HC Deb 01 April 1925 vol 182 cc1291-2

asked the First Lord of the. Admiralty whether he is aware that, under the war-time separation rules which were operative until the end of September, 1920, an allowance was payable in respect of a woman's illegitimate child provided that a seaman who married her was prepared to maintain the child as a member of his household, whereas the Regulations have now been amended and grants for illegitimate children have been discontinued, except in those cases where the seaman subsequently marries the mother of his own child; and whether, seeing that many mothers of illegitimate children have married seamen under the old Regulations, and on the understanding that their children would be maintained by virtue of these Regulations, he can see his way to fulfil the terms of the contract which they understood themselves to be entering into in those cases where the marriage took place before the said Regulations were amended?


I am aware of the Regulations referred to in the first part of the question. Navy separation allowance, however, was definitely stated to be purely a War measure and, consequently, no vested rights exist to the continuance of allowances then paid for illegitimate children. The permanent marriage allowance—which replaced the separation allowance in October, 1920, covers payment for those illegitimate children only whose parents subsequently marry each other, and I regret that I am unable to recommend any extension of this Regulation on the plea of a contract which did not exist.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many women got married under the belief that this was a contract and that their children would be maintained: and they are now destitute?


That may be so, but it was not a contract.