Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £116,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of the Air Ministry, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1920, in addition to a sum of £576,000 to be allocated for this purpose from the sum of £45,000,000 voted on account of Air Services generally.
§ Captain W. BENN
In reference to some of the wages paid in the Air Ministry, I see that in the quasi-permanent staff, Vote 5, there are three ex-soldiers, Class B, who are being paid 31s. 6d. a week, and there are also fourteen assistant clerks in the Department of the Controller-General of Civil Aviation commencing at £1 a week. I would also like to ask what wages the messengers, porters, and cleaners are being paid. I do not know whether these people are being sufficiently paid or not. Certainly 31s. 6d. is not sufficient to pay a man, and I would like an assurance that there is nobody in the Department who is not being paid a wage commensurate with the enormously increased cost of living.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I will make inquiries into that. I accept to the full all the implications of the Fair-Wages Resolution of the House of Commons, and certainly a proper living wage must be secured to every person serving under the Air Ministry. With regard to the actual points of detail put by my hon. and gallant Friend, I could not possibly answer them on the spur of the moment, but perhaps he will embody them in a Parliamentary Question, when I can give him a definite answer. I gladly give him the general assurance he desires.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. and gallant Member was not here when we arranged to have the Debate on policy on the first Vote, namely, the Pay Vote, on the understanding that the other Votes were only dealt with as regards detail.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
I did not mean that kind of policy at all. I am referring here to the distribution of certain wings on the White Paper issued under the direction of the Air Ministry. The distribution of the wings is, of course, policy, but I was not in any way questioning the higher administration of the Air Service.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is the very point we have been discussing most of the afternoon.
Question put, and agreed to.