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Ministry of Pensions.

Part of Orders of the Day — Civil Services Supplementary Estimates, 1919–20. – in the House of Commons on 9th December 1919.

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Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

The widows will remain until they remarry, so that the real figure to be considered is not very much over 1,000,000. The other figures which deal with parents and other dependants, and with the children of officers and men, will disappear—in the case of dependants who are parents by death or in the case of children by age, the age being, of course, sixteen; so that within a reasonable amount of time it is fair to say that 1,372,490 of these will have disappeared from the pension list. The point is that we must not be alarmed at the fact that at this stage there are 2,621,313 persons on the pension list. Having drawn attention to that, I propose to adopt the same plan as my right hon. Friend, and go through the items as he did. As the House knows a radical change has been made in the administrative offices. We have had set up in the country a large number of regional staffs in addition to the head-quarter's staff. According to the figures which my right hon. Friend gave, the headquarter and regional staffs number 19,759 persons. I should like to know, roughly, what is the proportion of the staff at headquarters to that in the regions? The reason I ask that is a perfectly obvious one. We would like to know how far the division of the country into eleven regions has resulted in a diminution or saving of staff at headquarters. If my right hon. Friend will look at the Supplementary Estimate he will find some figures which appear rather extraordinary to me. Since the original Estimate was formed, the staff has been increased from 9,000 to 18,000. It has, in other words, been doubled since March or April of the present year—since the original Estimate was made. That Estimate could not have been presented before April.