HC Deb 07 March 1917 vol 91 cc359-62

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that many old Royal Navy pensioners and dependants, granted pensions for long and meritorious services, are now existing with difficulty on their pre-war small pensions; and if he can see his way to increase these pensions in any way?


I am afraid it is the fact that the increased cost of living presses hardly upon all members of the community who are entirely dependent upon small fixed incomes. I would point out, however, that naval long service pensions are awarded at a comparatively early age—generally somewhere about forty—and of course many of the recipients are able to augment their naval pension by earning additional income. The minimum rate of service pension is 5s. 10d. per week; the maximum, that for chief petty officers, 27s. 5d. a week; the average is approximately 16s. a week. As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, Greenwich Hospital pensions are already given in many cases in supplement of these life pensions, and so long as the money remains unexpended are given in the order of age and necessity of the applicant. At the present time age pensions of 5d. a day in augmentation of the naval life pensions are being paid to about 4,000 men, and increased age pensions of 9d. a day are being paid to about 5,500 men.

8. Sir B. FALLE

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that, notwithstanding the gift of separation allowance to the Royal Navy and to the recent increase of the same, the men lent by the Royal Navy to the Royal Australian and the Royal New Zealand Navies have had no rise of pay or allowance whatsoever, though in many cases their term of service in these Navies has expired; and if such an advance will now be made?


The rates of pay and allowances obtaining in the Royal Australian Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy are generally higher than in the Royal Navy. This is so even after taking into account the separation allowance paid to the Royal Naval ratings. In other respects the conditions differ so materially from those of the Royal Navy that a general financial comparison between the emoluments of these services is not practicable. The men to whom reference is made are apparently those retained in the Royal Australian Navy under Article 28 of the Commonwealth Defence Act. Any variation of their emoluments in the circumstances stated would be a matter for the Government at whose charge their wages are paid. Should a naval rating be lent for service in any Dominion ship, he would, of course, be entitled to separation allowance if, and so long as, he remained at Royal Naval rates of pay.

23. Mr. P. MEEHAN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he can state why the conditional pension granted last December to Private William Foley, No. 2497, Leinster Regiment, has not yet been paid to him?

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of PENSIONS (Colonel Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen)

Authority for the payment of the pension was issued on the 1st December last and on the same date a form of life certificate was sent to William Foley to enable him to draw his pension. This form has not been returned and pension cannot be paid until it is returned. Foley's present address is not known, but if the hon. Member can furnish it I will see that another form is sent to him forthwith.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War why the field allowance paid to Army chaplains serving at home has ceased since 8th November; and whether chaplains on joining His Majesty's Forces were assured that they would receive field allowance?


Commissioned chaplains, like other officers, are not entitled to field allowance in all circumstances. The conditions laid down in the Regulations must be fulfilled before it is issuable. I am not aware that it has been discontinued in any case where the chaplain was entitled to receive it, but if the hon. Member will give me particulars I will make inquiries.


Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that some of these reverend gentlemen joined, leaving comfortable places at home, upon consideration of receiving this allowance; and is he compelling them to pass in order that they may pray better?


The Regulations under which this allowance is issued must be observed.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that on the return of the Army allowances pay books for quarterly inspections from the post offices there is often a delay of three weeks and longer before they are returned, and during that time the post offices refuse to pay any applicants whose books are not returned; and will he issue some instructions to prevent these delays in the future and so stop the hardships to the women who receive these Army allowances?


Pay books are not withdrawn for inspection. When a book has run for thirteen weeks a new book is required, and all possible steps have been taken to ensure that the new book is avail- able before the old one is due for return. I have carefully watched the working of the Regulations on this point, and believe that delays are now very exceptional.


asked the Pensions Minister whether he is now in a position to say whether, in the case where a soldier makes an allotment to his mother, who is an old age pensioner, the pension authorities are entitled to deduct from the pension any proportion in respect of the allotment?

Mr. BALDWIN (Lord of the Treasury)

The case of an old age pensioner who receives an allotment from a sailor or soldier is governed by the administrative concessions made to old age pensioners (Cd. 8320), i.c., no action is taken for the withdrawal or reduction of the existing old age pension unless the allotment is an entirely new item of moans and exceeds 5s. a week.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether the separation allowance to soldiers and to the wives of interned alien enemies have both been increased; and whether he can now increase the consolidated allowance to soldier households where the soldier lives at home, as is the ease in regard to men of the Army Pay Department?


Separation allowance for soldiers has been increased, but I am unable to say as regards the wives of interned aliens. As regards the latter part of the question, I presume my hon. Friend is referring to family allowance. This was increased with effect from 15th January last.