HC Deb 01 March 1904 vol 130 c1357

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that under Army Order No. 3, of January, 1903, officers on joining were to have furniture for their quarters consisting of one bed, one table, one chest of drawers, one chair, and one washstand supplied free, he will explain why they are now to be charged £1 10s. a year for the same; and why officers who already have their own furniture are to be compelled to take the Government furniture as well at this rental charge of £1 10s. per annum, and field officers are to be compelled to take two extra chairs and a bookshelf at a further rental charge of £1 10s. a year.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Arnold-Forster.) The hon. and gallant Member has been misinformed as to the terms of the Army Order quoted. The list of articles supplied is much larger than that stated in the Question, and the payment of about 30s. a year (1d. a day) is made in respect of ordinary depreciation and replacement; in the case of field officers the extra charge is made as complete furniture is supplied for two rooms. Officers in possession of furniture and occupying quarters furnished at the public expense can sell their own furniture to Government at a fair independent valuation. It is admitted that this may press hardly in some cases, but in view of the great object of reducing officers' expenses generally, it was held to be essential that a uniform system be adopted. It must be remembered that some extra expenses in connection with movements from station to station are saved.