Saturday, 8 November 2014

Payment to Soldiers' Wives

From the Holme Valley Express, 7th November 1914.


The “Pay” of our Heroes: Important Correspondence

The Secretary reported that he had written to the County Council as follows:-
“I am requested to write again asking if we are to understand that no payment whatever must be made from our local relief fund, only in extreme cases of sickness, beyond the 12s. 6d. already allowed by the Government in the form of separation allowance and compulsory allotment.

In the case of an employer paying the wife of one of their employees who has joined the colours 5/- [5 shillings] per week direct, I assume that this is not within the control of our Committee.

I may say that one or two members of this Committee are disappointed with the fixed allowance of 12s. 6d., which they feel sure is not nearly sufficient for a wife to keep house, obtain clothing, food, etc., and they feel disposed to increase this allowance from the local relief fund.

Mr. W. Vibart Dixon had replied: “The Sub-Committee have entire control over any funds locally collected, and they may use that as they think best.  Money received from the National Relief Fund must be paid out strictly in accordance with the scale laid down to them, but the sub-committee may, if they think fit, use the local fund to augment the sum fixed by the scale.”

[This is a bit obscure. I understand from it that the separation allowance to the wives and children of serving soldiers was paid out of the National Relief Fund, and distributed via County Councils and then local (parish?) committees.  (Although the 'compulsory allotment' was an amount stopped from the men's pay, I believe, so I don't know how that worked.)  New Mill had evidently collected local relief funds as well, and they were being given permission to  spend that however they wanted. 

It's interesting that they thought that the 12s. 6d. separation allowance paid to a wife (plus extra for each child) was not sufficient to live on -  the suffragettes had complained in October (here) that women in the "Work for Women" Fund workshops were being paid only 10s. per week.]  

From the Halifax Courier,  12th September 1914.

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