HC Deb 07 October 1941 vol 374 cc819-20
15. Mr. Martin

asked the Secretary of State for War whether in view of the considerable hardship now often suffered by wives of soldiers who are expectant mothers, he will take steps to see that they receive grants sufficient for their needs from Army funds prior to the birth of their child?

Captain Margesson

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Normanton (Mr. T. Smith) on 5th August.

20. Major Procter

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a widow with a son in the Army who goes to work either to help the State or to earn an adequate livelihood suffers the deprivation of her dependant's allowance if she earns more than 14s. a week; whether, in view of the fact that the normal soldier's allotment plus her allowance is inadequate to meet her needs, he will, as in the case of wives of soldiers, remodel the existing practice and abstain from penalising her industry in the way mentioned?

Captain Margesson

The dependants' allowance scheme is designed to meet cases where hardship would be caused to dependants other than wives or children as the result of a man joining the Colours. It would therefore be inconsistent with the purpose of the scheme to grant dependants' allowance without reference to the dependant's income from other sources. It is, however, by no means true that a woman with no other source of income would be deprived of her allowance if she herself earned more than 14s. a week, and if my hon. and gallant Friend will Jet me have details of any particular case he has in mind, I shall be glad to look into it.

Major Procter

Is it not a fact that, if a widow earns more than 14s. a week, she has to inform the paymaster and her allowance is at once withdrawn?

Captain Margesson

That is not the fact, and it is for that reason that I said that if my hon. Friend had a particular case, I would be glad to look into it.