Maria Miller has been named as the new secretary of state for culture

Maria Miller appointed culture secretary in reshuffle

Geraldine Kendall, 04.09.2012
Peter Bazalgette to replace Liz Forgan as chair of the arts council
Former disability minister Maria Miller, 48, has been promoted to secretary of state for culture in this week’s cabinet reshuffle.

In what will be her first cabinet post, Miller is to transfer from the Department for Work and Pensions to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), replacing outgoing culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.

She has also been appointed as minister for women and equalities, held jointly with her position as culture secretary.

She said today: "I am delighted to have been appointed as the culture secretary by the prime minister and am very much looking forward to tackling the many challenges that the role will bring."

Miller entered parliament in 2005 after being elected as MP for Basingstoke. She has a background in PR and marketing, having served as director of Grey Advertising and PR agency Rowland Saatchi, as well as working in business development and marketing at oil giant Texaco.

Museums Association director Mark Taylor said: "We have little idea of Miller’s interest in and knowledge of culture but what we need most is a willingness to fight our corner - with other departments, in the coming comprehensive spending review and in ensuring the long term survival of DCMS."

As minister for the disabled, Miller has overseen a controversial reform of the state support available for people with disabilities to reduce the number of welfare claimants.

Miller cites housing, education and media as her political interests.

Meanwhile, Peter Bazalgette, the television producer who brought the reality show Big Brother to the UK, was yesterday appointed chairman of Arts Council England (ACE). He replaces outgoing chair Liz Forgan, who was asked to stand down by former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt in February.

Along with his work in television, Bazalgette has been involved in a number of arts bodies. He is a non-executive director of DCMS and became chairman of the English National Opera earlier this year.

His four-year term as chairman of ACE will begin in January 2013.


This article was amended to include reaction to Miller's appointment from the MA director and the news that Peter Bazalgette is the new chair of ACE.


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MA Member
12.09.2012, 22:58
Jeremy Hunt's greatest joy will be that he won't now have to deal with the report by Lord Justice Leveson. As for ministers treating the DCMS as a stepping stone, I am sure even the most dusty of museum professionals and the naivest of museum studies graduates realise that the Department of Transport, Housing, Defence, Education, Work and Pensions and the Treasury probably have a greater impact on people's lives, even if not too the good, than museums. It's a fact of life and politicians' priorities reflect that. I wish our MPs postbags and inboxes were bulging with mail about cultural issues, but they can't be or MPs would make culture more of a priority.
MA Member
12.09.2012, 14:06
During a stint living in Basingstoke in the run up to elections, when I was inundated with leaflets from all parties, I wrote to every candidate who had leafleted my home asking the same questions.

I only received one response and that was from Maria Miller. I don't particularly like her politics but she/her office not only acknowledged and responded, they had actually done a little research and gave informed responses.

Re. the pics on the floor... my partner and I both work in the sector and after 5 years in our current home our art work is still mainly stacked against a wall. We haven't got our behind-the-scenes looking great but we've produced some great work where it counts ; )
MA Member
07.09.2012, 15:48
It's a pity that DCMS is perceived as a part-time role which can be shared with another portfolio. Also, why doesn't any Secretary of State see this as other than a transitory role - witness Jeremy Hunt's joy at being moved. Culture is one of this country's biggest economic assets but one consistently down-played by politicians of every persuasion who seem embarrassed by the culture aspect of the role whilst relishing the media and sport - better photo ops perhaps?
MA Member
05.09.2012, 13:43
From today's Guardian:

Amelia Gentleman interviewed Miller last year. She tells me that one observation about the then disabilities minister ended up being cut from the published piece. It was this: that over a year into her tenure paintings by disabled people lay on the floor, still unhung. You might hope that that is not symbolic of things to come.
MA Member
04.09.2012, 14:37
A bit of a surprise. I though Ed Vaizey might have been a good successor to Hunt. That said, I don't see many genuine advocates for culture in the coalition. Their stance on culture of all kinds seems quite market driven and superficial.

More philanthropy and volunteers, anyone?