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Armed Forces (Pensions And Grants)

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1943

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asked the Minister of Pensions what the annual cost of administration of all war pensions in this country is, and what has been the increase in cost since 1939?

The records of my Department do not allow me to distinguish between the cost of administration of pensions and other services but the cost of administration of my Department for the year ended 31st March, 1940, was £747,547 and for.the year ended 31st March, 1942, the figure was £1,561,135, which covered the cost of additional services such as War Service Grants.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, as in the Great War, ratings with a good knowledge of naval conditions of service, accommodation in different classes of vessels, stations and duties on which ships were employed, conditions of living and messing, and the availability of fresh food, will be appointed to the Ministry of Pensions in an advisory capacity to assist in arriving at just conclusions on naval claims?

I am glad to be able to inform the hon. Member that there are already in the employment of my Department a number of ex-naval ratings and these it is the intention to supplement when suitable personnel becomes available. I may add that my Department has a close and active liaison with the Admiralty.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in view of the Government decision to pay equal compensation for war injuries to both gainfully and non-gainfully occupied civilians, without regard to their means, he will consider the revision of Statutory Rules and Orders, 1943, No. 204, under which a means test is applied to war-injured officers and men of the Navy who have earned pensions for long service, resulting in the loss to them of the whole or part of the pension earned, or the compensation payable?

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension in thinking that a means test is applied in awarding disablement pensions to war-injured officers and men who have earned pensions for long service. In such cases the officer or man may at his option receive either the full disablement pension payable under the war pensions code or the award for which he is eligible under the normal regulations of the Service Department. The award payable under the normal regulations to an officer or man who has a dual qualification for both a service and a disability pension is at a composite rate which is less than the sum of the service retired pay or pension and the disablement award payable where no service element is present. This principle, which applies to both officers and men of all three fighting Services, has been a basic feature of the pensions code for many years and I see no grounds for abandoning it.