asked the Minister of Pensions the progress made with medical examination of the older war disability pensioners; the numbers and percentages of increased assessments awarded for worsened disablement during the past two years in the groups pensioned, respectively, for ailments, wounds and injuries, and amputations; and what provision is made by his regulations to ensure that severely wounded men are adequately compensated for increasing disability with advancing age.
As regards the first and second parts of the Question, 2,900 of these elderly 1914–18 war pensioners, including 298 amputees, received increased awards during the two years ended 30th June, 1952, because of material worsening of their war disablement. I regret that the other particulars asked for cannot be furnished without undue research. As regards the third part of the Question, the hon. Member will know that leaflets were sent in 1948 and recently to all disablement pensioners, reminding them of the steps they should take if they wished their pensions to be reviewed.
Will the pending report of the Rock Carling Committee have some bearing upon these facts? Was that committee concerned just with paper and figures, or with human beings? If only with paper and figures, why not get the Welfare Department to visit some of these old disabled men in their own homes and in the Ex-Service men's Homes to see just what the worsening is?
The committee to which the hon. Gentleman refers are concerned with the medical aspect of these problems, within their terms of reference. I am looking forward very much to their report, which I hope to get before very long. As regards the Welfare Department, I am only too anxious that my welfare officers, up to the absolute limit of the time they have, should call on these severely disabled pensioners. Whenever they hear of any case that would benefit from a call they are only too glad to go there.
When is the Minister going to tell us what he proposes to do in relation to the claims of the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association for the older disabled men who lost legs or eyes or suffered other disabilities, about which we made very strong representations some months ago? How long is this to be delayed? Are these men to die off before they get their rights?
I have not forgotten the representations which the hon. Member has made. I answered a Question on this matter the other day and in doing so pointed out the difficulty I have in discriminating in favour of any one category of disablement without medical evidence to support me. I have the matter under consideration. It may well be that the committee to which the hon. Gentleman just referred may have something to say on this subject when they report. If so, I shall take their evidence very fully into consideration.