HC Deb 26 July 1915 vol 73 cc1947-8
53 and 54. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) whether over 600 commissions as assistant paymaster, Royal Naval Reserve, with pay and allowances ranging from 12s. to 15s. 6d. a day, have been granted to men from the shore who possess absolutely no knowledge of naval accountant work, whilst only twelve positions as warrant officer have been given to writers who have served in the Royal Navy for periods varying from fifteen to thirty years, over 150 of whom have been specially recommended for promotion; and, if so, will he give the reason why the claims of writers, experts in naval accountant duties, are consistently overlooked; and (2) what would be the difference in cost to the country in the pay of 600 assistant paymasters, Royal Naval Reserve, as against the same number of warrant officers doing the same work?


The facts are substantially as stated by the hon. Member, though I may point out that the total number of warrant or acting warrant writers appointed is considerably more than the number he refers to, and the question of making further promotions is now under consideration. If the hon. Member contemplates the substitution for assistant paymaster, R.N.R., of a similar number of warrant writers, the apparent immediate saving would be very considerable, but I must point out that the appointments filled by assistant paymasters, R.N.R., are almost entirely temporary appointments due to the War, which would cease on its termination, and it would be very undesirable to fill such appointments by the temporary promotion of men belonging to the Royal Navy proper. There would be no grounds to justify such a number of permanent promotions, which would also entail a large extra cost for pay and pensions which would have to be set off against any apparent saving.


Will the right hon. Gentleman seriously consider whether something cannot be done for this very deserving class of naval writers?


The question of opening the assistant paymasters' rank to the writers has been often discussed, but not adopted. There have been a number of promotions to warrant writer rank—twelve, I think—during the War.