Household Projections

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:51 pm on 25th November 1996.

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Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Environment 4:51 pm, 25th November 1996

I will stick to the here and now. I had hoped that we would be able to have a common view on this, but, as the hon. Gentleman decided that we are going to have a party political debate, I will remind him why Britain's cities have driven people out. It is because they have had Labour councils, which have made it more and more difficult for people to live in them. There has been greater crime in cities, because the Labour party has voted solidly against any measure against crime. It is soft on crime, and not hard on the criminal.

The Labour party says that we have done nothing about air pollution, but it has improved every year because of our policies, which are the most advanced in Europe. Within 10 years, we will have overtaken any country. Of course the Labour party does not know what happens in the rest of Europe, and clearly it does not know what happens in Britain, given that last series of questions.

The Labour party voted against everything that has raised education standards in schools. It was against league tables and any improvement in the school system. It was against city technical colleges and everything that has changed the face of education for the better in our cities. How the hon. Gentleman dares to make such party political points, I do not know. They might be all right for speeches in Camden, where the people have forgotten how much Camden borough council has contributed to the desolation of that area of London.

Since we are talking about contributions to cities, what about Lambeth's contribution to the improvement of life in the city? What about Islington, where the education is so bad that the Leader of the Opposition sends his child outside the borough? What happens in Southwark, where one of the Labour party Front-Bench spokespersons finds the education so bad that she sends her child outside the borough, but not even to a school in the state system? The Labour party has nothing to say on this matter. It is largely responsible for the condition of our cities; it has damaged the cities, while the Government have had to come to the rescue to change things.