117 Standing Committee C. Tuesday, 1st July, 1919.
SUPPLY, CIVIL SERVICES AND REVENUE DEPARTMENTS (ESTIMATES, 1919–20).

[MR. TURTON in the Chair.]

DEPARTMENT OF OVERSEAS TRADE.

Motion made, and question proposed: "That a sum not exceeding £190,000 be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1920, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of Overseas Trade." [Note.—£100,000 has been voted on account.]

Major NEWMAN: This Vote has been called rather unexpectedly so far as some Members of the Committee are concerned. I confess that I was told, or, rather, it was suggested to me, by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that for certain reasons he could not be present this afternoon, and therefore the Committee would be taking this Vote, because Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland was able to attend, while other Ministers, whose Votes come before this one, could not do so. Accordingly I have the slight advantage over other Members of the Committee of having enjoyed the opportunity after lunch of looking very hastily through this Vote and noting some items in it on which the Committee, perhaps, would like the hon. Gentleman to give them some information. This is a Vote for a new Department—the Department of Overseas Trade (Development and Intelligence). The Ministry was started a year or two years ago, and I presume that this is the first time this Committee, or the House of Commons, has had an opportunity of discussing this Vote, and the activities of the Department to which it relates. I am, of course, in a difficulty—and, I daresay, some other Members of the Committee are in the same difficulty—how exactly to visualise what it is that this Department of Overseas Trade is going to do. Apparently there have been appointed, or are going to be appointed—this is the most important thing it is going to do—a certain number of Commercial Counsellors and Secretaries, and of Trade Commissioners and Correspondents. The Commercial Counsellors and Secretaries are people appointed to territories or nations outside the Empire. The Trade Commissioners and Correspondents are people approximating to them in the matter of salary and position, but are appointed to posts within the Empire. That is the difference. Of 118 course, in the case of those of us who are not acquainted with our foreign trade there arises the difficulty of knowing what is the exact difference between a Commercial Counsellor, we will say in the Argentine, at a salary of £1,000, with office allowance, the whole expenses totalling £2,850, and the Consul-General to the Argentine Republic with total expenses of £2,900. The latter, of course, comes under Civil Service Estimates, Class V., and it is necessary, I imagine, to read the two in conjunction with each other, at any rate, for the moment. That is to say we do not quite know, at any rate I do not know exactly, what the duties of the Commercial Counsellor in the Argentine Republic are, or what are the exact duties of the Consul-General of the Argentine Republic. For instance, supposing I want to export a motor-car to Buenos Aires and to find out what facilities there are for landing there, what duty would be charged, and so on, would I apply to our Commercial Counsellor or would I apply to our Consul-General, or would I apply to them both? Similarly, perhaps this is rather more important, supposing I had a sum of money which I wished to invest in some undertaking in the Argentine, or suppose I wished to start some business there, would I apply for advice to our Commercial Counsellor or to the Consul-General or to both? When I say that, I am alluding to the point which the hon. Gentleman made himself, and very properly too, when we were discussing this vote last year. He said that one of the great things which these Commercial Counsellors would do would be to advise the British investor or the British commercial man who might be desirous of setting up or establishing or increasing their businesses in foreign countries. It is my sad experience, and it may be that of others too, that at the present moment British capital and British undertakings are being very badly treated in the Argentine. Apparently—and I do not say this in any spirit hostile to the Argentine Government—they would like at the moment to get rid of British interests in the Argentine altogether. Therefore I would like to know, as one who is. I am sorry to say, a fairly extensive investor in Argentine securities, whether if I go to the hon. Gentleman's office he will be able to give me any comfort or advice or counsel as to my holdings out there. That is one question I would like to ask him—if he has in his department a branch which would advise people like myself who have interests either in the Argentine, in Chile or in any other part of the world, particularly as our interests are likely to be affected by events, happening in these countries? Undoubtedly, 119 from this point of view, the Overseas Department would be a great boon to people in this country. It is perfectly obvious that this Department of Overseas Trade will employ many more officers. I suppose literally scores more of these Commercial Counsellors and Secretaries will be appointed. For instance, it is obvious there will have to be one appointed in the future for Germany, Austria, Turkey, and the other countries with whom we have been at war, and similarly throughout our Empire there will be a great many more Trade Commissioners appointed than there are at present. If we take up this other Estimate—Class 5, Foreign and Colonial Services—we see what an enormous number of Consuls, Assistant Consuls, Vice-Consuls, and so on, we have got all over the world. I should like again to learn from the hon. Gentleman if the Government intends, as far as possible, to amalgamate these two Departments—the General Consular Service and the Department of Overseas Trade? I should imagine, looking at these Estimates before me—the Estimates we are discussing now and Class 5 of the Civil Service Estimates—that there must be tremendous overlapping, and as we extend our Commercial Counsellors and Trade Commissioners the overlapping will get worse, with greater loss to the country. Therefore I would like to know what are the probabilities of the Consular Service and Department of Overseas Trade being amalgamated for practical purposes in the near future. I am sure that if this could be done we should secure a great deal more efficiency and there would be a great saving of expense. I do not think that in the Vote itself there is much we can criticise. I should say, looking at it in a casual way, that it is very well presented and seems, on the whole, a very economical Vote. Of course, there are a few things that catch the eye. One of these is the difference in the office allowances which is made in the various countries. For instance, one cannot quite understand why in Spain there should be an office allowance of £3,000, whereas in France there is an office allowance of only £700. Again, in the Netherlands, which is a very expensive country, so I understand, there is an allowance of only £600, whereas in Russia, which I should have thought was not expensive, there is an allowance, when Russia becomes normal, of £2,000. There is also a good deal of difference in the various salaries given to these Commercial Counsellors. In the case of Japan, it is £1,500, but in the Netherlands it is £1,000. These are things which, of course, can probably be very easily explained by the hon. Gentleman. They just 120 catch the eye of a man who is not an expert as he looks through the Estimates. Otherwise, I do not think there is much that I personally would like to criticise in this Vote. We are unanimous in approving the idea of setting up this Department of Overseas Trade, and if the hon. Gentleman can give us some information as to what he has been able to do with a view to increasing efficiency and economy in the directions I have mentioned, we shall welcome it.

Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND (Department of Overseas Trade): I shall be pleased to answer some of these questions at once. Indeed, I am very glad that my hon. Friend has raised them, because I am quite sure that there are many Members of this Committee as well as the House of Commons who do not yet understand the system which has been devised. I think the sooner it is possible to develop the system so as to obtain economy and efficiency in working the better it will be for all concerned. The points which have been put by my hon. Friend are precisely the kind which, I think, any Member of the House has a right to ask and about which he really ought to know for the proper understanding of the system. The question of the relations between these Commercial Counsellors and Secretaries and the Consular Service is really a very important one. There is a little memorandum here which I prepared nearly a year ago, in the first instance for the guidance of Commercial Counsellors in offices abroad, and which I will gladly give to any Member of the Committee who wishes to have it. I hope that Members will bear with me if I read a short extract from that memorandum because I think it puts the position as clearly as anything which I could extemporise at the moment, and it is to this effect: The division of functions between the Commercial Attaché and the Consul is important, but is comparatively simple. The duties of the Consul are local and detailed; those of the Commercial Attaché are central and general in any particular country. For example, if I may say so, relations between them are very similar to the relations in military matters between the Headquarters of the Army and the different regimental officers. The local regimental officers each do their separate work in the localities, and Headquarters at the centre gathers the information from all the different regimental officers and can deduce valuable inferences that no localised person can do, and in turn it is his business to give them information which otherwise they would not get. Certain kinds of detail work will fall 121 almost entirely upon the Consul's staff, subject always to supervision at Headquarters by the Commercial Attaché or Minister. For example, the detailed knowledge of a district will be part of the work of the Consul for that district. In other words, if someone in Great Britain wanted to know about the prospects of the sale of motor cars in Buenos Aires, he would ask our Department, and the official who would give that information would be the Consular official in Barcelona or Buenos Aires as the case may be. That is what I call the detail work of the locality. He must be acquainted with local commercial conditions and be able to advise British correspondents accordingly. If he is in a port, he will have information as to the harhour regulations, and he will obtain information as to packing, forwarding and dispatch and so on. But the Commercial Attaché, on the other hand, really deals rather with questions affecting the central Government, such as tariff changes as a whole, import and export regulations, legislative or local decisions as affecting trade, etc. If I may again refer to the case raised as to the general treatment by a foreign country of the British capital invested in it, I would say that that is not a localised question. It is one for the country as a whole, consequently, the Commercial Attaché is the official who, on our instructions, would deal with that, subject, of course to the instructions of the Ambassador or Minister. He will deal also with the questions of the cultivation of friendly relations with the officials and Ministers of the central Government. That is a combination of work between the two kinds of officials. Each Counsellor is clearly interested in the general questions so far as it has a bearing on his particular district. This combination between the two kinds of officials is vital in dealing, for instance, with the extension of banks or central financial institutions by our competitors. The Commercial Attaché will be the person to study them as a whole.

Major NEWMAN: Is the Commercial Attaché and the Commercial Counsellor one and the same person?

Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND: Yes. I am speaking now of the official who will deal with the question as a whole. If we found, shall we say, a German Bank being established in a certain town, it would be for the Counsellor to report the fact to the Commercial Attaché in the central office, and if the Commercial Attaché gets similar reports 122 from five or six different towns or great cities in the same country he will then detect a really strategical movement, and be able, by putting two and two together, to form an idea of what is happening as a whole. I hope that makes the subject fairly plain to all the members of the Committee. Let me say again that the one is a localised officer dealing with localised matters, whereas the other is superintending them all and getting evidence together and then drawing general inferences. Those are the functions of the two. The whole scheme for the formation of this joint Department is really a question of bricks and mortar. The Consular Department and these Commercial Counsellors and Secretaries should be dealt with by one and the same office. They form part of one and the same system and they should be dealt with by the same office. The delay in bringing this about is due to a question of bricks and mortar. As soon as the new department can get housed adjacent to the Foreign Office, under whom the Consuls are, they will be transferred entirely from the rest of the Foreign Office to the Joint Department. The delay in doing that is simply due to the physical difficulty of housing. As a matter of fact I do administer the Consular Department of the Foreign Office under Class V. of the Estimates as Foreign Under-Secretary, and consequently I do keep the two running together because I am in a personal position there. The object of the new organisation was really to bring them, as their work forms one whole, to be administered by one and the same department. I think that really answers the general questions which my honourable Friend has raised. Reading these figures for the first time I should ask exactly the same questions as he has asked to-day. What do these differences in salary mean? What are the differences in local allowances and in office allowances? The reason for them, and it will run right through this and explain it all, is that there are really three grades of officials. There were originarily contemplated four, but I trust they may be reduced to three. The first was the old Commercial Attachés who have been transferred into First Grade Commercial Counsellors with the same rank as the ordinary political Counsellor of an Embassy, the First Secretaries on the commercial side, and Second Secretaries on the commercial side. Counsellors and Secretaries have been assigned to countries according to the importance of their trade relations, and consequently we get Counsellors in countries like France, the United States, Italy, Japan, 123 and one or two others, very likely Germany again in the future. Then, according to the degree of importance of trade, we get First Secretaries for countries whose trade is not quite so great, and Second Secretaries, as the case may be. You will find that the salaries for these grades run up accordingly. The Commercial Counsellor is given a salary of £1,500. The First Secretary has a range of salary from a £1,000 to £1,200; and the Second Secretary a lower scale. It is right, that according to their grade, they should have a fixed remuneration. Then, of course, they do need local allowances. That is to say, a person of the same grade finds that New York—before the war, at any rate—is a much more expensive place than Paris or Rome. That has got to be made good in some way, and it is made good in supplementing the regular grade of salary with additional local expenses. The question of office allowances again is calculated in proportion to the amount of work which it is thought they will have to perform and the staff that they will need for rent, typists and all the different expenses that go to make up the establishment of an office. The hon. Member has mentioned Spain, and quite rightly, but I should like to say that Spain is rather an exceptional case, and for this reason: During the war we had a special office in Spain in connection with propaganda—which took the form of commercial propaganda. That was an office of much greater expense than the usual establishment of a Commercial Counsellor or Secretary. When the Ministry of Information was wound up, a good part of that office was handed over for liquidation and clearing up. So Spain is rather a special case. My hon. Friend asked a question with regard to the expenses in Russia and the Netherlands. The Netherlands is an expensive place, but of course, it was not nearly so expensive before the war as Russia. Russia was much more expensive than the Netherlands. Russia is such a huge country that a Commercial Counsellor has got to have an organization, not for dealing with a comparatively small country but for looking after 180,000,000 of people, and therefore his staff for that reason has to be considerably greater. That is the reason for the difference between the £2,000 for Russia and the £600 for the Netherlands. The hon. Member in the course of his remarks alluded to the expansion likely for the future. That expansion is already going on, but owing to circumstances, which I can explain if the Committee wish me, some of the fresh posts in contemplation for this year are not in this actual table. If hon. Members will look at the end of the particular sub-head they will see 124 the item "Estimated additional expenditure in connection with appointments made during 1919—1920—£26,000." That is allowing for the expanson of new posts during the present year. For example, there is a second post in Turkey. It is purposed to have another Russian post in Siberia, a post in Cuba, and certainly one more post and possibly two, in the Balkans,. As for the expansion of this Commercial Counsellor and Commercial Secretary Service I can only say that I myself share the opinion of the hon. Member that the development is not complete. It was quite impossible with regard to either the work of these Counsellors or of the Consular Service to get it properly developed and the office staff properly trained. The whole staff has to be carefully got together and to be trained, and it is impossible to get perfect results at the beginning. It is only possible if the public will have patience. It will gradually develop, and the only thing which I think is right to expect is that the lines of development laid down should be sound and that endeavours should be made to see that the development is carried out along these lines.

Vote agreed to.

OFFICE OF WOODS, FORESTS, AND LAND REVENUES.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £15,213 be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1920, for the salaries and expenses of the office of His Majesty's Woods, Forests and Land Revenues."—[NOTE.—£12,000 has been voted on account.]

Major NEWMAN: I take it that this Vote only applies to England. I do not know whether it applies to Scotland; it certainly does not apply to Ireland. I think I am right in saying that.

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Sir Arthur Boscawen): This is the old office. The Woods and Forests is in charge of certain Crown property in the shape of woods and forests. There is nothing abnormal in the Vote. There is an increase altogether of £6,646. That increase is accounted for almost entirely by War Bonuses for the staff, which amounts to no less than £5,238 11s. 4d. Apart from that, the remainder of the increase is simply due to normal increases of salary and to a special increase of salary to one of the Joint Secretaries. This is no part of the work of 125 the Board of Agriculture. I am merely only technically responsible for presenting the Estimate. There is no new work and nothing abnormal in the Vote whatever.

Captain STANLEY WILSON: I should like to ask one question. That is, whether the Board of Agriculture have any idea of taking any further lands from the Woods and Forests for the purpose of these Crown Colonies?

Sir A. BOSCAWEN: I think that question should be addressed to me in my capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture rather than as representing the Woods and Forests to-day. The Board of Agriculture may think it desirable to clear some of this land, but whether the Woods and Forests would be willing to part with it is another matter. I cannot possibly say that the Board of Agriculture will not desire to take any more of this land if they think the land is suitable.

Captain WILSON: If any tenants are to be dispossessed of their land, I think that proper and fair notice should be given to the tenants. It has already happened that several tenants have been dispossessed of their lands without proper notice being given. I certainly think that a full year's notice should be given to tenants if they are to be dispossessed of their farms.

Sir A. BOSCAWEN: I quite agree there ought to be fair notice given, and I cannot understand how it could have been that notice was not given. I submit this can hardly be raised on the Vote.

Major NEWMAN: It is very hard to understand what is raised by the Vote. It is an overlapping Vote, and one which I think should be done away with. The hon. Gentleman will notice that the Receiver-General and Receiver for the County of Middlesex gets £600 a year. I am one of the Middlesex members, and I want to know what the Receiver-General is doing, what he is receiving, and how is he earning his money? It is obvious that the hon. Gentleman could not tell me very much about the Quit Rent Office, Dublin, and the war bonus of £959. Therefore, looking through these accounts, I think it is hardly fair that an estimate like this should be thrown at the Committee, unless we know more about it. I see that the President of the Board of Agriculture is one of the Com- 126 missioners and does not get paid. The other two Commissioners are paid and one rather wonders what they do. I would like to know about the Receiver-General for Middlesex.

Colonel BOWLES: This is a very old Vote, and one I remember many years in the House. I have always been surprised that we should ever have had it before us. The great value of the property held by the Office of Woods and Forests does not arise, as one would expect, from the woods and forests. They own large tracts of property in our great metropolis, and one finds that the leases of many of the clubs in the West End are held through the Office of Woods and Forests. If they administer these large ground properties—I suppose the revenue is for the use of the country, while we poor people who have to manage our own properties have to employ agents to help us—why should not it come in the expenses of the large estate which they administer. In bygone days one had a controversy about the wickedness of the London landlords, and it turned out that the wicked landlord happened in this particular instance to be the Government, which I was not supporting. The landlord was the Government officer who superintended Woods and Forests. I think that will be some information for the hon. Member for Finchley (Major Newman).

Sir A. BOSCAWEN: I am in no way personally responsible for the way the Vote is raised, but it is a very old Vote, dating from the 10th George IV., and it has been presented in this way ever since. I am only responsible for any alterations, and I have pointed them out. With regard to questions of policy, I shall be only too glad to oblige my hon. Friend, if he puts a question down, with particulars of the duties of the Receiver for Middlesex. I regret it is impossible to answer that without notice.

Vote agreed to.

OFFICE OF WORKS AND PUBLIC BUILDINGS.

Motion made, and Question proposed: "That a sum not exceeding £170,890 be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1920, for the salaries and expenses of the office of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Works and Public Buildings."—[Note: £125,000 has been voted on account.]

Major NEWMAN: We jump about from vote 127 to vote, and I do not think that any Member present has really had time to consider this vote at all. I confess that I took the trouble some days ago, knowing the Committee would sit, to look through the votes which, in the ordinary course of events, would have been considered, such as those of the Colonial Office, Home Office, Board of Trade, etc. As a matter of fact, we are not going to discuss any of these votes at the beginning of Class II. We are now taking Class II, Vote 26. I have not had the opportunity of considering this vote at all. If I, or some other Member, had not asked a few questions, the question would have been put and carried.

Captain S. WILSON: That is what the Government wants.

Major NEWMAN: But we are here to go through these votes. Apparently we have the First Commissioner of Works here again on the vote of the Office of Works and Public Buildings. As hon. Members are aware, we went through and adopted the vote of the Office of Works in the earlier part of the summer, and now we find ourselves on the same vote again.

Hon. MEMBERS: This is his own Office.

Major NEWMAN: I gather, then, that this is the vote for the Department's comfortable rooms at Storey's Gate. That being so, if the right hon. Baronet would tell us why there is a slight increase since last year, I shall be very much obliged.

Captain S. WILSON: I should like to ask one or two questions. My hon. Friend who has just addressed the Committee calls it a moderate increase. As far as I can make out, the increase is a very large one, and I notice one or two points upon which we might ask for an explanation from the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of the Government. I notice, under the Supplies Division, there is an increase of salaries for "Draughtsmen and Technical Assistants" from £900 to £20,000, and on the next line there is a figure of £30,000 for "Temporary clerical staff," whereas last year they were paid nothing at all. I do not think the Committee can be prepared to accept this without some sort of explanation. We have become accustomed in the House of Commons to expecting increases of this kind, but I think that now Peace has been signed, it is really necessary for this Committee to take steps to stop the extravagance of the Government. I should like to ask the right hon. and gallant Member whether he can hold out any hope of a 128 decrease in the expenses of his Department in the near future, because everybody will agree that we have been sent here to try to check Government extravagance. I hope my right hon. Friend will be able to give some explanation in regard to the great increase in this Vote.

Mr. MORRISON: I should like to call attention to the large increase in this Vote. The year before the war the figure was £142,834; this year the Vote asked for is £295,890. I see the increase, as compared with last year, is £131,000. The Government are giving up a lot of temporary offices in London, and I should like to ask whether, under these circumstances, it is not possible to make substantial reductions in this Vote. The other day I saw a large number of young ladies coming out of the Office of Works, and I asked a messenger what they were doing. I understood that my right hon. Friend employs young ladies of such tender years that some of them spend part of the day having lessons in the basement of his office. That shows how the Government staff is inflated all over London. I suggest that he should employ ex-soldiers, many of whom are out of work. I would appeal to the First Commissioner to promise the Committee a reduction on this very heavy Vote.

Major BIRCHALL: With regard to Temporary Assistants for the Office in China, I notice that the cost in 1918–1919 was £1,400. Why has it increased to £2,800?

The FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Sir A. Mond): The increase in expenditure in China is due to the rate of exchange, not to an increase in staff. In China we have two architects, and, I think, one assistant, whose duty it is to look after the Embassies and Consulates of China and Japan, which is a very considerable duty. With regard to the total Estimate, I am rather surprised at the criticism of the large sum asked for. I am personally astonished at the enormous quantity of work which is done for so little. In comparison with last year, the increase is only £14,000. Some of the items I will refer to were last year borne on the Vote of Credit and not on the Estimates. Comparison with 1913–14 is scarcely very useful. We are doing much more than three times the amount of work in the Office to-day that we did in 1913–14, therefore the increase in staff to the volume of work, if worked out in percentages, is very considerably diminished. Dealing with the items of increase, £42,000 is War Bonus, and I do not think anybody can accuse the Government of having been 129 extravagant with regard to the War Bonus to its Civil Servants. Very few private employers have dealt, I think, in such a gingerly way, if I may put it so, on the question of War Bonus to their employees as they have done. With regard to the temporary clerical staff, whose work includes accommodation, that staff of course will be a diminishing staff as the accommodation tends to be reduced, but it will continue for some time, because, as hon. Members can imagine, it has to deal with the liquidation of claims of very great magnitude connected with properties requisitioned during the war by the Office of Works in the London area. That in itself is a very big task, and complaint has been made that the staff is too small and the work too slow rather than that the staff is too large. There is no real economy in not getting through the work as quickly as possible, and in having interest charges mounting up against the Government. The most economical thing we can do is to get through our work as quickly as we can. With regard to the increase of £36,000 for draughtsmen and technical assistance in different Departments, that, of course, will not remain a permanency. How long it will continue in the future it is impossible to say. The work of the Office of Works to-day is an entirely different thing from what it was before the war. One branch of the Office alone during the war did work amounting to £28,000,000 on contracts for the Ministry of Munitions, in regard to Government factories. We shall not go on spending money like that, but when you have an increase of Employment Exchanges and work which the Ministry of Pensions and the Ministry of Labour are demanding in the way of training centres and after-care treatment of soldiers, all these questions of accommodation and fitting-out of premises fall on my Department. Therefore, while I am convinced that these figures will come down, it would be wrong for me to give an undertaking that they would come down to prewar figures. Nor can anyone expect the salaries of Civil Servants to come down to what they were before the war, and not have a tendency to increase just as the salaries and wages of all other classes have increased during the war. But I can assure hon. Members that the Department at present is anything but over-staffed—in fact, in some directions, we have a smaller staff, with more work to do, than we had before the war, because a number of our staff have been killed in the war, unfortunately, and their places have not been refilled. Therefore, I think the Committee may be perfectly easy 130 in their conscience with regard to this Vote, because the salaries are extremely reasonable, the staff, as I know from my own personal knowledge, is exceedingly hard-worked, and the increase certainly shows a tendency in the right direction.

Major NEWMAN: With regard to the Architects' Division, I quite agree with my right hon. Friend that he does not pay his men enough. I presume these architects have to do with the public buildings throughout Great Britain. Is that so?

Sir A. MOND: Certainly.

Major NEWMAN: Can my right hon. Friend really get nine architects each at £550 running up to £750? I should have thought it was impossible to get a good man at a figure which is little more than the miner in South Wales makes. The principal architect only gets £800 rising to £1,000. Of course, if the right hon. Gentleman can get men to do really good work as architects throughout the kingdom at that money, he deserves our congratulations and the congratulations of the country.

Capt. S. WILSON: I cannot say that I am completely satisfied with the reply of the right hon. Gentleman, but I suppose we have to make the best of it under the circumstances at present. I think I am entitled to ask him what he is doing with regard to the evacuation of the hotels he has taken over on behalf of the Government, and when he will be able to return these hotels, or, at any rate, the large proportion of them, to the former proprietors?

Colonel Sir A. SYKES: We had this up before. Is the hon. and gallant Member in order in bringing it up again?

Capt. WILSON: I was not here.

The CHAIRMAN: I was not the Chairman on that occasion, but clearly it is out of order.

Capt. WILSON: You rule it out of order.

The CHAIRMAN: Absolutely.

Mr. GREEN: There is a very large increase under the heading of Technical Assistance to Measuring Surveyors, namely, from £850 to £3,000. Can the right hon. Gentleman give any explanation of that very large increase?

131

Sir A. MOND: These surveyors are very important people and the number has increased, of course, in dealing with the claims for the reinstatement of all these different buildings.

Vote agreed to.

Mr. DENNIS: I ask that this Committee be now adjourned, and my reason for doing so 132 has been prefaced by my hon. and gallant Friend (Major Newman).

The CHAIRMAN: The hon. Member is entirely out of order. There is nothing before the Committee at the present time. It stands adjourned.

Adjourned at thirteen minutes after Five o'clock till Wednesday, 9th July, at Four o'clock.

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE.

Turton, Mr. (Chairman.)

Bennett, Mr.

Birchall, Major

Boscawen, Sir Arthur

Bowles, Colonel

Bowyer, Captain

Cape, Mr.

Clynes, Mr.

Colvin, Brigadier-General

Davison, Mr. J.

Dennis, Mr.

Galbraith, Mr.

Green, Mr. Joseph

Hartshorn, Mr.

Jones, Sir Evan

Lunn, Mr.

Malone, Lieutenant-Colonel

Mond, Sir Alfred

Morrison, Mr. Hugh

Newman, Major

Ormsby-Gore, Captain

Purchase, Mr.

Steel-Maitland, Sir A. D.

Stephenson, Colonel

Sykes, Colonel Sir Alan

White, Lieut.-Col. Dalrymple

Wigan, Brigadier-General

Wilson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Mathew

Wilson, Captain Stanley