HC Deb 14 August 1919 vol 119 cc1635-6
85. Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

asked the Under-Secretary of State to the Air Ministry whether he had now given instructions to release from the Orfordness and Aldeburgh aerodromes agricultural labourers employed there, so that their labour might be available in the harvest field in that district of Suffolk; and whether these men employed at Orfordness and Aldeburgh were amongst the 70,000 whom Sir J. Hunter described as not having earned their money?

Major-General SEELY

The men at Aldeburgh and Orfordness, employed on the removal of the surplus material referred to in my previous answer to my hon. and gallant Friend's question of the 16th July have now been reduced to six and thirty-three respectively. Instructions have been issued to the resident ergineer-in-charge that any bond fide agricultural labourers included amongst them shall be immediately released for work on the land. There are, in addition, forty men who have been employed for some weeks by the Air Ministry on the very urgent work of repairing sluices and sea-walls. I understand that some local labour may be included in this number, but as it is considered that such labour is the most suitable for the purpose it is not possible to dispense with these men until their work is finished, which it is expected will be in about a month from now. I am not aware whether Sir J. Hunter had in mind Aldeburgh and Orfordness when he made the statement referred to.

Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

Has the work on this aerodrome been carried on under the "time and line" contract system, under which the more money a contractor manages to expend the greater his reward?

Major-General SEELY

I must have notice of that.

Lieut. Commander KENWORTHY

Were these two aerodromes not started to meet the submarine menace?

Major-General SEELY

The hon. and gallant Member is in error in thinking that. They were started long before the War.