HC Deb 26 July 1979 vol 971 c877
Q2. Mr. Chris Patten

asked the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to Bath.

The Prime Minister

I have no plans to do so.

Mr. Patten

I thank my right hon. Friend for what is, I hope, a temporarily discouraging reply. Will she make it clear when she visits other constituencies that cuts in public spending should fall just as much on those who administer public services as on the services they administer and on the contracts they place with private industry? Can she also make clear what steps she will take to see that that happens, for example, by setting up a special unit in No. 10 Downing Street or the Cabinet Office to monitor it?

The Prime Minister

We have tried to ensure that the cuts fall more on the administrators than on the services themselves. It was with that in mind that we have a 3 per cent. cut in the Civil Service and a ban on recruitment for three months. After that, the amount of administration should be contained in the budget for each Department. We are also to cut one level of administration from the National Health Service. I believe that the best way to cut administration is to have a strict budget and to leave it to Government Departments and the local authorities to make cuts in administration and not in the services.

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