§ 28. Sir N. GRATTAN-DOYLE
asked the President of the Board of Trade it he will consider whether the small balance of the staff of the Clearing House of Enemy Debts can be housed in the building of the Board of Trade and the Office of Works, Storey's Gate, and the Clearing House office accommodation at Cornwall House dispensed with; and will he take steps for the closer settlement of accommodation at Storey's Gate for that purpose?
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
As the answer is somewhat long I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. W. J. BROWN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the building referred to large numbers of the staff are employed one or two floors below ground? Before he puts on any more staff, will he press on the Office of Works the necessity for more accommodation?
§ Mr. GRAHAM
That matter was considered some time ago, and, when my hon. Friend sees my reply, he will agree that no proposal for additional staff there will be entertained.
§ Following is the answer:
§ So far as the Board of Trade is concerned a considerable concentration of the staff at Headquarters, amounting to an addition of 170 persons, was carried out in January last in order to transfer the Mercantile Marine Department from Great Smith Street to the Headquarters' building, and no further concentration is now possible. I understand from my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works that the pressure on the accommodation in the occupation of other Departments in the building is so severe that it would be quite impossible, even if it were desirable, to transfer to the building the remaining staff of the Clearing Office now in the Government building at Cornwall House. I would add that the cost of the accommodation occupied by the Clearing Office is repaid by that Department to the Office of Works out of the fees accrued, that surplus accommodation is surrendered as rapidly as possible, and that removal at this stage would seriously interfere with the progress of the work.
§ 29. Sir JOHN FERGUSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the distribution by the administrator of Hungarian property at Cornwall House, Stamford Street, is now completed, with the exception of a possible distribution on account of interest; and whether he will take steps to have the staff of the Clearing House for Enemy Debts overhauled so that the staff may be reduced by not less than 15 per cent. between now and 1st January?
§ 63 and 64. Colonel GRETTON
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) when it is proposed to pay the balance of 1s. 6d. in £ the due upon accepted claims in the Anglo-Hungarian section of the Clearing Office for Enemy Debts; sad will he state the date upon which he proposes to close down that Department;
(2) the number of persons employed on 1st November by the Clearing Office for Enemy Debts; and what reduction he proposes to make in the numbers between now and 1st January next?
§ Mr. GRAHAM
The dividend of 1s. 6d. in the £ to which the right hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) refers was paid on the 7th November. The work of distributing the Hungarian dividends forms but a small fraction of the work of the Clearing Office and no special staff has been retained for it. The work of that office considered as a whole is under constant review, and reductions of staff are effected as quickly as the state of the work permits. The staff on the 1st November was 306 and is to-day 293. A reduction of 20 per cent. has been made since 1st June last and further reductions will be made as and when they may be found possible.