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Germany (Local Overseas Allowances)

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 10 May 1961

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30.

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the additional cost of maintaining United Kingdom forces in Germany as a result of the revaluation of the Deutschmark; and whether any steps are being taken to assist members of these forces to meet the increased cost of living.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for War what changes he has now made in the overseas allowance of British forces in Germany to meet the devaluation of the Deutschmark; and what was the reason for the delay in making these changes.

38.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he has now completed his consideration of the revision of local overseas allowance rates for troops stationed in Germany; whether the necessary adjustment will be retrospective to the date of revaluation of the Deutschmark; and if he will make a statement.

As my right hon. Friend told the hon. Gentlemen the Members for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) and Barking (Mr. Driberg) in a Written Answer last week, the revision of local overseas allowances is still being considered. Apart from any increase this revision might bring, the additional cost to Army Votes arising from the revaluation of the Deutschmark will be in the region of £2 million a year.

Is my hon. Friend aware that as a result of the revaluation of the Deutschmark a soldier in Germany who was being paid £10 a week is now receiving 10s. a week less in terms of real money, and that where such a soldier has to go into German accommodation and pay for it he may well be suffering severe hardship?

The factors mentioned by my hon. Friend, and others, are among those which we are considering in the course of this review.

Why is the review taking such a long time? It is many weeks since the Deutschmark was revalued. Will the Minister also say what statements have been made to the Forces in Germany that the changes will be retrospective and that they will not be out of pocket in any way on account of this change?

The time factor is a complicated matter, and it involves inter-Service consultation. The hon. Gentleman is right in saying that any adjustment that may be made will be retrospective, and this is in fact the safeguard of the soldier's position.