§ 55. Mr. BUCHANAN
asked the Minister of Pensions what is the nature of the inquiry made into the means of persons who have a need pension; at what intervals is such investigation made; when a reduction is proposed how long notice is given; and if any chance is given to the person in receipt of such a pension to appear before any committee before such a reduction operates, or if any kind of hearing takes place?
§ Mr. PARKINSON (Lord of the Treasury)
In the absence of my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Pensions, I have been asked to reply.
I am informed that inquiries, which take the form both of correspondence and investigation by a local officer of the Ministry, are usually instituted, not at regular intervals, but only as and when some material change in the financial circumstances of the case is indicated (whether on the application of the pensioner or otherwise) which makes reconsideration of the pension necessary with a view either to its increase or decrease. Where any prospective change of the pensioner's circumstances is involved, as long notice as possible is given to ensure that that change will have taken place before the reduction becomes operative. Changes in the rate of pension are made only on the basis of accomplished facts or of ascertained expectations, but any pensioner who considers that the facts have been misinterpreted has the usual right of making a complaint to the War Pensions Committee.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Cannot these people have the same right as anybody else; that is to say, that before a reduction takes place their case shall be heard by some committee? These are the only persons who are not given an opportunity of stating their case before a reduction takes place.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
I cannot answer the question, but I will convey the remarks of the hon. Member to the Minister of Pensions.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
And will the hon. Gentleman also ask the Minister of Pensions to introduce a little human touch into this matter?