Engagements

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th February 1982.

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Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram , Edinburgh South 12:00 am, 16th February 1982

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 16 February.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram , Edinburgh South

Has my right hon. Friend had time to see the leaflet distributed to unemployed people by the Department of Health and Social Security seeking to define the suitability of jobs for people on the unemployment register? In the light of the present tragic unemployment figures, does she consider that the definitions provided in that leaflet are still relevant or does she believe that they make the provision of jobs more difficult at a time when we should be doing everything possible to make more jobs available?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I have seen the leaflet to which my hon. Friend refers. As it received a good deal of publicity a week or so ago I looked at the definition of what is a suitable job, which seems to have remained unchanged since 1946. It seems to me that the definition would preclude people from taking jobs with reasonable pay and I have asked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services to look into the matter.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel Leader of the Liberal Party

Has the Prime Minister had time to consider early-day motion No. 196 about the so-called youth training centres set up by the Workers' Revolutionary Party?

Mr.Speaker:

Order.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I was only asking about the percentage of women.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. I know that, but the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) must try to control himself. It seems that whenever the Leader of the Liberal Party speaks the hon. Member for Bolsover feels that he must contribute as well. That is not so.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel Leader of the Liberal Party

Given that the Department of Employment is concerned about this matter, what steps will the Government take to draw the attention of the public to the abuses taking place at the centres?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

If there are abuses, we shall of course look into the matter. I do not know the truth or otherwise of what is contained in the early-day motion, but I assume that it is true, because it has been put down —[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Perhaps I should say that I assume it to be true for the purposes of the question. That might be a safer way to put it. If it is true that young people have been trained in anti-police methods and indoctrinated with extreme revolutionary views, without the knowledge of public figures on Merseyside whose names were originally used in support of the scheme", that is a very serious matter. I should take any such action extremely seriously and it would of course have to be investigated.

Photo of Mr Arthur Newens Mr Arthur Newens , Harlow

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 16 February.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

Photo of Mr Arthur Newens Mr Arthur Newens , Harlow

Will the right hon. Lady find time today to consider the financial crisis now facing the Essex county council as a result of the rate support grant settlement, which has dismayed even its Conservative leaders, who are worried by the response that they have received from her right hon. Friends? Is she aware that this threatens educational services, old people's homes, fire cover and many other local government services in Essex? It is extremely important that she should intervene to see that something is done about it.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

As the hon. Gentleman knows, all rate support grant figures have been published and the local authorities know them. We are debating the whole matter today, as it affects England and Wales. I am sure that he will put those views strenuously to my right hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I have received notice of three applications for emergency debates under Standing Order No. 9. I shall take them in the order in which they were received.