Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 20th February 1992.

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Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 3:31 pm, 20th February 1992

Has the Leader of the House had time to consider the High Court's decision that computer evidence on the non-payment of poll tax is inadmissible in magistrates courts? Is he aware that, as a consequence, local authorities will be denied revenue of about £3 million each week until the Government's belated action to correct this appalling blunder in their legislation comes into effect? Will the Government compensate local authorities and local poll tax payers for their inefficiency in the poll tax legislation, which means that the biggest single cause of non-payment and non-collection of the poll tax is the action of Her Majesty's Government and their appalling and inadequate legislation? May we have a statement on this important issue next week from the Secretary of State for the Environment?

Why does the Leader of the House persist in giving the Government Supply days, as he is planning to do again next week, when he cannot find time for the proper consideration of legislation and introduces guillotines almost weekly? He cannot find time to give the Opposition Supply days, but he can find time—[Interruption.] We are talking about next week's business—but he can find time to allocate to the Government. We are very happy to debate the Government's abysmal economic performance, of course, but should not he think harder about finding time for more Opposition Supply days before the end of this Parliament?

Will the Leader of the House give us an assurance—if not today, certainly in his business statement next week —that, following the Budget on 10 March, we shall have the normal allocation of time to debate the Budget proposals? If there is to be a general election on 9 April, the proclamation will have to be announced on Monday 16 March, so how will the Government allocate proper time for debate on the Budget in that short period? Will he assure us that the Budget debate will not be truncated and that we shall have the normal period to debate the Government's proposals?