HC Deb 21 May 1980 vol 985 c501
54. Mr. Gummer

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what proposals he has for a Civil Service manpower policy for the rest of this Parliament.

Mr. Channon

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 13 May.

Mr. Gummer

Will my hon. Friend accept that one of the problems is that the suggestion is always made that the only way to reduce Civil Service numbers is to reduce the number of jobs? However, in private enterprise one of the ways of reducing staff numbers is to get more productivity. Many of us feel that there is no indication of more productivity from civil servants.

Mr. Channon

I assure my hon. Friend that the Government's aim is to cut out unnecessary functions and provide the rest more efficiently. The main emphasis of the recent cuts will be on increased efficiency. That meets my hon. Friend's point.

Mr. Cryer

Will the Minister confirm that the manpower policies of the Civil Service will mean that the rules will be applied very rigorously on the departure of senior civil servants for lush boardroom jobs? Will he confirm that when Mr. John D. Lippett went to GEC, in answer to a question of mine about this the Minister said that Mr. Lippett had no dealings with GEC? Is he aware that that was not the case? Secret information revealed in the new New Statesman demonstrated that a meeting had been held with Sir Arnold Weinstock, Mr. Lippett and others to carve up Rolls-Royce. Will the Minister take this into account in his future manpower policies and stop this shift to lushly-paid jobs?

Mr. Channon

I am not prepared to comment on individual cases. This whole question is under discussion by the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee, and the Government eagerly await its report.