§ 31. Colonel WOODCOCK
asked the Minister of Pensions if he can account for the small number of 14 who served in the Great War out of a total of 74 permanent officers of the rank of principal clerk and above in the Ministry of Pensions; whether preference could have been given to ex-service officers and men; and, in the event of any reduction of this staff, will he endeavour to retain all the ex-service officials in preference to those who did'not serve in the War provided their work is satisfactory?
The permanent officers who did not serve in the Great War now holding rank of principal clerk and above in the Ministry are all men of considerable established service under the State who were above military age, or were found unfit for military service, or were compulsorily retained in the interests of public administration. Preference has been given to ex-service officers and men to the greatest extent possible consistently with the essential needs of public administration, and this policy will continue to be followed in the event of further reduction of the staff.
§ Colonel WOODCOCK
Is not the hon. and gallant Gentleman in favour of giving all these positions in the Ministry of Pensions to ex-service men? Will he take steps to rectify the injustice which has been done?
Of course, we are all in favour of giving all possible 21 assistance to ex-service men, but these officials are all civil servants of considerable standing, and it is quite right that they should be there.