HC Deb 24 January 1940 vol 356 cc558-9
16. Mr. R. C. Morrison

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware of the welfare of troops scheme established recently by the War Office; whether it is proposed to establish a similar scheme in the Royal Air Force; and whether he will bear in mind the special needs of officers and men of balloon barrage units?

Sir K. Wood

A welfare scheme similar in purpose to that established by the War Office is being organised for the Royal Air Force. It embraces the promotion of social welfare, physical fitness, recreation, including the provision of equipment for games and sports, entertainment and the collection and distribution of comforts. Entertainment has largely been placed under the Entertainment National Service Association the organisers of which have appointed a liaison officer with the Royal Air Force. The collection and distribution of comforts and gifts is in the hands of the Comforts Committee in Berkeley Square House which is run by voluntary help. Every effort has been and will continue to be made to supply the welfare needs of all Royal Air Force units including those of the balloon barrage.

Mr. Morrison

Will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind the fact that, in order to prevent unnecessary appeals to the tribunals or the duplication of appeals for all similar bodies, there should be some kind of co-operation between the Army scheme and the Royal Air Force welfare scheme, particularly as it applies to small units, such as balloon barrage units, all over the country.

Sir K. Wood

Yes, Sir. I will consider that, but, as the hon. Gentleman knows, a good many people desire their gifts to go in a particular direction.

Sir Archibald Sinclair

Yes, but in order to avoid duplication and overlapping, as the hon. Member said, would it not be possible, especially in counties where there are a number of not very large formations both of the Army and Air Force, to employ the welfare officer, who is appointed by the County Territorial Association, to look after the welfare of the Air Force as well?

Sir K. Wood

Yes, Sir. I think there is a case in that particular connection, and I will look into the matter further.