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Government Departments

Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

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Board Of Trade (Clearing Offices)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will give particulars of the number of staff, if any, still employed in the clearing house for

bassy in Berlin informs me that it is not possible for him to obtain figures for the years 1935 and 1936 comparable with those published on page 241 of his last report on Economic Conditions in Germany, to which I assume the hon. Member refers. He has, however, sent me a more recent set of figures for the years 1934, 1935 and 1936. They are taken from a semi-official German publication, and I will circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following are the figures:

enemy debts; what sum, if any, is paid yearly to the Office of Works by that Department for accommodation?

No staff is now employed in the Clearing Office on work relating to enemy debts. Nine persons are, however, fully employed in Board of Trade headquarters offices on work relating to ex-enemy property, and a further six persons are partly so employed. Their work consists chiefly in completing the release to former owners of unliquidated property, and in the conduct of legal proceedings and claims brought against the administrator. The annual rental payable to the Office of Works for the accommodation of this staff and the voluminous records of the Clearing Office is at present £1,923.

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether surplus office accommodation is handed over to the Office of Works?

Joint Industrial Councils


asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider the advisability of setting up in all Government workshops advisory appeal tribunals composed of representatives of the management and employés before which all cases of dismissal may be brought in accordance with modern industrial practice?

For many years there have existed in the principal Departments employing industrial staff joint industrial councils or alternative machinery the general object of which is to secure, by means of regular joint discussion between representatives of the Government and of the employés, the fullest measure of co-operation in the administration and work, in the national interests and with a view to the increased well-being of all concerned therein. I am satisfied that in general these councils and the local machinery associated with them afford adequate arrangements for the proper discussion of any difficulties such as those referred to in the question.

Would it not be practicable for those who have been dismissed to make an appeal, to be heard privately by some organ of these joint industrial councils, as is done in industry at the present time with satisfactory results in many cases?

I have heard no sort of complaint with regard to this machinery.

Naval Aircraft


asked the Prime Minister whether any decision has been arrived at with reference to the controversy between the Admiralty and the Air Ministry concerning the control of naval aircraft; and whether he will give an assurance that no change will be brought into operation before the House has an opportunity of discussing it?

I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave on 28th January in reply to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher).

Can the Prime Minister say how long it is likely to be before a decision is arrived at?

Royal Air Force


asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the unforeseen delays which have occurred in the carrying out of the expansion programme for the Royal Air Force, he will consider the desirability of appointing a committee to inquire into means whereby the programme may be accelerated?

No, Sir. The whole defence programme has since its inception been under the continuous review of the special Cabinet Committee to which I referred in the statement which I made on 27th February last year in reply to a question by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of that reply.