Oral Answers to Questions — Service Pay and Allowances

– in the House of Commons on 8th December 1943.

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Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the conditions now obtaining and having regard to the rates of pay of soldiers of the Dominions and United States Forces, he will now re-examine the position and consider an increase of pay for the lower ranks of the British Navy, Army and Air Force?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

As already explained, it is not possible to make any useful comparison between the rates of pay of members of the Forces of the United Kingdom and those of the Forces of the Dominions and the United States of America, where the general economic conditions, including wages and prices, differ considerably from those obtaining in this country. With regard to the present position of members of the United Kingdom Forces, I find no ground for departing from the view expressed in the answer to my hon. and gallant Friend on 6th May last.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Would my right hon. Friend reconsider the question in this light, that the conditions, economical and otherwise, mean that costs and prices in this country are the same for all ranks in all Forces, and as large numbers of American and Dominion Forces receive pay which puts the British soldier at a great disadvantage, will he take steps to put an end to this manifest injustice to the British Forces?

Photo of Commander Sir Archibald Southby Commander Sir Archibald Southby , Epsom

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the great disparity which continues to exist betwen the remuneration paid to men in the Services and the rewards paid to civilians in industry outside?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Will my right hon. Friend appreciate that while it is impossible for the Government to make the comparison, the men in the Forces are making it? It is not a matter of spending their pay in other countries. The American and Dominion soldiers and our men are spending the money in this country, and that is where the comparison should be made.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I am well aware of it, and everybody is aware of it. I do not know whether my hon. and gallant Friend is suggesting that it is possible to equate the money rates of remuneration to troops who are serving in the same theatre of war with those of countries where conditions are very different. I suggest that he should examine it.