HC Deb 07 November 1939 vol 353 cc1-4
1. Mr. Naylor

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare the qualications and duties of that member of the headquarters staff whose salary is shown in the published list to be £1,800 per annum and considerably higher than what is paid to heads of Departments?

The Minister of Economic Warfare (Mr. Cross)

The salary drawn by the officer in question is paid to him in respect of two posts which he has held for some years past, namely, those of British Commissioner on the International River Commission and United Kingdom Delegate on the Advisory and Technical Committee for Communications and Transit of the League of Nations. His salary is unaffected by the fact that he now is also employed in the Ministry of Economic Warfare.

Mr. Naylor

Does the Minister seriously suggest that the services of this gentleman are more valuable to the nation than those of an Under-Secretary of State and three times as valuable as the services of a Member of Parliament?

Mr. Cross

The hon. Gentleman must appreciate that this is a salary to which this gentleman is entitled anyhow as a civil servant, and we are taking advantage of his experience in order to employ him in this particular section of the Ministry of Economic Warfare.

2. Mr. Lyons

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare the number and percentage, respectively, of the appointments to his Ministry, other than clerical and messenger staff, that were made through the central registry of the Ministry of Labour; when, and by whom, the other persons were appointed, and upon what governing considerations; what it is now proposed to pay by way of emoluments to those whose salaries have not hitherto been fixed; and what are the reasons for the delay in fixing the remuneration of any of the persons employed in his Department?

Mr. Cross

Apart from civil servants, ex-civil servants and service officers, the list published on 25th October in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), contained the names of 103 persons. Of these persons, 78 were earmarked before the war—many of them at a time when the Central Register had not been set up by the Ministry of Labour— and 25 have been appointed since the outbreak of war. The names of 35, representing 34 per cent. were on the Central Register but all appointments have been duly notified to the Ministry of Labour. In all cases, whether the appointments were made by the Foreign Office before the outbreak of war, or by my Department since, the candidates were carefully selected, after interview, on the governing consideration of their special qualifications for the duties for which they were required. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT details regarding the salaries to be paid in the cases in which the emoluments had not been fixed up to 25th October. Such delay as has occurred in fixing the salaries of certain members of the staff has been due in the main to the urgency with which the appointments were made in consequence of the very rapid increase of the work of the Ministry.

Mr. Lyons

Is it a fact that no one member of the Minister's staff has, in fact, been appointed through the machinery of the Central Register; secondly, may I ask whether every one of his staff is now on a fixed salary, and, if not, what is the reason for the delay in fixing the salaries for people employed in his Department?

Mr. Cross

If the hon. Gentleman will read my reply he will see that a great many of these officers were appointed through the medium of the Central Register. As to the latter part of his question, I think I can say definitely that there are now no outstanding cases where salaries have not been fixed.

Mr. Lyons

Do I take it that in the particulars that the right hon. Gentleman said he would be good enough to publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT he will show the salaries of all those people who were not fixed in salary up to the present moment?

Mr. Cross

Yes, Sir, I think the hon. Gentleman may take it that that is so.

Mr. Herbert Morrison

Will the Minister circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the names and qualifications of the persons who are now employed in the Department, including their previous occupations? I think the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that the information regarding this Department is just as desirable as is information concerning other Departments.

Mr. Cross

I was not proposing to add the previous occupations, but in view of what the right hon. Gentleman says I will certainly do so.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Will the hon. Gentleman explain to the House with regard to those ex-civil servants that he mentioned whether they are in fact on pension, and, if so, are they now receiving pension and pay?

Mr. Kirkwood

Is there any truth in the statement in the West of Scotland regarding this Ministry, that the recommendation in the appointment of the staff has been the old school tie?

Mr. Cross

I have not the slightest doubt that a considerable number of old school ties will be found amongst them. At the same time, I would point out that the staff consists largely of gentlemen with considerable qualifications and experience who, with considerable self-sacrifice, have joined up in order to put their experience at the disposal of the nation.

Following is the information about salaries which had not been fixed up to 25th October:

N. Baliol-Scott 450 (provisional).
Earl of Drogheda 800
Lord Glenconner 450
L. Sturge 350
M. C. Trench 350
Dudley Ward 900
T. Wilson 550

In the case of H. C. H. Bull, the question of the rate of salary is under consideration, but in the meantime the salary which he received as Secretary of the Colonial Empire Marketing Board is being continued under the terms of his contract with the board.

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