HC Deb 16 March 1970 vol 798 cc11-2
19. Mr. Kenneth Lewis

asked the Minister of Technology how many temporary staff are employed in his Department; how many of these are secured from employment agencies; and what is the increased cost to his Department over and above the cost of normal establishment rates of pay.

Mr. Carmichael

The number of casual short-term staff employed by the Department fluctuates. At 1st March it was 53, of whom 43 were from employment agencies. The cost is no greater than if civil servants were employed.

Mr. Lewis

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that almost every Government Department, in answering the series of Questions which I have put down on this subject, has said that it is employing—some smaller and some greater—numbers of temporary staff, and that almost every Minister, including himself, has said that this is being done at no extra cost? This cannot be so, as the cost of employing temporary staff from outside is much greater than the going rate for civil servants. This is recognised in industry, never mind in Government.

Mr. Carmichael

The hon. Gentleman will agree that industry makes great use of temporary staff because this is a method of meeting peak loads, and the very existence of large agencies to provide temporary staff is evidence of this and of their usefulness.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Have not the Government a special responsibility in this matter? Is it not desirable for the Government to look into the whole question of temporary employment with a view to seeing whether the Department of Employment and Productivity should examine the situation in order to make the Department's own employment agencies more effective?

Mr. Carmichael

That is a possibility, and it may be something which my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State will take up. I shall bring it to her attention.