HC Deb 26 June 1940 vol 362 cc437-8
22. Mr. Culverwell

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare how many persons are now employed in his Department?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare (Mr. Dingle Foot)

The number on 22nd June was 1,373.

Mr. Culverwell

When is the Minister going to consider reducing the staff of this Department, because on 1st June the number was 1,461, and he has made only a small reduction since the occupation of Belgium and Holland and since France went out of the war; and if our enemies continue to blockade themselves, surely it is time that the right hon. Gentleman considered reducing his staff?

Mr. Foot

The hon. Member must not assume that contraband control has been the only function of the Ministry of Economic Warfare. If my hon. Friend will compare the figures given to him on 4th June with the present figure, he will see that there has been a reduction; and it is possible that, as a result of the reorganisation which my right hon. Friend is now undertaking, there will be some further reductions.

Mrs. Tate

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are typists in the Ministry who have nothing to do but knit and read novels all day and who draw 10 hours' overtime, although there is nothing to do? It is an absolute disgrace.

Mr. Foot

I do not accept that allegation; until recently a large part of the staff were working many hours overtime.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the Minister bear in mind that economic action still remains the best hope of victory and make that the overriding consideration rather than the saving of a small sum of money?

Mr. Foot

That is the paramount consideration in the mind of my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Culverwell

In view of the considerable reduction in work, are two Ministers now necessary?

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