HC Deb 27 July 1944 vol 402 cc895-6
64. Lieut.-Colonel Windsor-Clive

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in a unit, whose name has been communicated to him, certain lance-sergeants have been compelled to revert to a lower grade and lose pay through no fault of their own; and whether he will arrange that they shall retain their appointments and pay pending absorption in the present establishment.

Mr. A. Henderson

The appointment of lance-sergeant is in the nature of a paid probationary appointment liable to relinquishment at any time. In the unit mentioned, and in some other units of the same type the number of such appointments has been found to be excessive and reductions have been made to bring the numbers down to the scale considered applicable. In these circumstances, I regret that it is not possible to permit the non-commissioned officers concerned to retain their appointments in excess of the approved scale, although I would agree that such reversion is not due to any fault on their part.

Lieut.-Colonel Windsor-Clive

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that these non-commissioned officers are doing exactly the same duties as they were doing under the former establishment? That being so, is it not rather unfortunate that they should have to lose their rank?

Mr. Henderson

I should like to make inquiries into that point.

Mr. Buchanan

Is the Minister aware that this kind of thing is unfair to the men, and that while he says that it does other people who do not know the facts think that it does? Will he not keep the men in their ranks?

Mr. Henderson

I cannot give an undertaking to that effect.

Mr. John Dugdale

Is not this an example of the War Office getting work at cut rates?

Mr. Henderson

That is not the fact.