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Industry and Education

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:12 pm on 21st November 1994.

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Photo of David Tredinnick David Tredinnick , Bosworth 6:12 pm, 21st November 1994

Thank you; I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree with me. History will relate that privatisation, the child of the Conservative party in general and Lady Thatcher in particular, has been the key political philosophy of the late 20th century. The hon. Gentleman has not murmured, so he must agree with me. It is transforming economies across the world which have been ruined by socialism. The philosophy has been adopted worldwide; in Russia, eastern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America, privatisation is the key philosophy.

We have global communications. Computers are developing at the speed of light—what buys one system one year, the next year buys two systems that are twice as powerful. We have information technology systems. This year saw the 10th anniversary of the privatisation of British Telecom. What a huge success that has been—not only a milestone in UK deregulation, but an example to Governments throughout the world of how to turn a bureaucratic Government monopoly into a world beater. The Post Office, the other half of British Telecom, which should have been privatised, has now been put on ice, thanks partly to scaremongering by the Opposition. They try to portray the sub-post offices as part of the state. They are not. The sub-post office that I helped to save in Barwell in my constituency is privately owned, as are most.

The real problem comes from competition from abroad—from the German Post Office, the Dutch Post Office and international carriers of all shapes and descriptions, from DHL to Business Post. The collapse of the letter, the bedrock of Post Office business, is absolutely crucial. I do not believe that it is in the national interest, in the interests of Labour Members' constituents or in the interests of my constituents, that we shall, unfortunately, be unable to take on the issue in this Session. It is not right that we should put more money into a state-owned organisation. It must get into the private sector, which is the key point. On that note, I commend the Gracious Speech to the House.