Cabinet Office files (CAB) – 1985

In this release

Miscellaneous committees: minutes and papers

Ministerial Steering Committee on Economic Strategy: Sub-Committee on Local Government Finance: meetings 1-7, papers 1-4

Catalogue reference: CAB 134/4878
Date range: 14 May 1985 – 19 December 1985

This document includes a strongly worded memo from 16 May 1985 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, in which he expresses his criticism of the emerging proposal for a poll tax. Referring to a Specification Report which had been circulated to the Sub-Committee showing the effects of a poll tax, Lawson states that ‘a flat-rate poll tax would be politically unsustainable’. He writes of the ‘horrifying impact’ on certain households. He calls for a system of local property taxation to replace the existing rating system. He concludes: ‘the proposal for a poll tax would be completely unworkable and politically catastrophic’.

See CAB 134/4879 for ‘Most Confidential Record of the Meeting’ at which Lawson’s paper is discussed by the Sub-Committee: E (LF) 1st Meeting (20/05/1985). The Sub-Committee invited the Chancellor to circulate details of a possible modified property tax.

Cabinet meeting minutes

CC(85) 36th Conclusions

Catalogue reference: CAB 128/81 (PDF, 139 MB) (digitised)
Date: 12 December 1985

The Secretary of State for Defence refers to E(A) on 9 December on Westland and stated that it is necessary to have a further meeting of Ministers, to which he could circulate a memorandum. The PM ‘said that E(A) had taken a decision at its meeting on 9 December. The matter had been raised at Cabinet without notice. Cabinet could not properly consider the matter or take decisions without papers and without time for preparation. There was nothing in the developments since 9 December or in discussion in Cabinet to invalidate or give grounds for reconsideration of the decisions reached on 9 December’ – ‘The Cabinet – took note’.

Most confidential record

Catalogue reference: CAB 128/82 (PDF, 8 MB) (digitised)

This includes:

CC (85) 3rd Conclusions

Date: 24 January 1985

The Cabinet discuss MoD orders for two Type 22 Frigates and whether the orders should be awarded to the Swan Hunter (on the Tyne) or Cammel Laird (on Merseyside) yards. PL Gregson writes to Sir Robert Armstrong: ‘As you will see these draft minutes contain no explicit record of Mr Heseltine’s dissent. Although he made his dissent very clear at the end of the discussion he did not, in our presence, actually ask for it to be recorded’.

CC (85) 36 Conclusions

Date: 12 December 1985

Secretary of State for Defence: the meeting on 9 December had agreed that time should be given until 13 December for a consortium of British and continental European firms to make firm and fully worked out proposals for participation in Westlands, so that these could be properly considered along with the proposals by United Technologies and Fiat. ‘Neither the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who was the Minister responsible for Westlands, nor the Prime Minister had been warned that the question of Westlands would be raised at the present meeting of the Cabinet’.

The Cabinet Office ‘ring around’ at 10:00 on 10 December (about the possibility of a meeting) is mentioned. The Cabinet Office had later rung to say that no meeting was being called: ‘the Cabinet Office often make exploratory enquiries about a Minister’s availability in case a meeting should be required’.

Tags: 1985, cabinet minutes, cabinet office, file release