Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 60 - 62)

WEDNESDAY 6 MARCH 2002

COLONEL TERRY ENGLISH, MAJOR TOM HOUSE AND LT COL STEVE COLTMAN OBE

  60. The Legion magazine.
  (Major House) Each time there is a change in either legislation or onus of proof or whatever it may be with pensions, I am tasked, it is part of my remit, along with Colonel English, to make sure that that is published within the Legion publication. A recent one, which is a bit divorced from here, is the business of tax in the 1950s to 1970s. That had been republished. We did it three years ago and in the Legion magazine this month, so that is within my remit to do that. I do believe that we cover as much as we can and last year I did a little history of war pensions and indeed what help we do offer people who are claiming war pensions.

Jim Knight

  61. Consistently both in the note from you and today, in addition to talking about the financial benefit you have talked about the value that veterans place on the welfare provision currently available to those designated as war pensioners or war widows from the War Pensions Agency and we know that is transferred. What services does the War Pensioners' Welfare Service currently offer to veterans and have you had any indication in the representations you have made to the MoD that there will be any similar provision under the new arrangements?
  (Colonel English) We are led to believe that the War Pensioners' Welfare Service will continue. It includes home visits and regular updating by the welfare officers who, if they see a deterioration in the case, can start the process to look for the pension being enhanced. We regard their contribution as very valuable.
  (Major House) We have an army of volunteers, not just the Royal British Legion, but other ex-Service charities as well, but what we cannot compete with is the expertise of the Welfare Service because there is a lot of crossover information that we are not privy to. I am, supposedly, an expert in war pensions, but I am not in other benefits. Now, somebody visiting a war pensioner at home can see that other benefits might be available to the person who is claiming a war pension and it is a point of contact. We have very much interchange with that part of the organisation and I believe, having, as I said before, worked in pensions for so many years, that is the icing on the cake. The Welfare Service has to stay.

  62. Its continuance is not in conflict with any of the other proposals that the MoD is putting forward?
  (Colonel English) No, it should not be.

  Chairman: Well, thank you very much. If is there is anything you wish to add, please put it in your supplementary memo. Thank you very much.





 
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