HC Deb 15 March 1922 vol 151 cc2225-6W

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury why Messrs. A. Young, A. H. Phillips, F. J. Smith, and A. Winter-More, non-service men employed at the Air Ministry, have been declared unsubstitutable by the Joint Substitution Board; what are their precise qualifications; how many candidates, if any, have been submitted by the Joint Substitution Board for these posts; how were these candidates interviewed at the Air Ministry; whether he is satisfied that the candidates put forward were in fact unsuitable; and whether, in view of the larger numbers of technical ex-service men now available, he will give instructions that further candidates be submitted for these posts?

Captain GUEST

I have been asked to reply to this question. The answer to the first question is that the Joint Substitution Board were unable to find suitable substitutes; to the second, that Mr. Young has a special knowledge and long experience of chemistry and metallurgy, qualifications of great value for his work in a branch dealing with research on metal construction and the use of dopes; that Mr. Phillips and Mr. Smith are skilled instrument makers with special knowledge of aeronautical instruments, and that, as regards Mr. Winter-Moore's qualifications, the particulars required were given in my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for East Woolwich (Captain Gee) on the 16th February last; the answer to the third question is that 36 candidates in all were submitted for these posts; to the fourth, that the candidates for Messrs. Young's, Phillips', and Smith's posts were interviewed by responsible officials who were themselves ex-service, or by an officer serving in the Air Force, and, as regards Mr. Winter-Moore's post, that I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 16th February already mentioned; the answer to the fifth question is in the affirmative. In answer to the sixth, one of the gentlemen is being dispensed with altogether and his post will not be filled. In the other cases, prolonged efforts have been made to obtain suitable candidates but without success; and, in the interests of the work of the Department and also, in I the second place, in justice to the indivi duals now in the posts, I have thought it right that there should be a definite limit to the uncertainty which has existed.