Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Economic Warfare (Staff).

– in the House of Commons on 28th January 1942.

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Photo of Mr Samuel Hammersley Mr Samuel Hammersley , Willesden East

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare what steps are being taken to reduce the personnel of the Ministry now that the useful activities of this Ministry are so circumscribed?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

A small reduction has been made during the present month, but my hon. Friend is mistaken in supposing that the useful activities of the Ministry of Economic Warfare have been appreciably diminished. While the work of contraband and enemy export control has naturally declined since the summer of 1940, there have been a number of important additions to the work of the Ministry. Although the establishment of the Ministry is constantly under review, I cannot give any undertaking as to the future size of the staff.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hammersley Mr Samuel Hammersley , Willesden East

Is it not a fact that the advent of America into the war must considerably curtail the work of the Department, and should not that mean a reduction of staff?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

No, Sir. There has, in fact, been a considerable increase in work lately in establishing a complete liaison with the Board of Economic Warfare in Washington. There may be some reallocation of functions between the Board on that side and the Ministry on this, but it is too early to say which duties shall be discharged on either side of the Atlantic.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hammersley Mr Samuel Hammersley , Willesden East

Will not the whole question of navicerts be re viewed in view of the possibility that it might be a great waste of time and energy, and a much simpler system be introduced?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

Naturally we shall be glad to simplify it if we can, but at the present time the whole of our blockade is based on the navicert system and it would be very rash to modify it just now.