HC Deb 05 March 1934 vol 286 cc1580-1

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £10, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1934, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

5.36 p.m.


This Estimate is also for £10. A net sum of £10 only is required, as the anticipated excesses in expenditure under the sub-heads referred to are expected to be offset by an increase of revenue brought into account as appropriations-in-aid. The Committee will, perhaps, wish to have a short explanation of the items. The first item is for salaries, wages and allowances, for which an additional sum of £2,000 is required. This refers mainly to the salaries of additional staff for the Passport Office, to meet an increased demand for passports. There is from time to time at different periods of the year an expan- sion or contraction of staff owing to seasonal requirements. The expansion is met by borrowing men from the Ministry of Labour's staff, and when the work contracts they are returned. The two spheres of work to some extent rise and fall together, that is to say, the one rises at the same time as the other falls. This increase is also partly due to some overtime pay for the clerical staff at the Foreign Office when dealing with some exceptional emergencies.

Under Sub-head B—Messengers' Salaries—a further sum of £300 is required to cover the salary of an additional messenger in the Communications Department of the Foreign Office during part of the year. This is the Department responsible for enciphering and deciphering telegrams. There has been an increase in the number of such telegrams recently. Although the additional man required is nominally a King's Messenger, he is not, as is sometimes supposed, a man who is sent on journeys with dispatches, but he is a responsible person in a confidential position dealing with the enciphering and deciphering of telegrams. The additional amount asked for for telephones is largely in respect of exceptional trunk calls, for example, in connection with the debt communications between Washington and London, and, again, in connection with such matters as the negotiation of the Trade Agreement with the Argentine Republic and similar matters.

As regards the additional sum which has been found to be needed under Sub-head F, the original Estimate was necessarily prepared in some haste, and the cost of preparing the new Geological Museum was only very roughly estimated. Now that the work has all been carried out, it has been found that the estimate was a good deal less than has actually been expended, though, on the other hand, there are various small savings to set against it, and I have to ask the Committee to authorise the additional sum stated in the Supplementary Estimate. Although these amounts, added together, come to the substantial total of £11,300, nearly the whole of it is in fact met by appropriations-in-aid, and, consequently, I have to ask for the authority of the Committee for the net difference, which is a matter of £10.