asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that young Army officers commissioned from the ranks have to pay as much as 5s. for an officer's regimental cap badge; whether anything can be done to prevent such profiteering at the expense of young officers whose pay is small; and, in particular, whether arrangements can be made whereby these badges can be purchased from Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes or other military canteens at reasonable prices?
There is a great variation in the price of cap badges as between different regiments, which ranges from about 2S. 6d. to 7s. 6d. for the normal quality. I have no reason to think that there is profiteering by any reputable firm, but if my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of the cases he has in mind, I will have further inquiries made. I am not aware of any demand from officers for supply through the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes. In practice, this would be very difficult, since each Institute could expect only a very small and variable demand for any one of the many badges.