Paddy Tipping: My hon. Friend has mentioned many sections of mining communities. I know that he has taken an interest in youth clubs in various pit villages. As pits close, we must find opportunities for young people; welfare organisations provide such opportunities. Unless Nottinghamshire, for instance, receives more generous support in that regard, we may face real problems.
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many nursery places for three and four-year-olds are available in Nottinghamshire, the east midlands and England.
Paddy Tipping: Will the Minister congratulate Labour-controlled Nottinghamshire county council on providing more nursery places than any other county? Will he extend his congratulations to Labour-controlled cities such as Leeds and Birmingham? Will he also remind parents that children have three times more chance of a nursery place under a Labour council than under a Tory council?
Paddy Tipping: The order is called the Coal Industry (Restructuring Grants) Order, but many of us from coalfield communities in Nottinghamshire and across the country feel that the coal industry has had enough restructuring recently. I remind the Minister that in Nottinghamshire there were 40,000 miners in 1980; there are fewer than 4,000 now. The morale in the coal industry and in the coalfield...
Paddy Tipping: What steps does the Minister intend to take to ensure the fulfilment of his promises and those of his colleague the President of the Board of Trade that the work force and management will be in the pole position in any buy-out?
Paddy Tipping: The arguments have been well rehearsed over the past months while we have considered the Bill. However, even at this late stage, it is important to press the amendment for the people who live in the coalfield communities, because, over the years, they have lived with pollution and dereliction. People who live in coalfield villages and towns have high aspirations for their children and for...
Paddy Tipping: Opencasting has been a major theme in the debates on the Coal Industry Bill. I shall return to it briefly. Many of us are worried about the balance between deep-mined coal and opencasting. Perhaps, if I can catch the Minister's eye, he will listen to what the private companies have been telling him. Those companies which have pre-registered have seen the profit in opencasting, but there is a...
Paddy Tipping: When English farmers alone receive more than £140 million in set-aside payments, do not people have the right to expect better conservation measures, an improvement of the landscape and better access to the countryside in return for that money?
Paddy Tipping: Earlier this afternoon we had some remarkable self-justification from the President of the Board of Trade. First, he told us that he was right about privatising the Royal Mail but he was unable to deliver the goods. Secondly, and more astonishingly, he told us that in retrospect he was right about the privatisation of British Coal. No collieries had closed. Unemployment was not spiralling in...
Paddy Tipping: Will the Secretary of State confirm that, in cash terms, the grant to be distributed to local authorities next year will be 0.4 per cent. less than this year, and that he is applying the toughest capping criteria ever? Will he confirm also that residents of Nottinghamshire and throughout the country will face a double whammy—cuts in services but the privilege of paying more for them?
Paddy Tipping: The Minister has yet to mention the customers—the "consumers" of council services. There are bound to be transitional difficulties. Is he confident that the long-term gains will outweigh the short-term costs? If so, how can he be so confident?
Paddy Tipping: Has not the availability of personal possessions in Whitemoor and Parkhurst prisons led to the situation where cells cannot be effectively searched? Is it not the Home Secretary's own policies which are causing problems in our prisons?
Paddy Tipping: Will the Minister ensure that research into epilepsy leads to action on behalf of people who have epilepsy and that people who want to work in the national health service are not refused jobs because they are epileptic?
Paddy Tipping: May we have an early statement about safety inspectors on roll-on roll-off ferries? The Leader of the House will remember that the inspectors were due to be privatised. Now press reports say that they are not, but there are indications that once the controversy has died down, they will be privatised. The policy is rolling about. It needs to be cleared up.
Paddy Tipping: Will the hon. Gentleman give way on that point?
Paddy Tipping: Although the Minister has amended the regulations to take account of criticisms, will he explain why the figure given now is 66 weeks when, back in 1986 when the metropolitan counties were abolished, 82 weeks redundancy payment was offered?
Paddy Tipping: Could there be a statement next week about the escape of a prisoner, James Moore, from Everthorpe prison? I understand that his escape was noticed only when his wife rang up to ask for him. He was otherwise engaged: he was certainly not tied up.
Paddy Tipping: In his review, will the Minister undertake to look at police officers who retire facing disciplinary action and ill health, which seems to be a major problem that is not predictable?
Paddy Tipping: On a different point of order, Madam Speaker. What advice can be given to witnesses who come before Select Committees? I have in mind Sir lain Vallance, who yesterday told the Select Committee that he worked harder than junior doctors do. He then immediately retracted the remark outside the House. Does he not owe an apology to the Select Committee, and more particularly to the junior doctors?
Paddy Tipping: In the hothouse atmosphere earlier this afternoon, it was difficult to follow what the Secretary of State was saying. Let me try to paraphrase it. This has been a tough and tight financial settlement. Public expenditure has to be kept control of, and local authorities must share the pain—and by the way, they have to be more efficient. That was the gist of what he said. A number of hon....