§ 13. Captain Ryder
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is satisfied with the present rate of recruitment into the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors; and what steps he is taking to improve this.
§ Mr. Digby
The rate of recruitment has not been satisfactory but there was a welcome improvement last year, when we recruited eight probationers, four from universities and four from the Royal Dockyards. We have recently informed the universities of increases in the salaries of probationers and assistant constructors which are specifically designed to help recruitment. I hope that these will result in a further improvement this year.
§ Captain Ryder
Is it not a fact that the strength of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors is 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. below establishment, and that the recruiting position is not sufficient to make good the losses of the Corps? In view of the recent statement on officer structure in the Royal Navy, will my hon. Friend consider whether the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors should be brought into the new scheme?
§ Mr. Callaghan
Although we are quite sure that consideration could be given, may we ask whether consideration will be given to that suggestion? Is it not the case that a third of the recruits to this Corps have resigned over a number of years because of dissatisfaction? Will the hon. Gentleman make inquiries and have an investigation to see what is necessary to restore the morale of the Corps?