§ Q60. Mr. Ralph Howell
asked the Prime Minister what is the Government's target for reduction of overall public sector manpower during the lifetime of the present Parliament; and whether or not she is satisfied with progress so far.
§ The Prime Minister
There is no overall target for reductions in public sector manpower. In the case of the Civil Service, we have a target of 630,000 staff by 1 April 1984 compared with a total of 732,000 when we took office. By January 1982 we had achieved savings of 56,900 and are well on course for our planned reduction. As announced in the last defence White Paper, Cmnd. 8288, it is also our intention to reduce the size of the Armed Forces by 17,500 by 1986. The Government have set a target for England of a 10 per cent. reduction over the next three years in NHS management costs is a proportion of NHS resources. Comparable measures are in hand in Scotland and Wales. The Government are also pursuing other measures aimed at securing improved efficiency in the NHS in the use of all resources including manpower. We are also encouraging local authorities to reduce their manpower.317W