HC Deb 31 January 1956 vol 548 cc731-2
3. Mr. Holt

asked the Minister of Works the new duties undertaken by his Department which at present require the employment of 13,100 civil servants compared with 6,300 in April, 1939; and if he will give the increased number employed under each category and the reduction he expects to make in the coming year.

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

The main increase is due to the increase in the amount of work undertaken by my Department. In 1939 my Department had 7,850 buildings to maintain: now it has 16,663, while the complexity of much of the design and construction work, for example on large Government research stations, is much greater. The number of staff has been reduced from just over 21,000 in 1947 to about 13,000 at present, and the possibility of a further reduction is constantly under review.

Mr. Holt

Can the Minister say whether he has yet had time to examine this aspect of his Department in detail, and also whether we can expect any substantial reductions in personnel in the near future?

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

I have said that this matter is constantly under review. That means that it is under my review.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his appointment. In view of the very large number of people he employs, will he look into the matter of providing one more custodian for the ancient monument of Avebury?

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

The hon. Gentleman and I have been in correspondence upon that matter, and he knows that I am sympathetic towards the idea, if it can be done.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Is the Minister aware that in so far as the size of his Department is due to the need for ensuring a supply of essential building materials and in order to protect these monuments, in which this country is so rich, there will certainly be no public criticism?