HC Deb 19 July 1983 vol 46 c176
Q5. Mr. Madden

asked the Prime Minister when she next intends to attend a meeting of the National Development Council.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Madden

As the Chancellor of the Exchequer appears to have his public expediture sums wrong and, according to today's edition of The Guardian, jumped the gun when he recently announced cuts, will the Prime Minister assure the NEDC and everyone else that there is now no need for doctors or nurses to be sacked or for any more NHS hospitals to be closed?

The Prime Minister

The public sector borrowing requirement figures will be published on Thursday. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to have some measure by which to judge the figures, he might recall that the PSBR figure for the same time a year ago was £1.1 billion, but the outturn was £9 billion.

Mr. Eggar

Will my right hon. Friend draw the attention of the NEDC to the excellent article in the Lloyds Bank Review this week, which urged the privatisation of a number of nationalised industries? Will she stress again and again that the Government are determined to denationalise and to introduce competition wherever possible?

The Prime Minister

Yes, the Government are determined to denationalise and to introduce competition. Whatever financial rules and regulations we make for nationalised industries, there is no substitute for competition. It is our objective to increase the amount of competition and, therefore, to increase the service and choice to the consumer.

Mr. Straw

If, as the Prime Minister asserted, it is not normal practice to disclose in advance details of what is coming up for discussion in Cabinet, will the right hon. Lady say whether the No. 10 press office acted with her authority when, on Sunday, journalists were briefed to the effect that this Thursday the Chancellor would be making proposals for major cuts in public spending?

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is not an open question. It refers to meetings of the National Economic Development Council.

Forward to