HC Deb 05 May 1971 vol 816 cc1374-5
39. Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he can now state the number of non-industrial civil servants in post on 1st April, 1971 and 1st January, 1971.

Mr. David Howell

On 1st January there were 499,690 and on 1st April, 498,425.

Mr. Finsberg

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, which indicates yet another promise kept. Does he hope to continue this satisfactory reduction?

Mr. Howell

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's comment. It is the Government's policy to maintain containment and, if possible, to reduce the Civil Service. I think that my hon. Friend has recognised that this is a step in the right direction.

Mr. Sheldon

What will impress the House rather more is the elimination of work, not the transference of work from inside the Civil Service to outside the Civil Service.

Mr. Howell

I did not say anything about that. It is essential to the Government's policy to reduce the functions, from which will follow the reduction of burdens, from which will follow the reduction of numbers. That is the Government's aim. That is the policy we are pursuing.