HC Deb 21 January 1970 vol 794 cc489-90
9. Earl of Dalkeith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many civil servants are now in the direct employment of the Scottish Office as compared with October, 1964.

Mr. Ross

The current figures are 8,027 non-industrials and 976 industrials (including 1,974 non-industrials and 53 industrials employed in the prisons and State hospital services). The corresponding figures in 1964 were, respectively, 6,677 and 809 (including 1,457 and 14 in the prisons and State hospital services).

Earl of Dalkeith

Has the Secretary of State been able to devise any new form of cost-efficiency study to try to reduce the number of civil servants, or is the growth of the Civil Service to be his main contribution to solving Scotland's unemployment problem?

Mr. Ross

No. The hon. Gentleman had better watch out. He more than anybody else has been pressing me on housing and he should be delighted that we have announced today yet another record in house-building completions in Scotland. All this, of course, means more civil servants—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes, of course it does."]—in order to progress schemes and see that we get value for money. The same is true of all the other record provisions that we are making in school and hospital building and the rest. The hon. Member cannot have it both ways.

Mr. Dalyell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of us are rather fed up with this cheap and vulgar sniping at civil servants?

Mr. Ross

My hon. Friend may get fed up, and I can understand it, but I rather enjoy it. It is rather juvenile at times but it is quite pleasant and funny.

Mr. MacArthur

Can we, therefore, expect that the drastic fall in the rate of school-building approvals and starts this year will automatically lead to a reduction in the number of civil servants?

Mr. Ross

The hon. Member had better look at the figures before he starts drawing the wrong conclusions. I should also acid that he would be very much concerned had we not made the increases in the staffs of, say, the prisons and the State hospital services, which account for more than one-third of the total.