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Policy Development

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 21 June 2006

6. What areas he has identified as priorities for improving the effectiveness of policy development across Government. (79135)

I have begun to implement a new way of working for the Cabinet Committees that I chair, with the express purpose of improving the cross-working between Government Departments, as the Prime Minister has asked me to do. As the House will be aware, the Prime Minister has written to the Secretaries of State asking them to identify the key challenges ahead and how they propose to deliver the necessary results. Tackling these challenges will clearly require cross-departmental agreement on how to drive forward change, and I will be closely involved in that.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, but I am also aware that he is the lead negotiator on Kyoto, so what is he doing to ensure that Government Departments are complying with the Kyoto agreement and doing all they can to address issues of climate change?

My hon. Friend is quite right to point out Britain’s contribution to the Kyoto agreement. I am pleased to see that former Vice-President Gore is in the UK and I am looking forward to meeting him tomorrow so that I can proudly tell him how the Government have not only met the Kyoto target established then, but at twice the level, which is quite an achievement. We need to talk more about the post-Kyoto agreements and I believe that every Government Department has more to do in order to achieve the target that we set for ourselves—a 60 per cent. reduction on 1990 levels by 2050. I shall be calling the Departments together and we have already had our first meeting with the Secretaries of State to see how Departments can do more to achieve those targets. Also on the agenda is reaching agreement on the EU emissions trading scheme, which has to be decided by next week.

Since the Deputy Prime Minister’s role was reduced, the Government seem to have been in increasing trouble. Does he believe that his new policy role has helped or hindered the Government?

Governments go through difficulties from time to time and the hon. Gentleman must have had some experience of that with Tory Administrations. I would point out that we have won three general elections, and with policies that will deliver, we are on our way to winning the fourth.