Reforms

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th October 1949.

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Photo of Major Donald Bruce Major Donald Bruce , Portsmouth North 12:00 am, 25th October 1949

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will publish a summary showing the reforms instituted in the Army since the end of the war affecting pay, status, conditions of service, and amenities at home and abroad.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a summary of the more important reforms that have been instituted in the Army since the end of the war.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore , Ayr District of Burghs

Would the right hon. Gentleman state those reforms which are claimed to be beneficial, or alternatively explain why those reforms have not led to the number of recruits, both officers and men, that are required?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Every one of the reforms I have instituted since I went to the War Office has been beneficial.

Following is the summary:

New pay, allowance and pensions codes for officers and other ranks were introduced in 1945 and 1946. In November, 1948, there were increases in marriage allowance for regular officers and other ranks, and there were increases at certain points in the pay scale of other ranks. There have been improvements in the rates and conditions of entitlement of other allowances.

The full cost of providing officers' uniform, up to the authorised scales, on first commissioning, is now met by the War Office.

Tuition and maintenance of cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, are now free.

Free outward and return passages may be granted to the families of most married men serving overseas. During their stay overseas, these families have the benefit of social services as nearly as possible equivalent to those existing in the United Kingdom. Provision has been made for flying members of the families to patients who are dangerously ill abroad.

Short service commission and engage-mend schemes have been introduced for officers and other ranks, together with more flexible regular engagements for other ranks.

Steps have been taken to give soldiers as, much personal liberty as possible during their off duty hours. A new system of detention has been introduced in which the emphasis is on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Discharge by purchase, subject to certain limitations, has been reintroduced.

Improvements have been made in messing arrangements and in varieties in messing scales. Kitchen equipment and dining room furniture have been improved in many respects, and kitchens are being converted to gas and electricity.

Temporary accommodation has been improved and some major modernisation has been carried out. There is still a serious shortage of married quarters but the quarters that have been built are fitted with labour-saving equipment designed to reduce the need for domestic help. All post war married quarters have gardens.

Leave camps and hostels are now provided, together with large N.A.A.F.I. central clubs and officers' and sergeants' clubs overseas. Decorations and furnishings have been greatly improved.

Many improvements and amenities have been introduced into troopships and troop trains.

Sheets and pillows are now provided for other ranks. Pyjamas and improved types of battledress, head-dress, and physical training kit have been introduced. No. 1 dress has been introduced for officers.

Persons under trial by court-martial in the United Kingdom may be given aid from public funds, under conditions similar to those laid down for civilians in the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949, in order that they may have professional legal assistance. In overseas commands a modified scheme of assistance has been introduced, and in some cases legal aid is provided in the event of charges before civil courts.

Labour-saving devices and equipment are being introduced into barracks and polishing of equipment and vehicles has been reduced to a minimum.