The Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) has already reported on the proposal that Select Committees should be permitted to employ specialist assistance but the recommendation for extra Clerks for service with the Estimates Committee will be considered as part of a wider review of the work and staffing of the Clerk's Department, which is currently being undertaken by a Treasury O and M team.
Is it not the case that, some time ago, my right hon. Friend accepted the recommendation that there should be two full-time Clerks for the whole Committee and that the Clerks of each Sub-Committee should be full-time to the Estimates Committee? Will he give an assurance that the cuts in public expenditure to be announced shortly will not include this particular item, and will he give a further assurance that we might have some women Clerk experts added for the Estimates Committee?
On 27th October, 1965, I promised the House that the House of Commons (Services) Committee would look at the problem. I am sure the whole House is aware of the importance of adequately staffing all the Committees of the House, but the o and M team at present engaged in looking at the whole question is anxious to make sure not only that they are fully staffed but that they are not overstaffed.