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Local Government

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th April 1976.

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Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury 12:00 am, 28th April 1976

I believe that in that scheme there were very difficult industrial disputes over a very long time.

Over the last year or two a truly formidable dossier on the misuse of direct labour has grown up, and there is widespread concern about what is happening in direct labour departments. Astonishingly, as we see from the Daily Telegraph today, the Wandsworth Borough Council proposes to add a further 73 administrative staff to its direct labour division. What folly that is.

Let me sum up our case and the reasons why we hope and believe there must be a massive swing away from Socialism next Thursday. Socialism is suffocating the country at all levels. One Tory Slogan which I like is that of the Oxford Tories, "Let Oxford live". That catches the spirit of what we are putting forward. Socialism is leading to extravagance, paternalism, and to the relentless placing of the collective above the individual. It is denying far too many council tenants and others the chance of obtaining the housing they really want.

Socialism is concerned with the folly of expanding municipal activity for its own sake when every effort should be concentrated on the cost effectiveness and maintenance of essential basic services. Socialism regards commercial and domestic ratepayers as people to be milked rather than served. It is a worn-out creed and on 6th May millions of the electorate will have a chance to show that they are sick of it.

The House can give a splendid lead by supporting our motion tonight and rejecting the Government's entirely unconvincing amendment.