§ Sir JOHN BENN
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware of the increased Admiralty price of 2d. per pound put on fresh beef since 1st April; whether in view of this addition the money allowance of 4d. with standard ration will be increased to 4½d., and the 9½d. money allowance in lieu of rations to 11½d.; and whether he is aware that the reduction on other immaterial items of the ration, such as beans, etc., does not compensate for this extra cost of that which is the men's staple article of diet?
§ Mr. McKENNA
The repayment price of all fresh meat has been increased as stated, the price for beef, mutton, or pork being now fixed at 6d. per pound, which is no more than the average cost price to the Crown. The change in the repayment price does not, however, necessitate any adjustment in the value of the standard ration and messing allowance established under the new scheme of victualling, as in reckoning their value at 9½d. per diem (exclusive of spirit), meat has always been correctly charged at the average cost price of 6d. per pound. Similarly in regard to the money allowance in lieu of victuals, this was fixed at 9½d. per diem (exclusive of spirit) as representing the value of the standard ration and messing allowance, the intention being that whilst certain ratings may choose under which system they will be victualled, the cost to the Grown shall be the same in either case. It was never intended that the allowance, although nominally 9½d., should really be worth upwards of 11d., as it would be contrary to the immemorial custom of the service to make a distinction between different ratings in this respect. As regards the reductions in the repayment price of certain other articles of food, these have no connection with the change in the price of meat, beyond the fact that all the prices are closely based on the actual cost price to the Crown.