HC Deb 22 January 1970 vol 794 cc700-6
Mr. Heath

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for next week?

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart)

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 26TH JANUARY—Supply [7th Allotted Day]: Winter Supplementaries.

It will be proposed that these should be taken formally to allow debate on an Opposition Motion on Agriculture.

Motion on the Awards and Settlements (Temporary Continuation Standstill) (No. 3) Order, 1969.

TUESDAY, 27TH JANUARY—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 28TH JANUARY—Remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill.

Remaining stages of the Housing (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill and of the Rural Water Supplies Sewerage (Scotland) Bill.

Second Reading of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Bill [Lords].

Motion on the Purchase Tax (No. 1) Order, 1969.

THURSDAY, 29TH JANUARY—Second Reading of the Films Bill.

Motion on the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) (Determination of Claims and Questions) Amendment Regulations, 1969.

At seven o'clock, the Chairman of Ways and Means has named opposed Private Business for Consideration.

FRIDAY, 30TH JANUARY—Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 2ND FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the Export Guarantees and Payments Bill.

Mr. Heath

When will the Government be presenting their new prices and incomes policy, in view of the avalanche of wage claims now descending upon them?

Mr. Peart

Not next week, and I am dealing with the business for next week.

Mr. Howie

Has my right hon. Friend noticed the Written Answer by the Minister of Housing and Local Government relating to the proposal to build a tidal barrier across the River Thames? Will there be a Government statement, or a White Paper, or perhaps a Green Paper, Cr, even better, a debate, on this important matter? If so, is it likely to be before the first week in April?

Mr. Peart

I cannot give that assurance.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Is the Leader of the House aware that this afternoon the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity revealed figures showing that unemployment in Scotland has risen by 11,000 in one month and is now almost at the 100,000 mark? Will the right hon. Gentleman therefore arrange for an early debate on Scottish unemployment?

Mr. Peart

I cannot do that. The hon. Gentleman will have opportunities to press Ministers on this subject.

Mrs. Anne Kerr

In view of the differing reports emerging from Nigeria, and of the concern felt throughout the country, is it not essential that we should have a debate on relief in Nigeria—the earlier the better?

Mr. Peart

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be making a statement on Nigeria immediately after business questions finish. My hon. Friend will probably have an opportunity to ballot for an opportunity to raise the question of Nigeria during the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill next week.

Mr. Blaker

The Leader of the House will remember that before the Christmas Recess I raised with him the question of a further statement on the Duccio painting affair, as was recommended by the Select Committee on the Parliamentary Commissioner. When will that be made? Will it be made by the former President of the Board of Trade?

Mr. Peart

I noted the hon. Gentleman's earlier request. I have announced next week's business. I do not think that such a statement will be made next week.

Mr. Strauss

Has my right hon. Friend's attention been drawn to Motion No. 84, which is signed by 117 Members of all parties, and which asks that a public inquiry should be held before the popular British Transport Museum, now located in Clapham, is closed and its magnificent collection of exhibitions dispersed?

[That this House, while conscious of the need to improve museums outside London and in particular to develop the railway museum at York, nevertheless notes that Her Majesty's Government present proposal to close the British Transport Museum at Clapham would not only deprive those who live in or visit London of an exceedingly popular display of great historical interest, but would also break up a unique national collection of road and rail exhibits; considers it wrong to proceed with this plan unless it is shown that no other scheme is practical; and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to hold an independent inquiry to consider alternative solutions before irreparable steps are taken.]

Is there any chance of a debate on the subject before this tragedy occurs?

Mr. Peart

I am aware of my right hon. Friend's interest in this matter. I have noted the Motion. This was the subject of an Adjournment debate on 12th December. I cannot foresee further time being granted to discuss this question in the near future.

Dame Joan Vickers

The discussion on the White Paper on Public Expenditure made special reference to the Duncan Report. How can we assess the importance of this until we have discussed that report? Can we have a debate on the report in the near future?

Mr. Peart

There is still today's debate on expenditure. I cannot promise any further time.

Mr. Ellis

Is my right hon. Friend aware of Motion No. 81, concerning the Deer Hunting and Hare Coursing Abolition Bill? In view of the great offence that was caused to hon. Members on this side when right hon. and hon. Members opposite destroyed the Bill and abused the spirit, if not the intention, of the House, will my right hon. Friend give us time so that we can have the Bill debated and defeat right hon. and hon. Friends opposite in their vile endeavours?

[That this House regrets that the rules of order and precedents on the taking of Private Members Bills prevented Mr. Speaker from accepting the Motion, That the Question he now put, during the debate on the Conservation of Seals Bill; believes that the filibustering tactics of certain members of the Conservative benches were a disgraceful abuse of the House, designed solely to prevent the House reaching a decision on the Deer Hunting and Hare Coursing Abolition Bill; and urges the Government to make time available for a full debate on the Deer Hunting and Hare Coursing Abolition Bill at the earliest opportunity.]

Mr. Peart

I have seen the Motion. I understand my hon. Friend's feelings. We must wait a little longer and see how matters proceed.

Mr. Corfield

When will the Leader of the House give us the promised debate on the air transport White Paper?

Mr. Peart

Not next week.

Mr. Hector Hughes

In view of the imminent threat to reintroduce a Bill which was rejected by the House so recently as last autumn, will the Leader of the House find time for a debate on my Motion No. 104, concerning the amendment or repeal of the Brighton Marina Act, 1968?

[That this House is of opinion that while a marina in or near Brighton is desirable the place authorised for the proposed marina at Black Rock was chosen without adequate scientific advice and is, in the opinion of yachtsmen, relevant experts and scientists, unsuitable and dangerous to ships and human life as being on a rocky, storm-swept lee shore without a protective river estuary or other appropriate coast indentation and is also without access roads, facilities or amenities, thereby involving the necessary construction of many new roads and the consequent destruction of dwelling houses and also dangerous inconvenience to fire-brigades, schools, old peoples', nurses' and other homes, all involving financial loss and burdens on ratepayers and residents; and therefore this House urges the Government to set up an expert and authoritative inquiry with a view to changing the marina site and amending or repealing the Brighton Marina Act 1967 so as to make it consonant with the safety, financial security and social benefit of the people of Brighton, the queen of seaside resorts, and others who appreciate its beauty and charms.]

Mr. Peart

I have seen the Motion, but I cannot foresee time being granted to debate it. My hon. and learned Friend will have an opportunity to air his views when the House considers the corporation's Bill.

Dame Irene Ward

When will the Government make their announcement about the lower-paid workers? In the debate on the National Superannuation and Social Insurance Bill much time, rightly, was devoted to the position of the lower-paid workers, but I understood that under the Government's policies there were not to be any lower-paid workers. I wondered how we were getting on. I would like to know what is to happen.

Mr. Peart

There will not be a statement next week.

Mr. Fortescue

Many months ago the Secretary of State for Social Services announced the setting up of an inquiry into disquieting increases in the costs of unemployment and sickness benefit. Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether we are to have a statement on this next week or in the near future?

Mr. Peart

I do not think next week. After all, I am dealing with next week's business. I will note what the hon. Member has said.

Mr. Russell Kerr

In view of the continuing uncertainty amongst employees of the company concerned, can my right hon. Friend promise us a statement on the Beagle Aircraft Company next week, or soon afterwards?

Mr. Peart

This is a matter of importance. There is concern. I will certainly make representations to my right hon. Friend. I note carefully what has been said.

Sir R. Russell

Is not the Consolidated Fund Bill usually taken in March, not January? Does this mean that there is to be a General Election in March instead?

Mr. Peart

No. This is a new procedure.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Since we are to have a debate on agriculture on Monday, would the right hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend whether the figures could be placed in the Library on which the basis of the present Price Review is being determined, so that we can have a meaningful debate? By this I mean only the firm figures, those which are finalised already.

Mr. Peart

There may be some difficulty here since we will soon be in the middle of the Review. If it is possible I will ask my right hon. Friend to produce all available figures, but, obviously, matters which directly affect very important negotiations could not be revealed.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he gave my hon. Friend a very dusty reply over his request for a debate on air transport? Surely this fine industry, with the problems of London Airport, near-misses, and so on, warrants an early debate?

Mr. Peart

I merely said that I could not find time next week. That was a definite answer.

Mr. Marten

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we are to get the White Paper on the cost of entry into the Common Market? Will it be next week?

Mr. Peart

No. As the Prime Minister said, it will be soon.

Mr. Onslow

Would the right hon. Gentleman deal with the question of air transport? Does he intend to honour his promise to allow us to debate this matter before the Government's proposed Bill is published?

Mr. Peart

The answer is "Not next week".