§ Mr. Soley
When the right hon. Gentleman next meets the trade unions, will he discuss with them the effect on morale in the Civil Service of the cuts being made by his colleagues in other Departments, especially the DHSS, where cuts are preventing the provision of a good standard of service to the public and undermining morale in an increasingly serious way?
§ Mr. Luce
I and my colleagues who are in charge of Departments are keen to ensure that the morale of the Civil Service is high. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have noticed that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has acknowledged that there have been pressures on certain parts of the DHSS, particularly in offices all over the country, as a result of which he is planning to increase the size of the Civil Service by 5,000. That is an acknowledgement of the pressures and an attempt to deal with the morale problem in the Civil Service.
§ Mr. Peter Bruinvels
May I suggest that not everything is right in the Civil Service at the moment? Is my right hon. Friend aware that the four Civil Service unions have set up a campaign for a better Civil Service at a cost of £6 million? Should not all members of the Civil Service now declare loyalty and allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and act like true civil servants by being honourable, respectable and responsible?
§ Mr. Corbett
Given the fact that, in the face of rising crime, extra police officers have been appointed, why does the Minister resist calls, in the face of rising VAT fiddles, for an increase of 1,000 officers to deal with VAT frauds? Does the right Gentleman understand that, for about £20 million a year, they could recoup about £122 million in what is now fiddled VAT money?
§ Mr. Luce
That is principally a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but my hon. Friend may have noticed that there is now a provisional pay agreement with the Institution of Professional Civil Servants to provide much more flexibility in the pay scheme to acknowledge retention and recruitment needs. I hope that that will be progress in the right direction.
§ Mr. Maclennan
Did the Minister take the opportunity to explain to the Civil Service unions whether the policy on decentralised pay bargaining was that proposed by the Paymaster General or that followed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer?