HC Deb 04 March 1919 vol 113 cc201-2
10 and 99. Major BARNES

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) the date on which the Lands Branch Department of the War Office was incorporated in the Lands Directorate of the Ministry of Munitions; and what was the total amount annually payable to the staff of the Lands Branch Department on the date of the outbreak of war and on the date of its incorporation in the Lands Directorate; the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions (2) what was the date of the establishment of the Lands Directorate; and what has been the total amount paid in salaries to the staff of the Lands Directorate and fees, if any, to persons not on the staff but employed from time to time by the Lands Directorate from the date of its establishment to the date of the incorporation with it of the Lands Branch of the War Office and from the latter date to 31st December, 1918?


As the reply to these two questions involves a somewhat lengthy statement, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, have it circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The following is the reply referred to:

The Lands Directorate of the Ministry of Munitions never had a seperate existence.

On the outbreak of the War the Lands Branch of the War Office (besides its normal peace-time duties in connection with the administration of War Department lands both at home and in the Colonies) dealt with the taking over of land or buildings for War Department purposes and the assessment of compensation therefor. On the constitution of the Ministry of Munitions it performed similar duties for that Department.

In November, 1916, it was arranged that the work connected with the acquisition and administration of real property in lands and buildings, and questions cognate thereto for the Ministry of Munitions, should be carried out by the War Office Lands Branch, which then became the Directorate of Lands for the War Office and Ministry of Munitions, but was still responsible to the Under-Secretary of State for War, though it took instructions from the Ministry of Munitions in Ministry matters.

In September, 1917, the Directorate took over similar duties for the Admiralty in connection with the National Shipyards. Upon the Air Ministry being constituted, the Lands Directorate took over the same responsibilities for the Air Ministry as those which they carried out on behalf of the War Office.

At the outbreak of the War the approximate annual salaries of the Headquarters Staff of the Lands Branch, administrative, professional and clerical, amounted to £5,600.

On the formal taking over of similar duties for the Ministry of Munitions in November, 1916, the approximate annual salaries amounted to £8,900.

On the 31st December, 1918, when it had become Lands Directorate for the War Office, Ministry of Munitions, Air Ministry, and Ministry of Shipping, the annual salaries amounted approximately to £32,000. About £6,000 was paid in fees to outside experts between March, 1917, and 31st December, 1918.

The above figures are inclusive for the work carried out by the Lands Directorate for all the various Government Departments for whom they are acting, with the exception that they do not include the regimental pay and allowances of certain officers (unfit for general service) who are temporarily attached to the Directorate.