It would not be in the public interest to give the figures asked for. But I am able to say that of the total number of men invalided out of the Armed Forces from the outbreak of war until the end of September last, 5.8 per cent. were discharged on account of tuberculosis, and of the claims made in respect of this disability rather more than 70 per cent. have been allowed.
Is it not clear that the condition of any man suffering from this disease must of necessity be aggravated by entering the Forces and being deprived of the ordinary care and attention that he previously had?
No, it does not follow at all, if you take into account every circumstance of the man's service and everything that he gains in the way of medical advice, as the fact that over 70 per cent. have been accepted shows?
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he proposes to take steps to deal with the position of the widows of Service men killed in this war who are compelled to seek assistance from public assistance committees owing to their pension being lower than public assistance committee scales?
A widow's pension is in the nature of a life annuity and cannot be compared with payments made by public assistance committees which are of a temporary nature, liable to fluctuate according to means and other circum- stances and based on differing scales throughout the country.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it a disgrace that a widow with three children should be compelled to seek public assistance because pension and allowances are not big enough to keep her?
asked the Minister of Pensions why a pension has been refused to the widow of Private Arthur Bryn Howell who died in hospital at the age of 42 on 20th September, seeing that Private Howell, who served for two years in the last war, was passed A1 when he volunteered in November, 1939; has he considered the effect of this refusal not only on the widow but on her two sons serving with the Forces; and will he grant a pension forthwith to Mrs. Howell?
Private Howell's death was due to cardio-vascular degeneration associated with stone in the right kidney. I am medically advised that neither the stone in the kidney nor the cardio-vascular degeneration was caused or aggravated by any condition of military service and I regret that I am therefore unable to award a pension to the widow.
It has already been made clear that the recent increases in the pay of non-commissioned ranks are entirely disregarded for the purpose of war service grants, and, as my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal announced on 15th October, the method of dealing with the increased family allowances is under consideration.
Persons killed or injured in this unfortunate incident will be regarded as having suffered war injury, and claims will be considered by my Department under the appropriate Instruments.