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Reservists (Training)

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 18 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Defence why there is a difference between the policy of the Army and the policy of the Royal Air Force in deciding whether it is possible to change the dates of Class Z and Class G reservists called up for training in cases of personal hardship arising from the particular period for which the reservist is called up; and if he is aware of the dissatisfaction this difference is causing among Class Z reservists who feel that their Class G counterparts are receiving more sympathetic treatment.

The difficulties of offering alternative dates to Z reservists have already been explained to my hon. Friend in the reply given to him yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War. Class G reservists, on the other hand, will be trained as individuals and not as members of a team. Consequently, there is more scope for adjusting their dates of call up. Every consideration will, however, be given to cases in which Army reservists would suffer real personal hardship.

In view of the great dissatisfaction among members of the Class Z and Class G Reserves because of this difference of policy, will my right hon. Friend take urgent action to see that the public is informed of the reasons for the different treatment in respect of the War Office and the Air Ministry?

I am not aware that the treatment differs but, if it does, I would suggest that my hon. Friend puts Questions to the respective Ministers.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consult with his right hon. Friends in order to try to adjust these dates, particularly to meet the needs of the agricultural industry, which will have great difficulty over the harvest this year?

If there is any question of serious inconvenience my right hon. Friends will consider it.

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that there will be equal care and consideration in cases of personal hardship among the 6,000 long-service men retained in the Royal Navy?