Deserted Dependants.

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 16th February 1922.

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Photo of Mr Gershom Stewart Mr Gershom Stewart , Wirral

9.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether it is a strict rule of the Pension Ministry not to disclose the addresses of individuals receiving pensions; if so, how can an officer's deserted wife obtain an order for maintenance against her husband if she cannot find out where he is living; and can he see his way to grant some facilities to the deserted dependants to obtain some portion of the pension provided by the State for the express purpose of their upkeep and maintenance, and so ensure that the recipient of a pension cannot evade with impunity responsibilities justly attaching to him?

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

It is, in my opinion, in the interests of pensioners that all information regarding individuals which comes to my knowledge in the course of my administration should be treated as confidential and not to be disclosed unless public interest requires such disclosure. In the particular type of case mentioned, I should be prepared to give the address to the Clerk of the Court, to which application is made, for the purpose of enabling proceedings to be taken.

Photo of Mr Gershom Stewart Mr Gershom Stewart , Wirral

Should the lady be able to obtain a magistrate's order for maintenance, will the Pensions Ministry deduct that amount from the pension and hand it over to her?

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

I should like to consider that case. Perhaps my hon. Friend will speak to me privately, or put down a further question.