HC Deb 10 February 1887 vol 310 cc1101-2

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he will consider the possibility of increasing the payment to licensed victuallers for billeting of soldiers and horses to such an amount as shall not cause them, as at present, to incur loss, but will leave them a small margin of profit?

THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)

Prior to 1859 the sum paid to the innkeeper for a soldier's billet with a hot meal was 10d. In that year, in consequence of the Report of the Select Committee on Billeting of 1858, it was increased to 1s.d. In 1873, after very full inquiry by Lord Cardwell, it was further increased by 3½d., making in all 1s. 4d.—being an increase of 60 per cent over the rates of 1868. The addition made in 1873 was at the time considered ample; since 1873 the price of provisions has fallen about 30 per cent, and there appears, therefore, no reason for increasing the payment to innkeepers for billets of soldiers. In billets, horses are provided with exactly the same ration that the Government provide for them in barracks. The present average contract price of the forage ration is about 1s. 3d.; the innkeeper receives 1s. 9d., and I think, therefore, that he receives sufficient remuneration.