68. Vice-Admiral Taylor
asked the Minister of Food whether the officers and men of the Mercantile Marine are allowed extra rations when on leave, in the same way as these extra rations are allowed to the officers and men of the Navy, Army and Air Force?
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
Officers and men of the merchant navy are allowed the full rations prescribed under the Merchant Shipping Act when they are on service. As the rations supplied to adult civilians are adequate I do not think it is necessary to prescribe an additional ration for seamen when they are on leave in this country or between voyages.
Are not the officers and men of the other Services given extra rations while on leave?
§ Mr. Morrison
Yes, that is so. It is a condition of service of a man in the fighting Services that he should be entitled to his scale of rations, no matter where he is stationed.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the conditions of service of the men in the Mercantile Marine are just as arduous and strenuous as those in the fighting Services, and if the officers and men in the Navy, Army and Air Force are entitled to extra rations when on leave, are not men of the Mercantile Marine also entitled to them?
§ Mr. Morrison
I am grateful for the service of the Mercantile Marine and when the men are on service they get a special scale which is in excess of the ordinary adult ration. The position hitherto adopted is that as they are not members of the fighting Services they do not get the same ration at home as they do on service. My mind, however, is not closed in the matter.
In view of the fact that the men in the Mercantile Marine are very much in the fighting Services in this war, will my right hon. Friend give this matter his sympathetic consideration?