HC Deb 12 March 1953 vol 512 cc150-2W
Mr. Burden

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is now in a position to give further information with regard to the case of Robert Fraser in respect of his pensionable disability.

Mr. Amory

Yes. As some misleading statements have been made with regard to this case, I am glad to have an opportunity of stating the essential facts. Mr. Fraser was severely wounded in both legs in May, 1918. His right leg was amputated above the knee. In January, 1919, he was invalided from the army and pensioned at the 100 per cent. rate.

In October, 1922, a medical board stated that his wounds were healed, that his disabilities were in a final and stationary condition and that his degree of disablement was 90 per cent. In March, 1923, accordingly, his pension was declared statutorily final at 90 per cent. Mr. Fraser did not appeal either to the Ministry or to the pensions appeal tribunal. Between then and November, 1950, Mr. Fraser sent in his artificial limb for repairs from time to time.

In September, 1947, Mr. Fraser, in acknowledging a leaflet setting out the various allowances available to the war disabled, merely queried his wife's allowance of 9s. He made no claim that his condition had deteriorated. In 1949, Mr. Fraser was sent the "Are you Sure?" leaflet with a covering letter from the Ministry saying that it was found that pensioners who were entitled to some of the additional benefits were not always aware of them and asking him to write to the welfare officer if he felt he was entitled to something more. Mr. Fraser did not reply to this letter.

On 20th June, 1952, a member of the North-East Scotland War Pensions Committee wrote to the Aberdeen office of my Department saying that his attention had been called to the case of Robert Fraser whose leg wound had opened up again and that he considered Mr. Fraser was entitled to the constant attendance and unemployability allowances. On the 28th June, 1952, a medical officer of my Department examined Mr. Fraser at his home. He found an ulcer on one of the scars of the left thigh which was being dressed daily by Mrs. Fraser. Mr. Fraser could only walk short distances with a stick. Several efforts were made by various doctors to get Mr. Fraser to accept hospital treatment but he refused.

On 8th September, 1952, Mr. Fraser's pension was raised to the 100 per cent. rate with effect from the 20th June, 1952, the date of the representations to the Ministry. On 22nd January, 1953, my welfare officer, and on 12th February a medical officer, visited Mr. Fraser in connection with his appeal for constant attendance allowance. On 5th March constant attendance allowance was, on reconsideration, awarded with effect from 20th June, 1952.

Mr. Fraser is at present receiving disability pension and allowance of £4 10s. 0d. a week and retirement pension of £2 4s. 0d. a week, making £6 14s. 0d. in all. I have been considering the possibility of awarding him any further allowances, and I am now satisfied that he is eligible for the unemployability supplement. He cannot, however, draw this supplement while he is drawing retirement pension, but as the former would be to his advantage because it would attract a comforts allowance of 10s. a week, I am awarding it to him in substitution. He will, therefore, get pension and allowances of £7 6s. 6d. a week from my Department.

The charge made in this House of gross neglect of Mr. Fraser by my Department over the 30 years from 1922 to 1952 is clearly unfounded.