HC Deb 24 February 1944 vol 397 cc982-3
60. Sir C. Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for War the payments made to prisoners of war; how much is deducted from earnings which they may receive; and on what basis are such deductions made from their accounts.

Mr. A. Henderson

I assume my right hon. Friend is inquiring about the treatment of British prisoners in enemy hands. All officers are paid by the enemy the rates of pay for the corresponding ranks in his own Forces, and deductions equivalent to those payments are made from the pay of officers at home. Other ranks who are protected by the Geneva Red Cross Convention (for example, medical personnel) are also paid by the enemy Government the rates for the corresponding German and Japanese ranks, and equivalent deductions are made from the home pay accounts. Combatant other ranks are not entitled to pay from enemy Governments unless they work. No deduction is made from home pay accounts in respect of any working pay they may receive. All officers and other ranks continue to be credited at home with the rate of pay in issue to them at the time of capture, subject to the deductions I have described above.

Sir C. Edwards

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that I have come across a prisoner of war, a private soldier, who has had £80 deducted from him? That does not quite fit in with the answer that has been given.

Mr. Henderson

If my right hon. Friend will give me particulars, I will gladly look into the matter.

Colonel Greenwell

Do these arrangements apply to men interned in Switzerland?

Mr. Henderson

No, Sir; this applies to prisoners of war in enemy hands. Of course, Switzerland is a neutral country.

Dr. Haden Guest

Will my hon. and learned Friend go further into the matter of the pay of men who are protected by the Geneva Convention? As he knows, there have been complaints that they are unfairly discriminated against. Can he improve the position? It is impossible to go into the whole matter in a supplementary question, but I think he knows what I refer to.

Mr. Henderson

My hon. Friend can be sure that when cases of unfair discrimination are brought to the attention of His Majesty's Government, prompt representations will be made to the enemy Government.