HC Deb 12 February 1979 vol 962 cc778-80
22. Mr. Viggers

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what are the Government's current intentions regarding the redeployment of Civil Service jobs in the light of the Hardman report.

The Minister of State, Civil Service Department (Mr. Charles R. Morris)

The Government remain committed to their programme of Civil Service dispersal to the locations already announced.

Mr. Viggers

Is not the position that the Government have promised 5,500 jobs to Glasgow without knowing from where the jobs are coming? Is it not a major scandal that civil servants have had this threat hanging over them for two years, that the move might cost as much as £500 million, and that in practice the Government have decided to drop the proposal? Will they now admit that they have dropped the proposal?

Mr. Morris

The Government's dispersal programme is going ahead as envisaged. If there are civil servants who are anxious about their position in the Civil Service dispersal programme, they can consult their controlling officers to discover whether their Departments are involved. But the dispersal programme is going ahead.

Mr. Madden

Is my right hon. Friend concerned about the apparent ease with which senior civil servants can redeploy themselves into lucrative jobs in private industry? Does my right hon. Friend agree that there should be a bar on senior civil servants joining companies which have received large amounts of taxpayers' money from Government funds? Will he publish in full the present rules and regulations relating to the seeking of jobs in private industry by civil servants?

Mr. Speaker

Before the Minister replies, I might point out that I allowed the supplementary question although it is not related to the original question on the Order Paper. The Minister may take that as a tip.

Mr. Morris

I am grateful for your protection, Mr. Speaker, but I give the House the undertaking that I shall publish and make available the rules under which senior civil servants take up such appointments.

Mr. Christopher Price

Will my right hon. Friend put it to the Government that the Hardman report is completely out of date in today's circumstances? Is he aware that it was conceived at a time when there was a tremendous disparity between London and the other regions, but that today parts of the borough of Lewisham, for example, have unemployment rates of more than 10 per cent. and far worse unemployment than exists in some parts of the development areas? Will my right hon. Friend look especially at the dispersal of the office of the Government Chemist to Cumbria, which is the biggest piece of nonsense in the Hardman report, and will he see whether he can make some arrangements to redeploy back into areas of severe unemployment in London some of the jobs dispersed as a result of decisions taken many years ago?

Mr. Morris

I appreciate fully my hon. Friend's anxiety about the job prospects of his constituents in Lewisham. However, at present 1,900 Civil Service jobs are vacant in London. Civil Service dispersal makes a real contribution to solving the structural economic difficulties which exist in provincial areas.

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