Paymaster-General

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th March 1965.

Alert me about debates like this

Mr. Gresham Cooke:

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the main activities of the Department of the Paymaster-General for the past three months; what is its present staff; and whether it is adequate for the purposes involved.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

While carrying on its normal banking and pension-paying services, the Department has been completing the first stage of its dispersal to Crawley New Town and planning the introduction of a computer system, to be installed at Crawley. Staff in post number 629, against a complement of 653; subject to the filling of vacancies, the staffing provision is adequate.

Mr. Gresham Cooke:

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that 629 people seem to help the Paymaster-General to do precisely nothing? Is he aware that the Paymaster-General has earned £1,830 since 16th October? Is he aware that he has answered only six Questions in the House, which come out at £305 per Question? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that this man is giving value for money? Do we not deserve better value for it?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

My right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General's office acts as a banker for most Government Departments and pays more than 400,000 public service pensions to teachers, civil servants, National Health Service pensioners and the rest. As to the work of my right hon. Friend, I do not think that the hon. Gentleman need be so nervous. Unless he has something which he is anxious to hide, I can assure him that my right hon. Friend's eagle eye will not fall on him.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Paymaster-General is worth a score of hon. Members opposite?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

With respect to my right hon. Friend, I think that he is probably worth many more than that.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to ask for your guidance. Is it permissible for an hon. Member to refer to the Paymaster-General as "this man" and not as "the right hon. Gentleman"?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

No; it is a breach of the courtesies, but I did not hear it. Let us get on. I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor had answered.