HC Deb 07 March 1962 vol 655 cc376-7
6. Mr. Edelman

asked the Minister of Defence whether, in view of the expense to public funds arising from the fact that each of the three Armed Services maintains separate recruiting offices in commercial premises in the central area of the city of Coventry, he will arrange to amalgamate their activities in a single property.

Mr. Watkinson

If suitable premises capable of providing adequate space for all three Services could be obtained on an economic basis I should be prepared to consider the hon. Member's suggestion. I understand, however, that there is little prospect of finding a suitable property.

Mr. Edelman

While welcoming the Minister's reply, may I ask whether it has not been gross extravagance on his part in the past to maintain under peacetime conditions premises adequate to a wartime establishment? In view of the protest of the Coventry Planning Development Committee, which obviously has in mind to offer adequate space for alternative premises, will he go into the matter very carefully with it in order to take the action which he has undertaken?

Mr. Watkinson

If the Committee can offer adequate space which will enable us to have adequate premises for recruiting, I shall be only too glad to look into the matter.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

Will my right hon. Friend be prepared to look into this matter on a national basis? It is very often difficult to find recruiting offices. It seems to be a way in which Service co-ordination can take a step further forward.

Mr. Watkinson

I should like to explain to the House that the difficulty is that as long as we recruit on a three-Service basis it is not always the most satisfactory method to have a centralised form of recruiting whereby an officer recruits for a Service with which he is not perhaps familiar. However, I do not think that in the long-term this is an entirely economic way of going about it, and I have been looking at the whole recruiting system.

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