HC Deb 29 March 1976 vol 908 cc890-1
29. Mr. Wrigglesworth

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement about cuts in Civil Service manpower.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

As I explained to my hon. Friend on 23rd February, the exercise referred to in Command Paper 6393 is aimed at reducing expenditure on Civil Service manpower and related administration. Departments are at present reviewing thoroughly all aspects of their work, and decisions on the precise nature of the reductions in expenditure will be taken in the light of this review. I cannot at this stage forecast the timing or content of these decisions.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

Does my hon. Friend realise the deep anxiety which the talk of redundancies in the Civil Service is causing within the Service? Will he make an early announcement about the cuts?

Mr. Morris

I am aware of the anxieties among civil servants, which have been increased in recent months by Press reports. I will endeavour to communicate the decision as soon as possible.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

Is the Minister planning completely to close down or reduce the extent of the operations of the Civil Service College in Edinburgh, which is the only such college in the north of Britain?

Mr. Morris

I appreciate the anxiety of the civil servants who are at present employed at the Edinburgh centre of the Civil Service College. I assure the hon. Gentleman that as part of the Government's intention to reduce expenditure on staff and related administrative costs, announced in the Public Expenditure White Paper, a number of savings are being considered within my Department but no decisions have yet been made.

Mr. Stonehonse

Is my hon. Friend aware that the non-industrial Civil Service has grown by over 30 per cent. in the last 12 years, despite the investment of huge amounts of money in computers and other manpower saving devices? Is it not time for Ministers, as well as advising private enterprise that it should become more efficient, to ensure that the official machine becomes more efficient?

Mr. Morris

There has been an expansion of the non-industrial Civil Service. That is the justification for the current study into Civil Service manpower.

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