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Civil Service Reform

Volume 130: debated on Monday 28 March 1988

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73.

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what are the implications for the Office of Arts and Libraries of the proposed reforms of the Civil Service.

Like all other Government Departments, the Office of Arts and Libraries will be considering how to apply the recommendations of the "Next Steps" report to its own operations, though most of the functions which it funds are carried out by non-departmental public bodies.

Knowing the meticulous care that my right hon. Friend brings to his Ministry, will he tell the House whether he has yet had discussions with his other half, the Minister for the Arts, and what was the outcome?

I know that my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts has a mind of his own. He is quite difficult to get alongside, but I will try.

In the light of the opportunities now offered by the reform of the Civil Service, may I enlist the support of the Minister in pressing for a Cabinet post for the arts in recognition of their importance in the United Kingdom?

I think that we are going a little beyond the Civil Service questions. However, I am flattered by the hon. and learned Gentleman's suggestion.