HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1364-5
18. Mr. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Air why his Department has levied a toll of 25 per cent. for rent on A.T.C. welfare funds subscribed by the public for comforts; and will he take immediate steps to have such levies returned and the practice discontinued in future.

Sir A. Sinclair

My hon. Friend is misinformed for my Department does not levy any specific toll for rent on A.T.C. welfare funds subscribed by the public for comforts. It is intended that State grants should be sufficient to provide for essential needs, but that the cost of amenities and other non-essentials should be borne by non-public funds. Thus, where accommodation is used partly for training and partly for recreational or social purposes, non-public funds belonging to a unit are expected to bear a proportion of the rent of the total accommodation. I understand my hon. Friend has in mind a particular case where the apportionment of the rent as between public and non-public funds is in dispute, and I understand the respective amounts of the contributions are now under discussion between my Department and the London Command Headquarters of the A.T.C.

Mr. Robertson

Does not the answer make the position worse? Does it not mean that the welfare fund has to contribute an unknown amount to meet the expenditure of A.T.C. centres? Should not the welfare of these young lads be the first consideration of the Department, and is it not wrong to charge the funds for this purpose?

Sir A. Sinclair

It is difficult to discuss the policy at Question time, but I think the policy is right. I can assure my hon. Friend that the particular case in which he is interested will be gone into very carefully.