HL Deb 27 July 1915 vol 19 cc724-6

LORD HARRIS rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether it is the case that any medical officers of the Territorial Force, commissioned since mobilisation, are receiving in pay higher remuneration than medical officers of the same rank serving in the Territorial Force before mobilisation are receiving in pay and allowances; if so, whether the inequality has existed since the date of mobilisation; what is the justification for such inequality, and whether it is intended to rectify the inequality, and if so, from what date.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is the third time that this subject has been brought before the House, but it was only informally raised on the two previous occasions. I have to apologise to my noble friend Lord Newton for indicating that I expected him to be able to answer this Question when he replied to one put by Lord Midleton last week. Lord midleton's Question did not really apply to this matter, and therefore it was not reasonable to have expected that the noble Lord would be able to answer it on that occasion. I can assure my noble friend that I have the utmost sympathy with him when he is not able to answer supplementary Questions. I have myself experienced the difficulty of having to respond for a Government Department without having a room in it or even a box there in which to keep papers, and I know how answers to Questions are thrown at the head of the unfortunate man who has to give the answers without any explanation as to how they are arrived at. The point which I am raising has already been brought to the notice of the House. If it is the case that there are these medical officers receiving lower pay than the men who came forward subsequent to mobilisation, then I submit that the more patriotic man is being penalised, and I cannot understand what justification there is for this treatment. This is not an isolated case. I am afraid there are other cases where men who came in after mobilisation are receiving very much better pay than men who were in the Force before.


My Lords, I must express my gratitude for the consideration which my noble friend has shown me with regard to this Question. The position as between the Territorial Force medical officer and the civilian practitioner who has been granted a temporary commission since mobilisation is as follows. The Territorial Force officer is paid at the same rate as the Regular Royal Army Medical Corps officer, except that unembodied service does not count for increase of pay in the same rank. Both Territorial and Regular officers of junior rank are paid less than civilian surgeons commissioned as lieutenants, Royal Army Medical Corps, serving on a special war contract. This inequality—I am afraid it must be admitted that it is an inequality—has existed since the date of mobilisation, and I am afraid that it is inevitable in a case of war. When war breaks out, as I have had to point out on a previous occasion, the Government are obliged to make concessions which are not necessary in other cases; and I may remind my noble friend of an analogous case which I replied upon the other day, the case of the outfit allowance to Territorial officers after the outbreak of war. I find it very difficult to see how this inequality, or injustice if you prefer so to call it, is to be rectified, but I should like to remind my noble friend that a concession of some value has been made to the Royal Army Medical Corps Territorial subalterns. In view of the admirable services which they have rendered lieutenants who have completed six months war service have been promoted to the rank of captain; and, as I informed my noble friend the other day, I believe I am correct in stating that the question is still under consideration with the Treasury. I am afraid I am unable to give any further information on the subject.


There is one other question which I hope will also be considered. Surely the bonus which is to be given at the conclusion of the war to all officers who joined after war broke out will be awarded also to those medical officers serving side by side with them who had given their services in the Territorial Force before mobilisation?


I shall be happy to bring that point before the proper authorities.