HL Deb 20 March 1946 vol 140 cc245-96

had given Notice that he would call attention to the scales of pay and allowances for officers of the three fighting Services; and move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to open this debate on Command Paper No. 6750 which the Government has issued dealing with the "Post-War code of Pay, Allowances, Retired pay and Service Gratuities for Commissioned Officers of the Armed Forces." It seems to me that two questions must arise in all your Lordships' minds as regards the new proposals of the Government. The first question is: will the scales which the Government propose shall be paid to commissioned ranks in the Armed Forces attract the best material into those Forces? The second question is: will those scales give contentment to officers serving once they have entered the Forces? On the answer to those two questions depends the view that your Lordships will take on the proposals I put forward. I submit that the answer to these questions is only partially that the scheme can be described as an undoubted improvement upon the pre-war conditions in the Armed Forces. There is no denying that this scheme is an undoubted improvement, but at the same time it has certain anomalies and weaknesses to which I and other noble Lords wish to draw attention, and on which we hope there will be a satisfactory reply from the Minister in this debate.

I said that these scales were a considerable improvement on pre-war conditions, but I would question very much whether the right yardstick to be applied to these scales is that of pre-war conditions. I believe that the terms for a military career must be made comparable to-day not to pre-war conditions but rather to what commerce and industry can offer to men of similar talent and calibre in those other walks of life. Industry does not relate its salary level to pre-war conditions, but takes into account to-day the high taxation level and the rise in the cost of living since before the war. If you compare these scales proposed in the White Paper not with pre-war but with the standards offered by industry at the present time, I think you will say that the scheme can only be considered satisfactory when we leave the present high taxation level. When that will be the Chancellor of the Exchequer is no doubt unable to say at the present time, and I think your Lordships will agree that the position from the national financial angle looks pretty grim at the moment as regards any substantial lowering of the level of taxation.

With taxation at the present level, and with the alteration in principle brought about by the taxation of allowances with which I will deal shortly, I have grave doubts as to whether over the whole range of married officers there will not be lower emoluments after taxation has been allowed for than the present rates of pay and allowances. It is difficult for me to prove this point—and, I believe, equally difficult for the Minister to disprove it—because to embark on a comparison brings one into a whole maze of figures.

If your Lordships will turn to page 24 of the White Paper you will see Table II, the table that has gained most limelight in the Press, which has been featured mainly as the table giving the new conditions, and which undoubtedly shows considerable increases of pay. But my regret is that that table has received all the limelight, and that the table on page 28 does not give a like comparison, similar to that of Table II on page 24, of the total emoluments which a married officer can expect to receive after allowing for taxation as compared with what he is receiving at the present time. I must say I was surprised, when I was given a War Office pamphlet dealing with the pay and allowances of other ranks, called Why drop out? in which the War Office, referring to the White Paper dealing with other ranks, say, "Press comments are generally good," to find that a Government—I am sure that they will not mind my saying it—of the Left are glad to quote the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, and the Daily Telegraph in support of the favourable rates they have given to other ranks. I do hope that we are not going to get propaganda from the War Office or from any other Government Departments based on these rates in Table II on page 24, because what we would really like are the actual facts of comparison, based on the table on page 28.

Many of your Lordships have friends and relations in the Fighting Services, and I do not think I exaggerate when I say that Army officers are definitely disturbed because perhaps something like 90 per cent. of officers of middle rank who have children will actually in the future lose as compared with what they are drawing at the present time. That is the percentage stated to me by a responsible officer. Such a table as I have asked for, comparing the total emoluments after allowing for taxation with those given on page 28, would certainly either disprove that contention or prove it. Nobody would be more glad than I if such a table were produced and the misgivings of those officers could be set at rest. Married Lieutenant-Colonels of regiments with children are, I believe, the biggest losers. It seems to me peculiar and regrettable that that should be so, because, as your Lordships will agree, the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel is from the regimental or staff point of view the rank where greatest responsibility is carried by an officer. As I understand it, under these new proposals the pay of a regimental Lieutenant-Colonel, allowing for the loss of certain allowances and taking into consideration certain new allowances, will be anything from £100 to £ 130 a year less in the future than at the present time.

I know there is a cushion introduced by the Government to flatten out any effect on officers at present drawing rates of pay which would be lower under the new scale, but I submit to your Lordships that the cushion does not really answer the main question. We have to think of the officers now in junior ranks who when they are promoted will come under the new scales of pay when serving in their higher rank. This lowering of emoluments in certain ranks, and this feeling of misgiving which I have mentioned is largely brought about by the introduction of taxation of allowances. I myself think that the principle of taxation of allowances is sound. I do not believe that we should introduce into the community sections of people who on the one hand do not feel the impact of financial stringency in the country or on the other do not wish to get the benefit in the future when perhaps taxation may be lowered. But I do not agree that the principle of taxation of allowances should be put into execution unless the allowances which are to be taxed are adequate for the purpose for which they were intended after allowing for the taxation element in them. Particularly when a special allowance is made, for instance, like the special allowance for housing, I am quite sure the Government and your Lordships will agree that such an allowance should be adequate for the purpose for which it is intended; otherwise it is really better not to give such an allowance, and not to tell an officer that he is receiving some amount which is insufficient for the purpose for which you are giving it.

In the White Paper, at the bottom of page 16, it is stated that the annual cost of the new rates is estimated, for the same strength of forces, to show a 31 per cent. increase over the old rates. But a great deal of that money is going back to the Treasury by way of taxation. In 1938 there was paid out £ 9,062,000, a considerable proportion of which consisted of tax-free allowances. Of the £11,944,000 to be paid out in future a very considerable percentage is going to be subject to tax. I do not think we can say that there is a 31.8 per cent increase in the cost without taking into account the fact that a considerable amount of that will go back into the pockets of the Chancellor.

I would like to ask some specific questions of the Minister, of which I have given him notice. I hope they are questions that will be of general interest to your Lordships, and I am quite sure that the replies will be of general interest. The command pay for a Regimental Commander has hitherto been 10s. a day, 5s. of which has been taxable. That now goes and in its place there is to be an entertainment allowance of 2s. 6d. a day and qualification pay, which is dealt with on page 7 of the White Paper. This new qualification pay is on a rising scale up to the rank of Major. What I would like to ask the Minister is: Why should not that qualification pay increase as the rank of the officer increases? Surely it is when the officer gets to higher rank that his qualifications are even more important than when he is in the lower ranks. Therefore it seems to me illogical that you should reward an officer for being qualified up to the rank of Major, and afterwards you should say, "We judge your qualifications, even though you be a full Colonel, always to be on the level of a Major."

Officers to-day have official positions to keep up, and I would ask for an assurance from the Government that, when the allowances are finally settled, there will not be, if I may say so without disrespect to the Government, a stingy approach on the part of the Treasury to the scales which are put forward by the Service Departments.

Here I want to put in a plea, which is not always very popular these days, for very senior officers. It is the fashion in these days to reward—in many cases quite rightly—the lower-paid ranks, and sometimes there is an impression abroad that it is rather anti-social to reward a General or Air-Marshal or Admiral because they are really quite well off already. They are not. And I do hope that when the allowances for the Generals, for the Admirals and Royal Air Force officers of comparable rank are decided, the Government are going to take a wide and generous view of the responsibilities and personal expenditure necessarily entailed if these officers are going to fulfil their responsibilities and obligations. To give your Lordships a specific example of what can happen in the processes of government, I can remember that in the war, when great operations were proceeding in North Africa and in France, the Lord President of the Council spent three mornings adjudicating between the Service Departments and the Treasury as to what were the allowances to be paid to those in charge of our Service missions in Washington. I think it was a terrible indictment of what I would call the worst form of Treasury attitude, that we should have to have four Ministers of Cabinet rank, or their deputies, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Lord President of the Council, arguing for three mornings as to what allowances should be paid to Generals, Air Marshals and Admirals, while the greatest war the world has ever seen was in progress.

I think we might take a leaf out of Russia's book in this matter. I understand a Russian General's pay is approximately on a level with that of our Generals. I understand also that Russian 'Generals retire on full pay. Recently, when this matter was being discussed with a British General and a Russian General, it was found that, broadly speaking, the rates of pay of General Officers in the two countries were the same. But then our General said: "Of course, there is the tax to be taken into account." The Russian General said: "Tax! Who on earth should make soldiers pay tax? The whole thing is immoral." I do not say we should go so far as that, but I do ask that we should treat our Generals, Air-Marshals and Admirals on a scale which will allow them to keep up the positions we ask them to fill.

Now I want to turn for a few moments to some questions as regards entry into the Army. I have studied this White Paper and I want some more information, as I believe do many others who have studied it. It is made clear in the White Paper—and it was reinforced by what the Secretary of State for War said in the debate on the Army Estimates in another place—that entry into the commissioned ranks of the Army is mainly to be through the ranks in future. I would like to ask what length of service in the ranks is going to be required, and furthermore where a man is going to perform that enlisted service. Is service in the ranks confined to the enlisted man's time in a primary training unit and then at the Cadet Army College, or will he actually serve in the ranks of a regiment or some other military unit before going into the Army College? If the latter, at what stage will he take the examination into the Army College? The White Paper says that the entry into the Army College is at 18½to 19. Will he take the examination when he leaves his secondary or public school, and then have enlisted service and pass to the Army College with the examination behind him; or will he have to serve his enlisted period of service first, then take the examination, having probably forgotten during enlisted service a great deal of what he learned at school, and then go to the Army College?

Furthermore, if we have conscription, or at any rate so long as the present call-up continues, if a candidate comes forward for commissioned service and during his time in the Army College or in the primary training unit fails to make the grade, will he be able to leave the Army at the end of the period of conscription or the end of the call-up period, or will the Army endeavour to hold him for a regular engagement of five years, or whatever it is?

My next question is this. Will these young men, either conscripted or at present subject to call-up, be eligible for Commissions, either through the Army College or through the ranks? Will what is known as the "Y" entry scheme be retained in the future? As your Lordships know, that scheme was designed to satisfy the needs of young men who developed military qualities comparatively late in their military career. They entered the Army as enlisted men and developed those military qualities later, and at twenty-one or twenty-two were allowed to have a Commission with special arrangements for seniority. I would like to know if that scheme is to be continued. Then I would like to know whether any places will be reserved in our Armed Forces for Dominion candidates, so that Dominion men may be invited to qualify or compete for such special vacancies in commissioned ranks. I am sure it is very important indeed, in the attempt we are now making to integrate our Imperial relations without laying down hard and fast organizations, that we should try to give opportunities in our national life, wherever they occur, to Dominion entrants to come and join us. Here in the Fighting Services there seems to be an opportunity for it.

The same questions I have asked the Minister in regard to the Army apply also to the Royal Air Force. I hesitate, in the presence of so many noble Lords with such senior and distinguished service in the Navy, to speak about that service, but I should like to know why the Navy should not act more like the Army and the Air Force in granting a greater number of lower-deck Commissions. If, in the Army and the Air Force, entry through the ranks is made the chief medium of obtaining commissioned rank, I cannot see any reason why we should perpetuate the Dartmouth system of "catching 'em young" at thirteen and a half for the Navy. Perhaps we shall see the picture this afternoon of the Under-Secretary of State for War defending the Admiralty's point of view on this matter.

I conclude with one general observation, but I think it is probably the most important in the remarks I have made this afternoon. If your Lordships will be so good as to turn to page 16 of the White Paper, you will see what I think is an amazing and very disturbing declaration. In Paragraph 69 (i) you will see there is the following declaration: The rates of pay and marriage allowance will be subject to review from time to time, though changes will not be made except in the event of a marked alteration in conditions. Any such changes in rates which may be made in course of time will apply without exception to all officers then serving, and there will be no arrangements for granting reserved rights on a permanent basis to individuals to whom the rates and conditions at the time may be more favourable. If I read that correctly, it is a unilateral declaration by the Government that they may at any time, should they so wish, reduce these rates which we are now asked to approve.

Of course, the Government have an absolute right to do that at any time, but I do submit that there is a contract of honour with those who enter the Services at the present time in permanent commissioned rank that their rates of pay and allowances shall not be reduced by the action of the Government. After all, those who serve in the commissioned ranks of the Services are in two respects in a position different from those who enter commerce. First, if a man enters commerce in either a low or high grade, he has a perfect right to terminate his contract with his employer should he so wish, but the Army officer, the Navy officer and the Air Force officer cannot do that. Secondly, those who enter the Services have not got, as a man in industry has, the right to enter an association for the protection of professional standards, whether it be a trade union or a professional association. Therefore those who enter the Services are at a disadvantage as compared with their civilian opposites.

I think the Government are seeking to introduce a new principle by saying that at any time, if they so wish, they may reduce the rates of pay and allowances. We must accept that because it is the Government's declaration, but I want to ask the Minister whether, if we accept that unilateral declaration that the Government may reduce the rates should they so wish, he will give this House the assurance that should the circumstances be such, either through a change in the value of money, through permanent retention of the present tax level at its present high rate, or because in practice these allowances are shown to create some unfairnesses which can only be exposed after their introduction, that they are detrimental to officers, the Government will lift up the scales with the same freedom as they claim for themselves the right of possibly reducing them. If the Minister can give that assurance to the House, I am sure he will go a long way towards satisfying your Lordships and will at the same time make other noble Lords and myself feel that we can give a greater measure of approval to these proposals than we can give without that assurance. I beg to move for Papers.

3.4 p.m.


My Lords, I feel it requires a considerable degree of conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty for an amateur and intermittent soldier such as myself to plunge into a debate of this kind, particularly in advance of what I may perhaps respectfully call the Big Three, an Admiral of the Fleet, a Field Marshal and a Marshal of the Royal Air Force, who will take part in the debate at a later stage. Fortunately my main function is to express on behalf of noble Lords upon these Benches their general concurrence with the improvements in the rates of pay for the officers of all three Services and at the same time to associate myself personally with the criticisms and the queries which have been offered by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour, in moving this Motion. I confess that the aspect of this matter which causes me the greatest apprehension is the doubt whether, owing to the incidence of taxation upon the combined pay and allowances of an officer under the new system, it is really going to give him any advantage over the existing position. I think many of your Lordships will require satisfying that this is not yet one more instance of a not unfamiliar Treasury device of giving lavishly with one hand and taking away even more generously with the other. I hope very much that the assurance for which the noble Lord, Lord Balfour, asked, and which would be valuable and satisfying to those who are genuinely perturbed at the position, may be forthcoming in the early future.

In general, the White Paper has obviously been a matter of careful and prolonged—certainly prolonged—study and solicitude by the Departments concerned. The result is, as I have said, at least on the face of it, a substantial improvement in the conditions governing Service pay. One hopes that that is a genuine and not only an apparent improvement. It is obviously right, I suggest, that the conditions of pay in the three Services should be brought into line and that the rates of promotion in the three Services should also, as far as possible, approximate. I can speak only from personal experience—and that necessarily limited—of the Army, but it is a personal satisfaction to me to be able to support any measure which gives even a degree of better conditions to the Regular officers of that Service. There may have been a time when a certain number of officers joined the Army because it provided, in their view, a restful occupation, giving ample leisure for the enjoyment of more attractive pursuits; but those days are long past, and the Army of to-day is a most exacting, highly skilled and technically qualified Force. There is a strange, tendency in this country to be funny about the Army on every possible occasion. That is not only unfair to Army officers, but I believe it does positive harm in that it creates an atmosphere which definitely militates against the prospect of officers on coming out of the Army getting employment in civil life which is suitable to their qualifications.

If I say something which is very much in my mind, I hope that those officers who have made the Services their career will think it neither presumptuous nor patronizing; it is certainly meant to be neither. As a member of one profession twice projected into the midst of another, I would like to pay a very sincere and grateful tribute to the high standard of efficiency, knowledge, helpfulness and kindliness which those of us who came temporarily into the Army received from the vast majority of those Regular officers with whom we were privileged to serve. I think that is the general experience of temporary officers of all the three Services, who have so much for which to thank their Regular colleagues and mentors.

May I turn quite briefly to one or two points in the White Paper itself and ask for some elucidation from the Under-Secretary of State on a few of them? In paragraph 8 the question of the Army College is brought up, and in that paragraph the White Paper talks about "training at an Army College," but in paragraph 9 it goes on to talk about "the Army College." "An Army College" looks as if there were going to be several Army Colleges, but "the Army College" looks as if there were going to be only one. I think it would be interesting to noble Lords to know which is the accurate statement. Is there going to be only one? Are, for instance, Woolwich and Sandhurst going to be grouped into a sort of Army Cranwell, or are they going to retain an individual and separate existence in the future, and possibly be supplemented by other colleges?

As one who sat not infrequently during the past years on War Office Selection Boards, I would like to say one thing on the question of the selection of officers. The modern practice has been to admit to the discussions which take place, and to the hearing of the application by the candidate before a Board, a psychiatrist, irreverently called in the Army a trick cyclist. His opinion is, in many cases, of great value, but I think it is too often the case that too much importance is attributed to his opinion. He is useful as an adviser, but he ought not, and I think was never intended to be, the directing force behind the decision of the Board. So long as he is kept within the four corners of his private field he is of great value, but if he is allowed to wander at large I am inclined to think there is some danger of his becoming a menace.

I see that the field allowance departs from this world, and I think it may be said that with it goes, I should imagine, the subject which, as one single item, has probably produced the greatest volume of paper of any matter which is commonly discussed in the War Office. It will depart unwept and unhonoured, and largely unpaid, because if one may adapt another phrase, which is perhaps only too frequently adapted: Never was so much disallowed to so many by so few. At the same time it did, with the poker, the inventory-board and the rest, create an amount of work which was really quite out of proportion to the value of the allowance when it was ultimately granted. I am a little unhappy, as I think was the noble Lord, Lord Balfour, about the introduction of this qualifying pay which is said to be for the benefit of those officers who have passed the Staff College or who have got university degrees. The number of officers who will be taken in from the universities under the new scheme is, I am sure, small. This pay is confined to Lieutenants, Captains and Majors. How many of them are going to have passed through the Staff College? Unless you are going to begin taking in officers at a very much earlier stage of their career than was, I think, the principle in the past, these Lieutenants, Captains and Majors will have extremely little opportunity of earning qualifying pay by going through Staff Colleges at those particular ranks.

Command pay also goes. I confess that is a subject upon which I have somewhat bitter recollections, and recollections which make me amenable to any change in the general system of Army pay. I found myself at one stage during the last war, as the result of the honour of having been promoted from Lieutenant-Colonel to full Colonel, 1s. 9d. a day worse off. Having arrived at that somewhat precarious financial position, I came to the conclusion that there must be something peculiar about the Pay Regulations which could result in that somewhat anomalous situation. The abolition of command pay, I think, is probably right, but if it is intended for an entertainment allowance, certainly the scale which is substituted for it can by no manner of means be regarded as generous.

Those are, I think, the main points I wanted to raise on the White Paper as it stands. There is, of course, an improvement, but at the same time the scheme does not really even begin to put any senior officer on the same scale of pay and on the same standard of living as the man Who has, at the same age and with the same attainments, entered industry or commerce. It will need very careful watching according to, one hopes not the rise, but let us say the fluctuations of Income Tax, to see whether the provision now made is really suitable. But it is an advance and it is, I think your Lordships will feel, opportune that that advance should have come at this precise moment when all three Services are being called upon to perform duties which are perhaps even more testing than those which fell upon them during actual war. Occupation of a defeated and devastated country, and in particular police work in Greece, Syria, Indonesia and Palestine, is work which I think to all the Services must be not less wearing and not less repugnant than the duties which the Army was called upon to perform 25 years ago in Ireland. The Services do not make wars, they only make war. Let us hope that they will never be called upon to make it again, but until that hope has become a reality we depend for our security in the last resort upon the loyalty, the skill, the courage and the endurance of the Services, and the least return we can make to them is to see that so far as in us lies they are relieved of their more pressing cares.

3.17 p.m.


My Lords, I should not be rising to ask for the indulgence which your Lordships are kind enough to extend to a maiden speech if this were not a subject upon which I feel strongly. I should like to begin by agreeing with the remarks of the two noble Lords that with the general principles upon which this White Paper has been based no real fault can be found. I can only wish the details had been based on a more generous calculation and that they had appeared sooner. I should like, if I may, to turn to the general increase figure and deal with that in a little more detail. The figure in the table on page 16 is given as showing 31.8 per cent. increase over all from 1938 to 1946. I think it is only fair that that figure should be considered in its proper perspective and set against certain other rates of increase for other members of the community. Take first the case of the other ranks in respect of whom the White Paper announcing the increase of pay was recently published. Their rate over all for the same period shows an increase of 61 per cent. In industrial life the contrast is even more sharp. The rates there over the same period, comparing 1938 with to-day, vary between 50 per cent. and 75 per cent increase.

It is very difficult to make a fair comparison between the rates of pay earned by an officer and those earned by a man of similar capabilities or experience in business or professional life. No reliable figures are available, and all I am able to do in that case is to work out a typical officer's case. I have taken for this example the senior Captain or junior Major who is married with two children. I calculate that his net pay, after payment of all taxes, is in the neighbourhood of £410 a year. Anybody of that age and seniority, that is about 34 or 35, in civil life who was not earning double that figure would be considered a failure. That is taking into consideration that the officer does undoubtedly receive certain goods and services in kind. I think the figure of 31.8 per cent., which incidentally is only roughly the equivalent of the rise in the cost of living over the same period, cannot at the best be considered extravagant, and when it is realized that the allowances are also to be taxed, the figure takes on a very different complexion. I, too, shall be most interested to see that table for which the noble Lord has asked.

Taking again my case of the Major or Captain with two children, the figures based on the calculation which I have made reduce his overall increase from 31.8 per cent. to 12 per cent. Now it is impossible to tell—at least to my non-actuarial brain it is—how much of this £3,000,000 increase is going back into the Treasury. Indeed it is only one's unshakable faith in the good intentions of the Treasury and, may I add, also of the noble Lord who is going to reply to this debate, which prevents one thinking that the figures have been deliberately constructed to conceal that information. I hope I shall be deemed to be justified in saying that any other reasons that can be found for helping the officer from the facts set out in the White Paper should be seized upon. One which I think would be helpful arises from the matter of outfit grant which is mentioned, I think, in paragraph 19. This matter has been in abeyance during the war. Standards of austerity in clothing, the necessities of battle, coupons and various other matters have really killed it as a problem for the officer. Battle dress was acceptable every-where as a uniform, though most officers did get themselves Service dress. Such matters as mess-kit and blue patrols did not enter into an officer's life during the war. I think I am not exaggerating when I say that most of the uniform and equipment which an officer had to keep up—not only the matters which I have mentioned, but such expensive items as binoculars, compasses, mapboards and so on—were sometimes before the war a very real source of embarrassment to him.

I should like to see some system worked out whereby an officer should be expected to find from his own pocket a sum roughly equivalent to the sum which a man in civil life expects to spend on his wardrobe each year and no more. Anything above that for equipment which is necessary should, I think, be found by the Army. After all, other ranks have most of their equipment and kit found for them, and I see no reason why the very proper doctrine which is set out in the White Paper for trying to equate the two should not be carried sufficiently far to make that possible. I should also like to make this plea. Would it not be possible to extend into peace-time the admirable system whereby nearly all the items of equipment, particularly the more expensive ones, were standardized and made available to the officer either through the quartermaster's stores or the R.A.O.C. at vocabulary rates. One solution I hope will not be taken. I hope that nothing will be done to reduce in any way that standard of turn-out and smartness which was so very properly a source of pride to the British officer.

I should now like very briefly to put in a word in support of two particular officers who I think are a little hardly done by. The first of these officers is the Regimental Adjutant. His pay has now gone. Your Lordships are aware, of course, that the Regimental Adjutant's job has always been considered a difficult, responsible, important and onerous one, and if I may say so, a very unenviable one. I speak from the bitterest personal experience. I spent several of the unhappiest months of my service career as Adjutant to a Commanding Officer who regarded Adjutant-baiting as a legitimate substitute for the pig-sticking which the exigencies of the service denied him.

Before the war, the Adjutant was, very rightly, paid five shillings a day extra, and that encouraged ambitious, able young men to take up that difficult job. That was done away with during the war, and I think that a system was substituted whereby an officer was automatically promoted Captain and received the extra encouragement of three shillings a day. Even if that system goes on, it will not provide proper encouragement because officers are to be automatically promoted to the rank of Captain after six years. I think that in regular conditions in peacetime there will be very few officers of six years' seniority who will be considered fit to take on the job. That, I think, is a very real hardship, and it is added to by the fact that they will also, in all probability, be too young to have gone to the Staff College and so be drawing qualification pay. So, from many angles this particular officer is badly hit, and I do not think the Army can afford to allow that type of officer to be badly hit.

The other officer for whom I wish to put in a plea is the Lieutenant-Colonel, whose case has already been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye. I should like to state his case from a slightly different point of view. I think that I am right in saying that before the war not one officer in ten could hope to reach the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and through no fault of his own. In this connexion I must say that one great evil has now been done away with. Promotion up to and including the rank of major is automatic. There is no possibility now of the cases of which one previously heard so frequently of a man serving fifteen years as a subaltern and so on. After the rank of Major promotion is by selection to Lieutenant-Colonel, and selection depends upon the eccentricities of the Army List or on establishments. So a man contemplating taking up the Army as a career is faced with a ten to one chance that when he reaches the age of forty-seven—now, I understand to be forty-five—through no fault of his own he will be put out on to an unsympathetic civil market at a time when with a rising family he can least afford to be put in such a position. The fact that this is a hard case is accepted in the White Paper, and not ungenerous provision is being made for it.

Next, I wish to draw attention to the question of resettlement. Reference is made in paragraph 63 to this. I hope that a very real attempt will be made to see that these officers are launched into civil life properly and fairly and that they do not become a bad advertisement for the Army by becoming unemployed, disgruntled, disillusioned men. Figures have recently been given in another place of the success or otherwise of the resettlement scheme and to me at any rate it is not encouraging. I hope that this matter will receive earnest attention, for it is a very important one.

I hope that these few remarks have not given your Lordships the impression that I am not grateful for what has been done to reach a solution of the problem that has been put forward in the White Paper. Certainly, simplification is one of the improvements to which the White Paper is largely directed, though I must confess that it seems to me that the benefit of nearly all simplifications of the pay code tends to devolve on officials who have to work out the scales rather than the officers who draw them. I think that anything that can be done to improve this White Paper should be encouraged, and I should like to echo most strongly and very humbly the words of the noble Marquess in this connexion. My experience of the last seven years has given me the greatest respect and admiration—and may I say sympathy?—for the Regular officer. He has, in the past, been most shabbily treated, and as an amateur and as a citizen of the country who has paid him I am ashamed of what I appear to have done in the past.

The great strides in mechanization, tactics, science, and weapon development over the last seven years make the calibre of officer required even higher than before. I do not have to remind your Lordships that there are no such people as bad troops; there are only bad officers. If we want good officers, we shall have to pay for them, and I think we can pay a little more than this.

3.31 p.m.


My Lords, it is my pleasure on rising to offer the congratulations of the House to the noble Lord who has just spoken on a very brilliant, thoughtful and witty address. I am sure everybody would wish to congratulate him. He is one of a brilliant band of younger members of this House who are coming back to it now, who played their part in the world of men in the war, and are now going to other professions. I think the Fighting Services—and I say Fighting Services or Armed Services, not Defence Services—may look forward in the future to having their flag kept flying, and it will always, be looked after. I am not afraid of saying that revisions will take place in these conditions. If they are necessary they will be forced on the Government, if they are unwilling to make them—if not on this Government, on the succeeding one. I am sure we all look forward to hearing the noble Lord on many future occasions.

I feel rather shy about making these remarks after allusions to the "Great Three." I never looked upon myself as belonging to the trinity before. I speak without any knowledge really of the details because I am out of touch with them, but what I do feel quite sure of is that the departments concerned with the three Fighting Forces have done their best with the amount of material that was handed out to them to give the officers more pay. It does appear to me however that a wonderful chance has been lost by the Government. Why not add a little more and give the Services their reward? They have not been too generous in giving great rewards to the war leaders, so why not hand them to the younger officers? If you want efficient officers you must pay them. You cannot expect a man to be at the top of his form if he is wondering whether his wife has enough money to look after the children properly. The White Paper shows that a lot has been done and it is something to have the pay of the Services linked with that of the general community. When that is done there is no chance of it remaining static for forty years, as it did, your Lordships will remember, before the year 1914. I do not think the pay was raised or altered for forty long years. A great change such as this is is bound to have many weak points in it, and already modifications have been introduced, which show that the Government are open to suggestions upon their new scale.

Much of what I had hoped to say has been much more amply said by previous speakers, and there are only one or two points I should particularly like to address to your Lordships. One course is what is called "simplification of pay." The White Paper dealing with the pay and allowances of the non-commissioned officers and petty officers and men says that these simplifications of pay will make it very much easier—or words are used to that effect—to produce the accounts. That is not what we are aiming at; we are aiming at getting the most efficient men in the Fighting Services in the shortest possible time; and I am perfectly sure that with either officers or men it is a mistake to do away with specialist pay. Take the case of specialist pay given in the Navy to young officers. They deserved it. When they had specialized, they had harder work to do and longer hours to work than anybody else. The one or two specialists in a big ship are always at everybody's beck and call, and to take their pay away now because it is said that everybody is a specialist, except a few, does not seem to me to be fair. If there are a few who do not want to specialize, that is no reason, to my mind, for not paying the others.

I hold that every young officer and every young man ought to have his interest maintained at a rather critical time of life—the age when he can have a jolly good time ashore if he wishes to go ashore, and that sort of thing. Let us give him some little incentive to work. That also holds for the lower deck. I am not always in complete agreement with my colleagues in my own Service. On the subject of the entry of cadets, the noble Lord who introduced this Motion wanted to know why the Navy desired to persevere with the Dartmouth entry. I have always been not in favour of the Dartmouth entry. I have had a number of these boys aboard, so I know what I am talking about. I do not believe it is right to have a boy of 13½ before you and cross-examine him. There are two sorts of little boy. There is the one who comes from a home with a small income, and he is not used to meeting grown-up people. Then there is the other boy from the well-to-do home where the father entertains a great deal, and the little boy learns to talk to the guests and is patted on the back by them and so on. It is this boy who comes out well. I should much prefer to see entries into the Navy after they have completed their studies and general education, and I also, together with the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Trenchard, think we should have a reserve of officers who have served several years in the Navy and passed into civil life. The wider the range of ideas brought into the Service, the better for everybody.

Before I finish I would like to put in a plea for retired officers. They have got to live in the same world as other people, and to give a man an allowance of £100 or £120 a year more is not doing very much. What is that nowadays, when you think of the value of the pound compared with what it was before the war? The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us the other day that the pound is now worth 8s. 6d. compared with what it was worth some few years ago. It is very hard for these officers to retire from the Navy, Army or Air Force on pay like that. They are handicapped in getting a job in civil life, and that is added to the hardship of having very little money to live on. Only the other day I read that a man who had a fine record in the field and had reached the rank of Colonel, and commanded a battalion, was now leaving the Service and was going to be a cook somewhere. That is simply throwing away talent. I hesitate to say anything about other officers after what has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour, and I will only talk about Field-Marshals and Air-Marshals and Marshals of the Air Force. They are, of course, very few in number. They are men who have reached the top after fifty years of competition. Only one or two men get to that rank. I do not think that their retiring rate of half-pay compares at all favourably with that of any successful man in civil life. If yon are going to attract the best brains into the Fighting Services—and that is what we want to do—surely it is worth while giving them a higher prize to aim for all through their career.

3.39 p.m.


My Lords, having overcome the terror of addressing your Lordships for the first time, I am going to venture to say only a very few words to-day. May I first congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft? He is a very much younger officer than I am, and I have never heard a better exposition of the case for the officer in my life. I am going to speak about two things: one is the Income Tax on allowances, and the other is a plea for the older pensioned officer. May I say at once that I disagree absolutely and entirely with the noble Lord who moved this Motion? I cannot understand how it is possible to compare in the very least the position of an officer in the Army with that of one of the ordinary citizens of this Empire. How can you do such a thing? The ordinary citizen goes where he likes when he likes—or more or less so, nowadays. The soldier goes where he is told and when he is told. He is supposed to have a wonderfully good time and I am told that he plays polo and shoot tigers and does that kind of thing. He does not do that nowadays. The "good time" means that he has got to sacrifice his life at a moment's notice in frontier campaigns or wherever it may be. He has to go to any kind of climate. I spent eighteen years, man and boy, of my life in India and that does not do you much good. I have heard a great deal to-day of the word "career" There is no real career in the Army. I was Military Secretary to Mr. Winston Churchill after the last war and on the figures then rather less than two per cent. of the people who held His Majesty's Commission had the chance of going further than the rank of Colonel. That is certainly not a career, and I think it is ridiculous to say there is any comparison with the ordinary citizen when you are flung out on a cold labour market at any age between 40 and 45. The officer must be treated differently.

I should have liked to congratulate the Government on being the first Government to have the privilege, indeed the honour, to propose an adequate rate of pay for the men of the three Services, but I am not so certain of that now. My noble and gallant friend the Earl of Cavan has three pay sergeants working for him and they have not made out yet what the meaning of the word "paper" is! One thing which is most important is to know whether you are going back on us later on, as you did after the last war. I heard a lot of talk of this kind after the last war when we had the inch-cape cuts and the Geddes axe and the cuts in pensions. I was Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff and we had three schools in which we had to teach the man in the ranks some kind of trade before he went back to civil life. I was ordered to reduce the number of schools to only one, so there was only one chance of these unfortunate men learning a trade before they went back to civil life. That is the kind of thing that happens, and it is all put down to the "brass hats" in the War Office. I would remind your Lordships that ordinarily there are three military members of the Army Council and they are always outvoted by at least two, by the civil servants. But we get all the blame! Is it not possible to ask the Government to remove the Income Tax on the allowances of these unfortunate people? It is really too bad to say that they can be compared with other people.

I will not keep your Lordships much longer, except to make one plea for the older officer who has had his pension cut three or four times. In 1934 they began to replace the cuts a bit, but the colonel was carefully left out. That meant that pensions over £600 a year were not to be restored and they carefully put up the pay to £625 so that they were quite certain that they should not be. Is that fair? It is not fair. You are giving the extra pay and pensions only to the people who served in this war. What about the unfortunate men of the rank of Colonel or Brigadier retiring on just over £600 a year? They went through far worse a time in the last war than people did in this war. The casualties were double and the discomforts were double, except possibly in the case of Burma. Yet they have served for two wars and will have to exist on the same pensions as we have. I plead, therefore, for assistance in regard to Income Tax allowances for officers and I ask the Government to give some thought to the men who served in wars before the last one in the matter of their pension.

3.45 p.m.


My Lords, I carry my mind back to the debate on this subject which I listened to after the last war when the pay papers were published. I was a member of all the pay committees in those days and I can see a resemblance in to-day's debate to the arguments in the debates of that time, in which I am afraid the Service members did not win. I want to add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Man-croft, on his speech. I have never heard a speech which represented so much of what is thought by the Services generally. There is not a single point he has made of which I have not heard from other sources and that shows the advantage of encouraging young members like the noble Lord to speak in your Lordships' House instead of your listening to old people like myself.

There are two points that I wish to take up. Reference has been made to the fact that the Lieutenant-Colonel is not well treated. He is not, nor is the Group Captain, and I should like to go a rank higher and say the Air Commodore and the Brigadier. I believe that the position of those who are going to enter and get promotion is difficult. I do not think you will find that these three ranks, the Group Captain, the Air Commodore, and the Brigadier will be dealt with adequately. The noble Lord who introduced this Motion talked about a comparison with the civilian scale of pay. It is still more important to compare the standard of living which is expected and the standard of pay which is necessary to keep up the ranks of Wing Commander or Air Commodore and similar ranks in the Navy. The noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, showed that the increase on officers' pay was about 30 per cent. and that the increase to the other ranks was in the neighbourhood of 60 per cent. In the officers' ranks you can find increases as low as 10 per cent. or 15 per cent. All through this pay scheme I cannot help feeling that you are giving quite good pay to the average man, but that the scale of pay is not sufficient to attract the cream of the nation who, in whatever walk of life they went, would expect and get an increase. I think we should do more to attract the cream of the nation and not only the average.

3.50 p.m.


My Lords, as one who left His Majesty's Army with the rank of Major, I feel a certain diffidence in rising to address your Lordships after you have heard speeches from an Admiral of the Fleet, a Field-Marshal and a Marshal of the Royal Air Force. This revision of pay for the Forces is one of many which there have been, certainly in the Army (during my speech I shall refer to the Army mostly because it is what I know best) since the days when 5s. 3d. a day was considered sufficient for a newly-joined Second Lieutenant and round about £1 a day for a Lieutenant-Colonel. I shall confine my remarks to asking a few questions to which I hope the noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State for War will reply in some detail.

First of all, may I say how very much I welcome the accelerated period of promotion which I see in the White Paper, by which Lieutenants, Captains and Majors are to be promoted at the following intervals—two, six and thirteen years instead of three, eight and seventeen years. That is all to the good. My first question, to which I should like a reply in some detail, is with regard to the rate of pay for the commanding officer of a unit, because the rates laid down here are really rather astonishing. If your Lordships will look at Appendix I, Table II on Page 24, you will see that the present rate of an officer commanding a battalion is 43s. a day, in addition to which there is his command pay, which makes it 53s. Command pay is being abolished and is being replaced by an entertainment allowance, and if your Lordships will look at the new rates on the right-hand side of the table you will see that the rate of pay for a commanding officer of less than nineteen years' service will be 47s. 6d.; for a commanding officer of nineteen years' service 50s.; for one of twenty-one years' service 52s. 6d., and so on. In addition to that there has, I suppose, to be added the half-crown a day entertainment allowance. If my arithmetic is not wrong, that means that any commanding officer with less than nineteen years' service is actually three shillings a day worse off than at present. A commanding officer with nineteen years' service is sixpence a day worse off. When he has twenty-one years' service he is 2s. better off. After that an officer with twenty-three years' service scores 4s. 6d. and, with twenty-five years' service 7s.

If I may say so, to me that really seems a most extraordinary proposal. I hardly think that it can be meant. I do not know whether my figures are wrong, but I certainly should be very grateful if we could have some explanation from the noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State for War. Even in the case of those Lieutenant-Colonels who score, their rise of pay is surely not commensurate with the rise of pay granted to Captains and Majors. I should like to add that I agree very much with the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, in his most excellent speech about the taking away of the five shillings or the three shillings a day from the pay of the Adjutant. I think that is a great pity, and a great discouragement. However, I do not agree with the noble Lord that an officer of six or less years' service cannot qualify as an Adjutant. I think in a way that the younger they are when appointed the better.

May I say a word about the entertainment allowance? In Appendix 4 on the last page of the White Paper your Lordships will see the entertainment allowance which is laid down. Captains of the Royal Navy will get eight shillings or five shillings a day. Commanders in the Royal Navy will get two shillings or two shillings and sixpence. Then you get Brigadiers and Air Commodores on land who will receive three shillings and nine-pence a day. And then you have Colonels, Lieutenant-Colonels, Group Captains and Wing Commanders with two and sixpence a day. These rates of pay are probably all very well for Commanders in the Navy because, although I speak subject to correction by my noble and gallant friend, I rather think that certain commodities can be got a good deal cheaper on board ship. But in the case of a Lieutenant-Colonel, with half-a-crown a day the position is entirely different. What can you buy for half-a-crown? A number of years ago you could buy fifteen pints of beer; you could purchase six small whiskies and sodas; you could buy about seven glasses of light port. What will it buy now? It will buy two pints of beer; it will buy about one whisky and soda; it will buy about one glass of light—very light—port, or if you like you can buy a packet of cigarettes or a rather indifferent cigar. However, joking apart, I do really regard this rate as almost an insult, and I hope His Majesty's Government will reconsider it and give something better. I do not have in mind the commanding officer in a big garrison who probably would not have to entertain very much, but rather the commanding officer in a small station where the unit commander is in touch with the civilian population. He is probably entertained by the Mayor and that sort of thing. He might have to do quite a lot of entertaining, and noble Lords must realize that half-a-crown a day will not go anywhere at all. I do hope that this matter will be reconsidered.

I should like to say a word also with regard to qualification pay, which has already been referred to and is dealt with in paragraph 25 on page seven. I am not at all clear as to who will draw this, and I should very much like the noble Lord when he replies to make it clearer. Paragraph 9 on page 6, states that officers will be granted an outfit allowance on joining. I think we should all rather like to know how much that is going to be. At present the outfit grant is fifty pounds I think. It was forty pounds or fifty pounds just before the war. I have had the experience of fitting out two officers for the Forces, and when I had to do it, some nine or ten years ago, certainly forty pounds would buy a couple of suits of Service dress, a greatcoat and probably a forage cap. What would it buy now? It would buy—possibly—the best part of a suit of Service dress. I hope very much that a really proper allowance will be given, and that the question of full dress will also be given very careful consideration.

I should now like to say one word about the rates of retired pay which were referred to by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Chetwode. I should like to go a little further than he did. These rates of retired pay certainly represent an improvement on the old rates, but in this connexion they merely accentuate the very great grievances of those officers who retired under the Warrant of 1919. This Warrant provided that the basic rates of pension should rise or fall up to 20 per cent. according to the cost of living. As long as the cost of living fell the rates of the pension fell with it. Then the cost of living began to rise again. And what happened? The rates rose a little and they were stabilized at 9½ per cent. below the basic rate. If the scale had been allowed to operate property there would have been very little difference between what those officers would have received and the scale which is now proposed in the White Paper. Personally I never could understand why this injustice was done, and although it may not be strictly germane to this White Paper I ask the Government to consider the case of these officers and have the matter put right. They have a great opportunity of doing a very gracious action to some very deserving officers.

I said at the outset that this is the latest of many revisions of officers' pay, and in many ways I think it is a great advance. But there is a question, as everybody who served in the Army will know, which is always asked. The question that is always asked when a thing like this is brought forward is: "What is the catch?" There is an old saying, Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes—Danaos in this case being the Financial Branch of the War Office. No doubt the rates at first look better, but of course the catch comes in paragraphs 42–46, which have been referred to, which tax the allowances for officers.

These allowances are given for certain purposes and they have never been taxed before. Here I do not quite agree with my noble friend Lord Balfour when he said in his speech that he thought it was right, in a way, that they should be taxed. I do not think they ought to be.


Only provided they start on a level which, when tax is deducted, allows them to fulfil their purpose.


I beg my noble friend's pardon; he did say that. I think they ought not to be taxed. After all, in the next paragraph it is said that ration allowance should not be taxed, and if that is so I cannot see why marriage and lodging allowances should be taxed. It is almost impossible to state the effect of these proposals on officers' pockets. It must depend to a very large extent on their private means, if any. I have heard it said, however—I do not know, but I believe it must be true—that many officers, from the rank of Major upwards, will be to a certain degree worse off under these proposals. At all events, I qualify it in this way: it must be so while the purchasing power of money is so low and the present penal taxation exists.

A friend of mine who is a General Officer met a very high-up General Officer the other day. The latter may have had something to do with getting out the White Paper—I do not know. Anyhow, he asked my friend what he thought of these proposals. My friend said he did not think very much of them. He was asked why, and he explained that he, as a General Officer, would be about £120 a year worse off. "Oh," said the high-up General, "but you are thinking in the terms of nine shillings in the pound Income Tax. You must not think that is always going to be there." My friend replied that he was thinking in terms of nine shillings in the pound Income Tax. And why not? Have any of your Lordships great hopes of any very early reduction? I have not. I do not wish to be a pessimist, and we must all await the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget speech in a few weeks' time, but I confess I do not see any sign of retrenchment or cutting down, at least not to an extent that will entail a very early reduction in Income Tax. I wish I did. We must also not forget that all General Officers and no doubt a certain number of other officers as well will be subject to Surtax, and that considerably adds to their liabilities. I trust His Majesty's Government will pay attention to what has been said and what will be said during this debate. I can imagine no better place in which to discuss this subject than your Lordships' House, and the Government I am sure will agree with me when I say that there has been no feeling of Party spirit, or anything of that kind, about this debate to-day. In the coming years this country will require a good deal from its Forces, and it is essential that we should have a contented body of officers and men. Let the Government rectify injustices, if injustices there are, and treat all ranks not only justly but generously. I say "all ranks" because all ranks enter into it, although we are to-day discussing the pay and allowances only of the officers. Let the Government treat the officers generously, in the way they deserve. It used to be said in the Army—it may be said still—that the officer's worst enemy is the Finance Branch of the War Office. Let the Government take away that reproach, and they will do a good turn to the Army and the country.

4.5 p.m.


My Lords, having listened with very great interest, considerable amusement and great advantage to those noble Lords who either by heritage or achievement or both, or like myself by sheer good fortune, sit in this House, I should like to give my views as a "brass hat" sailor, at present the only one I see on the Government Benches. Listening to the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, I thought he painted a very black picture of the White Paper and its contents. When I picked it up and read it through I thought, "Well, the Government are alive to the requirements of officers in the three Fighting Services." On the subject of Commissions from the lower deck, I can assure the noble Lord who opened this debate that the gates are being thrown open ever wider, and in another place he will find that there is great agitation for more and easier means of getting commissioned rank from the lower deck.

Concerning marriage allowances, I may say that I was one of those who married at 23, and I was referred to as "the married Lieutenant" as if I had committed a crime. But I never dreamt of asking the taxpayer to contribute to the support of my beautiful wife. I thought I was lucky, and we framed our financial plans as everybody should. We looked to the future, and somehow we never ran into debt. We were not extravagant. So far as the Royal Navy was concerned, an officer was allowed to entertain his wife on board, and as the noble Lord, Lord Templemore, has said, we had a lot of privileges—gin 1s. 3d. a bottle, and whisky only 2s. 6d. When I say the picture was painted black, I mean that all the disadvantages were put well in the foreground and the advantages left unsaid.

The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, in a graceful way, was not nearly so adversely critical. He talked about taxation and implied that it made everything unreal. But, after all, the whole country is bearing this burden of taxation. It is part of the price of victory, and we have all to pay it. But I do think I speak for seventy per cent. or even more in the Royal Navy when I say, quoting the words of Old Bill, "If you know of a better 'ole, go to it." I am proud to have served in the Royal Navy, and I know, as do my fellow Flag Officers who are here, both of them Admirals of the Fleet, that of the three Services probably fewer complaints ever reach the Ministers from the Navy because there is less to complain about; the advantages are realized. I liked the reference of the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, to the "trick cyclist." I agree with him that too much value is attributed to what the psychiatrist says, and I think if one searched back into the antecedents of psychiatrists one would find that most of them were not very English.

I realize that it is the duty of the Opposition to attempt to pick holes in every White Paper that comes out. In this case they have done their best and I raise my hat to them. Several of your Lordships have compared the position of the officer with the position of the man in commerce. There are many men, like certain of your Lordships, who are outstanding examples of success in their professions or trades, but those men are not typical specimens. The ordinary man in commerce holding a position equivalent to a young Lieutenant has to squash in a No. 46 bus, or into the tube and during the last six years I was glad that I had a Government car to take me on my lawful errands. I cannot speak for the other Services, but I think your Lordships should realize that if this White Paper were put to an officer in the Navy and he were asked, "Having looked through it, what would you do? Would you make commerce your career?" he would say, "No fear, I will do it all over again." I am quite sure that the noble Earl, Lord Cork, and the noble Lord, Lord Chetwode, know in their hearts that that is true.

Too much stress should not be laid on the awful cost to which we are put in respect of our uniforms. I know that we have to pay for them, but we do have much better laundry facilities in the Royal Navy than are available in commerce. I think the noble Earl was very generous, and I agree with him, in what he said about the specialist who, in the Royal Navy, is at everybody's beck and call, and who is generally outstanding in ability. I think it is particularly generous as the noble Earl himself did not specialize—perhaps because he could afford not to. To the noble Lord, Chetwode, who so seldom speaks in this house, I would say that he surely can have no regrets when he speaks of India. After all, he was Commander-in-Chief. I was a Commander-in-Chief twice and I found I had privileges which even some Royalty did not have. Those things should not be kept entirely out of sight.

I would say to your Lordships that these White Papers are meant to be read in the spirit and not in the letter. The spirit of this White Paper is generally good. Anyhow, its trend is towards better terms for the officers of the three Fighting Services. I can speak as one who has two sons who have both obtained commissioned rank. Neither of them has ever made any complaint to me about his treatment or the sufficiency of his pay. When I showed them both this White Paper they said, "Did you have anything to do with that, dad?" and I said, "No, but I will take the credit for being on the side that did."

4.15 p.m.


My Lords, this is the first time in my life that I have been privileged to follow a "brass-hat sailor" in speaking. I hope that as a member of the "Wavy Navy" I shall have extended to me the same kindness I have encountered from R.N. officers in the whole of my service during the war. I look at this new pay code from the point of view of a R.N.V.R. officer who might consider signing on for an active Service Commission. One thing that strikes me is that it has very definitely simplified matters, so that the young officer knows exactly where he is and what he is going to get each month. That was not the case during the war, when one never knew what one was going to get at the end of the month. You might go along to the Paymaster and receive the reply "I am sorry, but you are not entitled this month." If you queried it you would be told, "If you don't like it, write to the Director of Naval Accounts at Bath." That was the end of it; you just accepted it.

In Appendix 1, Table 1, on page 22, there are set out the rates of pay for Acting Sub-Lieutenants and Sub-Lieutenants. In the case of an Acting Sub-Lieutenant the old rate of pay was 11s. a day and the new rate is 11s. a day. In the case of a Sub-Lieutenant, it was 13s. a day and remains at 13s. a day. I think that some slight increase might have been granted to officers of those ranks. During the war we had very many ratings on the lower deck who were eminently suitable for Commissions and when they were asked "Why do not you go in for a Commission?" they replied, "Well, sir, it is not worth it; I do not gain anything." It does not matter whether it is the Army, the Navy, or the Air Force; it is to the lowest commissioned ranks that you need to attract people. I think that the Sub-Lieutenant and the Acting Sub-Lieutenant have been rather shabbily treated.

I am not really qualified to speak on this subject, but I have had a certain amount of talk and correspondence with young R.N. officers. I think that the abolition of specialist pay is a bad thing for the Royal Navy. Anyone of your Lordships who has had the misfortune to be a gunnery officer in the Navy and to be chased around Whale Island will know that it is worth 2s. 6d. because it is very hard work. The same applies to the torpedo officer and to the navigator—particularly to the navigator, who has on his hands the safety of a large and expensive ship. If the navigator puts his ship aground it is the end of him, but he is not going to get any more than an ordinary watch-keeping officer, if I interpret paragraph 25 correctly. In that paragraph qualification pay is mentioned for the Army and not for the Navy, but it may be that I have wrongly interpreted the paragraph and that it is meant to include the Navy.

As to marriage allowance, I agree with what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Mountevans. A naval officer, however, is up against something which is slightly different in the other two Services. If he is fortunate enough to be shore-based for any length of time, there are no married quarters which he can rent at a reasonable price. He is at the mercy—and particularly so because all our major ports have been badly "blitzed"—of unscrupulous, or possibly unscrupulous, landladies. I know from personal experience that in Plymouth it was impossible to get any reasonable house, or indeed any house, for less than five guineas a week. That is more than the marriage allowance. I know it is very difficult, because Royal Naval barracks have no married quarters, but that is one point I would like to put to His Majesty's Government.

The other question is with regard to the position of naval officers' wives and children wishing to join their husbands on a foreign commission. Would it not be possible to grant them one free passage each way during a commission? I believe that the Army and the Royal Air Force have married quarters abroad, whereas, I think, naval officers have to find their own. It would be, I am sure, most acceptable if they could get one free passage either way during a commission.

There is just one final point to which I would refer, if your Lordships will permit me, which is not covered by this White Paper. I do hope that the most sympathetic consideration will be given to the case of the Naval Warrant Officer on retirement, because he has to go the hard way, and at the moment he is not getting a square deal.

4.23 p.m.


My Lords, while generally welcoming the principles underlying this Bill, there are two points to which I would like to draw your Lordships' attention. The first one concerns the position of a Post-Captain in command of a capital ship. He is in command of a vessel to the value of something like £8,000,000 to £10,000,000, with over 1,500 officers and men under him. According to the White Paper, if he has got six years service as Captain he gets £1,350 a year basic pay. In addition to this he gets command allowance of 10s. a day, bringing his total pay up to approximately £1,530 a year, all of which is subject to tax. I do not believe that is sufficient. In spite of all that the noble Lord, Lord Mountevans, has said, there must be some slight resemblance to normal living ashore and normal wages, because the whole purpose of this White Paper is to encourage and attract young people into the Services. I do not believe that anybody in charge of a concern of the value of £10,000,000, with 1,500 workpeople, would get only £1,530 a year all subject to tax. I hope His Majesty's Government will consider this point, and I should like to see this command money at least doubled. Furthermore, I should like to see all command money for any sea-going ships paid free of tax.

The other point to which I wish to refer is the question of table-money, or entertainment allowance, for Commanders-in-Chief. As your Lordships know, the greater part of their lives is taken up visiting their stations, including remote places on outlying seaboards sometimes thousands of miles apart; what is commonly called "showing the flag." On a foreign station this is of empirical importance, and in all these places a Commander-in-Chief has to entertain on a very considerable scale. In the Far East it is perhaps of greater importance, where the question of ceremony and hospitality looms so large in the eastern mind. Owing to the present system of a limited allowance, no provision is made for fluctuating currency values or variations in the course of moving from place to place. For example, the Commander-in-Chief in China might pay a visit to Hong Kong, but carrying out the same entertainment programme in Shanghai he might find that owing to the cost of living he would have to dip very deeply into his own private pocket. I do not think that is right and I hope His Majesty's Government will consider that point as well. No matter what they fix as a flat rate for table-money, or entertainment allowance, if hope they will provide a contingency fund from which a Commander-in-Chief may draw at any time at his own discretion up to any amount, so that he may be constantly encouraged to show the White Ensign in its true colours.

4.27 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Balfour for having introduced this Motion, and I am sure that your Lordships will agree that rarely have we had a more fruitful debate with a succession of speeches so much to the point as we have had this afternoon. The points have been so well covered that I shall only mention two or three, and I can assure your Lordships I will not detain you at any length. I should like to add one word of congratulation to those which have already been given to my noble friend Lord Mancroft on his maiden speech, and particularly that portion where he brought tears to our eyes when he related how he had become the alternative target of his commanding officer to pig-sticking. I think we must agree, as he went on with his remarks, that it seemed that it had not been wholly ineffective because of his defence of commanding officers and Lieutenant-Colonels in which he made a demand for increased pay. This subject is one which naturally interests all of us in whatever part of the House we sit, and on this Bench I know I am speaking for all my noble friends when I say that we hope and trust that this new code of pay and allowances will prove attractive to the officers of all the Fighting Services, because we all want, as I am sure His Majesty's Government do, to retain the services of all the best who are now in the Forces and to attract the pick of the young men who are about to enter or who will enter in the days to come.

I think it is common ground that if our countrymen are risking their lives on active service it is of supreme importance that in all three Services every possible life should be saved by efficient leadership. Unless you are to attract to the commissioned ranks of the Services the best brains and the best fighting qualities available, then real all-round leaders of men are not discovered and you are actually endangering the country's youth. Surely, therefore, we are all agreed that you must give these men compensation in their career, not wholly comparable, but in some relation, to what their qualities would gain for them in other walks of life.

To secure the right man to manage, say, fifty men in a business, you aim at getting first-class material, and you pay the man you select accordingly. In this business of modern war—so complicated and so highly technical for all branches of the Services—not only do you want the same qualities of leadership, management, administration, and brains, but, in addition, the special kind of leadership which will cause men to follow anywhere, and in any circumstances, when they are put to the supreme test. You want a leader who will, by his knowledge of the science of arms, guard and care for the fifty lives under his charge, which are in his safekeeping and which, but for his leadership, may be lost.

The officer enters the service of this country with the expectation of active service. That is why he joins the Services. He joins, therefore, with his eyes wide open to the fact that at any moment his own life must be offered in any sudden emergency. This fact in my opinion as a civilian demands from us recognition not only that his work is of equal importance to that of anyone in comparable civilian occupation, but the added recognition that he may as a matter of course have to make the supreme sacrifice in the course of his duty. It is in such a light that I feel we ought to consider and examine this White Paper, and I wish to say at once—for the last thing I would wish to do would be to crab what the Government is attempting to accomplish in this matter—that with the exceptions of those points which have been mentioned by my noble friends and one or two others upon which I wish briefly to offer a few words, we are of opinion that compared to the really niggardly code of pay before the war, the picture does, broadly speaking, taking into consideration retired pay and certain other factors, present an all-round improvement. I am forced to say, however, that if Income Tax remains at the intolerable war-level of nine shillings in the pound, or anything like it, in peace-time, then officers, in my opinion, will certainly not be better off than they were before the war, having regard to all the circumstances of the time and the increase in the cost of living.

In business circles, the burden of Income Tax is generally appreciated and realized, and I think it will be agreed that in many cases men of comparable quality are owing to Income Tax receiving some bonus or other means of lightening the burden as a temporary measure. But, of course, in the Services there can be no such provision. When I say, therefore, that this code of pay is satisfactory, I do so with the proviso that the pay is only satisfactory if and when taxation is reduced. I pray that my noble friend Lord Templemore is wrong, and that it will come down very shortly from a war to a peace level. This, as I think the noble Lord who is going to reply for the Government will agree, applies particularly to the withholding of previous concessions in that marriage allowances are no longer to be free of Income Tax. That is a very big point to-day, but, of course, we shall have to wait to see if taxation ever comes back to normal under the grandiose schemes that have been put forward for the benefit of the taxpayers as spenders. I think we must all agree that it does depend upon that.

I would like to ask my noble friend Lord Nathan whether he has anything further to say about the position of Quartermasters. I must admit that I did not give him notice of this, but I understand that it is a matter which is being given consideration. These officers are, naturally, very anxious to know what their future conditions are likely to be. They form such an important branch of the Service that I do hope the noble Lord will be able to give us some enlightenment about it, though I realize that very likely he will not be able to reply on this to-day.

May I say that I welcome the speeding up of promotion with biennial increment? I was prepared to give very warm approval also to qualification pay but for a remark which I think was made by the noble Marquess to the effect that it only applied in the case of officers from the Staff College or to those who had university honours. I am glad to see that the noble Lord opposite expresses dissent. I thought that that could not be so. If those qualifications did indeed apply, it would be rather discouraging, because the number of officers who had passed through the Staff College at that age in their service would be very few, whilst the numbers of those who had taken honours at one or other of the universities would be likely to be still smaller.

One other general comment. In the code of pay for other ranks, pay has been doubled, which is a subject of rejoicing for all of us. I refer, of course, to basic pay. But anyone who is accustomed to attach importance to merit in leadership must, I think, be somewhat disturbed to see that the gap of improvement in basic pay is narrowed in that commissioned officers get no such comparable increment. The basic rate of pay of other ranks, as has been mentioned to-day, is increased by something in the neighbourhood of one hundred per cent. The increase in the cost of the new rates of pay and the marriage allowances for officers, compared with the 1938 standard, is set out in paragraph 70, page 16. It is given as 31.8 per cent. That is the general cost. That compares with increased cost of other ranks of 61 per cent. That is what other ranks get according to the White Paper.

I am told by those more skilful in mathematics than I—for I must confess that I find it very difficult indeed to judge from the White Paper—that taking into account allowances and taxes, the improvement for a large group of officers will only be some 15 per cent. One of my noble friends I think has spoken of a percentage as low as 10. If I read the change aright, the basic rate of pay for young officers does seem to me to be rather inadequate. I am speaking rather more for the young officers to-day, though that does not mean that I do not agree with my noble friends who have spoken of officers at later stages of their career when they seem to be quite inadequately remunerated. I refer to Lieutenant-Colonels and Colonels. But if I read aright the change of which I have been speaking, the basic rate of pay for young officers rises over the present rate by only something like two shillings a day. In the Royal Navy, I think it has been said, it is almost less than that. I must therefore ask the Government—and I do not put the question in any spirit of hostility—what justification there is for failing to extend to young officers the same increments as they have in their wisdom decided to grant to other ranks in relation to the changed circumstances of the times, the cost of living, etc. When it is realized that in the past many and perhaps most of the young officers joining the three Services had some private means, I cannot believe that it is sound policy to grant all the new officers, mostly drawn from the ranks with no private income, an increment so small compared to other ranks.

Are the Government really determined to refuse to give merit its due reward? Are those who excel among their fellows as a general principle to be denied the incentive to take Commissions, as was mentioned in a speech just now, by being deprived of a recognition of the cost of modern life? The case of the Lieutenant-Colonel has been referred to, and I do beg the noble Lord who has to reply to consider that special case, because it does appear that the Lieutenant-Colonel, in his position of great responsibility, is to be less favourably treated than any other rank in the matter of increment. I hope the noble Lord will be able to tell us we are wrong in our fears in that connexion, and I am convinced that he with his knowledge of the Service and how much this means to the officers, will be ready to consider it.

In conclusion, I wish to take the case of those officers at the very top. In this country, in days gone by, when men won victory, and thereby saved countless lives of fighting men and much suffering to their fellow countrymen, they received great rewards. The present Government seem determined that these great Service leaders of our race in the recent conflict, who have displayed an all-round military genius which I claim has been unequalled in the annals of warfare, are to get absolutely nothing in recognition of the fact that they spared us defeat and the concentration camp and, above all others, were responsible for preserving our freedom.

It is always invidious to mention names, and I know they will probably not forgive me, but I want it to be realized that, when Cunningham, Tovey, Fraser, Allenbrooke, Alexander, Montgomery, Portal and Tedder—these great captains who have by their brilliant leadership in all probability saved the nation in widows' pensions and disability pensions scores of millions of pounds—are in retirement, they will get no more than an Admiral of the Fleet, a Field-Marshal or a Marshal of the Air Force serving in time of peace. I confess to humiliation as an Englishman when I find that these great men who won our undying gratitude are on retirement to be given half-pay of £1,800 a year (which, after paying taxes, I presume, as employed persons amounts to less than £1.150 per annum), when a quite unknown member of the House of Commons, who has floated into another place on a wave of temporary—


Temporary sanity.


—insanity, without having given any considerable service to his country in another walk of life and sometimes with a quite unpronounceable name, immediately on arrival gets £600 per annum under the existing scale and is entitled—although I do not think the country is generally aware of this fact; when I was in another place I never advertised it very much—to have his expenses set against his income for Income Tax or Surtax purposes. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that that is an equivalent of a gross income from any other walk of life of something like £1,000 a year. I am not complaining—dog does not eat dog—because, having spent thirty-one years of my life in that Chamber, I do realize the hardship of the members. What I am saying is purely comparative with the way our greatest war leaders are treated and not because I desire to deny any proper recompense to those who are bearing such responsibilities in another place. But we have all read in the newspapers this week that it is not to end there, and it is now suggested that the members of the House of Commons (and I have no doubt the steam-roller will carry it through) are to receive £1,000 a Year of which £500 will be free of tax.

I am not complaining—it may be right and it may be wise, and it would be out of order for me to debate such a question here to-day—but I do want it to be realized that Cunningham, Alexander, Montgomery, Tedder and the others, at the end of long and wonderful careers, with this nation and all the world grateful to them, will be very little better off than those who have been recently elected Members of Parliament. In other walks of life we are appreciating the fact that the times are changing and expenses are much greater. The war is over. London is no longer subject to "blitz" and there are now regular bus services and many taxis on the streets; but Cabinet Ministers have not, if I understand aright, hesitated now, in time of peace, to add to their salaries of £5,000 a year a perquisite in the shape of a motor-car, driver and garage, all tax-free, which would cost any of us at least boo per annum net, and which would cost an Admiral of the Fleet or Marshal of the Air Force or Field Marshal a similar sum, after nine shillings in the pound has been deducted.

Is it the case that there has been a deterioration in the physique of the new Ministers and that perhaps they cannot last the course in the arduous route march from Whitehall to the Palace of Westminster? But, whatever the reason (and I am sure they are right, because they are all conscientious men) they have not hesitated, like Members of Parliament, to call upon the taxpayer to improve their lot. Our greatest war leaders, it is true, are going to receive the honour of a Peerage from their grateful Sovereign, but from their ungrateful Government they get not a penny to maintain that not inexpensive dignity. When the Government abandoned the time-honoured practice of a monetary award for victorious national war leaders I believe I am speaking for everyone here present when I say that we did expect they would have given something in the nature of an increased Pension. This does not give them the "awful stigma" of having to hand over property to their sons and grandsons. If we are not to increase their pensions, at least we should say that as long as they live these men shall continue to draw full pay.

I ask your Lordships, in conclusion, if we really feel that we are doing what is right and correct from the democratic angle. I would ask His Majesty's Government to find out what is done in this connexion in the United States of America. There, I think you will find, the great war leaders are very differently treated. We have heard already what happens in Russia. There, I believe, there is no reduction in full pay whatever; they carry it on for the rest of their lives. I would like to know what France did for her victorious Marshals after the last war. I venture to think that no other country would treat its greatest heroes like this. I find, in travelling in the 'bus and the tube, that there is a crescendo of adjec- tives applied to His Majesty's Government, but I hope that, for the credit of the nation in this matter, they will not go down to history as the meanest Government of all time and as a Government which, in connexion with the architects of our victory, banished the word "gratitude" from the English language. I do urge His Majesty's Government to think again and to right this grievous wrong.

4.50 p.m.


My Lords, this has been a fruitful and a helpful discussion and I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, for the questions, which seem to me if I may say so to be the right questions, which he put at the opening of his observations. He asked whether the new scales will attract and give us contented officers. Those seem to me to be the right questions and it is by that test that His Majesty's Government have been guided in framing the proposals which have been the subject of this discussion. We feel that they will attract; we feel that they will give contented officers. The noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, also mentioned that the yardstick by which they were to be judged should be industry. Well, if noble Lords will compare the range of scales set out in the White Paper with the rewards to young men entering the professions or commerce—young men who may be assumed to have like attainments to those we wish to see in the Army—I think they will find that the rates are by no means unattractive. I speak as a member of a profession myself and also as the employer of members of the same profession, and I must confess that when I first looked at these figures in an earlier stage and related them to what a young man might be expected to receive in either branch of the law, I was satisfied and I felt, indeed, that they would prove attractive. Perhaps the ultimate rewards of great success in a profession—of the law for instance, or indeed of any other profession—measured in terms of money will be higher than the rewards of the Armed Forces of the Crown or of the Civil Service, but those rewards are reaped by the few, the exceptional, the highly successful men.

When considering these rates of pay there has to be taken into account this very substantial fact, that these tables of pay are tables of current remuneration, and that there is also the solid element of deferred remuneration which finds its reflection at the end of a period of service in retired pay. As the noble Lord, Lord Croft, has pointed out, there is a new feature in this scale. There is an increment scale applied automatically up to, and including, the rank of Major by biennial stages. Those scales do not take into account the fact that a Major, retiring at the age of forty-five after twenty or twenty-two years' service, will be receiving an annuity, a payment for the rest of his life, of £475 a year. That sum of £475 a year really has the significance of deferred pay. If the young officer joining the Army were to begin saving in his very first year and were to go on saving until the year of his retirement, after twenty years' service as a Major, at the age of forty-five, it would have been necessary for him to have saved a sum of £400 a year from his initial commissioning in addition to his accretions of regular pay, in order to produce the sum of upwards of £9000 which is necessary to find this annuity for him at the age of forty-five. Consequently the correct way of looking at this table is to add the deferred pay to the current pay in order to see exactly where he stands, and that average rate of £400 a year would have to be added from the very first year when, as a young man, he joined the Service. In what profession in these days is it likely, with taxation at its present rate, with rates of interest as low as they are, that after twenty years, by the age of forty-five, even the successful man will have succeeded in the circumstances we have envisaged in saving the sum of—


But he will not be out of his job at forty-five.


But it is very unlikely that in any other profession his services will be dispensed with at the age of forty-five.


That is quite true, but at the age of forty-five he will be a free man. The noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, in the admirable speech which we all admired for its humanity, its wisdom, its charm and its eloquence, referred to the question of resettlement, as did other noble Lords. I am not prepared to say that the position as regards resettlement of officers at the expiry of their period of service is as satisfactory as it should become. The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, has on a previous occasion drawn attention to the matter and he has a question on the Order Paper to-day on the subject. I can assure your Lordships that His Majesty's Government will take every step that is practicable to ensure that an officer, on leaving the Army, shall have a very real prospect in ordinary civilian life. As I have said, if he retires with the rank of Major at the age of forty-five he will carry with him into civilian life the great satisfaction and safeguard of having the sum of £475 a year available against the vicissitudes of the future. Be it remembered, too, that these pay rates not only rise automatically but are subject to none of the vicissitudes applicable to ordinary civilian life. The noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, drew attention to the provision of the White Paper dealing with further revision. He told your Lordships' House that he would feel better satisfied if he could feel that His Majesty's Government in making any review would consider themselves free to make revision in an upward direction as well as by reducing rates should there be a marked change in conditions. He asked for an undertaking. Well, I give the noble Lord that undertaking. The operation of this Command Paper will be marked with care. Any unforeseen difficulties that may present themselves will certainly have the greatest consideration with a view to amelioration.

That, I think, will satisfy the noble Lord, because it provides the atmosphere in which he said he wished this document to be discussed. In that connexion I should like to say to noble Lords that this White Paper must not be looked at merely from the point of view of those who are in the Army at the present moment, but also from the point of view of those we are seeking to attract into the Army, those who are looking for a profession. It so happens that I had a letter this morning from my boy who is serving in a Regular regiment overseas. He is, of course, a youngster. In the course of this letter he says this: The new rates of pay, preceded by the usual rumours—— I am not quite sure that I know what that means— seem pretty sensible. I have not heard anyone say that they should be higher. That comes from a young man in a Regular regiment, meeting young men of the same age and background. I am not attaching any more importance to it than should be attached to it. I am merely indicating that that is the view of a normally intelligent and normally well-informed young officer.

It was natural, of course, that noble Lords should direct attention to that feature which is new in this White Paper, in relation to allowances, as indeed it was in the case of the White Paper on the pay and allowances of other ranks in the debate which was opened by the noble Lord, Lord Croft. On the one hand, His Majesty's Government take the view that these elements which go to constitute remuneration should be taxed. On the other hand, I would point out to your Lordships that it is a mistake to believe that prior to the war alt allowances were free of tax. It is only during the war that allowances have been free of tax. I do not wish to be understood as saying that all allowances before the war were taxed, but to a very large extent they were. It is not a new principle. It is the extended application of a pre-existing principle, and it seems to me to be correct.

The noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, said that he would like to know how these figures actually worked out. Perhaps it would be helpful if I quoted from the figures relating to the Army, because it is with the Army naturally that I am myself most familiar. I have had the figures taken out in a rather elaborate table for my own satisfaction by way of comparison. I would take the case of the Major and the Lieutenant-Colonel. These are two cases that are perhaps as useful as any other. I would take the case of the married officer with one child. I have had to do it on some basis, and this happens to be the basis. I think some other noble Lord mentioned the married officer with two children. I cannot give a comparison with regard to that, because I have not got the table in front of me. I can, however, do it with regard to the married officer with one child. The position is that in the revenue year 1946–47 the Major will receive an increase in his net remuneration as compared with the year 1945–46. In each case I have taken the time when he first becomes Major; so that is nil year's service as a Major; he has just been promoted from Captain. In 1946–47 as compared with 1945–46 he is at an advantage. That is if he was on what is known as the pre-1942 allowances—lodging, furniture, fuel, light, servant—and living with family; it is not a very large increase; it is £53. But for the year 1947–48, which really is the year to be taken for comparison, as that is the first year in which the whole of the tax will operate at the full rate, the increase is somewhat reduced and is only £10.

I want now to take the Lieutenant-Colonel in command. I am going to take him with his pay at the existing rates. I have included Command pay, War Service Increment, lodging allowance, servant allowance, fuel and light allowance and furniture allowance, and I have taken Income Tax at the rate of 10s. in the pound, because that was the rate prevailing in 1945–46. The Lieutenant-Colonel in command receives a net increase in 1946–47 of £105, though when the full burden of the tax comes to be felt in 1947–48 the increase is only £13.




£13. I will now take the married officer with one child drawing post-1942 allowances and living with family. I will take a Lieutenant-Colonel in command. The net increase in 1946–47 over 1945–46 is 160, and the net increase in 1947–48 over 1945–46 is £86. To complete the picture, if the noble Lord would like it, I will give the case of the married officer with one child drawing post-1942 allowances and separated, being in barracks. A Lieutenant-Colonel in command receives in 1946–47 a net increase of £201, compared with 1945–46, and in 1947–48 a net increase of £141 over 1945–46.


I am very grateful to the noble Lord for giving us these examples. He has had the advantage of the statisticians of the War Office. I would, however, like to ask one question. He has given, I am sure, very good average examples, but if he looks through that table can he give us an assurance that in not one single case for 1947–48 there is a reduction?


Before the noble Lord replies may I ask him to say whether it is or is not the case that an officer in one of the ranks which he has mentioned with two or more children will be in a more unfavourable position than those he is quoting?


I was interrupted before I had finished.


May I ask the noble Lord one thing? Is he taking into consideration the relative value of money?


I am not. This is a statistical statement. I am not taking into account the relative value of money. I was simply, as the noble Lord, Lord De L'Isle and Dudley, will appreciate dealing with a specific case which I have worked out of the officer with one child. I will mention the question of those with more children in a moment. I am going to give the noble Lord the answer to the question he asked me with regard to deficiencies. The only deficiencies are four, and they apply only in relation to 1947–48 as compared with 1945–46. The lowest rank to which it applies is a Brigadier, and the deficiency is £1 in the year—again I am taking one child pre-1942 allowances, living with family. A Brigadier loses £1, a Major-General £12, a Lieutenant-General £99, and a full General £131. I think that is due to the operation, possibly, of the fuller rate of tax becoming applicable at the higher rates of pay. I am bound to tell noble Lords, however, that there is an infinite variety of cases that may arise, as anyone knows who has to deal with Income Tax returns. There are cases, for instance, where there is a large number of children, where there will be some reduction in the remuneration.

Now His Majesty's Government, bearing that in mind, have made specific provision for it in the White Paper by way of mitigation. I think the noble Lord used the word "cushion." They have provided that there shall be supplementary allowances by way of a "cushion," running to the year 1950, and that there shall also, in a case where allowances were issued in respect of children, be an entitlement to the officer to continue with the prevailing rates of allowance until March 31, 1947. So steps have been taken to mitigate that situation. But of course it may be expected—at least it may be hoped—that those officers who would be concerned were the changes to take place now, will by April 1, 1947, when tax on allowances remission will apply for the first time, have been raised to a higher rank. Therefore the actual individuals concerned, were these new arrangements to come into operation immediately, will in fact not themselves, as individuals, suffer this loss. Indeed, I believe I am right in saying that it is mathematically impossible for anyone to do so for more than the space of one year, having regard to the operation of the safeguards of this scheme.

I do not wish to weary noble Lords by talking in too great detail on the very large number of interesting and important questions put to me. I feel that the matter with which I have dealt, of the effect of taxation on allowances, is one of great importance, and I have therefore allowed myself to deal with it at greater length than I would otherwise have done, because I regard it as essential that any misunderstanding in the public mind as to what is the actual effect on these allowances should be removed. Undoubtedly, there is apprehension in certain minds that there will be an immediate and substantial reduction in remuneration. I hope what I have said may serve some purpose in removing that misapprehension.

The noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, and other noble Lords, raised the question of the command pay of Lieutenant-Colonels. The position at the moment is that a Lieutenant-Colonel gets 43s. and 10s. command pay—that is, he gets 53s. a day. The normal age of substantive promotion is now 45, and if promoted he will get 55s., plus 2s. 6d. entertainment allowance—that is 57s. 6d. In regard to the observations of the noble Lord, Lord Temple-more, it must be borne in mind that though this entertainment allowance is expressed in terms of so much a day, it is not designed as a sum to be spent at the rate of so much a day, but is a contribution towards entertaining. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Hatherton, who raised a very similar question regarding entertainment befitting the position of a Commander-in-Chief and the like. Let me say in general in regard to entertainment, that where there are specific reasons for entertaining in an official way this entertainment allowance is not the fund upon which the expense will fall. Special arrangements are made in cases of that kind.


Would the noble Lord forgive my interrupting? He has dealt with the most favourable case from the Government point of view—the Lieutenant-Colonel or commanding officer with 21 years' service, who, of course, scores. What I was getting at, however, was the case of the young commanding officer who, by his zeal and general fitness, gets command before he has had 19 years' service. He is 3s. a day worse off.


When the noble Lord says that the officer scores or loses, he is looking upon it as if it were the same individual with whom we are dealing. So far as the individual is concerned, he will receive his promotion and will be better off than he was before, through the entitlement to a higher rate of pay following upon the higher rank. I do not think it is really right to lock upon all these changes as if somebody was losing, whereas the real truth is that it is a new rate applying to different people—people who are gradually working their way up in the profession. Relatively few of them will be personally, as individuals, affected by a reduction.

The noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, asked me as to entry into the Army, and the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, raised the question of the indefinite and the definite article—whether it was an Army College or the Army College. Let me tell the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, that, broadly speaking, it is proposed that every entrant into the Army College shall have served in the ranks. By that I do not mean that he shall have served merely in the ranks at the Army College; he should actually have served in the ranks before entering the Army College.


In a regimental unit, or a primary training unit?


That is a matter which has yet to be fully considered. I do not think I can answer it except by saying that it is not intended to be in the Army College itself; it is intended to be genuine service in the ranks.

The noble Lord also asked for the order in which events are likely to take place. There is likely to be the entrance examination before he leaves school, or at all events before he enters the Army on being called up at eighteen. He will then serve six months or more in the ranks and at the age of eighteen and a half or a little more he will go into the Army College. It is proposed that Woolwich and Sandhurst shall be combined into a single Army College. I say "broadly speaking" about service in the ranks and this procedure, because there will be candidates entering the Army as university candidates and there will be those directly commissioned from the ranks who are not what I may call deliberate candidates. Let me assure him that if a candidate should fail in the Army College, provided it is through no fault of his own, he will not be held just because he is an enlisted man but will serve for what may be the appropriate term at the time. As things are at present he would serve until released in the ordinary way. The "Y" cadet entry scheme will continue. Provision is to be made for Dominion candidates.

The noble Marquess asked me about psychiatrists. Psychiatrists have played a valuable part in the selection of candidates and in advising on the posting of officers and other ranks, and I hope they will continue to play what may be their appropriate part in selection. The noble Marquess and other noble Lords have asked about qualification pay. The noble Marquess is mistaken in thinking that to have passed through the Staff College or to have taken an Honours Degree at a university is the sole qualification for what we now call qualification pay. There are other qualifications which have not as yet been fully or precisely defined, but I could indicate to the noble Marquess the sort of qualification which is envisaged by this example. Suppose a young officer has made himself extremely competent in, let us say, gunnery, has taken a long course, and has become an instructor gunner. It might be expected that he would be qualified to receive this extra emolument by way of qualification pay.


Will that apply also to first-class interpreters?


They would not get qualification pay. It is intended to maintain the position of interpreters, but I cannot at the moment say exactly what the rate will be.


May I ask the noble Lord one question? I gather that qualification pay will be rather the exception. Am I to take it that the very good company officer or the officer who has been selected to be Adjutant will be eligible?


I should have thought not. Qualification pay involves some qualification beyond that of adequate performance of ordinary regimental duties. It is proposed to design the regulations in such a way that probably one-third of the officers of the Army of or below the rank of Major will be receiving qualification pay under one head or another. I should find it very easy to address your Lordships at some length and in some detail upon the various aspects of this White Paper but I trust your Lordships will feel that I have dealt with the main questions that have been raised. In so far as there are any detailed questions to which replies have to be given, I will see that the replies reach the noble Lords in writing. While thanking the noble Lord who opened this debate and other noble Lords who have participated in it, I wish to make it clear that it is the resolute determination of His Majesty's Government that the question put by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, in the initial instance shall be answered in the affirmative.

5.25 p.m.


MY Lords, I am sure the whole House is grateful to the noble Lord for his reply, and I am grateful to the noble Lords who have given me support in this debate today. I would particularly like to take the opportunity of associating myself with the many and well-deserved congratulations that have been bestowed upon my noble friend Lord Mancroft for his eloquent and forceful speech. I admired the way in which the noble Lord, the Under-Secretary of State for War, sailed, as it were, into action, laying a heavy smoke-screen of praise and favourable instances. However, in my eyes, he very largely redeemed those tactics by his assurance that the Government felt free to review upwards as well as downwards. I must say that I thought his smokescreen achieved its most efficient moment when he quoted the case of his own son who wrote to him saying: "Daddy, I can find nothing wrong." I would like to ask him when is his son's birthday.


An unsolicited testimonial!


The noble Lord gave us instances of four deficiencies—the Brigadier who loses one pound, the Major-General who loses twelve pounds, the Lieutenant-General who loses ninety-seven pounds, and the full General who loses £110. I think those are the figures. I would ask him—and I am sure noble Lords on this side of the House and, I believe, on all sides of the House would associate themselves with this plea—why these most deserving senior officers should not have some added advantage, having regard to the very high cost of living and difficult conditions today as compared with those which existed when the original rates of pay and allowances were introduced.


The noble Lord appreciates, of course, that these figures are all worked out on the basis of taxation at nine shillings in the pound. When—perhaps I should say if and as soon as—taxation is reduced then the figures will take on an entirely different appearance. Will the noble Lord then come to His Majesty's Government and say: "The rates are better than we thought; we do not want the whole of the increase?"


No indeed. The noble Lord will remember that I made the point that this scheme was moderately satisfactory provided that the Income Tax level did not remain at its pre9ent height. I only hope that the words of the noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State for War can go out from this House as an indication on behalf of the Chancellor that there is some hope that taxation will be reduced. We only hope that is going to be so. After all, if you have got a Government which believes in the equalitarian theory and is willing to pay the Chairman of the Coal Board £8,500 and the other members £5,000, I feel they ought to look again at this and not penalize the highest people.

There is only one other comment I wish to make about his examples. I am grateful for the cases he has put, but my noble friend Lord De I'Isle intervened to say they would look worse when officers had more than one child. The cushion, it is true, prevents any existing serving officer from suffering, and by the time he might suffer he will have risen to another rank, but at the same time we want big families in the future from the young men who are now coming on and therefore we may well have to look at these allowances again. Finally, I do hope that the eloquent words of Lord Croft on behalf of the war leaders will find a sympathetic response in the heart of the Under-Secretary of State for War and the Secretary of State for War, and that he will ask his chief to take to the Cabinet a unanimous feeling in all parts of this House that we should do greater justice to our war leaders than we have hitherto been able to do.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.

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