HC Deb 21 January 1941 vol 368 cc10-1
21. Sir John Mellor

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps have been taken since the outbreak of war, and what further steps he proposes to take to reduce the amount of paper work which is required of units?

Captain Margesson

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him by my predecessor on 18th December last, and to the answer given to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Leicester (Mr. Lyons) on 22nd October last. The processes referred to in the earlier answer are continuing. I have every reason to believe that they are resulting in a reduction of paper work, and I hope that even greater reductions may result in the near future.

Sir J. Mellor

Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman appreciate that in the Home Forces company commanders are often snowed under with paper work at a time when their activities should be devoted to training? Will he consider, with a view to partially solving this problem, that rather wider latitude should be given to unit commanders in matters involving the expenditure of public money?

Captain Margesson

That is exactly the line along which we are working. We are trying to decentralise and make more action possible in the commands. I am hoping that in that general outline we shall succeed. What we all want is better and quicker administration than has hitherto been possible.

Sir J. Nall

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman inquire whether it is a fact that there are too many officers at Army Corps and Divisional headquarters, with the result that there is overlapping?

Captain Margesson

Yes, Sir.