HC Deb 02 March 1960 vol 618 cc1196-7
10. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for War the amount paid by the Government towards the funeral expenses of soldiers who die in the course of their duties; when that sum was fixed; and what arrangements are made to review it.

Mr. Soames

The Government pay the whole cost of military funerals conducted by the Services. If the family of a deceased soldier prefer to arrange for a private funeral they receive a grant of £10, or £5 if a coffin is provided by the Service authorities. Within the United Kingdom the Army also bears the cost of returning the body home. The grants were fixed in 1943. It is not intended to review them, but an additional grant of £25 has since become payable under the National Insurance Acts.

Mr. Pavitt

In view of the fact that the cost of living has changed since 1943, will the Secretary of State please take steps to have a quick review of this? He knows of the case I recently referred to him of a constituent of mine, and that in that case the sum of £5 was given. Will the right hon. Gentleman please have another look at this question in view of the changed circumstances?

Mr. Soames

No, because the National Insurance Act payment is, of course, made, as it is to civilians, and above that there is a payment from the Army.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman recollect that the National Insurance death benefit is a benefit for which the contributor himself contracts and pays, and that it is not given by the State?

Mr. Soames

What I am saying is that the soldier's family, over and above what a civilian gets, get a small extra payment if they choose to have a private funeral.