§ Mr. Mayhew
In a written answer on 20 December 1979 my right hon. Friend248W announced the Government's decision to send some 850 posts from the Health and Safety Executive to Bootle. This decision was based on a very careful study which the Health and Safety Commission made at the request of the Government of the minimum number of staff it thought it essential to keep in London. The HSC recommended that this consisted of some 370 posts concerned with policy-making. It felt, however, that this minimum figure could not include the London branches of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, which would therefore have to move to Merseyside, where one branch is already located. The HSC stated its view that the move of the NII should take place substantially later than that of the main body of the HSE headquarters in order to give time to overcome any staffing and organisational problems. The Government accepted these recommendations. The Commission and Executive have since made it clear that no one in the NII in London will be required to move to Merseyside before 1985.
Up to the present no members of the NII have formally indicated that they would resign if the London branch of the inspectorate is relocated in 1985. However, the trade union representing these inspectors has informed the HSC that a substantial number of its members would seek other employment rather than move to Merseyside.