HC Deb 30 March 1976 vol 908 cc471-2W
Mr. Wm. Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Island how many of the jobs in his Department's establishment in Northern Ireland and in the rest of the United Kingdom became necessary as a result of direct rule in 1972; what was the initial number; and what is the number and annual cost now.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

Following the introduction of direct rule in March 1972, the Northern Ireland Office was set up as a Department of State with an initial complement of about 100 United Kingdom civil servants in London and Belfast. This was naturally on a provisional basis pending the gradual assessment of staffing complements appropriate to requirements. Under the provisions of the Northern Ireland (Modification of Enactment—No. 1) Order 1973, the Secretary of State assumed responsibility on 1st January 1974 for functions, chiefly in the law and order field, previously exercised by the Northern Ireland Ministry for Home Affairs, which was abolished. The Northern Ireland civil servants concerned, about 650 at the time, were seconded to the Northern Ireland Office for this purpose.

The number of staff in my Department, distributed between offices in Belfast and London, is now about 1,200, the majority of whom—970—are Northern Ireland civil servants, while the remainder—230—are United Kingdom civil servants. The estimated costs of employing these civil servants in my Department in the financial year 1975–76 is £5,245,000.