HC Deb 17 April 1928 vol 216 cc117-23

In Section one hundred and thirty-eight of the Army Act (which relates to penal stoppages from the ordinary pay of soldiers), at the end of the proviso there shall be added—

(d) where a soldier has made an allotment from his ordinary pay for the support of any dependant, penal deductions from his ordinary pay shall be made only from the portion of his ordinary pay not so allotted.—[Mr. Charleton.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The right hon. Gentleman some time ago made a concession in regard to this matter, meeting us, I believe, 50/50. I am asking him to-night to do the generous thing, and, where allotments have been made to dependants, and deductions are made horn the soldier's pay, to allow the allotments not be interfered with. In the case, say, of parents living in a village, the disgrace which they feel on account of the punishment inflicted on their lad would be very terrible indeed in such a small community; and where the folk are poor, and have a job to make both ends meet, it is very hard upon them that their money should be cut off in this way, and the more so because, the poorer the home, the worse it will be felt. A parent in comfortable circumstances, even if the son has made some allotment out of his pay, would probably put it in the bank ready for him when he came out of the Army, but, where the parents are living on it, and are, perhaps, disabled through illness, or it may be that the parent is a widowed mother, they suffer severely. Further, it seems to me that, even from the Army point of view, if the dependants were permitted to take their allowance as usual, the boy would feel the hardship because his stoppages would continue for a longer period. I know that the argument has been used that this is only carrying out what takes place in civil life. I do not, however, regard that as a reason, but rather as an excuse. I do not think that, because we are unfortunate enough in civil life to suffer for other people's wrongdoing, we need carry that on into the Army. On financial grounds there is, of course, nothing in it. I do not know whether I am right in understanding— the Financial Secretary will correct me if I am wrong—that fewer allotments are being made by soldiers as we get further away from the War period, but, if that be so, it would make it easier to give us what we ask. I do not think I need say more about the Clause; it is almost a hardy annual; but I would ask the Minister to do the generous thing now and accept it.


In putting forward this new Clause we are only asking the acceptance of a principle which is now well recognised in civil life. If a man gets into trouble and is sent to prison, the civil authorities see that his dependants do not want, and we are asking that the same principle should be applied in military life. There is another side to it as well as the monetary consideration. There is the anxiety and the sorrow brought about by the knowledge that a boy has got himself into trouble. Most of us are not afraid of the things we know. It is the things we do not know that we are afraid of, and the anxiety and sorrow caused to parents by the intimation that their son is in trouble is a matter that ought to be considered by the Department. I support the Clause.


I hope the War Office this time will see their way to accepting this proposal. As the Regulation stands, it means that when a man has committed himself in some way, a penalty is imposed upon him, but those who are responsible for framing this Act have said they will not be content with penalising the soldier. They will also penalise the family by stopping the money the soldier has allotted out of his pay. So the family are to be penalised for an offence of which they are innocent. Is that a thing that the War Department can support in the year 1928? In civil life we penalise a man who is convicted as a wrongdoer, although those who are convicted are often proved later not to have been the wrongdoers, but we take some care not to penalise the rest of the family. In the Army that is reversed and, not satisfied with convicting the soldier, we must visit the penalty upon the wife, the mother, the children, or anyone for whom the allotment is made. I ask that this unjust method of dealing with the soldier's family shall be discontinued and that any money the soldier has allotted shall not be used for the purpose of pay- ing part of the penalisation. It would be very interesting to the general public to read the language of this Section. I am not permitted to do it at this stage, but I am permitted to ask the Committee not to visit the punishment for an offence upon those who may be thousands of miles away from wherever it happened to be committed.


The Committee would like to be informed exactly what was the concession referred to by the Mover of the Clause. It was a very considerable concession. By it a man who incurs stoppages in his pay, provided they are not too large to be paid off by deductions from his own pay in three months, is not subject to any deduction whatever from the allotment, and even if it is larger than that, only 50 per cent. of the maximum legal stoppage can be taken from the allotment, so that a certain proportion of the allotment continues to be paid. That is really a very considerable concession. The hon. Member himself said people are better off in the Army than in civil life, though the hon. Member for Newcastle East (Mr. Connolly) took the opposite view and seemed to think that in civil life whatever you did did not hurt your dependants and that when a man was sent to prison the State saw that the dependants were not allowed to want. I am not sure to what extent that is accurate, but I am certain, if a man is earning a very good income and commits some crime and goes to prison, the State does not see that his family is maintained in exactly the same condition

that it was before he committed the crime. The State could not possibly undertake such an obligation. The hon. Member for South Leeds (Mr. Charleton) said he understood allotments were decreasing. I have no information with regard to that point. So far as my in-information goes, the contrary is said to be the case, and allotments are tending to increase. I think the dependants of those who do wrong in Army life are considerably better off than the dependants of those who make mistakes in civil walks of life. Whatever wrong we do, we can never bear the whole brunt of it ourselves. It is always reflected on our dependants. As they are already better off, the Government cannot undertake to increase the concession.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

There is one point the hon. and gallant Gentleman rather overlooks, and that is that there are certain offences in military life for which the civilian is not punished at all. I am not criticising it, but it is the case. The Secretary of State for War seems to dissent, but there are certain things which one can do as a civilian which he could not do without punishment if he were a soldier. If it was right three years ago to give this concession, it is equally right in principle to safeguard the whole of the allotment money for the dependants. That is all we ask for, and I hope my hon. Friend will go to a Division.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 113; Noes, 205.

Division No. 78.] AYES. [8.26 p.m.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff, Cannock) Cove, W. G. Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)
Ammon, Charles George Dalton, Hugh Henderson, T. (Glasgow)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Cavies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Hirst, G. H.
Baker, Walter Dennison, R. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Dunnico, H. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)
Barnes, A. Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Batey, Joseph Gibbins, Joseph John, William (Rhondda, West)
Bondfield, Margaret Gillett, George M. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Gosling, Harry Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Briant, Frank Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Broad, F. A. Greenall, T. Kelly, W. T.
Bromley, J. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Kennedy, T.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Grentell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Griffith, F. Kingsley Kirkwood, D.
Buchanan, G. Groves, T. Lansbury, George
Cape, Thomas Grundy, T. W. Lawrence, Susan
Charleton, H. C. Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Lawson, John James
Cluse, W. S. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Lee, F.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Hardie, George D. Lowth, T.
Compton, Joseph Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Lunn, William
Connolly, M. Hayday, Arthur MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)
Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Sexton, James Viant, S. P.
Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Wallhead, Richard C.
March, S. Shiels, O. Drummond Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Shinwell, E. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Murnin, H. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Oliver, George Harold Sitch, Charles H. Wellock, Wilfred
Palin, John Henry Smillie, Robert Welsh, J. C.
Paling, W. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Westwood, J
Parkinson, John Align (Wigan) Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley) Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Smith Rennie (Penistone) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Potts, John S. Snail, Harry Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Purcell, A. A. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Wright, W.
Ritson, J. Sullivan, J. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Sutton, J. E.
Saklatvala, Shapurji Thome, W. (West Ham, Plaistow) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Scrymgeour, E. Thurtle, Ernest Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Scurr, John Tinker, John Joseph Whiteley.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Frece, Sir Walter de Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R. (Ayr)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Galbraith, J. F. W. Neville, Sir Reginald J.
Atkinson, C. Guff, Sir Park Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Gower, Sir Robert Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Balniel, Lord Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Nuttall, Ellis
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Oakley, T.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Greene, W. P. Crawford Pennefather, Sir John
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Penny, Frederick George
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Gunston, Captain D. W. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Bennett, A. J. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Perring, Sir William George
Bethel, A. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Hamilton, Sir George Pilcher, G.
Blades, Sir George Rowland Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Preston, William
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Price, Major C. W. M.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Harrison, G. J. C. Raine, Sir Walter
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Hartington, Marquess of Rawson, Sir Cooper
Briggs, J. Harold Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Rice, Sir Frederick
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Honnessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Hills, Major John Waller Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y) Hilton, Cecil Ropner, Major L.
Buckingham, Sir H. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Rye, F. G.
Burman, J. B. Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Salmon, Major I.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Hume, Sir G. H. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Campbell, E. T. Huntingfield, Lord Sandeman, N. Stewart
Carver, Major W. H. Hurd, Percy A. Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Cassels, J. D. Hurst, Gerald B. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Sandon, Lord
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton James Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustavo D.
Chapman, Sir S. Jephcott, A. R. Savery, S. S.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Shaw, Lt.-Col.A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)
Christie, J. A. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Clarry, Reginald George Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Shepperson, E. W.
Clayton, G. C. Kindersley, Major G. M. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Cobb, Sir Cyril King, Commodore Henry Douglas Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Smithers, Waldron
Cohen, Major J. Brunei Knox, Sir Alfred Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Colfox, Major William Phillips Lamb, J. Q. Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Cooper, A. Duff Little, Dr. E. Graham Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Cope, Major William Long, Major Eric Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Cooper, J. B. Looker, Herbert William Storry-Deans, R.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Lougher, Lewis Styles, Captain H. Walter
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.) Lucas-Tooth, sir Hugh Vere Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lynn, Sir R. J. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Tasker, R. Inigo
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Thom. Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Dalkeith, Earl of McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) MacIntyre, Ian Thompson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) McLean, Major A. Tinne, J. A.
Davies, Dr. Vernon Macmillan, Captain H. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Dawson, Sir Philip MacRobert, Alexander M. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Drawe, C. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Malone, Major P. B. Waddington, R.
England, Colonel A. Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Margesson, Captain D Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Fanshawe, Captain G. D. Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Warrender, Sir Victor
Fielden, E. B. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Ford, Sir P. J. Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Watts, Dr. T. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield) Wragg, Herbert
Wells, S. R. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple- Withers, John James
Wiggins, William Martin Wolmer, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay) Womersley, W. J. Captain Viscount Curzon and Captain
Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley Wallace.
Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.

Question put, and agreed to.

First, Second and Third Schedules agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.