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Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

Volume 345: debated on Monday 20 March 1939

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26 and 27.

asked the Minister of Pensions (1) the number of ex-servicemen over 60 years of age who are in receipt of pensions, and the total sum paid out to them;

(2) whether in order to avoid elderly ex-servicemen being driven to supplement their pension by resort to the public assistance committee, he will consider introducing legislation to regard all pensioned partially disabled ex-servicemen of 60 years of age or over as being totally disabled, and grant them pensions at the appropriate rate?

In reply to the first question. I would remind the hon. Member that I gave him the figures he requires in my answer to him of 27th February. The suggestion made 'in the second question that all ex-servicemen of 60 years of age and upwards, who are in receipt of partial disability pensions, should be regarded as totally disabled and pensioned accordingly would, I am satisfied, be so contrary to the facts as to be unjustifiable.

In view of the fact that there are not so many of them left now, would it not be a gesture of consideration of the services they have given if they were put into a position that they did not have to go and seek out relief: and is it a desirable thing that those who were acclaimed as heroes during the War should now be put into the position of having to seek Poor Law relief?

The hon. Member's supposition is not correct. The majority of the men of this age-group are, I am glad to say, of comparatively low assessment. Two-fifths have only minor disabilities assessed at 20 per cent. or less.

28.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether having regard to the difficulty pensioners have at times in getting signatures on life certificates witnessed by a responsible person, he will add to the list of persons authorised to attest signatures members of rural, urban district, borough and county councils?

The classes of persons who may attest life certificates is prescribed by Treasury warrant. The list of such persons covers already a very wide field, and I have no evidence that pensioners are inconvenienced in procuring the necessary attestation.

If I send the hon. Gentleman evidence and particulars of this sort of thing, will he look into the matter?