§ 5. Lieut. - General Sir AYLMER HUNTER WESTON
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War what was the underlying principle on which was based the decision to refuse to pay the full losses of those officers,who left their moneys in McGrigor's, the bank in which 1474 the Government had placed their pay; and why, after recognising the moral claim of these officers and agreeing to pay 10s. in the £, he refuses to pay the comparatively small extra sum required to cover the whole loss, and thereby causes dissatisfaction among the officers concerned?
The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS)
The principle on which the Government have based their decision is that, while no liability rests upon the Exchequer for the banking business of Army agents, they are prepared to recognise some degree of moral responsibility in the circumstances, which they consider to be met by the proposed grant.
§ 7. Mr. LANSBURY
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether any consideration has been given to the position of the staff of McGrigor's Bank; whether he is aware that, although some of the staff have been transferred to other banks, there are a few elderly men who have worked for the firm for very many years and have now lost everything; and whether, in view of the fact that the Government were able to save a good deal in the distribution of pay and pensions for which otherwise a large staff of officials would have been required, and that the staff of McGrigor's were requested to continue at their work as doing good service to the country, he will consider the possibility of rendering some assistance to these men either by way of providing employment or otherwise?
It is regretted that it is impossible to take any steps in the direction indicated.
§ 15. Mr. LAMBERT
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether the Paymaster-General made payments to McGrigor's Bank on his own volition or under instructions from the War Office; whether the War Office informed the Paymaster-General that the bank was in difficulties; and whether any disciplinary action has been taken for negligence?
The Paymaster-General, who is charged with the payment of the non-effective pay of officers and pensions of officers' widows, made payments to McGrigor's Bank as holders of powers of attorney from those entitled to receive payment. With 1475 regard to the latter part of the question, I would refer the right hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Holborn (Sir J. Remnant) on Tuesday-last.