HC Deb 11 July 1950 vol 477 cc1118-20
14. Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for War to what extent military training is prejudiced by the employment of troops at Smithfield market or in the London docks; and whether he will consider the grant of a special bonus to troops whilst they are so e[...]ploved.

Mr. Strachey

The employment of troops at Smithfield market has not caused grave interference with military training. Its principal effect has been to hold up the training of drivers. No special bonus will be granted to the troops involved, who are on military duty.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this duty is not only an extra to any work which normally ought to be undertaken by these troops, but is also an unpopular duty? Does he not consider, in view of the fact that it is extremely well carried out, that some recognition ought to be given to these men?

Mr. Strachey

We have discussed the question of a bonus for this kind of employment on several occasions before. We do not think it would be appropriate to make it, but I entirely agree with the hon. and gallant Member that the troops have carried out these duties exceedingly well.

Wing-Commander Hulbert

Can the Minister say, in the event of any of these troops being killed or injured by Communist agitators, that they will enjoy full pension rights.

Mr. Speaker

"In the event" is purely hypothetical.

Brigadier Rayner

Surely the Minister will agree that these constant interruptions of military training are serious and regrettable at the present time?

Mr. Strachey

They are certainly regrettable. Naturally we at the War Office dislike any interruption of military training, but it would not be true to say that the work in connection with this dispute so far—and I hope we are near the end of it—has gravely interfered with training.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Can the Minister say whether the frequent use of troops in industrial disputes may have a prejudicial effect upon recruiting?

Mr. Strachey

I do not think so.