HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 cc262-3
2. Llew Smith (Blaenau Gwent)

If he will make a statement on the number of NDPBs in Wales (a) in 1999 and (b) in 2002. [59907]

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Paul Murphy)

In 1999 there were 38 Assembly-sponsored public bodies. This followed the merger of the Development Board for Rural Wales and the Land Authority for Wales with the Welsh Development Agency, and the abolition of Tai Cymru. At the end of May 2002 there were 36 such bodies.

Llew Smith


Mr. Speaker

Order. There is still far too much noise in the House.

Llew Smith

Does the Minister remember the commitment given to the people of Wales that if they voted yes to a Welsh Assembly, the Assembly would make a bonfire of the quangos? Bearing in mind the figures that he just announced, does he accept that there has been no bonfire? Instead, it has been very much a damp squib. When he next meets the First Secretary of the Assembly, will he request that he apologise on its behalf for that publicity stunt, and for its failure to make a bonfire of the quangos? Will he suggest that the Assembly's time would be better spent making a bonfire of the quangos, instead of being involved in the publicity stunt of telling the Welsh Rugby Union how it should do its job?

Mr. Murphy

I have no intention of making any such comment on the Welsh Rugby Union. However, I reassure my hon. Friend that his robust views will be reported in full to the First Minister. What has happened is that those bodies are now much more locally accountable in Wales than they ever were, and appointments to them are much more open and transparent than they ever were under the previous Administration. I am sure my hon. Friend agrees with that.

Mr. James Gray (North Wiltshire)

In the Minister's substantive answer a moment ago he appeared to mention the abolition of Plaid Cymru. Was that wishful thinking?

Mr. Murphy

I was referring to the abolition of Tai Cymru.

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