Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1985 Jun 25 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

House of Commons PQs

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: House of Commons PQs
Venue: House of Commons
Source: Hansard HC [81/766-70]
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: 1515-1530.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 2337
Themes: Employment, Industry, By-elections, Monetary policy, Privatized & state industries, Public spending & borrowing, Taxation, European Union (general), Foreign policy (International organizations), Law & order, Local government finance, Northern Ireland, Security services, Terrorism, Transport, Strikes & other union action
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PRIME MINISTER

Engagements

Q1. Mr. Forth

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having further meetings later today. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.

Mr. Forth

My right hon. Friend undoubtedly shares the horror and frustration felt throughout the country at the recent spate of bombings at airports and on aircraft. When she goes to Milan this week, will she add another British initiative in this matter by raising with other Heads of Governments and perhaps with Governments and flag carriers the possibility of a co-ordinated effort to counter such acts of terrorism and horror, particularly at airports?

The Prime Minister

I agree with my hon. Friend. We all share the same horror at those desperate acts. I certainly will raise this at the European Council and I hope to discuss it with Vice-President Bush when he comes next week.

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Mr. Kinnock

Is the Prime Minister aware that I and my right hon. and hon. Friends wish warmly to congratulate the police on the remarkable detective work and the success that they have achieved against the Provisional IRA? We believe that the whole nation has cause to be grateful. Can the Prime Minister give us an assurance that all necessary resources will be provided in order to ensure that the police can fully and quickly undertake the painstaking search that they now have to undertake of hotels and boarding houses in all the resorts mentioned by Commander Crawshaw?

The Prime Minister

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. As he knows, my right hon. and learned Friend will be making a statement on this matter shortly. We all warmly congratulate the police on preventing a disaster which was calculated to maim and kill many innocent people. All possible resources will be devoted to the task of the necessary search.

Q2. Mr. Greenway

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

The Prime Minister

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

Mr. Greenway

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that in a bad week, when terrorists have terrified the world, it is high time that everyone united in congratulating the police on their brilliant anti-terrorist operations? Is it not time that the GLC anti-police Bill was withdrawn and that the sour and obstructive attitude towards the police by many Members in the Labour party was brought to an end?

The Prime Minister

I agree with my hon. Friend, and indeed I have already indicated that we warmly congratulate the police on their success. I agree with him about the GLC anti-police Bill.

Mr. Winnick

Can the Prime Minister give any explanation at all why the Tory candidate in the current by-election goes about as if he has never heard of her? What possible explanation can there be for that?

The Prime Minister

I am sure that we have a candidate who is concentrating on putting across positive, constructive policies—[Interruption.] Those policies are the policies of our party. The Labour party attempts to personalise politics because it has no constructive policies to put across.

Q2. Mr. Dobson

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

The Prime Minister

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

Mr. Dobson

Does the Prime Minister recall her speech to the Welsh Conservative party conference in Swansea in 1980, when she said that Welsh people who wanted work would have to move to find it? Is that still her advice to the people who live in Brecon and Radnor? If it is, where does she suggest they go? Surely she cannot be suggesting her constituency of Finchley, where 3,000 people are on the dole.

The Prime Minister

In that speech I said that movement was a part of finding a job—[Interruption.] That is also mentioned in the employment White Paper published many years ago.

Dr. Blackburn

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the greatest blessing that a Government can give to the [column 768]sick, the unemployed, the disabled and those on fixed incomes is—[Hon. Members: “To resign” .]—lower inflation? Will my right hon. Friend confirm to the House and to the nation from the Dispatch Box that that remains the paramount policy of Her Majesty's Government?

The Prime Minister

It is our policy to reduce inflation. Although at the moment it is higher than we would wish, it is lower than any level achieved by the Labour Government.

Mr. Beith

Why is the Government's representative in the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg arguing so adamantly in favour of the power of a Labour Government to nationalise industries without adequate compensation? Does the Prime Minister really believe that the shares that she has sold to large numbers of the British public should be open to renationalisation at a knock-down price?

The Prime Minister

The European Commission on Human Rights has pronounced on the case and the matter has now gone before the Court. As the hon. Gentleman is aware, we accept the Court's decisions, whatever they may be.

Q2. Mr. Douglas

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

The Prime Minister

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

Mr. Douglas

May I make an appeal to the Prime Minister's scientific mind? The expectation of an event occurring which is one divided by 10 to the power of 53 is small. Is that not exactly the position of the Scottish miners, because 413 men have been re-employed, but not one of the 203 men from Scotland has been re-employed? Are we therefore correct in assuming that human intervention is involved? Will the Prime Minister now instruct the National Coal Board to pay the same attention and give the same justice to Scottish miners as to miners in other areas, so that some at least of the 203 men who have been dismissed will be re-employed?

The Prime Minister

I told the House what the Coal Board said when I replied last time. The hon. Gentleman is the first to know that the correct procedure for miners who were dismissed during the dispute is to appeal to an industrial tribunal. If that tribunal finds that any miner was unfairly dismissed it can order compensation and recommend reinstatement. That is the correct procedure.

Mr. David Atkinson

Will my right hon. Friend use the opportunity of the forthcoming European summit to strike a blow on behalf of millions of small businesses throughout the Community by trying to amend the sixth directive on value added tax to increase the threshold to above £50,000 a year so that small businesses can get on with the job of making a profit and creating new jobs rather than being weighed down by the enormous bureaucracy in the EEC?

The Prime Minister

I raised the subject of that directive at the previous meeting of the European Council. My right hon. Friend Lord Young of Graffhamthe Minister without Portfolio has also raised the matter. We shall continue to raise it. We believe that the level for VAT set in that directive is far too low and should be raised substantially.

Mr. Freeson

Referring back to earlier barbarism and terrorism, will the Prime Minister tell us why British [column 769]intelligence services, for which she is responsible, have blocked the release of information on Klaus Barbie held by American State Departments and being sought by special investigators trying to combat Nazi cells in America, and failed to provide information in connection with the Klaus Barbie trial, which is still to take place in France?

The Prime Minister

I have answered a question on that matter before. The answer has not changed. We try to release as many documents as we possibly can and to be as helpful as we possibly can, but there are sometimes reasons why documents cannot be released.

Mr. Wigley

Is the Prime Minister aware that one of the issues that is emerging in Brecon and Radnor is the utter inability of the rate support grant formula to maintain an adequate level of services in areas of great sparsity of population? In view of the £50 million of help that she has given Scottish ratepayers and her promises to reform the rating system—[Interruption.]—when can the people of Brecon and Radnor expect some relief from their problems?

The Prime Minister

As my hon. Friends are saying, it is unlikely to come from the hon. Gentleman. The Government have done as much as they can to persuade local authorities to constrain expenditure and, if need be, to cap the rates. In many cases, that has been highly successful. I look forward to receiving the hon. Gentleman's support when we bring forward proposals fundamentally to change the rating system.

Billericay

Q5. Mr. Proctor

asked the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to Billericay.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Proctor

My constituents will naturally be disappointed by that response. Is my right hon. Friend aware that my constituents wish to see control of the level of inflation, control of the level of public expenditure and a reduction in taxation? Can my right hon. Friend give pledges on those matters as well?

The Prime Minister

As my hon. Friend is aware, it is the Government's policy to keep strict control of public expenditure. I agree with James Callaghanthe Leader of the previous Labour Government, who said:

“If you talk to people in the factories and in the clubs, they all want to pay less tax. They are more interested in that than the Government giving away money in other directions.”

Engagements

Q6. Mrs. Peacock

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

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The Prime Minister

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

Mrs. Peacock

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the recently published report of the Select Committee on Employment is the report of the Opposition Chairman, supported by Labour Members, and not supported by Conservative Members, as at no time during the giving of evidence did Mr. Scargill condemn the nature——

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is a bad habit, because that matter is not the Prime Minister's responsibility.

Q7. Mr. Wareing

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

The Prime Minister

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

Mr. Wareing

As the Transport Bill is now in another place, would the Prime Minister care to inform this House of the name of just one country in the developed world where the deregulation of transport and the sort of regime that the Bill envisages exists?

The Prime Minister

I do not know of any country that has had the system that we are trying to get rid of, under which subsidies have increased and passengers decreased.

Mr. Colvin

Further to the earlier question from the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), will my right hon. Friend take time today to remind the House that if it had not been for the Lib-Lab pact in 1977 the aircraft and shipbuilding industries would never have been nationalised in the first place?

The Prime Minister

I thank my hon. Friend for putting his point so cogently.

Q8. Mr. Chris Smith

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

The Prime Minister

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

Mr. Smith

Will the Prime Minister tell the House whether her Government have now made up their mind whether the best recipe for the British economy lies in greater public spending or more cuts and tax cuts? Which side of the Cabinet is winning?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman should be aware that the Government believe in the control of public expenditure, as do almost every Government in power, because they have to. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will never have the experience of being in power, so he will never know that fundamental fact. Only if we control public expenditure and have the type of growth that we have had during the past few years can we cut tax. Had we kept the present amount of tax and the structure of income tax that existed under the Labour Government, the average family would be paying £260 more in tax than it is now.