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Ex-Service Organisations (Deputation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Pensions and National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th April 1957.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North 12:00 am, 15th April 1957

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance on what date he met representatives of the disabled ex-Service men's organisations; what organisations were represented; who constituted the delegation; what was the nature of their demands and his reply thereto; and whether he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will give the result of his consideration of the request for an increase in pension made by a deputation from the British Legion and other bodies on 20th March.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I received a deputation from a number of ex-Service organisations on 20th March; I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of its composition and the matters raised. The answer to the last part of the Question of the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) and to the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd) is "No, Sir."

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Is not the Minister aware that, rightly, both sides of the House have always paid tribute to these ex-Service men who have been disabled in fighting for their country? Does not he think that it would have been far better, instead of giving the wealthy Surtax payers £34 million a year, to have given this to the ex-Service men who have been disabled in fighting for their country? That would have been welcomed, certainly on this side of the House.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

The hon. Gentleman knows very well that this Government have paid scrupulous regard to the nation's debt to these men and that they will continue to do so.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

In view of the great benefits which have been given by the Budget to Members of the Cabinet and other Surtax payers, is not the Minister aware of the dissatisfaction felt by people like war pensioners and others at the unfairness of all this?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

The hon. Gentleman will not really expect me to discuss the Budget, which I gather will be discussed later this afternoon. These Questions relate to a specific matter within my concern, and I have, in fact, answered them.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You may perhaps have heard the Minister say that I know that the Government have done better for the ex-Service men and the pensioners. May I just say that not only do I not know that, but that that is not a statement of fact?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

That is not a point of order; it is a point of controversy.

Following is the information:

The deputation consisted of:

Sir Ian Fraser, C.B.E., M.P., Major J. T. Spinks, D.L., J.P., General Sir Roy Bucher, K.B.E., C.B., M.C., Major R. Hargreaves, M.B.E. and Dame Regina Evans, D.B.E.— British Legion.

Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, G.B.E., LL.D., D.Sc., F.L.S.— Royal Air Forces Association.

Captain A. A. Andrews— Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association.

Major F. C. Emery— Royal Artillery Association.

Major J. R. Donnelly, M.B.E.— Ex-Services Welfare Society.

Brigadier H. R. Firth— Royal Signals Association.

Major-General G. E. Wildman-Lushington, C.B., C.B.E.— Burma Star Association.

Major V. W. Davidson, n. B. E. — Royal Marine Association.

Mr. D. Wigman— Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women.

Mr. A. D. Lloyds, A.C.A.— St. Dunstan's. Mr. T. E. Watkins— Forces Help Society

and Lord Roberts Workshops. Major-General J. M. L. Grover, C.B., M.C. — Officers' Association.

Air Commodore J. M. Birking, C.B., D.S.O., O.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C.— P a t h fi n d e r Association.

Mr. H. Harper. M.M.— Old Contemptibles Association.

Mr. G. Benton— Dunkirk Veterans' Association.

Mrs. L. M. Caddy— Association of Wrens. Mr. C. H. Wheeler— Royal Naval Association.

Mr. J. P. Howard— National Federation of Far Eastern Prisoners of War Clubs and Associations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The deputation raised the following points:

The basic rate of war disablement pension. War widows' pensions and rent allowances. Exemption of war widows' pensions from income tax.

Pension for post-injury war widows whose husbands died before 3rd September, 1939.

The amounts of war disablement pension and war widow's pension disregarded by the National Assistance Board.

Formal right of appeal in connection with unemployability supplement and allowance for lowered standard of occupation.

Questions to pensioners as to time lost from work.

Provision of two-seater vehicles.