It is not a matter really of generosity. The expense, effort and thorough investigation in tracing former Military Medal holders would be out of all proportion to the benefits that people who were in poverty would get under the social security arrangements.

Mr. Ogden

If it is a question of expense and effort in tracing these people, will my hon. Friend give the grant to those who apply for it?

Mr. Boyden

We cannot differentiate between one person and another.