HC Deb 25 November 1958 vol 596 cc222-3
49. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the education grant given to the daughter of Violette Szabo, G.C., who was shot by the Nazis in the last war, is in danger of being reduced on the grounds that a proportion of the royalties on the book and film of her life is voluntarily being set aside as a fund for the daughter; and whether he will give an assurance, not only that the danger money now being offered to women volunteering to work in Cyprus shall carry an obligation to disability and dependant's pensions, but also that no similar reason will be used by any Government Department for reducing any such obligation.

The Prime Minister

This child receives an orphan's pension of £112 10s. plus an education allowance of £80 a year with supplements amounting to £38 a year. Under the War Pensions scheme these allowances, but not the pension, are granted on the basis of need. They were renewed last October for twelve months, and will continue subject to the normal periodical review of resources, so long as the child is at school.

In reply to the second part of the Question, the terms of service of women volunteering to work with N.A.A.F.I. are the responsibility of that organisation and not of Her Majesty's Government. They will, however, retain the same rights to National Insurance benefits, for example sickness benefit, as they enjoyed at home.

On the third part of the Question it would be wrong to give a general assurance of the kind suggested as some payments properly take account of the means of the recipient.

Dame Irene Ward

Am I right in assuming that the pension for Tania Szabo will not be interfered with because of the generosity of friends, having regard to the fact that gifts are tax-free when no services are rendered? May I ask whether my right hon. Friend will bear in mind that in my opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of other people, all Governments are inclined to offer danger money when they require assistance but are not so generous when the danger is past? Can my right hon. Friend possibly reverse this process, because that would give very great satisfaction to people whose relatives are prepared to sacrifice a great deal in the interests of their country?

The Prime Minister

I understand that in this case the grant has been made, and that in no case of education allowances has any question of reduction arisen until the total income of the child exceeds £260 a year. It has been granted in this case for a further year, and therefore, while I would bear all these factors in mind, I think the situation is satisfactory.