HC Deb 24 April 1928 vol 216 cc836-7

It is imperative to persevere in reducing expenditure because the pensions and the housing grants grow automatically every year. There is—I am sure those right hon. Members opposite who have held high offices under the Crown will agree with me—no surer method of economising and saving money than in the reduction of the number of officials. Last year I stated that the Government proposed to effect such a reduction by restricting new entrants into the Civil Service. In consequence a programme of definite reductions has been prepared under my directions by the Civil Departments, in collaboration with the Treasury. From the time that this Government took office up to the 1st April, 1927, the total number of officials had been reduced by over 7,000. The new plan contemplates a five years' scheme of further reductions starting from that date, during which period 11,000 more posts are to be suppressed. Those 11,000 posts constitute 18 per cent, of the total numbers in the departments affected by the scheme. I shall place a paper in the Vote Office to-morrow giving the main departmental heads under which those reductions will be effected, and postulating certain conditions indispensable to its success. One condition is, of course, that new legislation to which the House assents requiring additional officials will constitute a diminution of the reductions which we have fixed. The figures which I have mentioned relate only to the Civil Departments, but the possibility of reducing the number of posts in the Defence Departments is also being actively pursued. While I am not in a position to announce any results to-day I am sure that I can express on behalf of the House air earnest hope that that pursuit will be attended by substantial and early results. So much for expenditure.