HC Deb 13 November 1989 vol 160 c18
79. Mr. Ken Hargreaves

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has any plans to pay an official visit to the constituency of Hyndburn in the county palatine.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Kenneth Baker)

In my capacity as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster I have no plans to visit Hyndburn at present.

Mr. Hargreaves

That is a disappointing reply, although I realise that the last time my right hon. Friend accepted my invitation to visit Hyndburn it cost the Department for which he was then responsible a great deal of money. I ask him to reconsider his reply so that he can see how we spent the money that he allocated to us and how Government money has assisted us in creating new jobs and industry and attracting the Zeri project to Hyndburn, with 2,700 jobs in the pipeline. Will my right hon. Friend do his best to ensure that, in this new situation, services at Accrington Victoria hospital are not diminished?

Mr. Baker

As my hon. Friend well knows, I have visited Hyndburn in many capacities. I remember canvassing for him in the 1983 election, when we won the seat against the odds, and I remember supporting him in 1987. I look forward to supporting him in 1991 or 1992, when he will be returned again as the Member for Hyndburn. One reason why he will be returned is that unemployment in his constituency has fallen by some 56 per cent. over the past three years.

Mr. Pike

If the right hon. Gentleman agreed to go to Hyndburn, how would he explain to the people of Lancashire and Hyndburn the poll tax bills that they will have to pay, given that more than 70 per cent. of the people in the terraced houses in north-east Lancashire will lose considerably?

Mr. Baker

The hon. Gentleman should remember that in the first year of the community charge some £700 million will flow to those authorities in receipt of safety net money. In addition, £100 million will flow to those areas which have a low level of domestic rates and there will be £300 million in transitional relief. Many people in Lancashire will benefit from that.

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