asked the Secretary of State for Air how many of the existing married quarters which were intended for junior Royal Air Force officers at the various Royal Air Force stations throughout Great Britain are now occupied by senior officers to the exclusion of those for whom they were intended.
Apart from a few exceptions, for example where station commanders are required for service reasons to occupy official residences, married quarters for R.A.F. officers are allotted in accordance with a points scheme which has no relation to rank and is common to both junior and senior officers. Under this scheme it is the case that some quarters originally built for junior officers are now being occupied by officers of more senior rank, but the actual number is not available.
Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that it is awfully discouraging to junior officers, who have always regarded these houses as being for their own use, to see them taken by senior officers? Cannot he change this practice as soon as possible?
That is what we are seeking to do by building more married quarters.
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that when an officer occupies a smaller house than that to which he is entitled he has to pay the higher rent? Will he see that the correct rent is paid in future?
I should like to look into that matter.
asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the number of married quarters for senior and junior officers which are now needed at Royal Air Force stations throughout Great Britain.
We estimate that over 4,000 new quarters are required, of which the majority will be needed for officers of the rank of squadron-leader and above.
Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise the great importance of making this accommodation available, and will he give this first priority so that officers get the accommodation they ought to have?
The hon. Member has a Question down on that point.
Can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether many officers have resigned their commissions because of the difficulty of obtaining accommodation?
Not to my knowledge.
asked the Secretary of State for Air why pre-fabricated houses appropriately painted are not being used for married quarters on Royal Air Force stations throughout Great Britain.
In view of the limited resources in finance, labour and materials available to my Department each year since the war for the construction of new married quarters, and the fact that a considerable amount of surplus hutting has been available at R.A.F. stations for conversion to married quarters at substantially less than the cost of prefabricated houses, the policy of my Department has been to concentrate on the construction of permanent quarters and the conversion of hutting. We have converted 1,200 huts to temporary married quarters since the end of the war, and will complete the conversion of a further 1,100 this year. As announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence, urgent consideration is being given by the Government to the possibilities of expanding the present building programme for the Services, and in this connection the possibility of using prefabricated houses is being examined.
I sincerely hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will give very serious consideration to this, because all the jigs and tools are there and he could build these houses much quicker than he could build houses of any other type?
Will my right hon. and learned Friend inform the House what is the appropriate paint for married quarters?