§ 41. Commander Noble
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether a decision has yet been reached with regard to paying a gratuity to those who sign on again after 12 years' service, as opposed to those who do not, as is the present practice.
Various alternatives for encouraging a greater number of men to re-engage on completing their first continuous service engagement are still under consideration. As I informed the hon. and gallant Member on 19th October, an announcement will be made as soon as decisions are taken.
§ Commander Noble
Can the Minister answer the point raised in the Question 2653 categorically, "Yes," or "No"? It does seem ridiculous that the Navy should be suffering for an arrangement which, although it suits the other two Services, is not suitable for the Navy?
No, Sir. The present position is that in fact gratuities are paid when the men leave, but we are considering this question, along with others, with a view to seeing what can be done in order to encourage men to stay in.
§ Sir R. Ross
Will the Minister bear in mind that this is a vital question as regards the Navy but not with regard to either the Army or the Air Force? It is not a question to be solved on the principle of uniformity between the Services.
Mr. J. P. L. Thomas
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether there has been any improvement with regard to the question of re-engagement in general since he reported to the House last March that only a quarter of those eligible were in fact re-engaging?
I cannot say that the position is altogether satisfactory, but I have no detailed figures before me. If the hon. Member will put down a Question I will give him the actual figures.