HC Deb 27 February 1963 vol 672 cc1236-7
12. Mr. Diamond

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many employees have been declared redundant, and how much money has been saved as a result of the decision to put the cleaning task at the Royal Air Force Record Office, Gloucester, out to contract.

Mr. H. Fraser

Eleven full-time and 62 part-time employees, all women, were declared redundant. Alternative employment was available for all the full-time employees who wanted it. The part-time employees were given the opportunity of applying for jobs with the cleaning contractor, and the majority took it.

As regards savings, these are likely to be about 25 per cent.

Mr. Diamond

Does the Secretary of State think that the present time is the most appropriate for a Government Department deliberately to increase redundancy by its own direct action? Does he think that his reply about a saving of 25 per cent. gives any information at all? One has not the foggiest idea of what 100 per cent. is. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me what the saving is in £ s. d.? The Question has been down on the Order Paper. Will he at the same time explain how it comes about that, instead of using direct labour, a private contractor is employed who has to make his own profit in addition to paying the wages of those employed and yet a saving is made, unless there was inefficiency in the Department earlier?

Mr. Fraser

The hon. Member knows full well that figures of £ s. d. in contracts are not revealed, and I do not propose to reveal them. As for the remainder of the question, the principles which the hon. Member has enunciated are not accurate. We have seen again and again that it is possible to employ these people and in this type of work to reduce the expenditure, even granting that there is a profit to the company concerned. The hon. Member, as one employed in many private industrial companies, knows that this is perfectly possible.

Mr. Diamond

On a point of order. I regard the Answer as wholly unsatisfactory and beg to give notice that I will seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment.