HC Deb 17 December 1919 vol 123 cc417-8W

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that since the Armistice the staffs of Government Departments have been reduced by over 126,000; whether he is aware that, in spite of this reduction in staff, 5,679 new typewriting machines have been issued by the Stationery Department to Government Departments during the same period; whether he is aware that there wire actually 208 more typewriters in use by Government Departments on 30th November, 1919, than there were on 1st December, 1919; whether he will recall the 5,679 comparatively new machines and sell them while the price is high; and whether he will state what system of checking is in operation at the Stationery Department to prevent reckless and extravagant. demands from the various Government Departments being actually executed?


I am aware of the reductions in the staff of Government Departments since the Armistice. The 5,679 new typewriters, issued to Government Departments during this period, provide for the annual wastage of machines (estimated before the War at 12:1 per cent. of the total numbers) and for the replacement of hired machines by Government-owned machines. Consequently the hon. Member's deduction of that there is an excess of 208 in the numbers in use on 30th November, 1919, over those in use on 1st December, 1918, is incorrect. The numbers now in use are considerably less, though I regret I am unable to give exact figures. New machines can only be withdrawn as returned machines awaiting repair are available. The demands for typewriters from Government Departments are strictly scrutinised in the Stationery Office, and refused if investigation shows that the supply is unnecessary.