asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what steps are being taken to replace the temporary writing assistants by ex-service men; and if it is the intention of the Lords of the Admiralty to retain women who qualified as writing assistants, to the detriment of ex-service men?
The number of posts which will be filled by writing assistants in the future complements of the Admiralty will be greater than the number of women who have passed or qualified as writing assistants, and who are at present serving. They are not, therefore, being retained to the detriment of ex-service men, and it is not proposed to replace any of them.
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider first offering these posts to the ex-service men who are under notice of dismissal before giving them to women?
The question of men under notice of dismissal is being considered, and we are dealing with it in the most sympathetic spirit; but these posts are not really work for men at all.
May I press my hon. and gallant Friend at least to give these ex-service men an opportunity of taking these posts?
The record of the Admiralty with regard to service men is a very good one indeed. These posts provide very lowly-paid work and do not provide work for men.
Are the Admiralty carrying out in the spirit as well as in the letter the Lytton Report?
I can give the House some figures. The temporary staff at the Admiralty has been reduced from 5,696 to 1,828. The ex-service men during that period have been increased from 732 on 1st July, 1919, to 1,156 on 1st November, 1021. There are only 300 temporary non-service men now employed at the Admiralty, and this number is now in process of considerable reduction. The remainder consists of women employed in non-substitutable posts, such as shorthand typists, and that sort of thing. In the Accountant-General's Department, the largest Department at the Admiralty, about 90 per cent. are ex-service men.