HC Deb 25 February 1970 vol 796 cc1185-6
18. Mr. Speed

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the number of staff employed by his Department on the latest available date.

35. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is now the number of staff employed by his Department.

Mr. Mason

The number of non-industrial staff employed by the Board of Trade on 1st February, 1970, the latest available date, was 16,483.

Mr. Speed

Would the right hon. Gentleman say clearly whether the reduc- tion of one-ninth in his Department's staff last October has been above or below the comparable reduction in his Department's responsibilities?

Mr. Mason

There has been an increase in responsibility for Ministers at the Board of Trade since the reduction in staff.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Has the reduction in the Board of Trade's staff exactly equalled the increase in the Ministry of Technology's staff, since the latter took over so much of the former's responsibilities?

Mr. Mason

Some of the staff went to the Department of Employment and Productivity as well as to the Ministry of Technology.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Can my right hon. Friend give an idea of the amount of increase in exports that has occurred in any period as a result of the excellent work done by the Board of Trade?

Mr. Mason

Not offhand. I should, perhaps, warn the House that, while I have given some figures, hon. Members may not have recognized—they should have appreciated this—that there has been such an increase since the Board of Trade underwent a change in October of last year, mainly because we have strengthened the export division of the Department. This has helped to increase exports.

Mr. Ridley

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that the discharge of the functions of monopolies and mergers, regional policy and the sponsorship of private industry was performed by only 2,000 people before the reorganisation?

Mr. Mason

I would not say that. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to pose questions about the activities of those who are concerned with these matters, he must address them to the right Ministers.