Border Regiment (William Dixon).

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 21st February 1922.

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Photo of Mr Aneurin Williams Mr Aneurin Williams , Consett

71.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether his attention has been called to the case of the late William Dixon, No. 7/19922, Border Regiment; whether he is aware that this man deserted his wife and two children in 1913, and that the children have since then been maintained by the Guardians of the Lanchester union, the mother having been sent to an asylum; that Dixon was killed in France in 1916; that the guardians first learned in 1920 that he had joined the Army; whether application has been made to the Ministry of Pensions by the guardians for the repayment of the cost of maintenance of the children; and whether the Ministry have granted this as from July, 1919, but refused to pay the three years previous to that date, namely, from the date of the soldier's death?

Photo of Mr John Swan Mr John Swan , Barnard Castle

72.

asked the Minister of Pensions why the liability for the maintenance of the children of the late Private W. Dixon, No. 7/19922, Border Regiment., should have had to be a liability on the Lanchester Poor Law Guardians; if he is aware that for three years' keep by the ratepayers nothing has been allowed; and will he inquire into this case?

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

The late soldier enlisted as a single man, having deserted his wife and children in 1913. The wife died subsequently, and the children became chargeable to the Poor Law. The soldier was presumed dead in July, 1916, and an application for pension on behalf of the children was made in June, 1920. The application was successful, and arrears of pension were awarded for a year, which is the maximum period admissible.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Williams Mr Aneurin Williams , Consett

Is it not a fact that the guardians are charged with an expense which properly falls on the State—pensions for the orphans of soldiers?

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

That is perfectly true, but under Article 7 of the Pay Warrant I am precluded from paying arrears for more than a year.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Williams Mr Aneurin Williams , Consett

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider having that altered so as to do justice to the local ratepayers?

Photo of Mr John Swan Mr John Swan , Barnard Castle

As the Poor Law authorities did not know they must claim before the 21st, it was impossible to claim before then, and, in the light of the great burdens entailing almost bankruptcy upon all who have to pay, cannot he give further consideration and assist the guardians in this maintenance?