HC Deb 22 February 1900 vol 79 cc790-1

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, upon what information his statement was based that the funds which are being subscribed by the public have up to the present been even more than sufficient to deal with the widows and children of soldiers killed in South Africa; whether any return can be made of the money collected for this purpose by the various funds, both London and provincial, and also of the sums distributed by them; and whether he will request the Committee, which he has appointed to inquire into the administration of the various funds, to first consider what is the proper annuity that a widow of a soldier killed in action or dying of his wounds should receive from all sources, in order that a minimum scale may obtain throughout the country.


I think my hon. friend has misunderstood the purport of what I said the other day, and the misunderstanding is one for which I and not he is responsible. All I wished to say was that our experience, dating at least as far back as the Crimean War, seems to show that private benevolence is adequate to deal with the widows and children of soldiers killed in action. I said nothing of the adequacy of the funds now being subscribed in connection with the war which is still in progress, and which has unknown liabilities. I think the subjects mentioned in the second and third paragraphs would properly come under the attention of the Committee appointed, and I hope it will be able to deal with them.