HC Deb 06 August 1914 vol 65 cc2062-3

I beg to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether, seeing that the men of His Majesty's Coastguard and the crews of the war signal stations, who have gone afloat, have, in very many cases, left their wives and families without resources in the belief that these would draw their pay on the 1st August, and seeing also that cheques in payment of the same cannot so far be cashed, for the reason that all banks are closed until Friday next, when the difficulty of procuring payment may be great and, perhaps, insurmountable,—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]—I should not be in order in suggesting why and going into the peculiar circumstances —he will consider the possibility of enabling cash payments of wages due to be made locally to these families, resident at great distances from any bank, and unable to command credit with small traders, owing to the shortage of ready money; thus enabling them to purchase the necessaries of life, which, to their great distress, they are, in many cases, having great difficulty in obtaining. It is not in any spirit of criticism I ask this question because we all realise that the Government have great difficulties and are entitled to great credit for their foresight.


I understand from a statement made by the hon. Gentleman—he mentioned the matter to me yesterday—that in some eases the wives of Coastguard men have been unable to cash cheques. A wire has been sent to the District Paymaster at Weymouth asking him to send money by registered post if the cheque for wages at Salcombe Division cannot be cashed on Friday (the cheque being recalled). With regard to cheques for future weeks, I do not doubt that the arrangements announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will fully meet the situation. As regards the reference to small traders, I am sure the mention of this matter here will cause everybody to do all they can wherever necessary.


I desire to ask the Prime Minister as to what provision is being made for the Reserve men's wives and children, both Navy and Army; and, secondly, whether, on the question of registration, if these men's wives and children claim or apply for parochial relief it will be arranged that the men will not lose their votes in consequence?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

With regard to the second part of the question, I have already given notice to introduce a Bill to deal with it. With regard to the first part, full consideration will be given to the matter.