HC Deb 15 June 1937 vol 325 cc178-9
17. Mr. E. Dunn

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the wives of soldiers serving overseas cannot afford to live decently out of the pay allotted to them; that many wives of soldiers are making applications to public assistance committees and are being relieved at the expense of the local rates; and will he make a statement on the matter?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

The enlistment of married men under the age of 26 years is forbidden, and unmarried soldiers are fully aware that if they marry below this age they will not receive marriage allowance.

Mr. Dunn

Would the Minister consider amending the Army Regulations so as to make a soldier a free man, able to marry if he chooses; and will he grant marriage and family allowances irrespective of age?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

The soldier enlists under well-known conditions. I am always prepared to give the same consideration to these proposals as has been given in the past.

Mr. Graham White

Will the cessation of stoppages in respect of men serving abroad, recently announced, enable men serving in India to receive their pay the moment they reach India?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

That is repeating the question which I have already answered.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that, no matter how well a regulation may be known, if it is detrimental it ought to be removed?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Of course, there are two views upon this subject. A soldier is bound, by his conditions of service, to be separated for a long period from his wife, and an appeal is made to unmarried men under 26 years of age to enlist on those conditions.