20. Major NEWMAN
asked the Minister of National Service whether, now that the work of his Ministry has largely ceased or is being performed by a Department of the War Office that was originally charged with recruiting (A.G. 13), he has been able to obtain from the Treasury or Auditor-General figures to show that the saving of £100,000, which was promised in November of last year as the result of the transfer of the work of recruiting from the War Office to the Ministry of National Service, has been in fact effected; and will he give the cost of recruiting, 1st November to 31st October, for the years 1916–17 and 1917–18?
§ The MINISTER of NATIONAL SERVICE (Sir Auckland Geddes)
I was not aware that the work of the Ministry of National Service had as yet largely ceased, nor that the branch A.G. 13 of the War Office ever was charged with responsibility for recruiting. I am afraid that no accurate figures are immediately available to cover all charges connected with recruiting for the year ending on Thursday last. To take the Metropolitan boroughs alone, however, the wages and salaries bill for registration and recruiting before the Ministry of National Service was formed was, I am informed, at the rate of approximately £420,000 per annum, exclusive of medical services. To-day the wages and salaries bill of the Ministry of National Service, including recruiting, registration, the payment of medical officers, labour supply, and trade exemptions for the London Metropolitan Police district and the counties of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, which together constitute the London and South-Eastern region, is at a rate less than £300,000 per annum, notwithstanding the rise in salaries and increased bonuses to staff, consequent on the increased cost of living.
Is it not the fact that the Department of the War Office A.G. 13 gives considerable help in recruiting?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
No, I think the hon. and gallant Member is misinformed. When the control of recruiting ceased to exist in the War Office a new branch, A.G. 13, was formed for the reception of recruits into the Army. It has nothing whatever to do with recruiting, and merely provides the link between National Service and the units.
§ Mr. G. TERRELL
Can the right hon. Gentleman state what is the cost now per head of the men recruited?