HC Deb 17 December 1997 vol 303 cc319-20
11. Mr. Steinberg

What measures he is taking to broaden the social background from which appointments to non-departmental public bodies are made. [19611]

Mr. Kilfoyle

The Government are committed to attracting a broad range of applicants for public appointments by the use of advertising and by encouraging members of under-represented groups to nominate themselves for the central and departmental lists of candidates.

Mr. Steinberg

Does my hon. Friend agree that the previous Government staffed quangos with Tory party members or supporters? For example, in my constituency not one Tory candidate has been elected to any public body, whether to a county council, district council or parish council, yet the quangos contain an unrepresentative number of Tories. Will he ensure that in future there is a social and political mix on quangos so that people in my area can feel confident that they are being properly represented?

Mr. Kilfoyle

I can certainly assure my hon. Friend that the Government intend to ensure that appointments are made on the basis of merit, reflecting the skills that are needed and the interests of all stakeholders in our society, rather than on the basis of a partial approach to those appointments.