I cannot at present make any statement regarding improved salary scales for the officers serving in the Naval Ordnance Inspection Department, but I am hopeful that revised salary scales for these officers will now be settled shortly.
Is it not really disgraceful that there should be this continual delay? It has been going on now for years. Is it not just plain dishonesty by the Government to have enticed these men into this job and not to have fulfilled the promises made to them? May I also ask why the Civil Lord is answering this Question? Has the Parliamentary Secretary run out of answers after the many times he has been answering this subject, including an Adjournment Debate? Why has it now been turned over to the Civil Lord?
The answer to the second part of the supplementary question is that the Civil Lord has always answered these Questions. He certainly answered the Question on the last occasion, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman will see if he looks at HANSARD. As to the suggestion of dishonesty, there is nothing dishonest about this. The Government are trying to settle this matter in a fair and proper way, and consideration tion must take some time because not only the Admiralty, but other Departments have to be consulted.
I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that we are doing everything possible to expedite it and we are a little bit more than hopeful that something definite will be announced within two or three weeks.
The Madden Committee certainly made recommendations among which were improved rates of pay for the Department. Obviously that has to receive consideration in the Government.
Is it not the case that the Madden Committee reported 18 months ago, making these recommendations, and that the Civil Lord has now given the House an answer which is even less optimistic than the answers he was giving three months ago?
I have not given a less optimistic answer. What I said was that we are going into the question as quickly as we possibly can and that we hope to give something definite within two or three weeks' time.