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Northern Region

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th December 1980.

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Photo of Mr Jack Dormand Mr Jack Dormand , Easington 12:00 am, 10th December 1980

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what proposals he now has for dispersing Civil Service posts to the Northern region.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that I gave him on 5 November.

Photo of Mr Jack Dormand Mr Jack Dormand , Easington

Is the Minister aware that the Government constantly wring their hands and repeat that the employment situation in the Northern region can improve only when the national economy improves? Does he accept that the Government have it within their power to transfer many jobs to the Northern region? In view of the desperate and deteriorating position in that area, will he reverse the decision that he made last year, when he stopped hundreds of jobs from going to the North?

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I should be misleading the House and the hon. Gentleman if I were to say that we would reopen the question of dispersal. That was the subject of a review last year, when a considered statement was made. The Government will stick to their decisions. We intend to continue with the dispersal of the same numbers and the same posts to the same locations that we announced. I cannot today announce a further review.

Photo of Mr David Watkins Mr David Watkins , Consett

Because unemployment in the onsett and Stanley part of the Northern region is already catastrophic and is increasing rapidly, will the Minister review the position and try to send some jobs there?

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I cannot add anything to my reply to the hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand). There are proportionately more Civil Service jobs in the Northern region than in most other parts of the country. I am afraid that I cannot help the hon. Gentleman in the way that he wishes.

Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Opposition Whip (Commons)

Will the Minister at least stop his colleagues from dispersing Civil Service jobs from the Northern region by relocating, as they plan to do, the regional offices of the Departments of the Environment and Transport in Leeds instead of Newcastle? Does he not realise the damage that that will cause?

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I shall take up that matter with my right hon. Friend, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman will do so as well.