HC Deb 07 May 1923 vol 163 cc1953-4W

asked the Minister of Pensions whether it is proposed to amalgamate the Consett area with the Chester-le-Street and Gateshead areas; whether he is aware that such proposal would, if adopted, create considerable discontent among ex-service men; what whole-time or part-time offices in the Consett area have been closed during the two years ending 31st March, 1923; and whether full consideration will be given to the needs of pensioners in the scattered districts in the Consett area before any step is taken to reduce existing facilities?

Captain CRAIG

Following the decrease in the volume of the work in the Consett area during the past two years, one whole-time sub-office has been placed on a part-time basis, and 11 part-time offices, of which seven were merely pay stations, have been closed. The war pensions committees concerned have been invited to express their opinion on a proposal to amalgamate the staffs of the two areas mentioned, and when their views have been received the whole position will be carefully reviewed by my right hon. Friend before any change is made. I would like to make it clear that the position of the war pensions committees would not be affected in any way that a whole-time office would be maintained at Consett, and that the fullest consideration will be given to the needs of pensioners in the district before any change is made in the existing organisation.