HC Deb 24 October 1916 vol 86 cc938-41
61. Mr. HOGGE

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office why separation allowance is not issued for imbecile dependants above twenty-one if they have been kept at home and still are?


Some limitation of the payments made by the War Office in such cases has always been considered necessary, and this was a feature of the scheme approved by Government and accepted by this House. If it operates harshly in particular cases, appeal lies to the Statutory Committee.


Supposing a soldier had imbecile dependants over twenty-one dependent upon him, would the War Office pay a separation allowance?


In that case dependence would be established.

62. Mr. HOGGE

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office why men entitled to Service pension have it merged in disablement pension?


So far as the War Office is concerned, the reason is that the Select Committee on War Pensions recommended, and this House approved, a scheme of which this is a feature. It does not fall to me to expound the reasons of these decisions.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Select Committee drew up a scheme of separation and disability pensions, that as a matter of practice a soldier who is earning a Service pension does not get that pension when he gets his disability pension, but the two are roped into the same payment, and does the right hon. Gentleman think that fair?


It depends which is the higher of the two. The hon. Member must really accept that from me. He gets whichever is the higher of the two. The point whether he should draw both was put to the Select Committee, which decided against it.


Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that this House has never had an opportunity of discussing or approving the recommendations of the Committee?


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he can state the position in regard to separation allowances of wives living apart from their husbands owing to such causes as their desertion by their husbands; whether, where the husband made no payment under an order of Court or otherwise before mobilisation or enlistment, no issue of separation allowance is made by the War Office; whether the War Office require, as a condition precedent to the issue of allowance, that clear evidence must be forthcoming of reconciliation between husband and wife and that the soldier intends to re-establish his home with his wife and maintain her after his period of service; and whether he will state under what authority such a Regulation has been framed?


The Regulations are as stated. They proceed on the principle that separation allowance is intended to make good the loss due to separation caused by military service. They were framed under the authority of the Army Council.

67. Mr. JOWETT

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if, under Army Orders issued in January this year, a reduction is made in the separation allowance paid to a dependent mother of a soldier if she. becomes the recipient of the soldier's separation allowance by transference in consequence of the death of a soldier's father to whom the soldier's dependants' separation allowance had previously been paid; and whether, having regard to the fact that a dependent mother is made poorer and not richer by the death of her husband, and also, having regard to the fact that the payment of dependants' separation allowance in such a case was based on the amount contributed by the soldier for the benefit of the home, and not on the number of members of the household, he will arrange to put a stop to this practice of saving odd shillings and half-crowns for the Treasury at the expense of bereaved relatives of soldiers?


Yes, Sir. The fact that the husband is in any ordinary sense of the word self-supporting does not prevent him from being reckoned as a dependant in assessing reparation allowance, and when he dies his share necessarily lapses.

52. Mr. HOGGE

asked the Prime Minister whether questions relating to pensions can now be addressed to the Paymaster-General?


No, Sir; I think the existing practice should be continued for the present.