§ 113. Sir KINGSLEY WOOD
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the Regulations governing the scheme for financial assistance to demobilised officers and men in cases of special hardship arising from military service have yet been published; how many applications have yet been received under such scheme; and in how many cases has assistance been rendered?
§ Mr. WARDLE
I have been asked to reply to this question. The general outlines of the Government scheme were described in the reply which was given to the hon. Member for Bermondsey on the 13th February. The Regulations will be published, I hope, in a few days.
The scheme will apply to officers and men (other than retired officers recalled to service) whether married or unmarried, who joined the forces on or after the 4th August, 1914, or are members of the Territorial Force, and were ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom before joining the forces and have been demobilised from His Majesty's forces.
Assistance will be given to such officers and men in cases in which serious hardship would be caused to them on account of their inability, after demobilisation, to meet their financial obligations by reason of their having undertaken military service.
The obligations in respect of which assistance in suitable cases may be granted are: Rent, interest, and instalments payable in respect of loans (including mortgages), instalments for the purchase of house, business premises, or furniture, taxes, rates, insurance premiums, and school fees.
In lieu of assistance in respect of the obligations mentioned above, it will be within the discretion of the Civil Liabilities Department to give assistance towards the purchase of stock-in-trade or fittings or the like in the form of a lump sum payment or by quarterly or other instalments.
No application will be entertained for assistance in discharging ordinary debts. Assistance will not be given to any in- 1441 dividual for a longer period than twelve months from his demobilisation, or to a larger amount than £104.
Applications for assistance will be made on prescribed forms, which will be obtainable at the Post Office and Employment Exchange. The forms of application are being printed, and will be available at the Post Offices and Employment Exchanges as soon as possible.
The applications, which should ordinarily be made by the man himself, will be investigated locally by Commissioners, who will hear the cases in private. The Commissioner will not decide the case. It will be his duty to satisfy himself as to the accuracy of the statements made by the applicants, and to report, with recommendations to the Central Department, by whom the grant will be awarded.
Commissioners are already sitting to hear these applications. Between six and seven thousand applications for assistance have been made to the Civil Liabilities Department, and Commissioners are already engaged in making preliminary investigations into a large number of these applications.
I hope that decisions upon a considerable number of cases will be communicated to the applicants very shortly.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would suggest that a long answer of that kind should be circulated. We might have got through five or six questions had the hon. Gentleman taken that course.
§ Mr. HOGGE
May I ask if my hon. Friend or the Leader of the House, as this involves a grant of money to millions of men who are being demobilised, and as it is stated in the long answer that it is only to be a maximum of £104 as payment for one year, to be given to men while serving, does he intend to give the House an opportunity of discussing what assistance will be given to those demobilised men before that is agreed upon?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)
That question is almost as difficult to follow as the previous answer, and I should like notice of it.