HC Deb 07 July 1953 vol 517 cc1038-9
26. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give an assurance that no successor is to be appointed to the office shortly to be relinquished by Sir Edwin Plowden.

34. Mr. Gaitskell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer who will carry out the duties of the Chief Planning Officer after Sir Edwin Plowden's retirement.

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

I would invite the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen's attention to the official statement published on 30th June, of which I am sending them a copy. This explains the reorganisation in the Treasury which will take place at the time of Sir Edwin Plowden's retirement.

Mr. Nabarro

Can my right hon. Friend clarify that statement by saying whether the senior civil servant who will now assume the responsibilities formerly held by Sir Edwin Plowden represents a new appointment, or a replacement appointment, or whether there will be a reduction of £6,500, the amount of Sir Edwin's former salary, in the charge against the public purse?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give an exact answer to the latter part of the supplementary question. The fact is that the post of Chief Planning Officer will be lapsing. That does not mean that the new plan will be any less effective than the old one. The House will note that, by the introduction of the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government into the Treasury and by the assumption of duties by the Deputy-Secretary of the Treasury, the duties will be very well carried out. I should like to pay a tribute to the work done by Sir Edwin Plowden over these years. His efficiency and service to more than one Government have been beyond praise.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that hon. Members on this side of the House would wish to associate themselves with the tribute which he has paid to Sir Edwin Plowden, who served his country faithfully under different Governments over a number of years? Might I, however, also ask him whether the official statement, which I have already read, indicates that Sir Bernard Gilbert, as Deputy-Chief of the Treasury, will perform the duties hitherto performed by Sir Edwin Plowden and that the change is only a change in name?

Mr. Butler

The duties of Sir Bernard Gilbert will be somewhat wider because he will be the Deputy-Secretary to the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, but he will subsume the duties performed by Sir Edwin Plowden and will be aided by a Third Secretary in charge of that section of the Treasury, which will remain to perform the duties which it has performed.

Mr. Gaitskell

May we take it that the planning section of the Treasury comes under Sir Bernard Gilbert but that he is also responsible for co-ordinating the whole of the financial and economic policy?

Mr. Butler

That is right.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Did the Chancellor see the glowing tribute paid to Sir Edwin Plowden by the "Financial Times," and is he aware that in the opinion of many of us Sir Edwin Plowden was largely responsible for preventing real planning during the term of the Labour Government?

Mr. Stokes

For the enlightenment of those of us who understand only plain English, what does "subsume" mean?

Mr. Butler

It can be replaced by two English words, "take over."