asked the Minister of Supply why the number of civil servants in his Department increased from 32,798 to 33,045 between 1st January and 1st April, 1954.
This slight increase in staff is accounted for mainly by the expansion of effort on research and development and by increased production in the Royal ordnance factories. The increase would have been larger had it not been offset to some extent by a further decrease in the staffs of the administrative branches.
Will my right hon. Friend say why he calls an increase of 247 people in three months a slight increase? Is he aware that if he wishes to reduce noise on this side of the House, he had better stop increasing the size of his Department?
I called it slight because I think it is about 0·8 of 1 per cent., which I usually regard as slight. I have pointed out that the reason why there has been an increase in staff is because there has been an increase in research and development, which I regard as satisfactory. There has also been an increase in production in the Royal ordnance factories and certain other factories which has necessitated increased staff. Some of this staff are foremen and supervisors who count as civil servants. This has been accompanied by a reduction in our administrative staff of the Ministry of Supply, which I also regard as satisfactory, and I make no apology for the position.