§ MR. C. A. WHITMORE (Chelsea)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether his attention has been called to the regulations issued by the Commissioners of Chelsea Hospital, on the 22nd June last, by which it was provided that in future the clothing and necessaries for the use of the In-Pensioners are only to he replaced when worn out, and are to remain the property of the Institution; whether ho is aware that these Pensioners are thus deprived of the privilege which they have enjoyed for more than 200 years of selling their old clothing; and, whether he will take steps to prevent them from suffering the appreciable loss which will result to them from this unexpected change in the regulations.
§ * The UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
Uniform is issued to the in-patients at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, not in order that they might make money out of it, but that they be well and properly clothed. Its sale by the Pensioners has never been authorised by regulation, though the custom has existed for many years. The practice has worked very unequally. Pensioners in good health wear out their uniform and get little for it. Men confined to the infirmary in some cases never wear their uniform at all, and get a much greater gain on it. Pensioners are provided by the Commissioners with pocket money to the extent considered desirable; and the receipt by them once a year of a comparatively large sum from the sale of their uniform has been found to give rise to great irregularities and to be subversive of discipline. The Order of June 22 was within the competence of the Commissioners; and the Secretary of State does not consider it desirable to call it in question. The Commissioners will be asked to consider whether in view of the withdrawal of this privilege any compensatory advantage can be given to the general body of the In-Pensioners.