Historian is given Scots brief

July 14, 1995

Scotland's new education minister is Raymond Robertson, MP for Aberdeen South and a former teacher of history and modern studies. Given the dearth of Scottish Tory MPs, he is also responsible for housing and urban policy, fisheries and sport, and will be the Commons spokesman for agriculture.

Despite Scottish Office proposals to merge the education and industry departments, George Kynoch remains minister for industry. But at a press conference of Scotland's new ministerial team, Mr Robertson said his brief would include training, in line with changes south of the border.

"Education is a lifetime experience," he said, pledging to work to increase choice and opportunity and raise standards even higher.

Michael Forsyth, a former Scottish education minister returning as Secretary of State for Scotland, waxed lyrical about the Private Finance Initiative, which he called "the most exciting thing going on in government at the present time".

The media would wrongly present it as privatisation, which it was not. "Capital expenditure in this country could have been very much greater. It has been constrained by our ability to tax the taxpayer."

"The PFI offers a new opportunity to get the infrastructure we need to be competitive as a nation without adding to the burden of taxation."

But there was no hint that a priority was to cut public expenditure further.

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

PERMANENT SECRETARY - Michael Bichard

SECRETARY OF STATE - Gillian Shephard Overall responsibility for the Department and its policies

PERMANENT SECRETARY - Tim Lankester

MINISTER OF STATE - Eric Forth Higher education; the private finance initiative in HE; student support and student issues and the careers service

MINISTER OF STATE - Lord Henley The school curriculum and assessment; examinations and qualifications including GCSE, A Level, NVQs, GNVQs and the review of 16-19 qualifications; the employment service; education-industry links

PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE -Robin Squire Pre-school; GM schools; schools funding; teachers issues; teacher training and the TTA; Grants for Education Support and Training

PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE - James Paice Post-16 issues; further education; adult learning; training strategy; TECs; regional government offices; regional policy

PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE - Cheryl Gillan Diversity in schools; school admission and reorganisations; CTCs; independent schools; women's issues

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