HC Deb 01 August 1944 vol 402 cc1151-2
35. Sir John Mellor

asked the Secretary of State for War why compassionate posting is never granted on business grounds.

Sir J. Grigg

When the soldier is at home, cases of this nature are usually dealt with by the grant of a period of release from the Army in order to enable the soldier to make the necessary arrangements for his business to be carried on. If a man is posted near his business no guarantee can be given that he will be able to spend the necessary time away from his military duties and he may well be tempted to neglect those duties.

Sir J. Mellor

Will my right hon. Friend agree that, where a wife is struggling to keep a small business going, it may make all the difference if her husband is within reach so as to give occasional advice?

Sir J. Grigg

Yes, but the main consideration in that case is that he could do that on his periods of leave. If he is posted there, on the spot, it is very likely that he will tend to devote more time to his business than to his Army duties.

Hon. Members


Mr. Petherick

Would not my right hon. Friend reconsider this matter in view of the fact that, from the point of view of the Army, it may often be more economical to allow a man to have week-ends off, so as to attend to his business, instead of giving him a long period of compassionate leave, meaning his absence from the Army for, say, three months?

Sir J. Grigg

A man is entitled to a certain amount of privilege leave, and there is no earthly reason why he should not utilise it for this purpose.

Sir A. Southby

Will my right hon. Friend give special consideration to the hard cases arising in areas which are specially subject to the attention of the flying bombs, where it is therefore impossible for a man to get anybody to look after his business, and where, in many cases, his wife is suffering great disabilities at the present time?

Sir J. Grigg

Special considerations apply to giving leave in the case of people whose premises are suffering damage from the flying bombs.

Mr. J. J. Lawson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that any argument about compassionate postings which applies to business men applies as a rule also to those who are in domestic difficulties?

Sir J. Grigg

I have that point very much in mind.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

Will my right hon. Friend define cases of compassionate leave in order to save the time of Members of this House and of his own Department, as we often do not know the type of case to which compassionate leave is granted?

Sir J. Grigg

I think it was in answer to a Question by an hon. Gentleman that a statement was made on this subject only a week or two ago.

Mr. Buchanan

Will the right hon. Gentleman take care not to define it, because any definition of his might not be reliable?