§ 85. Mr. Mikardo
asked the Secretary of State for Air the ratio of officers to the number of men in R.A.F., C.M.F.; and what is the ratio of the number of officers' families to the number of men's families sent out in the same force.49W
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
In the Royal Air Force Mediterranean and Middle East Command the proportion of officers to airmen, including National Service entrants, is 1 to 12. It is easier to arrange for officers to have their families with them than it is to arrange for airmen to do so, partly because officers can more often make use of private accommodation. The number of officers' families now in the command is about the same as the number of airmen's families. I fully realise the hardships caused by the shortage of married quarters, particularly for airmen, but I should mislead my hon. Friend if I allowed him to hope for an immediate remedy. I am glad, however, to assure him that both my Department and the command are treating the question as one of the greatest urgency and will do everything in their power to secure an early improvement. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of a letter which the command has recently sent out in order to explain the present position to all ranks, and to show them what they can hope for in the early future.