asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many Royal Air Force personnel have applied for release from the Royal Air Force, in order to return to the coal-mines, in the period from 1st October, 1951, to 29th February, 1952; and how many of these men held rank higher than corporal.
Under a limited scheme applicable only to certain categories of National Service men in the Royal Air Force, 22 airmen applied for release during the period in question: 13 of these have so far been released. Airmen above the rank of corporal are not eligible.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the tremendous shortage of manpower in the pits, which is being intensified by the refusal of the miners to have Italians in, and will he use his influence to extend the scheme so that all ex-miners are released from the Forces?