HC Deb 23 July 1940 vol 363 cc572-3
5. Mr. Liddall

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare what further reduction in the total number of staff has been effected as the result of the reorganisation of the work of his Ministry?

The Minister of Economic Warfare (Mr. Dalton)

Between 15th May and 16th July the staff has been reduced from 1,550 to 1,022.

Mr. Liddall

Is the Minister satisfied with that reduction?

Mr. Dalton

I do not think that a reduction of 34 per cent. in two months is too bad.

Sir Patrick Hannon

Has there been any diminution in the efficiency of the Minister's Department which deals with such important questions?

Mr. Dalton

I hope that the reduction of staff will always be subject to the maintenance of economic warfare to the most effective degree possible.

6. Mr. Liddall

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare whether it was on his instructions that the heads of the various Departments in his Ministry were recently asked by an officer of his Department to state to which political party they belong?

Mr. Dalton

Such an inquiry, officially addressed to public servants, would be most improper. No such inquiry has, of course, been made in my Ministry on my instructions. Since, however, the hon. Member has seen fit to place this Question on the Order Paper, and has thereby made himself responsible for allegations regarding my officers, I have had an investigation made and find, as I anticipated would be the case, that no head of a department in my Ministry has been asked any such question. The hon. Member's allegations are, therefore, completely baseless.

Mr. Liddall

I do not want this schoolmaster attitude. It does not cut any ice with me. But while I accept the right hon. Gentleman's statement—and I am very glad that he has been able to give that assurance—he must not be too sensitive in matters affecting his Department when criticisms are made, as he used to criticise previous Ministers.

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