HC Deb 22 April 1920 vol 128 cc559-60

asked the Prime Minister whether the Military Service (Civil Liabilities) Department declines to consider all appeals for aid which are not made within one year of demobilisation; if so, whether he will state the reasons actuating the policy; whether he can give any indication of the number of refusals of aid to date on that account; and whether he will represent to the Department the hardships of this policy on men who are really made to suffer through their merit in trying to struggle as long as possible without soliciting help from the State, in preference to the easier method of applying for money grants immediately on leaving the Army?


I have been asked to reply to this question. Except so far as disabled men are concerned, it is the fact that, under the regulations framed, applications from discharged and demobilised men must be made within a year of the date of demobilisation, except that a certain latitude has been allowed to men discharged or demobilised prior to 11th November, 1918. So far as the special extensions given to disabled men are concerned, these were set out fully in the reply given by my predecessor to a question asked in this House on 12th February by the hon. and gallant Member for Norfolk, a copy of which I am sending my hon. Friend.

I have, of course, the greatest sympathy with men who attempt to meet the difficulties of the resettlement period out of their own resources. I gather that on the whole the rule has not pressed harshly in the very great majority of cases. It would be impossible to give the actual number of cases in which grants have been refused, but if it appears as a result of experience that hardship is being caused by the operation of the rule, I will look into it afresh.


Does that mean that there is a discretion in the matter which will be exercised on proper occasions?


I do not know, but I will look into it, and if I require fresh authority I will apply for it.