War Gratuities

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 1945.

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Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh 12:00 am, 13th June 1945

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that the Government's scheme for war gratuities is not giving satisfaction to the Services; and will he give further consideration to it.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the negative, and the second part, therefore, does not arise from it in any direct manner.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

I am rather sorry the right hon. Gentleman has had to reply because I wanted to get at the Prime Minister. This matter has been before the Prime Minister several times, and it is unfair that the Minister of Labour should now have to reply. Is he aware that there is great dissatisfaction among Service men about gratuities? I would like to know whether he has made inquiries on the subject.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I have given the information which is in my right hon. Friend's possession, and if my hon. Friend has any further information, I am sure my right hon. Friend will be pleased to have it.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why, to-day, he is answering Questions for the Prime Minister whereas, the other day, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who is sitting be- side him, answered Questions for the Prime Minister? [Hon. Members: "No.".] What is the reason for this change? The Chancellor of the Exchequer also answered Questions for the Prime Minister. What is the reason for this? Why this demotion?

Photo of Colonel Sir Henry Evans Colonel Sir Henry Evans , Cardiff South

May I ask whether the matter referred to by the hon. Member comes within the functions of the Opposition?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Can I have an answer to my question, Mr. Speaker? On a point of Order—

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

I am saying something. The hon. Member must not rise when I am on my feet. This Question deals with war gratuities.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

With great respect, Sir, I did not observe that you were speaking at the time. I have no desire to be disrespectful, but we are entitled to ask why, when Questions are addressed to the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister, for quite good reasons, is not available, other right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench should take turns about to reply.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

It has nothing to do with me.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

On that point of Order. Cannot we have an explanation, and in particular, could we be told whether the astonishing demotion of the First Lord has the approval of Lord Beaverbrook?

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

I would like to inform the Minister that hon. Members are continually receiving letters from serving soldiers and discharged soldiers on this question of gratuities, and to ask him whether he will consult the Secretary of State for War and have some of the correspondence sent to him on this matter. Will he look into it?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I have, of course, been in touch with the Secretary of State for War, and I am also aware that the system agreed to by the last Government appears to be the best possible.

Photo of Mr Frank Collindridge Mr Frank Collindridge , Barnsley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the volume of opinion in the country to the effect that equal danger shared by all ranks should warrant equal grants?