HC Deb 16 July 1970 vol 803 cc1723-4
Q7. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on his further proposals for the reorganisation of Departments of State and the machinery of government.

The Prime Minister

I expect to do so in the Autumn, Sir.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Warmly welcoming the reduction in the number of Ministers—Conservative quality instead of Socialist quantity—may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is busy writing the obituary of the Land Commission and the Prices and Incomes Board? Could we also have a bit of retrenchment in the nationalised race relations industry?

The Prime Minister

I have announced that we are reviewing a large number of aspects of the structure of government. I do not wish to deal with any particular aspects at this moment, but I will make a general statement in the autumn.

Mr. Grimond

Will the Prime Minister give the House an assurance that the changes in the machinery of Government, many of which are probably necessary but which are now quite frequent, are not having a rather deleterious effect upon the Civil Service?

The Prime Minister

I am very well aware of the dangers to which the right hon. Gentleman referred and I am anxious to avoid them. That is why I am taking a certain amount of time in making dispositions, because I want them to last.

Mr. Harold Wilson

Recalling the exchange between the Prime Minister and myself in the debate on the Gracious Speech, when, I think, he rather misunderstood a reference which I made—a reference to the co-ordination of housing between the Departments of Housing and Local Government and Transport, when the right hon. Gentleman said that he was not proposing to appoint an Overlord, as I did—may I ask whether he was aware that what I was referring to was a decision, taken originally last October and about to be carried into effect, for the total integration of those Departments with the Ministry of Works, too, with a Minister and not an Overlord?

The Prime Minister

As far as I am aware, no decision had been announced, nor am I aware of what the previous Administration decided, because the papers are not available to me. I am considering various proposals which are being put forward so that I can make a full announcement in the autumn.

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