§ 7. Mr. Kirkhope
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the pools promoters about his Budget.
§ 16. Mr. Tredinnick
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Football Trust about his Budget.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. John Major)
Following the Budget statement, officials met the Football Trust and the Pools Promoters Association to discuss implementation of the proposed reduction in the rate of pool betting duty. Both organisations welcome that and I am confident that they will meet the conditions for reducing the duty. Negotiations are proceeding to that end.
§ Mr. Kirkhope
Although I welcome the progress, will the requirements to distribute the funds according to the differing needs of clubs be met through the Football Trust? For example, at the moment Leeds United is storming back into the first division, where it belongs, but other smaller clubs such as Halifax, Huddersfield and even Stockport County may have different requirements which have to be met.
§ Mr. Major
I congratulate my hon. Friend on the success of Leeds United, and I look forward to seeing them lose at Stamford Bridge next year. The Football Trust is committed to a fair distribution of benefit and duty reductions according to the differing needs of clubs. It has also undertaken to account separately for the moneys received and distributed.
§ Mr. Tredinnick
I am most grateful to my right hon. Friend for his reply. We welcome that in Leicestershire and in particular in Bosworth. Will he give an undertaking that Leicestershire will be considered most carefully under those proposals?
§ Mr. Tony Banks
As the Chancellor of the Exchequer is Chelsea football club's second best-known supporter, will he guarantee that he will declare an interest as Stamford Bridge could do with some of that additional money, and he and I could enjoy the additional facilities that would be provided?
§ Mr. Skinner
The Chancellor said that the reduction in duty will be granted to those in need on the basis of ability to pay. If he can do that for the football pools, why cannot his right hon. Friends do it for the poll tax? As some of those football clubs are owned by very wealthy people, will he make sure that the Government are not bailing out people such as Robert Maxwell and his friends?
§ Mr. Major
There are some temptations that even I can resist. The hon. Gentleman's ingenuity stretches matters a little far when he refers to the community charge. But the Football Trust made it clear that it is entirely committed to a fair distribution of benefit and duty reductions and I am confident that that will be achieved.
§ Dr. Marek
The Chancellor will be aware that the Government have designated as international grounds Wembley, Roker Park and a ground in Belfast. Those grounds will require extra money because they have extra commitments. Why have not the Government designated any ground in Wales for international status?