asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many chief writers have been discharged since the Armistice who were fully qualified and recommended for promotion to warrant writers before and during the whole war period; how many ratings in all other branches were qualified and recommended for a like period; how many chief writers now serving have been qualified and recommended for over six years; whether for the sake of economy, and to allow able and deserving men an avenue to promotion, he will consider whether the proposed entry of 10 paymaster cadets might be abandoned and the ten vacancies for officers filled by the promotion of chief writers; and what is the estimated sum which would thereby be saved to the Crown during a period of 15 years, taking into consideration that the average age for promotion to warrant writer is 40 years and that they would forfeit their pensions until they reached the age of 55 years?
The statistics asked for by the hon. Member are not readily available, and their compilation would entail a considerable amount of work, which, with the reduced Admiralty staff, it is not possible to undertake. The Board of Admiralty is not prepared to cancel the recent decision to enter 10 paymaster cadets and to substitute the promotion of 10 chief writers to warrant writers. The number of paymaster cadets to be entered is the minimum necessary to maintain the higher ranks in the reduced establishment of the Accountant branch, and this requirement would not be met by the promotion of chief writers to warrant rank.