§ 3.44 p.m.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (LORD CARRINGTON)
My Lords, I will, with the permission of the House, repeat a statement which is being made by my right honourable friend, the Minister of Defence, in another place.
In November, 1958, Her Majesty's Government put in hand an examination of the officer career structure in the Services following a recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Recruiting that officers should be given the choice of retirement before 40, when their resettlement problems would be least, or employment until 60 or so. This examination has now been completed and I am glad to be able to inform the House that all three Services will be able to go a long way towards meeting this need.
The Army and Royal Air Force are introducing entirely new career structures which will mean that, generally speaking, officers other than those on short-service commissions will be offered a career to at least 55, or alternatively the opportunity to retire with a pension at 37 or so. The Royal Navy have already introduced a career structure which gives a career until at least 50 to lieutenant-commanders on the General List, and to later ages to officers of higher rank. This will continue. These changes will, of course, have to be introduced gradually and it will not be possible to offer the new terms to all officers now serving. The details of how the scheme will be operated in each Service will be set out in the Service Estimates Memoranda.
There will be an entirely new code of retired pay to match the new career structures. Full details of this will be found in a White Paper on Pay and Pensions now available in the Printed Paper Office. Her Majesty's Government believe that this is a necessary and major reform of great importance, and one which will have a significant effect on the attractiveness of the Services as a profession.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, the House will be obliged to the noble Lord for giving us this statement. I do not propose to take any time of the House, and perhaps it would be better if we dealt with this subject in detail after we have received the White Paper, measured it with the prospects in a diminishing personnel establishment in the three Services and considered how such a scheme is to be implemented, leaving a discussion until the Estimates come before your Lordships' House.
My Lords, I should like to support the statement and say that, although one cannot go into details now, what is suggested in it seems very acceptable. I would congratulate the noble Lord upon it, and thank him.