HC Deb 23 November 1939 vol 353 cc1423-4W
Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary of State for War whether an application for an allowance for the parents of a soldier is decided on the basis of a family means test, or on the basis of the amount contributed to the parents by the soldier before being called up, without reference to the family income?

Sir V. Warrender

The grant of dependants' allowance to the parent of a soldier is governed primarily by the amount which he was contributing towards the support of the parent before being called to the colours, but such a grant can only be made where the income of the dependant's household is within certain limits, which are set out in the regulations (Army Order 170 of 1939), of which I will send the hon. Member a copy.

Sir T. Moore

asked the Secretary of State for War when he expects to be able to publish, for general information, the complete scheme governing allowances to families of serving soldiers?

Sir V. Warrender

It is hoped to issue a White Paper on this subject in the course of next week.

Sir W. Brass

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that, contrary to the orders given by his Department, birth certificates are still being asked for by regimental paymasters in certain cases before dependants' allowances are issued, he will give instructions for full publicity to be given over the wireless, in the Press and in Army orders to the effect that payment of dependants' allowances is not to be held up pending the production of birth certificates by parents and that regimental paymasters are not to ask for these certificates but to get verification of births from the Registrar-General's Department?

Sir V. Warrender

It has already been made clear to regimental paymasters that soldiers and their dependants are not to be put to the expense of purchasing certificates, but that alternative evidence of age can be accepted, and, where no evidence is produced, the facts should be verified through the General Registry Office. A further instruction on the subject was issued yesterday. I think direct instructions to paymasters are more suitable channels of communication than the other methods of publicity suggested. I would, however, point out that, where a dependant already has a certificate, or can produce other evidence of age, time will be saved if the certificate or evidence is produced, and reference to the General Registry Office thus rendered unnecessary.

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