HC Deb 19 October 1915 vol 74 c1598

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he is aware that one battalion in this country has, by changing the usual system of catering and by economical and efficient management, not only saved the State over £1,000 per month, but has also fed the men better than before; and, if so, what steps are being taken by the War Office to induce other battalions to carry out their catering arrangements on similarly economical and satisfactory lines?


My hon. Friend is referring to a locally raised battalion of the Gloucestershire regiment, which in the earlier stages of its existence was catered for under arrangements made by the raisers of the battalion. The raisers were authorised to charge only the actual and necessary cost of messing up to a maximum of 1s. 9d. a man a day. The saving which my hon. Friend mentions is the difference between this 1s. 9d. and the figure to which this battalion worked. The arrangements made by the battalion were highly successful, and the results were brought to the notice of the various command authorities some time ago, but I ought to say that many locally raised battalions have kept well within the maximum of 1s. 9d. Therefore to speak of savings of so much a month is apt to mislead unless the fact that the 1s. 9d. is a maximum is borne in mind. These and similar arrangements are necessarily superseded by the ordinary system of supply through the Army Service Corps when the locally raised battalions are taken over by the Army Council, since it is of the greatest importance that the Army should be self-supporting and able to feed itself at all times independently.