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Raf Civilian Employees

Volume 886: debated on Tuesday 11 February 1975

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4.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what number of civilians are employed by the Royal Air Force in development areas.

There are about 10,750 civilians currently employed by the Royal Air Force in development areas, which represents about 40 per cent. of the civilian work force on Royal Air Force stations.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply. When he is looking at particular areas where defence expenditure cuts should fall, will he take into account the employment problems of development areas and make sure that as far as possible employment in those areas is protected?

I assure my hon. Friend that the regional aspect of the defence review is an important consideration. However, we must bear in mind that in terms of achieving reductions in defence expenditure it is not the only consideration.

Can any reliance be placed on the figures given by the Minister? In view of the information given by his hon. Friend the Minister of State in a Written Answer on 5th February that the Royal Air Force at Brawdy is not an establishment employing more than 250 civilians and Service men, will he state who is employing the 300 or more civilians and the 1,200 or so people dressed in Royal Air Force or United States military uniform who appear to be operating there, flying Hunter jets and carrying out other noisy military occupations?

The hon. Gentleman can have no doubt about the consideration which the people in the area of Brawdy have received as a result of the opening up of this station.