HC Deb 08 November 1939 vol 353 cc194-5
15. Mr. Collindridge

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that the wife of Private Johnson, 93rd Unit of the Royal Air Force, of 29, Priory Road, Grundwood, Barnsley, is only receiving 31s. plus 7s. from her husband's pay as allowance to keep herself and seven children; that Mrs. Johnson has illness in her family due to inadequate food, clothing and footwear; that her application for help to the Unemployment Assistance Board has been refused; that the Barnsley public assistance committee are now having to make payments of 12s. a week and to provide footwear for her children; when will he see to it that these allowances are superseded by more generous ones; and whether he will reimburse the Barnsley public assistance committee the payments they have made out of local rates?

Sir K. Wood

The allowance issued tothis airman is the regulated family allowance for a wife and seven children, but I am having the case referred, at once, to the Military Service (Special Allowances) Advisory Committee with a view to the grant of additional assistance. As regards the remainder of the hon. Member's question, the whole matter is under active consideration, and a statement will be made at an early date.

Mr. Collindridge

Can the Minister guarantee that this special committee will give any more consideration than the Unemployment Assistance Board has done? The continuance of the disgraceful allowances is about the best propaganda that the enemy can have.

Sir K. Wood

I cannot comment on the latter part of what the hon. Member has said; but I have no doubt that the committee will give this matter sympathetic consideration.

Mr. Anstruther-Gray

But will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the war has been going on for more than two months, and that many of these families are suffering hardships? Will he urge the committee to endeavour to reach a finding without further delay?

Sir K. Wood

I am most anxious that that should be done, but it is a matter for the committee.

Mr. Lawson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when this matter was debated in the House the Minister of Pensions said that definite arrangements had been made for the cases to be met by the Unemployment Assistance Board? Why was that refused in this case?

Sir K. Wood

I do not think that that is the fact.

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