HC Deb 17 October 1946 vol 427 cc1030-1
2. Captain Chetwynd

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will give the number of applications for war-service grants from the wives of soldiers under 21 years of age since the introduction of the new code of pay and allowances; and if he will give the number of awards made.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

Up to 12th October, 693 applications had been received from non-Regular soldiers under 21 years of age. In addition, 261 applications had been received in Naval and Air Force cases. Allowances have been issued in 522 cases.

Captain Chetwynd

Is the Minister aware that the working of this scheme is causing great hardship and anxiety; and would he consider consulting with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to see if the responsbiility could be transferred to the Army so that equal pay could be made to all soldiers?

Mr. Paling

That is a matter rather out of my province.

Mr. Symonds

Could my right hon. Friend say how much time elapses as a rule between a man being conscripted and his wife getting a war-service grant; and what he proposes to do in that period to prevent it being necessary for the wife to apply for public assistance?

Mr. Paling

I do not know the time, but I do not think any time is lost between an application for a grant being made and the application, if warranted, being accepted.

Mr. McGovern

As these men under 21 years of age are compelled to give some of their own money if not allowed the full amount as against men over 21, and as the right hon. Gentleman's Department have claims made upon them to make up the money, is it unreasonable to ask if he could make representations to the War Office to have these sums brought up to a proper standard?

Mr. Symonds

Could not a man's family circumstances be investigated in advance of his call-up date so that such a grant, if required, could be paid automatically the moment he joins up?

Mr. Paling

There is something in that. It is my desire that there should be no loss of time.

Forward to