HC Deb 10 July 1957 vol 573 cc371-2
35. Mr. Bottomley

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the number of personnel seeking discharge from the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines for the three-month period ending 31st July; and how this compares with the same period for last year.

Mr. Soames

The number of applications received in the three months ending 30th June were: 1956, 268; 1957, 622. These two figures are not directly comparable. The 1956 figure, which relates to the period immediately following the pay improvements was lower than normal; the 1957 figure follows six months' suspension of discharges not based on urgent compassionate grounds.

Mr. Bottomley

On the other hand, a good many are delaying seeking discharge from the Navy because of the promise of compensation. Does not this emphasise the need for this question to be further considered? I imagine that the Parliamentary Secretary must be very troubled about what is going on in the way of losing personnel from the Navy and the Marines.

Mr. Soames

As the Minister of Defence has frequently told the House, all the details of the compensation will be given as soon as is humanly possible.

Mr. T. Williams

Why is the Admiralty so hesitant about releasing men, particularly when there are very painful domestic circumstances, and when we could recruit a few such men to the mining industry, which so urgently needs extra labour?

Mr. Soames

I think that that is another question, but I do not believe the Admiralty applies any more rigid rules in respect of compassionate discharges than the other Services do. The rules are more or less the same throughout the three Services.