asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in making the distribution of prize money in April next, he can see his way to begin the distribution with the ex-naval ratings so as to alleviate the distress these men, in many cases, are suffering owing to unemployment?
As stated in the reply to the hon. Member for Portsmouth on 1st March, arrangements will be made to begin distribution to ex-naval officers and men at the same time as to those still serving. Having regard to the very large number of individuals to be paid—over 400,000—it will obviously be possible to deal with only a section of the claimants at a time, and the order in which applications from ex-service ranks and ratings can be received will be announced in the Press as soon as practicable.
It will take a very long time, as it is—about nine months—to distribute all this money, and if it is not done in the way most acceptable to the accounting branch, it will take a great deal longer. It cannot be done as suggested.