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 Mr John MacGregor Mr John MacGregor Chair, The Rt Hon. the Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market OBE Committee, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House Lords (Privy Council Office), Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Privy Council Office), Chair, The Rt Hon. the Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market OBE Committee 3:31 pm, 20th February 1992

As to the hon. Gentleman's first point, he will know that it was not the Government who caused, in the case of some local authorities, considerable funds not to be paid as a result of non-payment of the community charge; it was the action of those who did not pay their community charge, as most responsible citizens did. It was certainly aided and abetted by the members of the Opposition and the many Labour councillors who actively encouraged them not to pay, so the hon. Gentleman cannot be allowed to get away with that. We must be clear where the fault lies.

On the question of computer evidence in magistrates court cases, the hon. Gentleman will know that the Government are taking action as quickly as possible by means of an amendment to the Local Government Finance Bill in another place. I hope that we shall have his support for that amendment when the Bill returns to this House. As so many of his hon. Friends have encouraged non-payment, he can now assist us by actively supporting that amendment.

On the hon. Gentleman's second question about a debate next week on inflation, he knows that I have been pressed on many occasions to find Government time to debate the economy. I am happy to agree to that as Second Reading debates are progressing. Incidentally, I have been very fair to the Opposition with regard to Supply days. After yesterday's Supply day, there is a heavy demand from my colleagues for more such days. The Opposition were routed yesterday and their Front-Bench spokesmen were wiped off the floor.

On the question of a normal allocation of time for the Budget debate, the hon. Gentleman will know that it is not a matter for next week's business.