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asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that under the compensation scheme set out in Command Paper No. 231 a Royal Air Force general duties officer will receive less terminal grant and special capital payment than a Royal Navy officer or an Army Officer retiring at the same age after the same number of years of reckonable service; and whether he will raise the terminal grant and special capital payment for these Royal Air Force officers.
As explained in paragraph 2 of the White Paper, one of the factors which had to be taken into account in devising the scheme of compensation was the period by which service was cut short.
R.A.F. officers of the general duties branch normally retire at an earlier age than officers of equivalent rank in the other Services. At a given age therefore, their expectation of further service is less and it is reasonable that the special capital payments compensating them for premature retirement should also be less.
The rates of terminal grant are the same in all three Services.
Will the Secretary of State look at this again, because it seems to these general duties officers—and, I understand, it applies also to certain N.C.O. pilots—that they get less compensation than equivalent ranks in the other two Services who have served for the same period of time and who are the same age? It really seems most anomalous.
The comparison is complicated because the scales vary between different branches of each Service to take account of the different retiring ages. We must compare like with like in these matters. If the hon. Member looks, for instance, at the scale for squadron leaders in the R.A.F. Regiment he will find that normally they retire at the age of 45. Therefore, what they get compares with what an Army major who also retires at that age gets.