Mr Robert Redmond: asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he is satisfied with the terms of reference and powers of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Robert Redmond: I thank the Minister for that interesting reply. Is he aware that under paragraph 10(3) of Schedule 3 to the Parliamentary Commissioner Act the Ombudsman is specifically debarred from examining personnel matters, which include superannuation? An important point that I put to the Ombudsman on behalf of a constituent suffering from maladministration due to printing delays had to be turned down...
Mr Robert Redmond: The right hon. Gentleman said that in 1969 the law required comprehensive schools. Surely it was a circular, not a law? The law was never passed in this House.
Mr Robert Redmond: In view of those figures, why was there any talk of redundancy among miners in reply to Question No. 2?
Mr Robert Redmond: Will the Minister assure the House that there is no going beyond the terms of the White Paper on metrication issued by the previous Government after a lot of pressure from their back benchers?
Mr Robert Redmond: After that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I think that you would not wish me to repeat the arguments I used on new Clause 14 last night, although many of them are equally relevant. I must take this early opportunity to express sympathy with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. We know that he has sympathy with small firms and understands their problems. He had to do some special pleading last night,...
Mr Robert Redmond: It will not have escaped the notice of my hon. Friends that we are debating small businesses, again with much the usual sort of attendance on the Labour benches. I have been very glad to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Mitchell) feeling so confident that the Government are bound to accept one of these clauses. I agree it is obvious that they must. There are one or two...
Mr Robert Redmond: As the Chief Secretary is taking note of who does and who does not like the imputation system, may I go on record for the imputation system for the publicly owned enterprise but not for the small company? However, this does not alter what we are arguing about on the clauses.
Mr Robert Redmond: Would not it be worth mentioning the Radio and Television Retailers Association, which made representations to the hon. Gentleman?
Mr Robert Redmond: Will the hon. Gentleman put a gag on people who are always trying to muck about with the North-West? Is it not nonsense to suggest that the North-West's main airport might be moved from Ringway after fantastic sums of money have been spent on it? We admit that it should not have been built where it is, but now that it is there it is irreplaceable.
Mr Robert Redmond: In Committee on the Industrial Relations Bill I referred several times to a man in my constituency who had never worked in his trade for about 30 years because he was thrown out of the union after a row with the branch secretary and then could not get a job because there were closed shops throughout the town. He has had bitter experience of the closed shop. He has complained to me many times...
Mr Robert Redmond: So far this debate has dealt largely with the position of members of the National Union of Journalists and the Institute of Journalists. Most of us have had letters from editors of our local newspapers. I have received one from the Editor of the Bolton Evening News, dealing with the point which has been covered fully by my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler). What...
Mr Robert Redmond: The hon. Gentleman is saying that he must not have these powers in case the use of them makes the situation worse. No one is suggesting that the Secretary of State must use the powers unless certain conditions are fulfilled. If the Minister suggests that it is a bad thing to give the Secretary of State powers that he does not have to use, he is defeating his own argument.
Mr Robert Redmond: Does the hon. Gentleman still think that the unemployment figures are accurate? If so, how does he justify them in view of the shortages of labour which are being experienced in areas of unemployment above the national average?
Mr Robert Redmond: asked the Secretary of State for Employment why a reserve was placed on the EEC directive on redundancy.
Mr Robert Redmond: In the light of that reply and the reply on the previous Question, particularly the supplementary question by the hon. Member for Motherwell and Wishaw (Mr. Lawson), is it not obvious that the Government intend to smother all the positive aspects of the Common Market and to keep them from the people of this country?
Mr Robert Redmond: asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what proportion of the increase in the United Kingdom retail price index for food since January 1973 is attributable to membership of the EEC.
Mr Robert Redmond: I accept what the Secretary of State says, but does she not agree that there is a terrible misconception about food prices in the Common Market? Would she not be serving the country well by letting the true facts be known about what is happening? Does she agree that if we were to leave the EEC it would be bound to lead to increases in food prices far greater than those we have had? Will she...
Mr Robert Redmond: I should declare an interest since the National House-Building Registration Council paid for a new roof for my garage a few years ago. Is the Minister thoroughly satisfied that the council is not inhibited by the law of libel from striking unsatisfactory builders off the register?
Mr Robert Redmond: Since prevention is better than cure, and since the existing large number of illiterates indicates failure in the education system, would it not be better for the Government to concentrate more on increasing the quality of education instead of messing around trying to put everyone in the same mould of comprehensive schools?