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Missing Personnel (Dependants' Allowances)

Volume 391: debated on Tuesday 13 July 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for War, when other ranks are reported missing, for how long their Service allowances, including any voluntary allotment and war service grants are continued, and is the wife or dependant thereafter placed under the Ministry of Pensions on allowances based on the assumption that the serving person is dead?

Family or dependants' allowances, allotments of pay, whether qualifying, contributory or voluntary, and war service grants are continued in the case of a soldier reported missing for 26 weeks from the date his relatives are notified of the casualty, provided that he continues to be recorded as missing. Normally, after the end of that period, the allowance payable, for so long as the soldier remains missing, is the same as the pension which would be payable if he were dead; but this allowance is administered and paid by the War Department, and not by the Ministry of Pensions. The period of 26 weeks has been specially extended in respect of those missing in the Far East. The latest decisions in this respect were contained in the statement circulated with an Answer given on the 29th June to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oswestry (Major Leighton) and my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward).

Does my right hon. Friend not consider that it would be more just to retain the dependants on full Service allowance until such time as the position is clarified?

This subject has been considered and argued very strenuously in this House, and various concessions were made some time ago. Special concessions have been made for the Far East. On the whole, I think the present system is about as fair as any that can be devised.

Do the Admiralty and the Air Ministry hold the same views as my right hon. Friend's Department?