HC Deb 05 March 1947 vol 434 cc479-80
53. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the Minister of Defence if he will indicate, in approximate figures, how the estimated strengths of the 182,000 in the R.N., 590,000 in the Army, and 315,000 in the R.A.F. on 31st March, 1948, will be made up as between men and women and as between long-service Regulars short-service Regulars and conscripts.

Mr. Alexander

The numbers of women included in the estimated strengths of the Services on 31st March, 1948, are: 8,250 in the Navy, 14,000 in the Army, and 26,000 in the Air Force. The make up of the total numbers in the respective Services as between long-service Regulars, short-service Regulars and National Servicemen will, in the course of the next 13 months, be subject to many variable factors. I am unable, therefore, to furnish any reliable estimate in answer to the last part of the Question.

Major Legge-Bourke

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that yesterday the Minister of Labour gave a figure of 175,000 as the total call-up for 1947? If that is known, surely he must have some idea, anyway up to the end of the year, of what this proportion will be that is asked for in the last part of the Ques- tion, and cannot he give an estimate as far as he does know it?

Mr. Alexander

No, I could not estimate, because call-up is only one factor in this matter. For instance, we have to consider what the position will be on the voluntary Regular engagements which we hope to get—which are at present below our requirements—and also the percentage of men discharged who are technically or specially trained. I would have to go into that in much more detail, and I am unable to give the details now.

Mr. Cherivynd

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that unless fuller information is given on the lines suggested, it is very difficult for ordinary back bench Members to make any reasonable judgment on the Defence White Paper?

Mr. Alexander

We give the fullest possible information we can.

Brigadier Low

Will the right hon. Gentleman in his next White Paper, and in subsequent White Papers on Defence, please include these overall figures se that it is not necessary for the House to have to undergo this painful process of extraction by Question?

Mr. Alexander

I will bear it in mind, bearing in mind also security considerations.

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