HC Deb 06 February 1963 vol 671 cc420-1
4. Mr. John Hall

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty to what extent, and in what branches of the Navy, recruiting has fallen short of requirements.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

In the first 10 months of the recruiting year 1962–63 the entry of R.N. ratings and R.M. other ranks was 6,250 which was 200 or 3 per cent. short of the overall target for the period. Recruiting for a number of branches was fully up to our needs but there were some shortfalls in the seaman, communications, naval airman, naval air mechanic, sick berth and steward branches.

Mr. Hall

Can my hon. Friend give me any idea when these shortfalls are likely to be made good? Is the present trend of recruiting sufficiently satisfactory for him to think that these difficulties will be overcome in the near future?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

We have looked at our whole recruiting organisation. We have improved our recruiting offices, or careers offices, as we call them, by putting them in better places and modernising them. The whole aspect of our recruiting has been re-examined, and I hope that we shall meet our target for the future.

Mr. Willis

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the Admiralty is recruiting a sufficient number for the electrical branches?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I should like to have notice of that supplementary question, because it really breaks down into the artificer apprentices in various branches. This has been a problem in the past. At present, young boys are coming forward in numbers because they realise the value of electrical skills, not only in the Royal Navy, but in civilian life thereafter.