HC Deb 18 March 1941 vol 370 cc36-7W
Mr. R. Gibson

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he has considered the correspondence conducted by the Corporation of Greenock relative to the dependant's allowance for the mother of an unmarried official of the corporation now serving in the Seaforth Highlanders, a copy of which was sent to him; and, as his Department's regulations regarding the issue of such allowance render nugatory the corporation's scheme for supplementation of such official's war service pay under the Local Government Staffs (War Service) Act, 1937, what steps he proposes to take to revise his regulations so as not to interfere with the provisions of the Act;

(2) whether he has completed his consideration of the anomalous position created whereby, when the civil employers begin to make a payment of 5s. per week to or in respect of an employé serving in the Army, the dependant's allowance of 17s. a week till then being paid is stopped; and what steps he proposes to take to remove the anomaly?

Mr. Law

I have considered the correspondence with the Corporation of Greenock to which my hon. and learned Friend refers, and I am unable to accept the suggestion that the regulations regarding the issue of dependants' allowance are inconsistent with the provisions of the Local Government Staffs (War Service) Act, 1939. The essential condition for the issue of dependants' allowance is that the soldier must before his enlistment have been contributing towards the maintenance of a dependant, other than a wife or child, an amount greater than he can contribute from his resources whilst in the Army, and that in consequence of his inability to continue this contribution the dependant is left in circumstances of hardship. Where a local authority makes up a soldier's Army emoluments to their previous civilian level or to such a level as to avoid hardship to the dependant, this basic condition is clearly not fulfilled and dependants' allowance is therefore not issuable. I am aware that when the issue of the balance of civil pay brings a man's income above the level at which dependants' allowance is issuable, the consequential withdrawal of dependants' allowance may result in a net reduction of income. But occasional cases of this kind are inevitable in any system of allowances based on flat rate awards.