HC Deb 28 January 1969 vol 776 cc1102-3
Q3. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Prime Minister what were the arrangements for the manning of Government offices during the Christmas holidays.

The Prime Minister

Each Department makes arrangements appropriate to its circumstances, taking account both of efficiency and of the need to ensure that necessary services to the public are maintained.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

While public servants should have good holidays, particularly when they are overloaded by Socialism, can the Prime Minister refute the damaging allegations made in the News of the World that certain important Government Departments did not even answer the telephone on the Friday after Christmas?

The Prime Minister

I do not think it is my job to comment on allegations made in the News of the World. The hon. Gentleman will, no doubt, be aware that the practice of an additional day at Christmas goes back 50 years and was consolidated in a Treasury circular in 1920. It was, therefore, the practice during the 13 years when hon. and right hon. Members opposite were in Government. Whether civil servants then were overloaded by one thing and another, such as preparations for the Rent Act, and so on, is a matter for the hon. Gentleman.