HC Deb 05 July 1900 vol 85 cc626-7

On behalf of the hon. Member for the Henley Division of Oxford, I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he can explain why in the two classes of Reserve officers, namely, those who retired receiving a gratuity or lump sum, and those who retired on a pension, while both classes receive the full pay of their rank while serving, the officers entitled to pensions are deprived of their pensions, though no deductions are made in the case of officers who have received a gratuity, and can he state whether Reserve officers are being granted the usual allowances of their rank; and whether those officers who have been deprived of their pensions will become entitled to them as a matter of right on completion of their present service.


As there has been a good deal of misunderstanding on this point, perhaps I may be allowed to make a somewhat full statement. Retired pay is not granted to officers solely as a reward for work done; it is also a retaining fee, and is coupled with a liability to return to service. If an officer of military age refuses to return to service when summoned, his retired pay may be stopped as a punishment. That being so, the rule is, exactly as in the case of half pay, that the lower rate of pay drops when the full pay begins. An officer is not allowed to draw full pay and retired pay at the same time, any more than he is allowed to draw full pay and half pay at the same time. Turning to the case of the officer who retires with a gratuity. His gratuity is regarded as capitalised retired pay; he compounds for a gratuity instead of taking an annual rate of retired pay. Therefore, the rule was that when he came back to full pay the actuarial annual value of his gratuity should be deducted from his full pay. The Secretary of State has changed that rule for two reasons. In the first place, the gratuity is always much less than the actuarial value of the retired pay given for the same service. But the more practical point is that the gratuity was actually given as a lump sum and is not, as a rule, in the officers' possession when he is called upon to return to service, so that a deduction from full pay would in that case be a real hardship to the officer. The Secretary of State took a favourable view of those cases, and discontinued the deduction. In reply to the other two points in the question I may say that every officer recalled to service gets his allowances, unless he receives consolidated pay which includes allowances; and every officer who passed from retired pay to full pay when called out, will return to retired pay when the emergency is past.