James Arbuthnot: I speak from a position of great luck because I am the father of a 20-month-old child who is healthy and normal. Frankly, the demands of my son are incessant. He needs constant watching, worrying over and caring for, because a 20-month-old son is an extraordinary phenomenon. As his father, I have had to think of 40 different ways in which a lunatic might commit suicide and then prevent him...
James Arbuthnot: Although I am grateful for that intervention, the hon. Member does not appreciate that the imposition of an age limit requires a positive step. In my view, the positive step to impose that age limit was correct because of the incessant demands that are made on the parents of any two-year-old child. It is inevitable that resources are limited and, therefore, that those resources must be...
James Arbuthnot: I refer to the review that is being carried out by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. Its survey of disabled people is expected later this year.
James Arbuthnot: That is precisely the point that I am making. It is a general study. Because the position of disabled people is a matter which must be considered as a whole, that is the more sensible way of dealing with this issue, rather than by the new clause—
James Arbuthnot: I have given way five or six times in my speech already. I would rather wind up my speech by reminding hon. Members that it is not only the attendance allowances which are available to disabled people—
James Arbuthnot: No, I shall not give way. I have done so six times already. It is not only attendance allowances which are available to disabled people, because the allowances are only one of a whole range of services that are also available—
James Arbuthnot: There is a specific responsibility on local authorities and on health authorities to help those families which have disabled children. That help can take the form of the provision of equipment, home helps arid nursing facilities for other children in the family, among other things. Therefore, the balance is difficult to strike—
James Arbuthnot: The balance is difficult to strike, but in this case I believe that the Government's conclusion, which coincides with the last—
James Arbuthnot: It is a difficult balance to strike, but I believe that the Government's conclusion, which is the same as that arrived at by the last Labour Government, is the correct one.
James Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the use of community service orders, with particular regard to their effectiveness and appropriate application.
James Arbuthnot: Is my hon. Friend aware that, valuable as community service orders are, if they are breached by the offender they must be backed up and enforced by penalties more severe than community service, not less severe, otherwise they will be treated as a soft option, and an avoidable soft option at that, rather than the sensible and effective punishment that they could be?
James Arbuthnot: I have enjoyed the style of Labour Members' speeches, but I have been increasingly surprised by their content. Nobody could deny that the existing rules on income-related benefits are anomalous and odd. The rules on eligibility for supplementary benefit say one thing and those for housing benefit say another. For supplementary benefit, investment income is ignored, but more than £3,000 of...
James Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his recent visit to Jordan.
James Arbuthnot: Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that that is welcome news? Does he agree that King Hussein's work for a peaceful solution in the middle east has been extremely valuable and an example to other Arab leaders?
James Arbuthnot: I shall be brief because I know that several other hon. Members hope to contribute. I welcome the tone of the debate. I must say how much I enjoyed the contribution by the hon. and personable Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) whose constituency adjoins mine, but I shall not go too far on those lines. I wish to cover two areas. The first concerns the Government's aim of preventing...
James Arbuthnot: Yes. I hope that answer satisifes the hon. and learned Gentleman.
James Arbuthnot: As long as Peter is not robbed to pay Paul the excellent Crown prosecution service, which is in its early stages, will become even better. I do not want to criticise it too much because it is too early to judge, and indeed, that service is the thrust behind the Government's aim of increasing crime deterrence.
James Arbuthnot: It is with some nervousness that I say that I am grateful, Madam Deputy Speaker, for the fact that I have caught your eye. My constituency has not had many Members of Parliament. In fact, since 1924—nearly 30 years before I was born—it has had only two. Hon. Members will understand my difficulty in finishing this maiden speech within the bounds of propriety, or even by the end of the...