HC Deb 05 December 1939 vol 355 cc471-3W
Mr. E. Smith

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will state the names and numbers of local war pensions committees in being; the numbers of committees which had not met during the last period of 12 months for which figures are available; the total numbers of members of committees; and the numbers of members appointed as representatives of the persons mentioned in each of the paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of Section 3 of the War Pensions Act, 1921, 11 and 12 George V., Chapter 49?

Sir W. Womersley

There are 155 war pensions committees constituted under the Act referred to and I am sending the hon. Member a complete list of them. Thirty-four of these committees who had not sufficient business to justify a meeting have not met during the year ended the 30th November, 1939.

The total number of members is 2,940 and members serving as representatives of the interests and bodies mentioned in Section I (3) of the Act are as follow:

Section 1 (3) (a):
Disabled men 671
Section 1 (3) (b):
Widows and dependants 157
Section 1 (3) (c):
Local authorities 587
Section 1 (3) (d):
Employers 297
Section 1 (3) (d):
Workmen in industry 346
Section 1 (3) (e):
Voluntary associations 543

In addition 339 persons of experience in war pensions work have been appointed who do not represent any specific bodies.

Mr. E. Smith

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will reconsider the Royal Warrant in regard to the position of young men, between the ages of 18 and 30 in particular, who may suffer a disability while unmarried and who later marry and have children, with a view to taking the responsibility of securing for men who may be single on enlistment the same treatment as if they had been married on enlistment?

Sir W. Womersley

It is a principle consistently maintained by Governments of all parties that the liability of the State in respect of the wife and children of an ex-service man must be limited to family obligations existing at the date of the contraction on service of the accepted disability. The new Warrant embodies an acceptance of liability in cases of post-marriage aggravation by further war service of a previous disability, but I am afraid I should not be justified in recommending any further modification of the established principle.

Mr. Dobbie

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will state the circumstances under which a mother of a soldier, widow, or with husband alive, can obtain a supplementary allowance from the Government if the soldier is making her an allotment, and if the allotment must be at the rate of 1s. per day to allow the mother to qualify for such Government allowance; and will he state explicitly, under what circumstances a parent qualifies for a pension if a son is killed while on service?

Sir W. Womersley

The War Service Grants Advisory Committee has power to recommend a grant in any case where, by reason of his service, a member of the Forces is unable to meet his financial obligations with resultant serious hardship to himself or his dependants. The precise circumstances which would be deemed to justify such a recommendation in a particular case are matters for the committee's discretion within the limits set out in Command Paper 6138.

With regard to the latter part of the question, the conditions under which pensions may be awarded to parents are set out in Article 49 of the Royal Warrant, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

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