HC Deb 07 November 1979 vol 973 c402
72. Mr. Straw

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when next he will be meeting representatives of the Civil Service staff side of the Whitley Council.

Mr. Channon

I am meeting them constantly, Sir.

Mr. Straw

When the Minister next meets the representatives from the staff side, will he let them know what decisions the Government have reached in their consideration of 10, 15 or 20 per cent. cuts in the work of the Civil Service? Will he accept that the Government's failure to make decisions in this area is damaging morale even more within the Civil Service?

Mr. Channon

I certainly accept that decisions have to be made in the near future. The Government have always said that we would be making a statement in the autumn. We still intend to do so.

Mr. William Clark

When the Minister nexts meets the Whitley Council, will he point out the difference between pension schemes within the Civil Service and pension schemes in the private sector? Is he aware that to obtain Inland Revenue approval a private pension scheme can contain an inflationary element of only 5, 6 or 7 per cent.? Are we not creating two types of employee in the case of pensions if the rest are inflation proofed?

Mr. Channon

As my hon. Friend knows, this matter goes far wider than the Civil Service. I have already taken note of the views of the House.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

As the implications of the cuts of up to 20 per cent. are so great for the Civil Service and for all of us, will the Minister give an undertaking that he will not issue a statement as a written reply but that he will come to the House and tell us exactly what cuts in jobs and services there will be?

Mr. Channon

When the Government have reached their decisions, they will be announced in the most appropriate way. I will take note of the hon. Gentleman's views.