Pre-War Pensions.

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 2nd March 1922.

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Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

5.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has been able to give further consideration to the case of Mrs. M. Hamber, of 76, Sutherland Avenue, Maida Vale, widow of Sergeant Marsh Hamber, No. 5,751, Royal Irish Fusiliers, who died on active service in the Tirah campaign, 1897, and to the ruling of the Ministry of Pensions on 6th November, 1920, that she is not eligible for an Army pension on the present scale on the ground that her husband died in action prior to the South African War; whether it is the intention of the Ministry of Pensions to distinguish between the widows of soldiers killed in one war and of those killed in another; if not, whether he will take steps to secure that the regulations are amended so that the widows of soldiers in all wars are equally treated; and whether he is aware that the inequality of treatment inflicts a great hardship on an exceedingly small class of persons whose grievance could be redressed without great expense to the State?

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

The position of widows of this class has been very carefully considered, but I regret that it has not been found possible to bring within the terms of the Ministry's former war warrants those widows who had no title to pension under pre-Ministry warrants. My Noble Friend is no doubt aware that Mrs. Hamber is in receipt of an allowance of 21s. a week from the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation.

Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that this class of person is an exceedingly limited class and that they have suffered exactly the same injury as the widows whose husbands fell in the late War, and on what ground of equity can the Government refuse to treat them in the same way as widows of the late War?

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

This matter was very carefully considered, and it was found impossible to act in the way suggested.

Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

2.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that Regular officers retired on reduced pensions on account of disability due to service in wars prior to 1914 have been informed that there is no authority for their pensions being regarded as disability pensions for assessment of Income Tax; and whether it is the intention of the Government in this respect to make any differentiation between officers wounded in former wars and officers wounded in the late War?

Photo of Mr Edward Young Mr Edward Young , Norwich

I have been asked by my right hon. Friend to answer this question. The exemption from Income Tax in respect of wounds and disability pensions granted under Section 16 of the Finance Act, 1919, applies to the various pensions, etc., enumerated in the Section, whether granted in respect of the late War or of previous wars. If the Noble Lord has in mind a case of a pension which is considered to fall within the terms of the Section and to which the exemption from tax has not been accorded, and will let me have the necessary particulars, I will gladly have the matter investigated and communicate to him the result.