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Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Dennis Skinner.

Mr. Holt : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. During the six years that I have been a Member of the House there have been frequent points of order from hon. Members on both sides of the House when they have sought to place matters before the House. I spent a number of hours this afternoon in the Library reading "Erskine May", but nowhere could I find anything about the occupant of the Chair refusing to take further points of order. If you say that points of order will no longer be taken during the debate, that is a new ruling.

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. What I am saying is that it is most unusual for points of order to be taken during an Adjournment debate, and I hope that the House will respect that. Mr. Skinner.

Mr. Skinner : Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

One thing is certain. There must be a good story to tell about the Labour- controlled Derbyshire county council because of the tremendous efforts that Conservative Members have made to stop the story being told.

We know only too well--

Mr. Teddy Taylor (Southend, East) rose--

Mr. Skinner : We know that in the course of the past 10 years the rate support grant nationally has been reduced from about 61 per cent. to 46 per cent. But in Derbyshire the picture is much more dramatic. The rate support grant has fallen from 61.9 per cent. to 37.4 per cent. That means that, in contrast with the position when Labour left office in 1979, the ratepayers of Derbyshire in all 10 constituencies have had to find £62.6 for every £100 that has been spent.

It is important that we get it on the record that rates increased generally, and in Derbyshire, because of the massive cut in the rate support grant. [ Hon. Members :-- "Tell us about Reg Race."] One reason why the rate support grant has been cut is in order to finance--[ Hon. Members :-- "What about the waste?"]--those people-- [Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. I am finding it difficult to hear whether the hon. Gentleman is in order. Mr. Skinner.

Mr. Skinner : I was trying to explain that one of the main reasons why rates paid by the ratepayers in the Tory-held constituencies in Derbyshire have increased rapidly is the Goverment's massive cut in rate support grant.

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Mr. David Shaw (Dover) : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. On my calculation, half the time allowed for the Adjournment debate has gone. Surely the Minister should be invited to reply.

Mr. Deputy Speaker : That is a matter for the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner).

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East) : Silly twit.

Mr. Skinner : One of the reasons why-- [Interruption.]

Mr. David Shaw : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have been called a silly twit by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott). In all the time that I have been a Member of the House I have known the hon. Gentleman to speak up for the National Union of Seamen- -

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. There are all sorts of remarks passed in this House. I have not heard anything that is out of order.

Mr. Skinner : I realise the problem that you have, Mr. Deputy Speaker-- [Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. I have appealed to the House. It is unusual for Adjournment debates to be interrupted by points of order. Many hon. Members will hope to have Adjournment debates and to have an opportunity to put their case. I hope that the hon. Member for Bolsover will have the opportunity to put his case. Mr. Skinner.

Mr. Holt : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Skinner : I think that one of the problems you have to face, Mr. Deputy Speaker, is that most of the Tory Members have come out of the bar. They have been drinking-- [Interruption.]

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Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. One remark from one side of the House tends to provoke another. Let us get on with the Adjournment debate.

Mr. Skinner : I was just a little concerned about the fact that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker--[ Hon. Members :-- "Withdraw."] You are having some difficulty, Mr. Deputy Speaker-- [Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. There is very little time left. I hope that the House will listen to the hon. Gentleman. I want to hear whether he is in order.

Mr. Skinner : I was saying, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you are having great difficulty dealing with people this late at night. I was trying to make the point that Tory Members are trying to prevent the Derbyshire county council's Labour-controlled case from being put in the House of Commons. [ Hon. Members :-- "Rubbish."] I think it is a very good case.

Hon. Members will be pleased to know that since 1981 the Labour-controlled Derbyshire county council has managed to hold the price of meals on wheels for many thousands of old age pensioners at 35p per head. It has never increased the price in those eight years. It managed to hold the price of school meals down to 45p for the junior schoolchildren and to 55p for the seniors. It is the lowest price in any shire county in Great Britain. It is a story of success against the massive cuts that this Government have carried out against the Derbyshire county council.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes (Harrow, West) : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The motion having been made after Ten o'clock on Thursday evening, and the debate having continued for half an hour, Mr. Deputy Speaker-- adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at seventeen minutes to One o'clock.

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