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Departmental Staff

Volume 13: debated on Monday 23 November 1981

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38.

asked the Paymaster General how many staff are in post in his Department.

39.

40.

asked the Paymaster General how many staff he has in his Department.

At 1 November 1981 there were 918 staff in post in my Department at Crawley. In addition, there are two employed in my private office in London.

Since the right hon. Gentleman's own job is clearly, as chairman of the Conservative Party, to promote his party's cause, may we assume that his salary comes from his party and not from public funds?

I am sure that it will please the hon. Gentleman to know that, although I devote a considerable amount of time to Government work, I have declined to take a ministerial salary.

As higher rates of pension come into effect today, will my right hon. Friend confirm that the effects of the recent Civil Service strike, which caused delays in the payment of pensions and which so harmed the old and the sick, have now been cleared up and that the higher pensions will be paid promptly through his Department?

I am pleased to be able to say that the effects of the delay, which was caused by the strike of computer staff, and which caused unfortunate effects for pensioners, have now been overcome and pensions are being paid promptly.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will not hit the ball straight back over my head, as he did with the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick). What steps is he taking to participate in the curtailment of staff, along with other members of Her Majesty's Government?

The staff of the Department has not increased over the last two years, although the number of pensions paid has increased by over 10 per cent. However, I accept my hon. Friend's point, and I am determined to look at the work of the Department to see whether it is possible to privatise part of it and to get the work done more efficiently.

The right hon. Gentleman is to be congratulated on giving away his undoubted right to the interest on the Exchequer balances. For what associated public bodies is he ministerially responsible in his present capacity?

I am responsible for the work of my Department. I have one or two other honorary jobs, such as trusteeship of the Royal hospital, Chelsea. I am also a trustee of one or two small benevolent funds, the beneficiaries of which are former members of the Forces.