HC Deb 08 February 1944 vol 396 cc1606-8
16. Major Kimball

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that officers and warrant officers serving in the M.E.F. who were receiving full rates of colonial and field allowances are now only receiving Mediterranean allowance since 1st December 1943, which means a reduction of from 2S. 6d. to 3d. per day according to their rank; and will he take the necessary action to increase the Mediterranean allowance scale as from 1st December, 1943, so that this reduction is restored.

21. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for War what are the reasons why Mediterranean allowance has been substituted for field allowance and colonial allowance.

Sir J. Grigg

Mediterranean allowance was introduced in order to remove anomalies of treatment and complications of administration arising from the application in the Mediterranean area of the normal rules for the issues of colonial and field allowances. The changes made benefit junior officers serving in operational areas and sick and wounded in hospital. On the other hand some disadvantage as compared with previous treatment accrues to senior officers in operational areas and to all officers and warrant officers serving outside operational areas who are living under canvas or in unfurnished accommodation. The latter is the class to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. This consolidation of colonial and field allowances was introduced in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air and with the General and Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief in the Mediterranean area. It is not proposed to cancel the consolidation or to alter the amounts payable.

Major Kimball

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that it is either fair or necessary at this stage of the war to make this reduction, which affords a negligible saving of money and arouses a good deal of bad feeling on the part of the people affected?

Sir J. Grigg

My hon. and gallant friend is quite mistaken. There is no saving. On the whole, the average cost is increased.

Mr. Douglas

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a captain gets a reduction of 17s. 6d. a week, though his expenses remain precisely the same?

Sir J. Grigg

I very much doubt whether the hon. Member's figures are accurate.

Mr. Quintin Hogg

In the course of the consultations in which my right hon. Friend indulged in arriving at this decision, has he considered the high range of prices ruling in the Middle East and the great financial strain on people who have to live there?

Sir J. Grigg

On the whole, junior officers get an increase.

Mr. Hogg

What about warrant officers?

Sir J. Grigg

They get an increase, too.