HC Deb 28 March 1995 vol 257 cc559-60W
Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what actions he has taken in the last three years to encourage eligible persons to claim a war pension. [15917]

Mr. Arbuthnot

This is a matter for Mr. Peter Mathison, the chief executive of the War Pensions Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. David Hinchliffe, dated 27 March 1995: I have been asked by the Secretary of State to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about actions taken in the last three years to encourage eligible persons to claim a war pension. The Agency, previously the War Pensions Directorate under the Benefits Agency, has actively publicised War Pensions through our own Welfare Service which has 29 offices located throughout the country; the War Pensions Committees which are also regionally based; the various ex-Service organisations with whom we have close and frequent dialogue, and with the Press. Claims have risen in the last 10 years from 15,000 to an expected 120,000 for this year, and it is our aim to continue to raise awareness of the War Pensions Agency, the War Pensions Scheme and the service we provide, so that those with potential entitlement know of their right to claim. Activities over the last 3 years include: attending many exhibitions and, through our Welfare Service, providing seminars and advice days throughout the country which are advertised through the appropriate local press; ensuring that welfare outlets and organisations (doctors hospitals etc) and advice centres (NACAB, Age Concern etc) know of our service, and to target places our potential customers are likely to visit; poster campaigns ( a new one has just started); providing information and factual articles for newspapers, magazines, television and radio programmes. We ensure wherever possible that the War Pensions Agency Helpline telephone number (01253 858858) is quoted which is proving successful, with calls to the Helpline now averaging over 9,500 per week; British Telecom telephone directories now prominently mention War Pensions Agency in the form of a ½ column entry; following successful trials last year of a mobile office, we will continue this service; establishing contact with new areas such as ex-service magazines and Regimental museums to discuss WPA publicity material and areas of common interest such as VE/VJ day; providing information for servicemen on discharge for inclusion in a Benefits Agency pack; the Agency will shortly be appearing on Charter Television which is aimed at hospital waiting areas. I hope you find my reply useful.