50. Captain CROOKSHANK
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that in the Estimates for 1924–25 the staff of the Ministry of Transport, as shown in sub-head A, was 428, and the cost of salaries, wages and allowances was £193,537; and that in the succeeding Estimates the staff has increased each year, first to 464, then to 524, and this year to 553 at an estimated cost of £212,827; and whether he will explain to the House why this Department has had to be increased by over 23 per cent. since 1924, and what steps are being taken to check this increase?
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)
I have been asked to reply to this question.
The number of charwomen (29) were not shown in the Estimates for 1924–25, and the comparable numbers of the staff for that year and for 1927 are 457 and 533, respectively, an increase of 96. In addition, provision for temporary engineering and clerical staff in the Roads Department was made in 1924–25 to the amount of £25,000, but a reduced provision of £18,000 is taken in the Estimates for 1927. The increase in numbers has occurred entirely in the Roads Department, and is attributable partly to the work arising out of the London Traffic Act, 1924, which accounts for 46 additional officers, and partly to the general development of the work of that Department. The volume and number of grants from the Road Fund have considerably increased, and they are now being made for a greater variety of purposes and to a larger number of authorities. The number of grants rose from 5,503 in 1924–25 to 6,553 in 1926–27. The cost of this additional staff is recoverable from the Road Fund, and I am satisfied that no unnecessary additions have been made. There has been a slight decrease in the numbers of the staff employed in other Departments of the Ministry.
§ Mr. R. HUDSON
May I ask whether the abolition of these Ministries is going to reduce these numbers?