HC Deb 12 May 1982 vol 23 cc746-8
43. Mr. Foulkes

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what further proposals she is considering with regard to Civil Service dispersal from London.

Mr. Hayhoe

None, Sir.

Mr. Foulkes

In relation to the transfer of 1,400 jobs in the Ministry of Defence to the Anderston site in Glasgow, can the Minister confirm that the building will be ready by the end of 1985 and that by that time the Ministry will have identified the jobs that are to be transferred?

Mr. Hayhoe

As the hon. Gentleman knows, that is primarily a question for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence. However, I assure him that, following the Select Committee's recommendations, when it became clear that the use of the Anderston site instead of the St. Enoch site would make the dispersal possible a year earlier, it was proceeded with. Although it is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, the posts are, as far as I am aware, being identified and that dispersal will go ahead as planned.

Mr. Anderson

In view of the changed and much worse employment conditions, is it not time that the Government reconsidered their dispersal policy as part of the total regional policy? Areas that have come to expect a supply of Government jobs are not receiving them and there is no other source for meeting the major employment needs of those areas outside London.

Mr. Hayhoe

A dispersal policy is expensive and the need to contain public expenditure prevents any further initiative in that direction. However, I assure the hon. Gentleman that when it comes to the location of new Government work, or the relocation of work for operational reasons, the pressing needs of particular areas will be given full consideration.

Mr. Dormand

In view of the disastrous unemployment situation in the Northern region, why does the Minister not transfer Civil Service jobs to the North? The Government frequently tell hon. Members who represent Northern region constituencies that they must wait until there is an upturn in the economy. Is not this one way in which the Government can act direct to provide jobs for the region?

Mr. Hayhoe

The Government announced their dispersal plans and programme on 26 July 1979. We are sticking to those plans, and it is right that we should do so, despite considerable pressure from the Departments and individuals concerned.

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I shall take points of order after the statements.