asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will now reconsider the local overseas allowances paid to troops in Malaya.
My right hon. Friend has no evidence from the local military authorities in the Far East which suggests that the local overseas allowance is inadequate for the purpose for which it is issued. He does not therefore consider that it needs to be reviewed at present.
Is the Minister aware that local prices bear no relation to the real rate of exchange—for example, a bottle of beer for a soldier out there costs about 5s. 6d.?
Yes, but these matters are considered in estimating the rate of allowance. On that we had considerable evidence, both written and verbal, when the amount of the allowance was determined.
Is the Minister aware that his point of view is quite wrong in this, that the troops are put into a much worse position than civilians of equal status, and that it is already causing a considerable amount of bad feeling?
I must repeat that this allowance was fixed in the light of evidence most carefully collected, and there has been no evidence from the troops since the time it was fixed, that there is any reason for reviewing it.