HL Deb 17 December 1946 vol 144 cc1072-3

6.43 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this Bill is a very short Bill dealing with a very small point, and I shall endeavour to explain its purpose in a few sentences. Until recently the periods which men in the various Fighting Services had to serve in order to qualify for pension differed. In the Royal Marines, as for the Army, it was twenty-one years. In the Royal Navy it was twenty-two. In accordance with the general policy of making conditions of service in the Armed Forces as similar as is convenient and possible, it was proposed in the White Paper on the Post-War Pay Code, which was presented by His Majesty's Government in December of last year, that the period of qualification for pension should become twenty-two years in all three Services. The Code therefore provided for a basic scale of pension and period of service to enable pensions to be paid.

Under the Royal Marines Act of 1857 a member of the Royal Marine Forces may re-engage for such term of service as with the term of service under his first enlistment shall not exceed twenty-one years. Hence, in order that a member of the Royal Marines may serve the full twenty-two years which will now be necessary to enable him to qualify for pension, it is necessary to amend the Act of 1857 to enable the period of his re-engagement and the period of his term of service after his first enlistment to be extended to a total of twenty-two years. This is the sole purpose of the Bill. Corresponding arrangements have already been made for the Army and the Royal Air Force by an amendment to the Army and Air Force Annual Act, 1946. The Bill therefore is essential for equality between the three Services in this matter. I am sure that noble Lords will agree that there is no reason for any difference in this respect between the Royal Marines, on the one hand, and the Navy, the Army and the Air Force on the other hand.. I therefore ask your Lordships to give the Bill a Second Reading.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Viscount Hall.)


Before we give the Bill a Second Reading, may I ask my noble friend one question? These gallant Marines are to serve an extra year to qualify for pension; Will they then get a higher pension?


Yes, I should like to assure the noble Lord that provision in the new Code does give an increased pension.


I am much obliged.

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.