HC Deb 08 February 1972 vol 830 cc1134-5
Q6. Mr. Edward Taylor

asked the Prime Minister if he has received the report of the Government Departments Dispersal Committee; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

I expect to receive recommendations this year indicating how much of the headquarters work in London should remain there and where the rest might best be relocated.

Mr. Taylor

Is my right hon. Friend aware of concern in Scotland about the recent decisions of certain nationalised industries to concentrate their administration in the centre? In view of that, is he prepared to consider extending the remit of the Committee to cover the nationalised industries, or when the Committee has completed its work to ask it to have a look at the nationalised industries?

The Prime Minister

The Committee has undertaken a very big task. I have previously explained to the House that this present survey of where headquarters policy work can best be done is different in kind from the previous survey. I have been pressing the Committee to make as speedy progress as possible in order to bring about any relocation it recommends. Therefore, I should not like to ask it, in addition, to take on the problem in respect of the nationalised industries. I am perfectly prepared to ask my right hon. Friends concerned to discuss with the chairmen of the nationalised industries an examination of their policy towards their headquarters staffs.

Mr. Bob Brown

Will the Prime Minister apply the same sense of urgency to getting headquarters transferred from the South East as he applied to closing down the Land Commission in my constituency?

The Prime Minister

The proposal to end the Land Commission was one which was settled at the General Election, and action was taken on that. As to urgency, I believe that hon. Members want these matters to be examined thoroughly and to have satisfactory answers produced, in the interests of the staff concerned. To do that, the Committee must have sufficient time and must also have the opportunity to carry on consultations with those who will be asked to move and to live elsewhere.