HC Deb 12 June 1995 vol 261 c492
25. Sir Thomas Arnold

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what further plans he has to make the citizens charter justiciable. [26056]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service and Science (Mr. John Horam)

The citizens charter is continuing to raise the standard of public service. Although the charter as a whole is not legally enforceable, certain provisions in specific charters are backed by legislation.

Sir Thomas Arnold

Does my hon. Friend accept that to widen the areas where the charter would be legally enforceable need not be unduly onerous in public spending terms?

Mr. Horam

Yes, that is certainly true. It need not involve any further public expenditure. What I would be concerned about is losing flexibility. We have increased credibility for the particular charters and some legislative backing in, for example, the parents charter, of which my hon. Friend will be aware. We shall continue to evolve in that direction. He will notice that more and more adjudicators have been appointed—for example, for the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise. They are bridging the gap between legal enforcement and strong voluntary enforcement.

Mr. Skinner

Is the Minister aware that he can shout and bawl as much as he likes about the values and virtues of the Government's citizens charter because in the background there is another citizen, the ex-Prime Minister Lady Thatcher, who has marked the Government's record and their own charter and does not think that it adds up to a row of beans?

Mr. Horam

I do not think that the House would readily agree that I was a shouter and a bawler.

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