8. That an additional number of Land Forces, not exceeding 100,000, all ranks, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at Home and Abroad, excluding His Majesty's Indian Possessions, for the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1920.
9. That a sum, not exceeding £5,000,000, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charges for Army Services which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1920, in respect of an estimated net total cost of £424,733,000, and of liabilities outstanding on the first day of the year.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House cloth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
May I ask for your guidance? I wish to ask the Minister for Air a question regarding the distribution of force as laid down in the letter of the head of the Air Force, and I would like to know on which Vote the question can be raised. Yesterday, by special arrangement, the general discussion took place at the beginning, and I attempted to raise this question on Vote 5 for the Air Ministry. I would like to ask what procedure you think would be best for the House to adopt on the Report stage of these Estimates?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That really ought to come on the Vote for the Air Ministry. I take it that they are responsibile for the distribution of the Air Force.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Then we can discuss only those items for which money is requested in each Vote, and the question of policy can only be raised on Vote 5 for the Air Ministry?
§ Mr. HOGGE
Yesterday we discussed, among other things, the question of the gratuity which was payable to men as distinct from officers. If my right hon. Friend will look at Vote I, he will see that there are two figures which illustrate the point of criticism which has been made frequently in the House. Section G deals with service gratuities of officers and men on discharge. The amount allowed for 271 officers is no less a sum than 23,000,000, whereas the gratuities made to non-commissioned officers and men amount only to £2,100,000. Although I am not so familiar with the Air Force as with other sections of the Army, I have always understood that there is a larger proportion of men to officers in the Air Force than in the Regular Army, and that for the purpose of flying officers you require to keep a very large number of men on the ground and attached to the workshops connected with the production and effective maintenance of flying machines. I would like to ask my right hon. Friend if he can tell us what number of officers this £3,000,000 represents as compared with the number of men represented by the £2,100,000. My right hon. Friend will remember that the gratuity which is paid to officers is on the basis of 124 days' pay for the first year of service, and sixty-two days' pay for every subsequent year of service, whereas in the case of the men it is a fixed sum of £5 for the first year of service, with 10s. per month for each subsequent year of service, or £6 for the second, third and fourth years, or whatever years may have been served. I have raised this question before and I do not want to go over the old arguments again, but it is obvious to anyone that the bases upon which the two gratuities are paid are unjust, and that if the right hon. Gentleman were to pay gratuity to non-commissioned officers and men on the basis of the days they have served their gratuity would he very much higher than it is. I notice that a deputation of discharged and demobilised men waited on the Prime Minister and put before him this very point, applicable to the whole of the Services, and they were informed that there was no hope of a change being made. I suppose the reason was the constant urging of economy in national expenditure, and from that point of view there would be no reply if there were nothing relevant in the arguments that could be put forward. When one remembers what very large sums arc being expended in other directions, I think it is right on the part of those who agree with the point of view that I am putting to put up this claim for the men. For instance, I read the other day in the prospectus of an iron and steel company that the Ministry of Munitions advanced up to the end of June no less than £500,000, and that they were still pledged to another £500,000. It is a company of which one Member of this 272 House is a director. One million of public money is to be advanced to that concern in order that what they did in the War in providing munitions may be carried through now that war has ceased. That is to say, a wealthy corporation has got £500,000 of public money and is entitled to get still another £500,000 to enable it to carry on this extraordinary business which was created during the War. The same, surely, is applicable to the men who have served The right hon. Gentleman knows the operations of the Civil Liabilities Committee. The maximum amount a man can receive to enable him to start in business in this country is £104. When you compare that grant with the amount of money wasted in creating this new business I think there is a just claim on the part of the serving sailor and soldier for his gratuity on the same basis as that of officers. However expensive it may be, and however great may be the demand made upon the income of the State, it is still true that this is probably the one expenditure remaining in connection with our war expense after demobilisation which has not yet been quite fairly met. I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman will take up the same position as he has taken up before, because it is the Government's position, but so long as we have the opportunity I certainly intend to press the claim of the men for a war service gratuity on the same basis as the officers.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Churchill)
The hon. Gentleman knows that the rates of gratuity for officers and for men and the conditions under which they are earned have been fixed by Parliament after the Government had made proposals to Parliament. There is no change in these rates. The enormous bulk of these gratuities for officers and men have already been paid. There is no question whatever of revising them. We have just completed the payment of over £73,000,000 sterling in gratuities to the Army, and another sum, which I have not in mind—probably over £5,000,000—to the Royal Air Force, and it is quite impossible to reopen the subject. Only last night the hon. Member's colleagues on the Opposition side were declaiming against the great expense of the Army and the Air Force in time of peace. Now the hon. Gentleman gets up and proposes to embark on a course which is thoroughly unreasonable and would involve a great deal 273 of additional expense. He draws attention to the disproportionate amount earned by officers as compared with men. These payments are strictly according to scale. Of course, in the Army the proportion of officers to men was nothing like so high as in the Air Force. There were nearly 25,000 officers in the Air Force at the conclusion of hostilities. I do not think the number of men exceeded 200,000, so that there was one officer to about eight men. It has also to be remembered that most of the dangerous flying was necessarily done by the commissioned ranks, and I am certain that the House will not grudge the flying officers the gratuities given to them.
§ Captain WEDGWOOD BENN
Perhaps it would be convenient if I asked at this stage whether the right hon. Gentleman could make any statement about the policy of the Ministry as regards pilot certificates and the non-commissioned ranks. As the House knows, the practice in the French and Italian Flying Corps was more and more that the non-commissioned ranks actually controlled the machines while the officers were the observers and general commanders of the machines. In the Naval Air Service and in the Royal Flying Corps the practice was the reverse. I would like the right hon. Gentleman to indicate generally to the House what the policy of the Ministry is, whether he intends, to encourage sergeant-pilots or whether he thinks that the whole of the actual flying should continue to be clone by commissioned officers.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I have already exhausted my right of intervention on this subject. We are no longer in Committee.
§ Mr. E. KELLY
I think that in the case of the Air Estimates the House is rather at a disadvantage, and I quite recognise, too, that the right hon. Gentleman is at a disadvantage in explaining them to the House, and consequently for this year, at any rate, it may be necessary for the right hon. Gentleman to enter somewhat more fully into explanations than would be the case, because in pre-war days, in dealing with Estimates like these, we had a fairly steady number of officers, non-commissioned officers and men to deal with, and, consequently, any rate of increase which did exist was a fairly constant one; but in regard to this year we are dealing with a force which varies from 150,000 at the beginning of the year to 35,000 at the end 274 of the year. What I want the right hon. Gentleman to explain is: How does he arrive at the average number throughout the year 1919–1920 which is given in respect of each sub-head of the Votes? For in. stance, I want information in regard to the number of officers under "Pay," which is given in the first column on page 6. The first average number given is the average number of officers. Is that average the actual number in service at the end of the year, or is it an average between the numbers serving at the beginning of the year and those serving at the end of the year? The point is particularly important when we come to the numbers of the Women's Royal Air Force, which are given as 9,450. Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate what the numbers of the Women's Royal Air Force will be at the end of the year? Another point on which the right hon. Gentleman might give us some explanation is the large Vote, over £1,500,000, for civil employment. How much money will be paid out, say, weekly or monthly, at the end of the year in respect of that Force, because I think it is very bad policy for a large Department to pay out such sums, and that it is very desirable that a Force like the Royal Air Force, which includes within itself large numbers of men belonging to skilled trades, should not he so reliant on civil employés, and that it should not be necessary to submit to this House so large a Vote for civil employés for services which might well be rendered by members of the Royal Air Force itself.
There is an item, also, in the Vote of £450,000 miscellaneous receipts. That is a very considerable item, and we would like some further information from the right hon. Gentleman with regard to it. Can he tell us from what sources those miscellaneous receipts are derived, and whether they are likely to increase or diminish? I do not know if I would be in order in referring to the question of the Headquarters Staff of the Air Force in Ireland. It seems to me that the Headquarters Staff have been without a permanent home or location in Ireland, and I would like to know, are they to be quartered in the ordinary military barracks which are now occupied by military forces, or are they to have special buildings provided for their accommodation?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The question of the disposition of the forces does not arise under this Vote, which is in relation to pay.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Not on this Vote.
Notice taken that forty Members were not present; House counted, and forty Members being found present—
§ Mr. KELLY (resuming)
In deference to your ruling that I cannot raise the question of the location of the Staff on this Vote, I do not propose to refer to it any further now, but hope to do so subsequently.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The opportunity which this Debate allords ought to be taken advantage of by everyone who is interested in. the forces of the Crown. I myself am profoundly interested in the efficiency of the forces of the Crown, and the Air Service, I suppose, will be one of the most vital of those forces in the future. Indeed, I am much more interested in. it than I was before, because I understand that now the complete control of the Air Service is in the hands of the military authorities. Why that is so I do not know. I am not an expert on these matters. I have listened to the expert opinions of very eminent politicians in this House on the subject of the Air Force, and I was deeply impressed by what they told us. They said that the War Office was not the proper authority to guide the Air Service.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I want to know what is the pay of those members of the Air Service who are engaged in war work in Ireland. If they are part, of the military government in that country, we want to know what extra pay is gven to them for the onerous and arduous duties they are called upon to discharge in the pursuit of law and order and of good government and of the destruction of Irish national sentiment.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Those questions do not arise on this Vote. I must warn the hon. Member, and I have twice called him to order.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what is the cost of the Air Service in Ireland, and how many men are engaged in air work in Ireland? A little while ago the right hon. Gentleman, rather flippantly, I thought, made the 276 suggestion that it was of no consequence to the right hon. Gentleman or to any member of the Government as to what occurs in Ireland. The worst that can occur there is the best that can occur here—that seems to be the mentality of the members of the Government. What extra pay is given to the men of the Air Force for doing war work in Ireland?
§ Captain REDMOND
I desire to ask one or two questions on this Vote. In reply to a question this afternoon the right hon. Gentleman stated that there were considerably less officers now in the Air Force than there were before the Armistice. The question we are discussing now is the amount of pay given to the officers, and I think it is only right that the right hon. Gentleman should inform the House of the number of officers in the force. Large numbers of those highly trained, efficient and skilled pilots have been dispensed with, and, I think, wrongfully at present, because everyone knows that the future of the Air Force is most important, especially war were to break out to-morrow, which, of course, we would all deplore. In such a war the Air Force would certainly play a most important part Therefore, it would be interesting to the Members of the House and the public generally to know the number of officers and the rate of pay and allowances made to them. I am perfectly well aware we are not allowed to enter on the question of policy at this stage, but it is known to everyone what a colossal mistake has been made once more by the Government in this, as in every other Department, in deciding that the Air Force should not be an independent body.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I have already pointed out that that question does not arise on this Vote, and I must ask the hon. Member to confine his observations to the Vote we are now discussing.
§ Captain REDMOND
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell us the numbers and also to give us some particulars as to the Women's Royal Air Force. I do not know very much about the Women's Royal Air Force. I do not know whether it exists in my own country or not. I do not know how many women there are in the Air Force there, and it would be very interesting to get particulars on these matters from the right hon. Gentleman. There is no doubt at all that the whole question of the future of the Air Force 277 in this country is of very deep and vital concern to everyone in the country, and I feel that this Vote should not be taken without a fuller explanation than that which has already been given.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The particulars asked for as to the rates of pay of every branch of the Service will be found in the Royal Warrant. The numbers were provided for under Vote A, and I do not think it will be useful for me to try to take up the time of the House in making a statement as to figures which can be obtained by recourse to the ordinary publications. As to the Air Force in Ireland, the picking out of figures would take time. I have given such calculations in regard to the military in Ireland, and I should be quite ready to have such a calculation made in regard to the part of the Air Force in Ireland. It is not a thing which I could do by mental arithmetic, but if a question is put down I will give a reply. As to the Appropriation-in-Aid I will make inquiries. A question has been asked as to civil employ´s in the Air Force. It is somewhat cheaper to employ civil employ´s, not because the actual wages are smaller, but because the military paraphernalia of the establishment costs over and above what the civil establishment does. For that reason we are employing a proportion of civil employ´s at the store depots and some of the repair depots, and I am sure that a good case can be made out for that. Of course many of those civilian employes are ex-Service men. The Women's Royal Air Force, which was about 30,000 when the War was on, is now down to a little more than 200, and that number is absolutely essential for the ordinary duties of cooks in certain out of the way Air Force stations. We found it convenient to continue that
§ practice at the present time. The number here, 9,450, is, of course, the average through the year, obtained by dividing the number of days in the year into the total number on each particular day, and a similar method has been adopted in regard to both the two items A and B. The average figures do not mean the numbers that we have at the present time nor the numbers which we are reducing down to, but the average borne on these Votes throughout the year. I rather deprecate making any final statement in regard to promotion from the ranks until the Air Estimates for next year are introduced. Then the scheme will be shown in much fuller detail, but, broadly speaking, we are going to provide means by which men may enter the ranks of the Air Force and may rise to be flying officers, but we will, I think, in the future as in the past, relegate the conduct of the flying machines in the main to commissioned officers.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
There is no extra pay given to officers and men serving in Ireland at the present time. Service in Ireland is not unpopular. The Irish stations are popular stations with the British Army, and there are no conditions of active service in regard to their accommodation and rations and so forth, which should justify them in being given extra pay.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
No, it is not usual to make extra payment for showing respect to the dead in any country.
Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 188; Noes, 45.279
|Division No. 158.]||AYES.||[4.46 p.m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral||Betterton, H. B.||Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Bird, Alfred||Carr, W. T.|
|Allen, Col. William James||Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.|
|Archdale, Edward M.||Brassey, H. L. C.||Casey, T. W.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Briggs, Harold||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Brittain, Sir Harry E.||Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Brown, Captain D. C. (Hexham)||Cheyne, Sir William Watson|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Burden, Colonel Rowland||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Burn, Captain C. R. (Torquay)||Clough, R.|
|Baton, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)||Burn, T. H. (Belfast)||Coats, Sir Stuart|
|Benn, Captain W. (Leith)||Campion, Colonel W. R.||Cockerill, Brig.-General G. K.|
|Colvin, Brig. -General R. B.||Hope, John Deans (Berwick)||Rae, H. Norman|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Hopkinson, Austin (Mossley)||Raeburn, Sir William|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Ramsden, G. T.|
|Craig, Captain Charles C. (Antrim)||Hunter, Gen. Sir Archibald (Lancaster)||Remnant, Colonel Sir James|
|Craig, Col. Sir James (Dcwn, Mid.)||Hurd, p. A.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Inskip, T. W. H.||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Curzon, Commander Viscount||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Rodger, A. K.|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Jephcott, A. R.||Roundell, Lt -Colonel R. F.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jenett, William Morgan||Rowlands, James|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Darwen)|
|Denniss, E. R. Bartley (Oldham)||Kidd, James||Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)|
|Dixon, Captain H.||Law, A.J. (Rochdale)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)|
|Dockrell, Sir M.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow)||Sanders, Colonel Robert A.|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Lindsay, William Arthur||Seddon, James|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John|
|Du Pre, Colonel W. B.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Shaw, Hon. A. (Kilmarnock)|
|Edge, Captain William||Lynn, R. J.||Smith, Sir Allan|
|Edwards, J. H. (Glam., Neath)||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Stirling)||Smithers, Sir Alfred W.|
|Elliot, Captain W. E. (Lanark)||Macmaster, Donald||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James l.||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Macquisten, F. A.||Stewart, Gershom|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||Magnus, Sir Philip||Sturrock, J. Long|
|Foreman, H.||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Sugden, Lieut. W. H.|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Malone, Major P. (Tottenham)||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Ganzoni, Captain F. C.||Matthews, David||Sykes, Col. Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Gardiner, J. (Perth and Kinross)||Middlebrook, Sir William||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Moles, Thomas||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (M'yhl.)|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Gilmour, Lt. -Colonel John||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Glyn, Major R.||Morison, T. B. (Inverness)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Gaff, Sir Park||Morrison, H. (Salisbury)||Waddington. R.|
|Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir E. A.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Wallace, J.|
|Grant, James Augustus||Mount, William Arthur||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke, Trent)|
|Greenwood. Colonel Sir Hamar||Murray, Lt.-col- Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)||Wardle, George J.|
|Greame, Major P. Lloyd||Murray, Hon. G. (St. Rollox)||Waring, Major Walter|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Weigall, Lt.-Colonel W. E. G. A.|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Nail, Major Joseph||Whitla, Sir William|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Hacking, Colonel D. H.||Nicholson, R. (Doncaster)||Wilson. Col. M. (Richmond, Yorks.)|
|Hailwood, A.||Nicholson, W. (Petersfield)||Wood, Major Hon. E. (Ripon)|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Palmer, Major G. M. (Jarrow)||Wood. Sir H. K. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hanna, G. B.||Palmer, Brig.-Gen. G. (Westbury)||Wood. Sir J. (Stalybridge and Hyde)|
|Hanson, Sir Charles||Parker, James||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Harmsworth, Cecll R. (Luton, Beds.)||pearce, Sir William||Yeo, Sir Allred William|
|Haslam, Lewis||Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Young, Lt.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Hennessy, Major G.||Perkins, Walter Frank||Young, William (Perth and Kinross)|
|Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||pownall, Lt.-Col. Assheton||Younger, Sir George|
|Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Pratt, John William|
|Hilder, Lt.-Colonel F.||Prescott, Major W. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord E.|
|Hoare, Lt.-Colonel Sir Samuel J. G.||Purchase, H. G.||Talbot and Captain F. Guest.|
|Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. (Midlothian)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hallas, E.||Richardson. R. (Houghton)|
|Bell, James (Ormskirk)||Hancock, John George||Rose. Frank H.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Harbison, T. J. S.||Short, A. (Wednesbury)|
|Bramsdon, Sir T.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Widnes)||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Briant, F.||Hirst, G. H.||Thorne, G. R. (Woiverhampton)|
|Cairns. John||Hogge, J. M.||Thorne, W. (Plaistow)|
|Cape, Tom||Kelly, Edward J. (Donegal, E.)||Tootill, Robert|
|Carter, W. (Mansfield)||Kenworthy, Lieut. -Commander||Walsh, S. (Ince, Lanes.)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kenyon, Barnet||Waterson, A. E.|
|Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe)||Lawson, John||Williams. A. (Consett, Durham)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Williams, Col. Penry (Mlddlesbro, E.)|
|Edwards, C. (Bedwellty)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Wood, Major Mackenzie (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)|
|Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)||Newbould, A. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Guest, J. (Hemswwth, York)||Onions, Alfred||Mr. Devlin and Captain Redmond,|
Second Resolution read a second time.