§ Mr. HALL-CAINE
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty at what date it was decided that 20 per cent. of the pay and pensions of naval officers was to be based upon the cost-of-living figure, as calculated by the Ministry of Labour; whether any apportunity was ever afforded naval officers of deciding whether the basing of such proportion of their pay on this figure was agreeable to them; and, if not, whether, in view of the dissatisfaction that now exists amongst such officers as to the discrepancy between the Ministry of Labour cost-of-living index figure and their actual living costs, both at home and on foreign stations, he will consider the desirability of evolving a special cost-of-living index which will more fairly reflect the actual living costs of such officers?799W
Sir B. EYRES MONSELL.
The decision to subject 20 per cent. of the pay and pension of Naval officers to periodical revision in accordance with the cost-of-living was part of the decision of His Majesty's Government whereby increased rates of pay and pensions were introduced in 1919. The decision published in Command Paper 270 of 1919 provided that the basis of revision should be the Board of Trade food prices index number. When occasion first arose for applying the principle of revision in 1924, attention was drawn by departmental representatives to the peculiar unsuitability of food prices as an index to the cost-of-living of officers, and it was accordingly decided to substitute the cost-of-living index numbers of the Ministry of Labour, on the basis of which the 1924 and subsequent revisions have been carried out. I am not aware that Naval officers were taken into consultation about this change, but I would point out that as the Board of Trade food prices index has been consistently lower than the Ministry of Labour cost-of-living index, the effect of the alteration was in the interest of the officers concerned. In regard to the last part of the question, I can only repeat that this question is applicable to the remuneration of public servants generally, and it is impossible to regard Naval officers as having a claim for separate treatment.