Amendment of the Law

Part of Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation – in the House of Commons at 9:07 pm on 10th March 1992.

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Photo of Mr Mark Wolfson Mr Mark Wolfson , Sevenoaks 9:07 pm, 10th March 1992

The hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) will not be surprised to hear that I do not share his feelings of doom and gloom about the condition of Britain today—quite the reverse.

May I take up two points that the hon. Gentleman raised? First, what steps has his local authority taken to involve and encourage the development of housing for rent through housing associations? That has happened successfully in many parts of the country and I am surprised that it has not happened in his constituency. That may be due to the baleful influence of his local authority, which does not consider that housing associations are a way forward. Secondly, although I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's eloquent concern for those who have smoked all their lives and the higher prices that they may have to pay for tobacco, I thought that there was a consensus in the House that it was right to use the tax regime to discourage smoking. The health hazards of smoking are well-known, so the hon. Gentleman's argument does not stand up. He seemed to be strongly opposing the cross-party consensus on smoking and health.