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Ex-Service Men (Resettlement)

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 22 March 1949

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20.

asked the Minister of Labour why, in his schemes for assisting ex-Regular members of His Majesty's Forces to resettle in civil life, he provides for grants to be given only in cases of financial necessity; and what standard he will use to decide whether there is financial necessity.

I assume the hon. Member is referring to the courses of business training for ex-Regular members of His Majesty's Forces recently introduced. All applicants approved for these courses will receive grants covering tuition fees, travelling expenses incurred in the course of training, and an allowance for text books. Maintenance grants will also be payable, where necessary, in order to provide broadly the reasonable requirements and standard of living to which the applicant is accustomed. For this purpose, as in the case of other comparable resettlement schemes, other income, including the pensions and retired pay payable in a large number of cases, is one of the factors to be taken into account. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the detailed rules governing the assessment of grant which are somewhat long and intricate.

Will the right hon. Gentleman make quite certain in working this scheme, and any future scheme he has in mind for ex-Regular members of the Forces, that he does not discourage savings by those members while they are in the Forces, and does not discourage them from staying on to earn their pension?

I can give the hon. Gentleman those assurances. These rules are administered generously and sympathetically. We are most anxious to help these men who come along for this service.