HC Deb 04 March 1942 vol 378 cc624-5
9. Miss Eleanor Rathbone

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is satisfied that the expenditure necessarily incurred by commissioned officers for uniform, equipment, messing bills and other charges incidental to their position, is not on such a scale as to exceed the difference between their pay and that of the non-commissioned ranks and so to deter suitable men without private means from applying for commissions; and if this obstacle to promotion according to merit does exist in any branches of the Air Force, are any steps being taken to overcome it?

Captain Balfour

The pay and allowances of junior officers are fixed at a rate which makes it unnecessary for them to possess private means. The large numbers of applications for commissions which are received from airmen suggest that the absence of private means is not regarded as a deterrent.

Miss Rathbone

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend take steps to make it known that officers will not be making a financial sacrifice by accepting commissions, as a contrary impression undoubtedly exists, to some extent, among potential officers?

Captain Balfour

We have issued Air Ministry orders giving full details as to kit allowances and other allowances to officers on commission. I hope that my hon. Friend's Question and my reply will help to give wider publicity to this fact.

Miss Ward

Does the answer of my right hon. and gallant Friend really reflect the view of the Service?

Captain Balfour

Yes, my answer does reflect the view of the Service.