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Engagements

Volume 202: debated on Thursday 23 January 1992

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Q6.

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 23 January.

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

The Prime Minister's view of an expanded Europea, Community, composed of many states in eastern Europea together with existing members, is extremely attractive, but will he contrast that with the instability within the United Kingdom because the aspirations of a nationwide Scotland are frustrated by its being unable to secure its independence and membership of the Community? Will he take steps to have that issue ventilated in a multi-question referendum of the people, which could perhaps be held in harmony with the general election?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he had to say about the European Community. That is the right way forward for this country, the European Community and the wider Europe which I hope in due course will join the Community. The hon. Gentleman spoke about devolution. The Union has served Scotland and England well. In terms of a debate, he will be aware that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has called for debates in the Scottish Grand Committee and I hope that everyone will contribute to them.

Q7.

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 23 January.

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

Will my right hon. Friend encourage the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to increase the top limit on national insurance contributions because of the plight in which that would place many of my constituents and people in neighbouring Blackpool who earn under £15,000 a year but during the holiday season earn more than £400 a week?

I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will need no such encouragement. The policy suggested by my hon. Friend would hit many people on modest incomes who have bonus or overtime earnings and who occasionally earn above £390 a week. Such an impost would be quite contrary to the policies of the Government and the Conservative party and we shall not introduce any such policy.