HC Deb 25 November 1981 vol 13 cc888-90
63. Mr. Dormand

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many Civil Service posts have been transferred to the Northern region since May 1979.

Mr. Hayhoe

The dispersal programme announced on 26 July 1979 did not include any transfer of posts to the Northern region. Details of posts that may have been transferred by Departments for management reasons are not held centrally.

Mr. Dormand

Will the Minister have another look at the first part of his reply, because if he is referring to the Hardman report, there is some inaccuracy? Perhaps the Minister is referring to the Government's report. We hear from the Prime Minister and from Ministers responsible for industry and the economy that the Northern region will have to wait until there is an upturn in the economy. Does the Minister agree that the transfer of posts is one step that the Government could take to increase employment in the region, particularly as that was recommended in the Hardman report? Will the hon. Gentleman have another look at the situation?

Mr. Hayhoe

What I said was correct. The dispersal programme that I referred to was the one announced by the Government on 26 July 1979. A dominant reason for the situation is that the need to contain public expenditure means that further dispersal initiatives—which cost money—cannot be undertaken in the foreseeable future. However, that does not include those to which we are committed. Those commitments stand.