§ 54 and 55. Mr. VIANT
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (1) whether he will cause an inquiry to be made into the possibility of reducing a:, amount of overtime now being worked by staffs in the various Departments of State and thereby absorbing temporary staffs, declared redundant, who have received notices of discharge, or who have, actually been discharged and are registered with the Joint Substitution Board for further employment;
(2) the amount of overtime worked during the past three months by permanent and temporary grades, below the executive grade, in the Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue Departments, respectively, and the total cost involved?
§ 56. Mr. KELLY
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that, during the year ended 31st October, 1926, the amount of overtime worked in the Inland Revenue Department was 567,000 hours, at a cost of £59,000; in the Ministry of Health Department, 273,513 hours, at a cost of £30,386; in the Customs and Excise Department, 120,000 hours, at a cost of £13,813: and in the Post Office Department, 72,100 hours, at a cost of £6,480: that the Joint Substitution Board had 372 redundant temporary clerks on the register on the 5th November," and that many temporary servants are under notice of discharge; and whether, in view of the amount of overtime revealed, he will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure a wider distribution of the work rather than the relegation of men to the unemployed?
§ Mr. McNEILL
I am aware of the facts stated by the hon. Member for Rochdale, except that the figures given for the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise Departments relate to the year ended 30th September, 1926, and that the figures given for the Post Office relate exclusively to the Money Order Department. The figures asked for in Question 55 are 751 40,000 and 220,000 hours respectively, at a cost of £4,103 and £20,375 respectively. The subject is not one that calls for inquiry. As I have pointed out in reply to numerous questions in the last 12 months, at times of special pressure the services of existing trained staff are sometimes essential, and overtime cannot always be avoided by the employment of further temporary staff. But every endeavour has been and is being made to carry out what I have frequently stated to be the policy of His Majesty's Government, namely, to reduce overtime to a minimum.