HL Deb 07 January 1915 vol 18 cc337-8

THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether the Treasury had arrived at a decision as to the system of bounty which it was announced On March 17, 1914, was to be substituted for naval prize money. The noble Earl said: My Lords, on March 17, 1914, the First Lord of the Admiralty announced that it was the intention of the Admiralty to abolish the system then in force of prize money and to substitute for it a system of Bounties. Accordingly an Order in Council was passed abolishing the system then in existence, but the new system was not set up. On August 31 I asked in this House a question on this matter, and Lord Wimborne answered— The old system has been done away with and a new one set up, but the exact form which it will take will be announced in due course. Now here we are in January, 1915, nearly a year since the change was proposed, and nothing has been done. I am glad to think that the amount which I suppose at some time will have to be divided is considerable. So far as I am aware, however, no announcement has been made by the Admiralty, and we have to be content with the statement that "the exact form will be announced in due course." What we want to know is, when will "due course" arrive?


My Lords, the Admiralty have placed before the Treasury a scheme for the establishment of a Naval Prize Fund and for a revised method of distribution in accordance with the decision embodied in the Order of His Majesty in Council of August 28 last. Under this scheme it is proposed to distribute gratuities on a scale generally corresponding to the old system of distribution to the ships' companies, but modified to suit the new conditions of the Naval Service. Up to the present time only a small number of prizes have been finally dealt with by the Court and sold, and it is not possible now to make any statement as to when distribution can be made or the amount of such distribution. I can assure the noble Earl that this question, which is complex and difficult, is engaging the close attention of the two Departments concerned—that is to say, the Admiralty and the Treasury. But after a close consideration of the question I think that I may say this, that everybody is agreed that periodical distribution, say every three months, is quite impracticable, and that some other method of distribution than that will have to be agreed to.


That answer is not in words the same but is practically the same as that which I received on August 31 last, when the announcement was already several months due. Certainly the Admiralty and the Treasury seem to me to be proceeding at a very slow rate.