HC Deb 16 November 1976 vol 919 cc1111-2
Q4. Mr. Newens

asked the Prime Minister when he last paid an official visit to Harlow.

The Prime Minister

I have not yet made an official visit to Harlow.

Mr. Newens

Will my right hon. Friend come to Harlow to see the tremendous success achieved there as a result of the far-sighted policy of the Labour Government which established the London new towns, the tremendous standard of welfare benefits, unsurpassed anywhere, provided for old people by the Labour-controlled council and a full comprehensive scheme of secondary education? Will he assure the House that in future there will not be any change in attitude towards new towns, despite an increase in the necessary drive to do something about the rundown in city centres?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. It is interesting to note that the successes of the new towns produce sneers from the Conservative Party, even though they are one of the features to which visitors to this country always pay attention and wish to see. I can assure my hon. Friend that there will be no abrupt reversal of new town plans. No final decisions will be taken without proper consultation. Of course, at present there are limited resources and a limited amount of mobile industry. Therefore, we have to consider very carefully the balance between new towns and inner cities and the regions. But no urgent decisions will be taken that will result in the new towns being unable to proceed.

Mr. Cormack

When the Prime Minister goes to Harlow, will he tell the electors of that constituency that the prime function of Her Majesty's Government is to maintain the defence of the realm and that he stands four square on that as being the first priority of his Government? Will he also explain to those electors how he proposes to defend the mixed economy on the lines he advocated last night while 70 or 80 Members from his own party are dedicated to the destruction of that mixed economy?

The Prime Minister

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his suggestions for another speech. I shall bear them all carefully in mind when I prepare it.

Back to