HC Deb 06 August 1976 vol 916 cc1179-80W
Mr. Michael Morris

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest estimate of staff employed by the regional water authorities in England and Wales, and what is the cost; and how the figures compare with the numbers employed and the costs prior to reorganisation of the water authorities.

Mr. Denis Howell

The National Water Council tells me that the latest firm figure available for staff employed by regional water authorities in England and Wales is 58,385 at 31st March 1975. The Ogden Report, published in July 1973, estimated that, before reorganisation, 75,000 people were employed in the water industry. The figures are not, however, strictly comparable. In particular, certain functions of the water authorities are carried out on an agency basis by district councils and water compánies.

I also understand from the National Water Council that the cost of regional water authority staff in England and Wales was £174,091,000 in 1974–75, the latest year for which figures are available. I regret that comparable figures for staff costs prior to reorganisation are not available.