HC Deb 28 May 1919 vol 116 cc1207-9
48. Major NEWMAN

asked the Prime Minister whether the Ministry of National Service and Reconstruction is still in existence; and, if so, what Minister is at its head, and what is the present number of the staff it employs both in its capacity as Ministry of National Service at the Hotel Windsor and Ministry of Reconstruction at Queen Anne's Gate?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. The Ministries of National Service and Reconstruction are still in existence, but are in course of being wound up. They are both accommodated at the Hotel Windsor. The staff of the Ministry of National Service, which at the date of the Armistice was 15,124, is now 274, the bulk of whom are engaged in closing the accounts of the Ministry. The staff of the Ministry of Reconstruction, which was 129 at the date of the Armistice, is now 35, and is engaged entirely in completing the outstanding work of the Ministry. Since the present Government was formed, I have held the two offices of Minister of Reconstruction and Minister of National Service. These I am now resigning on appointment as President of the Board of of Trade. I understand that it is not intended at present to appoint a successor to me, for I have been asked by he Prime Minister to maintain a general supervision over the work of the two Departments.


Is not the Hotel Windsor a large hotel, and are these two Ministries, with their reduced staffs, able to fill that big hotel?


No; they do not anything like fill the hotel. Other people fill it.




Can the Leader of the House tell us whether the Ministry of Reconstruction has been definitely abandoned or whether it is only held in suspense; and, if it is held in suspense, why should he deprive the Board of Trade of any of the services of my right hon. Friend?


The Ministry is being wound up and my right hon. Friend is willing to do the additional work of general supervision. I am sure that is the best arrangement.


When will the Hotel Windsor be given up by the Government?


As soon as possible. With regard to the point raised by my hon. and gallant Friend in his previous supplementary question, of course other Departments are represented in the Hotel Windsor. There is work being done there for the Ministry of Pensions and for the Ministry of Labour.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that only this week—I think yesterday—the Ministry of Reconstruction issued another one of their series of pamphlets; has the Ministry done anything since it has been in existence except to issue twenty or thirty pamphlets. none of which is of the slightest value; and are the Ministry still drawing their salaries?


The hon. Member is raising a number of very contentious points.

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