HC Deb 21 February 1922 vol 150 cc1692-4
11. Mr. MILLS

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the method of recruitment of labour in Woolwich Arsenal operates through the employ- ment exchanges of the district; and what proportion of Woolwich residents discharged since the Armistice on reduction as distinct from those discharged for inefficiency have been re-employed?

13. Mr. MILLS

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that men of long service in the ordnance factories are being discharged, adding to the already heavy burden of the local authorities, while other men are brought from Bournemouth, Devonshire, Durham, and other places outside the area of London at a time of acute housing shortage; and will he inquire into this matter?


The local Employment Exchanges are used for the engagement of labour at the ordnance factories, and preference is always given to Woolwich residents, unless no suitable local labour is available. Out of about 3,293 men engaged since the Armistice, 866 have been men living outside Woolwich Borough. These men were mainly bricklayers, carpenters, and men of other skilled trades, who were not available locally. Nearly all of them, however, have had previous service in the ordnance factories. Very few men are being engaged at the present time, but the rule of preferring local labour when it is available holds good, and the Employment Exchanges have instructions accordingly. In regard to the last part of Question No. 11. I regret that statistics as to the place of residence of the large numbers of employés (over 50,000) discharged from the factories since the Armistice are not available.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Woolwich statements are freely made by all sections of the population that Woolwich residents are excluded in favour of people brought in from all parts of the country who have to find house room in an already congested district, whilst there are thousands of local people unemployed?


I hope that the hon. Member, now that I have given him the true facts, will aid me in contradicting those statements which are not correct.

12. Mr. MILLS

asked the Secretary of State for War if he can furnish the respective ratio of officials with salaries of £500 and over in the central adminis- tration of the ordnance factories in January, 1918, January, 1919, and January, 1922?


The number of posts at a basic salary of £500 or over was 10, 12 and 10 in the three years respectively.


Having regard to the fact that the proportion in 1918 of the staff of 90,000 is proportionately the same, and probably the same number of officials are functioning with a staff less than 10,000, surely the right hon. Gentleman sees some room for economy at the top as well as at the bottom.


Every economy that is possible is being made, but it does not follow that these 10 officials having a basic salary of over £500 can be reduced.