Oral Answers to Questions — Performance and Innovation Unit

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th March 2000.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 12:00 am, 8th March 2000

What action she has taken, pursuant to the report of the performance and innovation unit about cross-cutting in Government. [112258]

Photo of Dr Mo Mowlam Dr Mo Mowlam Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office

Action is being taken on the report, "Wiring it up: Accountability and Incentives for Joined-up Government", and implementation will be monitored by the modernising government project board, chaired by the permanent secretary in the Cabinet Office. My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and I will report on progress across the whole broad front early next year.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

Does not last week's shambles over Mozambique expose the whole myth of joined-up government? Over two days, two Departments were arguing over £2 million at the same time as the Government were announcing that they had spent £92 million of taxpayers' money on their own advertising last year. Does the Minister agree with the conclusion of the leading article in The Times on Saturday, which says: This clash of budgets and egos cost lives that speed could have saved …The No. 10 boast of fast delivery rings hollow.?

Photo of Dr Mo Mowlam Dr Mo Mowlam Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office

No, I disagree, for the simple reason that the Government have succeeded in doing more, faster, than any other in terms of giving aid to Mozambique, getting real help to the people there. The most important thing was to get the most help possible to the people who needed it quickly. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development made it clear from the start that we could get more help quickly to the people in the region by using helicopters hired in the region. Subsequently, further help has been dispatched, and the detail has been in the papers about what we have done in water purification, sanitation and temporary housing. The reality is the exact opposite of what the hon. Gentleman has said. We have delivered real help in a pragmatic, practical way.

I am not ashamed of what we spent on advertising. We have advertised policies that will make a difference to people's lives and we want to ensure that people know what is happening so that they can benefit.

Photo of Mr Hilton Dawson Mr Hilton Dawson Labour, Lancaster and Wyre

Does my right hon. Friend agree that her visit to the glorious city of Lancaster only a couple of weeks ago was the epitome of joined-up government, because she met people who are bringing excellent education, health and economic development policies to bear on most socially excluded communities in the city, in line with excellent Government policies to reduce unemployment? All that is aiding the city enormously.

Photo of Dr Mo Mowlam Dr Mo Mowlam Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office

It was an enjoyable visit to Lancaster, not least because it showed that when a community buys into the changes that have been proposed—I met people from the business community and the voluntary sector, local politicians and trade unionists to see how best the policies could be implemented—it has a real chance of succeeding.