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Volume 164: debated on Thursday 21 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security to what extent his Department's (a) budget and (b) staffing level has been cut for the year 1989–90 in the light of anticipated savings to be achieved through computerisation.

The Department's administration budget for 1989–90 was settled during the 1988 public expenditure survey and published in the 1989 public expenditure Whie Paper (Cm 615). It reflected the wide range of the Department's activities, including its computerisation programme. If this programme had not been undertaken it is estimated that in the year 1989–90 the Department would have required 4,000 additional staff at a cost of some £42 million.