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Meteorological Staff

Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that W. J. Stewart with five years' service in the Forces during the war and three years' service in the Meterological Office, now stationed at Pitreavie Castle, Dunfermline, after being established, is now receiving £32 less in basic salary for the same work as before establishment, £5 per year less for irregular hours, £4 per year less for night duties, and his increment date put back from May to January; and if he will attempt to improve this man's position.

Mr. Stewart is receiving the salary and allowances authorised for an established appointment in his grade under regulations which are of general application, and is, of course, now on a pensionable basis. It is not uncommon for a temporary officer to have to suffer a drop in salary on accepting a permanent post as a result of an open competition.

Is my hon. Friend aware that this man had five years' service in the Army, that he has an intermediate certificate, that he has done his work very well, that he is now 28 years of age, and that his wages are £5 9s. a week? Does my hon. Friend consider that a really satisfactory wage?

I think my hon. Friend must remember that this man had a perfectly free choice. He could have remained on a temporary basis at a slightly higher salary if he had wanted to, but he chose otherwise.


asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the number of meteorological assistants to the nearest possible date; and how many assistants voluntarily left the Department during the 12 months preceding the date taken.

The number of civilian meteorological assistants on 31st October, 1950, was 1,236. The number who resigned during the previous 12 months was 155.

Does my hon. Friend not think that the tremendous percentage of resignations is an indication that the general conditions obtaining in that Department are not satisfactory?

No, I do not agree with my hon. Friend. The conditions have recently been improved, and the number resigning has been steadily decreasing during the last three years.


asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the number of married men, to the nearest date, on the meteorological staff; how many of such men are provided with houses by his Department; and what are the prospects for housing these men in the near future.

There are 838 married men on the staff of the Meteorological Office, of whom 22 serving in the U.K. and 40 serving abroad, are housed in official accommodation. Additionally, a house is to be provided for a meteorologist at each of 40 Royal Air Force stations in this country. I should make it clear that meteorological staff, like other civilians, make their own living arrangements, but are eligible, in common with other Air Ministry civilian staffs, for such houses as the Department has at its disposal.

Is my hon. Friend aware that if he looks into the whole question of housing for those in this particular Department, he will find that the position is not satisfactory, and not up to the standards of the other Departments of the Civil Service? It is time he made a personal investigation into the matter.