HC Deb 10 December 1980 vol 995 cc924-5
76. Mr. Dormand

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what proposals he now has for dispersing Civil Service posts to the Northern region.

Mr. Channon

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that I gave him on 5 November.

Mr. Dormand

Is the Minister aware that the Government constantly wring their hands and repeat that the employment situation in the Northern region can improve only when the national economy improves? Does he accept that the Government have it within their power to transfer many jobs to the Northern region? In view of the desperate and deteriorating position in that area, will he reverse the decision that he made last year, when he stopped hundreds of jobs from going to the North?

Mr. Channon

I should be misleading the House and the hon. Gentleman if I were to say that we would reopen the question of dispersal. That was the subject of a review last year, when a considered statement was made. The Government will stick to their decisions. We intend to continue with the dispersal of the same numbers and the same posts to the same locations that we announced. I cannot today announce a further review.

Mr. David Watkins

Because unemployment in the onsett and Stanley part of the Northern region is already catastrophic and is increasing rapidly, will the Minister review the position and try to send some jobs there?

Mr. Channon

I cannot add anything to my reply to the hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand). There are proportionately more Civil Service jobs in the Northern region than in most other parts of the country. I am afraid that I cannot help the hon. Gentleman in the way that he wishes.

Mr. Beith

Will the Minister at least stop his colleagues from dispersing Civil Service jobs from the Northern region by relocating, as they plan to do, the regional offices of the Departments of the Environment and Transport in Leeds instead of Newcastle? Does he not realise the damage that that will cause?

Mr. Channon

I shall take up that matter with my right hon. Friend, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman will do so as well.

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