HC Deb 06 March 1979 vol 963 cc608-9W
44. Sir David Renton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if be will now implement the recommendation of the pensions appeal tribunal held in London on 18 September 1978, that the degree of disablement sufferd by Mr. W. J. Gittins, of St. Neots, in respect of war injuries to his right tibia and fibula should be asessed at 20 per cent.

Mr. Alfred Morris

This assessment related entirely to a past period. Mr. Gittins appealed in 1977 against a final assessment of his disablement award, which was made over 30 years earlier in 1945. The appeal was thus long "out of time". Article 65 of the Service Pensions Order 1979 (and its forerunner, article 65 of the Royal Warrant) provides that payment of pension following a favourable tribunal decision on the degree of disablement in an "out of time" assessment appeal shall not be made before the date of the commencement of the appeal, unless the Secretary of State otherwise directs. My right hon. Friend exercises this discretion to make a payment in respect of an earlier period, as have his predecessors, only where the pensioner has been prevented by physical or mental incapacity from making an appeal earlier or where there has been material departmental error. I am advised that none of these considerations applies in Mr. Gittins's case and in these circumstances my right hon. Friend sees no grounds to depart from the normal rule. Mr. Gittins's present pension, which has been in payment since January 1976, is based on a 30 per cent. assessment.