HC Deb 13 October 1942 vol 383 cc1465-6
7 and 17. Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he will give the full recommendations of the inter-departmental committee in regard to their decision that the rate of allotment pay for dependants of officers, including officer prisoners of war, should be fixed at two-sevenths of the officer's pay; on what evidence this decision was based; and what was the cost of living when this inter-departmental committee reported;

(2) whether he is aware that the allotment of two-sevenths of a missing officer's pay to his dependants has been found in many cases to be quite inadequate, even when added to family lodging allowance; whether he is aware that many wives of officers reported missing at Singapore are suffering considerable hardship, in consequence of the inadequacy of this allotment; and whether he will make some more generous provision for these ladies?

Sir J. Grigg

All an officer's emoluments, including family lodging allowance, are paid direct to him, and he makes his own arrangements for his family's support whether he is serving at home or abroad. Unlike other ranks an officer can draw family lodging allowance without making any compulsory allotment from his own pay. When an officer is notified as missing his pay and family lodging allowance continue to be credited to him for four weeks and any arrangements that he has made continue as before. At the end of that period the officer is no longer credited with pay and allowances, but a payment is made to the family equivalent to family lodging allowance plus two days' pay a week. I have no evidence to show that this supplement is unrepresentative of the allotments made to their families by the majority of officers. I will, however, look further into this and I should be glad if my hon. and gallant Friend would send me particulars of typical cases which have been brought to his notice. When an officer is notified as a prisoner of war pay and family lodging allowance are credited to his account and any arrangements that he has made can continue. To meet the case where there are no such arrangements or they have broken down the War Office has power to divert family lodging allowance and pay to meet the needs of the family.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in many cases officers who have been making an allotment of much more than two-sevenths of their pay now find their wives in England credited with only two-sevenths, and is he further aware that there are many cases of wives who are in considerable distress on account of this very inadequate allotment and are at the same time receiving no news of their husbands?

Sir J. Grigg

I have asked my hon. and gallant Friend to be good enough to send me particulars of typical cases which have been brought to his notice in order that I may look into the matter.

Mr. Bellenger

Could not these cases be dealt with by the wives of officers drawing family allowances through the Post Office in the same way as the wives of other ranks?

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