§ Mr. BROOKES
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware of the different practice regarding the commutation of pensions at present obtaining in the Army and in the Navy, although under the same Act; whether the Treasury make any objection to the practice in the Navy; and will he state what is their attitude with respect to the practice in the Army?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I am causing inquiry to be made into this subject, and I will communicate with the hon. Member later.
§ Mr. BROOKES
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether, in view of the hardships in individual cases 1107W caused by the suspension of the commutation of officers' pensions, he will consider each of them on their merits if brought to his notice?
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he will have inquiry made into the cause of the delay in paying the separation allowance to the mother of Private H. Barlow. No. 61240, 5th Platoon, B Company, 36th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, as this soldier enlisted on the 20th August last and immediately made an allotment of 3s. 6d. a week?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
If the hon. Member will furnish me with the name and address of the soldier's mother, I will have inquiry made.
§ Sir HERBERT NIELD
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he has considered the injustice which is inflicted upon the lawful wives of soldiers who have been separated from their husbands by an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction and who have a maintenance order for themselves and their children, which has been evaded by the husband designating another woman as his dependent wife, so that under the Army Regulations such woman receives the separation allowance for herself and her illegitimate children to the exclusion of the lawful wife and children; whether he is aware that the grant at the motherless-children rate is in most cases wholly insufficient to support the lawful wife and her children, who suffer much hardship and privation, especially where ill-health prevents the mother from earning any income ; and whether the Army Council will reconsider their decision, which declares that the lawful wife is non-dependent and prevents the local pensions committees from making any rent or sickness grants and innocent women are deprived of the maintenance which would be available to them in civil life?
§ Mr. FORSTER
My hon. Friend has not, I think, apprehended the effect of the Regulations quite correctly. As regards the position of the lawful wife, I would refer him to the reply given on the 17th December last to the hon. Member for Westhoughton. The claim of the lawful wife has priority under Army Regulations, and any payment of separation allowance for her or her children renders the un-1108W married wife ineligible for the allowance, but the latter may in such circumstances receive a special allowance from the local war pensions committee.