§ 17. Mr. Stonehouse
asked the Secretary of State for Air the total number of married airmen under the age of 21 denied the facilities for their wives, such as passage and oversea allowances and married quarters, normally available to other married airmen; and what would be the total extra cost of making these facilities generally available.
There are at present about 1,670 married Regular airmen below the age of 21. To provide married quarters for this number of families would entail capital expenditure of the order of £4½ million. Overseas passages and allowances might cost the taxpayer about a further £500,000, depending upon the number of men serving abroad.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Is the Minister aware that a great sense of injustice is being felt because of his discrimination against married airmen under the age of 21, and can he say whether his Department has considered the handicap to recruitment that this discrimination involves? In view of this, will he reconsider removing this discrimination?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I am very glad that I cannot share the hon. Gentleman's feeling that there is a widespread feeling of injustice. I should think that the general feeling in this House is that we ought not to give extra incentives and extra amenities which would persuade young people under 21 to get married early in their Service career. I would point out that the Grigg Committee investigated this and other factors of recruiting and no doubt that Report, when available, will be studied with interest in every part of the House.