asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what increase or decrease there was in the staff of the department under his control in the period 16th October, 1964, to 15th October, 1965; and what increase or decease he anticipates in the period up to 15th April, 1966.
The number of staff in posts in the Colonial Office on the 16th October, 1964, was 632 and there were 16 unfilled vacancies. The corresponding figures for the 15th October, 1965, are 580 and 41 respectively.The staff will shortly be increased by 16 when Communications Department is transferred back to the Colonial Office from the Ministry of Overseas Development.
Can the Minister tell the House something more about these vacancies, why they are not filled and whether it is really necessary to fill them?
It is undoubtedly necessary to fill the vacancies. The reasons for their not being filled would be much too complicated to deal with in answer to a supplementary question.