Examination of Witnesses (Questions 200-219)|
15 JULY 2004
MP, MR NICHOLAS
Q200 Mr Fallon: Efficiency savings, Chancellor.
Could we start with head count? What has been the increase in
total public sector employment since 1997?
Mr Brown: I have the figures here.
Let me just go through them. Are you talking about Civil Service,
or are you talking about
Q201 Mr Fallon: No, total public sector
employment since you started in 1997?
Mr Brown: Do remember
Q202 Mr Fallon: I do remember?
Mr Brown: Do remember that my
figures for the 84,000 are the Civil Service.
Q203 Mr Fallon: We are coming to those.
Just answer the question?
Mr Brown: The figure for . . .
Can I give you the figures? In 1992 5.7, 5.8 million; in 1997
just under 5 million; today 5.4 million; and that, of course,
as you know, is mainly 50,000 nurses, 90,000 teaching assistants,
20,000 teachers, more than 20,000 doctors, and I can go through
the list of other public servants who are working at the front-line,
and I hope that you would not be suggesting that we should not
have been employing the nurses and the teachers and the doctors
and the teachers' assistants, and the home-helps and the carers
that are necessary for a decent civilised society following years
Q204 Mr Fallon: Certainly not?
Mr Brown: So you would support
Q205 Mr Fallon: Certainly would. So the
increase since 1997 has been 400,000. What is the increase in
the current spending period, 2003 to 2006?
Mr Brown: I only have the figure
for 2003, which is the last figure because 2006 has not yet arrived.
I am giving the actual figures.
Q206 Mr Fallon: The spending period we
are in, there must be some figures. You must have the total public
sector employment at the end of that period in March 06.
Mr Brown: We know what we would
like to achieve for nurses and doctors, we know what we would
like to achieve for teachers and teaching assistants, but, of
course, departments have to operate within their spending limits
and if they can only afford a certain number of teachers, or doctors,
or community support officers, that is going to be a matter for
them. So I cannot give you a prospective figure at all; what I
can tell you is that over the next period of the spending round
there will be 84,000 jobs reduced, that is the gross figure, 84,000
is gross, 70,000 is the net figure.
Q207 Mr Fallon: We are coming to that,
but Sir Peter Gershon, your own expert, forecast the increase
in total public sector employment to 06 as 360,000 in his interim
report. Is that wrong?
Mr Brown: I would not be able
to confirm that at all. I can give you the figures for what we
are expecting: 143,000 more health employees, that is nurses,
GPs, consultants, people working in the Health Service, and, again,
you would support that, it seems to me, from what you said, and
therefore you would not be opposing that number of nurses and
doctors being available for local hospitals; it is part of the
expansion that is already factored in. In terms of working in
the law and order services, can I say that we are expecting there
to be 33,000 more people, for example, community support officers,
police, prison officers, and in the Early Year Services, that
is Nursery Education and Sure Start, and, of course, we have now
Nursery Education for every three and 4 year-old, again I think
you would approve of this, there will be 55,000 in the Early Years
and Childcare sector. So these are front-line workers in almost
every case whom I think would be a group of people whose addition
to the public service staff you would support.
Q208 Mr Fallon: What I want to be clear
about is what proportion of the 400,000 total public sector employment
are not front-line?
Mr Brown: Again, the 84,000 reductions
that are going to take place in the Civil Service and are people
who are not essentially front-line staff.
Q209 Mr Fallon: Are there any others?
Of the increased 400,000 how many others are not front-line?
Mr Brown: If you take the hospital
sector, there are 143,000 more front-line health workers, clearly
the vast majority are people who are nurses in the wards, assistants
and auxiliaries for nurses and consultants and GPs, and they are
not administrative staff at all, and then ambulance staffthere
are 3,000 more ambulance staffand then there are obviously
people who are in the scientific and the therapy side. So all
these people will be included; I would have thought a limited
number of managers.
Q210 Mr Fallon: Only the 84,000 are not
Mr Brown: No, I did not say that
Q211 Mr Fallon: What proportion is not
Mr Brown: I cannot give you
Q212 Mr Fallon: You do not know?
Mr Brown: I cannot give youI
mean it would be ridiculous
Q213 Mr Fallon: You have quoted 400,000
public sector new jobs. You must know what proportion of them
are not front-line?
Mr Brown: You are talking about
the figures to 2006, you are asking me to predict the figures
to 2006, and I am telling you that the emphasis is on the growth
of front-line staff. I have given you the figures for nurses,
and for doctors, and for teachers' assistants and teachers. It
is clear from these figures that the vast majority of any new
staff are going to be front-line staff; and now you know that
the emphasis of the Civil Service Reforms are to move resources
from what you might call head office and central functions and
back office services into the front-line, I would have thought
you would be applauding that.
Q214 Mr Fallon: You have no idea of the
400,000 army how many others are not front-line?
Mr Brown: Which 400,000 figure?
You are talking about a figure that you say is the prospective
figure for public services.
Q215 Mr Fallon: You have just given me
the figure. An increase of five million when you started to 5.4
million where you are now?
Mr Brown: The questions you were
asking me about were the figures to 2006. I rightly said, I cannot
give you all the figures prospectively. What we can look at is
what happened in the past, if that is what you want to do, but
our discussion has been, as you rightly put the question, what
is the break down of figures between now and 2006. I cannot give
you that, because we do not know exactly what is going to happen,
nor should we, because it is going to be a matter for local hospitals
and local schools to make the decisions, in many cases, about
the balance of resources, and, again, I would have thought you
would have supported this local transference of responsibility.
Q216 Mr Fallon: I am coming to that.
Let us look at the actual head count reduction of 104,000 then.
I think 20,000 of that is from the devolved administrations in
Mr Brown: Hold on. What I announced
in the House of Commons was 84,000 Civil Service staff. Then I
said, in answer to questions during the debate in the House of
Commons, that 10,000 of these staff were people who would probably
be transferred to being personal advisers in the Jobcentre Plus
network and in total another 4,000 were jobs that were being relocated.
Then I raised the question ofbecause it was right for us
to look at this in the spending roundwhat is going to happen
to the devolved administrations which are outside our decision-making
process, and what is going to happen to local government; but
I had discussions with the devolved administrations and with the
Northern Ireland Office, and I think there are 25,000 civil servants
in Northern Ireland alone, so I had discussions with the First
Ministers in Scotland and Wales and with the Secretary of State
for Northern Ireland, and then I looked at what our the local
government settlements ought to be able to achieve in terms of
our assumptions about the efficiencies that would be achieved
in local government and therefore what we would expect of them,
and I said, on the basis of my discussions of these figures, that
I would have thought an additional 20,000 jobs could be moved
from back office and transaction services and all these sorts
of things and these could be saved as well; and then I gave a
further figure about relocation, which we may come on to in a
minute. So these are the figures I gave to the House of Commons.
Q217 Mr Fallon: Sure, and they were very
useful. I just want to be clear about the 20,000. You said you
had had discussions. Have these figures been accepted by the local
government or the devolved administrations?
Mr Brown: What has happened is
that in Scotland and Wales they have set up their own reviews.
In Wales there is an official reviewit has got a name,
Spree, or something, but in Wales it is officially set upin
Scotland they are going through this, the Northern Ireland office
clearly has some difficult decisions to make. You may know that
social security, at least in part, is administered by the Northern
Ireland office for Northern Ireland, so the same sort of process
that has been working with the Department of Work and Pensions,
which has revealed a large number of changes through computerisation,
effectively, making possible the cut in back office staff, that
will happen in Northern Ireland, and that is our best estimate;
but it is up to the devolved administrations as devolution is
the principle applied that they make the decisions, but they only
have money on the basis that they are making these efficiency
Q218 Mr Fallon: So they have to deliver
the 20,000 jobs?
Mr Brown: They have to work within
their budgets, and, therefore, if they do not make the efficiency
savings, there is not going to be any more money coming from us.
That is my point.
Q219 Mr Fallon: The 20,000we were
told by your officials yesterday that 5,000 of those 20, roughly,
were local government. How will you enforce 5,000 job cuts in
Mr Brown: I do not think that
was the figure that was given by the officials yesterday. When
I expressed surprise at it . . . . I am told it was the other
way round, that it is unlikely that it would beit is more
like 15,000 from local government than 5,000, but there is no
final figure available because discussions would have to continue.