§ Lord O'Hagan
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will appoint a Secretary of State for the West Country; and if not, why not.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Wakeham)
No. The Government believe that the interests of the West Country and other regions are best looked after within the existing distribution of ministerial responsibilities. Last year the Government supplemented these arrangements with new measures which included the appointment of Sponsor Ministers for major cities and by establishing the Government Offices for the Regions. The Government Office for the South-West now brings together the previously separate regional offices of four departments and provides co-ordination across the full range of government policies and activities relevant to the regeneration of the region. In a further step, the Government announced on 11th May that the Government Office would be based in Plymouth as well as in Bristol, so as better to serve the needs and interests80WA of businesses, local authorities and others in Devon and Cornwall. The Government believe that these improved arrangements will help to ensure a prosperous future for the West Country.