HC Deb 09 February 1954 vol 523 cc992-3
31. Mr. George Craddock

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if, in view of the disturbance caused in the lives of young men who are conscripted intothe Forces, he will consider making a special grant of £100 after two years' service in addition to any moneys of which they may at present be in receipt; and £50 per year for every year of service thereafter to include both conscripts and volunteers.

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

No, Sir.

Mr. Craddock

Does the Minister think we are doing enough for these Servicemen? Does he not realise that these men are taken from their homes at the formative period of their lives in order that they may join the Services? Surely he agrees with me that we are getting National Service on the cheap unless we are prepared to recognise what these men do by way of protecting the State and are prepared to give them this compensation for the disturbance caused in their lives?

Mr. Birch

The hon. Member will realise that it would be very expensive, costing over £16 million, and would also throw out of gear the whole system of terminal grants to men with long service. National Servicemen enjoy rights of reinstatement in employment and also are granted paid terminal leave in order to give them a chance to get back into employment.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will my hon. Friend not agree that to the average young man and his family in this country it is a matter of great pride to be allowed to serve?

Mr. Craddick

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall take an early opportunity of raising the matter on the Adjournment.

32 .Mr. George Craddock

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence how many National Service men have been court-martialled during the past three years.

Mr. Birch

I regret that the answer to the hon. Member's Question could not be ascertained without undue labour, since the statistics kept by the Army do not distinguish between National Service men and other soldiers. In the Royal Navy and Royal Marines six, and in the R.A.F. 317, National Service men were convicted by court-martial during the past three years.

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