HC Deb 29 January 1985 vol 72 cc159-60W
Mr. Ralph Howell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is (a) the total figure for United Kingdom public sector employment, (b) the figure for each principal Government Department and (c) the estimate for (a) and (b) for 1985; and what percentage of the total employed labour force was represented by the public sector in mid-1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985.

Mr. Peter Rees

The public sector employment figures are as follows:

Thousands Per cent. Of total employed labour force
1979 7,417 29.2
1980 7,356 29.1
1981 7,154 29.4
1982 6,992 29.1
1983 6,904 29.0
1984 6,825 28.4

Estimates for 1985 are not yet available, but the privatisation of British Telecom will have reduced public sector employment by 240,000 or 1 per cent. of the total employed labour force. The effect of previous privatisations is shown in the regular article "Employment in the public and private sectors" (Economic Trends, March 1984).

Numbers of civil servants in post at 1 October 1984 in Great Britain by principal Government Department can be found in summaries of the Civil Service quarterly staff returns. Targets for individual Departments for 1985 are shown in table 2.17 of Cmnd. 9428 (part 11) — "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1985–86 to 1987–88", published on 22 January. Both these documents are available in the House of Commons Library.