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Welsh Affairs (Administration)

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 27 March 1952

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22.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent he proposes to increase the staff of his office in Wales; what is the number of persons at present employed; and the number of rooms occupied by the secretariat.

For the reasons I gave in my reply to the hon. Member on 6th December, I do not expect to have to appoint a large staff to assist me in my duties as Minister for Welsh Affairs, and I have not so far found it necessary to set up an office in Wales for this purpose. I have so far been able to call on the accommodation and assistance which I require.

Would the Minister be kind enough to answer that part of the Question which asks for the number of persons he has employed to assist him—or, it may be, whom the Joint Under-Secretary has employed, for I suppose the Parliamentary Secretary is doing something in the Welsh Department.

The point which the hon. Gentleman raised was dealt with in the former answer. What I wanted to make clear was that the nature of the office and the work which my hon. Friend and I do must depend on assistance from other Departments. I have to try—and the House will forgive me for being personal for one moment—to get a good working knowledge of Welsh agricultural and industrial conditions. It is obviously better that I should try to do that by collaborating with the Minister of Agriculture and the President of the Board of Trade than that I should set up in some way a separate staff.

Has the Minister no co-ordinating staff with a knowledge of Welsh to help him in his important work?

We have the member of the staff who was mentioned in the previous answer, who is my guide, philosopher and friend when occasion arises for me to listen to or speak Welsh.