To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the outcome of the programme for dispersing Government work out of London and the south-east announced in 1979; and whether the Government intend further initiatives on the location of Civil Service work.
In 1979 we announced a programme designed to disperse 5,900 posts, mainly to Scotland and the north. Over 5,500 posts have been dispersed under this programme, and planning is in hand for the remainder. Over the same period, and on their own initiative, Departments have relocated well over 6,000 other posts out of London and the south-east. About four fifths of the Civil Service is now located outside Greater London.No further central targets for relocation are being set, but Departments will be reviewing their location of work with a view in suitable cases to finding locations offering advantages in terms of recruitment and retention of staff, value for money and other considerations relevant to service delivery and management. In their reviews, Departments will consider localities which offer such advantages, including where appropriate areas which are the focus of the Government's regional and urban policies. A copy of the guidelines issued to Departments for these reviews has been placed in the Library of the House.