HC Deb 14 July 1949 vol 467 c634
3. Mr. Sidney Shephard

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many efficiency experts are employed by his Department; what are the total salaries paid to them; what are their qualifications to advise industry; and how many business firms consulted them in 1948.

Mr. H. Wilson

Thirty-two technical officers are employed in the production efficiency service, at an approximate cost of £30,000 per annum. Their qualifications are a recognised engineering training, followed by several years of practical experience on problems associated with the efficiency of production. During 11 months ended 31st December, 1948, 208 firms consulted them, of which 84 were cases of a minor nature. Figures are not available for January, 1948.

Mr. Shephard

In view of the very small number of persons who have consulted them, would it not be better to leave this work to business consultants of whom there is an ample supply, and release these officials for industry?

Mr. Wilson

No, Sir. I am satisfied from the reports I have had from some of the firms who have called upon these consultants that they have found the service very valuable indeed.

Mr. W. Shepherd

Is it not a fact that the gentleman who was lately in charge of this section, after considerable experience, expressed a view similar to that just given by my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Shephard)?

Mr. Ellis Smith

Can we be told whether the firms who consult these experts pay for the advice which they receive?

Mr. Wilson

In general, I think the answer is "No."