HC Deb 26 February 1952 vol 496 cc918-9
17. Mr. Alport

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in the event of an officer continuing his service after becoming eligible for a terminal grant and dying before this service ends, the grant for which he has become eligible is paid to his estate.

Mr. Head

No, Sir. A terminal grant is part of the award to an officer on his retirement, and is not an award for which he qualifies after a certain period of service.

Mr. Alport

Is not the fact that if a man has died it automatically means the termination of his service; and in those circumstances surely his estate should receive the award he has earned as a result of his service in the Army?

Mr. Head

No, Sir. The object of this payment is to enable an officer who has finished his service to have some capital sum with which to start up a new job, to buy a house, or start a business. The question of his death is another matter, covered by a different form of award.

Captain Robert Ryder

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that if an officer is killed in these circumstances this terminal grant is needed to help his next of kin?

Mr. Head

The question of dependants and wives of officers killed is a different subject.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that it is in the highest degree inequitable that the Government should make a profit out of a man's premature death; and that the question being put to him is that, where a man who might have retired and taken his grant has stayed on, and therefore not taken it, it is quite unfair that he should be deprived of the benefits of what by contract he has in all substance already earned?

Mr. Head

There are two questions here. The first is to ensure that when an officer leaves the Army he will be able to find a job and start up a career in civilian life, and that is what this grant is aimed at. The second question is that his dependants should be looked after, and that is a different matter, which comes under a different system.