HC Deb 24 February 1955 vol 537 c1428
21. Mr. Hargreaves

asked the Minister of Labour what change has been effected in his policy for retaining members of his permanent staff beyond 60 years of age.

Mr. Watkinson

There has been no recent change in this policy.

Mr. Hargreaves

Can the hon. Gentleman explain the situation that has arisen in Carlisle, where the manager, at the age of 62, has been retired when fit and able and there is work for him to do? Does not it appear that the Minister is not practising what he preaches to other employers?

Mr. Watkinson

The hon. Gentleman was good enough to tell me about that case, and I do not deny that there are other cases of this kind. If I give some figures to the House, I think that Members will understand the position. The total staff of my Ministry in January, 1947, was 41,492. Its staff today—in this month—is 23,178. In other words, it is now lower than it was before the war. One cannot make that terrific contraction without causing redundancies, but that does not conflict at all with our policy of employing people as long as there are jobs for them to do.