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War Pensions

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1952

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2.

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware of the dissatisfaction existing among the recipients of war pensions owing to the inadequacy of the proposed increases; and if he is prepared to reconsider the increases in the light of the present cost of living.

No, Sir. I think the recipients of war pensions generally will regard the recently announced improvements costing £10 million a year as a substantial contribution in the light of the present economic situation of the country.

Do I understand that the Minister has received no representations from the ex-Service men's organisations in regard to the inadequacy of this increase?

I understand that the headquarters of the British Legion has sent out a communication to all its branches urging them to protest against the inadequacy of the improvements, and that many branches have done so; but I think we must remember that the Legion's request was for a very large sum which, in my opinion, is out of the question in the present financial situation of the country.

Is the Minister aware that by far the greater majority of these disabled pensioners will, by virtue of their percentage rate of disability, get only 2s. or 3s. a week increase?

Yes, but I think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman will agree that even so they will be getting their proportional increase, which is all that we can give on the basis of the assessment. They will still be getting an increase of over 20 per cent. on their proportional basic pensions.

Does my hon. Friend mean that he is having no conversations with the Treasury to see whether or not something can be done in this matter; or is the matter completely closed?

I can hold out very little hope of further improvement in the present situation.