HC Deb 09 March 1920 vol 126 cc1079-80

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the number and cost per day of the personnel engaged in the care and maintenance of stores handed over by the War Office to the Disposal Board; whether such cost is debited against the Disposal Board; and whether systematic and periodical comparison is made between the cost of the care and maintenance of a particular dump and the estimated amount realisable therefor?


Inter-Departmental Conferences overseas are now estimating the numbers of military personnel lent to the Disposal Board in connection with the care and maintenance of surplus stores, and the Ministry of Munitions will be debited with the cost of this personnel, with effect from 1st February, 1920.

As regards stores at Home, I would explain that there are at present depôts and dumps which contain only stores for disposal; and depôts and dumps which contain stores both for disposal and for the needs of the Army. In the former case the Ministry of Munitions become responsible for care and maintenance. In the latter case, as divided control is not sound, military personnel handle both descriptions of stores. It is therefore impossible to give a categorical reply to the question. The last part of the question should be addressed to my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions.


Is it within the right hon. Gentleman's knowledge that such comparisons are made and further, does not he see that unless such comparisons are made it is quite clear that there must come in the case of any particular dump a vanishing point at which the amount realisable will not cover the amount of charges?


Obviously, that would be one of the first considerations of the Ministry of Munitions with regard to any dumps handed over to them. With regard to dumps containing surplus stores for the Army, the reserves for the Army do not enter into the question, but it is possible that where other stores belonging to the Ministry of Munitions may be kept in a dump where the stores are mainly reserves for the Army the same high economy may not prevail. That is a matter which must be carefully looked into.