§ 6. Mr. Lewis
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that naval Service men are not paid any allowance for their children, and that a man with one child does not receive any assistance from the State towards the upkeep of this child; and whether he will adopt the practice in operation during the last war of paying a children's allowance to the wives of Service men or an allowance for the one and only child.
§ Mr. J. P. L. Thomas
Children's allowances were abolished on the introduction of the 1946 Pay Code which, of course, applied to all three Services. The considerations which prompted the Government of the day in making this change are described in paragraph 22 of Command No. 6715; I am sending the hon. Member a copy. Service men with only one child are in the same position as other citizens so far as family allowances are concerned, and I see no reason to consider special measures for the Royal Navy alone.
§ Mr. Lewis
I am aware of the excuses that are given in that answer, but may I ask the First Lord whether he is aware that National Service men and other young men going into the three Services find that they cannot get any allowance at all for their first child? Is he further aware that the cost of living, particularly the cost of food, has been going up consistently over the last three years, and that these Service men and their wives find it very hard to manage? Surely they ought to get an allowance, as was given during the war, or is the policy to treat Service men differently in war time and in peace time?
§ Mr. Thomas
The hon. Gentleman is quite right in saying that this policy was designed for special wartime conditions. His own Government withdrew it in 1946. I cannot see that young National Service men differ from other young citizens.