HC Deb 17 November 1953 vol 520 c1557
35. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence the present position in the three Services, including the Royal Marines, for discharge by purchase; and what are the detailed costs for each rank.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (Mr. Nigel Birch)

Discharge by purchase was re-introduced by the Army and the Royal Air Force on 1st October, 1953, under the same conditions, with one minor exception, as obtained before its suspension on 1st October, 1950. With regard to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, applications are only allowed on compassionate grounds; this was also the case between the end of the Second World War and 1950. I will circulate full particulars in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Brigadier Clarke

Can my hon. Friend tell me whether it costs more for a man from overseas to buy his discharge than for a man in England?

Mr. Birch

As about four pages of the OFFICIAL REPORT will be taken up by this matter, I shall be grateful if my hon. and gallant Friend will study them.

Following are the particulars: In all three Services discharge by purchase is a privilege except that in the Army and the Royal Air Force a recruit in his first three months of service has a statutory right to purchase his discharge. The conditions under which the privilege is granted vary between the Services. The Army and the Royal Air Force normally allow discharge by purchase unless a man belongs to one of a number of categories of tradesmen in which the exigencies of the Service make it essential to retain personnel. These categories, which vary from time to time, are announced periodically. There is a further important restriction in that men with more than three months' and less than three years' service are not permitted to purchase discharge. The reason for the prohibition is explained in the Notes on costs of discharge in the Army and Royal Air Force. In the Royal Navy discharge by purchase is permitted only where there are very strong compassionate grounds. The variation between the practice of the Services, which is perhaps more apparent in theory than in practice, is dictated by their current manpower requirements. Tables are attached showing (with Notes) the sums payable in order to purchase discharge in the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, respectively.
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