HC Deb 11 December 1946 vol 431 cc1153-4
49. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister without Portfolio what progress has been made in implementing the changes in Service conditions announced by Field-Marshal Lord Montgomery and Air-Marshal Lord Tedder.

Mr. Alexander

Both the War Office and the Air Ministry have issued instructions for the reduction of parades, guards and fatigues, the institution of request hours, the increase of freedom off duty at weekends and overnight, and on other similar points which restore and extend prewar privileges. These instructions are intended, without relaxing the discipline and efficiency of the Services, to give liberties and privileges to all ranks comparable to those enjoyed in civilian life. Good progress has been made in implementing them. Plans have also been made for improved living accommodation both for the Army and the R.A.F., but progress in this direction must necessarily be slower in present circumstances. As much as possible is, however, being done within the limits of available resources.

Mr. Lipson

Can my right hon. Friend say whether commanding officers are completely cooperative in this matter?

Mr. Alexander

Certainly—if anyone proves not to be so, I am sure that it would be taken notice of.

Mr. Piratin

Can the Minister say whether the conditions of the s.s. "Empress of Scotland" at Liverpool?—

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Hughes.

Mr. H. D. Hughes

Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate whether, in the statement he has made about request hours, it also covers representations on collective grievances and suggestions?

Mr. Alexander

I think so, but I should like to have notice of that.

Captain Crookshank

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what he meant just now when he said that progress in improving accommodation must be slower—slower than what?

Mr. Alexander

The rate of progress will be slower than in the other welfare matters I have mentioned, because we are short of labour, materials and so on.

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