§ CAPTAIN PRICE (Devonport)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty what is, approximately, the difference between the total value of the rations allowed annually to officers, seamen, and marines of the Fleet, and the amount actually served out; why is not the whole of this difference returned to the men; and can he state, approximately, the extra cost to the country that would be incurred for storage, freight, &c., if the whole ration was taken up?
§ *LORD G. HAMILTON
The difference between the ration to which the seaman is entitled and that which he takes up is, approximately—value of total ration per man per diem, 9½d.; value of what he takes up, 6d.; paid as earnings per man per diem, 2½d. The difference of 1d., which amounts to about £45,000, is principally due to the difference between prices paid as savings and the actual cost of the article, which varies from year to year. The taking up of savings is purely optional on the part of the men, though it is very popular in the Service. It in not possible to estimate approximately the extra cost to the country that would be incurred for storage, freight, &c, if the whole ration was taken up. Probably the freight might be slightly increased, but, on the other hand, the country 159 would gain by being able to calculate more closely the consumption which is now variable, owing to savings, and by reduction of clerical staff on board ship, the calculations consequent on the savings system occupying much time and giving much trouble.