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Royal Navy (Manpower Committee)

Volume 439: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1947

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what are the terms of reference of the Manpower Economy Committee under the chairmanship of His Honour Tom Eastham, K.C.; and whether its report will be published.

The terms of reference of this Committee are:

"To review the methods of manning and use of manpower in the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines during peace and to recommend measures for securing that fighting efficiency is maintained with the greatest possible economy in manpower."
I should add that the Committee's inquiries will be directed mainly to broad issues rather than to the detailed examination of complements. The committee's report will, in accordance with normal practice, be a confidential document submitted to my noble Friend for his consideration.

May I ask my hon. Friend why, in view of the importance of the engineering and technical branches of the Navy, those branches are not represented?

We cannot have representatives from every branch. We have people with general qualifications who will be able to regard the Navy as a whole.

There is one representative for the executive branch and one for the supply branch, while all the other branches have no representation at all.

As the inquiry is to be on rather broad lines, would it not be possible for the report to be made available?

That is never done in cases such as this. Naturally, I will ask my noble Friend whether it can be done. but I think it is not the usual practice.

Because people are very much more willing to give evidence in cases where they know that the reports are not to be made public.