HC Deb 06 November 2000 vol 356 c13
9. Dr. Julian Lewis (New Forest, East)

If he will make a statement on the future of the millennium dome after 31 December. [135344]

The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Janet Anderson)

The Government are currently in discussion with Legacy plc, in relation to Legacy's proposal for a high-technology business campus at the Greenwich site. The Legacy proposal is currently being analysed by the competition team in advance of any decision on preferred bidder status. We hope to make an announcement in due course, but I can assure the House that the Government are determined to get the best possible deal to continue the regeneration of east London.

Dr. Lewis

One thing that the dome and its contents will not be doing next year is fulfilling the Prime Minister's boast that they would form the first paragraph of his general election manifesto. Is the Minister aware that last week the national health service pulled the plug on four community hospitals, including a long-awaited £22 million community hospital serving New Forest? How many more future consequences will there be for the people of this country as a result of the squandering of three quarters of a billion pounds on the millennium dome and its contents?

Janet Anderson

I do not know how the hon. Gentleman has the brass neck to ask that question. What the Government have done through the new opportunities fund has been popular. I refer him to a comment made by an Opposition Front-Bench spokesman, the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Ainsworth), who said that health and education are things on which lottery money should not be spent? Perhaps the Conservative party would like to tell us what it would cut, in addition to £16 billion-worth of cuts in public spending. Would the Conservatives cut sport in schools? Would they cut the green spaces initiative? Would they axe the additional equipment for cancer patients, the after-school clubs and the healthy living centres? People outside the House will want those questions answered.