§ 29. Mr. Millan
asked the Minister of Power how many of the 260 staff employed in the Gas Division of his Department are employed in Scotland; and how many are in the London area.
§ Mr. Millan
Can the Minister say where the balance of the staff is employed? Is it part of the policy of his Department to spread the staff throughout the country as much as possible?
§ Mr. Wood
The balance of the staff is round the country outside London. All staff are either gas examiners or meter examiners, and, as the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, it is an inescapable characteristic of gas examiners and meter examiners that they have to be where the gas and meters are if they are to examine them.
§ Mr. Ross
Will the Minister strive to reverse the numbers, having regard to the fact that there are none at all in Scotland? Would not it really benefit all these people, and probably their work, if we took them out of the dreary, dull, depressing atmosphere of London? Would not there be consequential ancillary employment in respect, say, of the Information Branch in seeing that the printing was well done in Edinburgh, for example?
§ 35. Mr. Lawson
asked the Minister of Power what consideration he has given to the suggestion that his Department should be moved to Scotland.
§ Mr. Lawson
When he is considering this report, will the right hon. Gentleman also bear in mind that the very fact that the headquarters of various Government Departments are concentrated in London results in or contributes to the concentration of industries in London? Will he do what he can in this respect to see that industries as well as Government Departments are dispersed?
§ 32. Mr. Gourlay
asked the Minister of Power how many of the 450 staff in 1523 his Chief Scientist's Division are employed in Scotland; and how many are in the London area.
§ Mr. Gourlay
Can the Minister give any indication of how many of these persons employed in London were educated in Scotland? Can he further say whether he has any future intention of establishing a part of his division somewhere in Scotland?
§ Mr. Gourlay
Will the Minister reply to the second part of my supplementary question, concerning the future establishment of part of his division in Scotland?
§ 33. Mr. W. Hamilton
asked the Minister of Power how many of the 303 staff employed in the Safety and Health (Mines) Division of his Department are working in Scotland, and have their offices there; and how many are in offices in the London area.
§ Mr. Grimond
Will the right hon. Gentleman consult his colleagues in order to let the House have a statement making it clear whether the Government are serious about decentralising their offices? If they are serious, when will their intentions be made known to the House?
§ 34. Mr. Willis
asked the Minister of Power why there has been a reduction from 25 to 23 in the numbers employed in his Scottish and Welsh offices in the last year, whilst the overall increase in staff has been from 1,699 to 1,723; and what steps he intends to take to increase the numbers employed in the regions outside London, and especially in Scotland.
§ Mr. Wood
The changes were due to a small reorganisation of the work in Scotland, but the hon. Member is omitting the staffs of the Mines Inspectorate, gas examiners, examiners of gas and electricity meters and their supporting staff. I am now awaiting the comprehensive review Sir Gilbert Flemming is making of the work of all Government Departments in London.
§ Mr. Willis
Even in relation to the departments that are to be taken into consideration in this question is it not rather fantastic that, as the office work of the offices in these areas appears to decrease, the head office staff increases? Should not the opposite be the case? When are we likely to know the result of this consideration about the office establishments of the right hon. Gentleman's departments, and the proposals they intend to make?
§ Mr. Wood
On the last part of the supplementary question, Sir Gilbert Flemming has been asked to report as soon as possible. I cannot give the hon. Member a definite date. The saving in respect of the reduction in Scotland amounted to two—a full-time shorthand 1525 writer and two part-time telephonists. The increase in London is due to the extra work created by the formation of the organisation known as the National Economic Development Council—which has the hon. Member's support—and the work on pipelines, with which the hon. Member will be very familiar.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
I hesitate to interfere in Scottish affairs, but since the Question also refers to Wales, will the Minister tell us how many reductions there were in the Welsh office?
§ Mr. Bence
Can the Minister tell us whether this office force is housed in one block of offices, or is broken up and housed in different blocks around the London area? If they are in separate blocks, in view of the heavy charges now imposed by the Post Office, under his right hon. Friend, in respect of telecommunications, can the Minister bring all this force into one Department, and possibly move them out of the Landon area?