§ 61. Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office what would be the annual charge to-day of meeting the claims of the Army ranker officers, credit being given for the adjustment of pensions and gratuities?
§ Mr. HACKING
In 1923 it was estimated that the cost of meeting the claims of the ranker officers and the consequential claims which would arise, was a diminishing annual charge of £675,000 without including pensions for widows or dependants. To revise that estimate to-day would involve knowing the number and ages of surviving claimants, and also of the widows and dependants of claimants, and similar details of the other classes who would claim parallel treatment; and since the claim was decided on its merits and without reference to the cost involved, I should not feel justified in attempting the large task of obtaining the data for a recalculation.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the average age of these officers now is 62 years, that they are rapidly dying off, and that therefore the charge has undoubtedly become very much smaller than it was in 1923, when the committee sat; and will he not consider asking the association of ex-officers to give him the information which he considers it would be too expensive for him to get?
§ Mr. HACKING
I agree that the charge would be much less now than in 1923, but I have told my hon. and gallant Friend that the claim was refused on its merits, and the merits are still the same.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND - TROYTE
Cannot my right hon. Friend give an answer to the question as asked and not ride off on a lot of outside matters?