HC Deb 21 November 1966 vol 736 cc914-5
6. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what staff he now employs for building and maintenance for the Services; and how this compares with the total employed by the Services before takeover.

Mr. Prentice

The figure is not available since the Department's staff for dealing with military and civilian services has been integrated. No direct comparison can be made.

Mr. Digby

Are we to assume that this centralisation has resulted in some saving? At any rate, can we assume that there are enough to cope with the return of troops from abroad in large numbers from Malaysia and presumably from B.A.O.R., or will the question of putting them under canvas arise?

Mr. Prentice

On the first question, there has been a reduction of over 2,700 in the total staff of the Ministry, which is about 3 per cent. However, we have increased the number engaged on the research and development side. The second supplementary question raises matters outside the scope of the original Question.

Mr. Rippon

Is the Minister aware that when this merger took place a far more substantial reduction than 3 per cent. was envisaged? What percentage reduction does he have in mind?

Mr. Prentice

As I said, there has been a reduction of more than 3 per cent. from the merger. On the other hand, there has been an increase of staff due to the expansion of research and development activities. Because of the way the work has been integrated, it is not possible to isolate one factor from another.