Maria Miller appointed culture secretary in reshuffle

Peter Bazalgette to replace Liz Forgan as chair of the arts council
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Geraldine Kendall Adams
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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.

Update
05.09.2012


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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