§ MR. VERNEY (Buckinghamshire, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, for the use of furniture for the officers' mess, costing about £275, about £36 annually is charged; whether, at the end of eight years, although more than its full value has been paid for by the officers, together with any sums necessary for repairs, the furniture remains the property of the Government; and, if this is so, will the Government make such alterations in the charge imposed for the hire of mess furniture that no profit shall be made by the Government out of its use by officers.
§ MR. HALDANE
The figures stated are correct for the most usual size of moss, as regards its initial cost and the rent chargeable. In view of the fact that articles damaged through fair wear and tear are replaced or repaired at the expense of the State, that unserviceable china, glass and crockery are similarly replaced up to 15 per cent. per annum of the total value of such articles allowed to the mess, and that worn out kitchen utensils are also so replaced, it cannot be 453 admitted that in eight years more than the full value furniture and equipment supplied will have been paid for by the officers. The furniture and equipment remain the property of the State. In view of the above considerations and of the fact that the rent is held to operate by way of a sinking fund against the capital charge, interest on outlay, cost of storage, carriage, etc., it is apparent that no profit will be made by the State.