§ Brigadier-General BROOKE
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he has received representations suggesting the desirability of instituting an inquiry into the cost of educating and training Air Force cadets at Halton and Cranwell; and whether any action is proposed in this direction?
§ Major COPE
I have been asked to reply. I presume my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind certain paragraphs in the Second Report of the Public Accounts Committee, 1926. These are engaging the attention of both the Air Ministry and the Treasury at the present time. I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that everything possible is being done to limit the expense of the Cadet College at Cranwell and the Apprentices School at Halton to the minimum compatible with efficient training.
Sir F. HALL
asked the Secretary of State for Air the reasons which make it necessary to employ 116 officers and 860 men to supervise the training of 2,000 boys at Halton, while at Beachley 18 1133W officers and 200 men are found sufficient to look after 980 boys; and is he aware that the cost of training a boy at the latter place is £115 a year compared with £195 at Halton?
§ Major COPE
I have been asked to reply. The number of apprentices at present under instruction at Halton is 2,487. This number will be gradually increased to 3,000. The authorised establishment of officers and airmen for the instruction of the 3,000 apprentices and for the upkeep and administration of the station is 88 officers and 819 airmen, but the forthcoming Estimates will show that the staff is less than these numbers. By the courtesy of the War Office, the Army establishment at Beachley was lately visited by representatives of the Air Ministry, and my right hon. Friend is satisfied that the differences in numbers employed and in the cost of the two establishments are due to the greater complexity of the equipment in use at Halton and of the training required by the aircraft apprentices, for whom a large amount of individual instruction is essential to fit them for their future responsibilities for the safety of aircraft in flight.