HC Deb 06 March 1940 vol 358 cc405-6W
Mr. Rostron Duckworth

asked the Minister of Pensions what is the present number of widows and orphans receiving pensions on account of lives lost in the sinking of mercantile vessels?

Sir W. Womersley

Pensions are in payment to 247 widows of men who have lost their lives in the sinking of mercantile vessels. In addition 364 allowances are in payment in respect of the children of these widows and eight pensions in respect of total orphans.

Mr. T. Williams

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will state the kinds of liabilities taken into consideration by his War Service Grants Advisory Committee in determining amounts of hardship grants to families of service men whose normal allowances are deemed inadequate; and whether any specific sum is allowed for the maintenance of a wife, child or other dependant, after the liabilities have been met, and in cases where the maximum grants are not in issue?

Sir W. Womersley

The liabilities taken into account may include rent, rates, mortgage charges, educational expenses, insurance and hire purchase. Awards are made for the purpose of removing "serious hardship" as evidenced by marked discrepancy between the sum available for maintenance per head during service, after the standing commitments have been met, and that available before service. No specific sum is assigned for the maintenance of a wife, child or other dependant.