HC Deb 31 March 1949 vol 463 cc1442-3
46. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Prime Minister if he will consider the setting up of an all-party committee to investigate the pay and conditions of officers and other ranks in the Armed Forces, in view of the present unsatisfactory position which is resulting in a lowering of morale of those already in the Services and the failure of the recruiting campaign.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Cooper

Since the Service man has no independent trade union to represent his case, does not the Prime Minister agree that confidence would be restored in the Forces if it were seen that such an independent committee as that suggested in the Question had been set up to investigate the matter, in view of the loss of faith which has occurred because the new pay code in some cases shows an actual loss?

The Prime Minister

I do not accept the hon. Member's allegations. I am quite sure it would be entirely wrong to have the pay and conditions of officers considered by an all-party committee of this House. That would be quite wrong. The Government must take responsibility in this matter.

Earl Winterton

In view of the fact that this is not a party political matter, as shown in every defence Debate and in Debates on all three Services, could the Prime Minister give some assurance that there is some committee or some body in the Government at a high level considering this urgent question, especially in view of the fact that Ministers have said they are giving consideration to it?

The Prime Minister

This matter is under constant consideration.

Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth

In view of the failure of the recruiting campaign, which has been referred to, and the number of Regular officers seeking to retire, would the Prime Minister say what action he is proposing to take to put the matter right?

The Prime Minister

That is another matter. The hon. Member's assumption that it is necessarily entirely a matter of pay, is incorrect.