To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the programme for "Action on Race".
Departments and agencies are making good progress in drawing up and implementing their individual action plans under the programme for action on race which my predecessor introduced in May this year.
Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that it is possible for selection and recruitment procedures to be based on what is suitable for white Anglo-Saxon Protestants but that, given our multicultural population, we must adapt the way in which we recruit and select people to ensure genuine fairness as between people of different races?
There is no doubt that we can and should do a great deal more to recruit more representatives of ethnic minorities to the public service and, in particular, to ensure that members of those minorities can occupy the higher offices in that service. The typically well-considered and far-sighted plan announced by my predecessor is designed to achieve that, and I look forward to receiving my hon. Friend's detailed comments on it.