§ Mr. Sean Hughes
To ask the Prime Minister whether those functions of the Civil Service which are given agency status as part of the "next steps" initiative will be exempt from privatisation; and if she will make a statement.
§ The Prime Minister
The Government's privatisation policies will continue. Before an agency is established, alternative options, including contracting out the work and privatisation will be examined. "Next steps" is primarily about those operations which are to remain within Government. I cannot rule out, however, that after a period of years agencies, like other Government activities, may be suitable for privatisation. Where there is a firm intention of privatisation when an agency is being set up, this should be made clear.