Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:05 pm on 22nd March 1990.

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Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey , Vauxhall 6:05 pm, 22nd March 1990

It was my intention to deal with that very point and my hon. Friend's question reinforces that intention.

If it is necessary to provide seating in order to save lives, can we afford to wait so long for action by individual clubs? The estimated total cost of making all football grounds safe is up to £200 million. Surely all works should begin simultaneously. The money could be made available to the football clubs and paid back over a period from the money generated from the extra pools revenue. Where safety is involved, it is not good enough to carry out work gradually—all schemes should be undertaken immediately. Financial arrangements such as I have described could be made.

The Taylor report has had a knock-on effect on sport in general. I am thinking, for instance, of cricket, rugby league and rugby union. Clubs involved in all those sports will have to spend very large amounts of money on their grounds. Where will that money come from? In the case of designated cricket grounds, a huge amount of work will be needed. In the case of cricket grounds, such as the Oval in my constituency, clubs will have to spend at least £1 million in the very short term to satisfy the requirements of the Taylor report.

Sport generates an enormous amount of income for the Government. It is time for the Government to step in and find ways to provide the necessary finance. That is what happens in other countries when safety considerations are involved. The Chancellor gets up to £1 million per year in VAT on the sale of tickets at cricket grounds. That money could immediately be returned to cricket clubs to enable them to bring their grounds up to proper safety standards. I hope that the present Chancellor, who is interested in sport, will take my suggestion on board.

Very few people in my constituency will have been celebrating on the streets following the Budget. The greatest need in my area, just the other side of the river, is for housing, but the Budget contains not one suggestion, not one mention, not one proposal, to alleviate the housing problems in my borough and does nothing for the 15,000 people on the housing waiting lists there. It does nothing to help the many hundreds of families in the borough who are in bed-and-breakfast accommodation. It also does nothing to help people—particularly young people—wishing to move out of the family home, to get married and to set up family life in an independent situation. The Chancellor, in his Budget, seems to have forgotten that this country faces a housing crisis.

As I have said, the Budget does nothing to bring more women back into work, although there are the first signs of recognition that women are needed in the work force and that women want to work. In my constituency, however, many young single parents are sitting in their flats all day because they cannot afford the cost of child care. In those circumstances, it is nonsense for a single parent to go out looking for a job, especially one of the low-paid jobs available in my area. Having taken the first step in respect of workplace nurseries, the Prime Minister must stand by what she said in the House in October.