HC Deb 26 July 1979 vol 971 cc877-9
Q3. Mr. Trippier

asked the Prime Minister if she will visit North-East Lancashire.

The Prime Minister

I hope to do so during the recess.

Mr. Trippier

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it will be extremely difficult for Members who represent North-East Lancashire constituencies to explain to their constituents why there should be increases in telephone charges when the Post Office last year made a profit of £375 million? Does she also agree that it will be more difficult for us to explain the increases in postal charges when those of us who come from North-East Lancashire are still receiving letters from our constituents asking us to vote for or against the reintroduction of capital punishment, the Abortion Bill, and the legislation to make the wearing of seat belts compulsory?

The Prime Minister

I think that my hon. Friend has voiced the feelings of many people that the standard of service is not as high as the charges in either the telephone or the postal service. It is difficult when there is a monopoly service to make comparisons. There is no standard of comparison. There is no substitute for competition. When there is a monopoly there is no competition. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry is considering the structure of the Post Office and the monopoly itself.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

When the right hon. Lady visits Lancashire will she attempt to explain how her policy of closing hospitals and old people's homes will increase output per man?

The Prime Minister

I hope that those who can increase output per person will do so now that they have been given the incentives.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

When my right hon. Friend visits North-East Lancashire, she will receive a very warm welcome. Will she take the opportunity to explain to the people there—who understand these things better than do the people in some areas—that there are now great opportunities for an industrial policy that will get this country moving forward again?

The Prime Minister

There are great opportunities. Taxation is lower, there are fewer controls, and opportunities are very much greater. For the first time industries can go ahead in a way that they have not been able to do for many years. It is often said that if one gives people increased responsibility some of them fear it, and that is so.

Mr. James Callaghan

Who said that?

The Prime Minister

Bernard Shaw. He said Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. But some, of course, will take advantage of the opportunities for enterprise that are open to them.

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