§ 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.