HC Deb 17 February 1914 vol 58 cc772-3

asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, if schemes of reconstruction are now being carried out in the establishment, and if three of the five established second-class assistant engineers have been given notice to leave; if so, will he say why it has become necessary to discharge established officers, one of whom has been in the service of the department for 30 years; will he give an assurance that temporary men will not be engaged to take the places of these dismissed officers; and will he say why, if the staff is too large, a new assistant chief engineer is being appointed from a grade below all the officers graded as engineers?

Mr. WEDGWOOD BENN (Lord of the Treasury)

The answer to the first and third questions is in the affirmative. The answer to the second question is that the reduction in numbers of staff is made on the recommendation of a committee which was appointed to examine the organisation of the Architects and Engineering Divisions as a result of the Report of the Select Committee on Estimates on the Offices of Works Votes. The answer to the fourth question is that the same committee recommended the appointment of a deputy chief engineer; that the Board decided that none of the assistant engineers retained possessed at present the qualifications required for this special post, and that, accordingly, they appointed on his merits an officer of a lower grade who, in their view, does possess the qualifications required.