First Day

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 3:23 pm on 6th May 1992.

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Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon 3:23 pm, 6th May 1992

I cannot comment in detail on the hon. Gentleman's point. He knows that that is the position. As I said a moment ago, I have asked my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to examine areas where we may be able to relax the present levels of secrecy. That examination should precede an announcement, but I thought it right to tell the House at an early stage that we intend to conduct that examination, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman is prepared to leave the matter there for the moment.

I have already put in place reforms to the structure of Government. I have set up two new Departments that will affect the whole fabric of our national life. The citizens charter will be at the centre of the Government's decision-making. Its objectives are to make public services more accountable and to ensure that they truly serve the customers who pay for them with their fares and taxation.

I have therefore also asked my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to be responsible for the citizens charter programme and for the reform of the Civil Service. He will ensure that we set even tougher performance targets and extend further high quality, responsive public services to the individual citizen.

I have also established a Department for National Heritage, responsible for the arts, sports, broadcasting, films and our architectural heritage.