HC Deb 18 June 1940 vol 362 cc12-3
19. Captain Plugge

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has further investigated the system under which members of His Majesty's Forces who receive promotion or proficiency pay and thereupon increase their allotment to their de-dependants have the Army allowance paid to those dependants reduced as a consequence; and whether he now proposes to modify this system?

Mr. Eden

As was explained in the answer to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Cambridge (Lieut.-Commander Tufnell) on 28th May last, it is inherent in the scheme that, as the man's pay increases on promotion or for other reasons and he can afford to pay more, his contribution towards the allowance also increases. I think the principle must be maintained, but I propose to introduce certain modifications in its application, and I shall be in a position to make a statement as to these shortly.

23. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for War what percentage of the claims for dependants' allowances by serving soldiers have been rejected in the past six months; and whether he will undertake to review the present provisions, so as to remove the grievances now felt in large numbers of cases?

Mr. Eden

Forty-two per cent. of the claims have been accepted and 58 per cent. rejected. In only about 35 per cent. of the latter did the soldier make an allotment from his pay. All the provisions of the scheme were very thoroughly reviewed earlier in the year, and a number of important changes were made which are set out in the White Paper (Cmd. 6186) published in March last. I do not think a general review is necessary at the present time, but I am always ready to consider modifications within the scheme when these are found to be necessary. I may add that, as the result of the new concessions introduced in March, nearly 30,000 cases were reviewed by the paymasters without fresh claims being submitted, and in some 58 per cent. of those cases additions have been made to the allowance. In addition, in the case of some 5,000 claims that were renewed and have been reviewed, nearly 45 per cent. have derived benefit either by way of an increased allowance, or of the grant of an allowance where the claim had previously been rejected.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware that one of the most serious problems confronting dependants is the question of rent? Will he not take into consideration the granting of a rent allowance?