HC Deb 20 February 1978 vol 944 cc999-1001
26. Mr. Wigley

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many civil servants, other than at the, Welsh Office, are employed in the Cardiff area.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

There are, excluding staff of the Welsh Office, 9,500 non-industrial civil servants in the Cardiff area.

Mr. Wigley

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that that figure is well in excess of the average for cities in the regions of England of a comparable size to Cardiff, and to a large extent emanates from the fact that Cardiff is the capital city of Wales? In those circumstances, will he draw to the attention of South Glamorgan County Council the irony of its refusing jobs which are associated with the Welsh Assembly and tell it that many other areas in Wales would be grateful for these jobs if the council would not?

Mr. Morris

I think the hon. Gentleman has made the point that Wales generally has done remarkably well out of the Government's Civil Service dispersal programme.

Mr. Anderson

Given that perhaps there is an over-concentration of administrative jobs within the Principality's capital, will my right hon. Friend seek, wherever possible, to further the dispersal of jobs within the totality of Wales?

Mr. Morris

I understand my hon. Friend's anxieties in this regard. The Civil Service must generally be located in important regional centres which have good travel facilities and communications with London and other major centres.

Mr. Grist

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the move of the Ministry of Defence to Cardiff is welcomed by the overwhelming majority of people in the city? Will he take this opportunity to confirm that this will mean more new jobs in the city, contrary to the various scare stories emanating from Plaid Cymru?

Mr. Morris

I have noted what the hon. Gentleman rightly refers to as scare stories. Dispersal of the Ministry of Defence to Cardiff will mean more new jobs for the community there.

Mr. Hal Miller

Will the right hon. Gentleman make plain, in the context of dispersal, whether he is talking about dispersing jobs without the civil servants presently doing those jobs, or dispersing people? If he is not dispersing jobs, what is to happen to those who have been doing the jobs? Will this route lead to an increase in the number of civil servants?

Mr. Speaker

Order. It seems that the hon. Member is getting in the supplementary question that he failed to get in when we were dealing with dispersal.

Mr. Miller

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. With respect, dispersal was referred to in supplementary questions and in the original answer.

Mr. Speaker

We dealt with dispersal on two Questions, I think.