War Pensioners

Oral Answers to Questions — Pensions and National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1959.

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Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn 12:00 am, 27th July 1959

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what were the grounds for the increases of pension made last year in some 1,700 cases to 1914–18 War pensioners.

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

In 1,407 cases there was worsening of the war disablement and in 320 consequential disabilities were accepted. In addition there were seven cases of amputation in which on re-measurement the original measurement of the stump was found to be wrong, and it was possible therefore to increase the assessment.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

If the Ministry has enough evidence to make these increases and also to accept new claims in respect of the 1914–18 War at this late stage—it has accepted 115 such claims within the last two years—is it not clear that appeal tribunals would also have access to such evidence to enable them to judge the rights of the claimants? Will he not, therefore, take steps to extend to ex-Service men of the 1914–18 War the same right of appeal to tribunals as is enjoyed by ex-Service men of the last war?

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

No, Sir. I think that the hon. Lady is quite wrong. There is, as she appreciates, obvious difficulty in obtaining evidence in respect of disabilities suffered forty years ago, but it is much easier to deal with them sympathetically in the way we do than to prove them to the satisfaction of a tribunal.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

The ex-Service men are ready to take the risk. Why not let them do so?

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

The hon. Lady will be aware that, together with my predecessors of all parties, I have taken the view that it would be no kindness—indeed, it would be the reverse—to raise hopes which would inevitably cause a very large number of nugatory appeals.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

It is what the men want.