Amendment of the Law

Part of Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation – in the House of Commons at 7:42 pm on 10th March 1992.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Nicholas Bonsor Sir Nicholas Bonsor , Upminster 7:42 pm, 10th March 1992

I note what my hon. Friend says and I know that that proposal will be widely welcomed. However, the Government could go further. Value added tax, which is payable on the sale of race horses, is another threat to racing. At 17·5 per cent., it is a crippling burden and neither Ireland nor France—our major competitors —charges as much VAT. In France, it is not charged at all and in Ireland it is charged at 2·5 per cent. That being the case, we are not able to compete and I fear for the auctions at New market and our entire racing community, unless the Government act. I hope that they can take some action on VAT on race horses before long.

On the level of the public sector borrowing requirement, the Opposition are trying to have their cake and eat it. They have accused us of having a PSBR which is too high, yet they also accuse us of not spending enough on public services. We will have a PSBR of £28 billion in 1992–93 because of the amount that we spend on public services. The hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford referred to the hospital which he visited. The Government may not be doing anything in the Budget for the health service but, as the hon. Gentleman knows, the Government increased expenditure on it from £8·5 billion in 1978 to £32·9 billion in 1992—a staggering increase in real terms.

Furthermore, the Government have taken steps to make sure that the money that they provide for the health service is properly and efficiently spent. I visited Harold Wood hospital in my constituency last Friday and was impressed by the way in which the hospital is operating. I asked the same question that I had asked five years ago: "Can you tell me how many blankets and syringes the hospital uses in a year?" The answer was yes and that the hospital had the figures available. Five years ago, the answer was no because the figures were not available and there were no mechanism or auditing controls to enable the hospital to find out the answer. I suspect that the health authority to which the hon Member for Pontefract and Castleford referred is probably Labour controlled and that the hospital does not have enough pillows because it has no proper controls within its structure to ensure that the money allocated to it is spent efficiently.