asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will increase the gratuity of £20 payable on the award of the Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal having regard to the decrease in purchasing power since the amount of the gratuity was fixed at this sum.
No, Sir. The gratuity for long service and good conduct is a traditional payment not related in any way to the cost of living.
Does the Minister not think that if £20 was considered a reasonable award for long service and good conduct many years ago, such service and good conduct is at least equally valuable today, and, therefore, worthy of at least equal purchasing power?
I tried to make it clear in my answer that this is not to be regarded as a payment which is related to the cost of living, but if the hon. Gentleman wishes to base himself on that, it was so fixed in 1920 during that short lived boom after the last war, when costs and prices were very high indeed.