HC Deb 16 January 1924 vol 169 cc128-9W

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the general reduction which is taking place in the pensions granted to the dependants of deceased sailors, soldiers, and airmen, and whereas the revised awards are being assessed on the actual earnings of the deceased prior to 4th August, 1914, most of whom were boys of 17 to 19 years of age who voluntarily left their situations to serve their country, he will have a thorough investigation made of the Regulations governing the said awards?


I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend no doubt refers to the limited review undertaken by the Ministry of Pensions of one only of the three classes of pension granted to parents, namely, the pensions based upon pre-War dependence. There has been no general reduction of such pensions, the great majority of which, I am glad to say, have remained and will remain undisturbed, but in certain cases serious errors were found to have occurred, and these have had to be corrected in order that the pensions granted may be in accordance with the terms of the Royal Warrants. I am glad to be able to add that the review of these pensions will be finally completed in the next few weeks. Pre-War dependence pensions, by the Warrants, can only be based upon the actual amount of support given by the deceased son. But any person whose pension has had to be reduced can, if it is more advantageous, obtain a pension on the ground of incapacity for self-support and pecuniary need. The pension granted in such a case is based upon the need of the claimant and on the amount of support which might reasonably have been expected from the deceased son in time of need if he had survived, apart altogether from any consideration of the contribution, if any, which he made before the War or before enlistment. I would also draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the Regulations of the Special Grants Committee which specifically enable a supplementary allowance to be made in circumstances of hardship, to a parent who shows that the son or sons in respect of whom pension is payable might reasonably have been expected to make a higher contribution than the amount of such pension.