Army Officers (Retirement Gratuity)
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what is the amount granted respectively to junior civil officers permitted to retire owing to the changed condition of service under the Government of India Act of 1919, and to officers of the Indian Army brought under reduction of equal length of service?
The gratuity admissible to officers retiring from civil services in India under the proportionate pension scheme, if they have not completed the five years' service which qualifies for pension, is one month's pay at the rate drawn at the time of retirement multiplied by the number of years of active service completed. This is much less than the gratuity of £850, plus 75 for each year of service admissible to subalterns reduced from the Indian Army, but the circumstances provided for by the two schemes are quite different.
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he will consider the question of altering the conditions on the subject of leave laid down for officers wishing to retire on proportionate pensions which allow no leave, even if due and earned, to be taken after the 31st March, 1924, unless the officer has before that date given notice of his desire to retire and has both enjoyed no leave after the date of the Resolution and has, after that date, been refused leave?
This matter is under the Secretary of State's consideration, and I would ask the hon. and gallant Member to await the full statement on the subject which, as I said the other day, he intends shortly to make.
asked the Secretary for Mines when the Report of the Committee on Accidents in Mines will be issued?
I think the hon. Member's question must refer to the Safety in Mines Research Board, which I appointed last year to direct generally the research work of the Mines Department into the causes of mining dangers. It reports to me from time to time on such matters as I refer to it for consideration, but I have not asked the Board to make any general report on accidents in mines.
Safety Shot-Firing Appliances
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he has taken further and necessary steps to broaden the basis of experience in the use of safety shot-firing appliances; and whether he is now prepared to advise making compulsory the adoption of some approved safety shot-firing appliance in the coal mines?
Arrangements have been made for an appliance of this kind to be tried throughout a colliery in South Wales, and the result is being watched. A Sub-Committee of the Safety in Mines Research Board has been appointed to advise on technical appliances generally and I am expecting their Report on this appliance. Otherwise, I have nothing yet to add to the answer I gave on the 15th June to a question asked by the hon. Member for Spennymoor.
Irish Regiments (Disbandment)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether, seeing that six battalions can easily be recruited territorially in Ulster, he will consider the retention of the second battalions of both the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Fusiliers, and the disbandment of two other battalions, English or Scottish, for which it is well known recruiting territorially is a failure?
The statistics of the number of recruits raised in Ulster for the regiments belonging to that province show that the number is only sufficient to meet wastage in four battalions. In these circumstances, the last part of the question does not arise.
99 and 100.
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War, (1) whether he is aware that the land occupied by the Catterick high camp was part of the best agricultural land in Yorkshire, and is now being utterly wasted; whether he can state the intentions of the War Office regarding this tract covering many square miles;(2) whether he has made any further inquiries into the condition of Catterick aerodrome; whether he is aware that many huts are going to ruin, that brick and cement hangars remain in. an un- finished state and are rotting, and that iron framework designed for windows is being used to fill up gaps in hedges; whether, in view of the fact that these huts and buildings are occupying some of the best pre-War farm land, he will have inquiries made as to the possibility of restoring the land to agriculture; and whether the proposal announced on 11th April, that the buildings were to be handed over to the Disposal and Liquidation Commission at an early date, has been carried out?
The whole matter is still under consideration.