HC Deb 21 January 1941 vol 368 cc7-9
11. Mr. Parker

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that soldiers' wives evacuated from the London area have their allowances reduced; that they have to pay London rents for the houses they have left; and whether he will revise the regulations to take account of this difficulty?

Captain Margesson

I assume that my hon. Friend refers to the additional 3s. 6d. a week which is paid to soldiers' families resident within the London postal area, and I would refer him to the answer given by my predecessor to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Cambridge (Lieut.-Commander Tufnell) on 13th June last. As was then explained, provision exists for the consideration of any case where hardship arises in the circumstances described in this Question, and I do not think it necessary to alter the conditions governing issue of this additional allowance.

18. Mr. Dobbie

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps the wife of a member of the Armed Forces of the Crown can take to obtain separation allowance for herself and children when the husband refuses to make a voluntary allotment to such dependants; and what assistance the Government give her to prosecute such claim?

Captain Margesson

The family allowance provided for in Service regulations is a grant to assist soldiers in the maintenance of their homes. A soldier who has deserted his wife is not maintaining a home and family allowance is not, therefore, issuable. When a soldier is not providing for the maintenance of his family, his wife may apply to the competent military authority for him to be placed under compulsory stoppages of pay for this purpose. Section 145 of the Army Act provides for such stoppages to be made in satisfaction of a court order when the wife has obtained one, and in other cases when the competent military authority is satisfied that the soldier has deserted his wife or children, or left them destitute without reasonable cause.

Mr. Dobbie

When the Government have made the compulsory stoppage from the man's pay, do the Government pay their share of the allotment?

Captain Margesson

If the hon. Member wishes to put a further question, I shall be glad to answer it.

19. Mr. Dobbie

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the high cost of living, and the absolute inability of soldiers' wives to meet such cost on the present basis of allowances, he will take such steps as may be needful to raise the present allowance from 18s. per week to 25s. per week?

Captain Margesson

It will be within my hon. Friend's recollection that increases in the rates of family and dependants' allowances for the three Fighting Services were made as recently as November last, and I am unable to hold out any prospect of a further increase in these allowances at present.

Mr. Debbie

In view of the very unfortunate position of many dependants of members of His Majesty's Forces when they make application to the Military Service Allowance Committee for assistance, does the Minister take steps to abolish the application of the household means test?

Captain Margesson

That is another question.

Sir J. Nall

Is it not a fact that there is no means test in the case of soldiers' wives?

Mr. Dobbie

Is it not a fact that the hon. Gentleman is wrong?

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