HC Deb 30 October 1957 vol 575 c184
4. Mr. Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for Air why recruitment for the Royal Air Force fell from 1,642 in August, 1956, to 752 in August. 1957; and what action he is taking to improve recruitment.

Mr. Ward

The falling off in 1957 has occurred primarily in recruitment on short-term engagements. In fact, the entry of apprentices and boys shows an increase of some 30 per cent, compared with 1956. As regards the second part of the Question, I would ask the hon. Gentleman to await the Answer to be given later to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler).

Mr. Lipton

Is the Secretary of State aware that on those deplorable figures we shall, before long, have no Air Force at all, unless National Service is continued indefinitely; and as we are not getting the men and have not the machines, what is he doing with the £500 million Air Estimates that we gave him a few months ago?

Mr. Ward

I think the hon. Member will agree that if we are to have an all-Regular force by 1962, the main people are the long-service ones—the apprentices and boys—and, as I say, recruiting for them is very encouraging.

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