§ Mr. Frank Cook (Stockton, North)
; I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the visit of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security, the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. Whitney), to Cleveland on Thursday last and the views that he expressed on the plight of the young homeless people in Cleveland county.The matter is specific because it relates to the visit of a Minister to Cleveland and to the fact that he chose to close his eyes and stop his ears to the abundance of readily available evidence about the plight of young homeless people in the area. Then, without any recourse to lousing department records, voluntary aid group registers or church council experience, he proceeded to give public utterance to statements running diametrically counter to the real situation.
The matter is important because of the numbers affected by the regulations. There are 650 in Stockton, 2,500 in Cleveland and more than 50,000 throughout the country. The matter is also important because the Minister's attitude would deny victims consistent medical or psychotherapeutic attention on which they may be dependent. The Minister's attitude disrupts the continuity and stability of any police or probationary provision to which those involved might have to conform. That attitude also increases dramatically the potential burden on social services departments of councils that are already strapped for cash by Government diktat and, consequently, threatened by rate capping.
The Minister's attitude makes it more likely that a legally separated parent will have to undergo longer periods of isolation from the child awarded in custody to the previous partner. To all intents and purposes, the Minister's attitude imposes practical disfranchisement on young electors who, having registered to vote in their home town, are being condemned to wander until, come election time, they return to vote on some form of Tebbitan bike; they would do better seeking a Tibetan camel.
The matter deserves urgent consideration because 80 people in Middlesbrough alone await the hearing of their appeal against the DHSS refusal of exemption status; the figure for Stockton is not available today. Such appeals could take as long as three or four months and in the meanwhile those people are without financial support. In short, they have been judged, sentenced and executed.
In Cleveland, with 2,500 such cases, we have more than five times the national average. In Stockton, with 650 cases, we have more than four times the national average. All this comes to a head on Friday when those young people are condemned to the roads. There have already been suicides.
We must have a debate, and we must have it today.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the visit of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Seurity, the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. Whitney), to Cleveland on Thursday last and the views that he expressed on the plight of the young homeless people in Cleveland county.639 I listened with great care to what the hon. Gentleman said, but I regret that I do not consider that the matter that he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 10 and I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.