asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if, seeing that promotion from commissioned gunner to lieutenant is really automatic for commissioned gunner with a clean sheet, and that it is unfair to retire these gentlemen at 50 instead of 55 when a known number would have reached maximum pay and rank at. 55, he will reconsider the matter?
Promotion from commissioned gunner to lieutenant is made in vacancies and is not automatic. The Admiralty, therefore, were unable to take into account, in fixing the rate of retired pay to be given under the retirement scheme, the possibility that such promotion would have occurred at a later date before the officer reached the age of 55.
Is not promotion really automatic, and can it not be foretold with fair precision?
With a Navy which is being generally reduced, the number of vacancies will not be increased in the normal scale.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that the rates of pay and pension of commissioned gunners and those promoted lieutenants are so drawn that the maximum is reached at or near 55 years of age, and that now the entire basis on which the pay and pension were computed has been altered by taking off five years, and that it is not under the new scheme possible to reach the maximum or anything near it; and if he can so arrange that the maximum be reached at 50 years of age?
Under existing Regulations, it is only in rare cases that the maximum rates of pay and retired pay are reached by lieutenants from warrant rank on retirement at the age of 55. In the small minority of cases in which officers do not reach the rank of lieutenant before retirement, the possibility of reaching the maximum rate of pay and retired pay of a commissioned officer from warrant rank will still exist, except where the officer is promoted at a late age in branches where the 10-year rule applies. The Admiralty do not consider it necessary to make special provision for such cases, the number of which will be very small. I would also refer my hon. and gallant Friend to my reply of the 29th May on the same subject.
Since the number is so very small, will the right hon. Gentleman see if he can evolve some scheme which will be fairer to these ranker officers?
We endeavour in our scheme to be fair to everyone; but the difficulties are not altogether so easy to surmount.