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Questions To Ministers

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 26 November 1981

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The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) gave me notice yesterday that he wished to raise a point of order.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Although our budget deficit with the Community was a relatively small £92 million over the first six months of this year, it increased by a massive £405 million over the subsequent three months. Suspecting that to be the case, I put down a priority written question for answer on Monday 16 November. The question was so simple that my 10-year-old daughter could have answered it without any trouble. I merely asked what had been the monthly cash figures between ourselves and the Community. I was told that the question was too difficult to answer in the time available and that there would be some delay—the usual delaying tactics.

Last Thursday we had Treasury Questions and No. 3 concerned our contribution to the Community budget. Also last Thursday there was a debate in the Community about our contribution. The substantive answer to my absurdly simple question was not produced until both those events were over.

Hon. Members require available information so that they can participate in Question Time and debates that are fundamentally important to the interests of the country and our constituents. Is there any way in which you, Mr. Speaker, can prevail upon people to bring forward such information in time?

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for the way in which he has made his point. He and the House will realise that it is a matter for someone other than me, but his complaint has been heard by those who can do something about it and make inquiries into it.

Ballot For Notices Of Motions For Monday 14 December

Members successful in the ballot were:

  • Mr. Ray Powell
  • Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith
  • Mr. Robert Kilroy-Silk

Bill Presented

Local Government And Planning (Scotland)

Mr. Secretary Younger, supported by Mr. Malcolm Rifkind, Mr. Alexander Fletcher and Mr. Nicholas Ridley, presented a Bill to make further provision as regards local government and planning in Scotland; to abolish as regards Scotland certain powers of entry and advisory committees; to amend the Tenants' Rights Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time tomorrow and to be printed [Bill 11].

Scottish Affairs

Ordered,

That the matter of alcohol, drug and solvent abuse in Scotland, being a matter relating exclusively to Scotland, be referred to the Scottish Grand Committee for their consideration.—[Mr. Pym.]