HC Deb 11 November 1954 vol 532 cc1401-2
34. Mr. G. Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of civil servants assisting him in his capacity as Minister for Welsh Affairs, their service grades and the main aspects of the work they do.

Major Lloyd-George

The officers who assist me in my duties as Minister for Welsh Affairs, which involve no executive responsibilities, are the Permanent Under-Secretary of State, an Assistant Under-Secretary of State, an Assistant-Secretary, a Principal and an Assistant-Principal, with the appropriate clerical and typing staff. Where need arises I have, of course, at my disposal the services of specialist members of my staff.

Mr. Roberts

How many, if any, of those civil servants devote themselves full-time to Welsh Affairs? Also, how many of those civil servants are in possession of a knowledge of the Welsh language?

Major Lloyd-George

I could not give an answer to the first part of that supplementary question without notice, but I will certainly let the hon. Gentleman have it. With regard to the numbers who speak Welsh, I could not say without notice, apart from myself.

Mr. Gower

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say, first, whether in a recent case, in which his colleague the Minister of Housing and Local Government was unable to find a Welshman or Welsh-speaking civil servant to take an important post, he was consulted in connection with the appointment? Secondly, could my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether any person on his staff, or any person on the staff of any other Department, could have taken such a post?

Major Lloyd-George

I could not say I think that was before I took over this office.

Mr. Callaghan

In view of the rather surprising statement that these gentlemen have no executive responsibilities, can the Minister tell us what it is they are there for?

Major Lloyd-George

They are there to advise the Minister for Welsh Affairs, and there has been no change in the position since this Ministry was first set up. They are in close consultation with the Welsh offices of other Departments, which is a tremendous help in looking after Welsh affairs.