§ 16. Mr. Alan Williams
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total number of local government employees in Wales.
§ Mr. Williams
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, at the time of the switch to that shark's charter, value added tax, there was throughout 17 Britain only one weights and measures inspector for every 1,000 registered traders? Was the proportion the same in Wales? Why do not the Government, and the Welsh Office in particular, provide more clerical assistance to weights and measures inspectors so that they do not have to spend as much time recording complaints as they do in following them up? Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that this absurd administrative mess explains why the Sunday Times discovered that consumers had a one-in-five chance of being cheated by VAT prices?
§ Mr. Thomas
I cannot answer the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question without notice. In any case, the Weights and Measures Inspectorate is a responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether, following the operation of the massive local government reorganisation in April of next year, there will be the same number of local government employees or fewer or a greater number?
§ Mr. Thomas
All I can say is that the majority of local authority employees are not likely to be much affected by the local government reorganisation.