Charter Marks

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29 March 1993.

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Photo of Mr Michael Bates Mr Michael Bates , Langbaurgh 12:00, 29 March 1993

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many charter marks have been awarded so far.

Photo of Malcolm Bruce Malcolm Bruce Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many charter mark awards have now been made.

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

Thirty-six charter marks were awarded in 1992. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister launched the 1993 charter mark scheme on 17 February. The closing date for entries is 30 June 1993 and the charter mark winners will be announced in September or October. Up to 100 charter marks can be awarded this year.

Photo of Mr Michael Bates Mr Michael Bates , Langbaurgh

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. Does he agree that even organisations that were unsuccessful in obtaining charter marks this time round, such as Bydales school in Marske in my constituency, benefited greatly from having the opportunity to review the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the services that they provide in accordance with charter principles?

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

My hon. Friend is entirely right. Several of the winners expressed a great welcome for the charter mark. For instance, St. Mary's secondary school in Londonderry said: The prize is a tremendous morale booster to everyone connected with the school and the community it serves. That was also true of those who did not win on this occasion but who might in the future.

Photo of Malcolm Bruce Malcolm Bruce Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry)

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Does he agree that the citizens charter and the charter mark movement have had an enormous effect on both companies and public bodies? Purbeck district council in my constituency has started a scheme called Purbeck Pride to involve everyone in providing better public service and to involve private enterprise in giving service of a high standard.

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

My hon. Friend is right. A beneficial competition is going on between various parties in local and central Government over who invented the concept. I was with the Labour leader of Leicester city council last week to see that council's local charter prizes being awarded. I do not begrudge the council that competition; it is helping to raise standards of public service.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner , Bolsover

Why have the Government never awarded charter marks to the miners and others who work in mining? The productivity of British pits has risen by 155 per cent. in the past seven years and last week Bolsover produced coal at 50p a gigajoule—that is half the world price. So why do not the Government give the Bolsover miners a charter mark, instead of the right hon. Gentleman and his mates, including Tarzan and all the rest of them, closing 31 pits? If he did the job right and handed out awards to the workers, not to some of these tinpot business men, the Government would be doing the right thing. Instead they propose to throw 30,000 miners out of work. The right hon. Gentleman should be ashamed of himself: he and his mates should have been strangled at birth.

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

I am sure that the productivity gains to which the hon. Gentleman refers, together with the support offered by the President, will increase the market for coal. That is exactly what the proposals are about.