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Employment Opportunities

Volume 932: debated on Thursday 26 May 1977

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asked the Minister for the Civil Service if, in view of the need to preserve for the maximum extent job opportunity in the Civil Service for school leavers, he will give an assurance that the maximum use will be made of the arrangement for voluntary premature retirement for staff approaching retirement age before recruitment is reduced.

I take it that my hon. Friend is referring to the arrangements for the premature retirement of civil servants who are redundant or are of limited efficiency, or where there is an age-structure problem in their grade or group. These are not voluntary retirement arrangements, although many who retire under them may be willing to leave the Service. It would not be appropriate to use these arrangements for the purpose my hon. Friend has suggested. He will, however, know the seriousness with which the Government view the need to provide sufficient job opportunities for school leavers, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment has announced the various measures we have implemented to alleviate the problem.