HC Deb 14 December 1949 vol 470 cc2649-50
33. Mr. George Ward

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty when the provisions of the Prize Act, 1948, will be fully implemented and the funds finally distributed.

The Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. John Dugdale)

As I informed the hon. and gallant Member for Edinburgh, West (Lieut.-Commander Hutchison) on 9th November, the distribution of prize money to serving officers and men is complete. It is hoped to complete payment to ex-Service officers and men by the end of April, 1950. As the House is aware, the Royal Air Force Prize Fund is being distributed to charitable and other organisations for the benefit of present and past members of the Royal Air Force and their dependants. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Air, informs me that it is hoped to make the major distribution in the near future, but that it is intended to hold a reserve to meet future claims. I understand it is not possible to give a definite date by which the final distribution will have been made.

Mr. Ward

Is it not true that this matter has been on the agenda of the Air Council for the last 18 months and has not yet been reached?

Mr. Dugdale

The hon. Member will have to put down a Question about that matter to the Secretary of State for Air.

Commander Noble

Is the Minister aware that he told me a few months ago that the maximum delay in paying prize money would be in the neighbourhood of five months. Under the terms of the answer he has now given, it may well be that ex-Service personnel will have to wait for nearly a year?

Mr. Dugdale

Payments are being made fairly rapidly, but as I have said they are completed so far as the actual serving personnel are concerned.