HC Deb 20 October 1943 vol 392 cc1364-5
28. Viscount Hinchingbrooke

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will reconsider the question of supplying pyjamas to R.A.F. personnel?

Captain Balfour

I sympathise with my Noble Friend's suggestion, but I regret that the general shortage of materials precludes its adoption.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there is some difference of treatment in this question as between one Service and another? Will he study the arrangements made in the Navy whereby officers are entitled to get clothes by signing a chit and ratings can obtain pyjamas, I understand, simply by going to the ship's clothing stores?

Captain Balfour

Living conditions in the Navy are different from those in the R.A.F. Our practice is the same as that of the Army, and it simply is a question of shortage of material. I agree with my Noble Friend that the.pyjama is admirable, it is comfortable and it is desirable, but unfortunately it is not essential, and we have to deal with essentials.

Mr. Shinwell

Is this a principal plank in the programme of the Tory reform group?

Mr. Loverseed

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not admit that a mere shortage of materials is not sufficient reason for keeping fighting men short of this elementary need of decency?

Captain Balfour

I am not sure but I think that aircrews have an issue of pyjamas. I will look into this and if they do not, I will see whether that can be done. As regards the bulk of the Royal Air Force personnel, we cannot do it, because the President of the Board of Trade has not got the material available.

Mr. Tinker

Will all ranks be entitled to this clothing?

Captain Balfour

We cannot get more than a pint out of a pint pot, and the President of the Board of Trade has not got the material.

Mr. Lipson

Is it not the case that if these men were civilians the President of the Board of Trade would find the materials?