§ 50. Viscount CURZON
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether an investigating committee has yet been set up to deal with the case of ex-service men who failed to qualify in the Air Ministry Departmental examination; whether he is aware that frequent assurances have been given to the ex-service men's association that such a committee would be constituted; and what action does he propose to take in the matter?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. William Graham)
I have been asked to reply to this question. 2435 As the Noble Lord is no doubt aware, Lord Southborough's Committee has now recommended that a further opportunity of competing for posts in the clerical and Departmental clerical classes should be given to ex-service men with certain qualifications as to length of service, and that regard should be had to the manner in which candidates are reported to have performed the duties required of them in a temporary capacity, 25 per cent. of the total marks in the examination being allotted to a Departmental Report as to the candidate's efficiency and capacity. I regard this new scheme as rendering unnecessary any continuation of the Investigating Boards recommended in the Third Report of the Lytton Committee.
§ Viscount CURZON
Are we to understand that no committee of this sort can be set up whatever, and can the hon. Gentleman assure us that ex-service men who go in for this examination will not subsequently have the result of the examination upset by a viva voce examination?
§ The LORD PRIVY SEAL (Mr. J. R. Clynes)
The short reply is that the latest recommendations of the Southborough Committee will apply to the Civil Service as a whole, and that will be a very much better method than the method which has so far obtained indicated in the question.
§ Lieut.-Colonel JAMES
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that according to the Southborough Committee's Report only about 5,000 vacancies are allowed to be free for ex-service candidates, and does that really represent the total number of vacancies?
§ Mr. CLYNES
It would be quite impossible, in reply to a question, to discuss the Report of the Committee, though there may be an opportunity later. It is true that the number of applications will be far in excess of any possible number of vacancies in the Service.
§ Lieut.-Colonel JAMES
What I wanted to ask was whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that the Southborough Committee said there would be 5,000 vacancies available for ex-service men, and is it not really the fact that 45,000 would be much nearer the mark?
§ 58. Lieut.-Colonel JAMES
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air in how many cases, respectively, women writing assistants are now employed in his Department in posts previously occupied by ex-service men, and in how many cases in future will ex-service men's posts eventually be filled by women; and whether, in view of the large number of unemployed ex-service men on the pool, he will give an undertaking that the number of posts available for ex-service men shall not be reduced by the further employment of writing assistants?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Mr. Leach)
The answer to the first part of the question is, none; as regards the second and third parts, if by "ex-service men's posts" the hon. and gallant Member means posts now filled by ex-service men, there is no intention of discharging any ex-service men to make room for writing assistants, but gradually and as the normal wastage occurs, it is expected that 192 such posts will eventually be filled by women. There is no present intention of increasing the number of writing assistant posts on the headquarters establishment.