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Victoria Cross Annuity

Volume 437: debated on Thursday 22 May 1947

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asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the annuities at present payable to holders of the Victoria Cross are now inadequate having regard to the increased cost of living; and whether he will consider the grant of such increases in those annuities as will save their recipients from actual want.

The normal annuity is £10 per annum given concurrently with the decoration, and 6d. a day addition to pension. These awards may be increased under the terms of the pensions increase scheme. There is also provision for the increase of the annuity, together with any other pension from public funds, to £75 a year in all cases of need due to age or infirmity. It is not considered that these payments are inadequate for the Purpose for which they are intended. The monetary award can scarcely be commensurate with the value of the services rendered, which are marked by the grant of the decoration itself.

Will the Prime Minister explain, with reference to his statement that it is not considered that the payments are inadequate for the purpose for which they are intended, what that purpose is? Is it not to save old and infirm holders of the V.C. from want, and, if that is so, is £75 a year considered to be sufficient having regard to the present value of money?

I do not think it was originally planned on that basis at all. I refer my hon. and gallant Friend to what was said by the present Leader of the Opposition when he pronounced on this subject in 1943. He said:

"If we are to compute these matters by money values, I should be strongly in favour of much larger sums; but I think that would alter the character of these awards."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21St July, 1943: Vol. 391, c. 890.]
I think that these awards were never intended as pensions for subsistence.