HC Deb 03 December 1931 vol 260 cc1256-7

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in the interests of economy and of those already in the Government service, he will see that no further appointments are made in the Board of Trade for the administration of the Abnormal Imports (Customs Duties) Act and in the Board of Agriculture until it has been ascertained whether or not all of those competent to assist in the administration of these Departments can be seconded or transferred for this purpose; and generally if he will review, preferably with the aid of a committee of business men, the administration of all Government Departments with a view to reducing the staff and establishment charges wherever it is found to be practicable?


It is not at present necessary to appoint any additional staff in the Board of Trade or the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for the work in question, and should such additional staff become necessary in the future the possibility of providing it from within the service will of course be first considered. The staff and administration of Government Departments are under continuous review by the Treasury with a view to economy, and have been specially reviewed recently both by the Royal Commission on the Civil Service and by the Committee on National Expenditure which reported last July. I see no occasion for any such further review as that suggested in the last part of the question.


Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the fact that on account of the depression in industry, especially during the last two years, business men have been compelled to revise their overhead charges, and would it not be an assistance—


That is all a matter of opinion.