Engagements

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th February 1997.

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Photo of Mr William McKelvey Mr William McKelvey , Kilmarnock and Loudoun 12:00 am, 20th February 1997

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 20 February. [15311]

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago.

Photo of Mr William McKelvey Mr William McKelvey , Kilmarnock and Loudoun

Does the Prime Minister share my genuine concern about the outrageous activities of the directors of Camelot in attempting to take gambling on the lottery into every home in the land and extend their links with rather devious gambling projects abroad? Would it not be possible for him to stop this development? Otherwise, he will leave a legacy of children who were brought up in the midst of gambling mania.

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the lottery is very tightly regulated and there will be no changes to the structure or content of the constituent games without the specific involvement of the director general. The Government have no intention of allowing the good name of the lottery to be jeopardised. I think that the hon. Gentleman would share my pleasure at the sheer scale of the resources produced by the lottery for good causes. Today, for example, the heritage lottery fund is awarding £140 million to 24 of the nation's best loved museums.

Photo of Mr Michael Stephen Mr Michael Stephen , Shoreham

Does my right hon. Friend agree that efficient professional administration is vital to the success of the national health service? Does he recall that, when we decided to modernise the system by getting rid of the whole regional tier of NHS bureaucracy, the Labour party was against it? What does he therefore think of its promises to save money on NHS bureaucracy?

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

I agree with my hon. Friend that there were substantial savings to be made by the abolition of the regional health authority tier, and that those savings were opposed by the Labour party. The health service is one of the most efficient health services in the world and, in terms of management expenditure, it is now 25 per cent. more efficient than in 1979.