HC Deb 04 July 1983 vol 45 c18
37. Mr. Viggers

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he is satisfied that sufficient opportunities exist for the employment of non-civil servants within the Civil Service on temporary appointments; and whether he is satisfied that civil servants are able to gain experience outside the Civil Service on a similar basis.

Mr. Hayhoe

Good progress is being made, as is shown in a report on our interchange programme, which I am placing in the Library' of the House, but of course we always welcome further opportunities. The results for 1982 are very encouraging. The total number of secondments continues to grow, and rose by 20 per cent. between 1981 and 1982 to very nearly double the level when the initiative was launched in 1977.

Mr. Viggers

I thank my hon. Friend for that helpful response. Will he undertake to keep an open and receptive mind towards increasing the number of such schemes, because there are great advantages to be gained for the Civil Service and industry if each has direct experience of working in the other medium?

Mr. Hayhoe

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I can give him that assurance. It is good for industry and commerce and the Civil Service that we have more exchanges and secondments. It is beneficial for all concerned.

Mr. Williams

Has not the Prime Minister, in her appointments to top Civil Service posts, her sacking of the Think Tank and her axing and humiliation of Ministers who dared to disagree with her, displayed an obsession to surround herself with boot-licking yes-men? Is not the blinkered style and personality of the Prime Minster the great deterrent — [HON MEMBERS: "Reading."] I am not reading, as hon. Members can see. I say this with passion. Is not that the greatest deterrent to the recruitment of people of real ability to the Civil Service? Does not that mean that only neutered clones will search for such posts?

Mr. Hayhoe

I utterly reject that criticism of the present recruits into the Civil Service. As far as I can judge, the right hon. Gentleman was reading a question that he drafted before the general election. Does he not recall that he had it wrong then? Would it not he wise to make a resolution, now that he has been readopted and re-elected, to forget his silly vendetta of criticism against the Prime Minster before the election?