HC Deb 26 June 1919 vol 117 cc330-2
71. Lieut.-Colonel MALONE

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that Captain Bather's Committee, which wag appointed under Admiralty Weekly Order No. 1,339 to consider the pay and conditions of officers' stewards and cooks, has not invited any suggestions from loyal lower deck committees representing these classes of ratings; and whether he will take steps for this to be done before their Lordships accept the Report from this Committee?


The Committee had before it the requests placed by representatives of this branch before the Jerram Committee, to which also Officers Chief Steward Penny was attached as advisory representative. As these requests were of quite recent dates and exceedingly comprehensive, it was not considered necessary to call upon representatives again. I might add, however, that the Committee visited Portsmouth Naval Barracks and interviewed the messman at great length as regards the position of the class. The Board have not yet considered the Committee's Report.

Lieut.-Colonel MALONE

Is it the deliberate intention of the Government to ignore this Report?


It is not. These men were interviewed at length.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has yet had an opportunity to consider the letter addressed to him by the members of the Dockyard and Naval Parliamentary Committee asking that the new scale of pay may be antedated to 1st October, 1918; that the revised scale of pensions may apply to all pensioners on the rolls; that in certain conditions widows' pensions and compassionate allowances be granted; and that the limitation placed by the Government upon the removal of discharged or invalided men be changed from one to three months; and whether he can say what course he proposes to take in the matter?


My hon. Friend has doubtless received the reply to this letter. As stated therein, the Board have decided to revise the conditions applying to the free conveyance of men and their families to their future place of employment on being discharged to pension or invalided, so as to admit of such conveyance within a period of six months from the date of final discharge or invaliding, providing that the man's intention to avail himself of the privilege is notified within one month of his discharge or invaliding. Further, as I have informed my hon. Friend, the position of the older pensioners is under consideration. As regards the other matters, the Admiralty are not in a position to announce any change in the decisions arrived at by His Majesty's Government.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the compassionate allowance under consideration?


No. All the other points are covered by the last sentence—that is to say, I am not in a position to announce any change in the decisions arrived at by His Majesty's Government.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty when the Government's decision with regard to pay and pensions of officers in the Royal Navy will be circulated?


The Admiralty recommendations are before the Cabinet, and my hon. Friend need not apprehend any delay in the announcement of their decision.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give the date when he expects that decision?


I am afraid I cannot do that. The matter is not in my hands. But I hope it will be an early date


Before we are asked to discuss the Naval Estimates?


Oh, certainly!


Certainly before the General Election.

Viscount CURZON

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable anxiety on the part of naval officers that, owing to the delay in the decision of the Admiralty in regard to pay, they will not be able to take part in the Victory Loan?


Yes. I have had my attention, drawn to the fact that naval officers desire to invest in the Victory War Loan. That is a very powerful argument that there should be expedition.