§ Mr. Wilkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the role, equipment, manning and pay of the Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch.
§ Mr. Speed
I would refer my hon. Friend to my replies on 20 November and 27 November 1979. I should add that officers in the new branch will train in Fleet Air Arm aircraft in peacetime 51W and assist the Royal Navy in manning them in war.
With regard to pay, volunteers will be eligible for normal reserve rates of pay, allowances and bounty. Pay is the same as for Regular Service personnel, except with a reduced X factor, and bounties have just recently been greatly improved with a maxium of £300 (tax free) a year. [Vol. 974, c. 103–104; Vol. 974, c. 573–74].
§ Mr. Speed
The information is not available in the form requested. However, in the four-month period 1 June to 30 September 1979, 38 officers and 175 ratings joined the RNR, including the WRNR. The figures do not reflect improvements expected from the introduction of the substantially increased rates of training bounty announced in mid-August—new entrants are not formally enrolled until certain formalities have been completed, this usually takes six weeks.