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Departmental Functions (Transfer)

Volume 529: debated on Monday 5 July 1954

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42.

asked the Minister of Supply what functions it is proposed to transfer away from his Department in the foreseeable future; the approximate date of the transfer; the Departments to which they are to be transferred; and the number of staff which will become redundant.

The allocation of functions between the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Supply, in certain spheres where they converge, is at present being studied. No decisions have yet been reached.

Will the Minister give an assurance that any transfers of work that may eventually be decided upon will be discussed with the Staff Side of the Departmental Whitley Council at the earliest possible moment, and the further assurance that staff at present employed on this work will be transferred with their work to the Board of Trade, as there is a fear that functions will be transferred and the staff will be declared redundant?

I explained that no decisions on this matter have yet been reached. I do not propose to go into the details. Questions dealing with the allocation or transfer of responsibilities between one Minister and another ought to be addressed to the Prime Minister.

While I understand that the Minister cannot go into the details now, may I ask whether he will consider informing the staff of his own Department who are concerned about this and so, perhaps, clear up many of their worries?

Before any decision is taken about any transfer of responsibilities it would obviously be quite improper to discuss it with anybody.