§ 72. Mr. Hamling
asked the Secretary of State for Defence by what measures he proposes to improve conditions of service for Royal Naval and Royal Marine aircrew.
§ Mr. Mayhew
As my hon. Friend is aware, Royal Navy and Royal Marine aircrew have been working under particularly trying conditions, and we have decided on some special measures, which will be reviewed after three years, or earlier if necessary.
First, with effect from the next promotions date we shall greatly improve the prospect of promotion to Lieutenant-Commander for short service aircrew and those on pensionable commissions to the age of 38; this will apply to Lieutenants on the Royal Navy Supplementary List or in the Royal Marine Special Entry who have 8–12 years seniority in the rank. We will also greatly increase the proportion of transfers to full-term permanent commissions on the Supplementary List.
Next, we are introducing at once a special taxable bounty of £3,000 for short service Supplementary List aircrew who complete 8 years' service if they will undertake to stay on to complete at least 12 years' service; this new bounty will be paid in addition to the normal pension and terminal grant for those who leave at 16 years or to a terminal gratuity of £4,000 tax-free for those who leave at 12 years.
Lastly, because it is especially arduous to fly aircraft or helicopters from ships serving East of Suez, we are introducing at once a system of sending home for two weeks' leave at public expense all aircrew appointed to the ships engaged on flying duties East of Suez when their tour of duty overseas is expected to last for 234W twelve months. If they are likely to serve overseas for 18 months, a second period of two weeks' leave will be allowed.
I hope that these improvements will help us to keep more of these valuable men in the Service, and encourage others to join them.