The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1993Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 22 November 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 22nd November 1993.




Mr. Gale : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the sources for his quotations from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) contained in his speech to the House on 18 November, Official Report, column 34.

The Prime Minister : The quotation from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott),

“do you obey the law or not obey the law? We”–

that is, the Labour party–

“don’t have any kind of firm principles in the Party of how we might deal with this problem”

is from the New Socialist, November 1985; and the quotation that Labour is

“going to repeal”–

that is, the Government’s trade union legislation–

“all of it, there’s no little bits you can keep It all has to go”

is from The Independent, 27 December 1989.


Efficiency Unit

Mr. Cyril D. Townsend : To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish the results of the study on civil service career management and succession planning carried out by the efficiency unit; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I am placing in the Library today a copy of the efficiency unit’s report on career management and succession planning in the civil service. I am pleased to welcome its findings. The civil service is being restructured with departmental headquarters concentrating on policy making and the purchasing of services which increasingly are provided by agencies in government or on contract from the private sector. The systems for recruitment, appointment and career management of civil servants need to be matched to these changing tasks and responsibilities and the skills and qualities needed in the civil service in the future. At the same time, the Government agree with the need to preserve an impartial, non-political civil service recruited and promoted on merit. Within this framework, the Government accept that the systems for career management and succession planning should be made more open. The report finds that the evidence from the private sector is that most senior posts are filled from within. But new arrangements are needed to address in each case the question whether the post should be open to competition from outside.

The report contains detailed recommendations about career management systems in individual departments on which there will now be consultation with those concerned. The report’s proposals on how posts are filled and on the possibility of introducing more specific contract terms raise important issues which need further consideration. The Government will also be receiving early next year a report from the senior salaries review body on developing the existing performance pay arrangements which it will wish to take into account in reaching conclusions.

In the light of this further work, the Government intend to announce in the spring their decisions on the recommendations in the report and to publish an implementation plan.