43. Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked the-Pensions Minister whether he is aware that an officer of the mercantile marine 1849 whose ship has been commandeered by the Government is placed in a most disadvantageous position compared with naval officers—namely, that naval officers, when taken prisoners, are allowed to draw their full pay, but, in the case of an officer of the mercantile marine taken prisoner, the only consideration he obtains is that his wife is allowed £2 a week, and as, to keep her husband from starving in a German camp, she is obliged to send him parcels of food, very little is left to keep herself and children; and whether he proposes to reconsider the position of these officers?
Sir A. STANLEY
My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question, and I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given him on 4th June, which stated that allowances on a pension scale are paid to the dependants in this country of the officers of the mercantile marine who are interned in Germany, and that the expense of special treatment in officer camps in Germany is guaranteed. The pension scale is now under examination, and if it be found to need revision it will be altered, but I doubt whether it would be possible to adopt the suggestion that full wages should be paid during internment.
In view of the fact that the Board is entitled to pay for the cost of special treatment of an interned prisoner in a German camp, will the right hon. Gentleman extend this provision to ordinary board, to keep the officer in question from starvation and not encroach on the pittance allowed his wife?
Sir A. STANLEY
That aspect of the problem will be considered in determining whether the pension scale should be altered or not.