HC Deb 22 June 1971 vol 819 cc1181-2
21. Mr. David Stoddart

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now take steps to increase the war pension unemployability supplement with a view to ensuring that it provides reasonable compensation for the loss of a wage packet.

Mr. Dean

My right hon. Friend has already announced proposals for substantial improvements in the payments made to those war pensioners in receipt of unemployability supplement, which are to take effect in September this year.—[Vol. 814, c. 1499–1514.]

Mr. Stoddart

Is the Minister aware that that is a most unsatisfactory answer, and that the position of war pensioners will hardly be improved by the net supplement which will amount to about £1.18p? Is it not time to make fewer bureaucratic excuses and to treat war pensioners as the heroes they are rather than as paupers?

Mr. Dean

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman says because, in addition to the increase in unemployability supplement, the war pension itself, and the special war pension allowances which many war pensioners receive, will be increased. Over and above that, those who are under pension age will be eligible for the new chronic sick package in the National Insurance Bill, on top of the war pension allowances, with the result that many will find their income lifted to over £30 a week, tax free.

Mr. Selwyn Gummer

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is important that he should negotiate with his right hon. and hon. Friends to ensure that the war pension is not taken into account when calculating rent and rate rebates?

Mr. Dean

I assure my hon. Friend that the various views which have been expressed by war pensioners' organisations are known to my right hon. Friends, who will take them into account in the consideration which they are now giving to this matter.

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