HC Deb 21 November 1939 vol 353 cc1057-8W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for War what special steps have been taken by the director of ordnance services and the principal ordnance officer to supervise the present administration of the seven central ordnance depots with their sub-depots, especially in regard to their rapid expansion since the war by the engagement of a large number of civilian employes, male and female, in addition to those who form the normal civilian establishment; how many persons have been thus engaged at each depot; what is the weekly wage bill for each of these seven depots as at the end of the last week of September, compared with the same week a year ago; and whether he is satisfied that the conditions of labour and the supervision of work done, ensure a proper return to the taxpayer for this greatly increased expenditure?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I have now obtained figures, but it would not be desirable to publish them. I will make them available in confidence to my hon. and gallant Friend and to any other Member who may be interested. They show that the increase in personnel is more than accounted for by the increase in work, and, in fact, a large amount of overtime has been necessary. The withdrawal of part of the military supervisory staff for other duties on the outbreak of war naturally tended to increase the difficulties, but these are being overcome as the present staff gain experience. Every effort is being made to increase efficiency, and overtime is being reduced as far as possible.