Civil Service

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 1st April 2009.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 11:30 am, 1st April 2009

What plans the Government have to create additional jobs in the civil service during the recession.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The Government are committed to helping people and businesses as we fight through the economic downturn. Our priority is to support people back into work. In the hon. Gentleman's own area of interest, the civil service is playing its part. For example, the Department for Work and Pensions is recruiting 6,000 more front-line staff in Jobcentre Plus.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. When he is looking at civil service recruitment, will he consider the fact that every Government Department pays its disabled employees less than its non-disabled employees? The Home Office, which is the worst offender, pays disabled employees a third less than their non-disabled counterparts. Will he take action to stamp out that discrimination?

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

As I say, I know that the hon. Gentleman has a personal interest in this area. The record on recruitment for civil servants with disabilities is a good one. We have doubled the number of civil servants claiming to be disabled since 2001. I understand the hon. Gentleman's point and I will take a look at it.

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Photo of Jim Sheridan Jim Sheridan Labour, Paisley and Renfrewshire North

My hon. Friend will be aware that civil and public service workers are just as concerned about their jobs as those in the private sector. Can he assure the House that he will continue to invest in the public services of this country and will not pander to the millionaires' club who would cut inheritance tax?

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We will not pursue policies that benefit the few, not the many. Indeed, this month the Conservatives committed to removing the equivalent of 3,400 police officers from the Home Office budget, taking away £3 billion-worth of critical infrastructure investment that supports our workers through difficult times, and slashing the budget of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, which would threaten apprenticeships. There is only one minute to go until the end of April fools' day, but the real tragedy is that the Conservatives are serious about that.

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