§ Mr. Boardman
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is now in a position to make a statement on foreign service leave conditions for naval personnel on demobilisation.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sharp
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will now say if demobilised naval personnel will receive an additional day's release leave with pay for each month's overseas service; and if appropriate payments will be made to those already demobilised.
§ Mr. Callaghan
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware of the feeling among many R.N.V.R. officers that their demobilisation programme is not being handled with urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that not only is the demobilisation of R.N.V.R. officers a matter which is treated with urgency but it is one which is receiving my constant attention. Officers are generally older and of longer service than ratings and for this reason it is not possible to release officers in the same age and service groups as ratings. To do so would run down the officer strength of the Navy at a rate disproportionate to that of ratings with detriment to the efficiency of the Navy.
As far as possible, the number of officers being released is proportionate to the number of ratings. This does not mean, however, that the same proportions can be applied to each of the officer branches as some branches have more im- 2288W portant commitments in the Navy at the present time than others. Schemes for training and re-training officers in the later age and service groups as well as those who volunteer to stay on, are being pressed forward with a view to replacement of those officers whose release has been deferred and some acceleration in the rate of release of officers is expected to result from these schemes in the future.
Sir J. Luc
as asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will arrange for officers and warrant officers of the Royal Navy due for demobilisation to be given any clothing coupons to which they may be entitled on demobilisation in advance, owing to the delay in delivery of clothes after the time of ordering.
I assume the hon. and gallant Member is referring to the grant of clothing coupons made to certain officers who are not entitled to a free civilian outfit. I realise that such officers are inconvenienced by the non-issue of these coupons at the time of release, and I am considering how best to meet this difficulty.