HC Deb 02 March 1893 vol 9 c828

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War what is the total amount paid to soldiers risen from the ranks for outfit allowances during the last 10 years; in how many cases during that period has the option of earlier promotion to commissioned rank, on condition of foregoing the outfit allowance, been offered before the outfit allowance for the year had been exhausted; how many men risen from the ranks have been promoted to commissioned rank during that period with or without the grant of outfit allowances respectively; and, how many of those so promoted without outfit allowance belonged to the same class of society as those who attained commissions by examination?


As regards the actual amount paid as outfit allowance to soldiers risen from the ranks during the last 10 years, I shall be happy to give the hon. Member a Return if he will move for it, and also of the total number promoted from the ranks. Since the practice commenced in 1886 of promoting warrant or noncommissioned officers without the outfit allowance, it has been customary, on noting a candidate, to ascertain, without reference to the number of allowances unappropriated at the time, if he would be willing to forego the allowance in order that his promotion might not be delayed. The outfit allowance is given as a matter of course in every case of promotion to a commission as riding-master or quartermaster, or as district officer of Artillery, or officer of the coast battalion of Engineers. It is only in the cases of promotion to commissions in the Cavalry or Infantry that the question of foregoing the outfit allowance can arise. Out of 197 such promotions during the last 10 years, 117 have had the allowance and 80 have not. No inquiry as to the social status of a candidate is made beyond the fact that a commanding officer is bound to satisfy himself that the candidate is in all respects qualified for the position of a commissioned officer.