§ 7. Mr. Ian Harvey
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence how many National Servicemen were due between 1st January, 1953, and 1st January, 1954, to carry out their part-time training with the Reserve forces following their period of two years with the Regular forces; how many of these performed these duties with the Army; how many with the Royal Air Force; and how many were not called on to perform any duties at all.
§ Mr. Birch
Some 382,000 National Service men in all three Services were due to train in 1953. About 8,000 will have been called on to train in the Navy, 285,000 in the Armyand 12,000 in the Royal Air Force. About 77,000 of those otherwise due to train in all three Services will not have been called on to train.
§ Mr. Harvey
Does my hon. Friend not admit that this state of affairs indicates that the National Service Act is not working as was originally intended and that an unequal burden is being borne by those called up for the Army as opposed to those called up for the Air Force? Will he give an assurance that he will look into this very important matter?
§ Mr. Birch
The position is that in both the Royal Navy and the Army the vast majority of those due to receive part-time training do receive it. It is certainly true 169 that a large number of men in the Royal Air Force do not receive part-time training. The matter is engaging the attention of my noble Friend at the present time.
§ Mr. Shinwell
If only 12,000 National Service men who have auxiliary forces liability are being trained out of probably more than 100,000, does this not show a very alarming state of affairs?