HC Deb 27 August 1914 vol 66 cc189-90W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that hardship has arisen in cases of persons having to pay the full statutory fees for birth certificates required in respect of Reservists and Territorials before their families can receive allowances; that where there are several children the charge of 3s. 7d. for each child amounts to a heavy burden; and that, as the Registrar-General has no power to require superintendent registrars, who are not salaried officers but are paid by fees, to charge less than the statutory amount for certificates, will he consider whether any provision can be made to compensate registration officers who voluntarily forego their statutory fees, or accept a nominal fee, in cases of the families of Reservists and Territorials, and to encourage others to do likewise?


Although superintendent registrars are entitled to charge a fee of 3s. 7d., I am informed that in very many cases they have accepted a nominal or reduced fee, and I should wish to take this opportunity of expressing what I feel sure will be a general feeling of appreciation of the public spirit shown by these gentlemen in this connection. In cases where superintendent registrars feel unable to accept less than the full fee it has now been made possible for the families of Reservists and others joining His Majesty's forces to apply to the Registrar-General, Somerset House, who, on being furnished with particulars of the precise date and place of marriage or birth, as the case may be, will if possible verify these particulars without expense to the applicant. Such verification, though not having the legal value of a formal certificate, will for the present purpose be accepted by the authorities concerned. In the circumstances I have stated I do not see my way to accept the proposal contained in the hon. Member's question.