§ 26. Mr. J. Langford-Holt
asked the Secretary of State for War what economy in labour and money it is expected will be achieved by the removal of the regimental pay office from Shrewsbury to Ashton-under-Lyne; and if he will give an assurance that no further move is contemplated.
§ Mr. Shinwell
The regimental pay office, Shrewsbury, is being closed and the work transferred to Chester and Ashton-under-Lyne. This is part of a general reorganisation of pay offices recommended in the interests of economy and efficiency, by a Departmental Committee, which will reduce the number of 1843 offices in the United Kingdom from 26 to 15 and will result in a saving of staff of approximately 10 per cent. Practically the whole of the staff at Shrewsbury have been offered transfer to Chester, and no further move of the Chester office is contemplated. No further move of the office at Ashton-under-Lyne will, it is hoped, take place until the pay office moves to its permanent location, which has not yet been decided. The staff at Ashton-under-Lyne are not disturbed by the present reorganisation.
§ Mr. Osborne
Does that answer mean that the right hon. Gentleman has abandoned the scheme for centring the Pay Office of the Army in Leicester?
§ Mr. Shinwell
We are at present considering as much centralisation as is practicable, in order to reduce the staff, and, at the same time, effect substantial economies.
§ 27. Mr. Langford-Holt
asked the Secretary of State for War what was the cost and advantage of removing the Royal Army Medical Corps' pay office from Kidderminster to Aldershot, Aldershot to Oxford, Oxford to Nottingham, within two years; and if he will give an assurance that no further moves are now contemplated.
§ Mr. Shinwell
As the answer is necessarily rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. George Ward
Would the Minister agree that, if these people returned their magic carpet to Kidderminster, they might settle down?
§ Following is the answer:
§ The Royal Army Medical Corps pay office was moved in July, 1947, from the factory which it occupied at Kidderminster, in accordance with the general policy of releasing, so far as possible, those premises required for export production. The only accommodation available at that time was in Lille Barracks, Aldershot. In February, 1948, the training and vehicle facilities available at Lille Barracks were required for one of the units returning from overseas commands, which were at that time deployed in Southern Command, and the pay office was again moved to the only available accommodation in Slade Camp, Oxford. This accommodation was far from suitable and being on requisitioned 1844 land would eventually have to be released. Accordingly, effect was given, in September, 1949, to a recommendation by a Departmental Committee, by amalgamating the pay office with that of the Women's Royal Army Corps. This entailed moving the Royal Army Medical Corps pay office to Nottingham, but resulted in more suitable accommodation being utilised and, as a result of the amalgamation, an economy in staff and overheads.
§ Considerable research would be needed to establish the full cost of these moves, including the transport and disturbance expenses of the staffs, but the works services which became immediately necessary have cost some £1,300
§ No further move of the pay office will, it is hoped, take place until the pay office moves to its permanent location, which has not yet been decided.