§ SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield Central)
I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he can inform the House of the cost of moving the furniture of officers' and sergeants' messes and quarters, and also of married soldiers' quarters, regimental libraries, etc., from station to station within the United Kingdom last year; and if the Secretary of State will consider whether a saving could be effected by furnishing such messes and quarters, and charging the occupants a rental, instead of carting about, so much furniture, and cause an inquiry to be made if such a change would conduce to the comfort of officers, sergeants, and soldiers, and add materially to the mobility of the Army?
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. POWELL-WILLIAMS, Birmingham, S.)
Sergeants' messes and the quarters of married soldiers are already furnished to a considerable extent; and the libraries belong to garrisons and not to regiments. An regards officers, the heavier furniture of mess-rooms and quarters is already provided by the public, so that when a regiment moves it is only the lighter furniture, with the plate, crockery, glass, and bedding which accompanies it, the bulk of the cost incurred being for the personal baggage of the officers and men. A few years ago a Committee considered the question of supplying, at the public expense, such articles of furniture or equipment as are not now so supplied; and they found that while the capital outlay would be nearly a quarter of a million, the cost of transport saved would give a most inadequate return. It is doubtful whether an uniform mess equipment would give general satisfaction.