HC Deb 18 August 1919 vol 119 cc1957-8W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether men who joined under Army Order 283, of 1914, are having the second £5 gratuity deducted from the war gratuity; and whether, as these men were enlisted under a definite promise of £5 on joining and £5 on discharge, in addition to any war gratuity, it is a breach of faith to deprive them of this £5?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative, and the second part does not therefore arise.


asked the Secretary of State for War if he can give any information as to when the war gratuity will be paid to men who have re-enlisted for a further period of service?


The war gratuities earned by soldiers who are still serving became due for payment on the 4th August, and are now in process of issue.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the growing dissatisfaction in the country owing to the fact that, in connection with the distribution of the special award of the war gratuity to the troops to the next-of-kin of deceased soldiers the full amount of £5 for the first year and 10s. per month or part of a month is not being paid in full; whether he is aware that in the case of deceased soldiers the amount of £1 per year under the Royal Warrant for Pay, which formed and constituted an essential part of the agreement under which the New Armies were enlisted, and which has in some cases been already paid, is now being deducted from the war gratuity now due, and that in consequence that branch of the War Office dealing with the issue of the war gratuity is overwhelmed with correspondence from relatives complaining that they have not received the correct amount due; and whether he is prepared to take any steps to have the war gratuity issued to all ranks on the same basis as that which already obtains in relation to the estates of soldiers serving under a normal engagement at the outbreak of war?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the replies which were given to similar questions asked by the hon. Members for Macclesfield and Houghton-le-Spring on 20th February and 10th April last, respectively. As was pointed out in the former question, the war gratuity is, by decision of the War Cabinet, a substitute for, not an addition to, the smaller service gratuity, and it follows that where the service gratuity has already been drawn, it has to be deducted from the gross amount now payable, to avoid an obviously indefensible inequality of treatment.