HC Deb 21 November 1951 vol 494 cc425-77

5.6 p.m.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I think it would be to the convenience of hon. Members if I gave a short description of this Supplementary Estimate because it relates to certain of my colleagues in the Government whose activities, both future and present, I have much honour in describing to the Committee. I trust that I shall be able to convey the spirit and purpose which effects the political appointments for which the Committee is today asked to make provision.

The Supplementary Estimate, as the Committee will observe, calls for a token sum only, and deals with three appointments, that of a Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power, of a Minister of State for Economic Affairs and with the staff required by the Paymaster-General in order to carry out the duties which he has undertaken. Those are the three provisions which, I understand from reading the paper carefully, are in order for our discussions. I think these matters can be described quite simply, but I will endeavour to give the Committee a picture of the sense of public service in which these duties will be undertaken.

The great Departments of State, admirable though they are and efficient as they are, require a certain positive effort of co-ordination if they are to carry out their activities successfully and with due regard to what the other Departments are doing. That is necessary if there is to be a general harmony in the policy of the Government. We can, of course, expect a general coordination in Government policy to flow from three main things. One is the unity of purpose and outlook which, naturally, brings us all together in His Majesty's Government at the present time in a united Ministerial team.

The second force which needs coordination is the position of the Prime Minister himself, whose sphere of action is as wide as that of the Government as a whole, and the third the activities of the Cabinet and the responsibility of the Cabinet to whom all major questions of policy must be brought. I think all that can be taken for granted by the Committee. It must also be accepted, I think, that in our modern State, with the great increase in the functions and activities of the Government, there must also be some machinery for providing a rather closer co-ordination in particular spheres.

This problem has faced all Governments since the First World War and the methods adopted for dealing with it have varied with the different Administrations which have succeeded one another and according to the different circumstances of the time. One method much favoured under the late Government has been to have a series of committees under the Cabinet dealing with different fields in which a number of Departments were involved. I understand that this method was highly favoured by the late administration, although, following precedent, they did not give any detail of the membership of these committees outside their own private circle.

In speaking to the Committee this afternoon I am in a similar position to that in which the right hon. Gentleman opposite found himself when he was in my place. I do not intend to give the membership, the chairmanship or any part of the constitution of Cabinet committees, and that would be according to precedent. But, subject to that limitation, which is a limitation in gauging the whole picture and one which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman opposite will accept, I think I can give a picture about how all this work will fit in together. We think there is a supplementary method to the committee method which can be followed with advantage. This is particularly the case with regard to transport, which includes civil aviation as well as road, rail and sea transport, and the great scope of the field of fuel and power.

The interplay of activities between these great public services which are so vital to the future of this country result in problems of co-ordination or bring together all problems common to all of them and arising all the time. Here, we feel we need the attention of a single person—not a committee of people all of whom have other things to do—but someone free to devote his time wholly to the task. He must see that general policy on the whole of this field which I have just described develops smoothly and harmoniously.

Here, of course, is a great responsibility to perform, as hon. Members in all parts of the Committee will be the first to realise. But we are fortunate in having in His Majesty's Government for this task the unrivalled knowledge of my noble Friend whose salary we are considering this afternoon. This knowledge has been gained during a lifetime of experience of these particular matters, and his career was signalised by very special services rendered to this country during the last war under the Coalition Government. I surely cannot be accused of special pleading if I say that in our view "there is nothing like Leathers."

The welding together of these particular subjects under my noble Friend has, in our view, many advantages. The problems of coal and transport—I can speak from my own experience, having been in office a short time—are perhaps two of the greatest now pressing upon all of us, whatever our opinions at the present time. They underly the whole of our economy, and success in dealing with them will lighten our burden everywhere else. Indeed, here is a sphere in which coordination—whether it be inland transport of coal or transport of coal coastwise, or coal for export, and, though it is sad to say it, coal for import—is absolutely essential.

Despite the structure of committees which we understand existed under the late Administration, we do not think that they satisfactorily succeeded in keeping these conflicting interests in step. Therefore, we have decided to take this particular step, and we are very fortunate to have the services of my noble Friend at our disposal and at the disposal of the country. Another advantage which we see in this arrangement is that all the major industries nationalised since the war—other than the Iron and Steel Corporation which I must remind the Com- mittee will soon be free—are now within the field of one co-ordinating Minister. We have hopes that this will mean the speedier settlement of issues common to more than one of the great public corporations.

We have seen many other advantages, but I hope I have said enough to the Committee about this particular appointment. But what I must say is that we attach the greatest possible importance to retaining the direct responsibility to Parliament and to this House of the Ministers in charge of the two particular Departments. Their direct responsibilities over the public corporations are imposed upon them by statute, and they will be able to answer on all these matters within their particular charge in this House or before the Committee. We have no intention of disturbing, but rather of encouraging this arrangement.

The Minister of Transport and the Minister of Fuel and Power, who are actually in charge of the business of Government in their respective fields, are Members of this House and will continue to answer here. Hon. Members will no doubt wish to know a little more about the relationship between this particular sphere of transport, fuel and power, and other fields of Government activity and economic life. The only coordinator whom we would be in order to consider under this Supplementary Estimate is that of the Secretary of State whose duties I have been describing. The right hon. Gentleman and others opposite may ask who is to co-ordinate the coordinators themselves. In order to fit into his scholastic background, I will put it in Latin:

"Quis coordinat ipsos coordinatores?"

That is a very important question to which I think an answer should at once be given, and I shall be able maybe to satisfy the Committee on this point. My noble Friend the new Secretary of State and I, for example, work together, as he will do with others, on all these problems which raise wide financial and economic interests. I, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, am deeply interested in both getting and exporting more coal, as also in the future prospects of transport generally, and I should like to say to the Committee that during the short time I have been in France since I took office nothing has been more enforced upon my mind than the importance to the Treasury, to the national economic situation, to our solvency, and to our good name than getting and exporting more coal.

Therefore, the Committee may take it that I am fully and completely in touch with my noble Friend on these matters. So that we may be even closer in touch, We have arranged that he shall have the fullest possible help from the staff in the Treasury itself, as well as from the staffs of the two Departments concerned; and for this reason he will not need a staff of his own, apart from a small private office. Co-ordination—to use this word which is inevitable in this connection—will thus be assisted at what is called, in the jargon of Whitehall, "the official level," and then, on final questions of policy, at the appropriate Cabinet committee or at the Cabinet itself. Thus we shall all be in the picture and be able to have our say at the appropriate moment. In fact, this Government will work as a team in the interests of the country as a whole and in pursuing these vital matters to improve the economy of the country at the present time.

Now I come, so to speak, nearer home, that is nearer to the Treasury, to the appointment of a Minister of State for Economic Affairs. Here again we have an example of the flexibility which is so important in all these arrangements, and for which our Constitution provides. This appointment will have caused no surprise to the late Government which at one time had an Economic Secretary at the Treasury and at another appointed a Minister of State for Economic Affairs. The present appointment has much in common with this latter, that is the Minister of State for Economic Affairs.

In present circumstances, when the economic problems are so vast, complicated and pressing, we feel that we need a Minister in this field, and I have little doubt of the great value he will be to me at the Treasury at the present time. He will have the freest and most complete access to the Treasury staff and papers so that he can not only advise me on questions of general finance and economic policy, but also help me within the Treasury itself. In particular, his work will lie in the field of our financial relations with overseas countries, including trade and payment negotiations and our exchange control administration. I thought the Committee might like to know this in order that they might have a clearer picture of my right hon. Friend's work. I am sure that hon. Members who have questions to raise in this field will find his approach sympathetic and will value the advice he will give.

One of the manners in which my right hon. Friend will be able to assist me is in attendance at meetings of international organisations. I need hardly say I personally look forward to close co-operation with my colleagues of the North Atlantic Council and of the Council of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and other international bodies. But, inevitably, there will be occasions when my responsibilities to the House of Commons and my duties in the Treasury make it impossible for me to leave London, and then it will be of great advantage to us all to have a Minister of State to represent this country in my place.

I now turn to the last head, which is the office the present Paymaster-General is setting up to enable him to carry out his duties. At the outset, I would remind the Committee that the Paymaster-General has decided not to draw any salary at all, so there is a saving to be set against this additional cost. This decision is in accordance with the character and sense of public service of my noble Friend, of which again we had full evidence during the war. Those who have had the opportunity of working with him since can equally pay tribute to that sense of public service which motivates all his actions.

I noticed that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) made an unfortunate statement on 7th November when he referred to a … miscellaneous crew of astrologers and economic charlatans …"—[OFFICAL REPORT, 7th November, 1951; Vol. 493, c. 259] These, he said, were going to assist the Government. I can only say that that observation should be treated with the contempt it deserves, and that the right hon. Gentleman's familiarity with the Sunday Press is no doubt causing him to confuse Lyndoe with my noble Friend.

As the Prime Minister informed the House the other day, the Paymaster- General will in future be responsible for advising him on atomic energy research and production. The Prime Minister is now considering what adjustments should be made in the statutory responsibilities of the Minister of Supply in this important respect. In addition, the Paymaster-General, with the assistance of the staff which is now to be provided, and which will only be a small one, will undertake the analysis and interpretation, for the benefit of the Prime Minister, of the statistical data on which, in these days, so many of our most important decisions must be based, particularly those concerned with our military preparedness.

The Committee may be interested to know—though it may disappoint some critics who may speak later—that this new staff will not supplant the Central Statistical Office which, as the Committee knows, is part of the Cabinet secretariat and is responsible not for advising on policy but for ensuring that the statistics collected by Departments are kept on a common basis, as well as for the regular publications, such as the monthly Statistical Digest.

In this connection I might recall to hon. Members a passage from an essay by Mr. G. D. A. MacDougall in a publication entitled "Lessons of the British War Economy," edited by Mr. D. N. Chester. Dealing with the Prime Minister's Statistical Section during the war, he said: It may be thought that other bodies, such as the Central Statistical Office and the Economic Section of the Cabinet secretariat, could perform many of these duties. This may be so, but it is worth recording that during the last war, whilst there was close and cordial cc-operation between these bodies and the Prime Minister's Statistical Section, there was little overlapping. Nor, I think, did members of the three bodies have any feeling that effort was being duplicated in a wasteful manner. I am certain from what I have seen of the plans that are being made for this Department in the future that great aid will be given to the whole of our efforts and, in particular, to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. The Paymaster-General's small staff therefore will take material from the Central Statistical Office as well as other information available to the Government and will assist the Paymaster-General in inter- preting it and in basing his advice upon it. I hope this gives the Committee a sufficiently clear and short account of why these arrangements have been made and the advantages we expect to derive from them.

I referred earlier to the need for flexibility, and before I sit down perhaps I can stress again its great importance in all these arrangements. If circumstances change and if we find that changes in or further developments of the present plans are necessary, they will be made but, for the situation as it is, we believe that these arrangements have been made in good order, are well conceived and serviceable, and as such I commend these Supplementary Estimates to the Committee.

5.24 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)

I am sure we are obliged to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer for, at any rate, having given us some information about the structure of the Government's Administration. We have had a good deal of difficulty since the new Government was formed in finding out exactly what was to be done by different Ministers, and we must be grateful for small mercies. But I am bound to tell the right hon. Gentleman that he still leaves many questions thoroughly unanswered. I propose to put a number of these questions to him in the hope that perhaps he may be able to catch your eye later on, Sir Charles, and enlighten the Committee.

As the right hon. Gentleman says, these token Votes arise from three appointments —the Minister of State for Economic Affairs, the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power—a rather lengthy and clumsy phrase, if I may say so, for the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister to use—

The Prime Minister (Mr. Winston Churchill)

I hate the word "coordination."

Mr. Gaitskell

Let me say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that of course we all agree that co-ordination is needed: and I do not think that, so far as it went, there was anything in what he said about the way that it is to be provided with which we would disagree. Clearly, the Prime Minister is overriding within the Government. He can intervene and co-ordinate as much as he likes. Clearly the Cabinet has co-ordinating functions, but that still leaves open the very vital question of what other methods should exist for co-ordination and whether those proposed by the Government are the right ones.

I should like to begin by making a few remarks about the token Vote in connection with the appointment of the Minister of State for Economic Affairs. Of course, we have no criticism to make of this post. As the right hon. Gentleman has said, we ourselves made such an appointment, and I was the holder of it. But I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, when he made that appointment, had very much in mind, I think, the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was responsible for economic co-ordination and because of that responsibility, if I may say so, exceptionally heavy burdens fell upon him. I think my right hon. Friend's idea was that therefore a Minister of State was a suitable appointment to assist him in carrying out those functions, and later the Economic Secretary to the Treasury helped me in that way.

Therefore, the first question which, once more, I must put to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer and to which I have still not had a clear answer, is whether it is still the case that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is the Minister responsible for economic coordination. I hope he will be able to give us an answer on that. He evaded it once or twice—we do not complain about that—but he has had a little more time to settle down now and we should like a considered answer.

It is important in this connection, because although the right hon. Gentleman said the Minister of State for Economic Affairs was going to specialise on questions of overseas finance, which seems perfectly sensible and indeed carries on the arrangements we had that the Economic Secretary took on that sphere of activity, the right hon. Gentleman did not say whether the Minister of State for Economic Affairs was to have any coordinating functions himself. For instance is he concerned at all with the Central Economic Planning Staff, which I presume still comes under the Chancel- lor of the Exchequer? I have read in the newspapers that Sir Edwin Plowden is going to stay on, serving this Government as he served the late Government. For my part, I welcome that decision. If that is so, one must ask whether the planning machinery of which Sir Edwin Plowden was the head remains exactly as it was. Is it still within the Treasury and if so who is in control of it at Ministerial levels? Is the Chancellor himself handling it on his own, or is he assisted by some other Ministers outside the Treasury?

Again, going a little further into detail, I would seek elucidation on these matters. One of the functions the Economic Secretary performed in the last Government was to act as chairman of the Raw Materials Allocation Committee which the right hon. Gentleman will remember was originally set up about 1940 and has remained in existence ever since under various Ministers of State. Is the Minister of State for Economic Affairs chairman of that Committee? It would be helpful if we could be told if he is doing that job. If not, and if it is not out of order, it would be helpful if we could be told who is doing that job.

Another important function which fell to my hon. Friend as Economic Secretary—he took it over from me as Minister of State for Economic Affairs under the late Government—was, at any rate, the preliminary work on the investment programme. We know that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies does not believe in investment controls, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I am glad to say, takes a different view, so far as I could gather from his speech during the debate on the Address, and therefore, if, as I presume, his views on this are to be followed, there will arise some vitally important questions. He told us that there is to be a very strict control over building, especially that part of building which is not concerned with houses. But some vital decisions will then have to be made—which industries are going to be cut as far as building allocations are concerned. Who is going to handle all this, does it fall to the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of State, and if not who does do it?

Then we should also be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman could tell us whether there are any particular types of Question which should be put down to the Minister of State for Economic Affairs. That is a matter of convenience to hon. Members. It used to be the arrangement that my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary, for instance, answered Questions generally on Thursday with the Financial Secretary, whereas the Chancellor answered them on Tuesday. Could we be told whether that arrangement will continue?

I come lastly, as far as this particular appointment is concerned, to the question of salary. As I understand it, the right hon. Gentleman receives a salary of £3,000 a year as in the case of other Ministers of State. That is the figure in the Estimate, and I do not think there can be any misunderstanding. Presumably, therefore, in his case there is no question of any voluntary cut. I presume, therefore, that he is also in the same position as the Ministers of State in the previous Government so far as the right to draw Parliamentary salary and expenses is concerned. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman would like to tell us that now. It would be convenient if we could just clear up this matter straightaway.

Mr. R. A. Butler

If it suits the right hon. Gentleman, I should prefer a generalmopping up operation at the end of the debate.

Mr. Gaitskell

Then I must continue with my questions. As I say, the Ministers of State drawing salaries of £3,000 a year have, under the Ministerial Salaries Act, 1946, been entitled always to draw £500 a year as Parliamentary salary and, if they could satisfy the Inland Revenue authorities, have been able to claim the whole of that as Parliamentary expenses. That is the position, and I take it that it continues.

The Prime Minister indicated assent.

Mr. Gaitskell

We now have a rather strange situation because the right hon. Gentleman told us, in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) yesterday, that the Ministers who are now drawing salaries of £4,000 a year, whether or not they are entitled to draw the Parliamentary salary, are not going to do so. We were glad to have that piece of informa- tion. I think perhaps it might have been given to the House a little earlier, but never mind.

But now we have a rather curious position, because Ministers of State with £3,000 a year can, if they satisfy the Inland Revenue about their Parliamentary expenses of £500 a year, achieve a larger net salary than the Ministers who have previously been paid £5,000 a year. It certainly is a rather peculiar outcome at this initial stage. One would have thought there might be some feeling among Ministers on the Government Front Bench about this situation, and there might be almost a rush to become a Minister of State. But I am glad to see that the Prime Minister had evidently fully thought all of this out in advance before he reached his conclusion.

The Prime Minister

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I foresaw this anomaly and considered that it might well be taken in its stride.

Mr. Gaitskell

I think it is a little surprising, if I may say so, that the right hon. Gentleman did not make this position fully clear earlier on. After all, it is really a most unusual thing that Ministers who are supposed to get £5,000 a year, and who are fully in charge of Departments, should be getting less than subordinate Ministers.

The Prime Minister

The spirit of envy is not one to be cultivated.

Mr. Gaitskell

The proposition could be carried a great deal further, and a larger cut might be imposed upon the £5,000 a year salaries. There should be some relationship of a kind which one can justify, according to functions and experience and so on, between the salaries paid. Now we are left with this most peculiar situation. I am bound to say that I should be surprised if it really can be left like that, even for the period of re-armament during which, I understand, the cut in the £5,000 a year Ministers is to apply. I leave that conundrum with the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I do not think the Civil Service would think very much of this kind of arrangement. Supposing, for example, the undersecretaries in the Treasury found themselves, by reason of some cut of this kind applied to the Permanent Secretaries, actually better off than the Permanent Secretaries, I think there would be a good deal of trouble, and I do not feel that it can be left like that.

Now I come to the question of the Paymaster-General and his staff. I am still not clear about the extent of his functions. As I understand it, the Paymaster-General does not inherit the Lord President's functions in relation to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Medical Research Council and the relationship between science and the Government generally. That remains with the Lord President of the Council.

Then one must ask what exactly is the Paymaster-General doing? We know he is advising the Prime Minister upon atomic energy, and that is natural enough, because he has been Chairman of the Advisory Committee at Harwell, some part of the atomic energy establishment, for some considerable time. Lord Cherwell, of course, is known to be a strong opponent of the present arrangement under which the atomic energy projects come under the Ministry of Supply. He made a speech in another place on this subject on 5th July. It was not entirely clear what he was proposing in place of the present arrangements, but he obviously wanted a greater degree of freedom from Treasury control so far as the atomic energy projects were concerned.

I understand the Government are thinking this matter over still, and I will only say this to the Prime Minister: I hope that before he moves the atomic energy responsibility from the Ministry of Supply he will consider very carefully in full consultation with all concerned, because sometimes even expert scientists from outside do not really see the picture as a whole. I do not think that the question of exactly what set-up is appropriate to develop atomic energy is a party political issue. It is obviously a matter of what is best common sense. There is no difference at all between us on the ends involved. But I would say to the right hon. Gentleman that I hope he will be very cautious before he makes any change.

Now I come to the question of the relationship of Lord Cherwell, the Paymaster-General, with the economic side. As I understand it, he is not in charge of the Central Statistical Office, nor of the Economic Section of the Cabinet Secretariat. They remain responsible directly to the Prime Minister. But they also, I trust, have the same close relationship with the Chancellor of the Exchequer as existed under the late Government. I should like to take this opportunity, if I may be permitted, to pay a tribute to both those bodies who did work of inestimable value for the late Government, both as statisticians and economists in the Treasury. I say "economists in the Treasury" because they were so often there, although technically they were part of the Cabinet Office Secretariat. Nevertheless, I gather that Lord Cherwell, the Paymaster-General, is to have some separate staff on this matter. I must say I am still a little puzzled with that.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer quoted a statement in an essay by Mr. MacDougall which implied certain praise for the work of the staff under Lord Cherwell during the war. I think he might have told the Committee that Mr. MacDougall was a member of that staff and he would rather naturally he inclined to say they had done a good job and that there were no complaints about them. But I am bound to tell the right hon. Gentleman that that is not a statement which would be accepted wholeheartedly by many other persons who worked in the Government service either during the war or afterwards.

There is really a considerable amount of confusion and overlapping if one has too many different economic advisory bodies. I can only hope, if this is decided, that happy personal relationships between the persons concerned will serve to surmount the confusion that I fear will otherwise result.

The Prime Minister

This is not a question of economic advisory functions. It is a question of statistical advisory functions. At the beginning of the late war each of the Departments, especially the Service and Supply Departments, had their own statistical data. Great differences arose in their methods of calculation. Hours were wasted in the Committees because they were arguing at cross-purposes, the same words and figures not meaning the same things. So then we established—I was largely guided by Lord Cherwell in this—a uniform system which exists today, by which the basic statistics are presented by each Department upon a common foundation. That is of enormous value and simplification.

But in addition to that, I formed for myself, even before I was Prime Minister in the war, a statistical group under Lord Cherwell to give me independent advice on the figures, and to present me with the figures and the charts, week after week and sometimes night after night, of the changes which were taking place. Without that I could not have taken a great many of the detailed measures which I was able to take and which can be proved to have been advantageous.

Now with this vast confused scene far more complicated than anything we have -had before, without the simplicities which war introduced, I feel I am fully entitled, with the responsibilities I bear, to have the opportunity of a body—it must not be a large body at all—which will present to me statistics dealing with every Department and which will enable me to make such comments and ask such questions as I think suitable.

Mr. Gaitskell

Nobody would question that the Prime Minister must have every possible facility for understanding the extremely complicated problems which the Government have to handle. It is not in our minds to question that. What we are questioning is; when there is already a Central Statistical Office which did not exist, if I remember rightly, at the time when the right hon. Gentleman made these changes, and when there is already an economic section directly responsible to him composed of admirable expert economists, whether it is really desirable to put another Minister between him and them when the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to be his main adviser on economic questions. That is our difficulty.

The Prime Minister

It is not economic; it is statistical.

Mr. Gaitskell

Statistics are merely the tools with which one measures changes and developments in all sorts of fields. But are we to understand that economic questions will be excluded from the province of Lord Cherwell altogether? If that were the case I admit that much of my argument would disappear, but from what I have heard that is not the case.

The Prime Minister

Lord Cherwell is a member of the Cabinet. I had great difficulty in pursuading him to become one. He was quite willing to serve as an independent assistant and aid. I value very much his advice. He has the same rights as any member of the Cabinet to express his views on all sorts of questions, including economic questions. That is how he handles the machine of which he is head. He presents the statistics to me and in no way overrides the general statistical department but merely enables me to do the work I am expected to do.

Mr. Gaitskell

I must say, nevertheless, that it seems to me to be a most extraordinary example of duplication. Here is the right hon. Gentleman, who has, directly responsible to himself as Prime Minister, a large statistical staff, a most excellent body of economists, and he brushes them all on one side and calls in the Paymaster-General saying, "Now recruit some staff of your own to present these statistics to me," leaving the Chancellor of the Exchequer out on a limb. I have very considerable anxiety as to how this thing will turn out. We certainly wish the Prime Minister to be as fully briefed as possible, and I hope that personal relations, as they sometimes do, will smooth out a really bad settlement.

The Prime Minister

What a presumptuous remark.

Mr. Gaitskell

the right hon. Gentleman is being a little unreasonable. I did not even say if I was referring to Ministerial relations. He need not jump to conclusions.

I have also a number of questions to ask about the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power. I repeat that we are agreed on the need for economic co-ordination, but is this the best way of doing it and is there a special need for co-ordination in this field which justifies a full time Cabinet post? That, I think, is the real issue which we have to consider, and that leads us to the important question, what exactly in this field is the Secretary of State going to co-ordinate? Where does the special need arise between the Minister of Fuel and Power and the Minister of Transport? The Chancellor of the Exchequer was extremely vague on this subject, and I must put a number of further points to him to try to elucidate the matter.

I have been asking myself where special co-ordination was needed here. For instance, is the Secretary of State to decide the price of coal which is supplied to the railways? One might say that that is a case where co-ordination would be appropriate. I do not know. But if he does he will at once come up against the difficulty of how to settle the price of coal sold by the Coal Board to the railways. The Minister of Fuel and Power has still, I think, an agreement with the Coal Board under which any price increase has to be referred to him without bringing into account the price at which coal is sold to everybody else, including industry generally, the household consumer and, of course, export prices.

Many other Ministers are concerned with this. The Minister of Supply is very much concerned, the President of the Board of Trade is very much concerned, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is intimately concerned. Therefore, it seems to me that this is not a case where it would be at all tolerable for the Secretary of State to decide this thing on his own. Clearly, he cannot settle the freights which the railways charge for carrying coal because that it settled by a tribunal, so that he has no function there. Equally, it would not be appropriate to settle the scale of investment in these two industries on their own, apart from any other consideration. I have already referred to the very urgent problem of determining the investment programme for the economy as a whole, which I think must fall to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There is no purpose in having a Secretary of State determining a little bit of that programme on his own.

It may be there is more to be said for co-ordinating activity on the question of the supply of wagons for coal. That has been a prominent problem over the last few years. There again if—and I hope it will not come to this—it is found that special arrangements are needed in order to ensure a flow of coal to industry, to merchants, to consumers and so on, and on that account to give a priority over all other forms of traffic, is that a thing which the Secretary of State should settle on his own? Again, other Ministers are bound to be closely concerned.

Imports and export of coal were referred to by the right hon. Gentleman. Transport is important there, but again the question may arise—we discussed it a week or 10 days ago—as to what sort of interference is likely to follow with the imports of other commodities. Supposing the Minister of Fuel and Power is anxious to import coal and says to his Secretary of State, "Now we must give an overriding priority for this." He cannot take such a decision without taking the Minister of Supply into consultation, without taking the President of the Board of Trade into consultation on timber, and without taking the Chancellor of the Exchequer into consultation because of the very serious consequences to the balance of payments that would follow. The right hon. Gentleman laughs and says he cannot understand me.

Mr. R. A. Butler

As I said in my opening remarks, there is complete agreement that there should be consultation with all Ministers vitally concerned. That is exactly what happens in any good Government, and particularly in this Government.

Mr. Gaitskell

What we are discussing is why there should be a special need for co-ordination in this field. For the right hon. Gentleman to say, "Of course we shall have co-ordination and consultation" is no answer to that. There might be dozens of Secretaries of State co-ordinating this, that and the other, and yet we can have just the same answer. Obviously, gas and electricity have nothing to do with transport, and there is nothing special there which would fall for co-ordination.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the fact that the new Secretary of State would be in charge of the socialised industries, excluding steel, which he said would soon be free. We do not yet know precisely what are the proposals which the Government are going to put forward, but we understood that they did not intend simply to throw it back to uncontrolled private enterprise. We were assured that there was to be strict control and supervision, and it may well be in those circumstances that the right hon. Gentleman should not exclude steel from this list.

Then there is the Post Office, which is also a nationalised industry. There is the Cotton Board coming under the President of the Board of Trade. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot make a person Secretary of State for the co-ordination of Fuel and Power and Transport and say, "Now because he is that, he can handle the nationalised industries" and leave the other Ministers out.

I am bound to say I have come to the conclusion that I cannot see any real justification on co-ordination grounds for a full-time Cabinet post here. One is bound to conclude that the real reason for this is supervision rather than coordination. That implies something rather serious. It implies lack of confidence in the ability of the two Ministers concerned to manage their own affairs. Why should these over lords be brought in on top of right hon. Gentlemen opposite? I should like to ask a question to clarify this position.

The Prime Minister

Why then did the late Government in 1945 continue in time of peace the system of Minister of Defence, under which the heads of three Service Departments were all represented in the Cabinet by a Defence Minister and were in exactly the same position as are those Ministers about whom the right hon. Gentleman is talking now?

Mr. Gaitskell

Because the case for coordination there under one Minister was an overwhelming one, and we had been pressing for it for years before the war. I should like to explain to the right hon. Gentleman why I do not think there is any case in these particular instances. Could we have answers to some of these questions?

What is the relationship between the officials of the Departments concerned and the Secretary of State? Has he any officials of his own? I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say not. Did he say that when the Ministers go for consultation they will bring their officials with them? Is he saying that the Secretary of State has access to the officials without going through the Minister? That is really a most vital point from the point of view of the functioning of the Government machine. Again, does the Secretary of State have the right and will he in practice see the nationalised boards on his own, or is he going to accompany the Minister and his staff always? I am trying to help right hon. Gentlemen, because they will find themselves in a very difficult position unless they get this clarified.

The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

I am glad to have the help of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

Mr. C. R. Hobson (Keighley)

And he will need the help of the miners, too.

Mr. Gaitskell

I would not expect the right hon. Gentleman to blackguard his superior in public at this stage.

Then I should like to ask where the dividing line is between the responsibilities here. The Prime Minister gave us an interesting answer to a Question yesterday, when he said: Questions on the more important matters of policy, which are the concern of the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power, the Paymaster-General, or the Lord President, … and which cannot be dealt with by a Departmental Minister, should be put down to me."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 20th November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 231.] There are a number of other cases as well. That does imply, does it not, that there are a number of questions which the right hon. Gentleman cannot answer? What sort of question has the right hon. Gentleman in mind here? For example, the Minister of Fuel and Power announced recently some changes in the coal rationing arrangements. Does that fall entirely within his own sphere? Is that something for which he had to get permission from the Secretary of State or could he decide it on his own? What are the sort of things which he cannot decide on his own which are matters of important policy, and which apparently have to be answered by the Prime Minister. Let me say to the Prime Minister—I realise the difficulty of answering hypothetical questions of this kind, but I want to try and find out what he has got in mind, and I hope we will get some guidance from the Chancellor when he comes to reply.

There is the question of the relationship of the Secretary of State and the Ministers to the Cabinet. Part of the argument for a co-ordinating Minister has often been that he represents his Department in the Cabinet. I do not think that that is a very sound argument. I must ask a question, are the two Ministers present in the Cabinet when issues of fuel and power or transport are discussed?

The Prime Minister

Are we to be asked to lay down strict rules to be made public for the method in which we, as a Government, conduct our internal business and what Ministers are to be asked and when? Such impudent demands have never been made before.

Mr. Gaitskell

The right hon. Gentleman will have to get used to a vigorous and constructive Opposition. He must understand that we are probing the reasons for these appointments, and one of the reasons which has been put forward is responsibility in the Cabinet. It is a perfectly serious reason. Why should we not discuss it? I am saying that I do not think it is a very good answer, and I was asking whether the two Ministers were to be present when their affairs were being discussed. If they are the case for their being represented in the Cabinet disappears entirely, and if they are not I say it is a disgraceful thing and completely undermines their position in the Government. I am surprised that they took on the job at all if that is really the case.

I hope we shall have some assurance on that. In the late Government Ministers who were not in the Cabinet were always present when their affairs were under discussion. I hope that that arrangement will be continued. I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that on another occasion many years ago he expressed the view, with which I agree, that there was not much to be said for Ministers without portfolio brooding over problems over which they had no direct control.

Our feeling about this whole arrangement is this. I repeat that the organisation of government is not a subject on which one wishes to be dogmatic, and certainly it is not a matter of party principle, but I think there are three sound principles which ought to be followed. First of all, if we are to have an efficient administration there should be no blurring of responsibilities, and if the Minister of Transport, for instance, is not to know what is his responsibility and what is the responsibility of Lord Leathers it is going to make for bad government. [Interruption.] Is it not?

The Prime Minister

The right hon. Gentleman is an expert.

Mr. Gaitskell

The right hon. Gentleman really should try to follow my argument instead of descending so early in the night to abuse of that kind, The second principle that, I hope, the Chancellor will observe is that there should be no needless delay in reaching decisions; and the third is that there must be proper co-ordination to secure first of all—and this, I know, the Chancellor agrees with, because he mentioned it—that the implications for other Ministers of one Minister's decisions are fully understood, and, second, of course, collective consideration, which is normally done in the Cabinet, of any questions of major policy.

Our criticism is that we believe that in this set up responsibility will be blurred, and that there will be needless delays without securing any real gain in coordination because the co-ordination that will be needed is on a wider scale involving a number of other Departments, and can be done far more effectively through the committee system to which the Chancellor referred. Confusion is likely to be all the greater because of the doubt of the position of the Chancellor in this matter of economic co-ordination.

I am bound to say that many of us feel that here, as in other cases which we are not discussing now, there is really just a device by the Prime Minister to bring his old friends into the Government. I am not complaining that he should wish to do that. It is natural enough. It is awkward for him when so few of them are in the House of Commons, but I do put it to him that he should consider whether there is not some way of taking counsel with these gentlemen which does not involve so much danger of administrative confusion and personal misunderstanding.

6.4 p.m.

Mr. Edward Shackleton (Preston, South)

I think the Opposition are particularly glad to see that the Prime Minister has himself come down for the Committee to defend the extraordinary appointment of his noble Friend Lord Cherwell. Those hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the Committee who spent some time at Oxford are, of course, gratified to see any Oxford man entering the Cabinet, but the diversions and variations in the activities of scientists these days are going beyond all reason—with Professor Pontecorvo going to Moscow and Professor Lindemann entering the Cabinet of the right hon. Gentleman, and though none of us wishes to detract—

The Prime Minister

This is very insulting.

Mr. Shackleton

The right hon. Gentleman has used the phrase "impudent."

The Prime Minister

On a point of order. Is it not very insulting to compare one of His Majesty's Ministers with Professor Pontecorvo?

The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)

It is better that the hon. Member should confine himself to the issue before the Committee.

Mr. Shackleton

The Prime Minister knows perfectly well—or would, if he were not feeling so heated on this subject—that that was a lighthearted remark of mine. [Interruption.] Certainly it was. It is the right hon Gentleman who has used the words "presumptuous," "impudent," "insulting," when we are seriously trying to examine appointments he has made; and if he had not taken this attitude perhaps we should be able to conduct this debate in a better humour.

The truth of the matter is that the Prime Minister wishes to have a personal chief of staff. We fully understand that, and there is no reason why he should not have his personal adviser and operational research section as he had during the war. However, there are some difficulties which arise. I should like to know what is to be the rôle of the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government in matters of defence. We have been told that the Paymaster-General is responsible for the analysis of statistics and figures which are produced by the Central Statistical Department and particularly by the Defence Departments, and we should like to know whether, in fact, the figures which are given to the right hon. Gentleman as Minister of Defence will also receive the special interpretation of another Cabinet Minister—because that is what appears to be the case.

I think that the right hon. Gentleman should have taken the advice of his friend Lord Cherwell in this matter, and accepted his services as a personal adviser without making him a member of the Cabinet. After all, there are many examples in history of strange appointments of this kind. We can recall Cardinal Richelieu had his Grey Eminence, and that the Cardinal's spiritual and political adviser also fore- swore wordly goods and went without a salary. Hon. Members will also recall that this other Grey Eminence entered Rome on foot, and that appears to be the example which the Paymaster-General, like other Ministers here today, are to follow under the new edict.

None of us begrudges the Prime Minister for one moment the best advice he can have. I think, though, that he has established a very questionable precedent in making an appointment of this kind, and I think that he should give very serious consideration as to whether he should not follow the advice of his noble friend, and have him act merely as a personal adviser, a neighbour, who can help him, and whose advice he can take, across the garden wall from No. 11 Downing Street.

6.9 p.m.

Mr. Richard Adams (Wandsworth, Central)

I could not quite understand the Prime Minister getting so excited and upset when my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton), compared the activities of Professor Lindemann with those of Professor Pontecorvo because, after all, they are both disappearing behind an "iron curtain" and we shall never hear about the activities of either of them. I should like to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) in asking one or two questions about these fairly nominal Estimates before the Chancellor puts on his cap and assumes the character of Mrs. Mop, as he told us.

Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, North)

Why not get on?

Mr. Adams

The first question I should like to address to the right hon. Gentleman is also for the Financial Secretary who, I am sorry to see, has departed. The other day in the debate on the Defence Regulations the excuse used by the Financial Secretary for not having any new ideas on the subject was that he needed further time to consider them. In the light of that explanation the other day I should like to ask the Financial Secretary, through the Chancellor, why it is that within a week or so—on 9th November—he was able to authorise and sign the paying away of £88 million? I should have thought that it would have required a little longer to consider all that expenditure.

The Chancellor said, in his eulogy of his noble Friend that there was "nothing like Leathers," but he should have completed the phrase, that there was nothing like leathers for repairing a down-at-heel Government. I am a little at a loss to understand the Chancellor's diffidence in explaining his relationship with the co-ordinators, because though he is too shy to say anything about it, it is surely clear in these Estimates that he has control over one co-ordinator, because in paragraph I of the first Supplementary Estimate it is stated that— … in the Department of His Majesty's Treasury and subordinate departments including … the salary and expenses of the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power. Therefore, it is clear that the right hon. Gentleman is in charge of one of the co-ordinators, and we can only assume that when the other Estimates come along we shall find that he is in charge of all the co-ordinators.

Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, East)

The Prime Minister is the First Lord of the Treasury. Therefore, they are all subordinate to him.

Mr. Adams

Like most of the other interruptions of the hon. Member, that does not add anything to the matter we are discussing. If he had been here in the Chamber when the Chancellor was speaking, and when my right hon. Friend was speaking, he would have been able to follow things better.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South, was trying to get an explanation from the Chancellor as to what is the chain of these co-ordinators. We want a functional chart. The Prime Minister said that his noble Friend in the other House would produce some charts for him. One of the things we should like is a functional chart showing the chain of control in the Government.

We all know as well as the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams), that the Prime Minister is at the head of these chains of co-ordination, but what we are trying to establish is who, under the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, is next in the line of control, or whether these other noble co-ordinators are floating around loose, being responsible to no one except the statistical department which is to be run by the Professor. That is what we are trying to ascertain.

That is the first point. I think we have established, with the aid of this printed document, that the Chancellor—unless he contradicts his own printed word—is, in fact, in charge of these co-ordinators. I agree with my right hon. Friend and the Prime Minister that the title of the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power is very long and unwieldy. I would suggest that, following modern examples, such as in N.A.T.O. and O.E.E.C., we should refer to this noble. Lord as the S. of S. for the C. of T.F. and P.

The next point is: Why is there no mention of the salary of the First Lord of the Treasury? We understand that there has been a reduction in the salary and allowances of the First Lord of £3,000, from £10,000 to £7,000. Surely that ought to be reflected in the Supplementary Estimates. I should like to ask the Chancellor how that £3,000 is to be allocated? The Prime Minister's salary, in the past, has been made up of £6,000 taxable income and £4,000 allowances. This reduction of £3,000—is it all out of the £4,000 tax free expenses?

The Deputy-Chairman

We cannot inquire into that on this Estimate. It cannot be discussed because it is not in the Estimate.

Mr. Adams

That is just the reason why I am inquiring. Why is this not in the Estimates? Because this has been announced, and surely we have a right to know whether these savings are out of tax free expenses or whether they are out of taxable income?

The Deputy-Chairman

That is certainly out of order on this Supplementary Estimate.

Mr. Adams

On a point of order. Erskine May, on page 716, 15th Edition, states that when a Supplementary Estimate refers to a new service, discussion on that Supplementary Estimate can go as is wide as on the original Estimate.

The Deputy-Chairman

That concerns savings, which cannot be discussed.

Mr. Adams

That is what I am trying to find out. No savings are shown here. I am not discussing savings: I am asking why savings are not shown, and I should have thought that was a matter of policy on which we were entitled to an answer from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Deputy-Chairman

If the hon. Member will look at the top of page 5, he will see that the savings are shown there.

Mr. Adams

If I may take up that point which I was going to make later, it is a significant tribute to the work of the previous Labour Government that the saving in the Treasury and in the Scottish Office is precisely the same, £1,250. That is why I want to know what has happened to this £3,000 which the Prime Minister is supposed to have lost, because it is not accounted for at all. I hope that the Chancellor will give an explanation when he comes to reply. I will now leave that point. I do not want to offend against your Ruling, Mr. Hopkin Morris, but I think that I have made my point quite clear to the Chancellor, and, with his usual courtesy no doubt he will let me have an answer when he comes to do the mopping up.

The next point which I would like to put to the Chancellor is this: The payments to the new Ministers, according to the footnote on page 4, are being paid, at the moment, out of the Civil Contingency Fund. What happens if the Committee refuses to pass this Vote tonight? Do we ask the hon. Gentlemen and the noble Lords to pay the money back into the "kitty" or do they go away scot free without the sanction of this House?

While my right hon. Friend was speaking, the Prime Minister interrupted. My right hon. Friend was making what, I thought, was a very interesting point about the new scale of payments to the Cabinet Ministers. I must say that I was very surprised to find that a junior Minister who gets £3,000 plus £500 Parliamentary expenses is, in fact, being paid at a higher rate for the job than the senior Minister in charge of him. That is government by topsy-turvey methods if ever it was. The Prime Minister interrupted my right hon. Friend, in what, I thought, was a very energetic intervention, to say, "We have no spirit of envy amongst us." I invite the Committee to consider this point. A spirit of envy is very much akin to the problem of incentives.

Look at the new set-up, which the Prime Minister said that he prepared very carefully. Look how the incentives are to operate in the Cabinet. We are going to have the Chancellor of the Exchequer trying to do the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs out of a job because he will get more money by going down into his job instead of staying in his own. The Secretary of State for Economic Affairs will have no inducement to become Chancellor of the Exchequer because he knows that, if he did, he would get less money for doing it.

Is that the new way in which this Conservative Government is to apply incentives to industry? Will they say to general managers, "You should get less money than the assistant managers so that the assistant managers will have a greater inducement to get your jobs, because they will thereby get less for doing them"?

My next point is this: I was very unhappy about the Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheer up."] I must say. Mr. Hopkin Morris, that I was unhappy mentally. I can assure hon. Members opposite that whenever I glance across at their faces, a terrific surge of joy goes through me; a far greater surge of joy than the urge referred to by the Prime Minister just now. If I may pass from that interruption—and the night is still young—I want to turn to the Prime Minister's explanation of the functions of his own statistical office, to be run by the Paymaster-General. Again, I think that his explanation showed how completely lacking in real co-ordination this new Government will be. Let us see what the set-up is to be.

We have, first of all, the Central Statistical Office. They, presumably—and I shall be glad to have the Chancellor's attention, because this is a point which he has to consider—will get their figures from the Departments; in other words, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Fuel and Power, and so on. They will pass through their statistical figures to the Central Statistical Office. That office will prepare statistics which will be used by the Chancellor and the economic planning unit. Where do the co-ordinators come in? Are the coordinators to prepare a separate set of figures to do the co-ordinating for us, or are they to use the figures prepared by the Departments and take them on trust?

What is this new statistical office, set up in the back room for the personal use of the Prime Minister, going to do? From where will they get their figures? It seems to me that at any Cabinet meeting in the future Ministers will be confronted, and confounded, with at least four or five sets of figures. The Chancellor will produce a set of figures on which he will base his economic arguments, to put before the Cabinet. Then the Prime Minister will turn round and say, "I do not accept your economic arguments because my Friend the professor has prepared another set of figures which enable me to repudiate the figures which you have given us."

Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)

Continual references have been made to "the professor." Do I understand that Jimmy Edwards is now in the Cabinet?

Mr. Adams

I can assure my hon. Friend that that would be perfectly in keeping with the other appointments. I was referring to a lesser known professor who is, of course, Lord Cherwell.

What is to happen at the Cabinet meetings? The Chancellor will come forward with economic proposals based upon statistics which presumably he will get from the Central Statistical Office. He will correct me if I am wrong. When he gets to the Cabinet meeting he will be confronted by the Prime Minister with another set of figures, and those of us who have had experience of statistics—and I may claim modestly to have had some experience—well know that it is possible to go on producing sets of figures none of which will ever correlate with another set.

I can assure the Chancellor that it will be quite easy for the Prime Minister to produce a set of figures which will make him look stupid and confused. It does not end there. If they are to discuss transport or fuel and power any morning, the Ministers concerned will have their own set of figures. [Interruption.] As my hon. Friend says, provided they are allowed to come, or perhaps they will be kept outside on the doormat and allowed to push their figures through the letter-box. If they are to discuss fuel and power or transport, are the Ministers concerned to have the opportunity of presenting a paper showing their figures? Even if they can use their figures, the setup of the noble co-ordinators at the Cabinet table will have another set of figures which will agree neither with the Chancellor's nor with the Departments concerned.

Sir Williams

I have often wondered how the Economic Survey was produced. I have always been inclined to call it "Old Moore's Almanac." Now we have the complete explanation.

Mr. Adams

There is a lot in that observation, because if the hon. Gentleman had been attending to this debate he would have heard the Chancellor refute the charge of my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) that the Cabinet was to have a Lyndoe in the set-up. In the present Cabinet they will need a Lyndoe, a Naylor, and "Old Moore's Almanac" to get the figures sorted out. One can imagine that, after looking at all these figures, the Prime Minister will sweep them on to the floor and probably send for Lyndoe and, no doubt, get as good an answer as he would from this mass of confused figures and statistics. The only chance of sound government, based on proper statistics, is to have a functional line leading through to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Department.

Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)

Would the hon. Gentleman claim that the late Government had a proper system of statistics, giving reliable information, because, if so, and if he cares to go through the Economic Surveys for the last five years, he will find that almost every group of forecasts given in the Economic Surveys were falsified by events?

The Deputy-Chairman

It would not be in order for the hon. Member to answer that question.

Mr. Adams

I have no objection to the interruption. I see that the hon. Gentleman confirms what I was saying. It is true that when one is dealing with masses of figures, errors can creep in. due to the different calculations being made, and it is also true that there were errors in the Economic Surveys. But look at what is going to happen in the future. These margins of error will be doubled, trebled and quadrupled, because all these figures will be coming in from different sources, which are completely unco-ordinated. It really is confusion worse confounded.

I thought that the Chancellor looked very sympathetic when my right hon. Friend was speaking, and I think that he is fully alive to the criticism which we have been making that, in order to get a satisfactory Government system, it is necessary that the figures and statistics should be properly co-ordinated. That is all we are asking. We are asking for proper co-ordination of the statistics, and the only hope of getting that is for them to be fed through the Central Statistical Office, as in the past, and for the Chancellor to take them and draw his economic conclusions from them and make a proper report to the Cabinet.

I urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer—and he will have our support if he needs it—to try and persuade the Prime Minister to do away with this professor from Oxford and his private statistical office which will make confusion worse in the counsels of the Cabinet. If he will do that—and I am glad, as I said at the beginning, to find that he is in charge of the co-ordination of the co-ordinators—and if he will take the further step of sweeping away this private statistical department, there is some hope that the Government, which has shown in answer to Questions during the last few days that it is a Government of second thoughts, will have second thoughts about the statistical set-up. There may then be some hope that it will do better than its achievements in the last week or so suggest.

6.29 p.m.

Mr. M. Philips Price (Gloucestershire, West)

I wish to raise a matter concerning the expenses and incidental payments of the Paymaster-General. We have here a sum of £250. Every little makes a muckle. In addition, there is the salary of the advisory staff of the Paymaster General, amounting to some £3,200. I want to know why this huge sum is being asked for. What are the increased functions of the Paymaster-General?

I see that it was reported in the Press a little while ago, and I quote from "The Times," that the Paymaster-General is to be responsible for the co-ordination of scientific research and development. Questions have been put to the Prime Minister in the last day or two about this, and it has been indicated that some additional responsibility is being placed upon the Paymaster-General in respect of scientific matters. I suggest that this is not the answer. Up to date, this has gone very well. Up to now the Depart- ment of Scientific Research and the Medical Research Council has been answered for by the Lord President of the Council. Furthermore, questions on work concerning atomic energy have been answered by the Minister of Supply.

The Paymaster-General is a scientist. I am not questioning his ability, but I suggest that to appoint a scientist to look after another scientist is not the wisest thing. The tendency is for scientists to fight like wild-cats. It is very much better to have a political leader, a member of the executive, in charge of scientific matters rather than a scientist.

In my view, this increased expenditure, which is brought about by the increased powers of the Paymaster-General, is unnecessary and should not be incurred. The House of Commons is here to see that every penny is spent properly and, if money is spent unnecessarily, we should raise the matter. Science is extremely important in these days. Thanks to the last Government we have the Welfare State, and the problem now is to make the Welfare State work. The Welfare Stag will work if the national income is rising, and nothing will assist that more than the application of science to our national life. The co-ordination of science in the best possible way is, therefore, a very important part of our public life. The point I have in mind concerns the organisation of science and why the increase shown in the Estimate is necessary. I think it is not necessary, and I should like to see it removed.

6.32 p.m.

Mr. A. Edward Davies (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

I wish to ask a question about the office of the Secretary of State fog the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power. One of the significant facts about these Government changes, as explained by the Chancellor of the Exchequer this afternoon, was that they remove much of the power and responsibility from this House to another place—and that is my principal complaint about this proposal.

If we assume that the Chancellor's noble Friend is responsible for the coordination of transport, fuel and power, who is to answer Questions in this House relating to his proposals? It has been said that the Departmental Ministers will take account of the problems which affect their own Departments, but I submit that that is not a satisfactory explanation, be- cause while the Minister will know something about his own Department, or should know something about it, and will have some responsibility for it, there will be Questions which are marginal and which are not the responsibility of any Departmental Minister.

As a House of Commons man, I think this delegation of power from this House should be deplored. I share the views about these changes which were expressed in "The Economist" on 3rd November. They said: To have a senior Minister concerned with general Government policy in relation to the nationalised industries is sound in conception. …. [The success of] further experiments with this grouping device depends largely on the ability of the subordinate Ministers to work effectively with the coordinator. They have, in effect, to be a committee collectively responsible not only to the Cabinet but also to the House of Commons. In this respect it is a pity that in all these first experiments the co-ordinating Cabinet Minister is a peer who will not he able himself to expound general policy "— and that is the point I am making— to the Commons. It is indeed a wider weakness of Mr. Churchill's Cabinet that so many as six of its 16 members sit in the House of Lords. Whatever its advantages in personalities and in freedom from the ties of Parliamentary duties in a closely divided House, that is hound to weaken the explanation and defence of Government policy at the point where it commands the widest public attention. They go on to make some criticism of the appointments themselves.

I am primarily concerned about the opportunity to question policy, to ask where we shall look for our information and to ask where the responsibility will he placed in these matters of coordination. In fact, this description of the co-ordination of transport, fuel and power is itself surprising because, as I understand it, the present Government are not seeking to co-ordinate at all; they are seeking to decentralise. In the case of transport, the idea is not to co-ordinate; in fact, the Government are seeking to break road transport away from rail and water transport. In fuel and power, their idea seems to be not to co-ordinate but to decentralise.

These are most important matters. I submit that it is not good enough that so much power should be in another place and that we should apparently have no redress for anything which is done there and no opportunity to question day-to-day matters which are of vital importance to the economy of the country.

6.37 p.m.

Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)

I desire in a very few words to support the observations made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mr. Edward Davies), with every word of whose speech I agree. I think nobody in the Committee denies the need of co-ordination between the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Fuel, but we are not satisfied that that can best be achieved by superimposing a new Minister. It seems to us that in large measure this is an administrative matter. There ought to be, throughout, the closest and most consistent liaison and contact between the National Coal Board and the Transport Commission, between the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Fuel and Power; but in our view this problem of co-ordination, which is of vital importance, can be solved without resort to this stratagem of the over-riding Minister.

We have been told time and again that when right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite came to that side of the Committee we should have every kind of departmental economy and saving, yet the first thing we discover is the creation of a new Ministry, with a purpose in mind which we believe can be achieved in other and better ways. In the last Parliament, and in the Parliament before that, hon. Members on both sides of the House met real difficulties in the matter of putting Questions concerning both the coal industry and the transport industry. The new appointment, to which this revised Estimate bears relation, puts an additional difficulty in our way in that connection. Answers to Questions of that kind will become even more inaccessible and difficult to obtain than before.

We were told yesterday by the Prime Minister that it was his intention to answer Questions for the Secretary of State Co-ordinating Transport and Fuel and Power, but the right hon. Gentleman has already all the responsibility of his office of Prime Minister and in addition, is Minister of Defence. Is it to be suggested that he is now to take, in addition, all these fresh, heavy responsibilities and difficulties?

Moreover, the co-ordinating Minister will not always be in another place. In the next Cabinet, if this appointment continues, the Secretary of State for the Coordination of Transport and Fuel and Power will, as likely as not, be in this House. Will it not be an unusual situation when that occurs, when we have the Minister of Transport in this House, the Minister of Fuel and Power in this House and the Minister co-ordinating them in this House? How are we to know to which of these three we should put our Questions? How are we to know who is responsible for what?

These seem to me to be real difficulties. It seems to be a perfectly fair inference to draw—and that is all I desire to do—that the reason why this office has been created lies in the desire of the Prime Minister to have the assistance of Lord Leathers in this vital matter. The fact that he is in another place was a difficulty which was solved by the creation of this new appointment. I do not go further than to say that the new appointment conies ill from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who spent so much of their time persistently emphasising the need of saving and of economy in the administration of Departments.

6.41 p.m.

Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine); it is awfully difficult to understand how these arrangements can lead to any saving in administration. It is quite true that the Supplementary Estimate is not a large one, but I should have thought the piling up of these co-ordinating, supervising Ministers must eventually lead to very much larger Government expenditure.

Behind the facetious heartiness of the Government Front Bench while my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell), was speaking, I detected a serious disquiet. I think there is no doubt at all but that he pierced the chinks of their armour. No doubt the Chancellor of the Exchequer will slide out of it somehow, in his usual manner, but I do not think that will in any way relieve his mind of the anxieties he must be feeling

If we are to use rude words, it would be presumptuous of me to talk about Government administration and the structure of Cabinets, although I must say I thought it was, to use another rude word used by the Prime Minister, impudent of him to attack my right hon. Friend who, after all, has had considerable experience and who, as a matter of fact, has had an experience which the Prime Minister has never had—that of working as an official in a Department, as well as that of being both a junior and senior Minister. I thought my right hon. Friend's criticisms of the structure of the present administration must be taken seriously.

The subject with which I wanted to deal was that raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Philips Price), who has played such a distinguished part as Chairman of the Parliamentary Scientific Committee. I must apologise to the Committee in that I had to leave the Chamber for a few minutes while he was speaking and I may repeat something of what he said. Those of us who are interested in scientific matters are very seriously disquieted by the appointment of the Paymaster-General and by the new arrangements which have been established for the administration and the discussion of scientific matters. At the present time there is perhaps nothing of more importance than the development of our scientific resources and the development of technology in this country. If I may say so—and I hope I shall not be out of order—I was very much disappointed that no reference at all was made to this in the Gracious Speech.

Apart from the statistical section—and I will not go into that, because the appointment of a strongly political scientist to run a sort of private enterprise statistical section seems an extraordinary arrangement—we have been informed that the Paymaster-General's main activities are to be in the field of the development of atomic energy. Next, we have the Lord President of the Council, who is still to retain his traditional functions, although of course he is not in this House; and then we have the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Works, who is to answer in this House for scientific matters.

We all like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works. He is an unassuming, serious and intelligent Member of the House, but I do not think scientific matters should be relegated in the House of Commons to the Parliamentary Secretary to a Ministry which is not normally considered to be a senior Ministry. That is not good enough. Perhaps it is because the Government do not consider that this House is a suitable place in which to discuss scientific matters. Perhaps they agree with the opinion of—

Mr. R. A. Butler

On a point of order. I do not want to disappoint the Committee later by being unable to answer this point, but I was not aware that the representation in this House or in the Government of scientific experts is in order on this Supplementary Estimate.

The Chairman

I was on the point of stopping the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Albu

I am dealing with the special office of the Paymaster-General and with the functions that he has, or may have, in reference to scientific matters. I am coming to the end of this particular part of my argument, but I would quote what was said by the present Secretary of State for the Colonies when he stated, as quoted in the "Observer" of 21st October: It was vitally important that scientists and other experts should be in the House of Commons, hut to ask them to face an ordinary Parliamentary election was fair neither to them nor to the constituency. He said this in the reference to university representation. What seems to have happened is that the Government have taken the scientific experts out of the House of Commons and put them in the House of Lords.

Mr. Philips Price

Is it a fact that reference to the Paymaster-General and to his functions is out of order? I have just made a speech in which I referred to that matter, and I have not been called to order. Cannot my hon. Friend go on and raise this matter?

The Chairman

I was under the impression that the hon. Member was talking about the Ministry of Works.

Mr. Albu

It is extremely difficult to talk about the administration of scientific matters or to carry on criticism and discussion of them in this House if one is not allowed to refer to the great variety of Ministers who have been appointed to deal with scientific matters. I was referring to the anxiety which some of us feel at the appointment of a scientific expert to a supervisory post—

The Chairman

This is not in order on this Supplementary Estimate.

Mr. Gaitskell

On a point of order. It would surely be in order for my hon. Friend to refer to the functions which Lord Cherwell has exercised in connection with atomic energy, which is the subject to be attached to the office of the Paymaster-General. These are matters in which we are concerned, and, in so far as they are connected with atomic energy, would it not be in order for my hon. Friend to discuss them?

Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)

Further to that point of order. Is it not true that you have been gravely misled by the Chancellor himself, who intervened on this point? It has been clear to us—at least I think it was clear—when we listened to the speech of my hon. Friend and heard long references to the scientific character of this appointment of the Paymaster-General and its relationship to other Departments, despite what the Chancellor said just now about these functions—

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

Co-ordinating functions?

Mr. Hudson

I do not know whether they are co-ordinating functions or not, but they are the scientific functions of the Paymaster-General and they should be in order in this discussion.

The Chairman

Yes, but not in relation to the Ministry of Works.

Mr. Albu

The real point I am making is that I find it extremely difficult to see how one can separate scientific matters from the development of atomic energy. I should have thought that in the modern world the development of atomic energy would play an increasing part in scientific advance. We have already seen the report of the new use for heating that has been made of atomic energy at Harwell, and we all hope that in this way we may eventually solve some of our fuel and power problems in this country I should have thought it was extremely difficult for the Paymaster-General to exercise his functions in regard to atomic energy unless he was also concerned with the field of general science. It was on those grounds that I was making my remarks

I do not know whether it would be wrong to refer to some of the reasons why we have doubts on this matter. They partly arise out of some of the things that have been said by the Paymaster-General. I want to refer to a matter of very great importance indeed, on which I would like the Chancellor to say something when he replies, that is, the subject of scientific and technological education. This is a matter in which he himself is extremely interested, I know. I want to know whether the Paymaster-General, in his capacity as supervisor, to some extent, of scientific development in the country, will have any influence at all over the future of technological education.

This happens to be a matter in which the Paymaster-General's views are contrary to the more generally expressed views. I understand that they are also contrary to the policy which was about to be developed by the late Government of upgrading a number of technical colleges into higher technological institutions. I have put a Question on this subject down to the Minister of Education. It is of considerable importance to us to be able to know, in view of his very great interest in this subject, whether it is one of the matters which the Paymaster-General is going to cover—I was going to say "meddle with"—and over which he will have some supervisory authority.

It is important that we should discuss this matter and I hope that we shall soon have another opportunity of doing so and that the Government will soon make their policy known. It makes it very difficult for us to discuss these matters when we know that the two Ministers in the Ministry of Education have no particular interest in these matters and that the main Ministers who are interested are not present. I think that is a fair criticism and that we are justified in making it on this particular Supplementary Estimate.

6.54 p.m.

Mr. Douglas Houghton (Sowerby)

One of the surprising things about this debate is that hon. Gentlemen on the Government side of the House seem to have no views to express on the novelties in the machinery of government which are the subject of this Supply Estimate. It is the more surprising, since hon. Gentlemen opposite are now the custodians of the principles of fair shares, that they have nothing to say about the tangle of salaries which the abatement of the pay of senior Cabinet Ministers has left behind.

I want to submit to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, despite what his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, the Government cannot leave the situation where it is. All this comes from what I believe to be an unconsidered but dramatic gesture in the cutting of the salaries of the senior Ministers. We see in this Supply Estimate that the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power, although on a nominal salary of £5,000, is to receive during the period of temporary abatement, £4,000 per year. A cut of £1,000 a year on a gross salary of £5,000 is, on the face of it, an impressive sacrifice, yet when we examine it more closely we see that at the most the actual sacrifice of the Ministers concerned is not £1,000 but only £300, and that in certain circumstances, if a Minister were liable for Surtax at the top rate, his sacrifice would be as small as £25.

I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question yesterday on the effect upon the abated salaries of Section 3 of the Ministerial Salaries Act, 1946. He was kind enough to reply to me in writing as follows: None of the Ministers concerned intends to ask for any salary or allowance as a Member of the House of Commons."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 21] That is clear enough and, if I may say so, fair enough, because otherwise, had the Ministers concerned taken advantage, as I think they probably could have done, of Section 3 of that Act, and drawn the £500 additional remuneration that the Act entitles them to, and had they exercised their rights as citizens to claim expenses against that emolument, some of those Ministers might have been £200 a year better off than before the cut was made. The assurances of the Chancellor mean that none of the Ministers concerned will assist in creating such a palpably ridiculous and fraudulent situation.

We now come to the consequences of that Section of the Act upon the remuneration of the Minister of State for Economic Affairs. He is to draw, under this Supplementary Estimate, a salary of £3,000 a year. Under Section 3 of the Act he is entitled to draw an additional £500, that is, one half of the normal salary of a Member of Parliament. That gives him a gross sum of £3,500. If he exercised the right to which I have referred, and which all Members of Parliament do exercise, I expect, of setting against their salaries legitimate expenses incurred in performing their duties as Members of Parliament, it is conceivable that the Minister of State for Economic Affairs would receive £150 a year more net than the Secretary of State for the Coordination of Transport, Fuel and Power. If he were to claim against the additional £500 only one half of that sum as expenses incurred in the performance of his duties as a Member of Parliament, he would be only £12 a year worse off than if he were the Secretary of State himself.

I suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this anomalous position, which the Prime Minister brushed aside and said would be taken in its stride, should be cleared up. We have no spirit of envy on this side of the House. Still less have we any vexatious intent; but right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite—

The Chairman

This position should be cleared up on the Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

Mr. Houghton

When a Supplementary Estimate is presented to us we are entitled to ask what will be the effect of salaries for Ministers put in the Supplementary Estimate and what is to be the actual relationship, in terms of remuneration, between one Minister and another. That is a point I am submitting to you, and I have made it. I merely ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to apply his mind to this anomaly and to endeavour, if he can, to give us his assurance upon it. I hope he will be able to say that Ministers of the Crown drawing £3,000 a year will not draw the additional £500 which they would be entitled to under Section 3 of the Act of 1946. That will, of course, carry the genuineness of this dramatic gesture of saving a little further down the scale.

I have only one further observation to make, and that is in relation to the provision for "Secretarial, etc., Staff" under the heading "Salaries," on page 5. Pro- vision is made for the current financial year of a smaller sum of £1,510 for the provision of "Secretarial, etc., Staff," to the Secretary of State. Does not this provision raise a serious question as to what the Secretary of State is really going to do? Has he, we ask—and this is a simple question capable of a perfectly straightforward answer—personal coordinating functions, or is there an office for co-ordination under the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power?

The relationship between permanent civil servants underneath a Minister, whether he be a co-ordinating Minister, a Cabinet Minister or a Member of the Government not in the Cabinet, is an important aspect of the smooth and harmonious interchange of opinion and consultation with the permanent civil servants operating under the direction of their Ministers. It is important to know whether the co-ordinating Minister will have staff and equipment to co-ordinate, or whether he will merely have a kind of overriding but personal supervisory function over the three Ministries concerned. I fail to see how the provision of such a small sum for his secretarial staff can give him the necessary assistance and equipment to co-ordinate.

I know that on previous occasions when people have asked, "What does the Secretary of State for the co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power do?" the reply may have been that "He coordinates transport, fuel and power," which some would regard as a complete answer to a perfectly silly question; but it is important to know whether there is any substance in this co-ordination or whether it is an office of what I would call "omnibus personal prestige."

7.1 p.m.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I hope the Committee is now ready to come to a decision and let us have the Supplementary Estimate. We have had a good debate, and, in so far as I can, I shall do my best to answer the questions which have been put to me. The Opposition have clearly enjoyed some rollicking fun, led by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds. South (Mr. Gaitskell), and, if this is the way in which they wish to celebrate their liberty, we certainly do not grudge them the criticism which they have put to us, but rather we think that they are kicking over the traces very nicely, and we enjoy it almost as much as they do. After this debate, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has another Supplementary Estimate to move, and, as we are all trying to do Scotland pretty well before Christmas, I hope that we may reach that Supplementary Estimate as soon as possible.

Before we do that, there are one or two matters which I must answer, and, before I take some of the more detailed points put to me by the right hon. Gentleman, I wish to give the Committee my general impression of the debate. My general impression—I believe that it is one which will be shared in the country—is of the extraordinary manner in which the Opposition, led by the right hon. Gentleman, discount any altruistic motive whatsoever in His Majesty's Ministers or their supporters. This has been most clearly illustrated by the remarkable manner in which directly the right hon. Gentleman reaches the other side of the House on changing from this side he and his hon. Friends immediately grasp out for the profit motive.

Mr. Adams

Is it not just as remarkable that as soon as the Conservative Party reach the other side they abandon the profit motive?

Mr. Butler

I was about to say that this is rather a remarkable fact, and I do not think it will escape the attention of the interesting periodicals which specialise in studying the constitution of Government that practically every argument from the benches opposite has concentrated on the question of money and the relationship of the income or salary drawn by one Minister or another. It really is an illustration of the way their minds work. It is exactly the same as happens in the case of certain newspapers; when a man is appointed they take special care to put in his salary without considering whether he has the character and other forms of ability for his job.

We on this side of the Committee do not judge people entirely by the salary or wages which they receive; we judge them by their character and ability to perform their tasks. I am particularly glad that it has fallen to my lot tonight to defend the Supplementary Estimate for the salaries and the other rather small expenses—this is not a big Supplemen- tary Estimate—of two of my noble Friends and one of my right hon. Friends, who, I think, are thoroughly suited for the duties which they have to perform.

A number of extraordinary ideas were expressed by the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Adams), who made himself responsible for the statement "that he hoped that the coordinators were not floating around loose, being responsible to the professor." No doubt that is a delightful zoo-like picture of how the Government was conducted before we came in, but in this case the word "professor" might have applied to the right hon. Gentleman opposite who, unlike this Government, prided himself, as did his predecessor, whose character we still remember with affection and regard—Sir Stafford Cripps—in concentrating upon himself the whole responsibilities of Government and having everybody else floating loosely around.

That is not the conception of Government which we on this side of the Committee have. Our conception of Government is that we are a team. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has tried to make out that there is a complete change, for example, in the functions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and that there is a complete change in the strength and purpose of the Treasury. He has asked questions. If he does not wish to try to make that out, let him not continue with it.

As far as I am concerned, the Prime Minister remains the First Lord of the Treasury, I remain the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Treasury remains the Treasury with undiminished strength, including the planning staff to which he referred, and we remain a unit which, fortunately, can serve other Ministers besides ourselves. Policy decisions are taken to the appropriate Cabinet Committee and, if they have to be resolved after that, to the Cabinet. This is the system of government, and it is tied together from top to bottom, and I think it results—provided that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite can make some allowance for the happy personal relationship which exists on this side—in a happy and profitable system of conducting the country's affairs.

The right hon. Gentleman must be the first to realise that I am not in a position to tell him who is the Chairman of the Raw Materials Committee or the Allocation Committee or any other committee, because, as I said in my opening remarks, it is not according to precedent that a Government should declare in public how its own domestic committees under the Cabinet are run. He accepted that when I spoke, and so I am afraid that that precludes me from describing in any more detail how these internal committees are run.

In regard to investment controls, which was his question No. 3, I would only tell him that there is clearly great public interest in the matter and a great sense of anxiety as to how this is to be run. I can assure him from my own knowledge of how this is being run that it will be run with a sense of responsibility, and if I can help the Committee or the House in any way in answering questions or otherwise I shall be only too glad to indicate how policy has been pursued in this matter. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, there is a regional organisation which is exactly the same as when he held office. This organisation balances the claims of one Department with that of another, and it is this organisation which we propose to continue, and under the organisation which we have at headquarters I feel certain that justice will be done

Mr. Gaitskell

I was concerned with the central organisation and the central decisions which have to be taken upon investment Do I understand that those decisions will continue to be taken in the same manner as they were under the previous Government?

Mr. Butler

If the right hon. Gentleman has any doubt, will he put a Question down to me? I think I can then reassure him on the matter.

The right hon. Gentleman also asked about the Questions which will be put down to the Minister of State for Economic Affairs and to the Financial Secretary. If he and his hon. Friends will continue to put Questions down to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I shall normally answer on Tuesdays, as has been the practice, and my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend will answer normally on the other days, particularly Thursdays.

The right hon. Gentleman will notice tomorrow that Questions dealing more with economic matters than with those matters which are usually associated with the work of the Financial Secretary will be answered by the Minister of State for Economic Affairs. So we shall be continuing more or less the practice which the Committee and the House understand. In the event of my absence due to any conference abroad or anything of that sort. I feel sure that the Committee will be very well satisfied with the answers given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Economic Affairs assisted by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

There has been some further confusion about the duties of the Paymaster-General. In particular, the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Philips Price), asked questions about the Paymaster-General and his alleged supervision of scientific development. That was also pursued by the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu). Those questions deserve an answer. I intervened because I thought that the hon. Gentleman's reference to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works was nothing to do with the Supplementary Estimate, and I think I proved to be correct; but it is not incorrect to ask questions about the duties of the Paymaster-General.

If I may repeat my opening remarks, the duties of the Paymaster-General do not consist of anything which would take away from the responsibility of the Lord President of the Council. That was the subject of one question put to me. The duties of the Lord President of the Council remain substantially the same in respect of scientific, industrial and other research as they did under the late administration. Nor does the Paymaster-General either aim or hope to control scientific developments in toto in this country. Nor does he aim to control and absolutely supervise the whole of atomic energy and development.

I said in my original remarks that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was considering how the development of atomic energy under the Ministry of Supply would continue. When my right hon. Friend is in a position to give an answer he will give one, and then it will be absolutely clear what the position is, Meanwhile, the Paymaster-General is there to help advise the Prime Minister on these vital matters with which he is connected. But I beseech the Committee not to exaggerate. The Paymaster-General is to have a staff of a very few people indeed, who are there to help him advise the Prime Minister and to collect the statistics about which the Prime Minister spoke earlier in the debate. So it would be an exaggeration if hon. Members on either side of the Committee were to try to invest him with powers which he does not wish to have.

Another question asked how the Secretary of State would co-ordinate steel, transport, fuel and power. In the case of steel, the right hon. Gentleman was right in saying that we envisaged a certain type of board, but I am not in order in going into that today. In the case of fuel and power and transport, I must return to the example I used in my opening remarks, namely, that when we are obliged —it may well be through the negligence of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite—to consider importing American coal in the winter, which is the worst possible date for doing it, there is no exercise which demands more co-ordination as between the transport services and the interests of coal as a whole. That is a particularly good example of where the Secretary of State can assist in the coordination of a vital subject as between the various interests.

The Opposition have tried to make great fun of the position of the Ministers of Fuel and Power and Transport vis-æ-vis the Secretary of State. They have first endeavoured to ask whether the Ministers go to the Cabinet or not. That is answered by my refusal earlier to disclose how the business of Government is run—any more than the right hon. Gentleman would have done it when he was in power. But what I can say is that besides discounting any altruistic motive at all—I should have been glad to see some recognition from hon. Members opposite that the Paymaster-General had given up any salary; some recognition in the debate of this fact would at least have been generous—the Opposition seem to be keen to substitute for personal relationships, without which no Government can run, what one hon. Member opposite described as "a functional chart."

All I want to say in concluding the debate on this Supplementary Estimate is that, in our task of serving our country, we in this Government depend on the goodwill of a team of friends working together. We do not depend upon functional charts nor, if I may say so to my noble Friend the Paymaster-General, on an undue number of statistics. It is on the human relationships that we shall depend, and it is those human relationships which will ensure our success.

I can only say that as Chancellor of the Exchequer I am well satisfied that these arrangements make my task lighter than it would otherwise have been, and in looking back on the burden borne by my predecessor and by Sir Stafford Cripps, in serving the country at the present time I can think of no happier way of easing the very heavy load which rests on my shoulders than the arrangements made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

7.16 p.m.

Mr. Gaitskell

If I may detain the Committee for just one moment. I must say that I did not feel that the right hon. Gentleman has answered to our satisfaction the very many questions that we put on this important matter. I was very careful in my earlier remarks not to make any personal attacks on the noble Lords or the right hon. Gentlemen whose salaries we are discussing—we are not concerned with personalities. We are concerned, of course, with the set-up, the administrative machine, and the functions which are to be performed by these Ministers, and I regret that the right hon. Gentleman seems to have left untouched the major points in our criticism.

What were those points that we made? First, we do not feel that what the right hon. Gentleman has said about the position of the Treasury, so far as economic co-ordination is concerned, is in the least clear. We still do not know where the vital decisions in economic planning are to be taken.

I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is not the custom to disclose the detailed membership of Government committees, and I did not press him to do that, but I think it has been the custom—it certainly was in the last Government—to reveal to the House the name of the Chairman of the Materials Committee. That is a matter which vitally affects a great many hon. Members so far as their constituencies are concerned, and I should have thought that, at least, we might have had that information. Nor is it clear to me even now—I should have thought that he could have told us—just what is the function of the right hon. Gentleman so far as the investment programme is concerned.

As regards the Paymaster-General, I still cling to the view, which I expressed earlier, that the additional statistical staff that he needs is superfluous. There are statisticians in the Central Statistical Office who are of extremely great merit and who can quite well prepare the charts which the Prime Minister needs; and

there are economists in the Economic Section who are quite capable of commenting on them if the Prime Minister so desires it. Finally, as regards the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport and Fuel and Power, the right hon. Gentleman has made no attempt whatever to answer the, I admit, rather large number of questions which I put to him about the case for this particular appointment. In all the circumstances, therefore, I suggest to my hon. Friends that we should now take this matter to a Division.

Question put.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 297; Noes, 219.

Division No. 5.] AYES [7.20 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Colegate, W. A. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
Alport, C. J. M. Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Harvie-Watt, Sir George
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Cooper-Key, E. M. Hay, John
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Cranborne, Viscount Heath, Edward
Arbuthnot, John Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Crouch, R. F. Hicks-Beach, Maj W. W.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Higgs, J. M. C.
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Cuthbert, W. N. Hill, Mrs. E (Wythenshawe)
Baker, P. A. D. Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Davidson, Viscountess Hirst, Geoffrey
Baldwin, A. E. De la Bère, R. Holland-Martin, C. J
Banks, Col. C. Deedes, W. F. Hope, Lord John
Barber, A. P. L. Digby, S. Wingfield Hopkinson, Henry
Barlow, Sir John Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Baxter, A. B. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA Horobin, I. M.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Donner, P. W. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence
Bell, P. I. (Bolton, E.) Doughty, C. J A. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Bell, R. M. (Bucks, S.) Drayson, G. B. Howard, Greville (St. Ives)
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Hudson, Sir Austin (Lowisham, N.)
Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston) Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Hudson, Rt. Hon. Robert (Southport)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Duthie, W. S. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Bennett, William (Woodside) Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M. Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Hurd, A. R.
Birch, Nigel Erroll, F. J. Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
Bishop, F. P Fell, A. Hutchison, Lt.-Com Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)
Black, C. W. Finlay, G. B. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)
Bossom, A. C. Fisher, Nigel Hylton-Foster H. B. H.
Boyd-Carpenter, J A. Fletcher, Walter (Bury) Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich)
Boyle, Sir Edward Fletcher-Cooke, C Jennings, R.
Braine, B. R. Fort, R. Johnson, E. S. T. (Blackley)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Foster, John Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Fraser, Hon. Hush (Stone) Jones, A. (Hall Green)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Joynson-Hicks, Hon L. W.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Kaberry, D.
Brooman-White, R. C. Galbraith, T. G. D (Hillhead) Keeling, E. H.
Browne, Jack (Govan) Gammans, L. D. Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon P. G. T. Garner-Evans, E. H. Lambert, Hon. G
Bullard, D. G. George, Rt. Hon Maj. G Lloyd Lambton, Viscount
Bullock, Capt. M. Glyn, Sir Ralph Langford-Holt, J A
Bullus, Wins Commander E. E. Godber, J. B. Leather, E. H. C
Burden, F. F. A Gomme-Duncan, Col. A Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Butcher, H. W Gough, C. F. H. Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)
Butler. Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Gower, H. R. Lennox-Boyd. Rt. Hon. A. T.
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Graham, Sir Fergus Lindsay, Martin
Carson, Hon. E. Gridlev, Sir Arnold Linstead, H. N.
Cary, Sir R. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Llewellyn, D. T.
Channon, H. Grimston, Robert (Westbury) Lloyd. Rt Hon. G (Kings Norton)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Harden. J. R. E. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Hare, Hon. J. H. Lockwood Lt.-Col. J. C.
Clarke, Brig, Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N) Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)
Clyde. Rt. Hon. J L. Harris. Render (Heston) Low, A. R. W
Cole, N. J Harrison, Lt.-Col J H. (Eye) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Perkins, W. R. D Stoddart-Scott, Col. M
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Storey, S.
McAdden, S. J. Peyton, J. W. W Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
McCuilum, Major D. Pickthorn, K. W. M Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Studholme, H. G.
Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight) Pitman, I. J. Summers, G. S.
McKibbin, A. J. Powell, J. Enoch Sutcliffe, H.
McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Maclay, Hon. John Prior-Palmer, Brig O. L. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Maclean, Fitzroy Profumo, J. D. Teeling, W.
MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.) Raikes, H. V. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P L. (Hereford)
MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Rayner, Brig. R. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Redmayne, M. Thompson, Kenneth Pugh (Walton)
Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries) Remnant, Hon. P Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Maitland, Cmdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Renton, D. L. M. Thorneycroft, Rt Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Robertson, Sir David Tilney, John
Markham, Major S. F. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Touche, G. C.
Marlowe. A. A. H Robson-Brown, W. Turner, H. F. L.
Marples, A. E. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Turton, R. H
Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Roper, Sir Harold Tweedsmuir, Lady
Marshall, Sidney (Sutton) Ropner, Col. L. Vane, W. M. F.
Maude, Angus Russell, R. S. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Maudling, R Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Vosper, D. F.
Maydon, Lt. Cmdr S. L. C Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Medlicott, Brig. F. Sandys, Rt. Hon D Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
Mellor, Sir John Savory, Prof. D. L. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Scott, R. Donald Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Scott-Miller, Cmdr R. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Nabarro, G. D. N Shepherd, William Watkinson, H. A
Nichols, Harmar Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Nicholson, G. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Wellwood, W.
Nield, Basil (Chester) Smithers, Peter (Winchester) White, Baker (Canterbury)
Noble, Cmdr. A H. P Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington) Williams, Charles (Torquay)
Nugent, G. R. H Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Nutting, Anthony Snadden, W. McN. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Oakshott, H. D. Soames, Capt. C. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Odey, G. W. Spearman, A. C. M. Wills, G.
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Speir, R. M. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Orr, Capt. L. P. S Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.) Wood, Hon. R.
Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard York, C.
Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare) Stevens, G. P.
Osborne, C. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Partridge, E. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.) Brigadier Mackeson and Mr. Drewe.
Acland, Sir Richard Chapman, W. D. Glanville, James
Adams, Richard Clunie, J. Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)
Albu, A. H. Cocks, F. S. Greenwood, Rt Hon Arthur (Wakefield)
Allen, Scho'efield (Crewe) Collick, P. H. Grey, C. F.
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Cook, T. F. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Griffiths. Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Cove, W. G. Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)
Awbery, S. S. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)
Bacon, Miss Alice Crosland, C. A. R. Hamilton, W. W.
Baird, J. Crossman, R. H. S Hardy, E. A.
Balfour, A. Cullen, Mrs A. Hargreaves, A.
Bartley, P. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Hastings, S.
Bence, C. R. Davies, A. Edward (Stoke N.) Hayman, F. H.
Bonn, Wedgwood Davies, Harold (Leek) Herbison, Miss M
Beswick, F. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Hobson, C. R.
Bing, G. H. C. Deer, G. Holman, P.
Blackburn, F. Delargy, H. J. Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)
Blenkinsop, A. Dodds, N. N. Houghton, Douglas
Blyton, W. R. Donnelly, D. L. Hoy, J. H.
Boardman, H. Driberg, T. E. N. Hubbard, T. F.
Bottomley, A. G Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)
Bowden, H. W. Edwards. John (Brighouse) Hughes, Cledwin (Anglesey)
Bowles, F. G. Edwards. Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hughes, Emrys (S Ayrshire)
Braddock. Mrs. Elizabeth Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Brockway, A. F. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Brown, Rt. Hon.George (Belper) Fernyhough. E Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Finnburgh, W Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
Burke, W. A. Finch, H. J. Janner, B.
Burton, Miss F. E Follick, M. Jay, D. P. T.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Foot, M. M. Jeger, George (Goole)
Callaghan, L. J. Forman, J. C. Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)
Carmichael, J. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jenkins. R. H. (Stechford)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Gaitskell. Rt. Hon H. T. N Johnson, James (Rugby)
Champion, A. J. Gibson, C. W Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Jones, David (Hartlepool) Oldfield, W. H. Sparks, J. A.
Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Oliver, G. H. Steele, T.
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Orbach, M. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Oswald, T. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R
Kenyon, C. Padley, W. E. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Key, fit. Hon. C. W. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Strauss, Rt. Hon George (Vauxhall)
Kinley, J. Pargiter, G. A. Stross, Dr. Barnett
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Parker, J. Sylvester, G. O.
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Paton, J. Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)
Lewis, Arthur Pearson, A. Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Lindgren, G. S. Peart, T. F. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Longden, Fred (Small Heath) Plummer, Sir Leslie Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
MacColl, J. E. Poole, C. C. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
McGhee, H. G. Popplewell, E. Timmons, J.
McGovern, J. Porter, G. Tomney, F.
McInnes, J. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton) Turner-Samuels, M
McKay, John (Wallsend) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
McLeavey, F. Pursey, Cmdr. H. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
McNeil, Rt. Hon H. Rankin, J. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Reeves, J. Wheatley, Rt. Hon John
Mainwaring, W. H Reid, Thomas (Swindon) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Manuel, A. C. Rhodes, H. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Richards, R. Whiteley, Rt. Hon W
Mayhew, C. P. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Wigg, G. E. C
Mellish, R. J. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wilkins, W. A
Messer, F. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wiley, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Milner, Mai. Rt. Hon. J Ross, William Williams, David (Neath)
Mitchison, G. R. Royle, C. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Monslow, W. Schofield, S. (Barnsley) Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Moody, A. S. Shackleton, E. A. A Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Morley, R. Short, E. W. Wilson, Rt. Hon Harold (Huyton)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Silverman, Julius (Erdington) Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Mort, D. L. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A
Moyle, A. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Wyatt, W. L.
Mulley, F. W. Slater, J. Younger, Rt. Hon K
Murray, J. D. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Mr. Hannan and Mr. Arthur Allen

Question put, and agreed to.


That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £10, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in the course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1952, for the salaries and other expenses in the Department of His Majesty's Treasury and subordinate departments, including additional salary payable to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the salary of the Minister of State for Economic Affairs, and the salary and expenses of the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power.

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