asked the Minister for the Civil Service when he last met representatives of the Civil Service trade unions; and if he will make a statement.
Is the Minister aware that massive cuts in public expenditure will, if carried out, threaten the safety standards in many Government Departments, including those concerned with energy, industry and all forms of transport—land, sea and air? Should he not listen to the representations made by the Civil Service unions on all these matters? Will he take into account the documents that have been sent to all Members of Parliament indicating those areas? Will he give a guarantee that the cuts in public expenditure will not affect safety standards in the Departments that I have mentioned?
I do not accept what the hon. Member says. Naturally, I shall listen to representations made by the Civil Service unions on this or any other matter. As the House is to debate public expenditure later today I should have thought that that was the time to raise these points.
In discussions on public expenditure between my hon. Friend and the Civil Service unions, has the question of the alarming and growing burden of the index-linking of public service pensions been raised, particularly in view of the great irritation and dissatisfaction felt by people who have retired from the private sector and are not so protected?
I discussed that matter along with other topics with the Civil Service unions. As I reminded the House the last time I answered questions, the issue of index-linked pensions relates to the whole public sector. It is not simply a matter of the Civil Service.