HC Deb 19 March 1946 vol 420 cc355-7W
Dr. Morgan

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what inter-departmental arrangements have been made with the Ministry of Pensions for the establishment of pensions machinery in the various Colonies, so that when any ex-Service man develops disease or physical disability from wounds, or any war service, he may have medical re-examinations and periodical review, and proper tribunal adjudication on his case.

Mr. Creech Jones

War pensions for service in Colonial Forces during the recent war are administered by Colonial Governments under local legislation or by the War Office under the Royal Pensions Warrant. The Ministry of Pensions are only concerned with service in the United Kingdom Forces, but they render some assistance to Colonial Governments in the way described below. Local legislation usually follows the procedure in the Royal Pensions Warrant, which provides for medical re-examination and review of awards. The United Kingdom procedure regarding Appeal Tribunals has not been adopted by the Colonial Governments, but there is a right of appeal in every case to the Governor, who can reverse any decision by a Pensions Board established under a local ordinance and direct that a claim for pension should be reconsidered. The position in more detail in various Colonies or groups of Colonies is as follows:

  1. (a) The African Colonies.
    • Pensions Assessment Boards have been established in East and West Africa under the local military pensions legislation. These Boards assess and review disability and dependant's awards in respect of all locally enlisted or commissioned members of the African Colonial Forces. The question of awards to members of the British Army seconded to these or any other Colonial Force is a matter for the Ministry of Pensions and the War Office.
    • In cases where the member or his dependant is resident outside Africa the Ministry of Pensions assists the Colonial Office by arranging for the pension claim to be considered or reviewed, as the case may be, on behalf of the Colonial Government concerned as if the member had served in the United Kingdom Forces. The Ministry's advice is then transmitted to the Colonial Government. If the Government responsible for the payment of the award agrees with the recommendation, arrangements are made by the Colonial Office for the pension to be put into issue and for the award to be reviewed if and when necessary.
  2. (b) The West Indian Colonies.
    • The award of pensions in respect of members of the local forces in the Caribbean Areas is the responsibility of the War Office. Applications are considered and awards assessed and reviewed by the local Colonial Governments on the advice of the military medical authorities. The local authorities are empowered to make payment immediately in straightforward cases, subject to later confirmation by the War Office, but those cases in which they are in any doubt are referred to the War Office through my Department.
  3. (c) Fiji and the Western Pacific.
    • The military forces in Fiji and the Western Pacific have remained under Colonial Government control for the duration of the war and the award of pensions to members of these forces is the responsibility of the Colonial Governments. The War Pensions Ordinance empowers the Governor to 357 establish a Pensions Board to administer pensions on lines similar to those of the Royal Warrant.
  4. (d)Ceylon.
    • Provision exists in the Ceylon Defence Force Ordinance for the award of pensions at the discretion of the Governor and Financial Secretary and regulations prescribing the rates of pension and conditions for the award of pensions have been made.
  5. (e) Mediterranean Colonies, Mauritius, Seychelles and St. Helena.
    • The necessary pensions machinery has been set up in these Colonies by the War Office, who are directly responsible for the award of pensions. The local military authorities assess and review awards and send their recommendations to the War Office for confirmation. Similar arrangements apply in the case of Colonial personnel serving in Imperial Units raised in the Colonies.