HC Deb 21 April 1958 vol 586 cc45-7W
Mr. Simmons

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance the number of war-disabled pensioners aged 60 years or over who are pensioned at the 40 per cent. or higher rate, and the number of this group who do not qualify for the age allowance; and whether, in view of the age of 65 years being the normal retirement age for non-disabled persons, he will consider the progressive lowering of the age of eligibility of 65 years for severely disabled war pensioners to qualify for the age allowance.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The precise numbers asked for are not available, but the following figures show the approximate distribution at 31st December, 1957:

1914–18 and former wars 1939 war and since
Estimated number of pensioners aged 60 and over whose assessment is 40 per cent. or more 103,000 6,500
Receiving age allowances 52,000 3,500
Not receiving age allowances 51,000 3,000

As regards the second part of the Question, for the reasons which I have very fully explained to the hon. Member and to the House, I have no proposals for alteration of the basis of this allowance which came into operation in February, 1957.

Mr. Simmons

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance the number of surviving war-disabled pensioners of the 1914–18 war, and the number whose pensions were increased on grounds of worsened disablement during the past two years; and what special action he has in mind to ensure that all these ageing disabled veterans receive adequate compensation in the light of their present condition.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The number of 1914–18 war disablement pensioners was about 238,000 at the end of 1957. It is estimated that in the years 1956 and 1957 some 1,260 and 1,840 respectively had their basic pensions increased. As the hon. Member will be aware an age allowance came into operation in February, 1957, providing additional payments over and above the basic pension and other allowances for all men aged 65 and over whose disability is 40 per cent. and above. In addition all 1914–18 war pensioners were sent last year a special leaflet in which they were reminded that my Department was prepared to review sympathetically their pension assessments if their war disablement had become worse.