HC Deb 15 January 1964 vol 687 cc195-6
12. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for War what reduction in the civilian and military staff of his Department will be effected when the Defence (Transfer of Functions) Bill becomes law.

Mr. Kirk

When the Bill becomes law, some 500 military and civil staff of the War Department will be transferred to the central element of the new Ministry of Defence on 1st April, 1964. There will be no other immediate reductions in the present War Office staff as a directresult of the changes provided for in the Bill, but the progressive reduction maintained since 1961 will continue and may in due course be accelerated.

Mr. Shinwell

Does that mean that, in spite of all the talk about the co- ordination of the defenceorganisation, there is only to be the transfer of 500, civil and military, from the War Office to the new Defence Department, and no actual reduction in the War Office taking place? Was not this thought out before the Bill was introduced in the House?

Mr. Kirk

Of course it was, but the initial step will simply be to transfer 500 from the higher echelons. The size of the War Office staff has been falling steadily during the past 10 years, and will continue to do so.

Mr. Paget

It is rather worse than that,is it not, because the staff of the Defence Ministry is going up by more than the reduction which is going on in the number of civil servants employed by the other Ministries?

Mr. Kirk

Questions about the staff of the Defence Ministry as a whole should be directed to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence.