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Civil Servants (Location)

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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2.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many civil servants employed by the Scottish Office are based in Edinburgh.

The number of civil servants employed by the Scottish Office, including the prison service, who are based in Edinburgh was 5,784 at 1 March 1980.

Does the Secretary of State accept that that figure combined with the figure for other Departments highlights the importance of the Civil Service as an employer in Edinburgh? Does the right hon. Gentleman further accept that the Government's cutbacks mean that there will be precious few jobs in the Civil Service for Edinburgh school leavers this year? Does he accept that that fact, combined with the fact that unemployment in Edinburgh is above the national average, is ample justification for a reconsideration of the Government's decision to downgrade Edinburgh's development area status?

The hon. Gentleman is right in pointing to the importance of the Civil Service as an employer in Edinburgh. I might add that the Scottish Office and those employed there do an extremely good job and deserve credit for that.

It is, happily, the case that of the 9,500 unemployed school leavers in Scotland only 360 are in Edinburgh. However, there is no denying the fact that if Civil Service staff has to be reduced there will be fewer opportunities for new jobs. We hope to see those young people getting new jobs in other industries, particularly in the new small businesses which will be created as a result of the Budget.

Will my right hon. Friend tell us whether those figures represent a decrease on the figure for the corresponding period last year?

These figures represent a decrease on the figure for the same period last year. It has been difficult to achieve that, but it is necessary because the country cannot afford to carry the number of civil servants that we would like.