HC Deb 14 February 1917 vol 90 cc632-5W

asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that the members of the Northumberland and Durham Miners' Permanent Relief Fund have decided to levy among themselves a special weekly contribution during the war and six months afterwards in order to give their aged members an extra 3s. per week to meet the increased cost of living, but that such aid is not to be extended to members in receipt of old age pensions; seeing that the reason for this exception is that such a contribution would mean a corresponding reduction of the pensions and thus only benefit the Treasury instead of the pensioner, will the Regulations be so altered as to give the old age pensioner the advantage of his brother workmen's contributions; and will he state if the regulation in paragraph 11 of Cd. 8320 applies?


As stated in Parliamentary Paper, Cd. 8320, action is not being taken for the withdrawal or reduction of existing old age pensions in consequence of the receipt of temporary assistance from relief funds or other voluntary sources to an amount not ex-ceeding 5s. per week, given for the purpose of enabling the pensioner to meet the increased cost of living. This applies both to a new allowance and to an increase in an existing allowance.


asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that the pensions committee at Port Glasgow had, up to 27th December, 1916, 126 applications from old age pensioners for the extra 2s. 6d. per week, of whom 106 received the full grant of 2s. 6d., five receiving 2s., one receiving 1s. 6d., five receiving 1s., and three the sum of 6d., while six claims were refused; is he aware that if all to whom advances were given by the committee had received the full grant of 2s. 6d. per week there would have been an extra expenditure of only 16s. 6d. per week; is he aware that to arrive at such conclusions there were eight appeals to the Local Government Board, in six of which the Local Government Board upheld the pension officer's decision, while the decision of the local pensions committee were upheld only in two; and will he consider the advisability of so altering the Rules and Regulations that the 2s. 6d. extra be universal, only excepting those who benefit by other concessions?


While I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of my hon. Friend's statements, I have not had time to verify them by a local inquiry. As regards the last part of the question, I can add nothing to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend on the 12th instant.


asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that a large and representative gathering of Members of this House passed a resolution in favour of a special contribution of 2s. 6d. being paid by the State to each old age pensioner to meet the increased cost of living due to the War; and whether the Treasury have taken any steps to accede to that request in the case of those old age pensioners who are not already in the enjoyment of other concessions granted during the War?


I am aware of the resolution in question, but for the reasons given in my reply of the 12th instant to the hon. Member for the Houghton-le-Spring Division, the Treasury have not felt able to go beyond the scheme contained in Cd. 8373.

Mr. PERCY HARRIS (Leicester, Har-borough)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Francis Albert John Liverton, who joined H.M.S. "Vivid" as a second-class boy seaman in September, 1915, and caught scarlet fever during an epidemic on that ship, which left him suffering from dilatation of the heart; whether he is aware that Liverton was discharged without a pension in August, 1916; and whether he will state why appeals for the reconsideration of the question of pension and for admission to a naval hospital have been refused in spite of a medical certificate stating hat the boy will be confined to bed for at least a year and will be a cripple for life?


I am having inquiries made into this matter, and will communicate with my hon. Friend.


asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that there is dissatisfaction at the delay in announcing the revised scale of pensions and separation allowances; whether, in view of this delay, it is intended that the new payments shall be retrospective; whether he has now reached a decision as to what the new scale should be, and, if so, who is responsible for the delay in bringing it into effect; and whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the whole question?


I can assure my hon. Friend that there has been no avoidable delay on the part of the Ministry of Pensions in the revision of the scale of pensions, which is a matter of enormous concern to our disabled men and to the country at large, and so requiring the fullest deliberation. Any delay that has arisen has been cumulative, and due to a variety of circumstances. My right hon. Friend hopes shortly to be in a position to submit his proposals to the House, and in the meantime I cannot make any announcement as to the terms of the new Royal Warrant. Separation allowances, to which my hon. Friend also refers in the question, are matters still dealt with by the Admiralty and War Office.


asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the pension of No. 3690, Private Joseph Cosgrove, No. 1 company, Irish Guards, at present in Red Cross Hospital, Bray, county Wicklow, who was wounded in France, causing the amputation of his leg, thereby rendering him helpless, has been reduced from 25s. a week to 12s. 6d.; and whether, as he is unfit for employment of any kind, his former pension will be restored?


Private Cosgrove was invalided on account of wounds involving amputation of the left leg above the knee, and has been awarded a permanent pension of 12s. 6d. a week for life, the rate of State pension for this class of disablement according to the existing scale. Private Cosgrove, who was provided with an artificial limb, has been admitted to hospital for its readjustment, and has been awarded 25s. a week for two months from the 8th January to take the place of his permanent pension. If on discharge from hospital he should be in need of further assistance, it is open to him to apply to the local war pensions committee.