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Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 31 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War what is the percentage of their earnings from civilian engagements which Army bands are required to hand over to the War Office or the Treasury.

Officially authorised Army bands pay to public funds a percentage of their net annual profits on military band engagements. The amount is 10 per cent. of the first £1,000 in the case of regimental bands and of the first £2,000 in the case of Staff bands, and 15 per cent. of the remainder in both cases.

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why the War Office makes this deduction when the Air Ministry does not make any similar deduction in respect of Air Force bands, and the Admiralty makes no such deduction in respect of naval or Marine bands?

I should imagine that that Question should be addressed to the Secretary of State for Air.

Would the right hon. Gentleman take up the question with the Minister of Defence and try to get some co-ordination?

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman two Questions very quickly; first, why this percentage is deducted, as it never used to be, and secondly, whether there is any direction to commanding officers as to how the part which they receive shall be spent?

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this 10 per cent. represents an agent's commission for the War Office?


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has yet decided which Territorial Army units of Royal Artillery will be allowed to have bands.

Is it not about time that this matter was settled, in view of the fact that the problem has been in existence for two years? Surely it should be within the power of the War Office to make up their minds in that period, since nothing has changed?

I agree that these negotiations have gone on long enough, but there were certain conflicting claims in regard to the allocation of bands, and we are not responsible for the conflict.


asked the Secretary of State for War why he has refused to make a special grant or to recognise the old established pipers' bands of the London Scottish and London Irish Regiments.

All infantry battalions of the Territorial Army are authorised to form military bands on separate establishments. An initial grant is made for the purpose and a subsequent annual grant is made for the maintenance of instruments. In addition, all infantry battalions are authorised to form drum, pipe or bugle bands within the unit establishments. These bands are not regarded as substitutes for military bands and no grant-in-aid is given, but they are provided with instruments free on an authorised scale, and Scottish and Irish battalions are also allowed one pipe major and five pipers extra to normal establishment.

is it not a fact that the special grant previously authorised before the war has been discontinued, and is it not as a result of the discontinuance of that grant that both these regiments are incurring private costs which they should not incur?

I am advised that it was never the practice to provide pipe bands, but just ordinary military bands, and presumably there is a distinction between them. After all, in view of the fact that the War Office provide instruments, one pipe-major and five pipers, we are very generous.

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he will look into the question of putting military bands above pipe bands in connection with Highland and Lowland regiments, because military bands are secondary to the pipe bands in Scottish regiments?

If the hon. and gallant Member is trying to convince me of his preference for pipe bands as against ordinary military bands, I would not seek to quarrel with him.

Would the Secretary of State say whether there is any instrument grant to enable the right hon. Gentleman to blow his own trumpet?