HC Deb 06 May 1924 vol 173 cc204-6

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, seeing that a young officer joining the cavalry must have his pay supplemented by £300 a year and upwards, according to the regiment, and that there is a shortage of available young men at the present time able and willing to serve their country owing to the lack of prospect offered them, he will state what steps, if any, he proposes taking in the matter?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. S. Walsh)

My hon. Friend raises a question of policy which I cannot handle within the limits of a Parliamentary answer, but I would point out that the Army Council are acting upon the recommendations of Lord Haldane's Committee on the supply and training of officers, and that in accordance with those recommendations increased rewards to talent will be offered, including scholarships, tenable by young officers after being commissioned. The cost of training also will be reduced, and new sources of supply of officers will, I trust, be obtained. I have every hope that as these measures come into operation, and as the present advantages of the Army as a permanent career come to be better realised, the shortage of candidates which has recently been experienced will disappear.

16. Colonel Sir CHARLES YATE

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the reduction of 5½ per cent. on the whole pay of officers, which is to come into effect on the 1st July next, is limited to pay only, or whether it applies to retired pay and pensions as well; and, if so, what is the authority on which this reduction of pensions is based?


As I have informed the hon. and gallant Member privately, the reduction is not limited to pay only but extends to retired pay as well. The authority is the Royal Warrant granting increased rates, which was published as Army Order 324 of 1919, and which is now embodied in Article 2 of the Pay Warrant, 1922. The Warrant stated that the new rates of pay, half-pay and retired pay which it authorised would be subject, after five years, to revision, either upwards or downwards, to an extent not exceeding 20 per cent., according as the cost of living might rise or fall. Perhaps I might inform my hon. and gallant Friend that the great majority of the officers will receive, even if the full reduction of 20 per cent. were to take place, an amount of pension considerable in excess of the pension scale of 1914, or that which they were receiving previous to the increase in 1919.


Considering that these pensions will be increased considerably above what they were in pre-War days, will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the question of the privates and the non-commissioned officers?


That does not arise out of the question.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that there should be reductions while Members of this House have voted themselves first-class railway passes and allowances of Income Tax on the ground of the increased cost of living?


That does not arise out of the question.