HC Deb 10 November 1980 vol 992 cc21-2
13. Mr. Delwyn Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many non-departmental public bodies to which his Department nominates members have been abolished since June; and how many are scheduled for abolition in the near future.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Two. No other body is scheduled for abolition in the near future.

Mr. Williams

I find that answer disappointing, especially as our manifesto commitment is to run down quangos, both in the United Kingdom as a whole and in Wales in particular. I am also disappointed that more progress in that direction has not been made. I am equally disappointed to note that in the Broadcasting Bill, which we shall be discussing this afternoon—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman's disappointment is undoubtedly very real, but he must ask a question and get over it.

Mr. Wiliams

Will my right hon. Friend comment on the fact that seven more mini-quangos, which will affect Wales, will be created in the Broadcasting Bill?

Mr. Edwards

My hon. Friend referred only to bodies that have been abolished since June. Three or four other bodies were abolished in the period prior to that. If he has views to express on the Broadcasting Bill, I have no doubt that he will seek to catch your eye later, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Anderson

Does not the right hon. Gentleman remember that when he was in opposition he was accustomed to criticise the "gravy train" in political appointments to public bodies in Wales? Given the latest appointments to the Welsh Development Agency and other bodies, does he still persist in that view?

Mr. Edwards

I have been vociferously attacked for appointing a number of leading Socialists, for example, to the Cwmbran development corporation and to other bodies. I have appointed at least one ex-Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate. I think that I have appointed a fair cross-section of political interest. If I have also succeeded in appointing a few Conservatives, I make no apology.

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