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Column 252McCartney, Ian
Marek, Dr John
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Pike, Peter L
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Reid, Dr John
Column 252Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Strang, Dr. Gavin
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Wareing, Robert N
Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Young, David (Bolton SE)
Tellers for the Noes: Mr. Joe Benton and Mr. Stephen Byers.
Column 252Question accordingly agreed to .
(time line 9.59 pm
Mr. Tom Clarke (Monklands, West): Mr. Deputy Speaker, on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Monklands, East (Mrs. Liddell) and myself, I beg leave to present a petition to the House, signed by close on 10,000 of our constituents, in support of a very important group in Monklands. This group deals with people who are disabled and who are involved in sport, and it has found that its funding will be reduced so radically that it may not be able to continue its work. The petition states:
To the honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
The Humble Petition of Residents of Monklands District
That the Disport Project has been very successful in assisting disabled in Monklands but its future is endangered by lack of resources.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will urge the Secretary of State for Scotland to ensure the maintenance of adequate resources for the continued running of this Project. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, M. Wilkinson, 72 Craigend Drive.
I beg leave to present the Petition.
To lie upon the Table .
Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.-- [Mr. Bates.]
Dr. Robert Spink (Castle Point): I begin by thanking all my colleagues from Essex who have turned up tonight to support the debate about Essex social services. I particularly thank my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Banks) who has sat on the Treasury Bench and therefore will not be able to contribute to the debate, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Braintree (Mr. Newton). By their attendance in the Chamber tonight, they show that they care for the vulnerable people in their constituencies, for whom they have worked assiduously for many years.
Tonight I wish to expose the real cost of Labour and Liberal control of Essex county council. That cost is measured in cuts in care, in residential homes and in home help. Those cuts impact on the most vulnerable people in society: the old and infirm, disabled people, children who are in need and at risk, and, most cruelly of all, the terminally ill.
Essex county council received more money from the Government for community care than any other council, yet others are delivering community care successfully. We must ask why Essex is not able to succeed to the same extent. Tonight we will reveal the truly callous nature of socialism. I freely acknowledge that it is not callous by intent: the intentions are often good, but the impact of policies is often detrimental and brings about cuts such as the ones that we have seen in Essex which fall cruelly upon those who are most vulnerable. They are therefore callous policies; there can be no other interpretation.
In Essex, the facts are quite clear and unarguable. Labour and Liberal councillors lost £8.5 million from the social service budget through incompetence, improper control of the budget and bad policies. Those Labour and Liberal councillors are now making our vulnerable constituents pay for their mistakes. The county council should now take money from its £28 million reserves to restore levels of service this year. It should cut its profligacy rather than cutting care levels next year.