§ Major KELLEY
asked the Prime Minister what is the number of staff employed by the Ministry of Food at this date; how many are to be transferred to other Departments; which are those Departments; and for what purpose are they to be transferred?
Sir J. HOPE
asked the Minister of Food how many of the 2,154 staff existing on 1st January, 1921, are to be discharged at the end of this financial year when the Ministry is closed and how many transferred to other Government Departments; and if he can ensure that no ex-service men are discharged if others are transferred to other Government Departments?1839W
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I have been asked to reply. During the year 1920 the staff of the Ministry of Food was reduced from 10,480 to 2,154 and a further reduction of 25 per cent. will have been effected by the end of the financial year. The staff then remaining, of whom the vast majority will be accounting staff, will be transferred to the Departments which will become responsible for the liquidation of the Ministry's trading transactions, for the enforcement of Orders, and for the distribution of foodstuffs in the event of an emergency. The work of the transferred staff will be only of a temporary character, and in most cases will come to an end in a few months. My hon. and gallant Friends will understand that the work of liquidating stocks, book debts, and commitments in the neighbourhood of £100,000,000 cannot be abruptly terminated. The efforts made by the Department to safeguard the interests of ex-service men have produced satisfactory results, and they will continue to receive preferential treatment subject to the necessity of retaining officers whose special knowledge of past transactions is essential for the work of liquidation. The Board of Trade will be responsible for the bulk of the work transferred.