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Armed Forces (Pensions And Grants)

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 13 May 1943

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asked the Minister of Pensions what method he adopts in calculating cost-of-living standards on which present war pension rates are based; and whether he has any new proposals to make?

The cost-of-living index figure is assessed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour. The method of calculation was explained by him in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W Davison) on 24th July, 1941. With regard to the last part of the Question, the current rates of war pensions were among the subjects discussed in the Debate on 23rd March, all of which are receiving my attention.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this method of calculating pensions for the present war on some fictitious figures—because they are not accurate—prepared by the Ministry of Labour is causing great discontent in the country? Will he bring the present rates of pensions up to the rates for the Boer War and the last war?

I am not aware of this vast amount of discontent that the hon. Member is talking about. If my hon. Friend has any question regarding the cost-of-living figures, it should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour.

Is the House to understand that the Minister does not propose to give any effect at all to the widely-expressed desire in the House that the whole subject of pensions, and of the Royal Warrant on which they are based, should be inquired into and amendments made?

I am inquiring into all the questions that were raised in the Debate. In addition, many other questions have been raised by various bodies throughout the country and forwarded to me. The subject is so wide and comprehensive that it requires some time to consider.

If the right hon. Gentleman is not aware of the discontent in the country, is he satisfied with the present pension rates?

Is it hypothetical to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is satisfied with the present pension rates or not?

I think the hon. Member had better await the full statement I intend to make when I have made inquiries.


asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has considered the statement sent to him by the British Legion, Scotland, outlining their recommended policy in regard to the complete reconstruction of the whole aspect of compensation to Service men and women and their dependants, and the necessity for a comprehensive scheme for rehabilitation and resettlement; and whether he can yet make any statement on the subject?


asked the Minister of Pensions what he intends doing in connection with the memorandum sent to him by the British Legion in Scotland about policy on pension, rehabilitation and resettlement; and whether he intends taking any action in the matter?

My Department are giving full consideration to this matter, but a wide field of policy is involved, and I regret that the stage has not been reached at which a statement could be made.

Does my right hon. Friend realise that Service men everywhere are most anxiously awaiting definite assurances from His Majesty's Government in regard to all these questions, and does he realise that it is of most serious consequence to Service men and their dependants?

Where there is a will there is a way. Why not got on with it right away?

Having regard to the wide knowledge possessed by the British Legion in Scotland on this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman consent to meet them and discuss the matter before he makes up his mind?

I have forestalled the hon. Gentleman for once. I am going to Scotland in a fortnight's time, and I have arranged to meet the British Legion there.

Will the Minister meet the British Legion in England, before the conference at Whitsuntide?