§ The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Mr. Douglas Alexander)
I have today placed in the Libraries of the House, the latest edition of the annual Cabinet Office publication,Public Bodies.
Public Bodies 2002 is the latest in a series of publications providing information on public bodies sponsored by government.
In addition to giving details about the remit and expenditure of public bodies, the publication also gives information about the number of women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds and people with disabilities, who sit on the boards of public bodies. I am pleased to announce that the proportion of those from minority ethnic backgrounds and those with disabilities holding public appointments have increased from 4.8 per cent. to 6.2 per cent. and from 1.5 per cent. to 3.3 per cent. respectively, although it is disappointing that the percentage of women holding such appointments, 34 per cent., has remained static. Departments will continue to work hard to encourage increased participation of women on the boards of public bodies.
Additionally, this year's publication includes information about the Government's task forces, ad hoc advisory groups and reviews. Previously these were reported on separately, and to a different timetable. Including this data in one publication gives a more complete picture of the extended bodies and groups working to deliver government objectives.