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Northern Region

Volume 887: debated on Monday 3 March 1975

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asked the Minister for the Civil Service what further plans he has for the dispersal of Civil Service employment to the Northern Region.

The programme announced by the Lord President on 30th July last involves the dispersal of nearly 4,000 posts from London to the Northern Region and the setting up, subject to parliamentary approval, of a child allowance scheme centre in Washington New Town, comprising about 2,000 posts. There are no plans for further dispersal of Civil Service work to the Northern Region at present.

I thank the Minister for that reply, but when is the child allowance scheme office likely to be opened at Washington New Town, in my constituency? Does he not accept that far more tax work could be dispersed to the development areas?

I certainly accept the urgency of dispersing civil servants to the Northern Region, but the individual questions which my hon. Friend has now put are really questions for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Social Services.

Will the Minister bear in mind that the forced dispersal of civil servants without adequate consultation would go against the spirit of worker participation?

Yes. I certainly give my hon. Friend the assurance that there will be full and adequate consultation, both with the National Staff Side and with the Departmental Staff Sides of the individual Departments concerned.