HC Deb 01 April 1981 vol 2 c285
19. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Dean), Official Report, 2 March 1981, col. 57, if he is now able to make an estimate of public expenditure to be incurred by his Department in connection with the forthcoming Royal Wedding.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

No, Sir. Arrangements for the Royal Wedding are at a very early stage of planning and estimates of the costs of the services that the Department has been asked to provide have not yet been made.

Mr. Hamilton

As the Government are imposing savage cuts on housing, education and everything else, is it not absurd and indefensible that they should choose to spend unlimited amounts of taxpayers' money on a jamboree of this kind? Would it not be advisable for the Government to invite the families concerned to pay their own way?

Mr. Finsberg

It would be nice if occasionally the hon. Gentleman did not act in such a curmudgeonly fashion. Whether he likes it or not, there is evidence of vast public support for the Royal Family in general and His Royal Highness in particular. It is fitting that this should find expression on an occasion of such significance as the wedding of the Heir to the Throne. Far from it being a waste of public money it will bring substantial commercial benefits to the country as a whole.

Mr. Stokes

Is my hon. Friend aware that what he has just said reflects the views of the vast mass of this nation? The questioner is in a miserable and tiny minority. Is my hon. Friend aware that the whole nation looks forward with great joy to that splendid occasion?

Mr. Finsberg

My hon. Friend is quite correct. Those who share the view of the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) will doubtless have left the Chamber with him.

Mr. Freud

I agree with the Minister in all that he has said. Will he bear in mind that workshops for the disabled can do a great deal of work to provide bunting and other celebratory materials? Will he say that the Government will give those workshops the work they have in hand?

Mr. Finsberg

That is a point that I shall gladly bear in mind.

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