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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?
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.
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.