`(1) The Pensions Appeal Tribunals Act 1943 is amended as follows.
(2) In section 1 (appeals against rejection of war pension claims made in respect of members of armed forces)
(3) In section 7 (application of Act to past decisions and assessments)£
(2A) Subsection (2) of this section shall not apply in relation to any decision given by the Minister before the passing of this Act which corresponds, apart from any difference of the kind referred to in that subsection, with such a decision as is referred to in section 1 of this Act in respect of claims made under the scheme referred to in that section.
(4) In section 10 (power to modify sections 1 to 4 by Order in Council), in subsections (1) and (2), for "or Order of His Majesty" there is substituted ", Order of Her Majesty or scheme".
(5) In section 12 (interpretation), in the definition of "relevant service"—
(6) In the Schedule (constitution, jurisdiction and procedure of Pensions Appeal Tribunals), in paragraph 3(2), after paragraph (b) there is inserted—
(ba) if the claim was made under the scheme referred to in section 1 of this Act in respect of a person who is treated under the scheme as an officer, shall be a retired or demobilised officer of Her Majesty's naval, military or air forces;
(bb) if the claim was made under the aforesaid scheme in respect of a person who is treated under the scheme as a soldier, shall be a discharged or demobilised member of any of the said forces who was not at the time of his discharge or demobilisation an officer;…[Sir Jim Spicer.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.10.15 pm
§ Sir Jim Spicer (Dorset, West)
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.
I count it as a privilege to move this new clause. I remember so well going across to Belgium in November 1944 with members of the 1st Polish armoured division just after four members of the provisional Polish Government, who were based in London, had flown to Lublin to have discussions with the new Government set up by the Soviet Union. Those four members disappeared and were never seen again. Those people, who served so gallantly in the Polish armed forces alongside us in the battle of Britain, in Italy and north-west Europe, deserve our gratitude for all they did to support us.
This is a simple matter, which the House should pass on sidethe nod. The new clause introduces an extension of the war pension appeal provisions, and gives Polish service men who served under British command in world war two a statutory right of appeal to a war pensions appeal tribunal against a decision on a claim to a war pension or a war widow's pension. I need say no more. This is a simple issue, and something should have been done about it years ago.
I am grateful that, in the year of the 50th anniversary of VE day, we are able to say to those who fought alongside us in the war that this is the very least we can do to recognise all they did for us so many years ago.
§ Mr. Hague
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, West (Sir. J. Spicer) on proposing the new clause in such an eloquent manner. Polish service men dissatisfied with a decision on a war pension claim are able to seek a review of that decision from the War Pensions Committee. But I understand their view that, as a matter of principle, they should have a statutory right of appeal on the same basis as British service men. I entirely agree that it is most fitting that this change should be introduced during this year of world war two anniversaries. The Government are happy to accept the new clause.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.