§ 82. Mr. KING
asked the Minister of Munitions whether he will explain the work of the Priority Department, over 1278 which the senior Member for Merthyr has been appointed Controller; whether this Department arranges the priority of execution of engineeering and metal contracts; what experience or knowledge the Controller has in this sphere; who is the secretary of this Department; what is the record of the secretary's previous experience; and whether any salary attaches to the office of the Controller or his secretary?
§ Sir W. EVANS
The main work of the Priority Department consists in determining the relative urgency of conflicting demands for plant and materials, and of issuing priority certificates in accordance with decisions given. The principles on which relative urgency is determined are laid down by the Minister, with the assistance of a strong "Priority Advisory Committee," including business men and representatives of the Treasury and National Service Department. The Controller is mainly responsible for having planned and carried out the system upon which his Department works, and necessarily has a comprehensive knowledge and experience of the problem, and I should like to add that he has discharged his difficult duties with conspicuous ability. The secretary of the Department is Mr. Lewis Jones, who has been engaged in this work since its inception in the autumn of 1915. Prior to his appointment to a clerical post in the Ministry he held positions as schoolmaster and political organiser. The Controller receives no salary, but the secretary is paid 15s. a day.