HC Deb 31 July 1946 vol 426 cc175-6W
1. Sir G. Fox

asked the Under-Secrtary of State for Air when he will be in a position to make a statement to improve the pensions of commissioned warrant officers.

Mr. de Freitas

I am glad to say that improvements in the rates of retired pay for officers appointed to permanent commissions from warrant rank have now been announced to the Service. I am taking advantage of the hon. and gallant Member's non-oral Question to circulate a full statement on this matter.

Sir G. Fox

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that commissioned ex-warrant officers are unable to calculate the amount of their retired pay under the new scheme; and if he will let the officers in question have this information at the earliest possible moment and set out in a form in A.M.O.s that is easily understandable.

Mr. de Freitas

It has been decided that officers appointed to permanent commissions in the Royal Air Force from warrant rank or below will in future be eligible for the normal retired pay of their branch, which, except in the case of Directors of Music, will be at the rates laid down in Appendix III to Cmd. 6750. In any case where this would be to his advantage, however, an officer will have a vested right to the old terms, subject to the conditions laid down in paragraph 67 of that Paper. Officers who have already retired but who gave full-time service in the Armed Forces in the 1939–1945 war will be eligible for re-assessment of their retired pay in the manner indicated in the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for War, on 15th April, 1946. The possibility of somewhat complex calculations cannot be avoided if the officers concerned are to have the full benefit of these arrangements. Difficulties arise no doubt partly from the rules for reckoning service in temporary or acting rank, and partly from the existence of vested rights to existing pension terms if more favourable. The rules for reckoning service in temporary or acting rank are common to all officers, while the question whether a particular officer commissioned from warrant rank would benefit under a vested right would depend on individual circumstances, and it is necessary to make an individual calculation in each particular case. The officers have been given, in a "Newpayform," a clear reference to the Air Ministry Orders defining the various vested rights which exist at present, and I do not think that they should experience difficulty in calculating whether these terms are or are not more favourable than those promulgated in the White Paper. I should perhaps add that when an officer is retired his entitlement under each scheme is calculated in the Air Ministry, and he automatically receives the award under whichever scheme is most favourable to him.