HC Deb 30 November 1922 vol 159 cc926-7W

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the large number of cases in which ex-service men are finding their provisional or conditional pensions or their treatment allowances withheld, owing either to technical informalities which the Ministry of Pensions is unable to overcome or because they are medically certified as capable of remunerative employment, which the Ministry of Labour is unable to provide for them, and seeing that the two Ministries are apparently not acting in co-operation in the matter, the Government will appoint a committee, on which both Ministries could be represented, to consider what provision, apart from the Royal Warrant governing pensions and the operations of the Employment Exchanges and unemployment insurance, could be promptly made to prevent such men from being driven to seek Poor Law relief, or to enter the workhouse in England and Wales or the poorhouse in Scotland?


I have been asked to reply to this question. I may perhaps remind the hon. Member that disablement pensions are awarded, in accordance with the terms of the Royal Warrants, solely on a medical assessment of the degree of disablement sustained by the man in consequence of his war disability. Considerations as to the earning capacity of the individual man or the conditions of the labour market were abandoned, with the approval of Parliament, as conditions governing the award of pension, in order to secure uniformity in the assessment of the same disability in men of different occupations or different circumstances. I am not aware that there is want of cooperation between my Department and the Ministry of Labour. Indeed, representatives of the War Pension Committees are now being nominated to serve on the new local bodies which are being constituted by the Minister of Labour to assist in the solution of the problem referred to by the hon. Member, and, as already announced, it is the intention of the Government to give effect to the recommendation of the recent Report of the Select Committee on Employment of Disabled Men in favour of the formation of a National Council on which my Department should be represented along with the Ministry of Labour. I am hopeful that these measures may go far to meet the difficulty to which the hon. Member refers.