Does my right hon. Friend agree that our economic prospects are better now than at any time during the — [Interruption.] That improvement applies equally to the north-west as to the south-east. Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is well over £100 million worth of new development currently under way in Bolton town centre? That is the sort of news that we want from the north of England, rather than the doom and gloom from the Labour Benches, which does so much to reinforce outdated prejudices and deter new investment.
I agree with my hon. Friend. Enterprise is thriving and unemployment is falling in all parts of the country. I congratulate Bolton on its attitude. It is welcoming private enterprise, and the £100 million is an extremely large investment on any count. The real divide is between those cities that welcome private sector enterprise and those which would rather discourage it and have higher unemployment.
Does the Prime Minister recall saying, just five weeks ago, on 21 December, that charges for patients in National Health Service hospitals
could not possibly come in during the lifetime of this Parliament because I remember very vividly during the election I confirmed we would rule it out. We have introduced extra charges which we think people can afford but we are not talking about extra charges beyond those which we have introduced.
Does the Prime Minister still stand by those words?
Is the Prime Minister saying — it is important that she make a formal announcement about this — that there is no possibility in this Parliament of direct or indirect charges for visits to the doctor, for hospital visits, for family planning services or anything else? If she is—and it is what she said in the election— will she be good enough to make a formal announcement, instead of letting it seep out through Bernard Ingham?
I have been asked this question in this House about board and lodging charges, and I have answered it in this House. The statements made during the general election stand. I have said so before, and I say so again. They stand for the lifetime of this Parliament. By the time the next Parliament comes we shall have completed the internal review. We shall then make our promises, which will stand for the following Parliament.