Widow's Pensions.

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 6th July 1922.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Ladywood

3.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has yet come to any decision in the case of Mrs. Wood, widow of the late Private William F. Wood, No. 27621, who died one day after the expiration of the seven years' limit under Article 11 of the Royal Warrant, and whose case has been under consideration since the beginning of April last?

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

I am glad to be able to inform my hon. Friend that, having regard to the quite special circumstances of the case referred to, it has been found possible to make an award of pension provisionally at the rate of 20s. a week in place of the existing award of 13s. 9d.

Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Ladywood

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. Will he also be able to see when he is considering this question, that of the extension of time generally?

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

That has been considered, as well as this individual case.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

7.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether his attention has been drawn to the decision of his Department in W case, No. 10646, Royal Engineers, in which a pension was refused to a widow and three children on the ground that the death of the husband was mainly due to alcoholic excess; whether he is aware that the medical officer who conducted the post-mortem examination attributed death to dilatation of the heart, probably due to acute alcoholism, and arteriosclerosis; and why the Ministry of Pensions has in this case departed from its usual rule of giving applicants for pension the benefit of the doubt?

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

As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, I have gone into this case very fully and sympathetically, but I could find no reasonable doubt that the cause of death had no connection with military service. The case has been heard by the Appeal Tribunal, who confirmed, and thus made final, the decision of the Ministry.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the specific question put down on the Paper namely, why did the probability become a certainty when it was put before the tribunal?

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

It was because of the probability that the case went to the Appeal Tribunal, which is an independent tribunal outside the Ministry altogether, and they gave the decision to which I have referred.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

If the doctor said it was a probability, does not that imply that there was a doubt, and why did the Ministry give the doubt against the widow and children?

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

They gave their decision knowing full well that the case would be re-heard before this independent tribunal.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Are we to understand that the Ministry of Pensions modified their decision because there was an Appeal Tribunal behind them?