HC Deb 26 November 1973 vol 865 cc19-20
41. Mr. McElhone

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the latest position of the Hardman Report as far as it effects Glasgow and West-Central Scotland.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

I received a deputation from Glasgow on 9th October and my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence visited Glasgow last Thursday. He met representatives of the area to discuss the possibility of dispersing part of his Department there. We are considering this, and the other possibilities suggested in the Hardman Report, along with views put to us by many other parts of the country.

Mr. McEIhone

I thank the Minister for that statement. Is he aware that there are still 22,569 male unemployed in the Glasgow travel-to-work area and that that figure represents 6.9 per cent. of the working population of the area? Can he assure the House that in respect of Glasgow and the West of Scotland the Government reject Hardman's attitude to Glasgow and that it will still qualify for a large number of the jobs available for dispersal?

Mr. Baker

The House will appreciate that I cannot give specific assurances about a specific area until decisions have been announced on Hardman. However, factors such as those described by the hon. Gentleman are taken into account.

Mr. Edward Taylor

Will my hon. Friend also bear in mind that especially in the West of Scotland the majority of those who are successful in the Civil Service executive grade examinations are unable to obtain Civil Service posts in Scotland? Can my hon. Friend give any indication about when a decision will be reached?

Mr. Baker

I hope to be able to announce decisions in the next few weeks. I take my hon. Friend's point about there not being sufficient jobs of the right sort available. However, this is a point which has been put to me by virtually every delegation that I have seen, from whichever part of the country it has come. It was put to me by the Liverpool delegation last week.