HL Deb 14 May 1957 vol 203 cc653-5

My Lords, with the permission of the House, I should like to make a statement similar to that

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 19; Not-Contents, 60.

Jowitt, E. Ammon, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Listowel, E. Burden, L. [Teller.] Milner of Leeds, L.
Lucan, E. [Teller.] Darwen, L. Ogmore, L.
Faringdon, L. Pethick-Lawrence, L.
Alexander of Hillsborough, V. Greenhill, L. Rathcreedan, L.
Stansgate, V. Henderson, L. Strabolgi, L.
Lawson, L. Wise, L.
Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.) Margesson, V. Hastings, L.
Ridley, V. Hawke, L.
Sutherland, D. Templewood, V. Hayter, L.
Thurso, V. Killearn, L.
Cholmondeley, M. Leconfield, L.
Lansdowne, M. Aberdare, L. Lloyd, L.
Reading, M. Amulree, L. Luke, L.
Salisbury, M. Ashton of Hyde, L. Merrivale, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Meston, L.
Albemarle, E. Broughshane, L. Monson, L.
Bathurst, E. Chesham, L. Moyne, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Conesford, L. Rathcavan, L.
Mansfield, E. Craigmyle, L. Remnant, L.
Munster, E. Dynevor, L. Salter, L.
Onslow, E. [Teller.] Dovercourt, L. Savile, L.
Perth, E. Dowding, L. Sinha, L.
Fairfax of Cameron, L. [Teller.] Somers, L.
Crookshank, V. Glyn, L. Strathclyde, L.
Devonport, V. Grantchester, L. Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Falmouth, V. Gridley, L. Teviot, L.
Gage, V. Hacking, L. Wolverton, L.
Hailsham, V. Hampton, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

which is being made in another place by my right honourable friend the Minister of Labour and National Service about the proposed changes in the local office network of his Ministry. Your Lordships may know that Her Majesty's Government have recently undertaken a comprehensive review of the network of local offices of the Ministry of Labour, which number 1,144 full-time and 129 part-time offices. This network has been esablished over the years in response to the needs of particular times. There has been no similar comprehensive review since 1921. Meanwhile, changes in the level of unemployment, in population and in public transport, both generally and in particular areas, have considerably affected the pattern of needs.

It has been the aim of Her Majesty's Government in this review to maintain a convenient and efficient service. After giving careful consideration to the local circumstances of each office concerned, including both the long-term and the immediate employment situation, my right honourable friend has come to the conclusion that it should be possible to amalgamate some offices which are close together in areas where transport facilities are good and to close a number of offices where the volume of work is now very small. He is now referring proposals to the local employment committees for their consideration. One hundred and eleven full-time offices and 46 part-time offices are in the field of consideration for closure, and 39 full-time offices for conversion to a part-time basis. I wish to emphasise that no decisions will be taken in advance of these local consultations. Her Majesty's Government will give tomorrow a list of the offices affected.

To maintain a more flexible organisation in the future, the need for individual part-time offices will be kept under periodic review, and, in addition, there will be comprehensive reviews of the whole network at somewhat longer intervals.

Further consideration is being given to the best means of providing a satisfactory and efficient service to the public in the light of modern methods; for example, by making use of mobile vans. It is the Government's intention to introduce a limited number of experiments of different methods and different patterns of organisation in suitable areas.

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