asked the Minister of Pensions why, when the expenditure of his Department is declining, there has been an increase of 33 in the staff between 1st October, 1948, and 1st January, 1949.
The recent increase of 33 in total staff resulted from the recruitment of additional nurses and orderlies for the Ministry hospitals, which are still not up to full strength. At the same time there was a small reduction in non-hospital staff, notwithstanding that since 1st July last I have undertaken certain work for the National Health Service as the agent of my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Health. This reduction followed a 10 per cent. reduction of non-hospital staff in the preceding two years.
asked the Minster of Pension whether he has considered the suggestion of the hon. Member for Cambridge that me whose pensions are administered direct by a Service Department should have the benefits of his welfare service; and if he will make a statement.
Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friends the Service Ministers welcomed the suggestion made by my hon. Friend. Henceforward the War Pensions Welfare Service will be available to peace-time disablement pensioners. Explanatory leaflets will be issued by my right hon. Friends the Service Ministers which will include an invitation to these pensioners to consult the appropriate War Pensions welfare officer if they require help or advice.
In thanking my right hon. Friend for this welcome announcement, might I ask if he expects that the present number of welfare officers will be able to cope with the additional work, or does the anticipate that an increase in their numbers will follow?
It is a little hard to say in advance. We do not quite know what the demand from these pensioners will be. At the moment the number of welfare officers is adequate for the task they have before them.