War Service Pensions

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th April 1964.

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Photo of Mr Philip Holland Mr Philip Holland , Acton 12:00 am, 27th April 1964

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what provisions exist for an appeal against his decision in the case of claims for service disability pensions awarded under special sanction; and whether he will introduce amending legislation to improve the present position regarding appeals related to such claims.

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

Awards under special sanction can be made in certain circumstances where no award can be made under the ordinary Pensions Instruments. As these awards are in my discretion, subject to the agreement of the Treasury, there is no foundation for any formal right of appeal. But anyone who claims a pension can discuss his case informally with his local war pensions committee, whose recommendations are carefully considered.

Photo of Mr Philip Holland Mr Philip Holland , Acton

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, but will he concede that even members of the medical profession are sometimes human and, therefore, fallible? With that in mind, does not he agree that there might be a case for a more formalised procedure to make it possible to look a second time at the primary decision even in special sanction cases?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

I assure my hon. Friend that I am perfectly prepared to look very sympathetically at any of these claims. It would be very difficult to establish a formal right of appeal, because there happens to be no right under the Royal Warrant itself. It is essential that we should preserve a discretionary approach, particularly because some of the evidence in support of these claims is now 40 or 50 years old. I believe that, if there is a discretionary approach, this is in the long run in the best interest of pensioners.