HC Deb 22 November 1948 vol 458 cc845-6
12. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Minister of Works what steps are being taken, in view of the recent elimination of controls on a number of building materials, to reduce to the utmost the number of officials in his Department and in the regional organisation who are responsible for handling these controls; and what is the number of officials who have already been released for absorption by productive industry since the announcement of the elimination of these controls on 1st November.

The Minister of Works (Mr. Key)

A careful review has been made of the number of staff who can be released as a result of the elimination on 1st November of the control over the distribution of building materials. Eighteen have already been released from the Ministry or transferred to vacancies on other work. More will be released shortly.

Mr. Cooper

While appreciating that reply, is my right hon. Friend aware that building merchants and other firms, including at least one written report which my right hon. Friend has seen, complain of the apparently excessive amount of staff in his Department, and is he prepared to appoint some independent experts to advise him whether any reductions can be made?

Mr. Key

No, Sir. I regard that as wholly unnecessary.

Mr. Chetwynd

Can the Minister say whether the reductions have taken place in the regions or at headquarters?

Mr. Key

They have taken place in the regions.

Sir W. Smithers

Have you noticed, Mr. Speaker, that common sense has at last dawned upon the mind of one Socialist?