HC Deb 22 October 1969 vol 788 cc283-4W
Mr. William Edwards

asked the Minister of Technology if he will define the duties and responsibilities of the junior Ministers in his Department.

Mr. Benn

Subject to my own overall responsibility for the work of the Department, I want other Ministers and the Parliamentary Secretaries to take particular responsibilities. Within their respective fields the Department should work to each of the other Ministers, as appropriate, in every possible case. They will initiate policy and deal direct with the appropriate Division or Branch. They should also take decisions on matters which, in their judgment, it is not necessary to refer to me.

My right hon. Friend the Paymaster General will act as my deputy and will take executive responsibility for the Industry Group and also for liaison with the I.R.C. and the C.B.I.

My noble Friend Lord DelacourtSmith will be responsible for the work of the Department in the House of Lords and will take executive responsibility for the Aviation Group and for Hovercraft. He will also assume responsibility for liaison with the T.U.C.

My hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) will take executive responsibility for the Regional Group, including location of industry policy and the Department's work in the regions.

My hon. Friend the Member for Woodside, Glasgow (Mr. Carmichael) will act as deputy on Aviation matters and will have special responsibilities under me for work across the whole Department.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Dr. Ernest A. Davies) will have general oversight of the Research Group, working direct to me and the other Ministers concerned, as appropriate, and will also have responsibilities for private industry within the Industry Group.

My hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Allan Williams) will work with the central economic group, direct to me, and will have responsibilities for the nationalised industries and mineral development with the Industry Group.

This division of responsibility must not lead to the fragmentation of effort. Some of the most important problems we shall face span a number of Groups, and others will call for special handling. I shall also ask Ministers to undertake specific tasks of liaison with those outside the Department. Special arrangements will be made for working groups, under the chairmanship of Ministers, to consider aspects of future policy.

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