HC Deb 28 April 1910 vol 17 cc763-4W

asked the Secretary of State for War what was the total cost annually of the service pay formerly paid to induce soldiers to extend their service with the colours in each of the three years prior to the change made whereby proficiency pay was substituted for service pay; what has been the amount expended in proficiency pay in each of the years since that change; what are the conditions on which proficiency pay is awarded; how does the average amount of proficiency pay awarded per soldier compare with the average service pay formerly awarded after two years' service; what additional advantages if any, have been secured for soldiers since the change was made; and whether any rights of those who enlisted under the former conditions have been in any way prejudiced?


The principal conditions under which a soldier receives proficiency pay are that he must be serving under an engagement of more than three years with the colours, must have two years' service, and a third-class certificate of education, must be physically fit, and must have reached the standard of military proficiency laid down for the arm concerned. The rights of soldiers who enlisted under the former conditions of service pay have not in any way been prejudiced. Men entering into a new engagement of course come under the new conditions. The principal advantages granted to the soldier since the substitution of proficiency for service pay are the issue of messing allowance from date of enlistment and of kit allowance from six months after enlistment. These allowances were formerly given from six months after enlistment, but only to soldiers who had reached nineteen years of age. As regards total expenditure, service and proficiency pay are not recorded in the accounts separately from the soldier's regimental pay. I regret, therefore, that I am not able to furnish the figures for comparative cost required.