§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he and his colleagues in other Government departments have had with ex-service men's organisations regarding the abolition of compensation for noise-induced deafness.
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
I have been asked to reply.
Where disablement due to noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss is assessed at 20 per cent. or more, a war pension is paid.
The Government's proposals to abolish war pension gratuities for noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss causing disablement of less than 20 per cent. were discussed with the Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions, which includes representatives of ex-service organisations on 3 December 1992. The Central Advisory Committee is the statutory body with which Ministers, by convention, discuss proposals to amend the war pensions scheme.
The matter has been discussed on several occasions since, including at later meetings of the central advisory committee and of the regional war pensions committees attended by the Minister with special responsibility for war pensions. It has also been raised at meetings he has had with delegations from the Royal British Legion.