HC Deb 06 July 1944 vol 401 cc1316-7
62 and 63. Flight-Lieutenant Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) whether he can make any statement about the recent circular letter sent to certain Commands stating that a number of officers, aged 49 and over, will shortly be informed that their services are no longer required; and how many months' pay and allowances these officers will be allowed on the termination of their duties to enable them to look for suitable employment;

(2) whether any of the officers aged 49 and over, who are shortly to be removed from the R.A.F. were originally given civil commissions with a guarantee of employment until they were 65 years of age; and what provisions are being made for these officers to share in any grants if made to officers after this war on retirement.

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

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave on 14th June to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Jackson) which explained the policy of the Air Ministry in reviewing the position of all officers irrespective of age, in view of the need to maintain the greatest efficiency of the Service and ensure opportunities for advancement for young and energetic officers. The letter referred to by the hon. and gallant Member was a confidential one from the Air Ministry to one particular Command where establishments are likely to be reduced. No circular letter on the subject has been issued to commands generally. The position of officers who held civil appointments with the Royal Air Force before the war will receive consideration and the Air Ministry will, of course, fulfil any obligations which it may have contracted but no officers have at any time been given a guarantee of employment until they reach the age of 65.

Flight-Lieutenant Teeling

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend bear in mind that there is a strong feeling among officers that they are to be allowed only about a month's pay? Does he realise that they do not consider that that is enough, and will he do something to make them a little more certain of their future?

Captain Balfour

I told my hon. and gallant Friend that the Air Ministry will fulfil any of the obligations. I do not think there are grounds for officers having such misgivings as the hon. Member expresses.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Cannot they be informed that their expenses will be paid if they offer to stand for Parliament?