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Volume 930: debated on Wednesday 27 April 1977

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asked the Minister for the Civil Service (1) why only 10 Civil Service posts were dispersed from London to Merseyside between 1st October 1974 and 30th September 1976 compared with 312 to Basingstoke, 56 to Sunningdale, 19 to Worthing and 31 to Eastbourne;(2) if, in view of the high level of unemployment in Kirkby, he will alter his policy on the dispersal of Civil Service posts and disperse a substantial proportion to the town;(3) what are the 56 Civil Service posts dispersed to Sunningdale; and what was the reason for the choice of location;(4) how many Civil Service posts are to be dispersed from London to (a), Merseyside, (b) Kirkby and (c) Orsmkirk;(5) why more Civil Service posts have so far been dispersed to the South as opposed to the high unemployment area of Merseyside.

The Government's dispersal programme announced in July 1974 provides for about four-fifths of the dispersed posts to go to assisted areas, including 3,400 to Merseyside, including Southport. The other moves referred to in the Question were all to existing offices of the Departments concerned and did not require the long lead times for construction work and planning necessary for the larger moves in the programme.The 56 posts dispersed to Sunningdale are part of the Civil Service College, which has its headquarters there, and Sunningdale was given in the announcement of the programme—[Vol. 878, c. 493–4]—as an existing dispersal centre.There are currently no plans to disperse Civil Service work to Kirkby or Ormskirk. The location decisions already announced will not now be reopened; but in any future location decisions the interests of Kirkby and Ormskirk, as well as those of other areas, will be borne in mind.