HC Deb 07 November 1945 vol 415 cc1261-3
21. Mr. Renton

asked the Undersecretary of State for Air whether, in view of the discrepancy between the figures for Class C releases on compassionate grounds given by his Department on 22nd October and those given by the Ministry of Labour on 16th October for Class C release in September, namely, Army 3,202, R.A.F. 37, and R.N. 33, for period 1st September to 12th October, he will now make an up-to-date statement.

Mr. Strachey

The figure given for Royal Air Force releases in Class C by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour referred to releases which had been recorded during the month of September. My own figures related to releases approved for the period 18th June to 22nd October. The number of Class C releases from the R.A.F. which had been approved up to the end of October was 2,142.

23. Mr. York

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air to what extent the shortage of uniformed personnel in the accounts section of the R.A.F. is being overcome; how many new entrants in this trade are required in order that their demobilisation may be equalised with the rest of the R.A.F.; and when this equality is expected to be attained.

29. Mr. Anthony Nutting

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what further steps are being taken to improve the rate of releases from the accountants branch of the R.A.F.

67. Mr. Quintin Hogg

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he anticipates that the inequalities to which the accounts trade of the R.A.F. are subject in the matter of relief will have disappeared by 31st December; and, if not, by what date is it proposed to remove them.

80. Mr. Wilfrid Roberts

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is satisfied that sufficient personnel are being trained in equipment and accountancy to even up release groups in these branches; and whether Kirkham is to be used for training any further personnel.

Mr. Strachey

Five hundred and fifty additional accountant officers and 4,650 additional airmen for the accounting trades are being provided during the 12 months ending 31st May, 1946. To this end an intensive programme of training is proceeding, at the rate of 65 officer entries a month, on a six weeks' course, and 170 airmen entries a week on a five weeks' course. We mean to increase these figures either by opening another school or by expanding Kirkham which is fully occupied. In addition, wherever possible, airmen mustered to other trades are being employed on routine accounting duties. We are thus doing our utmost to help the accountant trades, but I am afraid I cannot yet give a firm date for bringing-them up to the average rate of release—it will not now be by 31st December. This is a result of the speed up in the release of other trades. In general, the faster you go the more difficult it is to keep even as between trades.

Mr. York

In view of the very disappointing reply which we have just heard, may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he can state the total requirements of this branch, and whether he has. also taken into consideration the fact that some of the people who are now being retained may be demobilised before the end of the period which he has just given and thereby delay other later groups?

Mr. Strachey

That, of course, is being considered. The figures I quoted would satisfy the needs before the increase in general release by four groups which I announced; to meet that increase we are now training still more men for the accounts section.

Mr. York

Will they ever catch up?

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir.