60. Miss Ward
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will explain the differentiation in the policy of the payment of wages to women married to civilians employed in the war effort and women married to men in the Services drawing War Service Grants, in view of the fact that the purpose of the payment of War Service Grants is to maintain, within reason, a level standard of living as between the wives of Service men and the wives of civilians?
§ The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)
I have been asked to reply. The purpose of the present scheme of War Service Grants is firstly to provide a certain minimum standard of living for the families of serving men and secondly to assist men who, by reason of their service, are unable to meet commitments in excess of that minimum. When these objects are met by income from other sources there is strictly no ground for the payment of a War Service Grant, but, where that income consists of wages earned by the wife, it has been agreed to exclude part of it from consideration and I am not prepared to make any further exception to the principles governing these grants.
In view of the fact that my Question has been answered by my right hon. Friend, may I ask him whether the Government are frightened to state their policy?
That may be my right hon. Friend's interpretation, but I want to ask the Front Bench whether they will state their policy with regard to civilians and Service men. Are they in favour of the Services having equality or are they not? I want an answer, "Yes" or "No."
§ Sir W. Womersley
I am surprised that the hon. Lady has not asked me the question, "Am I still beating my wife?"