HC Deb 07 June 1944 vol 400 cc1333-4
18. Mr. Walter Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that able and leading seamen and equivalent grades in other branches of the R.N. are to receive an increase of 3d. per day in substantive pay and W.R.N.S., if they hold a rating equivalent to able seamen, and leading W.R.N.S. are to receive an increase of 2d. per day; and why the equivalent ranks in the R.A.F. and W.A.A.F. are not receiving any increase in substantive pay.

Sir A. Sinclair

As the hon. Member is aware, the White Paper announced certain increases in the pay of non-tradesmen private soldiers and said that some, but not exactly corresponding, adjustments would be made in the pay scales of the other two Services. The adjustments in the pay scales and conditions of re-classification of airmen and airwomen, of which I informed the hon. Member in my reply of 24th May, secure broad equality between Air Force personnel and corresponding personnel of the Army and Navy. The new rates for non-tradesmen aircraftmen correspond very closely with the new rates for non-tradesmen private soldiers, but the adjustments in Naval rates of pay have not corresponded so closely, because the advancements to higher rates of pay are not given in the Navy after the same periods of service as in the R.A.F. At some stages the airman gets more pay than the seaman; at others, the seaman is ahead of the airman, but taken as a whole the rates for airmen and airwomen resulting from the recent changes are fully equal to those of the Royal Navy and the W.R.N.S.

I understand that in the Royal Navy adjustments have been made not only in the seamen's branch but in certain other branches also, some of which are on higher rates of pay than the seamen's branch. Here again the incremental periods are different from those of the comparable branches in the Royal Air Force but, taken as a whole, the revised rates which result from the increases granted in these other branches are not more favourable than those. payable in the comparable Royal Air Force groups.

Mr. Driberg

Does all that mean that the Royal Air Force is being levelled down to the other two Services? If so, why not level up the other two to the Royal Air Force?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir, it does not mean that. It means that substantial advantages are being gained by the Royal Air Force from the new scales of pay, and, while I regret the length of the answer which I had to give to the House, I am sure it will convince my hon. Friend wheh he sees it in HANSARD.

Mr. Edwards

Does it also mean that, in the Royal Air Force, there is no increase for any personnel serving less than three years, whereas in the Royal Navy they get an immediate increase of 3d. a day without three years' service?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir, I can assure my hon. Friend that it does not mean that.