HC Deb 26 June 1969 vol 785 cc1685-6
11. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what is the present total staff of his Department; and how this compares with February, 1965.

Mr. Shore

547 compared with 316.

Mr. Digby

Is the Minister satisfied that the work of his Department could not be done with fewer than this?

Mr. Shore

Yes, I am. I do not know why the hon. Gentleman selected that date but, as he will realise, the Department of Economic Affairs was three months old at that time, and was grossly understaffed in relation to the responsibilities which it had then assumed and which it continues to exercise. Implicit in what the hon. Gentleman said, and explicit in the remarks of several other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, is a continuing campaign against the Depart- ment of Economic Affairs and, in particular, and much resented, against the unusually talented and hardworking civil servants who man it. I resent this, and look upon it as being entirely politically motivated. I am quite prepared to have hon. and right hon. Gentlemen saying what they like about me, but they are being destructive and silly in their attacks upon a Department which, inevitably, is not in the front line of publicity but is a planning and policy Department which has contributed a very great deal to the development of policy in this country.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Long answers mean fewer Questions.