HC Deb 26 October 1949 vol 468 cc160-1W
100. Major Bruce

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will publish a summary showing the reforms instituted in the Royal Air Force since the end of the war affecting pay, status, conditions of service, and amenities at home and abroad.

Mr. A. Henderson

Following is a summary of the more important reforms that have been instituted in the Royal Air Force since the end of the war.

New codes of pay, allowances, Service pensions and gratuities for officers and airmen were introduced in 1945 and 1946. In November, 1948, there were increases in marriage allowance for all ranks and of pay for those below Officer rank. The cost of the increases granted in November, 1948, is about four million pounds a year.

Increased facilities are available for officers to purchase articles of uniform and clothing from Service sources, and the initial grant for uniform now covers the whole range of uniform required by an officer on first commissioning. Improvements have also been made in the provision of tropical kit and in the scales of clothing for airmen and airwomen.

The training of cadets at the Royal Air Force College for permanent commissions is given free. Commissions are normally granted only after a period of service in the ranks. Short service commissions are given to all suitable pilots and navigators on completion of initial air-crew training. Permanent commissions for airmen are available in greater numbers than ever before.

The tour of duty overseas has been reduced to 2½ years.

Financial assistance is now given towards the cost of daily travel between home and place of duty.

Increased rates of disturbance allowance are payable to married men on change of station and married airmen are entitled to free conveyance of furniture under the same qualifying conditions as officers.

Many improvements have been made in standards of accommodation at units. The latest type design of barrack block has separate cubicles for some of the airmen and four-bed dormitories for the remainder. Improvements in design include the provision of built-in wardrobes, shelves and writing tables, while more generous scales of furnishings for airmen's married and single accommodation have been introduced.

The new Airmen's Clubs now being introduced offer better standards in the way of lounges and visitors' rooms than were provided in the old Station Institutes which they replace.

Station Committees consisting of representative officers and airmen from every unit or sub-unit on the station were set up in 1946 and 1947 to deal with welfare matters and all aspects of station life.

Free air passages are provided for relatives to visit R.A.F. personnel who are dangerously ill abroad.

Persons under trial by court martial may be given aid from public funds, under conditions similar to those laid down for civilians in the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949, in order that they may have professional legal assistance.