HC Deb 06 February 1945 vol 407 cc1880-2
30 and 31. Sir Frank Sanderson

asked the Minister of National Insurance (1) whether he is aware that the successful launching of the proposed new Ministry of National Insurance will be seriously imperilled by unsuitable location of offices in advance of operational planning; and will he consider withholding any definite decision in the meantime;

(2) whether he is aware of the feeling of resentment at the proposal to set up at a place in the provinces, possibly Newcastle-on-Tyne, his new Ministry, which will absorb the staffs of the Acton Claims and Record Office of the Ministry of Labour and National Service, and the Ministry of Health, Blackpool; and in view of the hardship caused to members of his staff by the breaking up of their homes by permanent transfer to the provinces where there are few houses for them, and the uprooting of their homes, will he reconsider his decision.

Sir W. Jowitt

It has been impracticable to postpone a decision on this matter because of the necessity for the Blackpool staff to vacate as soon as possible the requisitioned premises in which they are at present accommodated. The point of view of the staff was put very fully during the discussions between the Treasury and the Staff Side of National Whitley Council, to which I referred in an answer on 1st February to my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards), and I need only add that every effort will be made to mitigate any hardships which the transfer may entail.

Sir F. Sanderson

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that it will mean that vast numbers of civil servants, who have willingly accepted this uprooting during the war, will have to suffer complete and permanent disorganisation and separation from their families and their homes and will be bereft of the hope for the future which has sustained them during the time of war?

Mr. Magnay

Will it not be to the great benefit of these people that they should live in a more bracing climate; and will this not mean our getting quicker answers to questions?

Sir W. Jowitt

I have already said that we should be wrong to give up any idea of the proper location of Government Departments because it entails certain hardships. We will do everything possible to minimise those hardships.

Sir William Davison

Will not the Government find proper accommodation for these men and their families?

Sir F. Sanderson

I beg to give notice that, owing to the cruel hardships that this decision will entail upon thousands of civil servants, and owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.

56. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what authority has the expenditure for the headquarters of the Ministry of National Insurance at Newcastle-on-Tyne, estimated at £2,000,000, been sanctioned.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Anderson)

The provision of certain temporary office accommodation has been approved, but no proposals for more permanent buildings have yet been formulated.

Sir W. Smithers

Under what Financial Resolution of this House has my right hon. Friend power to authorise or suggest such expenditure?

Sir J. Anderson

The point of my answer is that plans involving such expenditure have not been formulated.

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