HC Deb 19 July 1938 vol 338 cc1973-4
27. Sir A. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the lack of accommodation for young married soldiers at Bordon Camp, where the 800 soldiers under 26 years of age who are on the unauthorised married establishment at this station are paying as much as 15s. a week for a single room; what proportion of such men's pay this payment represents; and whether he has under consideration any scheme which will solve this difficulty?

The Financial Secretary to the War Office (Sir Victor Warrender)

The problem of accommodating the families of married soldiers under the age of 26 is one for the local authorities concerned. The problem arises at practically all military stations, and is not peculiar to Bordon, where, I may say, the known number of such cases is not 800 but about 150. I understand that at Bordon the local authorities have the matter under consideration in consultation with the military authorities concerned.

Sir A. Knox

In view of the fact that the conditions in which young married men live act as a deterrent to the enlistment of other men, surely the Department had better not take young married men unless it is able to provide married-men's quarters for them?

Sir V. Warrender

Young men are warned that if they marry under the age of 26 they do so on their own responsibility.

Sir A. Knox

What is the use of warning young men who have already married under that age?

Mr. R. J. Taylor

If the Government are anxious to have the men, why do they not provide for them?

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is the Minister not aware that this matter has reached the level of a positive scandal all round Aldershot and the neighbourhood, and will he either take some definite steps or listen to representations which I or other hon. Member's make?

Sir V. Warrender

My hon. Friend could not have heard the last part of my answer, in which I said that the local authorities were in consultation on the matter.

Mr. Nicholson

Is the Minister aware that this matter has been going on for a very long time, and that the scandal, far from decreasing, is increasing?

Sir A. Knox

Surely it is the duty of the military authorities to take steps to deal with it?

Mr. Day

Are not many of the wives and families of these men receiving public assistance?