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Officers (Transfer Allowance)

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 31 May 1949

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8, 9 and 10.

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) on what grounds payment out of public funds for storage of furniture belonging to officers and their families who are moved from one station to another is not considered justified for Army personnel who are unable to get unfurnished accommodation on being moved from one station to another;

(2) if, in view of the considerable expense incurred by officers in moving themselves and families to new stations where there are no married quarters, he will allow appropriate travelling allowance for a preliminary visit to the new station or £2 in lieu if no visit is made, as is customary in the Civil Service;

(3) if he will conform with the practice in the Civil Service of granting a subsistence allowance to an officer and his family during a move to a new station pending occupation of permanent headquarters.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence on 13th April to a Question by the hon. Member for North Blackpool (Mr. Low).

Does not the Secretary of State for War agree that, if these various allowances and helps are given to civil servants, as a matter of principle it is equally right that they should be given to Army personnel, because Army personnel, with the moving they have to do and the obtaining of furnished or unfurnished accommodation, which is not supplied to them, are put to very great hardship?

No, Sir, I do not agree, because conditions are dissimilar, and a very full reply was given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the main point of the reply to me by the Minister of Defence on that occasion was that the allowances had recently been looked into, and that he was not prepared to look into them again? Now that he has had these Questions asked by my hon. Friend, will not the right hon. Gentleman go to the Minister of Defence and say that it would be in the interests of recruiting for the Army if the allowances were now changed?

The fact that Questions are asked by hon. Members is no substantial reason why there should be any revision.

Is not the Secretary of State aware that it is in these grievances and in hardships such as these that one of the main deterrents to voluntary recruiting lies? He has ignored that constantly, despite our representations upon the matter.

I do not agree at all. Voluntary recruiting is at a higher level than before.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall endeavour to raise the matter on the Adjournment as early as possible.