HC Deb 26 June 1956 vol 555 cc257-8
57. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Labour how many of the 95 districts of the Factory Inspectorate are without staff possessing university degrees in engineering or chemistry or physics; how many districts have more than one such graduate; and how these figures compare with those of the year 1939.

Mr. Iain Macleod

There are now 96 districts. Of these, 36 have no inspectors with the qualifications in question and 11 have more than one such inspector. For 1939, when there were 92 districts, the corresponding figures are 24 and 23.

Dr. Stross

In view of the fact that only one-third of the districts would therefore appear to have the necessary qualified staff, would the Minister tell us what action he proposes to take now so as to make the position better than it has been up to date?

Mr. Macleod

No, not yet. The question of the technical strength of the Inspectorate is the most important matter, which is now before me as a result of the Departmental committee, of which the hon. Member is aware.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is the Minister not aware that his Department is dismissing a considerable number of experienced inspectors with practical qualifications who have been serving the country faithfully for many years? In view of the extreme shortage of inspectors, why does he not reverse that policy?

Mr. Macleod

We are nearer the establishment of inspectors than we have been for a very long time. Whether that establishment of inspectors should be increased and whether it needs to have more technically qualified people is the very matter which is now being considered.