HC Deb 21 October 1968 vol 770 cc870-1
18. Mr. Holland

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will make a statement on the setting up of the new productivity, manpower planning and intelligence units in her Department.

Mrs. Castle

Since I announced, on 2nd May, my intention of setting up a Manpower and Productivity Department, the recruitment of about 20 consultants with suitable management and trade union experience is well advanced. Their job is to give specialised advice on improving productivity by the more efficient deployment of manpower and to act as a mobile task force to assist my industrial relations staff in the regions whose numbers are being increased from 60 to 90. A number of firms are already seeking our help. Particular attention is also being paid to assessing short-term manpower prospects, both nationally and in particular regions and localities, identifying future shortages and surpluses of labour.

I have also set up a Research and Planning Division to carry out and commission research into subjects throughout the manpower field to give expert advice on day-to-day policy issues and to assist in the development of long-term policies.

Mr. Holland

Does the right hon. Lady not agree that feminine intuition, formidable though it may be, is not a wholly adequate substitute for hard facts in decision-making? Can she give an assurance that these units will not be held up for lack of finance in carrying out the research as expeditiously as possible?

Mrs. Castle

It is just because I do not think intuition, feminine or masculine, is adequate in this sphere that I have set up this new service.

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