asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will give an assurance that the present numbers of trained ratings are sufficient to secure efficient maintenance of modern gunnery and radar equipment under sea-going conditions.
In view of the greatly increased demands on the Navy as a result of the Korean emergency and the international situation generally, there has been an increase in the number of units in commission. In consequence it has not been possible to provide full complements for all ships of the active Fleet. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that the maintenance of these types of equipment is generally satisfactory and that all possible steps are being taken to provide sufficient skilled ratings.
Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that if one has a pushbutton Navy it is not much good if nothing happens when the button is pushed? Will he keep this matter under constant review, because under active service conditions there might be a grave deficiency in maintenance arrangements?
I agree with what my hon. Friend has said, but again I repeat that, in spite of the dilution we have to accept at the moment, the standard of maintenance is generally satisfactory.