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Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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asked the Minister for the Civil Service, for the latest and most convenient stated date, what has been the reduction in the number of civil servants that has occurred since May 1979; and what has been the weekly, monthly or annual savings of the cost of the Civil Service since May 1979.

At 1 January 1980 there were 707,800 staff in post in central Government Departments with a pay cost for that month estimated at £330 million.At 1 April 1979 the corresponding staff figure was 732,000 and the pay cost for that month was £288 million. Information on staff numbers is collected quarterly at 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October; details are not held centrally for other months of the year.The Main Estimates for 1979–80 presented by the previous Administration provided for total staff in post of 740,000 at the beginning of the financial year rising to 748,000 at the end. This implied 746,000 staff in post at 1 January 1980. Against that level of staffing there is a saving of about £18 million in what would have been the pay costs for that month.