HC Deb 10 November 1954 vol 532 cc1169-70
1. Mr. Hale

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many fully-trained pilot members of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve have received notification during the last 12 months, to the most recent convenient date, terminating their continuative training and terminating the conditions under which, on keeping their training, they qualify for allowances and bounty.

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Mr. George Ward)

As the hon. Member knows, we are concentrating our resources on giving refresher training to those pilots who would be of use to us in the very early days of a war. Between 1st June, 1953, and 30th September, 1954, about 1,500 pilots were told that we would not be able to give them any more flying training. Apart from National Service reservists, all those who were in the Reserve on 31st May, 1953, will be entitled to draw bounty for the remainder of their engagement even if they do not carry out flying training.

Mr. Hale

Does that mean that the 1,500 people do not draw their training allowances which they were promised when they trained for this very difficult job, and that the policy of the Government now is that a pilot of 24 years of age is a completely wasted asset who is to be written off after the expenditure of several thousand pounds on his training?

Mr. Ward

No, Sir. It does not mean that at all. It means that we can now give refresher training only to those air crew reservists who are qualified operationally and who have not been away from operational flying for too long. We may not have sufficient time on the outbreak of a war to refresh those who have got too rusty. As regards the drawing of bounties, those who had an engagement in the R.A.F.V.R. before 1st June, 1953, apart from ex-National Service men, will go on receiving their bounties until the end of their current term of service even though they do not undergo flying training.