HC Deb 09 December 1941 vol 376 cc1397-8W
Mr. David Adams

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Mr. J. C. Rodgers, recently appointed to the Department of Overseas Trade, concerned with post-war planning, is a director of J. Walter Thompson and Company, Limited, advertising agents; that this appointment has created apprehension among other advertising firms in competition with Walter Thompson and Company, Limited, for advertising business arising after the war; and whether he will consider utilising Mr. Rodgers's services in a sphere where no suggestion can arise that his present official duties may he inconsistent with duties which will fall to him if, at the end of hostilities, he returns to active participation in the firm of which he is now a director?

Mr. Johnstone

I have been asked to reply. When Mr. Rodgers joined the Ministry of Information he retained his directorship of the firm in question, giving an undertaking that he would take no part whatsoever in the control of that firm whilst in Government employ. I have no knowledge of the apprehensions referred to which, if existent, are unwarrantable. If, for such reasons, persons connected with business were debarred from undertaking in the Civil Service duties for which their qualifications appear to fit them the State would suffer serious loss, and I am accordingly not prepared to act as suggested in the last part of the Question.

Mr. McEntee

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department what other candidates were considered for appointment to the post to which Mr. J. C. Rodgers has been appointed in his Department; what is the salary attached to the post; and whether he is satisfied, in view of the fact that this gentleman is only 34 years of age, that it was not possible to obtain the services of another person with the necessary qualifications who was not of military age?

Mr. Johnstone

The suggestion that the appointment in question should be of a person above military age is irrelevant, since Mr. Rodgers, who is 35, is above the reservation age applicable to temporary civil servants holding appointments in the administrative, executive and analagous grades. Several other names were considered for the post in question and Mr. Rodgers, whose qualifications as director of the Commercial Relations Division of the Ministry of Information were well known to my Department, was selected. The Ministry of Information concurred in his transfer which was effected on the basis of his retaining his existing salary of £1,000 per annum.