Letter: Mellor vital to new department

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The Independent Online
Sir: Entertaining as it may be for the rest of us, it is no fun to be on the receiving end of tabloid attention. This has been a miserable week for David Mellor, his family, and for Antonia de Sancha. It will be miserable news for the arts and heritage sectors, too, if Mr Mellor is forced to resign.

The Department of National Heritage is only half founded. Its progress depends on having a minister with energy and a coherent knowledge of the diverse subjects it covers. In fully-fledged departments, where the civil servants have been in place long enough to provide the impetus, ministerial expertise is not so important. Here and now it is vital. So too is his previous experience at the Treasury.

If the DNH is not to slip down (or possibly even off) the Cabinet table, it must have a secretary of state with the authority to argue its case. Despite the jolts of the past week, Mr Mellor still has that authority.

Yours faithfully,

SIMON MUNDY

Director

National Campaign for the Arts

London, SW1

24 July

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