HC Deb 30 June 1919 vol 117 cc602-3
48. Mr. CLOUGH

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the Repatriated British Civilian Prisoners Help Committee, Surrey House, Marble Arch, to which the duty is entrusted of looking after those British who have lost everything in enemy countries during the War, is not 'able even to support for more than a few weeks those who are absolutely destitute, with the result that educated men are being driven into the workhouse, although they have large claims for compensation against enemy Governments, on which, when it is too late, payment may be made; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?


As the reply to this question is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The following is the Answer referred to

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension in thinking that the Repatriated British Civilian Prisoners' Help Committee has been entrusted by His Majesty's Government with the duty of looking after British subjects who have lost everything in enemy countries during the War. The responsibility for the reception and initial care of destitute British subjects arriving in this country from enemy countries has been entrusted to the Central Charities Committee of the Social Welfare Association for London, whose funds are derived from the National Relief Fund. In the event of such civilians being unable through ill health or other legitimate causes, to obtain employment within a reasonable period after their repatriation, they are eligible for assistance from the National Relief Fund, through the appropriate Local Representative Committee for the Prevention and Relief of Distress.

The Repatriated British Civilian Prisoners' Help Committee is a voluntary committee whose funds have been raised privately and whose expenditure and discretionary powers are in no way controlled by His Majesty's Government. They frequently give assistance which is supplementary to that rendered by the local representative committees, and also, in special cases assistance of a nature that the National Relief Fund has no power to give.

I have not been able to obtain confirmation of the suggestion that, in any deserving case, an educated, repatriated British subject has had to apply for admission to a workhouse.