Air Arm (Pilots)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1951.

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Photo of Sir Allan Noble Sir Allan Noble , Chelsea 12:00 am, 24th January 1951

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what is the present shortage of pilots in the Air Branch; and what steps he is taking to remedy this.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan , Cardiff South East

The present deficiency of pilots is being remedied in the following ways. Basic pay and flying pay has been increased, and for short service officers an increased gratuity is payable on leaving the Service. Schemes for ensuring civil employment on leaving the Navy are in operation or are being worked out. Permanent commissions are given to extended service officers, and the ages of entry to short service commissions widened. An offer has been made to former naval pilots to re-enter for four years. National Service men may be trained to fly, and publicity has been intensified.

Photo of Sir Allan Noble Sir Allan Noble , Chelsea

Is it too early yet for the hon. Gentleman to say whether there have been any satisfactory results from all these steps?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan , Cardiff South East

I cannot give any figures yet.

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Hereford

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us what the effect has been on recruiting for flying duties of the granting in September of flying pay?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan , Cardiff South East

I think it would be dangerous to give any indication of longterm trends so far.

Photo of Sir John Langford-Holt Sir John Langford-Holt , Shrewsbury

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the offer of four years re-entry is not popular in the Air Branch of the Navy? Is he further aware that the system of promising an extension of the permanent commissions, which does not ultimately materialise, does not provide the pilots who are required?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan , Cardiff South East

So far as the first point is concerned, if the hon. Gentleman will let me know why, I shall be glad to look at the scheme again. So far as the second point is concerned, I do not think that the Navy can bind itself to offering permanent commissions to everybody who serves on extended service.