HC Deb 22 April 1964 vol 693 cc1293-4
28. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in HANSARD an approximate assessment of the comparative value of the emoluments of the various national contingents, including the British contingent, serving under United Nations command in Cyprus, taking into account scales of basic pay and allowances, deductions for pensions and national insurance, and the cost of living in their home countries.

Mr. Thorneycroft

This information is not available and could not be obtained without considerable research into not only the pay codes but also the cost of living of the countries concerned.

Mr. Driberg

Why is such very considerable research needed simply to ask the embassies concerned—or however it would be done—to provide this information?

Mr. Thorneyeroft

I can answer for what happens in this country, but to have to answer about the basic scales of pay, allowances, deductions for pensions, national insurance, and the cost of living in a range of other countries really requires quite a lot of research.

Mrs. Emmet

Does not this underline the supplementary question which I put a few moments ago? I hope that my right hon. Friend will consult with his colleagues about this and really press the matter at the General Assembly of the United Nations next autumn.

Mr. Thorneycroft

I will certainly do that. I fully recognise that it would be much simpler from my point of view if they were all paid the same, but I hope that the House will recognise my difficulty in this and the need to try to pay people, serving overseas from this country the same rates whether they are in Borneo or Cyprus.

33. Mr. Kershaw

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he is aware that some United Nations forces in Cyprus, other than the British, operate duty-free;hops for their troops; and what steps he proposes to take to provide similar facilities for British forces.

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am informed that ail the United Nations contingents are operating their own canteen facilities. This includes N.A.A.F.I. in the case of the British contingent. All these canteens enjoy the benefit of duty-free goods under the Status of Forces Agreement with the United Nations or the Cyprus Treaty.

Mr. Kershaw

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that the Canadian troops said that they would not come unless they could have a duty-free shop, and they pay very much less for their stuff than our troops do? I recognise the difficulties in this matter from my right hon. Friend's point of view, but will he make representations to the Cyprus Government about it? Why is it that only British troops seem willing to do their duty without special facilities or bribes?

Mr. Thorneycroft

There is a complication here. One lot of duty-free entry is secured under the Status of Forces Agreement and another under the Cyprus Treaty. There is something in what my hon. Friend says. I shall have a look at it and see whether there are difficulties which I can iron out.