Deceased Soldiers (Friendly Societies).

Oral Answers to Questions — Russia. – in the House of Commons on 28th April 1920.

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Photo of Sir Charles Edwards Sir Charles Edwards , Bedwellty

68.

asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider taking over the payments made by friendly societies to relatives of sailors and soldiers killed in the War and also the ordinary contributions paid per man whilst serving with the colours, and make it a national charge, on the grounds that the War was entirely responsible for these payments; and whether any communication or deputation has been received from representatives of these societies on this point?

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Shoreditch

I understand the question to refer to benefits and contributions on the private side of Friendly Societies. These are entirely within the control of the societies themselves and do not fall within my province. The payments of contributions in respect of men serving with the Forces and of benefits to the relatives of men who were killed were made voluntarily on the initiative of the Societies themselves, and while I appreciate the generous spirit which prompted such arrangements, I am afraid that I cannot entertain the suggestion of the hon. Member that the sums disbursed should be refunded to the societies by the Government.