HC Deb 07 August 1919 vol 119 cc557-8

(by Private Notice) asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that 50 per cent. of the men employed at the Henlow Aerodrome have received notice to leave on. 9th August, and the remainder to go shortly; and whether, especially as many of these men are ex-Service men he will take steps to suspend this notice?

The UNDER-SECRETARY Of STATE for AIR (Major-General Seely)

I only received my hon. Friend's question on entering the House and have not had time to ascertain the full facts of the case, I am aware, however, that a large number of men at Henlow are under notice to leave owing to necessary reductions. I regret extremely the inconvenience and anxiety which must be caused to the men and their families by these dismissals at Henlow and elsewhere, especially as many of the men employed have served in the field, but the great reduction in the etablishments and expenditure of the Royal Air Force render these hardships unavoidable. Fifty-two aerodromes, eleven seaplane stations, 147 landing grounds, and 1,899 hired premises have been closed since the Armistice, involving an almost unprecedented reduction in expenditure and labour employed in so short a period. I am making special inquiries at Henlow, and my hon. Friend may rest assured that every effort will be made there and elsewhere to mitigate the hardships resulting from the necessary reductions while maintaining the efficiency of the Royal Air Force, which are essential in the interests of economy.