asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction which exists as a result of the prolonged inflation of the numbers in the Civil Service staff attached to the Admiralty, especially in view of the drastic reductions in the fighting personnel; whether it is considered that there is justification for employing 2,417 more persons at the Admiralty than were so employed in the year 1914, while the total number of ships of all kinds only exceeds the 1914 strength by 65 out of a total of 1,123; and by what date it is expected that commensurate reductions will have been made?
The figure of 2,417 quoted by the hon. and gallant Member is incorrect; it should be 1,678 if naval officers are included, or 1,561 if civil staff only be taken. A large proportion of this increase is employed for the benefit of the fighting personnel in the distribution of prize money, medals and marriage allowance, etc. It is hoped that a large part of this work will be completed by the end of this year, and that the numbers will then he considerably reduced. In the meantime they are under continual scrutiny and reduction.
In the meantime, may I ask how the hon. and gallant Gentleman can defend the increase of 400 per cent. or over in the case of naval constructors, who have nothing to do with marriage allowance? When will these people be reduced?
I have given a general answer. I think it would be better to put these matters of reduction of staff on an occasion when the subject can be debated.
Will a further reduction of staff in the Admiralty take place before the issue of clasps?
There is another question on the Paper with reference to that matter.