HC Deb 29 February 1944 vol 397 cc1235-6
31. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that A.C.I. 440/43 has in operation tended to prejudice reconciliation of estranged married persons oWinģ to the facilities afforded to soldiers for stopping allowances so lightening their matrimonial responsibilities and tending to hasten permanent estrangement through court proceedings; and will he examine into the working of this instruction by a conference of welfare officers.

Sir J. Griģģ

One of the objects of this Army Council Instruction was to facilitate reconciliation and it specifically provides that family allowance shall continue in issue while reconciliation is attempted. The operation of the Army Council Instruction is kept under constant review by welfare officers and others in order to ensure that it achieves its purpose, and I am not aware that any special conference is necessary.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this question emanates from voluntary welfare workers and is based on their genuine anxieties? Can he give such assurance here as will convince them that they are not prevented from making representations to the welfare officer?

Sir J. Griģģ

It is the first time I have ever heard the suggestion that anybody was checked from making representations to the welfare officer. I cannot conceive what machinery exists that would check such representations.

Mr. Bellenģer

Is there not a later Army Council Instruction which now permits family allowances, if the man is willing to pay the allotment?

Sir J. Griģģ

I would be very grateful to the hon. Gentleman if he would put that question down. I do not like answering questions about these regulations without notice, because they are very complicated, as the hon. Gentleman has reason to know.