HC Deb 12 April 1949 vol 463 cc2615-6
3. Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth

asked the Secretary of State for War at what age officers of the Army serving on Regular and emergency commissions, respectively, become eligible for the increased rate of marriage allowances.

Mr. Shinwell

Emergency commissioned officers, except those whose Army service began on or after 1st January, 1947, and Regular officers without exception, are eligible under the normal rules for the increased rate of officers' marriage allowance if aged 25 or over and for the increased rate of warrant officers' marriage allowance if under 25.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Why is it necessary to discriminate in this respect at all between two classes of officers? Is the intention to give one class more than is needed for the purpose of the allowance or to give the other class less than is needed?

Mr. Shinwell

The discrimination is based on the differentiation between Regular officers and National Service officers.

Mr. Lipson

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the time is long overdue when all married officers should receive this marriage allowance, and also that the War Office should cease to arrogate to itself the right to determine when a man should get married?

Mr. Shinwell

What I have been asked to do is to reply to the Question on the Order Paper, and not to indicate my agreement with the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Lipson

It might embarrass the Government.

General Sir George Jeffreys

Is it not a fact that young men as married officers are not very desirable officers in a unit, and has not that something to do with the reason why this differentiation is made?

Mr. Shinwell

Of course, there is a rule that certain emoluments do not apply to officers who marry under the age of 25, but so far as I am personally concerned I will do nothing to discourage anyone marrying who is under 25.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why officers who are charged with the responsibilities of training and caring for their men and of inspiring discipline in them are at the same time not considered eligible to marry and bring up a family? What is the discrimination?

Mr. Shinwell

Any officer of the required age and in the proper circumstances is eligible to marry.

Sir T. Moore

Oh, no, for he does not get the allowance.