HC Deb 10 March 1982 vol 19 cc842-3
41. Mr. Viggers

Minister for the Civil Service if she is satisfied with progress in introducing computer techniques into Civil Service operations.

Mr. Hayhoe

Generally speaking, yes. The Civil Service is the largest single user of computers in the United Kingdom, with 650 medium to large size computers in use for administrative and scientific purposes. Central Government expenditure on computing is large and rising. Around £100 million will be spent in 1981–82. Increasing use is being made of new computer-based technology. There are currently over 700 microcomputers and 500 word processors in use in Government Departments.

Mr. Viggers

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that much of Government practice is five to 10 years behind private industry in computer techniques? Is he proud of the fact that the Italians have organised payment of social service benefits by computers, that are made in Hampshire? Does he agree that there is enthusiastic support for the work that he is doing in this area, but that this support verges almost on impatience?

Mr. Hayhoe

I am delighted that foreign Governments are using computers manufactured in this country. I hope that this process will continue. Computers are being widely used in Government processing and this situation is improving as new computers come on stream.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

What is the future of the computer-assisted placing scheme in employment offices in the London area?

Mr. Hayhoe

The hon. Gentleman must address that question to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment, who is responsible for the project.

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