HC Deb 29 July 1938 vol 338 cc3499-500
46. Mr. Montague

asked the Secretary of State for Air, whether he has any statement to make regarding the conditions of service of officers of the Royal Air Force?

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Captain Harold Balfour)

Yes, Sir. As a result of the inter-Service discussions to which reference was made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War in his statement to the House yesterday, I am glad to be able to state that certain improvements will be made in the scales of pay of squadron leaders, wing commanders and air commodores. These improvements are in the case of the two latter ranks, accompanied by the withdrawal of command pay and by an extension of the allowances granted to station commanders in aid of the expenses of official entertainment to which they are put.

Promotion of flying officers of the General Duties branch to flight lieutenants after two years' service in the rank which has for the last two years been given as a temporary measure, will be the standard practice in future.

Instead of being placed on half pay as at present when unemployed during intervals between appointments, officers will in future be retained on full pay and allowances. Officers of the rank of air vice-marshal and above will, however, draw full pay only without allowances. Officers for whom no further employment is available will be placed on the retired list after due notice.

The normal maximum ages of retirement for air chief marshals and air marshals will be reduced from 65 to 6o and those of wing commanders and squadron leaders raised from 48 and 45 to 50 and 47 respectively. The rates of retired pay of officers of the rank of airvice- marshal and air marshals will be improved. The maximum rate of retired pay of group captains will be increased to £750.

Mr. Davidson

Are any changes under consideration for other ranks in the Air Force?

Captain Balfour

With regard to airmen, certain increases in the rates of pay, together with a new system of family allowances, have already been introduced, and my right hon. Friend spoke about them when he introduced the Supplementary Estimate last week.

Mr. Davidson

Are the Government considering at the same time greater facilities for other ranks to become pilots and to have practical flying experience?

Captain Balfour

That is another question.

Sir J. Nall

What effect will these changes have on the average length of service in the case of the majority of officers?

Captain Balfour

I cannot say without notice, but I can give the information by ranks, if my hon. Friend will put a Question down.