asked the Minister for the Civil Service what study has been made with a view to introducing incentive schemes into the non-industrial Civil Service.
The development of suitable incentives is a continuing element in the management of the non-industrial Civil Service. Information about the incentives offered in the private sector is currently being collected by the Pay Research Unit and I shall consider the matter further when this information is available.
Does the Minister agree that there is need now for a really imaginative widespread scheme which could increase incomes, job satisfaction and efficiency and, perhaps, reduce numbers as well?
The Department is constantly aware of the need to examine incentives. We do not agree entirely that financial incentives are the only means of increasing productivity. As the hon. Gentleman rightly indicated, job satisfaction and other factors are equally important.
Will the Minister give an assurance that there will be no productivity scheme which will provide incentives for VAT inspectors to harass and intimidate small traders?
I can give no such assurance.
asked the Minister for the Civil Service what were the numbers of non-industrial civil servants in the United Kingdom on 1st January 1975, 1st January 1974, 1st January 1973 and 1st January 1972, respectively.
asked the Minister for the Civil Service what have been the annual increases or decreases in each of the last four years in the number of non-industrial civil servants.
The numbers in each case were: 1972, 504,000—an increase of 5,000; 1973, 504,000—no change; 1974, 511,000—an increase of 7,000; 1975, 517,000—an increase of 6,000.
Bearing in mind the increase in the number of non-industrial civil servants which that reply reveals, and also the fact that there have been 30,000 transfers out and only 10,000 transfers in during the period, will the Minister say what is the Government's policy in regard to the future numbers of civil servants who will be administering our country?
The Government's policy in regard to the number of civil servants will be decided on the policies and administrative burdens which this Parliament gives the Civil Service to undertake.
Does not my hon. Friend agree that the assemblies to which he has been referring as being set up in Wales and Scotland will require an enormous increase in the Civil Service employment force, under whatever guise it appears, and that that will mean considerable cost for either the people of Scotland and Wales or the people of the United Kingdom in general?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is one of the factors which the House will take into consideration in its approach to the policy on devolution.