HC Deb 26 June 1989 vol 155 c696
75. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what was the total number of civil servants in Greater Manchester in 1979; and what was the most recent figure.

Mr. Luce

For the administrative area of Greater Manchester, the number of non-industrial civil servants on 1 January 1979 was 19,270. The most recent figure at 1 January 1989 is 16,720.

Mr. Bennett

From those figures do we take it that the Government's policy to disperse civil servants from London and the south-east to the regions has stopped? Does he accept that there is still a strong argument for encouraging civil servants and Government Departments to move to the north-west, which has a far more attractive environment than London and the south-east?

Mr. Luce

There is no question of stopping the policy of relocation; on the contrary, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security recently announced that 1,000 jobs will be relocated out of London to Glasgow, Belfast and Wigan. Wigan, which is part of Greater Manchester, will get another 260 civil servants. The hon. Gentleman should also take note of the fact that my right hon. Friend the Paymaster General recently announced that no less than 34,000 Civil Service jobs are under review with the possibility of relocation in other areas. I think that the motive for doing so is getting stronger every day.