HC Deb 13 April 1948 vol 449 cc766-7
7. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the conditions attaching to the award of the Meritorious Service Medal, and that many old soldiers who have been recommended for this medal have to wait for many years, and sometimes until they are nearly 80 years of age before they can receive the medal with annuity, owing to the quota for their particular regiment or corps being complete; and whether he will cause the conditions governing the grant of this medal to be reviewed in such a way as to overcome this difficulty.

Mr. Shinwell

I am aware of the position, and I am considering whether arrangements could be made for the grant of the medal at an earlier stage, without waiting for an annuity to fall vacant.

Sir G. Jeffreys

While welcoming the statement that has been made by the Secretary of State may I ask him to bear in mind that the recipients, or prospective recipients, of the medal are men of exceptional character and length of service, and will he see whether it is possible to effect some improvement in their prospects of getting the medal and the annuity?

Mr. Shinwell

It is precisely because of these considerations that I gave the hon. and gallant Gentleman the answer I did.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the fact that the annuity is a very small sum, that the total number entitled to it would not affect very greatly the national finances, and that, therefore, it should not be a question of waiting for an annuity to fall vacant?

Commander Noble

Will the Minister say when he expects to reach a decision on this matter, about which I have had some correspondence with him?

Mr. Shinwell

This matter has been under consideration for some time, and I will try to expedite a decision.