I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely
The matter is obviously specific. The urgency is that the Government published a Green Paper, Cmnd. 9714, "Paying for Local Government", on 28 January 1986. They set a consultation period until 31 July 1986. The right hon. Member for Mole Valley (Mr. Baker), then Secretary of State for the Environment, said in the House:"the proposals for the poll tax in England and Wales and its differential impact in different regions."
All local authority associations, including the Conservative-dominated Association of District Councils, have damned the proposals for a poll tax, and so have many others. Opposition to the poll tax in England and Wales is as widespread as it is in Scotland. Ministers, knowing this, have dodged and refused debates in the House, and any detail of the impact has had to be dragged from them. [Interruption.] The importance of this is clear. A poll tax is unheard of in the western world outside the United Kingdom. It is a medieval tax. It will hit all those on low incomes, including widows, pensioners, families with adult children and the single unemployed everywhere. It will hit inner London and widen the north-south divide. [Interruption]"The pace of further developments … will depend on the outcome of the consultation process."—[Official Report, 28 January 1986; Vol. 90, c. 798.]
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Order. The application is being made to me and I want to hear it.
A poll tax will aggravate inner-city problems. All 40 authorities which would bear the greatest burden of poll tax are to be found in inner London and in the metropolitan counties. The 20 authorities which would benefit most are in the south of England. I give just one example. The Secretary of State for the Environment said that under his proposals the same local tax bill would be paid for the same standard of service. Yet in Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale and Darwen and Hyndburn, the poll tax would be about £200 per head, twice the amount in Gillingham, Kent, where expenditure is only 33 per cent. higher.The proposals in the Green Paper were made to this Parliament. Ministers should have the guts to debate them in this Parliament.
The hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent Consideration——
Throw him out.
Oh, yes— not you; only Labour.
The hon. Gentleman has caused me to lose my place—namely,
Again, I have listened with great care to what the hon. Member for Blackburn has said, but I regret that I do not consider that the matter which he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20. I therefore cannot submit his application to the House."the proposals for the poll tax in England and Wales and its differential impact in different regions."