House of Commons debate. Sample containing about 12006 words speech recorded in public context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C590

PS4LP X f (Betty, age unknown, speaker of the house of commons) unspecified
PS4LR X f (Gillan, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4LS X m (Jones, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4LT X m (Heal, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4LU X m (Lloyd, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4LV X m (James, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4LW X m (Palsey, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4LX X m (Savers, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4LY X m (Brazier, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
JSHPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
JSHPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 120201 recorded on 1994-02-15. LocationGreater London: Westminster ( House of Commons ) Activity: debate

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [1] Order, order.
[2] Questions for the Secretary of State for employment.
[3] Cheryl Gillan.
Gillan (PS4LR) [4] Number one Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [5] Madam Speaker we estimate that British employers spend ... er approximately twenty thousand million pounds a year on training.
[6] The last recorded figure in nineteen eighty seven was eighteen thousand million pounds.
Betty (PS4LP) [7] Miss Gillan.
Gillan (PS4LR) [8] Thank you Madam Speaker.
[9] I thank my right honourable friend for that reply.
[10] Would he agree with me that one of the major contributing factors to our rapid recovery from recession in advance of all the other European communities.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [11] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [12] Very good point .
Gillan (PS4LR) [13] Has been that British industry has continued to maintain its investment in training.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [14] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [15] I agree with my honourable friend ... er one of the ... er satisfactory features of the C B I er survey last week, one of the many, was that eighty four percent of firms er in the U K intend to increase or maintain their spending on training and of course she's absolutely right, they will be the firms that will benefit most from that investment in training as we continue through recovery into growth in the longer term.
Betty (PS4LP) [16] Barry Jones.
Jones (PS4LS) [17] But the right honourable gentleman will recollect that in aerospace ... in steel ... and in textiles there are now no large apprenticeship schools.
[18] When in his own ministerial memory he may remember that there were.
[19] What action is he taking to specifically gain ... er activities that will ensure there will be apprenticeship schools.
[20] From him we have ... too many press releases and not enough action.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [21] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [22] It would destroy jobs, er all I would say to the honourable gentleman is that he will have noticed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer er used one of the announcements in his budget statement on the thirtieth of November last year er to announce that we shall be introducing a modern apprenticeship scheme.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [23] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [24] Which will be available for school leavers next year and that the Chancellor has allocated ... in the department of employment budget, for training credits and the new modern apprenticeship er over a billion pounds er which will be utilised to introduce those apprenticeships.
[25] What I very much hope is that industry will now respond by coming forward, particularly this year with trail blazing apprenticeship schemes that will ensure that we have got the most relevant structures in place for those modern apprenticeships next year.
Betty (PS4LP) [26] Oliver Heal.
Heal (PS4LT) [27] Would my right honourable friend care to pay tribute to the work of the training and enterprise councils in ... helping women particularly who want to get back into work by providing child care facilities er and would he also like to comment on the threshold scheme in Northampton which he visited last week which is an example of partnership between the public sector, the private sector, the TECs er promoting this sort of work.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [28] I'm very grateful to my honourable friend.
[29] I do indeed pay tribute ... to over one thousand two hundred top business and community leaders who serve on our eighty two training and enterprise councils and who indeed is quite right in ... er earmarking, do a ... tremendous amount of work on equal opportunities.
[30] The child care initiative launched by my predecessor involving expenditure of over forty million pounds over the period is giving training and enterprise councils the opportunity to come forward with some very imaginative and innovative schemes.
[31] One of those I saw in Northampton was extremely impressive and is founded as my honourable friend says, on positive partnership.
Betty (PS4LP) [32] Tony Loyd.
Lloyd (PS4LU) [33] Madam Speaker.
[34] What what actually would shift the Secretary of State from his, his mood of complacency.
[35] Between nineteen ninety ... and nineteen ninety two over a million skilled workers were put out of work in this economy, nearly half a million semi skilled workers lost their jobs.
[36] The number of people trained in industry dropped by three hundred thousand and the Secretary of State tells the house that this is a success.
[37] This isn't the opposition talking the country down, it's the government doing the country down.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [38] Well I'm sorry that the opposition is continuing to talk the country down.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [39] We ... we have in fact er had a very impressive record on competitiveness.
[40] We now in manufacturing where there's been a decline in employment since the nineteen sixties, we now have four million workers in manufacturing producing more than seven million produced fifteen years ago.
[41] That's a tribute to the British work force and don't let the honourable gentleman forget that we now have one point four million more in work, in the U K than we had ten years ago.
[42] Let him start talking up our achievements rather than pointing to an agenda which his party has already signed up to which would destroy millions of jobs through statutory works councils, statutory minimum wage and statutory compulsory working week.
[43] That's a recipe for disaster.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Betty (PS4LP) [44] James [...]
James (PS4LV) [45] Question number two Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [46] Er Madam Speaker the United Kingdom has sixty nine percent ... of its working age population in work and it is rising.
[47] Germany has sixty five percent and it is falling and France sixty percent and now also falling.
Betty (PS4LP) [48] Mr Palsey
Palsey (PS4LW) [49] May I thank my honourable friend for that extremely helpful reply and for the encouraging figures which he has given to the house this afternoon.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [50] Very encouraging [...] .
Palsey (PS4LW) [51] Clearly it happens to er underline the fact that the United Kingdom economy is in much better shape when compared to the economies of our principal European competitors.
[52] Would er my honourable friend agree with me that one of the reasons why we've come out of the recession so well is the fact that we don't have a social contract and [...] .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [53] Hear, hear
Palsey (PS4LW) [54] Would he agree with me that the social contract, the absence of a social contract ... certainly hasn't damaged er rates of take home pay.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [55] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [56] Er ... Madam Speaker I entirely agree, I entirely agree with my ho honourable friend er the absence of the social chapter in Britain accounts in part for our higher levels of employment and the reforms which we carried out in the eighties and the figures speak for themselves, as do the er people who speak for industry for example when Black and Decker announced their intention to bring their operations er fully into Britain out of Germany, a company spokesman said anyone familiar with this sit situation in Germany will grasp that because of costs it is become very difficult to do business there.
[57] If members opposite had their way it would be very difficult to do business here.
Betty (PS4LP) [58] Bill Campbell-Savers.
Savers (PS4LX) [59] Would ... would the minister ... answer a question on a matter of concern to businessmen in the county of Cumbria?
[60] After the tax increases in the budget of this year o on April which are in to be introduced in April the first.
[61] Does the minister believe that they have ... implications for the economy of the United Kingdom?
[62] Does he think they will lead to further unemployment and does he think they'll have enough ... the effect of increasing unemployment in my part of the United Kingdom?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [63] Madam Speaker I am sure that my right honourable friend the Chancellor's proposals to er reduce the burden of national insurance contributions will have a very beneficial effect er on employment a and on businesses but er if members opposite and er the honourable gentleman er says what he thinks clearly, if members opposite are arguing that higher public expenditure and higher taxation will have an impact on employment then he's absolutely right.
[64] That is why on this side we resist the proposals which come from members opposite to add to public expenditure every day of the week.
Betty (PS4LP) [65] Julian Brazier.
Brazier (PS4LY) [66] Would my ... right honourable friend, sorry would honourable friend agree that the way you build jobs in an economy is through having successful businesses.
[67] Businesses like Chartered Papermill where one of our honourable friends will be opening a new plant ... er shortly where they have ... have won awards for quality, for training and for exports, national and regional during the last three years.
[68] That is the way that we build jobs surely, not through bureaucratic regulations.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [69] Er Madam Speaker ... I entirely agree with my honourable friend, regulation and bureaucracy are the enemy of employment and that is why the Prime Minister has ensured that every government department is looking at regulations and bureaucracy to reduce the burden and that is why in the forthcoming European elections on this side of the house we'll be arguing for less bureaucracy and less regulation, not more which destroys jobs.
Betty (PS4LP) [70] Michael [...] .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [71] Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [72] Madam Speaker, this is a job summit and I intend to talk about jobs.
Betty (PS4LP) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [73] I'm very grateful to the minister for being brief though of course he passed on no information of any worth.
[74] The five hundred and forty three thousand less people in employment in Britain than there was a year ago and four hundred and fifty one less in employment than in nineteen seventy nine.
[75] Surely it's time to talk to the United States about how they succeed by having a minimum wage in most states and giving trade union rights to people that we deny the same firms employees in this country.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [76] When the honourable gentleman said I gave no information I said I intended to talk about jobs and in this country we believe, we believe that er there are three things very important a at this forthcoming summit.
[77] First of all the importance of a stable economic framework.
[78] Secondly the importance of a flexible Labour market and thirdly the removal of barriers to enterprise.
[79] Finally I'll just say this to him, I agree that we have a great deal of things to learn from the United States, not in the way he suggests but it is a fact that er over the economic cycle of O E C D between seventy nine and eighty nine ... er America the United States saw growth of twenty six percent which created eighteen and half million jobs in their free enterprise economy.
[80] The European community on the other hand ... also saw a growth of output of over twenty percent, twenty three point seven percent but that gave rise not to eighteen million but to only six million additional jobs and I just say to the honourable gentleman the lesson for Europe is to go further down the route that I have suggested of further deregulation and less bureaucracy and a stable economic framework, than to go down the route that he is advocating in his short address and question to me.
[81] I believe the way ahead lies with more free enterprise .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Betty (PS4LP) [82] Sir Peter Horton.
Betty (PS4LP) [83] Er would my ... would my right honourable friend confirm ... that in the United States ... there are no government training schemes of any kind.
[84] Is it not extraordinary therefore that in the United States where there is the most rapid growth of technology and of productivity, there are no government training schemes and does this not make a nonsense of the opposition's repeated claim that government training schemes are the way forward?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [85] What I w what I will say to my honourable, my right honourable friend is that er when I recently visited the United States I did find that the [...] , on which our training and enterprise councils have been based, have provided a very valuable experience for us in learning the lessons that he had indicated of ensuring that the private sector is fully involved in decisions over training and I believe that the figure I gave to my honourable friend early today, combined with over two billion that my department spends on training, forms a very effective public private sector partnership.
Betty (PS4LP) [86] Sir John Prescott.
Gillan (PS4LR) [87] Will the Secretary of State make clear to the summit that after fourteen years of this government we have seen unemployment treble to three million unemployed.
[88] That we have three million full time employer ployees replaced by three million part time and self employed with the worst trained and education labour force of any attending the summit.
[89] Will he also ask the Americans how, as he claims, they've created eighteen million jobs with a minimum wage provision ... and also make clear how much Britain is paying in family credit support to maintain low paid subsidised wages by the tax payer in this country?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [90] Still the honourable gentleman talks down Britain.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [91] I think he has to ... I think he has to think very seriously before he starts to decry the achievements of this nation.
[92] For instance I have given one which is in the last ten years we have nearly one and half million more people in work than we had ten years ago.
[93] That is a signal achievement.
[94] If I also say to him that the lesson we learn from the United States is not to go down the route that he and his party have signed up to in signing up to a socialist manifesto for the European elections.
[95] He is proposing, which is the last thing you would find the United States, statutory works councils, statutory minimum wage, compulsory working week, it's about time he dropped those proposals which would cost millions of jobs.
Betty (PS4LP) [96] Alan Howarth.
Jones (PS4LS) [97] At the summit will my right honourable friend enquire about the progress in the employment of disabled people and the advantages to the American economy in consequence of the Americans with disabilities act.
[98] Will he accept that in the United States of America, the land of free enterprise, it was concluded that voluntary arrangements would never sufficiently overcome discrimination against employment and will he respond positively to the view of the employers forum on disability and the law society as well as three hundred and eleven honourable members of this house who have signed E D M number two that the time has now come for legislation to ban discrimination against in er disabled people in respect of employment in this country.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [99] Well I I know my honourable friend feels very strongly on this subject.
[100] What I would hope that we could achieve in this country is more through erm opportunities for disabled people, greater opportunities for disabled people ... to gain access into work and as my honourable friend knows, we have put forward some proposals we're presently considering the position following the representations that have been made to us after the ... er new access to work scheme was announced and I hope to make an announcement on that aspect shortly.
[101] But I just say to my honourable friend I don't think er compulsion er is the route with that we should follow.
[102] I believe we must give increasing opportunities to disabled people to get into work.
Betty (PS4LP) [103] Mr Derek [...]
Heal (PS4LT) [104] Number five ma'am ... er Madam Speaker examples include the introduction of it new integrated regional offices and the creation of a single regeneration budget from April the first of this year.
Betty (PS4LP) [105] Er Mr Enright.
Lloyd (PS4LU) [106] Grateful to the minister for that reply but would he not agree with me that where local authorities ... erm local chambers of commerce and trades councils er and his own department of employment, are already working well together with good small initiatives, to put upon them English Estates, TECs, British coal enterprise er is in fact to do precisely what he does not ... advocate to make a mushrooming of bureaucracy ... and will he not undertake to evaluate these initiative to see if they really ... do work or whether they're just providing jobs for the boys.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [107] Er Madam Speaker, I I agree with er the honourable gentleman that it's extremely important that the various agencies do play a part in working together to ensure effective action with minimum bureaucracy and I know that the honourable gentleman has been anxious to ensure that that happens in his own constituency and his own area where he is dealing with the problems of high unemployment er and the fall out from the closures of pits in his area and if the honourable gentleman has any specific er er measures which he would like us to look at then I'd be very happy to consider those.
Betty (PS4LP) [108] Philip Oppenheim.
James (PS4LV) [109] Er but is my honourable aware ... that employment prospects in Amber valley were devastated by pit closures ... mainly in the nineteen seventies but that now the area, but that now the area has some of the lowest unemployment in Europe, certainly lower than in Germany and the reason is mainly due to the success of new manufacturing businesses.
[110] Doesn't this, doesn't this illustrate that the best way to create sustainable jobs in the long term is not subsidising unsustainable old industries but by allowing better conditions for enterprise, better labour relations in themselves to attract new jobs to the area.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [111] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [112] Madam Speaker I entirely agree with er ... my honourable friend.
[113] The way to secure future prosperity is by embracing change not resisting it and as my honourable friend er indicates, by using our skills to best effect and competitively in a global market place were we to embrace the policies of members opposite in the European community we would shut the job, the door to the jobs which will come from that inward investment because we have opted out of the social chapter we do indeed have the opportunity that comes from being, if I may qui may quote er President Delors a pa a paradise for inward investment.
Betty (PS4LP) [114] Mr Kevin Baron.
Palsey (PS4LW) [115] Could I say to the minister and bring him back to the real world ... about regeneration.
[116] ... The government are about to announce er at Templebury in Rotherham a three point seven five million pounds project which I a actually support er made by English Estates ... that project is estimated to create a hundred and seventy five jobs.
[117] Last year out of the two thousand nine hundred and thirty nine that were lost in the Rotherham borough from coal, engineering and steel there were two hundred and sixty jobs lost at Templebury steel plant in November.
[118] This year seventy five jobs lost at [...] last week and there's four hundred job losses that are currently being negotia negotiated in United Engineering Steels in Sheffield and Rotherham.
[119] That regeneration project is a flea on a dog's back into the jobs that have been lost in that ... area at the moment.
[120] When are we going to meet the needs of those areas for jobs and not have these things where we're getting less than twenty percent job replacement through g regeneration.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [121] Well Madam Speaker, we'll start making progress when members opposite realise that jobs come from companies being competitive, from private enterprise being able to sell goods and services competitively and it is members opposite who believe that the state can provide employment on this of the house we believe that government agencies can assist the market to operate effectively and real jobs will come from free enterprise which members opposite stand against.
Betty (PS4LP) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [122] Madam Speaker ... I wonder if the minister is aware that in the economically declining fishing port of Brixham in South Devon the second largest fishing port in the West Country ... that the employment service agency want to build ... a new building on a prime site in the centre of Brixham ... in order to put both the payout office and the job creation office in the same building and they're prepared to pay over the odds with government money and push out private enterprise who want to build that site.
[123] Isn't it a far better use of public money to create training and job creation rather than to buy a prime site with public money?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [124] Er, Madam Speaker I'm very much aware of the case that the ... my honourable friend has er mentioned because he has written to me er about it and I have looked into the circumstances er of it and I understand that the employment service have made no final decision on that particular site and I'd be happy to respond to my honourable friend er once I've had a chance to discuss it further with the Chief Executive of the employment service whose responsibility it is but if I could just say to my honourable friend the principle of integrating er the work of the job centre and the payment of benefits on one site is a good one which is for the convenience of er people who make use of the job centres er and er as er er the honourable er gentleman, the member for Workington is indicating from a sedentary position, was a recommendation which was supported by the public accounts er committee and I believe and I believe that it er makes sense to proceed on a value for money basis with this policy but I will certainly look at the particular example in my honourable friend's constituency with interest.
Betty (PS4LP) [125] Kate [...] .
Savers (PS4LX) [126] Number seven.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [127] Er, there is of course er no such tech.
[128] ... However if the honourable member is referring to her own tech, which is called South Thames tech ... then the department's regional director ... is currently negotiating the level of resources for ninety four, five with the tech and of course also with other London techs.
Betty (PS4LP) [129] Kate [...] .
Savers (PS4LX) [130] Yes thank you I'd like to thank the minister for her reply ... some of us in South London will still call it the site of East London Tech no matter what the minister wants to call it.
[131] But could I say to the minister that she will be aware that the South Thames tech actually is the first tech to get involved in kids club network and that one of the very useful things that has happened in my constituency is the setting up the first kids after school club in in in Vauxhall.
[132] Would the minister like to ... say, like to welcome that initiative but also to ensure that the money which the South Thames tech are going to be able to put into that will be able to continue and not only continue in that one but to allow the increase of this after school provision so that those many women in my constituency and who, the many women in South London who are unemployed, will have the opportunity to get back to work and get back to training with that very necessary provision for child care.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [133] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [134] Can I say first of all to the honourable lady that yes of course I welcome er the particular initiatives er and indeed I have visited it as I think she will know, er and I'm very pleased to congratulate all those concerned in setting it up.
[135] We have of course made it clear that those techs who were piloting ... er the out of school childcare initiative ... er will continue er to be funded er along with all other techs from ninety four, five and although of course I cannot preempt the tech's judgement and take a view on that particular scheme, er I can say that funding will continue for techs for that purpose.
Betty (PS4LP) [136] Mr Ian Taylor.
Brazier (PS4LY) [137] Would my honourable friend er recognise that just up the River Thames from er the South Thames tech is the Surrey tech which is doing and excellent job with local industry in re-skilling particularly younger people and this partnership with industry, not just dependent on what the government does, but what industry itself does to try and help people get back into jobs with the new challenges that are coming from the difficulties that are presented by ... higher calibre needed particularly for school leavers and other and will he w would she welcome the Surrey tech's initiative?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [138] Er yes I have pleasure indeed in worre er in welcoming the er Surrey tech's initiative er and indeed similar initiatives er in other techs up and down the country.
[139] I'm delighted to welcome er the various initiatives that result from partnerships between industry and government er and in particular the investors in people which encourages training and skilling er on a life long basis and I have pleasure in confirming that that is not confined to the private sector and that today ACAS became the first civil service er body to receive the full award of Investors in People.
Betty (PS4LP) [140] Mr David Winneck.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [141] Number eight [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [142] The Prime Minister and I had such a meeting on the twentieth of December.
Betty (PS4LP) [143] Er, Mr Winneck.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [144] But is the Secretary of State aware that the campaign against the ban on union membership at G C H Q remains as strong as ever and will continue until victory is secured.
[145] There was no justification for the ban in the first place ... and is the Secretary of State not concerned that the International Labour Organisation has expressed much concern over the continuing ban and it may well be that in view of the fact that the government is not willing to compromise in any way the I L O may well decide to formally rebuke and reprimand the government.
[146] If that is the case you'll be the first ever case of a Western government being so reprimanded.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [147] Madam Speaker there are a number of points in that supplementary question, let me deal first of all with ... on G C H Q we've done exactly what the I L O requested us to do, we've had er discussions with the civil service unions to see if a solution could be found.
[148] No one ever imagined for a moment that it would be easy to find a solution which would satisfy both sides, but as far as the government is concerned the dialogue remains open.
[149] I'm confident that we have nothing to fear from an examination of our industrial relations policies, er at the I L O. We believe we can demonstrate that these polici er policies comply with all the I L O conventions that we have ratified.
Betty (PS4LP) [150] Michael Allison.
Betty (PS4LP) [151] Would my right honourable friend confirm ... that the former director of G C H Q, Sir Brian Tovey, stated that during the imposition of martial law ... in Warsaw and during the Soviet anva invasion of Afghanistan ... some ten thousand hours of cover were lost ... at G C H Q. And will he not confirm that is a perfectly good reason for the ban on external ... er interference by trade unions in the activities of G C H Q and will he also ... assure the house that the existing trade assoc the staff association works perfectly well and there is no reason whatever for an external trade union to interfere in G C H Q's affairs.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [152] Well I can, I can confirm what my honourable friend says.
[153] Namely that between nineteen seventy nine and nineteen eighty one, ten thousand working days were lost at G C H Q and we just cannot run the risk of anything like that ever happening again.
[154] ... So far as my honourable friend er is concerned he is right erm and we indeed suggested that the staff federation should be affiliated to the council of civil service trade unions to enable staff who belong to the federation to gain access to the facilities available to unions affiliated to the C C S U. Sadly, sadly the civil service unions did not feel able to accept this proposal.
Betty (PS4LP) [155] Anne [...]
Gillan (PS4LR) [156] But isn't it er true according the reports in the financial times, that the government at this moment is planning to withdraw Britain from the I L O. Precisely because the I L O has censured Britain ... a censure that is normally a sanction that is normally applied to countries like Haiti and North Korea.
[157] Isn't it a fact that this government is becoming isolated, not only in Europe but throughout the world for its anti worker and its anti union policies.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [158] There is no truth that er ministers intend to withdraw from the I L O or to seek ... an opportunity to do so and despite T U C criticism, as I said earlier, we believe that our policies comply with all the I L O conventions which we've ratified ... and as my honourable friends have pointed out, our overriding objective is to ensure the maintenance of continuous operations at G C H Q which is vital to the protection of national security.
[159] However ... the Prime Minister has made it clear that the government is ready to discuss any further proposals that the uish union may wish to put forward that are consistent with our overriding objective of safeguarding national security.
Betty (PS4LP) [160] Graham [...] .
Jones (PS4LS) [161] [...] speak.
[162] Would my right honourable friend not agree that because of their irresponsible behaviour in disrupting G C H Q's vital work in the early nineteen eighties the trade unions only have themselves to blame for this ban.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [163] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [164] I couldn't agree more with my honourable friend.
[165] It is very important indeed to ensure that the staff of G C H Q are not subject to potential conflicts of interest ... and as I said earlier the Prime Minister and I listened for some considerable time ... to the s to er to the points put forward by the trade unions to see whether or not that overriding er ... national objective could be maintained but we were not convinced, we were not convinced that erm ... the trade unions could overcome those potential conflicts of interest and it behoves ill the party opposite ... to try and put a different gloss on the fact that we in this country thanks to our legislation, have put harmony in place of strife and [shouting] we are not prepared to allow the opposition to put that major achievement at risk. []
Betty (PS4LP) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [166] No ... number nine Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [167] Figures from the labour force survey showed that in the banking, finance, insurance and business services in greater London, the number in employment since nineteen eighty nine has risen by seven thousand.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [168] What message has the minister to give to the five hundred and five employees of Barclays Bank in London whose new year began with receipt of a redundancy notice ... at the very moment when the bank's new chief executive was having his pay doubled to seven hundred and thirty seven thousand pounds a year.
[169] What comment has the minister to make on this example of corporate ethics or does she like the Prime Minister believe it's no matter for her?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [170] [...] is the matter for the honourable gentleman is giving his constituents hope what he appears completely unable to do.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [171] You will ... the house will note, the house will note Madam Speaker that the phraseology of the honourable gentleman's original question was how many jobs have been lost, in fact jobs had risen and he didn't even have the grace to welcome that.
[172] Perhaps he would like
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [173] Hear, hear .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [174] to tell his constituents that with London's share of world trade in financial services is increasing and is now at twenty seven percent ... that the financial services sector round the U K four point three billion, that those employees that he refers to are in fact in an industry which even if it is redistributing employment it's nevertheless growing.
[175] Can I say to the honourable gentleman, why doesn't he give encouragement to Britain's performance in the financial services sector?
[176] Why don't the whole lot of them [...] ?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Betty (PS4LP) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [177] Would my honourable friend, is my honourable friend aware that employment in London and the South East has actually risen by over two hundred in the ten years from March nineteen eighty three and will she confirm that some of the hundred and fifty thousand places in the new apprenticeship scheme will be available in London?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [178] Yes I have pleasure in confirming that and I also have pleasure in confirming ... that another good sign for young people, apart from the creation of modern apprenticeships, is also the way that the numbers waiting more than eight weeks for a Y T place has now declined from over three thousand to just over three hundred.
[179] That there are now a large number of techs in the country with no young people waiting, modern apprenticeships are going to help that process even further and why aren't modern apprenticeships being welcomed?
[180] ... I take it that the honourable gentlemen are in fact cheering the government, thank you very much.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Betty (PS4LP) [181] Tony Banks.
Heal (PS4LT) [182] Is the, is the minister, is the minister aware that Barclays have laid off or declared seven thousand redundancies.
[183] National Westminster has announced four thousand redundancies and yet you still have to wait ages in the queue at the bank, why is that?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [184] [...] [laugh] Hear, hear
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [185] Perhaps the honourable member should do a competitiveness survey and go somewhere else for his queue, I don't know but what I can tell the honourable gentleman is ... that even though there were losses in the banking industry for the last year ... there have been strongly offsetting rises in insurance and business services.
[186] It's generally good news in the financial sector.
[187] That is the message which the honourable gentleman might be telling both those in the queue and the cashiers.
Betty (PS4LP) [188] Sir David [...] .
Lloyd (PS4LU) [189] Question number ten Madam Speaker ... number ten.
Betty (PS4LP) [190] Ten.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [191] David Conolly.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [192] Er er Madam Speaker er non-wage costs never get into employees wage packets but do make it more expensive for employers to provide a job.
[193] On average for every one hundred pounds in wages an employer in Britain must pay ... twenty pounds extra, in Germany thirty pounds and in France and Italy forty pounds.
Betty (PS4LP) [194] Mr Conolly.
James (PS4LV) [195] Does my honourable friend agree that one of the reasons this country is so successful at attracting inward investment is because of those lower non-wage labour costs?
[196] Does he also agree that the imposition of the social chapter, which both parties opposite would like to force on this country, would not only destroy our competitive advantage but more importantly would destroy jobs?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [197] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [198] I entirely agree with er my honourable friend, er not only er is the lower non-wage cost a reason for inward investment being attracted to Britain but it's also why together with our general economic policy, why workers in Britain enjoy in real terms, some of the best take home pay packets in Europe.
Betty (PS4LP) [199] Alex Carlisle.
Palsey (PS4LW) [200] Given the favourable non-wage labour cost which the minister told us about a moment ago, how does he justify the enormous discrepancy in wages between England and Wales as an average and areas like South Wales and Northumberland where average weekly earnings are up to sixty five pounds less ... than the average ... and will he explain to us why the government is not tackling huge wage differentials in this country?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [201] Well I have to say I'm amazed at the honourable gentleman asking that question.
[202] If he had his way, and we signed up for the social chapter, those extra costs would have to be met out of those pay packets and there'd be even less for people to take in wages so the honourable gentleman shouldn't be complaining about low pay when he wants to add to the costs of employment along with the rest of his party.
Betty (PS4LP) [203] Michael Bates.
Savers (PS4LX) [204] Does my honourable friend agree with Klaus Stratzenburg who is a supervisor with Black and Decker in Lindburg in Germany who when asked to comment as to why he felt that Black and Decker were closing their plant in Germany to move it to Spennymore in County Durham, said it's simple ... industry must be flexible, the social chapter isn't.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [205] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [206] Er Madam Speaker ... I ... I entirely agree with the sentiments which have been expressed by Black and Decker and I have to say to members opposite that when companies like Mercedes are starting to source outside of Germany, with companies like Volkswagen are starting to look er outside Europe and Peugeot and others, alarm bells should be ringing for those members who are genuinely concerned about jobs because there is no doubt that the social chapter is driving people out of work and the longer that members opposite adhere to it er then the ... the greater will be the ... er the possibility o of er people er in Europe er embracing policies which will make those countries in Europe less competitive and less able to provide employment.
Betty (PS4LP) [207] John Prescott.
Gillan (PS4LR) [208] Can the minis can the minister of state in view of his many visits to America, say whether he agrees with the Secretary of State's earlier statement that American does not have a minimum wage legislation?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [209] Er I think er if the honourable gentleman checks the record he will find that my right honourable friend said that America did not have a national statutory minimum wage but I'm most ... I'm most grateful to the honourable gentleman for reminding us of the international comparisons because he will know that the country in Europe which has embraced his policy of a statutory minimum wage is Spain and Spain has twice the level of unemployment of the European average and twice the level in this country.
Betty (PS4LP) [210] Anthony [...]
Brazier (PS4LY) [211] In recognising the crucial importance of lower non-wage costs in Britain compared to Europe.
[212] Is my honourable friend aware of the fact that [...] , a German wheel maker has transferred all its heavy wheel making operations to my constituency [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Brazier (PS4LY) [213] and also the carpet companies in my constituency are now going to Germany to buy up their now redundant carpet making machinery precisely because German companies can't compete in the kind of regime that they are have imposed upon them.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [214] Er I I'm most er grateful to my honourable friend ... for giving yet another example of how the social chapter has exported jobs out of the eleven into Britain.
[215] That's good news for Britain as long as we ensure that we never, ever sign up to the social chapter with its job destroying er job destroying characteristics.
Betty (PS4LP) [216] Michael [...] .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [217] Number eleven Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [218] Madam Speaker.
[219] The full range of modern apprenticeships will be offered to sixteen and seventeen year olds ... in September nineteen ninety five ... and there will be some prototypes
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [220] starting at the er later this year.
Betty (PS4LP) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [221] [clears throat] I note the minister didn't give er the numbers of apprenticeships and there's possibly a reason for that.
[222] The minister will be aware that in the last year of the Labour government, there was an hundred and fifty thousand apprenticeships in manufacturing alone ... whilst in manufacturing in nineteen ninety one there was only fifty one thousand apprenticeships.
[223] Clearly the minister's response is inefficient, it's it's quite inadequate and what is required is a much more positive stance from the minister, and can the minister tell us ... whether or not he will be, he will be giving the opportunity to mature entrants to the apprenticeship scheme so that people that have been thrown on the scrap heap over this last fifteen years will have an opportunity and can he tell us whether or not he's had discussions with British Coal enterprise ... to allow miners that have been made redundant to come into the new apprenticeship scheme so that they will have new skills which will help them to get new jobs.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [224] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [225] The honourable gentleman knows that the new modern apprenticeship scheme that the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on the thirtieth of November, is of course designed to encourage more young people to train up to N V Q level three and to encourage even more young people to train to even higher levels.
[226] Of course during the er ... during the course of this year we will be considering prototypes which will enable those young people to reach that high level of qualification ... but he will be aware that under the national training and education target there are some of those targets which are directly related to the points that he has raised and the important priority for this government is to ensure not only that we have young people training to an even higher level ... but through programmes like investors in people, that we encourage every member of the work force and those ... er who are primarily unemployed at the present time, to train to even higher levels of qualifications.
Betty (PS4LP) [227] Questions to the Prime Minister ... er Mr the the Reverend Martin Smith.
Betty (PS4LP) [228] Number one Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [229] I've been asked to reply my right honourable friend the Prime Minister is in Moscow for a series of meetings ... including meetings with President Yeltsin and Prime Minister [...] .
Betty (PS4LP) [230] Reverend Martin Smith.
Betty (PS4LP) [231] Madam Speaker has the ... lord president of the council noticed the response of ... Mr Reynolds and [...] to Miss Mary Harney's ... question ... what representations has he ... had been made to United States over Gerry Adams' visit.
[232] The response was that we do not get involved in trying i in ... to get foreign administrations to ... try to tell them what decisions they should make.
[233] Would he ask his right honourable friend to press the Prime Minister to exercise the same restraint over the United Kingdom particularly Northern Ireland.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [234] Well as the honourable gentleman will know, the issue over visa was of course a decision for the U S authorities though our own advice as the house knows, er was clear.
[235] So far as the main thrust of the honourable gentleman's question is concerned er he will know that we believe it to be right ... and indeed in the interests of all the people in Northern Ireland that the British and Irish government should work closely together.
[236] As he knows the talks process brings together the two governments and the main constitutional parties in working together to find an accommodation, and I think that is right.
Betty (PS4LP) [237] Mr Stephen [...]
Gillan (PS4LR) [238] Er would my right honourable friend ... agree with me that the appearance of Jerry Adams on the ... Walden programme proved beyond any doubt that whatever Sinn Fein say ... Sinn Fein have rejected the er Downing Street declaration.
[239] Would he not join me in urging Sinn Fein to reconsider their position on this ... and would he also agree with me and confirm to this house that this government will never do what Mr Adams requests and that is become a persuader of the people of Northern Ireland to join a united Ireland and will he, will he recognise from me that many on these benches remain committed to the union of Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [240] My my honourable friend will know that my right honourable friend has me on may occasions made clear the British government's position in relation to the question of persuasion.
[241] As to the rest of his question then of course I and I suspect and perhaps I know that everybody in the house would urge Sinn Fein er to consider very seriously a positive response to the joint declaration.
Betty (PS4LP) [242] Mrs Margaret Beckett.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Jones (PS4LS) [243] As ministers are still proclaiming that back to basics is the lode star guiding government policy while the Prime Minister's dodging all questions about it.
[244] Doesn't this show yet again that back to basics is making this government a laughing stock?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [245] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [246] My er ... the right hon the right honourable lady I'm er ... I don't know whether I'm sorry to say or not, it's a bit out of date, my right honourable friend has just today ... given a clear explanation of the back to basics theme .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [247] And he has er ... and he has once again once again made it clear, he has once again made it clear that that is particularly important in such areas as standards in education, law and order and the provision of public services .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [248] And it applies also to the range of our increasingly successful economic and business policies.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Betty (PS4LP) [249] Mrs Beckett.
Jones (PS4LS) [250] I notice that yet again the Lord President's list and presumably the Prime Ministers ... doesn't include the standard of telling the truth about tax.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [251] Hear, hear [...]
Jones (PS4LS) [252] Why is the government ... why is the government ... refusing to come clean ... about the size of the further tax increases that British families will face in nineteen ninety five?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [253] Madam Speaker, what er ... I and my right honourable friend will go on emphasising is the contribution which our tax policies are making to the economic strength and the improved standards of living of this country.
Betty (PS4LP) [254] Mrs Beckett.
Jones (PS4LS) [255] But as the Lord President must be aware ... my honourable friend, the Shadow Chief Secretary, has questions tabled to this government about the extra taxes people will pay in nineteen ninety five to which an answer is not being provided.
[256] The government must have the figures, we know the government has the figures and the people of Britain will have to pay that extra tax so why haven't they got the guts to tell them how much they'll have to pay .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [257] My right honourable and honourable friends have answered many questions and will continue to answer the questions ... that the honourable the right honourable lady's friends ask.
[258] But what we want to know from the right honourable lady ... what we want to know from the right honourable lady is when they will come clean about the public spending policies that will put taxes in this country up.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [259] Hear, hear.
Betty (PS4LP) [260] Michael Chersby.
Heal (PS4LT) [261] Is my ... is my right honourable friend aware that yesterday the Chairman of the board of inland revenue told the private accounts committee that some five hundred and fifty million pounds of unclaimed tax still remains to be picked up by tax payers who've been affected by the er ... the change in the tax regime in the last couple of years where for example women are now assessed independently.
[262] Is he [...] further aware ... that that amounts to about eight hundred and eighty thousand pounds per parliamentary constituency.
[263] Will the government do everything possible to ensure that the inland revenue makes this widely known to every tax payer in the country?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [264] The, the government and I'm sure that er the inland revenue are always anxious to make sure that tax payers are properly informed of their rights er and receive their correct entitlement and I have no doubt that every effort will be made to achieve what my honourable friend seeks.
Betty (PS4LP) [265] Gary Wynn-Jones.
Lloyd (PS4LU) [266] Number two Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [267] I refer the honourable gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago.
Betty (PS4LP) [268] Mr Wynn-Jones.
Lloyd (PS4LU) [269] Madam Speaker in view of the fact that the ... real value of pensions has gone down for many years now following the break.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Lloyd (PS4LU) [270] Following the break ... following the break ... following the break with the link with earnings and the fact that value of pensions in the U K is out of line with virtually every other comparable European country ... an in view of the fact, and in view of the fact that the
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Lloyd (PS4LU) [271] compensation package ... for V A T for pensioners will not compensate them in full as was promised, ... and in view of the fact that we've had extremely cold weather for the last week.
[272] Will the government now introduce a special heating allowance for pensions?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [273] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [274] Madam Speaker I r ... the er honourable gentleman must have a rather er curious source for his statistics because what has actually happened is not merely that the government have protected the real value of the state retirement pension but the combination of our policies both in social security, in the pensions field and in the economic world have led to a position in which pensioners average real incomes have risen more than forty percent since this government took office.
Betty (PS4LP) [275] Lady [...] .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [276] Number three Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [277] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [278] I refer my honourable friends to the reply I gave some moments ago.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [279] [...] honourable friends join me in condemning the non-sensible advice given by liberty to truanting school children that they should defy police and isn't it absolutely typical that the party opposite tend to support them.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [280] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [281] I would certainly join my honourable friend in condemning the advice which has been reported in the ... paper today er the government's efforts to improve the campaign against truancy and the to succeed in getting errant pupils back to school which is where they should be, I believe is and should be widely supported.
[282] For liberty to be opposing it in the way that they are shows that they don't remotely understand the best interests of our children or our schools.
Betty (PS4LP) [283] Mr Davidson.
James (PS4LV) [284] Er would the leader of the house then express his concern ... that at the end of the March when the tory party conference comes to Plymouth, there's a hundred and thirty five children are going to miss a day and a half of their schooling because of that conference.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [285] I I do not suppose they will be playing truant.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Betty (PS4LP) [286] Mr John [...]
Palsey (PS4LW) [287] Number four Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [288] I refer my honourable friend to the reply I gave some moments ago.
Betty (PS4LP) [289] Mr Wittingdale.
Savers (PS4LX) [290] Has my right honourable friend had time to study the recent annual survey of grant maintained schools which shows that since becoming grant maintained, schools have been able to recruit more teachers, improve their results and offer better facilities for their pupils.
[291] Does he not therefore find it extraordinary that the Labour and Liberal parties remain committed to the abolition of grant maintained schools ... and that in local government they are waging a relentless campaign [...] against G M schools, as typified by the behaviour of Essex County Council.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [292] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [293] My honourable friend is certainly right that the latest survey confirms the benefit of grant maintained status.
[294] Those schools are achieving improved academic results, better staying on rates and lower pupil teacher ratios.
[295] They are popular with parents and it's no surprise that well over a thousand schools have voted in favour of such status.
[296] As to my honourable friend's confi concerns about Essex and of course his constituency ... borders mine.
[297] He will be as pleased as I to know that in Essex there are now sixty three secondary and fifty five primary schools operating with grant maintained status.
[298] That represents sixty percent of secondary schools and seventeen percent of primary schools and despite the er endeavour to which he refers of Essex county council, I can tell him that the latest school to decide to hold a ballot on such status is Notley High School, Braintree.
Betty (PS4LP) [299] Mr Brian Davies.
Brazier (PS4LY) [300] Number six Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [301] I refer the honourable gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago.
Betty (PS4LP) [302] Brian Davies.
Brazier (PS4LY) [303] Madam Speaker, when my ... constituents complain about high fuel bills and watch the bosses of privatised utilities coining money ... am I to say to them that as far as the Prime Me Minister is concerned it's nothing to do with him?
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [304] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [305] The er honourable gentleman's question appears to be founded on a rather ... curious premise, er what has ... what has happened ... what has happened to electricity prices is that have fallen six percent in real terms over the last two financial years and if he wants to know another interesting statistics I can tell him.
[306] That in nineteen seventy nine the electricity companies, then nationalised, lost the equivalent in today's prices of four hundred and sixty five million pounds.
[307] In nineteen ninety two, ninety three they paid four hundred and twenty million pounds to the exchequer in corporation tax.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [308] Hear, hear.
Betty (PS4LP) [309] Mr John [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [310] Would my right, would my right honourable friend agree that the use of American ... and French and British planes ... to bomb the hills around Sarajevo may not necessarily produce lasting peace in Bosnia and would he further agree that if the idea is to achieve a demilitarised zone, policed effectively around Sarajevo then the best chances of so doing are by ensuring that Russian soldier ... in United Nations uniforms, in integrated units with British and French forces so help in the policing of that zone.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [311] Mada Madam Speaker my honourable friend knows well that the purpose er of what has been said and what is being considered about air strikes er is to is is to bring about er the er cessation of the sort of bombardment that we have seen in Sarajevo and I think everybody will want to see that effort successfully er completed.
Betty (PS4LP) [312] Mr George [...]
Betty (PS4LP) [313] Number seven Madam Speaker
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [314] Hear, hear
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [315] I refer the honourable gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago.
Betty (PS4LP) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [316] Will the leader of the house confirm that the government is announcing today by means of written answer, an increase of fifty pence in the prescription charges.
[317] Why is there no oral statement in this house?
[318] Is it is it because having taxed the disabled and taxed the divorce the government are aff afraid to face to the music and make an announcement that they are increasing tax on the sick.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [319] It er, first of all I can confirm that an announcement is being made today ... er secondly ... secondly ... secondly I can confirm that it is not usual for such announcements to be made by way of oral statement.
[320] Thirdly I can tell him that eighty percent of prescribed items are now free of charge compared with sixty percent in nineteen seventy nine.
[321] Fourthly, fourthly I can tell him that prescription charges will raise nearly three hundred million pounds in the forthcoming year.
[322] Fifthly I can tell him that that will pay for over two hundred thousand cataracts operations ... or over seventy thousand hip operations ... and sixthly I will ask him to tell me where he would find the money.
Betty (PS4LP) [323] Nigel Evans.
Gillan (PS4LR) [324] Number eight Madam Speaker.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [325] I refer my honourable friend to the reply I gave some moments ago.
Betty (PS4LP) [326] Mr Evans.
Gillan (PS4LR) [327] Has my right honourable friend had an opportunity to see the report from three I s, investors in industry, in which they have surveyed five hundred of the companies in which they invest and the confidence factor of those businesses is higher now than it's ever been since they started the surveys in nineteen eighty eight.
[328] Isn't this further evidence that this government has the right policies for British business and the British people.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [329] My honourable friend is absolutely right.
[330] This survey shows that firms in both the North and South of the country report greater improvement than in the previous survey and have become more optimistic about their own prospects.
[331] The fact is that the whole of British business in now increasingly confident about the economy and about this government's policies for business.
Betty (PS4LP) [332] Time's up.
[333] Mr Blunkett.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Jones (PS4LS) [334] Point of order, Madam Speaker I seek your ruling on the fact that the Secretary of State for health ... has declined to make a statement to the house on the increase of fifty P in prescription charges.
[335] ... But that the ... the leader of the house effectively made a statement in Prime Minister's questions on the same issue, misleading the house into believing ... that the government were actually applying this money to patient care rather than to meeting their own political incompetence.
[336] Isn't it a disgrace Madam Speaker, that the government should duck the opportunity to make a clear statement ... on a sixty, on an increase which is the sixteenth since they made the promise in nineteen seventy nine that they would not increase prescription charges.
Betty (PS4LP) [337] Ministers of course always determine for themselves ... whether they answer by means of a written question or whether they come to the despatch box and make a statement.
[338] This is something over which I I as speaker, have no control whatsoever.
[339] Yes, Mrs O'Mahon, Mrs Mahon.
Heal (PS4LT) [340] Er Madam Speaker, I'm seriously concerned about ... a minister misleading the house and I seek your general guidance ... on a matter.
[341] Last night on the world in action programme the minister for health, the member for Peterborough, categorically denied that there was no two tier system and he said ... I have no evidence of a two tier system developing in the N H S.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [342] Very anxious to promote the Wales in Europe scheme because it's been very important to us, including the links that er we have been able to build up with other regions of Europe in Catalonia, [...] , Lombardy and Battenberkaburg above all er which our our sort of strong erm er neighbours which can ... teach us a lot about industry and these are the areas that we will want to link up with by having this extra seat in the European parliament, er and obviously ... I mean there are sorts of areas where we have some sympathy with the occasional point that is made by the anti-Europe speakers on the other side.
[343] There ar there is ... er an excessive proliferation of European bodies with the European parliament and now the new committee of the regions and then you also have the economic and social committee.
[344] In the end something's gotta be done to sort out that excessive pru proliferation.
[345] But we er are welcoming the fact that there is a recognition of the rising population of Wales er in giving us this er this additional seat er primarily the additional population has not come in industrial South Wales which er ... er which er people think of perhaps as the most typically Welsh area, it's actually in two counties of Clwyd and Dyfed that are ... erm growing most rapidly because of lifestyle migration, retirement migration erm into those two areas and that is why the additional seat, if you can put it that way, er takes from all the other four of course, is is the mid and West Wales seat ... which has been compared by the honourable member for Cornwall er tonight and it has only got a population of four hundred and one thousand but on the other hand of course it is such an extensive seat because the population sparsity ... in that area is much, much worse than even in Cornwall and therefore it is going to stretch from South of Milford Haven to the Llanrwst area really within ... probably twenty miles of the North Wales coast, it's a who it's the whole of two counties plus one additional very badly populated constituency ... erm in in the county of Gwynedd, an awkward constituency but one that we are certainly looking forward ... fighting and winning to give us the five out of five er now that er the boundaries are going through tonight and obviously it's all in line really er to look at the other, the third order of course , the question of the registration of overseas voters in the nineteen ninety two election overseas voters had their first opportunity to participate in Westminster elections.
[346] The Conservatives in Wales have actually taken this principal much further they don't only allow ... overseas voters to participate in Welsh elections, they actually encourage them to become chairmen of our quangos as well as we've got David Robeddow chairman of Conservatives abroad ... in Monte Carlo ... i if the panel out.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Lloyd (PS4LU) [347] About quangos whatsoever, I want to [...] something about the boundaries of the European parliament.
[348] Mr [...] Morgan.
James (PS4LV) [349] Er I mean the er ... it's er, course there are three orders that we are looking at tonight, it includes the er the third order er in relation not to boundaries but to the registration of overseas er voters to enable them to vote er in this, in this er election within U K constituencies and therefore that's why the position that Mr David Robeddow as the chairman of Conservatives abroad er in Monte Carlo is relevant, er but also bec because of course the purpose of the European parliament for the first time as it will go through under these new boundaries, now is that they will be able to remedy some of that democratic deficit.
[350] They will be able to have a voice in choosing the chairman of the European commission ... which is like a Euro quango in a way so I do see a parallel which I want to put to you that we are remedying the democratic deficit in Europe with that giant Euro quango in the same way that we would like to ... remedy the democratic deficit with respect to the proliferation of quangos in Wales.
Lloyd (PS4LU) [351] A all very interesting indeed but for le let's now talk about the boundaries in the open business.
[352] Mr Roderick Morgan.
James (PS4LV) [353] Right.
[354] ... [clears throat] The other point that I
Lloyd (PS4LU) [355] Order, order ... order.
[356] I think we've had quite sufficient of that, let's get back to the European boundaries, Mr Roderick Morgan.
James (PS4LV) [357] Sir,i it was a terrible brief point about clad in jodhpurs, riding boots and hacking jacket but all the point that I was going to make that I've heard about riding roughshod over Europe but ... Mr Deputy Speaker this is ridiculous, I ... the er ... the honourable
Lloyd (PS4LU) [358] The honourable gentleman trying my patience now ... please get back to the boundaries of the [...] .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Lloyd (PS4LU) [359] Point of order, Mr Bill Cash.
Palsey (PS4LW) [360] Mr Deputy Speaker, er i you will have observed that the two front benches have spoken at incredible length ... and you have had to reprimand them, or certainly the opposition for er going away from the subject matter and do you not ... er believe that it would have been far better to allow some back benchers to get [...] .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [361] Hear, hear
Lloyd (PS4LU) [362] I have no control over the length of speeches, but I am perfectly able to control the debate.
[363] Mr Roderick Morgan.
James (PS4LV) [364] I I'm grateful I I I'm winding up that we on this side ... we do believe that these additional six seats are very important because we believe that the European parliament elections are going to be very important and fighting them on these new boundaries with the minimum of delay in spite of the delay that had been caused by the government' incompetence, we regard as very important, we regard this debate tonight as very important to approve these orders because we cannot so far work out whether the government will be fighting the er the whole campaign on the basis of back to basics while the E P P will be doing it on the basis of some other manifesto, vorsprung durch technik or whatever it might be, and they'll be trying to merge those into two slogans of o of er vorsprung durch basics or or whatever it might be and this ... we do not know at all whether the government want to be part of Europe and whether their back benchers are gonna be willing to cooperate with the European peoples party or they take the money from the European peoples party but they don't want to participate with them in the manifesto.
[365] On this side we have an agreement in fighting the eighty seven seats and it certainly in terms of Wales, we are going to win all five of them.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [366] Hear, hear.
Lloyd (PS4LU) [367] Sir Peter Loyd.
Savers (PS4LX) [368] Erm, ... Mr Deputy Speaker I'm sorry my honourable friends have not been able to get into this debate as I would have ... like to have heard them.
[369] I myself am going to take only a very few minutes that are left to me to comment on some of the points that were raised in the debate.
[370] Erm, could I ... could I first of all start with some of the remarks made by the honourable member for Nottingham North.
[371] I was grateful to him for his tribute to the members of the two boundary committees, they did do an excellent job, they did it as he implied, ... slightly less un generously to the government er in a considerably shorter time than they and we would have liked but they did it very well and they did it very fairly.
[372] Er, we have been ... in er organising these new seats, about the same time as the Labour government took in nineteen seventy eight, er I said that when I intervened upon him and I say it again it's worth paying on the records, exactly the same pressures have been on us as were as on them.
[373] But of course er the timetable ... er for the constituency changes er now and the problems that we're facing are nothing to do with er any action in the ... compass of the government here, it is because France has yet to ratify, one hopes they will.
[374] On the regulations about candidates and voters er from E E C countries ... of course erm er that is a complicated er set of regulations.
[375] The er directive of December nineteen ninety three did have details that we were not expecting and looking for so there was a great deal of new work to take on board.
[376] Er, the honourable gentleman wondered whether we would ever have a truncated view again, certainly not under the ninety three legislation because that was a once off as a careful reading of the act will show, er but er we will erm and his honourable friend, the member for Perry Barns hoped er that er we would have no more reviews of European boundaries, I know because he was talking at P R but we will certainly have ... one new review of er er Euro constituency boundaries because as soon as the parliamentary boundaries are completed ... er we will have to go into a new review on that basis of all the European seats and of course the full enquiries will be held in the normal way for them.
[377] I give way to the honourable gentleman.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [378] Briefly, I thank the minister for giving way.
[379] If the French do not ratify these proposals as may appear likely now er how late can the minister leave it before he informs the people that they must fight the European elections on the old boundaries and not the new?
Savers (PS4LX) [380] I I I've already said that I don't accept that er the French are unlikely to ratify ... er I think rather the contrary but that remains finally for them ... er and not for me.
[381] Obviously I think the er the final time comes some time in April otherwise I think there would be, and I use the term again ... too much inconvenience, massive inconvenience for those fighting the election here ... er .
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [382] Would my honourable friend give way, [...] brief, very brief .
Savers (PS4LX) [383] Yes
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [384] [...] I'm most grateful, erm, would he take the opportunity to repudiate the comments made by the honourable member for Perry Barr that we will not have erm an alien voting system inflicted upon this country, forced upon this country as he said ... erm by the institutions of the European community.
[385] Can I reiterate what he he actually said in a meeting with Calum er Carole Degucht er last year er he said I do y ... the honourable, my honourable friend said I do not see that uniformity means adopting a system of proportional representation and I've yet to see a good case as to the merits of different states adopting the same procedure.
[386] We will continue to veto any proposals that do not match our culture in this country.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [387] Er er what the honourable gentleman, my honourable friend reads out is certainly my view er we will erm of course engage in any discussions on this subject that come up i in the council of ministers but it would take quite a lot of convincing I think to myself and my colleagues, that any other form of election would be an improvement on first past the post, erm and er the ar , no I won't give way cos I have about ... four minutes left and er I do want to make a couple of other points.
[388] If there is any, any time left the honourable gentleman shall have it, erm the honourable gentleman, the member for Nottingham North did say that he d wasn't looking to proportional representation for these elections, I think he was absolutely right, I hope that piece of good sense which he displayed then will be one that wi he will invest his thoughts in when it comes, we come back to these questions later.
[389] I'm sorry my honourable friend, the member for South Worcestershire, was unable to make all the points that he he he wanted to do as I would have been interested to hear them.
[390] But can I refer to the honourable member for Truro ... er again he talked about P R, he thought that it would somehow, if we move that the there for this election it would save some time.
[391] It most certainly wouldn't.
[392] Which system we would have to decide, who draws up the list ... er would the list be a U K one, a regional one or would it be one in the separate countries that go to make up the U K. A huge amount of discussion there, not a chance missed at all, er he wanted a separate seat for for Cornwall.
[393] Well so many other ... counties would like a ... a pt a a seat which is coterminous with them, I know Norfolk would, but the rule is that constituencies should have as far as possible, equal numbers of electors.
[394] The er commission, the committees were able to take in special geographic considerations ... er but er they don't actually apply to Cornwall.
[395] The problem with Cornwall being a seat on its own is that its population is too small.
[396] There was no brief given to the committee a he suggested, all the criteria that they should take into account were ones that were included in the act.
[397] The Highlands and Islands which he referred to ... er is er er a different matter because their geographic considerations which don't apply to Cornwall, do apply.
[398] Er, my honourable friend, the member for Aldrich Brownills,he talked about P R, I've mentioned that so he will excuse me if I don't go over his remarks.
[399] The honourable member for Perry Barn I've again referred to what, part of what he said er but Gibraltar I have considerable amount of of sympathy with the remarks that he made.
[400] It's not something that I can deal with in these orders er I'm afraid that er there was a decision within the community which was then er made part of the nineteen seventy six E C direct elections act.
[401] There is no way that we can change those without the agreement of all the other members of the community er but I know that it's something that er my colleagues at the foreign office are extremely concerned with.
[402] I sympathise with what the honourable gentleman says and certainly the feelings that are bi er of the er erm citizens of Gibraltar.
[403] My honourable friend, the member for Southend East, says does all this matter.
[404] Well in the sense that I suppose whether it matters whether there are six hundred and fifty one members of the house rather six hundred and forty or six hundred and fifty five, no it doesn't.
[405] But what the change does do is to reflect, rather more accurately than the previous arrangements, the various sizes of the electorates in the European countries and that is the logic and the sense behind it.
[406] He asks have I been in touch with the French government.
[407] No but I'm flattered that he's, he seems to be implying that my doing so might help, but that is a matter that er er doesn't lie with the Home Office and I really aren't able to intervene.
[408] He wants to know what the job of a Euro MP is, well he is applying for a Euro seat, I do wish him the best of luck and when he's been there
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [409] Hear, hear
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [410] when he's been there a little while perhaps he can come with all the authority of a Euro MP and tell us the answer to his own question ... er, the honourable member for Ashfield er referred back to the positioning of the European parliament er where it should meet, there are three sites.
[411] Er, the position of the British government is this, that it regrets ... er the inconvenience ... and the expense, er it would like to see a very sensible resolution but it knows that there will only be a resolution as I know the honourable gentleman knows by unanimity and it does not expect to see that unanimity in the future though it will work for it.
[412] Finally if I can refer to the honourable member for Cardiff West, who wound up.
[413] Er, I'm glad that he's pleased that Wales got an extra seat, it has got an extra .
Lloyd (PS4LU) [414] unclear ... the question is an a motion one.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]
Lloyd (PS4LU) [415] The question as on the order paper, [...] say aye.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [416] Aye.
Lloyd (PS4LU) [417] The [...] no.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [418] No.
Lloyd (PS4LU) [419] [...] clear the lobbies.
Unknown speaker (JSHPSUNK) [...]