asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that, in consequence of the increase in prices in North Africa following upon the arrival of Allied troops, the policy of discouraging spending by the troops by reducing the rate of exchange, resulting in a loss to the soldier of 5s. or more per week, is creating some discontent; and whether consideration will be given to the desirability of a scheme of compulsory savings rather than a reduction in emoluments?
§ Sir J. Grigg
It is rather soon to say with any certainty what effect the recent change in the rate of exchange in North Africa has really had on the troops, and I have not yet heard of any complaints. The change can only affect the spending power of the troops in so far as they draw money to spend there, and I am informed that they have drawn legs than the normal amount of cash, doubtless because they find that the opportunities for spending money in North Africa are limited. The change has moreover been offset directly in two days. Soldiers now draw an increased rate of colonial allow- 479W ance and the prices charged in N.A.A.F.I. canteens were in general reduced in proportion to and at the same time as the change in the rate of exchange. I am informed that a substantial number of voluntary allotments have been made and a number of Post Office Savings Bank deposits have been begun by troops in North Africa. I am not satisfied that any new scheme for compulsory savings is necessary.