HC Deb 14 June 1979 vol 968 cc611-3
Q1. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Prime Minister what plans she has to visit the London borough of Wandsworth.

The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

I have no plans to do so.

Mr. Cox

Is the Prime Minister aware that, were she to visit Wandsworth, she would see the kind of housing problems that exist throughout the United Kingdom? Is she aware, in view of the kind of speeches that she makes, of the housing problems of the homeless, the elderly and disabled, and of people living in tower-block accommodation? Is she further aware that a £10,000 mortgage means £110 a month repayment? Can she tell the House, and especially those people living in accommodation of that kind, what kind of choice she is giving them?

The Prime Minister

I am aware of all those problems, as the hon. Gentleman must have been during the lifetime of the last Government. Many of these are fundamental problems. I doubt whether many of us would build the kind of tower blocks which were built in the past. As for mortgage rates, the hon. Gentleman will know that his own Government held the record for the highest possible mortgage rates.

Mr. Mellor

Does my right hon. Friend agree that if she were to visit Wands-worth it would be appropriate to congratulate the Conservative group on Wandsworth council on being one of the only two councils in London to hold the rates steady this year, and that that example of good Conservative housekeeping—constrasted with seven previous years of Socialist financial profligacy at the town hall—provided one of many good reasons why the electors of my part of Wandsworth returned a Conservative Member for the first time in 15 years?

The Prime Minister

I do indeed congratulate the Wandsworth borough council and any other council that managed to hold rates as it did. In fact, I am always proud when Conservative councils are economical in their use of other people's money.

Mr. Jay

Will the Prime Minister note that the combined efforts of the Conservative Greater London Council and the Conservative borough of Wandsworth have now produced in that part of London the worst housing situation at any time since the war?

The Prime Minister

I find it astonishing that that could have been done within a matter of six to seven weeks.

Mr. du Cann

While considering her future programme, will my right hon. Friend give thought to ways in which it might be possible to establish all-party discussions on the subject of remuneration of hon. Members and others? Will she be good enough to look at the constructive reply given by the now Leader of the Opposition to questions that the former right hon. Member for Fulham, Mr. Stewart, and I put to him at the end of the last Parliament on this subject? Will she say whether, as newspapers have reported, she has yet received the report of the Boyle committee?

The Prime Minister

I received the report of the Boyle committee late on Monday night. I shall, I hope, be consulting the Leader of the Opposition and other people about it, and I shall try to deal with this matter as expeditiously as possible.

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