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Third Party Damages (Pension Adjustment)

Volume 388: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1943

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asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware of the hardship inflicted on Service personnel who recover damages in actions brought against civilians in respect of injuries sustained whilst on duty through the negligence of such civilians by the practice of the Ministry of Pensions in converting the capital sum so awarded as damages into its equivalent in terms of weekly income, thereby reducing the amount of weekly pensions payable to such Service personnel; and whether he will take steps by regulation or otherwise to limit such conversion to the amount awarded in respect of future disability and not to include sums awarded in respect of special damages and as compensation for pain and suffering?

While the State accepts ultimate responsibility in respect of accidents of this nature, it is clear that an injury which is due to the negligence of a third party is not entirely attributable to service. It is therefore reasonable that the payment by the State should be reduced, and the present arrangement, which I explained in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Moss Side (Mr. Rostron Duckworth) on 9th September, 1942, represents a fair adjustment.