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Engagements

Volume 175: debated on Thursday 28 June 1990

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Q3.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 June.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

As my right hon. Friend knows, Gloucestershire county council is run by the soggy hand of the Liberal Alliance and has spent millions of pounds over an already excessive budget, which is causing great anxiety to many of my constituents. In her review of the working of the community charge, will my right hon. Friend seek to ensure that some mechanism is introduced to curb such profligacy?

My hon. Friend is quite right about Gloucestershire. This year it has increased its expenditure by twice the rate of inflation. In our review of the community charge we are certainly bearing in mind that chargepayers want to be protected against the excessive spending of such councils. We shall bring forward proposals before the House rises.

Q4.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 June.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

Mr. Speaker, Sir. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"] Is the Prime Minister aware that the crime figures presented today are appalling? Is she also aware that the morale of the police force in the various constabularies across the country is at its lowest ebb? Is she also aware of the fiddle that has been going on about Aerospace? How does she expect British citizens to behave themselves when the Government go on like that? Is she aware that the Government sanction—

Order. I think that the House has now been made aware of two questions—that is enough.

In so far as I was able to hear the hon. Gentleman, yes, the crime figures out today are extremely disappointing, although we must remember that violent crime in this country occurs on a very much lesser scale than in some other countries. The overall figures show that 25 per cent. of all crime is car related, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary intends to have talks with car producers to see if we can reduce that figure.

I do not accept that the morale of the police is low. They have had a very good deal on pay—so good that everyone else wants to emulate them—and they have had full support from the Government in their most important work.

With regard to British Aerospace as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry explained in his statement on 30 November 1989, the relative items of which the hon. Gentleman was speaking were included
"in the estimates and reports to Parliament. Full details were made available to the Comptroller and Auditor General"—[Official Report, 30 November 1989; Vol. 162, c. 859.]
Finally may I point out what the Commission says in its report—

The Commission said that the price of £150 million represented a reasonable purchase price, given all of the circumstances of the sale.