§ 14. Sir B. FALLE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that the estate of every man of the lower deck who was killed on service during the War was credited with the full amount of prize money, that is, prize money for 30 months' sea service, but that those men who were wounded, or injured by shell-fire, torpedo, or the like, and who, having escaped with their lives, were discharged as invalids, are only being given the proportion of prize money due to their length of active service during the War; and if he will remedy this state of things?
§ Mr. AMERY
Under the Proclamation of the 10th February, 1919, the maximum rates of prize money which could have been earned, having regard to the date of entry, are payable not only to the estates of those who lost their lives in action or other casualty whilst on qualifying service, but also to those who, as a result of wounds or injuries so received, were invalided or were certified as medically fit for shore duty only.
§ 16. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the reasons for the delay in distributing the balance of prize money due from the late War; whether a further payment on account can be made; how many persons are engaged in administering this fund; who is at their head; what is the total of the salaries paid to these persons; and whether these salaries are chargeable to the Prize Fund?
§ Mr. AMERY
Prize proceeds can only become available for distribution as the accounts relating to the several seizures are completed by the various Prize Courts concerned, and the balances are transferred to the Naval Prize Fund. The collection of such proceeds is being made as rapidly as circumstances permit. In view of the large number of beneficiaries (nearly 500,000) and the labour involved in each distribution, the accretion of a very considerable amount is necessary before a further payment is justifiable, and it is not considered that such further distribution (which will be final) will be practicable until the early part of next year. The branch of the Accountant - General's Department charged with the administration of the fund comprises about 180 persons, but it is responsible not only for the investigation of claims and payment of prize money, but also for the record of services for the determination of claims to medals, etc. Their salaries, amounting approximately to £42,000 a year, are not chargeable against the Prize Fund.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Will the hon. Gentleman reconsider the decision not to make further payments on account, in view of the fact that many of the people to whom prize money is due are in a state of the greatest distress at the present moment?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is it not a fact that some of these men would rather wait for the medals than wait for the prize money?