§ 16. Mr. Mander
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make arrangements for soldiers' dependants' allowances to be paid through the Post Office on Fridays instead of Mondays, in view of the difficulty created by the present arrangements?
§ Mr. Eden
A considerable number of different types of payment is made through Post Offices, and these have necessarily to be spread throughout the week. I understand that the General Post Office would have difficulty in making a change from Monday to Friday in the case of Army family and dependants' allowances.
§ Mr. Mander
Is the Minister aware that many housewives have found great inconvenience with the present arrangements, because certain traders will not give credit over the week-ends? This makes it very difficult for them, and will the right hon. Gentleman give this matter further consideration?
§ 17. Captain Sir William Brass
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the payments of dependant's allowance to a wife is completely stopped if a soldier overstays his leave by four days; and whether, in view of the grave hardship resulting from such action by the regimental paymaster, he will consider giving instructions that complete stoppage should not be made in such cases, but that either a reduction in allowance be made over a period or that the allowance be paid in full and a deduction made from the soldier's future pay?
§ Mr. Eden
When a soldier has absented himself without leave, the position is not the same as when he has forfeited pay but remains with the Colours, and, in the case of such absence, I do not think it is reasonable to expect that any payments which are being made in respect of his services should continue to be admissible. The rule in such cases is, however, that payment to the wife is not stopped until absence has extended beyond seven days. It is then discontinued until the soldier rejoins. The over-issue in respect of the days of absence, during which payment was made to the wife, is recovered by reasonable instalments from any future payments to the wife in respect of family allowance, and from the soldier's pay in respect of the allotment made to her from that source.
§ Mr. A. Edwards
Has the Minister received a case which I brought to the notice of his Department yesterday of a woman who wrote to say that when her husband returned from France he overstayed his leave for four days and that she has not had a penny?
§ 28. Mr. Lipson
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that wives of men in the Gloucestershire Regiment who have been posted as missing have had their allowances reduced by amounts varying from 8s. to 3s. 6d. per week under a regulation that the voluntary allotment in excess of normal qualifying allotment ceases four weeks 582 from the Monday following notification that a soldier is posted as missing; and, in view of the fact that the financial commitments of the wives remain the same, will he withdraw the regulation which is causing serious financial hardship to the women concerned?
§ Mr. Eden
Family allowance and the qualifying allotment from a soldier's pay continue to be paid to his wife for a period of 17 weeks after he is reported "missing." In addition, during the first four weeks of this period, his pay and allowances continue to be credited to the soldier, and his wife consequently continues to receive any voluntary allotment which he has made to her. When the 17 weeks have expired, the wife receives an allowance equal to the pension payable if the soldier were dead.
§ Mr. Lipson
My right hon. Friend has not explained how those women who have had their allowances reduced are to continue to live for the four weeks until their pensions are fixed. Does he not think that voluntary allotments ought to continue until the man's position is determined?