HC Deb 30 May 1945 vol 411 cc205-6
27. Mr. Lipson

asked the Secretary of State for Air what groups it is anticipated will be discharged by the end of the year; how many and which trades in these groups will not be released; and if he will give the numbers of the men to be released and of those whose release is to be withheld.

Mr H. Macmillan

I regret that it is not at present possible to give the information for which the hon. Member asks.

Mr. Lipson

Would the Minister tell us when he hopes to be able to make a statement on this matter, because men serving in the Army have been given definite information and men serving in the R.A.F. feel they are entitled to similar information?

Mr. Macmillan

I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, and I think it would be wiser to make these statements very carefully so that there is no misunderstanding.

Mr. Bowles

Can the right hon. Gentleman state whether there is any truth in the rumour circulating in the Royal Air Force that doctors, clerical orderlies and others attached to the medical staff are being retained beyond their ordinary release group?

Mr. Macmillan

I would like notice of that question.

Mr. Bellenger

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's recent return to this country, is he aware that a statement has been made by the Minister of Labour that demobilisation will start on 18th June, and there is a feeling in the Royal Air Force that large numbers of men will not be released in their proper turn as laid down in the White Paper? Can he therefore give some information to reassure these men at the earliest opportunity?

Mr. Macmillan

I would like to consider that question.

Mr. Driberg

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the threatened practice of withholding whole trade groups instead of dealing with men as individual cases will dislocate the whole basis of the age plus length of service system?

Mr. Macmillan

I have to consider, of course, as we all do, the working fairly and honourably of the scheme laid down and also the problems of the danger of dislocating the prior needs of the nation for the continuation of a difficult war against Japan.