HC Deb 03 July 1978 vol 953 cc22-3
27. Mr. Adley

asked the Minister for the Civil Service by how many the Civil Service has increased or decreased since February 1974.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

Although there were 38,000 more Civil Service staff in post on 1st April this year than on 1st March 1974, the nearest available dates, decisions taken by the Government to contain the size and cost of the Civil Service have caused a reduction in Civil Service numbers of nearly 12,000 since April 1976. This represents a saving of some £65 million, which has been achieved despite increasing workloads in some Departments caused by changes in taxation and unemployment levels.

Mr. Adley

The Minister has announced an increase of 38,000 civil servants. Will he accept my congratulations for ensuring that the Government have shielded their own employees from the hardship of unemployment which has hit the rest of the community? It will be noted that the Government's ability to increase the number of their employees is in line with their ability to increase unemployment, inflation, taxation, food prices and a whole host of other items. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what benefit the taxpayers can expect from an additional 38,000 civil servants?

Mr. Morris

I believe that the hon. Member prepared that supplementary question without listening to my answer. I indicated that since 1976 we have achieved a reduction of 12,000 civil servants and a financial saving of £65 million.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

Does that fact not only nail the lie that the Civil Service complement is constantly increasing but make clear to the House and the country that any increase in the number of civil servants follows actions taken by this House in passing legislation and calling upon Government Departments to carry out responsibilities that hon. Members want to be carried out? Those who criticise any increase in the number of civil servants should do something about it here instead of constantly asking for more Government support.

Mr. Morris

My hon. Friend is right. The size of the Civil Service is determined by the tasks imposed upon it by decisions of this House.

Forward to