§ Mr. Shinwell
(by Private Notice) asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he proposes to take any action regarding the effect on the Armed Forces of increased taxation imposed since the outbreak of war?
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Kingsley Wood)
Yes, Sir. In consulta 422 tion with my right hon. Friends the Ministers in charge of the Service Departments, I have given consideration to the representations that have been made from time to time regarding the effect on members of the Forces of the additional taxation on tobacco and beer imposed since the beginning of the war, as well as of increased postal and railway charges. In addition, I have borne in mind the increase in the cost of living, which in certain respects also affects members of the Forces.
I have come to the conclusion that in all the circumstances alleviation is warranted, and that the fairest method of according it would be by way of grant of increased pay, as a purely war-time-measure. It is, therefore, proposed to make an increase in pay of 6d. a day to warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men. With an increase of pay, the sailor, soldier or airman is thus left entirely free to decide for himself to what purpose it should be devoted.
The cost of this additional grant, which will be brought into operation, I hope, at the end of the month, will be in the region of £9,000,000 a year for each million men. With the large numbers at present in the Armed Forces, the House will appreciate that the total cost is considerable, and I think it can well be regarded as a fair and generous settlement of the matters I have mentioned.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that his decision will give general satisfaction to the men concerned?