HC Deb 09 July 1942 vol 381 cc937-8
52. Brigadier-General Clifton Brown

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that a letter from a town clerk applying for a permit for chestnut fencing for the purpose of enclosing allotments was passed through eight different offices; was answered by the Ministry of Health, after nearly seven weeks, advising that it should be sent back to the Ministry of Agriculture to whom it had been originally addressed; and,

as this is typical of the tendency of Departments to pass on instead of dealing with matters effectively, will he authorise them to make their own decisions in small but urgent matters and not to dislocate trade and production through fear of responsibility and initiative?

Sir K. Wood

I am looking into the particular case to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers, and will communicate with him as soon as possible. The importance of speedy decisions by Departments is fully appreciated, and I am sending to my hon. and gallant Friend a copy of instructions issued to all Departments on the avoidance of delays.

Brigadier-General Brown

Does not my right hon. Friend realise that the actions of these inefficient hordes of officials are destroying the soul of the nation and doing a great deal of harm to the war effort?

Sir K. Wood

I can hardly assent to that very general proposition.

Mr. De la Bère

Has the right hon. Gentleman decided how many beans make five?

Sir H. Williams

Is it not the case that no Department deals with letters expeditiously and that it takes at least a month to deal with a very simple matter?

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