Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments during the Local Authorities debate, held in the House of Commons on 12th December 1979.
Mr. Major Asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations he has had with local authority leaders regarding the publication of individual staffing figures, authority by authority.
Mr. King The Department is discussing with the local authority associations how the central and local government joint manpower watch might be extended to publish centrally manpower figures for all individual local authorities. We have also invited them to discuss what manpower and other figures might be published locally.
Mr. Major Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is essential that the figures are made publicly available, individual authority by individual authority, so that ratepayers may know which authorities are increasing their staff levels at a time of restraint?
Mr. King It is extremely important that the House, local authorities, councillors and local electors should have this information. I was unable to reply more fully to an earlier question about the performance of different local authorities in making economies because at present the information is aggregated and it is not possible to form selective judgments. Local electors are unable to form an informed judgment.