HC Deb 05 February 1947 vol 432 cc1751-2
19. Mr. John Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) to what ranks men can rise in the pool flight, as compared with those who have been posted;

(2) what leave is granted to men in the R.A.F. who are in a pool flight, as compared with those who are posted;

(3) what are the duties of men in pool flights.

The Secretary of State for Air (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker)

For administrative convenience, pool flights are sometimes formed at Royal Air Force stations for airmen who cannot be employed on their normal duties. For examples, airmen who are waiting to be posted or who are medically unfit for their proper trade may be allotted temporarily to a pool flight. They are then employed on various useful tasks. The same regulations for leave and promotion apply to airmen in pool flights as to all other airmen.

Mr. Lewis

Is the Minister aware that some of these lads are kept in pool flights for six months and do not get the leave to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred and that very often their duties consist of scrubbing floors and gardening, which is very frustrating?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I do not think gardening ought to be frustrating to anybody. If they have not had their proper leave, I think that there must be some mistake, and I will be very glad to inquire into any particular case which the hon. Member may have in mind. The pool flight is a purely temporary device to help to deal with what is sometimes quite inevitable misemployment.

Mr. Lewis

Is the Minister aware that these men are waiting to be posted to a trade and do not want to stay in a pool longer than necessary? Will he see if he can cut down the average period during which, these men are retained in pool flights?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Of course, I will gladly look into the matter again but everything is being done already to get men into their proper employment as soon as we can.