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Totally Disabled Pensioners

Volume 477: debated on Tuesday 4 July 1950

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14.

asked the Minister of Pensions to state the rates of disability pensions payable in 1920 and in 1950 to totally disabled single ex-privates; the rates now paid to warrant officers, class 1, and captains for total disablement; and whether he will give special and immediate consideration to the needs and claims of the ex-private for better compensation.

The basic rates of disability pensions payable in 1920 and 1950 to totally disabled single ex-privates are 40s. and 45s. a week respectively; the basic rates now paid to warrant officers, class 1, and captains for total disablement are 61s. 8d. a week and £240 a year respectively. The Government policy is to assist generously by way of supplementary allowances those who, because of war disablement, are unable to take their normal place in the employment field; and I would refer the hon. Member to Table D2 in the 24th Report of my Department, which illustrates the substantial improvements which have been made in the compensation of individuals.

Can the Minister say whether there has been any advance towards the principle, irrespective of rank, of equal pension for equal disability?

No, Sir, the supplementations are the main improvements which have been made for the totally disabled, as I have already pointed out. This meets the need of the pensioners, and I am sure this policy is one with which the House would agree—that cases of the greatest need should come first.

When the Minister says that it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to be generous, how does he justify the fact that a private gets only 5s. more than in 1920?

15.

asked the Minister of Pensions to state the numbers of deaths amongst totally disabled war pensioners who were in receipt of constant attention allowances during the past three years; the number of pensions awarded to the widows of those men; and whether he will take steps to award a pension in every case to widows who have devoted their lives to the constant care of their husbands who have been rendered helpless by war disablement.

Two hundred and thirty, 391 and 668, respectively. Information as to the number of pensions awarded to the widows of these pensioners is not readily available, but my right hon. Friend is having the records examined and will write to the hon. Member. A pension can be awarded to a widow only when her husband's death was related to war service. As the hon. Member is aware the question of the position of widows of seriously disabled war pensioners who do not die of their pensioned disabilities is one on which representations were recently made to my right hon. Friend by a deputation from an ex-Service organisation. My right hon. Friend has undertaken to consider a detailed proposal which the organisation has promised to send to him with further evidence.

Can the hon. Gentleman say when we may expect his right hon. Friend's decision on that matter?

The deputation was seen only about a fortnight ago, and the Minister is now looking into the proposals which it put forward.