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Royal Navy Ratings (Allotments)

Volume 13: debated on Monday 23 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations he had before the decision was taken to end weekly allotments to ratings in the Royal Navy.

The decision to end the weekly allotment system in the Navy was taken in the light of the views of commanders-in-chief, and the Services' personnel advisers.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that allotments to dependants of ratings in the Royal Navy will continue through National Giro Bank after the ending of the weekly system in February 1982.

The National Giro Bank is one of several different facilities through which ratings can channel a monthly allotment to their dependants. It must remain a matter for ratings and their dependants which method suits their particular curcumstances best. The various alternatives available, in the banking, National Giro and Post Office systems have been carefully explained to all ratings.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many representations he has received regarding his decision to end the weekly allotment system in the Royal Navy; and how many of them support the decision.

Of those serving personnel who use the allotment system, some 18,000 when the announcement was made, one rating has made a representation to the Ministry of Defence against the decision. There have been eight other inquiries from hon. Members or in another place and nine wives or dependants have sent letters to the Ministry of Defence about the decision.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effects on Royal Navy ratings' dependants consequent on the decision to end weekly allotments in February 1982, and specifically in the area of attachment of accounts for debt repayment, access to money during illness and adequacy of knowledge of partners' drawings when absent at sea.

The decision to end weekly allotments in the Royal Navy from February 1982 was taken on the basis that there were now adequate alternatives which would satisfactorily cater for the needs of naval ratings' dependants. As regards attachment of earnings, members of the Armed Forces are not subject to the Attachment of Earnings Act 1971, and special arrangements have to be made with the naval pay authorities for the recovery of debts incurred by ratings. Such arrangements invariably take account of the interests of dependants.Access to money during illness is available through the banking and national giro systems—for example a cheque may be written in favour of a third party. This is similar to authorising a third party to draw a weekly allotment on someone else's behalf. It is up to a rating and his dependent to make whatever arrangements are mutually satisfactory, including provision of information about partners' drawings when absent at sea if that is necessary. It is, of course, possible for a dependant to operate his or her own account, funded by standing order or monthly allotment by the rating.