HC Deb 30 June 1954 vol 529 cc1328-9
6. Mr. Renton

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why the number of civil servants in his Department increased from 33,652 to 33,788 between 1st January and 1st April, 1954.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to my reply on 23rd June to my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall).

Mr. Renton

Can my right hon. Friend tell me whether there is an upper limit to the continuous expansion that has gone on in the Admiralty staff during the past 12 months and which has now reached nearly 34,000?

Mr. Thomas

We certainly have a ceiling put upon Admiralty employment as a whole by the Treasury, and we are below that ceiling. But, as I warned my hon. and learned Friend some weeks ago when he asked me a Question on the subject, we have had difficulty in recruitment for particular people. These difficulties are now eased and we are getting the men to keep pace with the advance in research and development. My hon. and learned Friend will be glad to know that, while the numbers here are increased, the numbers elsewhere are being reduced.

Mr. Callaghan

Does the First Lord remember the strictures he used to pass on his predecessors when similar replies were given, and, when he recalls that, does it ever bring a blush to his cheek?

Mr. Thomas

Perhaps it would bring many blushes if the numbers in the Admiralty as a whole were not below the ceiling set for us by the Treasury.