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Civil Service Jobs

Volume 599: debated on Wednesday 16 September 2015

7. What recent discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues on the provision of civil service jobs in Wales. (901177)

I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues, including civil service jobs in Wales. I appreciate that the civil service, as a major employer in Wales, contributes significantly to the Welsh economy.

With 30 years of whinging and whining from job gluttons, mostly from London, set against the huge success of the relocation of civil service jobs in Wales, when will we hear a strong clarion call from Welsh Ministers to defend jobs in the broad acres of Wales and away from polluted, overcrowded and congested London?

I think the hon. Gentleman is referring to reports about the Office for National Statistics. Sir Charlie Bean’s review is a wide-ranging report, independent of Government, into how to address future challenges to the measurement and production of economic statistics. He referred specifically to the support given by the Wales Office. I am sure that my predecessors would like me to highlight that the number of civil servants employed across the UK has fallen by 17% but in Wales by only 13%. That is a credit to my predecessors.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is talking about shifting jobs from Wrexham in north Wales to Cardiff. Will the Minister meet me to ensure that north Wales has civil service jobs and that the Tories in Wales do not sell north Wales down the river again?

I do not accept the premise of the question. The Government’s commitment to north Wales is significant. We are looking at the improvement of the railway line across north Wales, and the hon. Gentleman will be more than aware of the impact that the prison will have in north Wales. Of course we want to ensure that all the jobs are as efficient as possible. I will happily write to the hon. Gentleman on the detail of the point that he has brought to the attention of the House.

What discussions has the Minister had with the people in the civil service who are responsible for the provision of library services about the appalling decision to remove an exhibition about Israeli and Palestinian people playing football together? Does he think that the decision to remove the exhibition will bring people together and further knowledge, which is what libraries are supposed to be about?

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point, referring to a disgraceful decision and act by Cardiff city council ahead of a visit from Israel to Cardiff. I hope that the leaders of his party on Cardiff city council will hear and take note of his comments.