HC Deb 19 June 1939 vol 348 cc1815-9
69. Sir W. Davison

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether the Tribunal of Inquiry into the loss of His Majesty's Submarine "Thetis" will, inter alia, be asked to ascertain whether His Majesty's Sub marine "Thetis" had any external fit ting or fittings to which a pipe or pipes for pumping in fresh air could be attached and also fittings whereby foul air could be drawn out, and, if not, whether some such fittings should not have been provided?

Colonel Llewellin

I would refer my hon. Friend to the terms of the Resolution to set up the Tribunal of Inquiry. The Tribunal is empowered to inquire into all the circumstances surrounding the loss of the submarine and the subsequent efforts to save the lives of those in the ship, and Mr. Justice Bucknill will doubtless consider this question amongst others.

Sir W. Davison

Can my hon. and gallant Friend assure the House that, pending the completion of the report of the Tribunal of Inquiry, the Admiralty will give careful consideration to the suggestions made in my question, which I am advised are quite practicable, so that any submarines now under construction or repair will be provided with external fittings of the kind mentioned?

Colonel Llewellin

I think it would not be wise for the Admiralty to announce any decision on this point while the Tribunal which was set up by a Resolution of both Houses of Parliament is considering the matter.

Mr. Poole

In order to allay public apprehension on the matter will the hon. and gallant Member deny the persistent rumour that vital apparatus was despatched from Portsmouth to Liverpool, not by air or by rail, but by the slowest mode of transport, by road?

Colonel Llewellin

That is, obviously, a question of which I should have notice.

70. Mr. Stephen

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the scales of allowances to be provided for the dependants of the men and officers who were lost in the "Thetis" and what the corresponding scales would have been had the allowances been paid on the basis applicable to dependants of such men in the Great War?

Colonel Llewellin

As the answer involves a table of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Stephen

Is it not the case that the allowances under the present scheme are much lower than the allowances for men who served in the War?

Colonel Llewellin

The hon. Member had better await the whole of the figures. There are some 64 in the table, and some of them show a reduction on the 1919 figures, but the difference in the cost-of-living figures between the two times must be borne in mind, and if they are taken into consideration, the amounts will be found to be rather higher.

Mr. Stephen

Is it not the case that the figures show that the allowances are quite inadequate, and that consequently an appeal has been made to charity by the Lord Mayor for these people?

Colonel Llewellin

I do not think the figures are inadequate, and I appreciate the fact that the Lord Mayor of London and other Lord Mayors have started a fund which, I think, will be of great help to the dependants of the men who lost their lives.

Mr. Logan

Do I understand that the allowances that are to be made to those who were maintained by their husbands or sons will be sufficient to prevent them

Statement showing the Scales of Pension and Allowances payable to the dependants of the men and officers who were lost in the "Thetis" and the corresponding Great War Scales of 1919.
Rank. Present Scales. Corresponding Great War Scales.
Widow over 40 years, or with children eligible for allowance. Widow not over 40 years and without children eligible for allowance. Widow over 40 years, or with children eligible for allowance. Widow not over 40 years and without children eligible for allowance.
Chief P.O 27s. 0d. weekly 20s. 0d. weekly 33s. 4d. weekly 25s. 0d. weekly
P.O 25s. 6d. weekly 18s. 6d. weekly 31s. 1d. weekly 23s. 4d. weekly
Leading Rates 24s.0d. weekly 17s. 0d. weekly 28s. 11d. weekly 21s. 8d. weekly
A.B 22s. 6d. weekly 15s. 6d. weekly 26s. 8d. weekly 20s. 0d. weekly
Children: Weekly: Weekly:
All Ratings 5s. 0d. each child (Mother living) 10s. 0d. for 1st child Mother living.
l0s. 0d. each child (Motherless) 7s. 6d. for 2nd child
6s. 0d. for each other child
12s. 0d. for 1st child Mother-less.
11s. 0d. for each child after 1st
All Ratings *Not exceeding 10s. 0d. a week for one parent. Within the amount which the deceased son, or sons, might have been expected to contribute, but in no case exceeding 20s. 0d. a week.
*Not exceeding 12s 6d a week for two parents.
*Subject to incapacity and need.
Widowed Mother in good health, if in need 7s. 6d a week. Subject to incapacity and need in all cases.
Juvenile Brothers and Sisters:
All Ratings Collective grant not exceeding 10s. 0d. a week and not exceeding 5s. 0d. a week for any one brother or sister. Children's rates as above and under children's conditions.
Note. — Parents may receive Age and Widows Pensions under the Contributory Pensions Acts in addition to Naval Pensions.

having to go to the Poor Law? Will they be a subsistence allowance? Are we going to have any of these people who have lost their sons or husbands seeking Poor Law relief in order to maintain their homes?

Colonel Llewellin

No, I hope nobody will have to seek Poor Law relief. The figures are the same for all three Services.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Can the hon. and gallant Member say what is happening at the present time with regard to these dependants, and is he quite sure that none are applying for relief?

Colonel Llewellin

I have heard of no case applying for relief, and I do not think there can be any. We are paying out these allowances now.

Following is the table:

Rank. Present Scales. Corresponding Great War Rates.
Widow over 40 years, or with children eligible for allowance. Widow not over 40 years and without children eligible for allowance.
Commander £ 180 per annum £ 216 per annum £ 200 per annum.
Lieutenant Commander. £ 140 per annum £ 180 per annum £ 168 per annum.
Lieutenant £ 100 per annum £ 140 per annum £ 120 per annum.
Commissioned Engineer. £90 per annum £ 105 per annum £ 90 per annum.
For all Officers £ 24 per annum (for each child). For Officers other than Commissioned Engineer:
£ 36 per annum for each child.
For Commissioned Engineer:
£ 30 per annum for the 1st child.
£ 25 per annum for the 2nd child.
£ 18 per annum for the 3rd and each subsequent child.
Education expenses are repayable, within certain limits, under both codes.
General Note. — The cost of living Index Figure in 1919, when the Great War Rates were fixed, was 215; the present cost of living Index Figure is 153. If allowance is made for the cost of living factor the present scales compare favourably with the Great War Scales.