HL Deb 12 February 1985 vol 460 cc104-5

2.48 p.m.

Lord Sandys

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government by what number civilian manpower has been reduced in the Ministry of Defence since May 1979 and what further reductions are planned between now and 1988.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, from 1st May 1979 to 2nd January this year Ministry of Defence civilian manpower was reduced by 76,000. Further reductions of some 8,000 are planned by 1988.

Lord Sandys

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that informative reply. Can he tell us how the reductions have been achieved?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, these reductions have been achieved by a combination of improving efficiency, privatisation, contracting out and dropping or curtailing functions.

Lord Mayhew

My Lords, could the noble Lord say how far this is a genuine reduction in defence manpower? Has he any figures for the number of people now classified as civilians who are in fact doing the same work as they did when employed by the Ministry of Defence?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, all the people I have referred to were, and so far as I know continue to be, classified as civilians, although it is true to say that some of the personnel involved are now working for other organisations doing the same work.

Lord Boston of Faversham

My Lords, can the Minister put these figures into a little better perspective, perhaps, by saying what proportion of the total manpower of the Ministry of Defence they comprise?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, the total number of civilians remaining on 2nd January, which was the second date I gave in the original Answer, including locally engaged civilians overseas, was 207,560.