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Royal Navy (Volunteers, Interviews)

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 24 March 1943

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that volunteers for the Royal Navy are penalised in respect of the expenses incurred in connection with interviews for this purpose as compared to those who are called up; and whether he will modify the existing arrangements to treat volunteers as favourably as conscripts in this matter?

A man summoned under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act to attend at a combined recruiting centre for medical examination and interview is paid subsistence and loss of wages allowances, neither of which is payable to the man who voluntarily attends the centre for this purpose. The distinction arises from the fact that the former is not a free agent and cannot choose a time or place to suit his own convenience, and is common to all the Services.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the volunteers who anticipate the date of their calling up ought not to be penalised in this way, and that such petty financial restrictions are resented out of all proportion to the cost to the Treasury?

The volunteer has the advantage not only of stating his preference but is invariably posted into the unit of the Service which he prefers.