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Local Authorities (Manpower)

Volume 19: debated on Tuesday 2 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the overall changes in the levels of local authority manpower establishments during the present Parliament; whether he is satisfied with progress to date; and whether he envisages any further action.

Between June 1979 and September 1981, the latest published survey, the number of staff employed by local authorities in England, measured in full-time equivalents and taking account of seasonal factors, fell by 81,000—4·1 per cent. The annual reduction at September 1981 was 2·2 per cent. This rate of reduction is not enough to meet expenditure targets set by the Government and while the principal responsibility rests with the local authorities themselves, we shall continue to take all possible steps available to us to encourage the maximum economy and efficiency.