35. Colonel NEWMAN
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the fact that the staffs of 1435 Government Department number 366,243 two years after the conclusion of hostilities, and that the figure in itself is misleading, as industrial staffs are excluded throughout, together with staffs of institutions numbering 7,717, those employed by the Admiralty in foreign yards, regimental record offices 21,587, units and command offices, Air Ministry, 2,900, and the branch managers in the Labour Ministry, 1,061; and, in view of the trifling reduction shown for the month of October, what steps does he propose to take to relieve the taxpayer and ratepayer by a more accelerated cutting down of Government staffs?
The Return presented to Parliament cannot be described as misleading, since it has enabled my hon. and gallant Friend to state the facts correctly. We are giving constant attention to the question of accelerating, so far as practicable, the reduction of Government staffs, and the question of what further steps can be taken in this connection is at the present time under the consideration of the Finance Committee of the Cabinet.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that within six months he will have these Government staffs reduced to the same number as the British Regular Army?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these staffs run to something like 400,000, while the Regular Army is only 200,000 strong?
I do not follow the connection between the two. Either of them may be too large or too small.
§ Mr. BILLING
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since the War the number of Admiralty officials has risen from 4,000 to 14,000, while the effective fighting section of the Admiralty has dropped by 13,000? Does he consider that the officials are more effective in time of war than the fighting force?
That can hardly be said to arise out of the ques- 1436 tion. I am not aware of the facts alleged by my right hon. Friend. They cannot be true.