ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can state the gross amount of the annual savings in the Fleet accruing from the unissued daily rations allowed to the men and boys by the regulations; how much of such savings is paid over annually to the men's messes, and what is the value of the balance, if any, and how is the same appropriated; what is the total weight and annual value of the grease, or, as it is called, slush, obtained in the process of cooking, which is now returned to the victualling yards by order, and how is the same appropriated; whether he can also state the annual value of dead men's effects, also those of deserters, not claimed by or paid over to relatives, and how is the balance of moneys dealt with at the end of the year; and what is the aggregate amount of fines inflicted on men for leave-breaking, and how is the money applied?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. W. E. MACARTNEY, Antrim, S.)
It is impossible to state the gross amount of the unissued daily rations saved in the Fleet, because many of the articles are purchased all over the world at prices which vary considerably, and it is necessary for simplification and purposes of account to pay for the quantities not taken up at a uniform 430 rate, which sometimes exceeds and is sometimes less than the actual cost. To arrive at the information asked for would involve prolonged investigation, and the result would not, it is considered, be of sufficient value to justify the labour necessary to obtain it. The total amount actually paid to the men for "savings," in accordance with the scale laid down in Appendix XXV. of the Queen's Regulations, during the year 1896–97 was £353,624. The average quantity of slush returned to the Home Victualling Yards during the past three years was about four and a half tons, and the average amount realised about £55 a year. This sum is appropriated as a credit to the Victualling Vote. The value of unclaimed wages and effects is retained by the Admiralty under the Revenue Act, 1889, for a period of six and a half years, and is then paid over to the capital account of Greenwich Hospital; the amounts so dealt with during the past six years average £117 per annum. The value of deserters' effects, averaging £350 per annum during the same period, is appropriated as a credit to the Wages Vote, all pay, etc., of deserters being forfeited to the Crown under the provisions of the Naval Discipline Act. The aggregate amount received during the three years 1894 to 1897 for fines, the great proportion of which are inflicted for leave-breaking, was £37,252 (an average of £12,417 a year), including pay forfeited during confinement in cells. This money is also appropriated as a credit to the Wages Vote.