§ Mr. Murphy
asked the Paymaster General if he will set out the principal achievements of Her Majesty's Government within his Department's responsibilities since May 1979.
§ Mr. Parkinson
Since May 1979 the Paymaster General's office has taken significant steps to meet the Government's objectives of increasing efficiency and reducing both costs and manpower. Manpower has been reduced from 892 in 1979 to 872 in 1983, despite a 20 per cent. increase in the number of pensions paid—currently 1.1 million—and a 15 per cent. increase in the number of payable orders issued by Government Departments. This has been achieved mainly by the introduction of more advanced computer systems and by Rayner studies which have identified both cost and manpower savings. Seven posts were saved by the privatisation in 1982 of the night security arrangements.
During the same period it has been possible to cut administrative costs and improve the service to pensioners by introducing payment direct to pensioners' bank accounts using the Bankers' Automated Clearing Services Ltd.