HC Deb 03 June 1954 vol 528 cc1447-8
39. Mr. Vane

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many Government Departments maintained regional offices in 1938 compared with today; and how the number of the staff based on such regional offices and total cost in 1938, compares with the staff and cost today.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Figures for 1938 are not readily available, but at the beginning of 1939 five Departments had regional offices with a total staff of 3,058, costing for salaries, etc., about £700,000. The corresponding figures for 1st April, 1954, were 17, 18,112 and £11,380,000.

Mr. Vane

Is the Financial Secretary certain that this is not a very proper field for close investigation with a view to substantial economies? Is he certain that this astonishing growth over the last few years is bringing any commensurate benefit to the country as a whole, and to the taxpayer in particular?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Of course, as my hon. Friend will know, reductions have been made in recent years. In comparing these figures he will also bear in mind that for a number of years it has been the accepted policy of Governments to devolve further work to the provinces. The effect of that is reflected in these figures.

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