§ 32. Sir GEORGE TOULMIN
asked the Pensions Minister whether a mother entitled to a pension under Article 21 of the Royal Warrant of 1917 can be deprived of a pension by reason of the definition under Article 24 (4) of parent as a person who has wholly supported the soldier for not less than one year before the commencement of the War, if the mother has supported the soldier entirely from the earnings of her husband and has had no income of her own; and whether local committees are directed, in the letters addressed to them by the Ministry, in these cases, that it must be definitely established that for a period of at least one year the applicant herself, out of her own moneys and not those of her husband, provided the whole financial cost of the soldier's maintenance?
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. My hon. Friend appears to have misread Article 24 (4) of the Warrant, which does not define the term "parent," but brings within that term other persons not actually parents who have fulfilled certain conditions. In the case of an actual parent the stipulated conditions do not apply.
§ Sir G. TOULMIN
Are we to understand that a foster-mother who has brought up a child, not from her own resources, but from her husband's, and is without means herself, is, by that fact, deprived of the pension?
§ 33. Mr. STANTON
asked the Pensions Minister if he will consider the addition of a war bonus to the allowances of the dependants of our soldiers in the fighting units; and has his attention been called to the fact that, with the present cost of living, in thousands of cases it means a 883 condition of semi-starvation to families whose bread-winner is fighting for his country's cause?
§ Mr. FORSTER
My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. This subject is under the consideration of the Government, as stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the recent Debate. I cannot, however, admit the accuracy of the hon. Member's statement as to semi-starvation, and I must point out that if that statement was justified it would be impossible to confine any increase to the dependants of men of fighting units.
§ Mr. FORSTER
No; I am not aware of that at all. Indeed, a large amount of information which I have in my possession proves the direct contrary.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I do not think the "Board of Trade Gazette" applies to the whole country. As he knows perfectly well, the statistics are compiled from certain selected portions of the community.
§ Mr. STANTON
Will the right hon. Gentleman send someone down with me, and I will endeavour to prove my case to him on the spot, that people are in a condition of semi-starvation on account of the high cost of living?
§ Mr. FORSTER
My hon. Friend knows quite well that it is for the people on the spot to see that adequate allowances are made to prevent that from happening.
§ Captain A. SMITH
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the cases of women who are compelled to work, if evidence can be brought that they are not fit to go to work?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)
This question has been referred to a Cabinet Committee similar to that which considered the question of sailors' and soldiers' pay. The Committee will, of course, conduct the inquiry as expeditiously as possible, but I cannot say when they will report.
§ 49. Mr. HOGGE
asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to announce the decision of the Government with regard to an increase in the allowances of the dependants of apprentices, or, alternatively, an alteration in the basis on which these are now awarded by local war pension committees?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Discussions are proceeding on this matter, and I hope to be in a position to announce a decision in the course of the next week or two.
§ 65. Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that a number of apprentices are being taken from the dockyards for the Army, many of them being nearly out of their time; what allowances will be made to their dependants; and will he consider the advisabilty of making full allowances when these young men reach the age when they would have been receiving men's pay in the yards?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
Yes, Sir. Some apprentices from the Royal dockyards are joining the forces under the Military Service Act; and, what is more, a number volunteered at the outbreak of war. As regards allowances in supplement of the allotments they may make, my hon. Friend is, of course, aware that the Select Committee which dealt with this matter in the fall of 1914 and the beginning of 1915 definitely laid down the principle that the allowance must be based upon pre-war dependence, with the proviso that the local pensions committee could, in proper cases, make supplemetary allowances; and, as he knows, these are now administered by the Special Grants Committee of the Ministry of Pensions.