HC Deb 30 September 1941 vol 374 cc445-6
31. Sir John Mellor

asked the Secretary for War whether he is aware of the hardship frequently caused when overpayments made to a soldier for a long periods, as a result of miscalculation by the regimental paymaster, are adjusted in his account by a restriction of cash issues; and whether he will direct that, when a soldier has through no fault of his own received excess pay, no recovery of such excess shall be effected until after inquiry into the circumstances and his liabilities has shown that no serious hardship would result to him or his dependants from such recovery?

Captain Margesson

If a soldier has received an over-payment in good faith, the commanding officer should submit the case to higher authority with a view to a write-off of the whole or some portion of the over-issue. The cash issues of the soldier are, however, in the meantime restricted, subject to the proviso that the soldier shall, normally, be left with a minimum of 1s. a day. To continue the cash issues at the full rate would merely postpone the date of final recovery should a full write-off not be approved. So far as family allowances and qualifying allotment are concerned, any over-issues recovered from the wife's weekly payment are restricted to a maximum of 12½ per cent. and may not continue beyond eight weeks. If it is evident that a reduction of the weekly payment by 12½ per cent. is likely to cause hardship, a lesser proportion may be recovered.

Sir J. Mellor

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend see that these provisions are made clearly known to all ranks?

Captain Margesson

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Stephen

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that the dependants' allowances are so small that a 12½ per cent. reduction constitutes an intolerable burden?

Mr. Bossom

If the attention of my right hon. and gallant Friend is called to cases which have gone on for 50 weeks, will he have them reconsidered?