HC Deb 27 April 1960 vol 622 c201
29. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many officers of the rank of air commodore and above are serving on international and inter-service staffs in posts which are his financial responsibility.

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

Air Votes bear the cost of 10 air rank posts which are established wholly or mainly for international or inter-service reasons.

Mr. de Freitas

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that during the Air Estimates debates we were told that one of the reasons for the increase in the proportion of high air rank officers was the existence of these staffs? Does he realise that the figures which he has given and those given by the Minister of Defence really call in question the whole argument? When is there going to be a proper balance between the number of very senior officers and the much smaller size of the Royal Air Force?

Mr. Ward

It is quite impossible to relate the number of air rank posts directly to the number of uniformed personnel. To begin with, the complexity and the responsibilities of the Royal Air Force do not by any means vary in direct ratio with the number of uniformed personnel. I can, however assure the hon. Gentleman that I am personally watching this matter and am doing all I can to keep the number of air rank posts down to proper proportions.