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Disabled War Veterans

Volume 14: debated on Monday 30 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the cost, at constant prices, of running his Department's welfare service for badly disabled war veterans and their widows and orphans for each of the last five years.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he proposes to introduce changes in his Department's welfare service for badly disabled war veterans and their widows and orphans; and if he will make a statement.

A review of the work of the war pensions regional organisation, which includes the welfare service has been in hand for some time and has not yet been submitted to me. I assure the hon. Member that I shall not accept any recommendations which may tend to weaken the welfare service and shall undertake full consultation with all interested parties before changes are made. However, it must be understood that there were 1·1 million war pensioners when the service commenced in 1948 whilst there are 340,000 today whose needs have changed because of infirmity and old age.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many (a) disabled veterans, (b) widows and (c) orphans were visited in 1980 under his Department's welfare service for badly disabled war veterans; and how this compares with the figures for each of the previous five years.

The information as regards war orphans is as follows:

Number of war orphans visited by Departmental welfare staff
Number
1975369
1976382
1977515
1978583
1979528
1980541
The available information about disabled veterans and war widows relates not to the number of people visited but to the number of visits made.
Number of visits by Departmental welfare staff to
Disabled veteransWar widows
197935,70015,300
198035,70015,300
I regret that equivalent figures for earlier years are not readily available and could not be produced without disproportionate expense. Because some pensioners are visited more than once a year, the numbers of pensioners visited would be around two-thirds of the figures given above.