HC Deb 13 March 1923 vol 161 cc1249-50

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the discharge of numerous ex-service men from the Civil Service at a time when the Joint Substitution Board officially announce that here are over 1,100 substitutable posts; whether 25,000 non-service temporary staff are retained; and, if so, whether, in view of the pledges given that ex-service men he given priority whenever necessary discharges are effected, he will look into this?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Baldwin)

I am aware that a certain number of ex-service men have had to be discharged by various Government Departments on reduction of staff, and that, according to statistics obtained at the end of last year, approximately 1,100 women were employed in posts which were capable of being filled eventually by ex-service men, in so far as the duties were not coming to an end. As I have already explained, in many cases these women are employed upon work which is rapidly terminating, and their replacement by new personnel on the eve of the completion of their tasks would be extremely wasteful. In other cases substitution is proceeding as rapidly as is consistent with the efficient conduct of the business of the employing Department, in view of the fact that these officers are the residue left of a very much larger number by a continuous and severe process of substitution. Excluding the above women and a very small number of men retained for similar reasons, the non-service personnel temporarily employed in the Civil Service consists almost wholly of women engaged upon duties unsuitable for men. I am satisfied that there has been no departure from the Government's policy of substituting ex-service for non-service personnel wherever possible and of giving every possible preference to ex-service men when discharges are being made.

Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY

Can the rigt hon. Gentleman tell me if, in any of these cases where ex-service men are discharged, civilians are put in their places?


I could not say that without notice.


What duties are being discharged by women in these services which could not be equally well discharged by ex-service men? Could not, for instance, the duties of typewriting be discharged by disabled ex-service men just as well as by women?


I will look into that point, and communicate with my hon. and learned Friend.


Is the Ex-Service Civil Servants' Association satisfied with the explanation given by the right hon. Gentleman?


I really cannot say that without notice.