HC Deb 26 January 1988 vol 126 cc155-6
4. Mr. Fallon

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of his Department's jobs are currently located in the northern region.

Mr. Sainsbury

As at 1 October 1987, 2.2 per cent. of the Department's civilian employees were located in the northern region.

Mr. Fallon

Did my hon. Friend see a recent episode of "Yes, Prime Minister" which emphasised the over-concentration of defence jobs in the south and the west, together with the advantages of moving such jobs to areas of high unemployment in the north and the east? What progress is being made on this issue; and is Hacker triumphing over Sir Humphrey?

Mr. Sainsbury

I did not see that particular episode, but perhaps I shall have the opportunity to do so on repeat. We are conscious of the point that my hon. Friend has made. It is perhaps worth noting that about 10 per cent. of recruits to the armed forces are drawn from the northern region.

Mr. Sean Hughes

Will the Minister tell us how many of the jobs now located in the northern region were previously located in London?

Mr. Sainsbury

I cannot give an exact answer, but the proportion of jobs in the northern region has not changed significantly for some time.

Mr. Holt

Given that rather appalling answer by my hon. Friend, does he accept that a radical Government, such as we have at the moment, should consider what their predecessors did when they moved the Royal Military Academy from High Wycombe to Aldershot? Perhaps we should consider relocating that academy in the north of England, thus stimulating that part of the country.

Mr. Sainsbury

My hon. Friend makes a radical suggestion. He also draws attention to the fact that the location of many of the Department's civilian employees is determined by the location of the major defence establishments, many of which have been in their present locations since the last century.