HC Deb 18 July 1923 vol 166 cc2285-6
17. Mr. MOSLEY

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, since the number of men in the Navy has decreased from 151,000 in 1914 to 99,500 in the present year, while the number of men employed in the Victualling Department has increased in the same period from 133 to 160 and the cost from £28,168 to £55,418, he will state the reason for this large increase in cost?


As the reply is somewhat long I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The reply is as follows:

The figures referred to by the hon. Member include, in respect of the current Estimates, the sum of £18,570 for bonus. Allowing for bonus, the slight increased average cost per head for staff during the interval is due to improvements in scales of salary for certain classes and to increments of salary granted in the ordinary course. As regards the numbers of staff for 1923–24, as compared with the numbers provided in 1914, I might remind the hon. Member that it has been stated before that Admiralty staffs before the War were, generally speaking, working under heavy pressure owing to the understaffing of the Departments. As regards the Victualling Department, the numbers of staff did not, before the War, increase directly in proportion to the increase of Fleet numbers and the reduction of staff is not expected to follow, pro rata, the reduction in Fleet numbers. Apart from this, the activities of the Victualling Department have been very largely increased owing to progressive improvements and to the higher standards of comfort provided for men of the Fleet. The work of the Department is also affected by the more varied and extended systems of messing, clothing allowances, etc., by the development of labour problems in the victualling yards and by trade difficulties in production and purchase of provisions and clothing.