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Special Campaign Pension

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 12 July 1949

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17.

asked the Secretary of State for War why Mr. W. F. Marriott, of 21 British Grove, Chiswick, W.4, has had his special campaign pension, which was granted to him for service during the Boer War, reduced by 5s.; and whether he will now reconsider the policy of applying a means test to such pensioners, in view of their age and loyal service, and of the hardship thus inflicted upon them.

When Mr. Marriott's old age pension was increased, he ceased to be eligible for special campaign pension under the normal rules, but so much of his special campaign pension has since been continued as is necessary to maintain his income at its former level. This amount was, on recent review, found to be 5s. a week only and his pension was, therefore, reduced to that rate from 1st June, 1949. The answer to the last part of the Question is "No."

May I ask my right hon. Friend two questions? First, was this reduction in this particular pension part of the general arrangement; and secondly, does he not realise that these men regard the reduction as rather mean and cheeseparing, particularly in view of the age of the people concerned and the services they have given to the country, and in those circumstances will he reconsider his plan?

If I say that this is part of a general arrangement which was agreed a long time ago, I think that would be the complete answer. The persons concerned will not suffer financially or he any worse off than they were before.

Is it not a fact that this is a means test of the most tyrannical character?

No, the fact is that the special campaign pension is itself based on a means test.