asked the Minister for the Civil Service what reductions in the Service in numbers he proposes for the next year.
I would refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) on 11th March 1977 for the general background to these reductions, which are aimed at the financial year 1978–79. In 1977–78, I expect Civil Service numbers to increase at first. They may even go above the ¾ million mark, but they should fall as the year progresses and return to about their present level by 1st April 1978.