§ 39. Mr. Dobbie
asked the Secretary of State for War whether children of members of His Majesty's Forces who are over the age of 14 years and in full-time attendance at school are eligible for allowances on the same scale and under similar conditions to children under the age of 14 years?
§ 40. Mr. Dobbie
asked the Secretary of State for War whether there is any set principle in operation which recognises the 1882 payment of an allowance to a foster-mother to a family where the eldest of the family is in the Army and has been the breadwinner and is making an allotment to the foster-mother to help maintain the younger children; and, if so, is it on the basis of a soldier's wife's allowance and the children's allowance?
§ Mr. Stanley
The foster-mother of a man who has joined the Army in connection with the present war is eligible for an award of dependants' allowance under the conditions prescribed in the relevant regulations, provided she has acted in the place of a parent to the soldier and has wholly or mainly supported him during his minority for not less than five years. Details as to the rates and conditions of allowances are contained in the White Paper (Cmd. 6138) recently issued. The rates and conditions are not the same as those applicable to soldiers' wives and children. In cases of hardship due to the withdrawal of the soldier's contribution to the household which are not covered by the ordinary regulations, application can be made to the War Service Grants Advisory Committee for consideration of a special allowance.
§ 60 and 61. Mr. R. J. Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) how many married women separated from their husbands now in the Armed Forces, have been refused the usual Army allowances, notwithstanding the fact that such women have obtained separation orders for their maintenance;
(2) how many married women whose husbands have deserted them and joined the Armed Forces before a court order for their maintenance could be obtained, have been refused the Army allowances?
§ 66. Mr. Dobbie
asked the Secretary of State for War whether a soldier's wife who has a magistrate's order for maintenance allowance against her husband is paid by the Government the full amount of such order, or, if not, what amount is paid in such cases?
§ Mr. Stanley
I regret that the information asked for by the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. R. J. Taylor) is not available. I would, however, explain that the ordinary Army family allowance is granted to assist soldiers, who fulfil the prescribed conditions, in the maintenance of their homes, and it is not issuable in cases where, owing to domestic disagreement, these homes have been broken up. In such circumstances, the men concerned can be placed under compulsory stoppages of pay in respect of the maintenance of their wives, under the conditions prescribed in Section 145 (2) of the Army Act; and where, in the case of men who have joined the colours for service in connection with the war, the amount which can be so stopped is insufficient to prevent serious hardship arising to the wives through the calling up of their husbands, these amounts can be supplemented by a grant of special assistance. The administrative arrangements in connection with these cases are at present under review.
Will my right hon. Friend carry out his promise and look into this matter? Does he know that there is a growing feeling throughout the country, and in this House, that some decision ought to be given in this matter? Perhaps the Prime Minister will look into it, as he does into most other matters?
§ Mr. Stanley
It may be possible for us to spare the Prime Minister trouble. As I have told the Noble Lady on several occasions, particularly when she came on a deputation to me, I am inquiring into the matter. I have already informed the House about the discussion on the question of allowances.
It may be a question for discussion, but my right hon. Friend said that he would look into it and give us a reply. We do not want to discuss it. We want a decision.
§ Lieut.-Commander Agnew
Is it the position now that a man may turn his wife out of his house and then draw an allowance for another woman?