HC Deb 18 June 1979 vol 968 cc888-9
7. Mr. Ioan Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what action he intends to take to democratise the nominated bodies in Wales.

Mr. Michael Roberts

The Government intend to give the House an opportunity to consider ways of improving its scrutiny of government in Wales, including the nominated bodies.

Mr. Evans

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that, although the people of Wales gave a clear decision in the referendum, there is a great deal of dissatisfaction at the way the nominated bodies have been appointed? Will he therefore bring proposals to the House to ensure that these bodies are representative of the people of Wales, and will he consider the suggestion that we bring Members of Parliament and representatives of counties and districts together to formulate and determine who should serve on them?

Mr. Michael Roberts

As the hon. Gentleman says, the referendum decision was decisive. As regards proposals for scrutiny of nominated bodies, there will be sittings of the Welsh Grand Committee to debate the annual reports of nominated bodies, and we shall give Parliament the opportunity to consider proposals for the setting up of a Welsh Select Committee.

Mr. John

But, with respect, my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdare (Mr. Evans) referred to the composition of the nominated bodies, not to the scrutiny of them. In view of the apoplexy which the Minister displayed when he talked about quangos before the general election, will he put forward some proposals to ensure that the composition of the nominated bodies is transformed into democratic composition?

Mr. Michael Roberts

The Government are carrying out an urgent review of all public bodies which are responsible to Ministers, as part of the search for economies in public expenditure, and we shall certainly bring into the nominated bodies the element of democratic scrutiny by the House.