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Royal Air Force

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 30 June 1943

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Air Crews (Steel Vests)

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will take steps to provide for air crews of the Royal Air Force steel vests similar to those now worn by some American bomber crews?

This equipment is being tested by the U.S.A.A.C. but is still in the experimental stage. The Air Ministry are being kept informed, but in the meantime it is not proposed to issue this equipment for Royal Air Force use.

Travelling And Ration Allowances

8.

asked the Secretary of State for Air the amounts allowed to airmen, travelling on duty with lorries, trailers, etc., in respect of lodging, attendance and meals; and whether he is satisfied that these allowances are adequate?

Nightly travelling allowances for airmen who cannot he provided with accommodation and food under Service arrangements vary, normally, from 4s. 6d. to 8s. a night depending on rank and the circumstances of the journey. These rates can, however, be increased in special circumstances on the authority of an airman's Commanding Officer or Air Officer Commanding. Ration allowance of 3s. 2d. for each period of 24 hours is payable in addition. These allowances are generally regarded as adequate. If, however, my hon. Friend has in mind any particular case where he considers that hardship has occurred, and will give me details, I will gladly look into it.

Statutory Rules And Orders

9.

asked the Secretary of State for Air why no explanatory memorandum was attached to the Air Navigation (Amendment) Order, 1943 (S.R. & O. No. 748 of 1943); and whether he will state the purpose of the Order?

In reply to the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Lieut.-Colonel Dower) on 23rd June. As for the second part, the position is that by an Order made in July, 1939, the Air Navigation (Consolidation) Order, 1923, was amended so as to limit the grant of a Class B (Public Transport) pilot's licence in the first instance to one type of aircraft, and to require the licence-holder to make a further application and undergo further tests before his licence could be extended to other types. A fee of two guineas was to be paid for each application for an extension. It has been impossible in wartime to undertake these flying tests, and so the new Order to which my hon. Friend refers, accordingly restores the status quo.

Would it not have been as well to have given this explanation at the start? Is the Minister aware that to understand the Order it is necessary to look at four different Acts of Parliament, including one passed in Queen Victoria's time? How can the ordinary person find out what this Order means?

The arrangement with regard to explanatory memoranda has been restricted to Defence Regulations. The reason is that to apply this procedure to a very large number of Departmental Orders made under the limited powers conferred by numerous Statutes would involve formidable practical difficulties. As I have already told my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Penrith and Cockermouth, even if an explanatory memorandum is confined to a Defence Regulation, there is no reason why a Department should not try to make Orders in the simplest possible form.

Is it not the case that the undertaking given by the Home Secretary has been followed by many Departments, who have issued explanatory memoranda with all statutory Orders?

Having regard to a pledge given to me in the presence of a large number of Members, will my right hon. and gallant Friend reconsider the matter?

Does not the Minister realise that the formidable difficulties confronting his Department are even more appalling for a private citizen?

That is why I say that the Executive must be careful to make things as simple as possible and not complicate them as much as possible.

Tactical Air Force

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he has any statement to make about the recent announcement concerning the formation of a Tactical Air Force?

I have nothing to add to the announcement referred to except to say that the reorganisation has proceeded satisfactorily.

Do I understand that the Army Co-operation Command has now been absorbed?

The Army Co-operation Command disappears, and the new Tactical Air Force is formed.

Bombs On Germany (Tonnage)

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Air the estimated tonnage of bombs dropped on Germany during the three months ended 26th June; the percentage dropped by the Royal Air Force and the American Air Force, respectively; and the tonnage dropped during the corresponding period in 1942?

Aircraft of Bomber Command dropped about 37,50o tons of bombs on Germany in the three months ended 26th June as compared with approximately 12,000 tons in the corre sponding period of 1942. The tonnage dropped by the United States Army Air Corps is not published.