HC Deb 09 July 1947 vol 439 cc2213-4
60. Commander Noble

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what are the terms of reference of the Manpower Economy Committee under the chairmanship of His Honour Tom Eastham, K.C.; and whether its report will be published.

The Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. John Dugdale)

The terms of reference of this Committee are: To review the methods of manning and use of manpower in the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines during peace and to recommend measures for securing that fighting efficiency is maintained with the greatest possible economy in manpower. I should add that the Committee's inquiries will be directed mainly to broad issues rather than to the detailed examination of complements. The committee's report will, in accordance with normal practice, be a confidential document submitted to my noble Friend for his consideration.

Mr. Willis

May I ask my hon. Friend why, in view of the importance of the engineering and technical branches of the Navy, those branches are not represented?

Mr. Dugdale

We cannot have representatives from every branch. We have people with general qualifications who will be able to regard the Navy as a whole.

Mr. Willis

There is one representative for the executive branch and one for the supply branch, while all the other branches have no representation at all.

Mr. Dugdale

It is not a question of representation.

Commander Noble

As the inquiry is to be on rather broad lines, would it not be possible for the report to be made available?

Mr. Dugdale

That is never done in cases such as this. Naturally, I will ask my noble Friend whether it can be done. but I think it is not the usual practice.

Major Bruce

Can my hon. Friend give a reason why it is never done?

Mr. Dugdale

Because people are very much more willing to give evidence in cases where they know that the reports are not to be made public.