§ Angela Smith
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when she will publish "Public Bodies 1999"; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Stringer
"Public Bodies 1999" was published earlier today. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
"Public Bodies 1999" provides a range of statistical information on over 1,500 public bodies and over 35,000 public appointments. It focuses primarily on non-departmental public bodies, but also includes information on nationalised industries, certain public corporations and those NHS bodies to which Ministers make appointments. "Public Bodies 1999" is UK-wide in its coverage and includes information on those public bodies which now operate in devolved areas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
"Public Bodies 1999" shows that the Government are making steady progress in reducing the overall number of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs). The number of such bodies now stands at 1,057—a reduction of 6 per cent. over the 1997 total of 1,128.
"Public Bodies 1999" also shows that the Government are succeeding in increasing diversity among those serving of the board of public bodies. As at 1 September 1999, 33 per cent. of public appointments were held by women and 4.7 per cent. were held by members of ethnic minorities. This compares favourably to September 1997, when 32 per cent. of public appointments were held by women and 3.6 per cent. by members of ethnic minorities. We will continue working hard to encourage more women and more members of ethnic minorities to take up positions in public life.