§ 19. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that the wives of enlisted Civil servants are 249 not receiving the extra 2s. recently granted by the Government for children's allowance in consequence of the Regulation under which the amount of Army-allowance is deducted from their civil pay; and if he intends altering the Regulations so that Civil servants' dependants will be able to receive the full advantage of the extra 2s, allowance?
§ Mr. STANLEY BALDWIN (Lord of the Treasury)
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, and to the second in the negative. Married Civil servants serving with the Forces have been allowed to receive the recent war bonus granted to the Civil Service.
§ 24. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether lie is aware that the Order of his Department in restricting local authorities from paying more than 25 per cent, of the wages of their employés who have enlisted is preventing the local authorities from paying the extra 2s. per week granted by the Government for dependants' allowance; if he is aware that hardship is inflicted upon people concerned in consequence of the high price of foodstuffs; and if he will cancel the Order to local authorities giving them permission to pay the extra 2s. per child to their employés who have joined the Army or Navy?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Hayes Fisher)
The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The extra 2s. a week granted for dependants' allowances is payable by the State, and not by the local authorities. I may add that the Local Government Board have made no such Order as that alleged by the hon. Member, though in certain cases they have sanctioned the payment by local authorities to their officials who have joined the Forces of such sums as, with naval and military pay and separation or family allowances, will make up a total income 25 per cent, in excess of the civil remuneration of these officials.
§ Mr. THORNE
May I ask whether, in consequence of that circular, which, I understand, has been arranged between the local authorities and the Local Government Board, the local authorities are taking advantage of their position, and are refusing to pay the extra 2s. recently allowed for the children of soldiers and sailors?
§ 78. Commander WEDGWOOD
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the pensions inquiry office in the urban district of Wolstanton is also the parish relieving office, and that returned soldiers have to go to the parish relief office to get their rights; and, if so, will he indicate to the local authority concerned that such an arrangement is not considered suitable or proper.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of PENSIONS (Colonel Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen)
The District Council of Wolstanton have at present no office in Wolstanton, the district council office being at Tunstall, but one of the relieving officers, who is employed as a volunteer by the local pensions committee, has given a room in his private house, where he attends at fixed hours to answer inquiries with regard to the eases referred to in the question. These hours are distinct from the hours in which the Poor Law work is done, and no complaint has been made to any of the officials by any pensioner.
§ Commander WEDGWOOD
Do I understand from the answer that the Board of Pensions approves of the use of the district relieving officer and the relieving office for the distribution of pensions to returned soldiers?
§ The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Mr. Barnes)
We cannot regard the arrangement as satisfactory, but must put up with it.
§ 79. Mr. PERCY HARRIS (Paddington, S.)
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will take immediate steps to decide the question how the administrative expenses of a local committee under the Naval and Military War Pensions Act, 1915, are to be defrayed, and also to settle the scale of such expenses?
§ Mr. BARNES
I have given notice of the introduction of a Bill which will deal with the points referred to by my hon Friend.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)
No, Sir. A Committee of Ministers is now considering this matter and a decision will be arrived at without delay.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
As my hon. Friend is aware, this involves a very large increase in public expenditure, and I considered it necessary, before it was agreed to, that it should be considered by the Government. I can assure the hon. Gentleman there will be no delay.