§ Miss WILKINSON
asked the Minister of Pensions whether his attention has been called to a Resolution passed by the Middlesbrough and District War Pensions Committee condemning the delay of the Ministry in the case of a Middlesbrough ex-service man, when 12 months elapsed between examination for pension and the granting of the claim; whether he is aware of the growing discontent at these delays; and whether procedure can be introduced which will speed up the examination and decision of such claims?
I have enquired into the facts of this case about which the hon. Member has perhaps not been fully informed. The case referred to is one in which final settlement was made by a final award in 1921, and is not one in which a claim to pension was made or was under consideration, as appears to be suggested, for twelve months. The man's case came under consideration towards the end of last year and is entirely exceptional inasmuch as almost immediately afterwards the man was given medical treatment as an in-patient and during the greater part of the period since then he has remained in this condition and in receipt of full allowances. During this period, and indeed until the man's condition at the conclusion of treatment had been deter- mined, it was not possible to give consideration to the question of the existence of any serious and permanent error in the final award which had been made him in 1921. A further medical board has been held on the man since the conclusion of his treatment and a decision422W is on the point of being given. With regard to the last part of the question, there is now no delay in the settlement of claims to pension in which category this case does not, however, fall, but I would point out that the determination whether a further grant should be given in cases in which a final settlement has been made calls necessarily for most careful consideration, and every possible step is taken to expedite the settlement of these cases.