HC Deb 16 March 1937 vol 321 cc1831-2
24. Mr. McGovern

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Mrs. Baker, of 185, Edgefauld Road, Springburn, Glasgow, wife of Private Herbert Baker, No. 2754248, Black Watch, serving at present in Egypt, is drawing 24s. per week from the Glasgow public assistance department for herself and child of one year and seven months old; that no allowance is made by the War Office and that the child is in very poor health; and will he see that this serving soldier's wife and child are not compelled to rely on Poor Law relief?

Mr. Cooper

I am not aware of the facts referred to by the hon. Member, but I find that the soldier in question is not eligible for Army marriage allowance as he is under the qualifying age of 26 years. I would remind the hon. Member that the enlistment of married men under 26 years of age is forbidden, and unmarried soldiers are fully aware that if they marry below the requisite age they will not receive marriage allowance.

Mr. McGovern

Will the right hon. Gentleman either return this husband to his home, or impress upon the Government the necessity for an alteration in the law, so that such young men will have provision made for their wives and families instead of being compelled to accept ordinary Poor Law assistance?

Mr. Cooper

I do not think this is the moment to discuss the desirability of the Regulation, but the soldier himself is well aware of the Regulation when he joins the Army, and I could not make in this case an exception to the general rule.

Mr. Maxton

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that it is an aid to his recruiting campaign that it should be publicly known that the dependants of serving soldiers are dependent on the Poor Law?

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