asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether the scheme for the issue of free rations to soldiers has now been matured; and, if he will be so good as to state any changes or modifications of his first proposal which have been decided on, especially as regards the re-engagement penny and stoppages levied on men while on furlough?
Sir, the scheme has been matured, and has now gone to the Treasury, and will shortly be submitted for the sanction of the Queen. I am, however, able to say that as regards the re-engagement penny, the intention is that it shall continue to be drawn, in addition to the ordinary pay, by all who are in receipt of it under the Warrant of 1867, so long as they continue in the Service. With respect to furlough men, they will receive an allowance of 2d. a-day, by which arrangement it is evident that no man in any rank can be a loser, but on the contrary everyone must be a gainer on the year. The charge for the re-engagement penny is at present £53,000 a-year, and is a declining charge. The amount of the Estimate for the present year is therefore half that sum, but being partly balanced by other considerations, the total calculation which I now make for the year exceeds my original calculation by only £11,000, and so far as I can foresee, will not cause any excess on the sum already voted.