HC Deb 12 May 1982 vol 23 cc745-6
42. Mr. Cryer

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many redundancies among staff for whom she is responsible have occurred in the past 12 months.

Mr. Hayhoe

More than 3,000 industrial and non-industrial civil servants were made redundant in 1981.

Mr. Cryer

Is it not disgraceful that the Minister has taken responsibility for putting 3,000 people in the ever-swelling dole queues created by his Government? Is not that attitude symbolised by the sacking of 26 prizewinning, film-making civil servants in the COI? Is not the Government's attitude to sack them, come what may? The Minister will have seen that the director of the COI film and television department, Mr. Arthur White, has said that the decision to sack those film makers would have been made whatever the position. Is that not a complete and utter disgrace?

Mr. Hayhoe

I have frequently acknowledged the quality of the work done by the directors, production assistants and editors at the COI who have been made redundant, but the hon. Gentleman and the union concerned, the ACTT, have been involved in a campaign of deliberate deception and misrepresentation about this matter. Privatisation will save about £100,000 a year, and it makes good management sense. The hon. Gentleman knows the facts. I hope that he will abide by them and will cease misrepresenting the position.

Mr. Chapman

As the Civil Service's annual percentage turnover, measured by those who leave the service on reaching retirement age or voluntarily transfer to non-Civil Service jobs, is in double figures, can my hon. Friend give the House an assurance that the planned reduction in the number of civil servants by 100,000 over five years can be achieved with no, or at least very few, forced redundancies?

Mr. Hayhoe

I can give my hon. Friend the assurance that we shall be seeking to achieve our manpower targets with as little redundancy as is required. I can give him the news that the reduction in the size of the Civil Service now amounts to just under 66,000, which implies a full-year saving on the Civil Service pay bill of just under £½ billion. That is a very substantial achievement.

Mr. Alan Williams

But is not the figure of redundancies given by the Minister a severe underestimate? Is not the real redundancy level being concealed by the enforced retirement at 60 of specialists and professionals who entered the Civil Service late in their careers on the tacit understanding that they would be able to stay until they were 65? Will not the Government's policy make it more difficult for us to have the exchange of experience between industry and the Civil Service that all previous Governments have declared is required?

Mr. Hayhoe

I acknowledge that a number of people between 60 and 65 who wish to stay on in the Civil Service have been asked to retire. That is fully in accordance with the terms and conditions of their employment.