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Officers' Pensions

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1952

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23.

asked the Secretary of State for War for an estimate of what would be the annual cost of restoring the pensions of officers, stabilised in 1935, to the original rates laid down in the Royal Warrant of 1919.

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that it would be a good thing to try to remove the sense of injustice which has been left with many officers since the 1935 settlement, and which was made even deeper by the 1947 increase not covering all cases?

I have sympathy with this case, but the hon. Gentleman will realise that it concerns all three Services and the Civil Service and cannot be settled in isolation.

Does my right hon. Friend realise that retired officers are not a numerous class, that they have served their country well, that they are suffering considerable hardship in many cases, that they are not politically organised, and would he make a renewed attempt to settle this question?

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the fact that it is tied up with the other two Services and with the Civil Service makes it all the more urgent that a solution should be found?

24.

asked the Secretary of State for War by what percentage the cost of living has increased since 1919, when the rates of officers' pensions were fixed by Royal Warrant; and if he will give an estimate of what would be the approximate annual cost of granting such increases as would make good this fall in the value of money.

I can only give an approximate figure showing the change in the level of retail prices since 1919, as different bases must be used for different periods, and an index covering all consumer goods and services has only been available since 1938. Subject to this qualification the present level is about 60 per cent. above the level in 1919.

To increase to 60 per cent. above the 1919 rates Army officers' retired pay awards at present based on the consolidation of 1935 would cost upwards of £2½ million a year.