asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what economies in the use of public funds have been achieved by his Department within the past three years; and what sums have been saved as a result.
My Department is constantly seeking ways for making economies through such means as staff inspection and the use of management services. In particular, following the Government's programme for reducing public expenditure announced by my right hon. Friend, the Minister for the Civil Service on 29th July 1976—[Vol. 916, c. 383–4]—my Department made economies in administration costs amounting to £14·4 million —at 1975 prices—from the level of expenditure previously forecast for 1978–79. In working towards this target £5 million was saved in 1977–78. These savings have been effected by a variety of measures, covering both manpower and other costs such as postage and telephones. Some of the manpower reductions have been offset by the need for extra staff to deal with both increased numbers of claims to social security benefits and the introduction of new benefits.