HC Deb 22 January 1958 vol 580 c1032
20. Sir A. V. Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many officers of the rank of air commodore and above are due for retirement during the present year.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

Thirty-four, Sir.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Can my hon. Friend say how many air commodores have been declared redundant and how the figure compares with officers of more senior rank? Will he say what is being done to get these men satisfactory jobs in civilian life?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

There is a total of 140 air commodores in the Royal Air Force of whom 17, that is, 12 per cent., have been declared redundant. This number compares with the figure of 4 per cent. of other officers in the Royal Air Force. With reference to the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary, it has been announced in the House on several occasions that machinery has been set up on an inter-Service basis to deal with the resettlement of officers, and it is progressing very satisfactorily at the moment.

Mr. Shinwell

May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he has any idea what Soviet reaction is likely to be when the Russians hear that so many of these air commodores are regarded as redundant?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I am afraid that I have no Ministerial responsibility for Soviet reaction.

Sir P. Agnew

May I ask my hon. Friend whether his reply means that when the 34 are retired only 17 group captains will be promoted to air commodores to replace them?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

That is a complicated question. I should prefer to see it on the Order Paper and have due notice of it rather than give a snap answer.