HC Deb 06 November 1995 vol 265 c590
28. Dr. Goodson-Wickes

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress he has to report on his deregulation initiative. [39712]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Roger Freeman)

We are using the powers of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act, which was passed just over a year ago, to repeal unnecessary United Kingdom primary legislation. I am also visiting the Governments of our European Union partners to build a consensus agreement that we should have fewer but better European regulations.

Dr. Goodson-Wickes

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Government's deregulation measures, pioneered by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, have been a great success? However, is it not true that the desire to regulate still lies deep in the socialist soul and that business men, let alone people going about their daily lives, ignore that fact at their peril?

Mr. Freeman

I am grateful to my hon. Friend and very much agree with him. Nothing is closer to the desire of all true socialists than the early introduction of the social chapter—which I understand is likely to cost, if fully implemented, about £10 billion a year, in addition to the already sizeable social security budget.

Mr. Skinner

Has not the right hon. Gentleman got a cheek talking about deregulation when sitting next to him is the Deputy Prime Minister, who only a few months ago persuaded the Prime Minister to set up another Government unit with civil servants, with a desk diary of £150,000, with two jobs—Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State—and with a personal hairdresser thrown in? If we are to talk about deregulation, let us start with the Treasury Bench—and the sooner, the better.

Mr. Freeman

My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State is doing an excellent job and will continue to do that job for a long time yet.

Mrs. Lait

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the lottery has had an adverse effect on the betting and gaming industries, especially in tourist towns such as Hastings? What initiatives does he plan to take to level the playing field and deregulate those industries in a responsible manner?

Mr. Freeman

We have already taken a number of steps, principal among which is the order that has been laid before Parliament on the deregulation of off-track greyhound betting. I see that my parliamentary private secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe), is in his place. I do not know whether the House is aware—I was not until earlier today—that he not only owns two greyhounds but has just won the greyhound derby.