asked the Secretary of State for Air whether his attention has been drawn to a statement by Lord Weir that a French squadron costs but a quarter of what it costs to maintain a British squadron; what are the causes which bring it about; and what steps he proposes to take?
I have seen the statement referred to, but I do not know on what basis Lord Weir's estimate was framed. In any case, I think that deductions from published figures of air expenditure in the two countries must be subjected to so many qualifications as to render the comparison illusory. I may point out, for example, that French personnel are provided by compulsory service and that British Air Estimates include expenditure of a kind which the French meet under Army and Navy Votes. The French Air Service is almost entirely concentrated at home, which enables a greater part of the training to be done with the unit than is the case with us. Further, owing to the French mechanic being conscripted, it is possible to give less training to skilled personnel than is necessary in the British Service, where we have to teach them their trade.