HC Deb 17 February 1915 vol 69 cc1122-4

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government will ensure that men who are totally incapacitated, or partially incapacitated, during the War shall receive their pensions immediately their pay stops on discharge from hospital so as to prevent their proceeding home without any money?


The men referred to have a gratuity of £2 to bridge the gap between cessation of pay and commencement of pension. Everything possible will be done to reduce the interval to the shortest possible time.


asked whether the Government have instituted a sliding scale of pension for men totally incapacitated and men partially incapacitated during the War?


A scheme on this basis is under consideration.

63. Mr. NIELD

asked the Prime Minister when it is proposed that the scale of pensions and grants in respect of services in the War and recommended in the Special Report of the Select Committee should be brought into operation; and, in the event of their requiring to be the subject of a Resolution of the House, when will the terms of such Resolution be put down for discussion, and if he had anything to add to the answer he gave yesterday?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

As regards the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave yesterday to a similar question by the hon. Member for the Leith Division.

68. Mr. NIELD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Mrs. Martha Sarah Gardner, wife of Sapper Gardner, No. 40,216, has been refused separation allowance on the ground that she was not living with her husband at the time of his enlistment; whether he is aware that Sapper Gardner deserted his wife and four children on the 11th February, 1911, and thereby compelled them to enter the workhouse; that, notwithstanding every effort, Mrs. Gardner failed to discover her husband's address, but that, after the outbreak of the War, she discovered that he had enlisted in the Royal Engineers; that, by letter of the 7th December last, the record office of the regiment informed her that they were unable to grant her separation allowance owing to her husband's allegation that he had been unable to live with her owing to infidelity on her part; that Sapper Gardner, being summoned to appear at the Tower Bridge Police Court on 6th January last, produced to the magistrate a letter written by the major commanding the 62nd (Field) Company, Royal Engineers, asking for the adjournment of the summons for maintenance until after the War in order that separation allowance might be paid to Mrs. Gardner, a course which, with her assent, the magistrate adopted and stated that Mrs. Gardner had not deserted her husband, but had been deserted by him, and that, no separation order having been made, she was entitled to the Government allowance; and that, at the hearing before the magistrate. Sapper Gardner unreservedly withdrew the allegation of infidelity previously made by him; and, seeing the impossibility of tracing Gardner before his enlistment, and therefore of obtaining an order for maintenance and any payment thereunder, he will direct that separation allowance and arrears should be paid to Mrs. Gardner in like manner as though she had duly obtained an order for maintenance and received payment thereunder?


It appears that Mrs. Gardner was not, in fact, maintained by her husband for a considerable period before the War, and lost nothing by his enlistment. In these circumstances separation allowance is not issuable.


Does not the hon. Gentleman see that the man deserted and secreted himself and she could not find him to summons him for maintenance? That is the whole gist of the complaint.


Under the Regulations, separation allowance is not payable when there has been no maintenance by the husband.

88. Viscount VALENTIA

asked whether the widow of an officer holding a temporary commission in the Territorial Force killed in action is entitled to a pension of the rank temporarily held by her husband at the time of his death?


The widow of a Territorial officer killed in action is treated in this respect in exactly the same way as the widow of a Regular officer.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if men or women having adopted sons in the Army who have previously supported them at home are not considered as dependants for purposes of separation allowances; and if this disability can be removed without waiting for a general decision on the Report of the Committee on Pensions and Allowances?


Steps will be taken at an early date which will have the desired effect.

90. Mr. HOGGE

asked whether the procedure for the lodging of appeals in the case of allowances for dependants is now ready; and, if so, what it is?


I hope to be able to make an announcement on this point very soon.


What does the hon. Gentleman mean by "very soon"? These allowances come into operation on the 1st March.


I mean before the 1st March.


asked whether the restriction that the £5 bounty shall only be paid to those who re-enlisted for Home defence prior to the 11th of August is being strictly adhered to, or whether in some cases it is being set aside; whether there is a feeling amongst the men that as they are all performing the like duties they should all receive the same treatment; and whether the restriction referred to can be abolished?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Hammersmith on the 8th instant, a copy of which I will send to him.