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Armed Forces (Pensions And Grants)

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 20 May 1943

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asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will consider the possibility of paying the cost of dental treatment for dependants of serving men on the same scale as payment for medical treatment?

Assistance in respect of dental treatment is already given under the scheme of emergency grants explained in Command Paper 6318 of 1941, in all cases where such treatment is necessary for the relief or cure of a serious and prolonged illness resulting in a financial emergency in the household. The scheme does not cover other types of illness and there are no grounds' for making an exception in respect of general dental needs.

Can the hon. Member explain how it is that his Department refers such cases to charitable organisations as apparently they require dental treatment and is he aware that the principal charitable organisation concerned has a waiting -list of 500 people, for whom the funds cannot be found to give the dental treatment?

I am not aware of that, but what I am aware,of is that if dental treatment is necessary to cure a patient or to assist in his cure, it is paid for. In other cases it is not, because those cases do not come under the regulations.

Then may we take it that his Ministry are not concerned with people who want dental treatment unless it is regarded as being the cause of serious trouble?


asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will again bring before his Central Advisory Committee the question of extending wives' and children's allowances to cases where the most severely disabled ex-Service men marry after disability is incurred?

Will my right hon. Friend call the attention of the Committee to the fact that this important reform has already been made by all our Dominions, so that they may take that fact into account?

I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that all those points are placed before the Committee.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when the House will be informed of the decision come to on this and other points by the Central Advisory Committee?

My hon. Friend knows, because I have told him already, that I am considering every point which was raised in the Debate, and also various points sent in to me by organisations representing ex-Service men, one of which would mean a very important and fundamental change in policy, and I think the House will agree that the best method I can pursue is to go carefully through all these suggestions and then bring comprehensive proposals before the House.

Can we have the assurance of the Minister that in bringing this proposal before the Central Advisory Committee he will give it his support, and his enthusiastic support?

My hon. Friend can rest assured that I shall put everything in front of the Advisory Committee that is likely to be helpful to them.

Has the right hon. Gentleman abandoned the idea of asking a Select Committee to consider all these questions and made a report to the House?

I think it would be better first for the House to hear my proposals. Then the House can decide whether there is any necessity for setting up a Select Committee.

May I ask for a specific reply to my question? It was not whether the Minister would put the relevant facts before the Committee but whether he would personally recommend this policy?

With all due respect to my hon. Friend, I do not think that is a fair question to put.


asked the Minister of Pensions why the allowances to disabled ex-Servicemen undergoing in-patient treatment under Articles 34 and 35 of the Royal Warrant, 1943, are less favourable than those granted under the Ministry of Labour scheme for the training and resettlement scheme of disabled persons?

The broad distinction between these two classes is that the pensioner undergoing in-patient treatment is comparable with the workman who is off work on account of illness, whereas the trainee is a fit person undertaking a course of training for a new occupation and at the same time drawing his pension. It must be taken into account that training allowances are subject to reduction in the event of sickness.

Surely a disabled person needing medical treatment and not undergoing training is more in need of adequate allowances for his family during that period than is the comparatively fit man who is undergoing a course at the Ministry of Labour? Is there not any collaboration between the Pensions Department and the Ministry of Labour in regard to these problems?

I think I have sent to my hon. Friend a list of the allowances both for in-patients and out-patients. As to the question relating to the Ministry of Labour, I think that should go to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour.

That is not my point. Will the Minister submit this matter, with all the other complaints that _we have made, to his Central Advisory Committee, and make a statement on it?