HC Deb 14 February 1951 vol 484 cc399-400
51. Dr. Hill

asked the Minister of Defence whether he is aware that married National Service medical officers, aged 25 years or over, receive a marriage allowance of 12s. 6d. a day, as compared with a corresponding allowance of 18s. 6d. a day payable to short-service or permanent officers; and whether he will take steps to remove this anomaly, having regard to the fact that the upper age limit for the conscription of medical practitioners is 30 years, as against 26 years for other sections of the community.

Mr. Shinwell

The increases in marriage allowance given to regular officers in November, 1948, were intended to meet certain exceptional expenses which are not normally incurred by National Service officers, whether medical officers or not. It is, therefore, not possible to treat medical officers in this respect more favourably than other National Service officers.

Dr. Hill

Bearing in mind that the upper age for conscription for medical' officers is 30, and, further, that the cost of maintaining a wife, special expenses and other burdens is no less to a National Service officer than to a short-term officer, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the position?

Mr. Shinwell

We went into the matter very carefully indeed, I can assure the hon. Member, in order to avoid all possible hardship. The fact is that the liabilities of the Regular medical officer are much more severe than in the case of the National Service officer.

Mr. Wood

Can it be made easier for these medical officers to obtain short-service promotions?

Mr. Shinwell

That seems to be another question.

Mr. Low

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise the enormously important part that these National Service officers play in the Army, the Air Force and, I believe, the Navy, and ought he not to bear in mind the point put by my hon. Friend just now? Will he not reconsider this point?

Mr. Shinwell

I join in the tribute that the hon. Member pays to the National Service medical officers, but undoubtedly there is a difference in the liabilities incurred.

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