HC Deb 21 February 1918 vol 103 cc943-5W

asked the Pensions Minister whether, in the case of widows who were dependent on sons who have been killed and who have received a pension on the basis of dependency, if such widows open a shop or take up other means of earning a living after pension is awarded they run any risk of having the pension reduced or stopped?


The answer to the hon. Member's question is in the negative.

Colonel L. WILSON

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions whether, according to present Regulations, the widow of an officer who has died on active service of disease certified as directly attributable to active service is not entitled to the gratuity granted to the widows of officers killed in action or who have died of wounds; and, if so, whether such Regulations can be reconsidered, in view of the fact that such officer's death is as much due to active service as is the death of an officer who is killed in action?


A gratuity is not granted in the circumstances set forth in the hon. and gallant Member's question. The matter was very carefully considered at the time the Royal Warrant of last August was drafted, and it was determined, with the strong support of military opinion, to restrict the gratuity to cases of death in action and of violent death due directly and wholly to war service.


asked the Pensions Minister if he will state the ground upon which a pension may be refused to tine dependants, Class A, of a soldier killed in action: and whether, in order that such a dependant may establish a claim to pension, it is necessary that the applicant should be reduced to actual pauperism?


A pension would be refused where the conditions laid down in the Royal Warrant or subsequent modification of it are not fulfilled. These grounds would principally be the absence of pre-war dependence, or, in the case of non-dependent parents, the absence of pecuniary need through age or infirmity. The reply to the second part of the question is in the negative.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether his attention has been called to the inadequacy of the sum allotted as allowance to wives of soldiers; and, having regard to the present cost of living, and the fact that the majority of employ és in factories and workshops have had increased wages on that score, if steps will be taken to grant a similar increase in allowances to the wives of the men in our fighting forces?


I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on the 14th December last to a similar question by the hon. Member for the Dublin Harbour Division.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether specially enlisted men in the Army Pay Corps have derived any benefit from the recent increase in pay and allowances; whether the consolidated family allowance payable in the case of married men living at home is in effect separation allowance plus 7s. per week for the keep of the sodier; and, if so, whether, in view of the increased cost of living, steps will be taken to increase the allowance or, alternatively, to issue rations instead of the said 7s.?


Generally speaking, the men of this corps are paid special rates at a level above that reached by the new rates of pay for the Army in general; but non-commissioned officers have the option of drawing the new rates in lieu of their special rates. I will look into the question of the issue of rations in kind to the men referred to in the second part of my hon. Friend's question and communicate with him