asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why an order has been issued to Admiralty dockyards which in effect renders the taxpayer liable for thefts in dockyards of articles other than luxury articles and money; and, as this is a direct incitement to theft and puts an unjust burden on the taxpayer, if he will reconsider the order?
The order to which the hon. Member refers is in accordance with the general policy of the Government for a number of years past, namely to make a limited ex gratia grant when a Government servant loses personal effects other than luxury articles and money, provided the loss arose out of and in the course of his employment and there was no negligence on his part. There are, unfortunately, dishonest people in every walk of life, but I have a higher opinion of the men in Admiralty dockyards than to believe that the order will prove a direct incitement to theft, and it would be manifestly unfair to make the dishonest few a reason for denying some small compensation to a man who, because of, his employment in a dockyard, loses personal effects through no fault of his own.
Is it not a fact that the hon. and gallant Member has received great protests from dockyards? Does this order apply to all Government Departments and factories, and, if not, why is it confined to dockyards?