Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £25,172,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense of non-effective services, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1959.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Steele
I wish to ask a question with reference to Vote 13 on the item which deals with gratuities, terminal grants, etc., on retirement. Provision is made this year for £4¾ million, whereas last year the amount was £1¼ million. I appreciate that no doubt provision is being made here for the retirements which will become effective as outlined in Command Paper 321. The Parliamentary Secretary might be able to say whether this is just the first stage in the retirements, and what that stage comprises. Will the next year see its finish? How much more will be expected? How much more money will be expected to meet the requirement under Command Paper 321? Can the hon. Gentleman give any information about what is happening?
In the debate on the Navy Estimates and up to the present nothing has been said about Command Paper 321 and how this is working out. I do not think any hon. Member, on either side of the Committee, has had any complaint about the provisions which have been made. It would be useful if the Parliamentary Secretary would tell us what is happening and what stage the operation has reached.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ Mr. R. Allan
The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele) asked about gratuities and quoted an amount of £4¾ million, which is almost exactly the same as the amount which is going in gratuities; but over and above that, although in the 1957–58 Estimates we did not make provision because we did not know what would be needed, in the Supplementary Estimate we asked for another £4.2 million. Up-to-date £5.2 million has been spent on gratuities. In the run-down scheme, by the end of the month, 300 officers and 500 ratings will have left the Service, and by the end of 1958 another 550 officers and 500 ratings will go. That means that by the end of this year all the ratings who are to go under the premature retirement scheme 659 will have gone; but not all the officers will have gone. There will be about 1,000 officers still to go, because premature retirements bear more heavily on officers than on ratings. It will be spread over the next five years. We hope it will be a continuous process, although, unfortunately, it is not possible to give dates. Apart from the figures I have mentioned, we shall probably ask for about £10 million to cover all the final requirements.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That a sum not exceeding £25,172,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense of non-effective services, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1959.