HC Deb 15 May 1968 vol 764 cc1217-8
43. Mr. Hooson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many of the civil servants employed by his Department in Wales come directly under the London office; and how many come directly under the Welsh Secretary in Aberystwyth.

Mr. John Mackie

The Welsh Secretary takes full responsibility for the work performed by 918 of the Ministry's staff in Wales. The remaining 562 are certain professional, scientific, technical and supporting staff for whom the Welsh Secretary has a general co-ordinating responsibility, but who report on technical matters to the directors of services at Ministry headquarters. The senior officers in Wales of the major technical services are stationed alongside the Welsh Secretary at Aberystwyth.

Mr. Hooson

Would not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that it would probably be more convenient if in course of time all these officers were directly responsible to the Secretary of State for Wales? Is a review being carried out into this in the Department at present?

Mr. Mackie

No, Sir. Since I had this job I have been to Wales a great deal and I have been in close touch with the Secretary of State for Wales and Welsh farmers. I have not heard any complaint about the services we provide and the way in which we run them and I see no reason for altering them.

Mr. Gwynfor Evans

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Labour Party included in its 1964 election programme all agriculture with health and education under the aegis of the Welsh Office, and that there is a widespread belief that this is not being done because of the unwillingness of certain Departments to release the Welsh part of their administrative empires?

Mr. Mackie

Has not the hon. Member heard of the pragmatism we have been looking at in the last four years?

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