HC Deb 24 May 1979 vol 967 cc1226-7
Q3. Mr. Neubert

asked the Prime Minister whether she plans to make an official visit to Gidea Park.

The Prime Minister

I have no plans to do so.

Mr. Neubert

While my constituents will, of course, be disappointed to know that my right hon. Friend does not propose to visit Gidea Park, is she aware that we are greatly heartened by her declaration last week of her sympathy with the cause of small local hospitals, because our own Victoria hospital, which has served the community with complete satisfaction for nearly 100 years, is now threatened with closure, despite hospital waiting lists in the area being much worse than the national average? Can she give an assurance that her Administration will see that the National Health Service is more flexible and responsive to public needs, and that small hospitals will still have a place in the community?

The Prime Minister

I warmly congratulate my hon. Friend on his persistence in this matter. He had an Adjournment debate last night, which I naturally took the precaution of reading. I was gratified to see that he quoted me during the course of that debate. My hon. Friend the Minister for Health stated what I warmly agreed with, namely, that we approach the question of small hospitals with considerable sympathy. I hope one day to go to Gidea Park.

Mr. Stephen Ross

If the Prime Minister is making a journey to Gidea Park, will she take with her today's edition of the Evening Standard and read the article which points out that building society mortgage money will be in very short supply, and that many of those whom she believes will be able to buy their council houses and so on will be bitterly disappointed when they make their applications? Is she aware that this will also affect people in the private sector, who will find that they will not be able to obtain mortgages either?

Mr. Speaker

Order. I believe that the hon. Gentleman meant to refer to houses in Gidea Park.

Mr. Ross

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I was referring to mortgages on houses in Gidea Park, sold by local authorities.

The Prime Minister

Perhaps one reason why interest rates are high and money is being attracted away from the building societies is the enormous amount of borrowing which the previous Government did. It was revealed today that the public sector borrowing requirement was £9.2 billion. If the Government do less more money might be available for building societies.