Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 7th May 1940.
asked the Secretary of State for War how many instances there are, in which two sons in a family who are members of the armed Forces are both making an allotment to their parents, and the Government are paying two sets of allowances to the dependants; and what are the circumstances which entitles the dependants to make such claim?
I regret that the information asked for in the first part of the Question could not be obtained without an undue expenditure of time and effort. As regards the second part, applications for dependants' allowance may be made in respect of more than one member of the Forces provided that the usual conditions are fulfilled and the income limits will not thereby be exceeded. These conditions, and the income limits referred to, are set out in the White Paper (Cmd. 6186) of March, 1940.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the difficulty experienced by wives and dependants of members of the armed Forces; the many expressions of disappointment from such sources; the impossibility of meeting their obligations owing to the cost of living; and whether he will now consider raising the allowance granted by the Government to wives and children to a standard in excess of 3s. per week for children and 17s. for a wife?
As I have previously stated, a general review of the scale of Army allowances on the grounds suggested could only be undertaken as part of a general reconsideration of fixed payments of much wider application. As the hon. Member is aware, the standard rate for the first and second children in a family is in excess of 3s.
Is the Minister quite confident that the allowances for soldiers' children are enough? Is he not of the opinion that it is time for a reconsideration of the whole question of both wives' and children's allowances?
The hon. Member will be aware that a recent addition has been made in the case of children.
Is the Minister confident that that reconsideration has given to these women and children a sufficiently high standard of life? Does he not think that allowances should be given to them to obviate the necessity of applying for Form 21?
asked the Secretary of State for War, as regards allowances to the children of a woman whom a soldier has married and whose children he has maintained in family, whether it has now been decided to dispense with the requirement of an adoption order being obtained by the soldier and his wife?
Yes, Sir. It has been decided that, in future, for the duration of the war, claims may be admitted for an allowance in respect of an illegitimate child of the wife or the soldier, born before their marriage, provided it is being brought up in the family at the expense of the soldier or his wife, and that they are not receiving any payment for it from another source, for example, from the putative father under an affiliation order.
While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, which will give widespread satisfaction, may I ask, first, from what day will this allowance run, and, second, in the case of persons who have got adoption orders in consequence of the requirement of the War Office, will the right hon. Gentleman authorise a refund of the cost of getting them?
When will the right hon. Gentleman make an announcement about payments in respect of children actually adopted de facto but not legally?