Pay and Allowances

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons on 9th September 1942.

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Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

asked the Secretary of State for Air the rates of pay of the different ranks in the Royal Air Force as compared to those who are serving alongside them from other allied countries, including Canada, New Zealand and Australia?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

As the reply is long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a feeling of dissatisfaction among our airmen at not getting the same rate of pay as other airmen serving with them, and could not an attempt be made to level up the rates, because this is a common war and everybody ought to be served alike?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

That is a wider question than the Question on the Paper.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Would it not be interesting to the House if the Minister could give the answer now so that we could fire a supplementary or two at him?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

The Answer might have been more interesting if the Question had been differently worded.

Following is the reply:

The pay of airmen in the R.A.F. varies according to their trade or classification as well as according to their rank. Non-tradesmen receive from 2s. 6d. to 14s. a day according to rank or classification. The minimum tradesmen's rate is 3s. 6d. a day for an Aircraftman 2nd Class in the lowest tradesmen's group (group III), the maximum being 17s. a day for a Warrant Officer in the highest group (group I). Aircrew rates vary from 7s. 6d. a day for a Sergeant Air Gunner to 17s. a day for a Warrant Officer Pilot, Navigator or Air Bomber. These rates include the war pay of 6d. a day but exclude the post-war credit of 6d. a day.

I am unable to give authoritative information about rates of pay other than those payable in the R.A.F., but I am advised that the following are the daily rates paid to airmen of the Dominion and Allied Air Forces. The rates are quoted in the currency of the country concerned, (£1 Australian = 16s. sterling, and £1 New Zealand = 16s. 1d. sterling).

Non-tradesmenfrom$1·30 to $4·20
Tradesmen"$1·55 to $4·95
Aircrew"$2·95 to $5·70
Non-tradesmen"7s. to 14s. 2d.
Tradesmen"9s. 9d. to 17s. 5d.
Aircrew"14s. 2d. to 21s. 10d
New Zealand
Non-tradesmen"5s. 6d. to 17s. 3d.
Tradesmen"6s. 7d. to 17s. 3d.
South Africa
Non-tradesmen"3s. 6d. to 15s.
tradesmen"5s to 22s. 6d.
United States
Non-tradesmen"$1·66 to $4·60
Tradesmen"$3·20 to $3·80
Aircrew"$3·30 to $4·80

In general, airmen of other Allied Air Forces receive pay at rates following closely R.A.F. rates.

By agreement with the Dominion Governments concerned, R.C.A.F., R.A.A.F. and R.N.Z.A.F. personnel serving with the R.A.F. are paid by the United Kingdom Government at R.A.F. rates and the difference between the R.A.F, rates and the rates appropriate in the, respective Dominion Forces is credited to a deferred pay account at the expense of the Dominion Government.

Airmen of all Forces receive many benefits in kind in addition to pay. In the R.A.F. these include food, lodging, clothing, laundry, unemployment and sickness insurance, together with amenities of various kinds as well as family or dependants' allowances, War Service Grants in certain circumstances, and non-effective benefits for themselves and their dependants in the event of disablement or death.

A full and accurate comparison between the conditions of the various Forces would necessitate an assessment in detail of all such benefits against the social and economic background of the countries concerned. A comparison of rates of pay alone would be misleading.