asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many persons at present employed in Scotland in offices which are under his control will be made redundant under the proposed public expenditure cuts for the current year; and if he will identify these by region and by numbers involved.
Before redundancy is declared, the agreed procedures provide for a number of measures to be considered, including the redeployment of surplus staff to other Departments. Until all this has been completed, it will not be possible to say whether there will be any redundancies in the Civil Service as a result of public expenditure reductions. We intend to keep redundancy to a minimum. It is most unlikely that there will be any in the current financial year.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that it will be welcomed in Scotland where unemployment is 8·9 per cent? When he comes to consider redundancies, will he take that unemployment rate into consideration?
I shall certainly take anything that my hon. Friend says into consideration. I take his views seriously, especially those about dispersal. I have no reason to believe that the chance of Civil Service redundancies in Scotland is worse than elsewhere.
Does the Minister expect to see any further transfer of Civil Service jobs from Southend to Scotland?
That is an interesting thought. I shall have to consult Mr. Edward Taylor about that.
Since the Minister is still saying that he is in favour of public service dispersal to Scotland, will he be supporting his former colleague, Teddy Taylor, in his by-election campaign in Southend, East?
With vigorous enthusiasm. I am looking forward to a convincing victory.