|5||(1) If a body in the group consisting of the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies has, in the course of a financial year of the body ending after such date as the Minister may determine for the purposes of this subsection, carried on business of a kind to which this section applies, or business of that kind of two or more classes that differ substantially from each other, the Corporation shall determine the amount of the turnover of the body for that financial year in respect of business of that kind or, as the case may be, of each of those classes; and if the amount of turnover in respect of that business, or, as the case may be, of any of those classes, is determined by the Corporation to have exceeded £250,000, there shall be contained, if the body is the Corporation, in the report which, by section 4(6) of the 1949 Act, they are required to make next after the end of that financial year, or, if the body is a publicly-owned company, in the report which the Corporation are by that section required to make next after the end of the financial year of the Corporation with or within which the first-mentioned financial year ends, a statement of—|
|15||(a) that amount;|
|(b) the extent, or approximate extent, (expressed in either case in monetary terms) to which, as so determined, the carrying on of business of that kind or, as the case may be, of that class by the body contributed to, or restricted, the profit or loss of the body for the financial year of the body before taxation;|
|20||(c) the extent, or approximate extent, to which, as so determined, capital moneys were, in the course of that financial year, employed in the carrying on by the body of business of that kind, or as the case may be, that class; and|
|25||(d) such further information, if any, relating to the carrying on by the body of business of that kind or, as the case may be, that class, as the Minister may from time to time direct.|
|30||(2) If, in the course of a financial year of the Corporation ending after such date as the Minister may determine for the purposes of this subsection, any two or more bodies in the group consisting of the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies have carried on business of a kind to which this section applies, or business of that kind of two or more classes that differ substantially from each other, the Corporation|
§ Mr. Freeson
I thought that I put my words rather gently. I did not expect that there would be such a passionate reaction to them. I undertook to consider the matter again. I cannot go further than that.
On the general observations made by the hon. Member for—I cannot remember his constituency for the moment—
§ Mr. Freeson
I should have remembered that one. The right hon. Gentleman chided me for making a general observation very briefly—much more briefly than he made his general observation. I suggest that he turns round and faces his own benches—or he should have done so earlier this evening. It is a very long time since the iron and steel industry was subjected to the public scrutiny to which is has been subjected in this place and in Committee in recent months.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time and added to the Bill.521
|35||shall determine the amount of the turnover for that financial year of the said bodies as a whole in respect of business of that kind, or as the case may be, each of those classes; and if the amount of that turnover in respect of business of that kind or, as the case may be, any of those classes, is determined by the Corporation to have exceeded £1,000,000, there shall be contained in the report which, by section 4(6) of the 1949 Act, the Corporation are required to make after the end of that financial year, a statement of—|
|(a) that amount;|
|40||(b) the extent, or approximate extent (expressed in either case in monetary terms) to which, as so determined, the carrying on by the said bodies of business of that kind or, as the case may be, that class contributed to, or restricted, the profit or loss of the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies as a whole for that financial year;|
|45||(c) the extent, or approximate extent, to which, as so determined, capital moneys were, in the course of that year, employed in the carrying on by the said bodies as a whole of business of that kind, as the case may be, that class;|
|(d) such further information, if any, relating to the carrying on by the said bodies of business of that kind, or, as the case may be, that class as the Minister may from time to time direct.|
|50||(3) Each report made by the Corporation under the said section 3(6) after they are required to make a determination in pursuance of a subsection above shall contain a statement of the method, or if more than one method is used, of each method, by which turnover is determined by the Corporation for the purposes of that subsection; and in any such report containing a statement made in pursuance of that subsection, there shall be stated with respect to each matter involving a determination by the Corporation (other than the determination of an amount of turnover) the method by which that determination is arrived at.|
|60||(4) The method used in arriving at a determination in any case for purposes of paragraph (c) of subsection (1) above and that used in arriving at a determination in any case for purposes of paragraph (c) of subsection (2) above shall be such as, when examined in conjunction with the determination made in the first mentioned case in pursuance of paragraph (b) of the said subsection (1) and that made in the second mentioned case in pursuance of paragraph (b) of the said subsection (2) respectively, will give a true and fair view of the relationship in the first mentioned case and the second mentioned case respectively between capital employed and profits made or loss incurred.|
|65||(5) The Corporation shall not be required by virtue of this section, to furnish information which is furnished in any statement, note, account or report which, in pursuance of sect ion 22(3) of this Act, the Corporation have sent to the Minister, or in any statistics or return published in pursuance of a direction given under section (Publication by Corporation of information concerning activities of theirs and of publicly-owned com panics) of this Act.|
|(6) This section applies to business consisting wholly or mainly in activities not being iron or steel activities, and for the purposes of this section, classes of business that do not differ substantially from each other shall be treated as one class.|
|75||(7) The Minister may from time to time direct that this section or a provision thereof shall not apply to business of a class or description specified in the direction; and if the Minister gives a direction under this subsection, that fact, and the class or description of business to which the direction relates shall be stated in each report made under the said section 4(6) so long as that direction is in force.|
|80||(8) The Minister may from time to time vary the amount by reference to which it is to be determined, under subsection (1) or (2) above, whether a statement to be contained in a report made under the said section 4(6), and may fix different amounts under this subsection for different purposes.—[Mr. Marsh.]|
§ Brought up, and read the First tune.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)
With the new Clause, we may take the six Amendments thereto, in the name of the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber) and other hon. Members.
In line 2, leave out from 'ending' to 'carried' in line 3 and insert:
'more than twelve months after vesting day';
§ In line 9, leave out '£250,000' and insert '£100,000';
§ In line 34, leave out '£1,000,000' and insert '£250,000';
In line 56, at end insert:
'and in the case of capital moneys employed there shall be stated, where appropriate, in addition to the amounts arrived at by the
methods required to be stated as aforesaid, the approximate replacement values of any assets represented by the amount of such capital moneys employed';
§ In line 74, leave out subsection (7); and
In line 79, leave out subsection (8); and Amendment No. 89, in the name of the hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Patrick Jenkin) and other hon. Members, in Clause 22, page 21, line 27, leave out subsection (5) and insert:
(5) The Corporation shall compile and publish periodical statistics and returns relating to each of the principal activities of the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies and if any such activity is not an iron and steel activity such statistics and returns shall be compiled and published in each financial year and shall include a statement of the turnover, of the capital employed in and of the profit of or (as the case may be) the loss incurred in any such activity during the previous year. Subject thereto the Minister may give directions to the Corporation as to the form of those returns and the manner of publication.
(6) For the purposes of subsection 5 of this section:—
'turnover' shall mean the invoiced value of all goods and services sold after the deduction of indirect taxes;
'the capital employed' shall be the aggregate of the following amounts—
'the profit of' or as the case may be 'the loss incurred in' such activity shall he calculated after deducting charges for depreciation obsolescence or otherwise of the fixed assets used in the activity, the interest payable on all moneys borrowed for purposes of the activity and all other charges and expenses solely attributable thereto.
§ Mr. Marsh
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This new Clause, like the other new Clauses that we have discussed today, is intended to go as far as we can in fulfilling a commitment given in Stand- 524 ing Committee D to look at some of the propositions in the Bill in terms of the publication of separate accounts for the diversified activities of the Corporation and of the publicly-owned companies.
My hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Secretary, now Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Technology, made the point thatthe Bill as drafted goes a very long way towards enabling the Minister to secure all the objectives that have been described. However, we shall certainly consider introducing an Amendment at a later stage, which would more naturally be in Clause 22, to distinguish, in the accounts, between the principal and diversified activities of the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 17th November, 1966; c. 634.]The new Clause has been drafted to meet that undertaking.
The point should be made that while there was a long session in Standing Committee D and a great deal of talk, there has been, perhaps, less talk but certainly no less knowledge and expertise, to say the very least, in the discussions that we have had with representatives of the steel industry and of the C.B.I. and others. Therefore, all these new Clauses are not the genuflexion of politicians' fulminations upstairs over a period of three months. They are also a reflection of the views which were put forward by sections of the industry in much less time but certainly no less forcibly.
Even without the Clause, I, as Minister, would have power to require publication of the information required, either under Clause 22—(Accounts)—or under the new Clause, about the publication of information concerning activities of the Corporation and of the publicly-owned companies.
I am requiring the publication of this information on the face of the Bill as evidence of the Government's intention to secure disclosure of the results of and the capital employed in, the Corporation's diversified activities. We accept, and have said, that it is right and proper that Parliament, society and the State should be aware of the activities of diversified companies. I am doing it generally with other nationalised industries and looking at the procedures. In the present instance we are putting this in the Bill really as a declaration of faith. It is still the strong view of all who have looked at 525 the Bill that the powers already exist within the Bill as drafted.
The new Clause is a long and complicated one to read but its purpose and effect are, I think, perfectly clear and understood by both sides of the House. The purpose is to require the disclosure of information in respect of the Corporation's non-iron and steel activities. It in no way reduces the obligations of the companies for disclosure under the provisions of the Companies Act, and, indeed, goes beyond them as, for example, information will be given for each business (over £¼ million per annum) of each company and not simply of groups of companies. I am not making any point of this other than to say that the Clause requires more from the companies than the Companies Act, because the fear was sometimes expressed that for the nationalised sector we might produce something less in terms of what was required from the companies in the Companies Act.
Estimates of capital employed will be given, enabling the return on capital to be computed, which would certainly not be ascertainable for many private businesses. The basis of the Corporation's estimates by turnover, profit and capital will be described in its reports. The new Clause can, therefore, be legitimately claimed as a demonstration of the Government's intention that the National Steel Corporation should be properly accountable to Parliament and the public, and should compete fairly and openly with the private sector.
I have expressed that view before, but it cannot be expressed too often because there is a lot of folk-fear about nationalisation, particularly among many people engaged in private industry. We on this side do not believe that the dreadful things Which are sometimes believed likely to emerge from nationalisation of industry are likely. Among people with strong views about private enterprise, however, there is a sort of folk-fear which exists when an industry is being nationalised. It is, therefore, worth while to give what reassurance one can, because it is certainly the Government's intention that the private sector shall exist and shall continue as an important part of the economy. We have, therefore, produced the new Clause to enable us to go in that direction.
526 What about the general policy? We are in favour of sufficient disclosure of information to enable Parliament and the public to arrive at informed views about the activities of the nationalised industries. I therefore move the new Clause, which is designed to make it explicit in the Bill what information about non-iron and steel activities the Corporation should provide.
The effect of the new Clause will be that the Corporation will be required to disclose turnover, profit and loss and capital employed in respect of each business of each publicly-owned company or of the Corporation, and each business of the Corporation, and the publicly-owned companies as a whole. It will also be required to set out in the report the way in which the turnover, profit, and capital employed have been determined. This should help to an understanding of the figures and call attention to any changes which may from time to time be unavoidable or desirable, but would affect their comparability from business to business or from year to year.
We have taken seriously the representations that have been made to us. This is a sizeable new Clause. It has involved a great deal of work. I cannot believe that hon. Members opposite are likely to be opposed to it, although they are quite entitled to be and to have views to express about it. I hope, therefore, that the House will see fit to accept the new Clause, which, after a great deal of thought, is intended to go as far as the Government believe is humanly possible to ensure that diversified activities of public companies are not necessarily circumscribed but, at least, that those activities are known so that Parliament, the public and interested parties can make what representations they may wish to make and to put them to the Government and Ministers to decide how far they are prepared to accept those recommendations.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
In putting forward the new Clause the Minister made the point, as he is entitled to do, that in accepting representations which have been made to him during the earlier stages of the Bill he must not always be taken to have bowed to political pressure by members of the Opposition. Clearly, in putting it like that, the right hon. Gentleman is 527 right. At the same time, however, he surely cannot deny that there is all the difference in the world between meeting people in private and giving them all sorts of assurances which he is not prepared to repeat in public and, on the other hand, meeting the Opposition in public, whether on the Floor of the House or in Committee, and answering the arguments and dealing with them.
§ Mr. Marsh
Before the hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Patrick Jenkin) shatters the almost totalitarian unanimity of purpose which exists between both sides on the ideas behind the new Clauses, may I point out to him that my only intention was to pay credit to people outside Parliament who have also given up a great deal of time making representations, as well as the politicians who have discussed them?
§ Mr. Jenkin
I do not want to labour the point, but the right hon. Gentleman must recognise that, in a democracy, those who are making representations to Ministers in private feel very much safer if they see them repeated in public, with the Minister giving in public a pledge which he has been prepared to give in private. In the case of this Bill, there are some pledges which the Minister would have been only too delighted to give in private. There have been hon. Members on his own side who have wanted him to go very much further in the Bill than he has been prepared to go.
Having said that, because neither do I want to shatter the totalitarian unanimity, we give a welcome to the Clause, although I have a number of criticisms of it which I shall make in a moment and there are Amendments being taken with it. I wish to place on record that I believe that the Clause represents a major departure in Government thinking on the publication of facts and figures about the activities of nationalised industries. It represents a considerable extension to anything that we have seen in any of the reports of the existing nationalised industries. On that account, I welcome the new Clause.
The Minister gave the undertaking in Committee that it was intended that the new Amendment woulddisclose further information on such items as capital employed, turnover and estimated 528 profit for the ancillary activities of the Corporation and of the publicly-owned companies."[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 7th December, 1966; c. 2038.]I think that it is fair to point out that the Minister's attitude on the whole question of the fears and apprehensions of private industry has undergone a considerable change. By that, I do not mean just the fears and apprehensions of the private sector of the steel industry, because we are talking about activities other than the steel industry in the context of this Clause. On Second Reading, the Minister was inclined to pooh-pooh those altogether. I remember on another Bill the famous phrase adopted by the Parliamentary Secretary when he talked about people seeing lions under the bed. No doubt he will remember the Bill to give the Coal Board power to prospect for gas under the North Sea. I detected an echo of that attitude this evening, when the right hon. Gentleman talked about a "folk fear".
§ Mr. Jenkin
The right hon. Gentleman is still reluctant to admit that these fears are genuine. Perhaps we should not pay too much attention to what he says. Rather, we should pay attention to what he does. What he has done is to table this valuable new Clause. I am sure that I am speaking for many of my right hon. and hon. Friends when I say that it represents an advance and will be taken by industry to represent an earnest of the right hon. Gentleman's good faith in wanting to back up the assurances which he has given. There was the assurance, for instance, which the representatives of the C.B.I. had and which was published in The Times that threats of wild fire diversification had receded. That is an assurance which he has backed up by putting the new Clause into the Bill.
The right hon. Gentleman has taken the point before that he considers that he has adequate powers, not only in relation to this industry in the Bill but in relation to the National Coal Board under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Acts, to oblige the Boards to publish information in this form. I am bound to say that at an earlier stage he took a more unsympathetic attitude towards the pleas which we made. At an early stage in the Committee debates, I asked the right hon. Gentleman for the specific point to 529 be dealt with. The words which I used were:It is essential that every nationalised industry that engages in diversification projects should always publish annually separate accounts for every single one of those projects. Those of us who have studied the recent accounts of the National Coal Board have been entirely unable to find out what return is earned by the Board on its diversification projects. Separate accounts seem to be a vital necessity."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 10th November, 1966, c. 460.]8.15 p.m.
One might have thought at that stage that the right hon. Gentleman would have acceded to the point if he was sympathetic to it. Instead, he moved one of the scores of Closures immediately after I sat down, and we never had the matter dealt with. It was only after we returned to the point on different Clauses over and over again and after the right hon. Gentleman had met representatives of industry that he came to recognise that there was substance in the case. He has now met it, and we are grateful.
The point had been touched on briefly by the C.B.I. in its very small but illuminating pamphlet entitled "The manufacturing powers of the nationalised industries". In Appendix II, it set out what the C.B.I. would like to see as the criteria for competition between nationalised and private enterprise. One of the points made was that, if all diversified activities were not to be carried out by companies subject to the Companies Acts, one of the additional criteria which should go in was:There should be full disclosure of the separate trading results and capital employed in the manufacturing enterprises competing with private industry.That has been the policy of the C.B.I. for a long time, and I have no doubt that it will welcome the Clause.
With the Clause, we are taking the Amendment standing in my name which was tabled before the Minister put down his new Clause. Since the Clause goes most of the way to meet the points in the Amendment, it would be more constructive if I devoted my attention to the Clause rather than to the Amendment. It is on the Clause that we on this side of the House have a number of criticisms, some of which we feel bound to press to a Division unless the Minister gives adequate answers.
530 The first and most important of all is that, under subsection (1), the Minister has retained power to delay the introduction of the Corporation's obligations to publish the figures in this form. I am bound to ask him why he thinks that it is necessary to have the power, as the wording of the Clause says, to decide that it will take effect only after such date as the Minister may determine for the purpose of the subsection. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman recognises that that would enable him to postpone the disclosure for as long as he wished, and it might be convenient in the early stages that the figures should not be published. Therefore, we have tabled an Amendment to make it quite clear that this obligation will arise in the case of any financial year ending 12 months after vesting date.
There is no reason why such a provision should not be included in the Clause. The diversified activities which would be affected by the Clause from the beginning are activities which are already being carried on by the 14 companies and their subsidiaries. They are not new diversified activities. One does not imagine tint, in the first year of its life, the Corporation suddenly will advance into new activities, set up new companies, take over new companies, and embark on new enterprises. Indeed, it would be very foolish if it did any such thing, but it will be carrying on the businesses which it has taken over with the main steel manufacturing companies. This will mean that all the information required to be set out by this Clause will already exist. Indeed, every one of these companies must already have this information as part of the normal management of the business.
There therefore does not seem to be the slightest reason why the Minister could not require the Corporation to publish this information, at any rate after giving the Corporation 12 months' grace so that it can, as it were, settle down and decide the form of the publication, the method of the calculation of the turnover, capital employed, and so on. I cannot for the life of me see why the Minister has felt it necessary to put in what we regard as an unreasonable protection to take power to delay the introduction of the operation of the Clause for as long as he likes.
531 I do not want to be diverted into what I think will come up on later Amendments to the Bill, but it will be recognised that the Corporation will have immense powers to buy companies, to embark on new businesses, to form companies, to carry on activities miles outside the main business of manufacturing iron and steel, and so on. It is very important that this Clause should apply forthwith to these activities. Statistics already exist in respect of those which are now being carried out, and there is no reason why they should not be published. This will be the effect of the first Amendment.
It is no use the Minister appearing to be forthcoming. Indeed, he was at great pains when introducing the Clause to show how forthcoming he was. He said that it was not necessary. He said that he had the power, but here, nevertheless, to meet this situation he was going to put this Clause into the Bill, and then with the other hand he took it away and said that he would not make it operative until he felt that it was time to do so.
The next point is the question of the lower level below which the Corporation will not be obliged to publish the figures. As the right hon. Gentleman said, this was for a single business of £250,000, and under subsection (2) where there are two or more businesses, or two or more classes of business, the figure is £1 million. I have formed the impression—and this is inevitably a subjective matter—from my understanding of industry—I do not want to boast about that in any sense, but I have spent 10 years in industry—that these figures are too high.
I tabled the second and third Amendments on Monday, the day on which the Notice Paper containing the Minister's proposed Clause was circulated. At the same time I thought it right to consult representatives of industry about whether they considered these figures were right, and I deliberately made no mention of my views. It was therefore surprising, but in one sense gratifying, when, yesterday, I received the views of the representatives of industry, in fact the C.B.I., and found that they had come to an identical conclusion. They recommended reducing these figures to £100,000 and £250,000 respectively, which happen to coincide with my Amendments.
532 I believe that that is right. I think that these figures are too high. I reiterate that there is an element of subjectivity in this. It is impossible to fix an objective test as to what should be the minimum level, as to what level should be regarded as too small, which is really what we are talking about, but my justification for putting forward what I have is that the publication of capital employed figures, and the publication of profit and loss figures, depend on the businesses being businesses which come within the Clause, and therefore in respect of which the turnover comes above these figures.
If we are talking in terms of a turnover of £250,000, one has to recognise that the capital employed in the business of producing a turnover of £250,000 may be as much as that. It may be on the basis of one for one, £1 of capital producing £1 of turnover. In some sectors it could be even higher than that.
§ Mr. Jenkin
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for assenting to that. The hon. Gentleman has spent some time in the chemical industry, and particularly in petrol chemicals, and he knows that the one-for-one ratio is not a bad general guide. Therefore, what we are talking about is £250,000 of the capital, not necessarily in the Corporation, but in a publicly-owned company—and a publicly-owned company is any 100 per cent. subsidiary of the Corporation—which may represent a sizeable slice of the capital invested in that company. If this is so, if the figure of £250,000 of capital—and indeed it could be more—is regarded as a significant slice of the capital of the company concerned, it seems right that this figure is too high, and that we ought to reduce it. We have suggested lower levels, and, as I have said, these lower levels happen to coincide with the lower levels which the C.B.I., quite independently, recommended.
Another point is the question of the measurement of the capital employed. One of the differences between the Amendment which we tabled to Clause 22, Amendment No. 89, and the new Clause is that there was some attempt 533 to spell out the method by which capital employed and profits should be calculated. I recognise that this is only one method, and that accountants—and I am no accountant—can justify a number of different methods for arriving at these figures. It may be that the Minister's suggestion of leaving it so large to make sure that in the report the method is set out so that the figures can be properly appraised is as good, if not better, but we make one point on this, bearing in mind the purpose for which this whole exercise is intended.
The point that we make relates to capital employed. Capital employed can be valued by book value—and this is much the most common way of doing it—a written-down value based on historical costs. One can value capital employed on the market value, or one can, if one thinks fit, and if it is appropriate, put it on replacement value. Normally one uses book value, but this can be very misleading, particularly in cases where the capital has been substantially written down, because there the profitability, the return on capital, can represent an exaggerated figure, an exaggerated return which does not represent the true profitability of the enterprise. Therefore, we have suggested that in this case it would be valuable if there were added as a note what the replacement value of the assets which go to make up that capital employed should be. But we have qualified that by inserting the words "where appropriate". I would have thought that that Amendment would be acceptable to the Government, because it leaves them with a wider measure of discretion, where it is appropriate to do this.
A major purpose of the exercise is to provide for the fact that when we have removed from the influence of the market—and especially the capital market—a sector of industry, which is what we do under nationalisation, we are giving it access to Treasury money and removing all the disciplines of the capital market and in those circumstances we need to substitute something else in order to determine the liability of the enterprise. We need to substitute the full disclosure of figures in order to decide, for instance, whether it is time that a certain business should be closed down because it is no 534 longer earning an adequate return, or is making a loss.
The publication of replacement values as an aid towards that decision could well be helpful, because it would allow us to say, "It may be all right at the moment because, on the written-down values, the business is just showing a return, but if we are going to carry on, eventually we shall have to replace the assets and at that stage we may find that there is no return at all, and that the profit has become a loss." The question whether to continue to carry on the business may well turn on what it will cost to replace the assets in future. That is the argument for putting in replacement values at this stage.
The two last subsections of the Clause are quite unacceptable. Under subsection (7) the Minister has taken powers to exclude from the operation of the Clause certain classes of business. We must know why he has decided to do that. The purpose of the Clause is to inform Parliament and the public—including industry—about the performance of these diversified activities of a nationalised industry, so that we can be satisfied that those activities are viable and it is right that the taxpayers' capital should be tied up in them.
If the Minister takes power to exclude certain classes of business, to that extent that purpose will be frustrated, and it does not tie up with his assurances and the fears that he has recognised—although he still prefers to describe them in somewhat slighting language—that he should retain the power to water down the operation of the Clause as provided by subsection (7).
Under subsection (8) he takes power to vary the amounts. If power to vary was given to him with the consent of Parliament, by way of Statutory Instrument, it might be justified. With the passage of time, and the inflation which must inevitably follow, especially under the present Government, it may be that the figures written into the Bill become out-of-date so that it would be right to vary them. It may well turn out that the figures are too high, and if the Minister does not accept the Amendment he may by experience realise that the figures are too high, and may want to vary them downwards. This should be done with 535 the consent of Parliament, but subsection (8) provides that:The Minister may from time to time vary the amount …and presumably, he may merely have to write a letter to the Corporation saying, "In future I want the published figures to have a higher minimum", or he may ask it to reduce the minimum.
I have said that we welcome the Clause, and the Amendment would strengthen this useful Clause, which breaks new ground and which, even as it stands, provides considerable comfort to the industry, which has expressed fears in the matter.
I hope that the Minister will be able to accept the Amendments, particularly the first. He should not retain power to delay the introduction of the Clause, and if he cannot see his way to accept it I shall have to advise my hon. and right hon. Friends to express their support for the Amendment in the Division Lobbies.
§ Mr. W. R. van Straubenzee (Wokingham)
My hon. Friend the Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Patrick Jenkin) is such a kindly and gentle man that he often allows the Minister to get away with far more than he should be allowed to. Those who were privileged to be members of Standing Committee D had better place it firmly on the record that the reason why we are discussing this question at all is that the Minister was beaten in argument in Committee. The matter was raised and debated in public. We had to punch every inch of the way, in a Parliamentary sense. That is why the new Clause is here.
Although the Minister seems constantly to express surprise that an Opposition can produce penetrating argument, it is something that he will have to appreciate and become accustomed to. The fact that exactly the same arguments and the same representations were subsequently made to him very persuasively by representatives of industry in whom he has every confidence merely backs up the wisdom of the arguments that we have put forward in Committee. It must be said that if it had not been for the concerted and sustained argument in Committee, we should not have got even as far as we have.
536 Very few right hon. Gentlemen can play the role of a kindly Father Christmas better than the Minister. Even so cynical a character as I, listening to him tell us that all our fears were unjustified and that all that we were indulging in was a little "folk fear"—a phrase from the recesses of the Minister's mind—realised that he was a superb actor. One felt persuaded very much, until one remembered that we were placing on the Statute Book something which will not be for ever operated by the right hon. Gentleman.
We have to construct the Bill in such a way that it can be operated by others. Therefore, the Minister stands very clearly upon inquiry and he must make a case beyond a doubt for having given with one hand what he proposes to take away with the other. If the right hon. Gentleman regards the arguments which he has received in Standing Committee and from those private sources in which he places great store as being persuasive, why does he seek to take the power in subsection (1) of the new Clause?
Why is it necessary for him to say that the arrangements set out in the new Clause shall come into force only upon such date as he may determine? What factors has he in mind which will hold up his kindly decision? Why is it not possible for him—perhaps not instantly; the House must be reasonable about dates on which the arrangements come into force—at least to give a date beyond which he will not delay the coming into force of these arrangements? Can he not be brought to see how much it weakens the bonus which he regards himself as giving—which we on this side would regard as common sense—if he strengthens his power over these matters by subsection (1)?
This point does not need to be reiterated at length, as it has already been powerfully argued, but as this is a matter of trust, then the trust sought by the Minister is being severely weakened by the powers which he has taken in subsection (1). I cannot see why he should not be able to complete this element of trust by accepting the first Amendment.
Then there is the question of the figures. The right hon. Gentleman made great play with the way in which he was 537 impressed by the private evidence which he had received from certain sources about thee wisdom of including a Clause like this in the Bill. He now has direct evidence that exactly the same sources, having considered the evidence quite independently, have come to the view that the figures quoted in the second and third Amendments are the ones which he ought to have in the new Clause. If he is impressed with that evidence in respect of the Cause as a whole, will he not be impressed with the evidence of the figures given in the two Amendments, which, as he now knows, carried very great weight with the sources to which he has referred.
If the right hon. Gentleman says that he must have time—one understands this —to consider this, would he at least not undertake, in respect of the second and third Amendments, that he will give very serious consideration to those figures being inserted in another place? Once again, this is a matter which has been cogently argued already and on which I need not detain the House.
Finally, there are the very extensive powers in subsections (7) and (8) of the new Clause. How very useful it is to be able to exempt a busines of a certain class or description. I know that it has to appear in the report so long as it is so exempted, but this is not really a very formidable matter and it is not very difficult for Governments to give some agreeable reason why it continues to appear year after year in the report as exempted.
Since once again it is half or three-quarters of the wish of the Minister to show his good faith, why does he require so very major a power as that? Why is it necessary to create doubt and anxiety in the minds of people who are very seriously concerned about the general effect of the Bill upon certain major private sectors of industry? Let there be no misunderstanding about this. I believe that this argument has got across well and truly to the House. We must not go into this in any depth on this occasion; there will be other opportunities. However, by common consent on both sides of the House the powers contained in the Bill as ht now comes before us in regard to diversification are very extensive indeed. As one who is always watchful about Government in the abstract and who never believes that Governments 538 withdraw from powers that they take upon themselves, I feel deeply—I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House do—that it is one of the duties of hon. Members to hedge about with proper restriction and supervision the very extensive new powers that we give from time to time to Government in the abstract and that we shall certainly give in the Bill.
I trust that the House will feel that these are very cogent reasons for looking closely at the Amendment. However, I do not want the right hon. Gentleman to feel that I have been mealy-mouthed in my welcome for the new Clause. I welcome the penitent way in which he has come to the House and brought the new Clause with him. It is a good augury. I do not want any words of mine to cause the right hon. Gentleman not to do this on other occasions. However, the reasons for this are Parliamentary ones overwhelmingly. [Interruption.] Does the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Winterbottom) want to say something standing up, or does he prefer to sit down? Apparently he does not wish to rise. All right. We always like to hear from him. From the short time that he was a member of the Standing Committee, he will remember that the arguments on these matters were very persuasive and penetrating, and when he comes to address the House, he, as a fair-minded man, will, I feel certain, admit that the Minister has responded to these arguments. I hope that the Minister will complete the job by removing the lurking sense of anxiety which, rightly, is underlined by the Amendments.
§ Sir D. Glover
I hope at another stage in our debates on the Bill to have the opportunity of speaking about my objections to diversification of nationalised industry, but I do not think that this is the right moment to go into it in any great detail.
I think that the very cogent point just made by my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) is one of which the Minister ought to take very much more account than he is doing at the moment. I was not a member of that exclusive club which debated the Bill in Standing Committee, but there is no doubt that the Opposition seem to have done a very good job. Even if we have only 539 persuaded the Minister to go as far as bringing forward the new Clause, it certainly is an advance on the Bill as it appeared before us on Second Reading, and to that extent we derive some satisfaction from the work done during the Committee stage.
Without wishing to be ideological, I am always suspicious of a Minister, Conservative or Labour, who takes powers which are greater than he really needs. I am not encouraged by assurances given by Ministers. As has been said, Ministers come and go, political climates change and difficulties arise. The assurances given in debates have no binding force in law and, therefore, if a Minister takes through Parliament a Measure containing more powers than he really needs, he is not assisting the democratic process. That being so, I do not see why the right hon. Gentleman will not at least accept the Amendment which would insert the words "more than twelve months after vesting day". He might wish to slightly alter the period, but it is commonsense that there should be a time beyond which the Minister would be bound by this House. The right hon. Gentleman can be a reasonable man and I hope, therefore, that he will bind himself or his predecessor to a certain date—be it 1968 or 1970—by which time the Clause would have to be implemented. I do not see why the right hon. Gentleman needs the present open-ended escape hatch for non-implementation.
When considering the Amendments designed to leave out £250,000 and to insert £100,000 and to leave out £1 million and insert £250,000, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Patrick Jenkin) pointed out, a company doing a turnover of £1 million a year could easily have a capital of about that amount, depending on its mode of operation. Such a firm might be a trustee company, meaning that it is looked upon by the State as an organisation of such sound financial construction, such weight in our affairs, that it is suitable as a trustee stock. Surely such a company, doing a turnover of £1 million, should have its affairs disclosed in detail so that Parliament can assess what is going on in the Corporation.
540 The same applies to a company with a turnover of £250,000. The Amendment seeks to reduce the figure to £100,000. I am doubtful about the wisdom of nationalised industries having the proposed wide powers of diversification. Suppose that a company was doing a turnover of £200,000 a year making tin-tacks. That would represent a substantial part of the whole tin-tack industry of this country. That company might be losing £50,000 a year in its activities. It might, therefore, be putting out of operation its competitors in the free enterprise side of the economy, firms which are also making this useful item.
The affairs of such a company should be detailed in the report so that the free enterprise sector of the economy is able to see if it is facing fair competition from the diversified Corporation. No fair-minded person could take objection to such a company's affairs being disclosed. That being so, how much more does this argument apply to a company with a turnover of £1 million? A company with such a substantial turnover which is not disclosing its affairs could be making heavy losses and they could be covered up in the whole activities of the Corporation. Since the right hon. Gentleman wants to run an efficient show, I trust that he will accept the Amendment. I am sure that if the right hon. Gentleman again considers the figures he has inserted he will be forced to the conclusion that they are too high. It may be that he would settle for half way. Perhaps he would not settle for £100,000 and £250,000, but all the arguments so far advanced show—and they are supported by the authoritative opinion of those in the steel industry—that the figures in the Clause are far too high and should be reduced.
I am very suspicious about subsection (7). I know that it says that some reason why this direction is in force shall be stated in each report, but what considerations will apply for a particular activity not to be included? To my suspicious and rather cynical mind that will not be the case if the concern happens to be making rather a large profit, or if it has doubled its turnover in the previous 12 months, or is the most cost-effective unit in that particular sphere in Europe. If I know anything about Governments or even about commercial undertakings, the 541 temptation to human beings not to publish their bad shows if there is an escape hatch is too great.
I am convinced that this subsection is included to provide the Minister and the Corporation with a perfectly good escape hatch for hiding those unsuccessful activities—
§ Sir D. Glover
I do not have a nasty mind at all. I am very sorry to say that my mind will be proved in history as being only too accurate. I have never found people hiding their successes under a bushel. It is usually something not very successful that they want to hide—
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
Will my hon. Friend remember what a nasty mind he had last summer, when he was doubtful whether it would be possible to have an incomes policy without invoking the compulsory powers of the Prices and Incomes Act?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)
Order. The hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) would not be in order in replying to that intervention, which was out of order.
§ Sir D. Glover
My hon. Friend's intervention is very valid, because I have since been proved to have been absolutely right in my suspicions of what would happen. During our debates on the Finance Bill I got an assurance that the S.E.T. would be repaid in six weeks. It is now official policy, as I said at the time it would be, to repay in three months. I have been proved accurate there, and I think that I shall be proved accurate over this subsection.
Perhaps the Minister will tell the House under what conditions he thinks he would use the subsection when it was to the advantage of his Government or of the Corporation to disclose the success. I think that the facts will be kept hidden because the Government and the Corporation will not want anyone to know. Human nature will see to it that the sort of things that will not be disclosed will be those that the Government and the Corporation think would turn out to their disadvantage.
542 On these grounds, this group of Amendments have overwhelming weight of argument behind them. I hope that my hon. Friends will divide the House, because matters of great principle are involved.
§ Mr. Richard Wainwright (Colne Valley)
The hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) clearly wants it both ways. I suspect from the course of most of this evening's debate that so do most of his Conservative colleagues. They want the Minister to "run an efficient show", by which presumably hon. Members mean commercial success for a nationalised industry. But they want it in every respect to be under the public spotlight so that every twitch of its muscles can be registered on computers and everyone can ask, "What on earth is it up to now?"
If possible, we Liberals want to get from our nationalised industries and those about to be nationalised, commercial success, but to allow this industry to have that, we must allow it that measure of secrecy which every commercial undertaking requires for some stage of its operations. It is true that in some circumstances confidentiality can be abused. I have sufficient confidence in this place, although I am sorry that it is not shared on the Conservative benches, to believe that Parliament can prevent necessary confidentiality being abused and prevent the Government getting away with it.
§ Sir G. Nabarro
This comes back to the same point if we are prevented by the rules of order of the House of Commons from probing the day-to-day commercial activities of nationalised industries. We have one nationalisation day a year, which is wholly inadequate to scrutinise those commercial activities.
§ Mr. Wainwright
The hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) falls below his usual standard, which I admired so much in the autumn days. This subsection clearly makes any confidentiality in regard to the provisions of the new Clause specifically a responsibility 543 of the Minister. It means that if the Minister makes use of the subsection he will be accountable for its use in this respect. I do not think that can be controverted. I have no objection to this confidentiality provision.
Subject to one or two improvements which I hope to outline, we welcome this new Clause and as Liberals we are not in the least affronted that it has been born out of a relationship, apparently, between the Minister and representatives of the industry rather than wholly from the Parliamentary processes of this House. Politically it is interesting that at the moment the Conservative Opposition has lost any constructive creative relationship with industry whereas apparently at present the Government enjoy some small measure of success in that respect. This is clearly demonstrated by the extraordinary Amendment No. 89 which is part of our discussion at the moment.
I hope that the proposed definition of capital employed in Amendment No. 89 will be taken by Jonathan Miller into his next version of Alice in Wonderland for television:'When I say working capital', said the Duchess I never mean stocks, stores, work-in-progress or even a bank account and in my country those things are not working capital. Indeed I doubt whether they exist'.There is no reference in the formula proposed in Amendment No. 89 to any element of stocks, stores or work-in-progress or even a bank account. This is one reason why I much prefer the Government's new Clause. Nevertheless, there are some amendments I should like to suggest for its operation if not in its enactment.
First, I suggest that, as soon as any of these diversified activities reaches a stage which a reasonable man would regard as significant in scale, the taxpayer and Parliament are entitled to its full statistical life story from the beginning. The moment a child becomes interesting, people are interested in the total cost of rearing and educating it. Therefore, there should be some understanding that the Minister will require the Corporation and its constituent bodies to keep the statistical history of each diversified activity from the very 544 beginning, even though publication is not enjoined until the scale of operations becomes large enough for it to justify publication. The full story will undoubtedly be of value to the taxpayer and to Parliament.
As to the criteria for when a diversified activity becomes significant, it is a pity that we may be forced to accept the concept of turnover, because this is not the ideal test. It is not the amount one is able to sell of a project which is the basic test of its scale of interest. It is how much capital has been invested in the project. It is possible to imagine very large sums of capital being expended in a project which produces very little saleable value. Under the present turnover test, that would escape public examination under this provision.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
The hon. Gentleman will no doubt bear in mind, in the context he has just mentioned, that the Coventry project—
§ Mr. Jenkin
I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker. No doubt the hon. Gentleman will bear in mind the Coventry project which the National Coal Board has in hand at the moment and in which I believe that there is between £11 million and £12 million of capital producing virtually no turnover.
§ Mr. Wainwright
I am grateful for the example, but it is not the only one. Until the operation of the Clause or something like it has been tested, I find it difficult to suggest a test of capital employed in which I could have total confidence. This is still a difficult concept to apply, particularly in a process industry. I reiterate that when a significant scale of operations is reached we require the full story.
The other suggestion I make about the operation of the Clause is that all the statistics published under its provisions should have been subject to audit and to report by the Corporation's auditors. Some very valuable but at the same time very tricky accounting concepts are involved in the Clause, particularly in the computation of turnover which, in a large group, can often be monkeyed about 545 with, consciously or unconsciously, by inter-company sales, by the price at which inter-company sales are transacted, and also by the basis of measurement of capital employed.
Here we come up against the question of the value set upon fixed assets. I cannot for a moment accept the Conservative Amendment enjoining the compulsory use of replacement value, because often in business it is very good management to use until they are practically run-down fixed assets which the business has not the slightest intention of ever replacing. To use a local example, I imagine that the existing annunciators in this building have a fantastic replacement value, because I gather that there is no other building in the country which uses them and presumably they are now hand-made. Nobody will deny that as long as they clack away it is good business to use them until they are run down, but for Members to have to face the taxpayers with the allegation that we are using up capital employed to the extent of the vast replacement costs of our annunciators would expose us to quite unnecessary and unjustified shame.
What is much more important is that, whatever basis of capital employed is adopted for the implementation of the Clause, Parliament and the taxpayer should have a full report by the Corporation's auditors on the statistics and the basis for them. The Minister spoke understandingly about a "folk fear" of nationalisation. He did not deny that folk fear can often be a very healthy reaction, as pain can be, and sometimes very justified. I hope he will also agree that there is equally a folk fear of statistics, especially of official statistics. When they go out of office, and think that they are going to be out of office for some time, Ministers are prominent among those who show a deep folk fear, even a folk scorn, of official statistics.
I hope that in the operation of this new Clause measures will be taken to see that the statistics do not excite quite the same degree of folk fear as some which we had in the past.
§ Mr. A. G. F. Hall-Davis (Morecambe and Lonsdale)
The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) and myself have taken part in debates 546 together outside this House many years ago, and I hope that he will accept my comment as being in no way personal but entirely objective when I say that I listened to his remarks over the past few minutes and regarded them as reactionary, ingenuous and unfair.
For anyone at the present time to suggest that one should have any reservations about disclosures of activities and finances of nationalised industries, when the whole trend in the control of the private sector of industry is towards fuller disclosure of activities and information, is reactionary. It was quite ingenuous to suggest that we should not concern ourselves with improving methods of Parliamentary control over the nationalised industries.
I never like speaking for my colleagues, who almost invariably disagree with most of what I say, but I believe that the hon. Member for Colne Valley must be almost the only Member in this House, at any rate outside the ranks of his own party, who does not believe that our procedure for keeping closer control over the policies of the nationalised industries and their activities needs improving.
He was certainly unfair, I thought unworthily unfair, when he suggested that this Amendment originated largely from outside the House and our Parliamentary procedures and the Committee. I have heard my hon. Friend the Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Patrick Jenkin) over and over again in recent months draw attention to the need for just this kind of disclosure about the nationalised industries. I intended originally, without striking any contentious note, to congratulate first the Committee and then the Minister on the production of this new Clause. If the Minister appears to have hedged his Clause with certain reservations, I believe it may well be because the right hon. Gentleman at least appreciates its significance.
I listened with particular interest to the speech with which he commended it to the House. I shall read it in HANSARD tomorrow with great interest. I hope that it marks a change of policy by the Government. I hope that he will be able to spread his views more widely and have them implemented in other Government measures and other nationalised industries, because while we have a mixed economy—and very few people expect 547 us to eliminate such a state of affairs in the foreseeable future—it is important to pay attention as much to laying down proper guide lines for the peaceful coexistence of the private and public esctors as to debating where the division should lie.
This Clause is a helpful move in that direction. I believe that when looking at it the Minister was overcome by a certain degree of timidity about the enormity of the step forward which he had taken, and that is why he proceeded to write in certain restrictive provisions. The power to delay, which appears at the very beginning of the Clause, is unnecessary. Surely we can have a specific date written into the Clause. It is not much consolation to read at the beginning of the Clause that, however many good things it contains, it may be postponed indefinitely at the Minister's discretion.
There is, secondly, the subject of turnover. I do not wish to be dogmatic about the first figure of £250,000, but I find the arithmetic a little puzzling. Perhaps I am being a little obtuse, but I do not see why when there is grouping the figure is multiplied by four instead of by two, which is the combination which I would have expected. Perhaps the Minister can explain that.
There are, lastly, the two subsections at the end of the Clause. That which enables the Minister to exempt certain activities is entirely contrary to the correct spirit of the Clause as a whole. One can appreciate that there may be certain exemptions which the Minister could feel it necessary to make. It occurred to me that in an industry of this size even canteen sales might go above the figure which is being recommended, and surely that type of activity could be dealt with specifically without the Minister needing to take such general powers of exemption to himself.
The most alarming part of the Clause is the power to vary the limits which are set out in it. I share the doubts of some of my colleagues that the Minister may not represent the permanent attitude of the Government or of the party of which he is a member and he may find himself subject to considerable pressures if he continues on the enlightened road which 548 the new Clause at any rate indicates. I therefore hope that he will safeguard himself against these pressures by allowing to be taken out of the Clause the power to vary the limits. This is perhaps its most objectionable feature and it opens the door to considerable and regressive second thoughts.
I hope that when we come to some other significant Clauses which lie ahead of us, before replying to the points put to him, the Minister will quickly read through what he said about this Clause, because he showed a certain welcome openness of mind. When he referred to the "folk fear" of the private sector he was recognising something which does exist. He said that we wanted to see the public sector competing fairly and openly with the private sector, that not only must it do that, but must be seen to do that. That is the significant feature and that is the point of the new Clause and certain others. The reason for this folk fear is the sheer scale of the organisations in the public sector and the fact that it is difficult to disentangle the truth about activities of bodies of this size. I hope that the Minister will be able to meet the views which have been expressed about the qualifying subsections which he has included in the new Clause.
§ Sir G. Nabarro
The new Clause represents a substantial concession to the Opposition view expressed in Standing Committee and for that modicum of comfort I shall, of course, eternally be grateful. It is also a piece of original thinking on the part of the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry in the context of furnishing information about nationalised industries. There has been nothing like it before in nationalisation Statutes, and I wish to be generous enough in what I say to attribute to the Minister that he has learned a good deal in the 20 years since the first nationalisation Statute appeared in 1946, whose author, the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shin-well), is now seated below the Gangway opposite. It was a very imperfect Statute, as we would expect from an imperfect Privy Councillor. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman is a good friend of mine.
We have had two decades of nationalisation and, while I am grateful to the 549 right hon. Gentleman for furnishing us with some concession in this matter, the Clause has three shortcomings. First there is the delay in the operative measure of furnishing the desired information; second, the exclusion of certain information, which I call the subterfuge provision; and, thirdly, the power of the Minister to vary the limits, which I regard as wholly obnoxious. I do not take the view of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) or accept the rebuke given to my party by him when he said that the purpose of our Amendments was to secure continuous interference in the affairs of a nationalised industry.
If my right hon. Friends and myself accept the concept that once an industry is nationalised we should all endeavour to have it operated on the best possible commercial lines and operated at a profit, if we accept those terms, we ought also to accept that political interference with the commercial concern should be reduced to a minimum. But political interference is not synonymous with the furnishing of comprehensive and accurate information concerning the activities of a commercial concern on the basis of an annual report and accounts.
That is all that I am asking for. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister knows full well that my hon. Friends and myself have spent years trying to extract reliable information about the subsidiary activities of the National Coal Board. Little by little we have succeeded, but we still have not got comprehensive information. In the context of this Bill it is infinitely more important that we have accurate and reliable information over an auditor's certificate once a year.
Why is it more important? This is not the Iron and Steel Bill. That is only the fancy nomenclature attached to it by the Ministry. The proper name for it is, of course, a nationalisation enabling Bill. Under the powers of this Bill the Ministry may nationalise at its will anything from pins and needles to jumbo jets, so wide are its powers. That is why I want better information. I am not alone in this thought, or in this allegation. I cannot do better than to quote the most respectable of our daily national newspapers—the Daily Telegraph—[Interruption.] Did the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield, 550 Brightside (Mr. Winterbottom) say that I was asleep?
§ Sir G. Nabarro
No. I attribute to the Daily Telegraph utter respectability, and a great majority of us heed what its leaders say about important national issues, though it may be somewhat Right wing in its outlook.
Once there is a Labour Government in office with a huge majority and in its election prospectus promising nationalisation of steel, and once that Measure is through the House on Second Reading, my hon. Friends and myself have to accept that and we are trying to improve the Bill. This is what the Daily Telegraph said on 18th November on my point about the breadth of powers in the Bill:Angry scenes in Commons standing committees tend to be dismissed as the ordinary incidents of Parliamentary life—products of frayed nerves and overwork. Yesterday's heated discussion in the standing committee on the steel nationalisation Bill, however, deserves more serious attention, since it concerns the most indefensible provision of that thoroughly indefensible Measure.It went on to say about the point of the breadth of the Bill:An arrangement which would allow a constitutionally irresponsible body appointed to manufacture steel to start building motorcars or aeroplanes or, with a nod of approval from the Minister, buy a newspaper, is intolerable.But that is what the Bill allows the Minister to do. Nobody can deny that. That is why I call this a nationalisation enabling Bill, and that is why I want the information. We have never had the information about the commercial activities of nationalised industries on the scale which we are now demanding, and there has never been as great a need for it as there will be when the Bill reaches the Statute Book.
§ Mr. Peyton
My hon. Friend refers to this as an enabling Bill. Doubtless he will recall that the Minister described the Bill as a kind of umbrella under cover of which the industry would be taken over.
§ Sir G. Nabarro
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. What he says is true.
551 I wish to underline this point by saying that the powers in the Bill enable the Corporation to engage in the manufacture of any of those articles or goods which are in any of the articles of association of any or all of the 14 companies specified in the First Schedule. When one sets up a company to manufacture, one instructs the solicitors to draw the articles of association very wide to cover every contingency. The articles of association of these 14 companies have been in existence for many years. Most of the manufacturing provisions have never been employed, but now that we are vesting them all in the State they may be employed by take-over or by expansion or any one of a dozen other methods.
As this proliferation of manufacturing processes will be engaged in direct competition with private enterprise industry, and because the whole nationalised sector of manufacture and distribution, not only of iron and steel, but of all these manufactured articles, will be financed by Treasury money raised on preferential terms, furnished to these firms at lower rates of interest than those at which their industrial competitors in the private enterprise sector can secure their capital monies, thereby giving to the State enterprise a huge advantage, I want the power to scrutinise annually what each of these companies is doing.
It is wholly insufficient for the hon. Member for Colne Valley to impugn my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself with dishonourable motives of a busybody character, of a meddlesome Matty character. He used the term "continuous interference" in the affairs of these firms. I do not wish continuously to interfere in them. But I am sure that unless we win our point about the furnishing of information, and unless we pin ministerial responsibility firmly on the Minister's shoulders, we shall be blocked by the Table when inquiring into the affairs of these firms.
§ Mr. Winterbottom
The hon. Gentleman makes the point that he wants the statistics and information because of the diversity of the industry through nationalisation. He is not objecting to the diversification of the industry being less than the diversification provided to the private companies under their articles of association but only in order 552 to provide the statistics and information relative thereto.
§ Mr. Winterbottom
May I ask through you, Sir, whether the hon. Gentleman objects to the nationalised industries having the same power which the private steel industries already have in terms of diversification?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Before the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) is tempted to get out of order, may I point out that we are considering the need for information, statistics, and their adequacy.
§ Sir G. Nabarro
I am grateful, Mr. Speaker. I do not wish to dodge what the hon. Member for Sheffield, Bright-side has said. I hope to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, on later Amendments. The hon. Gentleman's point will arise more appropriately then, and I hope that I shall be able to deal with it.
On the question of information, there are two instruments. There is the Parliamentary report on the nationalised industries. But there is in another place the Companies Bill. If and when that reaches the Statute Book, it will require private companies to divulge information concerning their affairs on a much more comprehensive scale; and those provisions must be applied to every company in which the National Steel Corporation holds 51 per cent. or more of shares.
I conclude by saying that in my view there is no reason for the delay in the operation of the new Clause. In my judgment—I am quite specific about this —it should operate from the end of the chargeable accounting period of any company to which it applies immediately following vesting day. That could only be a delay of a few months.
Second, there should be no exclusion whatever from the reports of the nationalised industry where it is holding either a majority or a minority interest in a company associated with it. There is no 553 reason for such exclusion. I call the subsection which gives the Minister powers of exclusion, as it is at present drafted, a subterfuge subsection. In another place he should take it out and display the characteristics of honesty and complete candour that have on earlier occasions been associated with his name.
§ Sir G. Nabarro
Before he became Minister. That was why I said "earlier".
Finally, there is no justification whatever for varying the limits. If we stipulate the limits now, we shall have continuous inflation as long as there is a Labour Government. Therefore, the limits will steadily be diminished in any event. That is what I want to see happen. I see no reason, therefore, why the Minister should continue to plod it out that he wants these limits insisted upon.
I hope, therefore, that my right hon. and hon. Friends will vote on several of these Amendments although I should not myself care to vote against the Clause itself because, as I said at the outset, it represents a substantial concession to the Opposition view expressed in Standing Committee.
§ Mr. Marsh
We have had a series of interesting contributions on this issue. Again, right hon. and hon. Members opposite have paid tribute to the Government's generosity, willingness to be helpful and general efficiency in dealing with these things, and for this we are grateful. We have had a contribution from the Liberal Party, although the hon. Member who made it appears once more to have vanished from the scene. That is a pity because I assumed that his presence meant that he had just been elected leader of the Liberal Party or something.
The hon. Member for Morecambe and Lansdale (Mr. Hall-Davis) put his finger on a lot of our problems in this matter. This is a very large new Clause. It is a very important one and it is moving in fields Where none of us knows the answers to some of these things. This has gone on throughout our debate. No hon. Member has suggested that he knew what the limit was. Hon. Members opposite have merely said that in their view the limits in the new Clause were too high. Nobody on 554 the benches opposite has argued that he knows the date of operation. Some suggestions have been made. The argument has been used that a date should be fixed. These are some of the problems with which we are faced.
The Government have drafted the new Clause with the intention of meeting many of the points which have been made this afternoon and previously, but it tends to move into a rather new field and has some important implications. The issues which have emerged in the course of the debate have been fairly narrow and few. The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) made the point, with which naturally, I agree, that by and large there was nothing wrong with the new Clause, and I was almost going to say that one should be grateful for small mercies. He had some interesting points on the administration of the Clause which will be looked at, since they do not involve changes in the Statute.
What have been the specific arguments facing the House? First of all, there is some worry about the power to delay which exists in the Clause. I accused the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) of having a nasty mind, but I suppose that it is possible, theoretically, for a Minister to use this power and, in so far as he has to determine the date upon which the Clause takes effect, it is theoretically possible for it never to take effect. The reason for this particular revision is that it will be very difficult, certainly in the first year—
§ Sir D. Glover
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to misquote me. I was not being really hostile. All I said about the date was to express concern about whether it was to be 1968, 1969 or 1970. It was subsection (7) which aroused my suspicion.
§ Mr. Marsh
I realised that the hon. Gentleman had suspicions, and I assumed that he was suspicious about this point as well.
First of all, we do not know the date when vesting will take place. Many of the companies have different systems and different accounting periods. The sole purpose is to enable us to fix the earliest date that we can, and it is certainly the 555 intention to publish at the earliest possible date. It is the intention to fix a date under subsections (1) and (2), and therefore it will be done once we are able to see how long it is likely to take in terms of bringing the various groups together.
In the end, hon. Gentlemen opposite moved away from the Amendment, which produces very real difficulties, and got down to saying that what has to be done is to put a limit on the Government's power to delay. That is a point of view which could be put. However, I suggest that there is no intention and that, in practical terms, it is not possible for the Government to avoid implementing the Clause. It is the Government's intention to fix a date under subsections (1) and (2) and to publish the information at the earliest possible date.
The other point which was made is that the limits are too high. That again is something which none of us can argue in terms of absolutes. We do not know; it is a matter of opinion. A plant costing £250,000 is a very small one. If I might give an indication, I do so as a serious example of how expensive things are as a result of the inheritance of 13 years, etc. An example of how rapidly one arrives at the sort of level of £100,000 is the case of the Ministry of Power's own staff canteen, which last year had a turnover approaching £90,000. It would be pretty pointless to have figures that were too low—
§ Mr. Marsh
I would only say that the Ministry of Power is a very small Department. All I am arguing is that it is not true that £250,000 represents a large plant. It does not. Figures of £100,000 bring one down to very small plants.
The intention here is to try to find the right figure. I am not saying that the Government know the right figure. I am saying that we have chosen a figure which is necessarily an arbitrary one, and it is attacked, quite legitimately, by hon. Gentlemen opposite who say that they do not know the right figure either, but they think that probably the Government's figures are wrong, in much the same way as we think that their figures are wrong.
556 That is precisely why the Government have adopted this non-doctrinaire approach. They have adopted it because they are open minded on these things, and are willing to listen to the representations made by hon. Gentlemen opposite. They have done so for this reason, and for no other. We had to include in the Bill the very provisions which enable the Government to vary the limits. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, far from being worried about the Minister having power to vary the limit, should be grateful, because the purpose of having the power is wholly and solely so that, in the light of experience, he can ensure that the limits are not too low, or too high.
I think that an argument can be made on either side. Even the figures in the Bill are low in terms of industry. If they turn out to be too low, the Minister will have power to vary them. If they turn out to be too high, again this power of variation will be needed. The power to vary is there solely so that when we move into this new field—"romp" is perhaps a better word—we will be able to look at this in the light of experience to see whether the figures which have been quoted by hon. Gentlemen opposite are right, or whether ours are right, or whether both are wrong and there is some other figure which should be used. No one knows the figure. We have put in a figure which we believe to be right, and, therefore, precisely because nobody knows the figure, we have the power to vary to go with it.
I come now to the point raised by a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite, namely, provision for the omission of certain business or classes of business. This is a purely practical power. As I think the hon. Gentleman said, some of these organisations have large welfare activities, which again will come within the limits. We are dealing with very big organisations. The hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) asked for specific examples. One example is that of welfare activities which are not of a competitive commercial character and which could well come within the figures which have been mentioned.
Another example, which is a real and serious one, is the effect on overseas activities, where publication might be 557 prejudicial to the Corporation's business, particularly in exports. The purpose of the omission is not to enable Ministers to get away with something. I recognise many of the difficulties which have been raised about Parliamentary opportunities for raising these matters. No Minister in this Parliament could get away with omitting great chunks of industry from a Bill merely because it was convenient for him to do so. People will know where the omissions are being made, and reasons will have to be given.
I gave two real and accurate examples, the first the pure convenience of the Corporal ion, namely, welfare activities, and the second the effect which publication could, in some circumstances, have on overseas interests. I think that hon. Gentlemen will recognise that this could be prejudicial, particularly with regard to exports.
During the debate no one has suggested that the Opposition would vote against the Clause, because the intention behind it is shared by both sides. Doubts have, quite understandably, been expressed by those Who were reading the Bill as distinct from arguing the reasons for putting in various parts of it.
I agree that there are some things which, in this imperfect world, have to be taken on trust—not on the basis of individual Ministers but on the basis of the Government. Whichever Minister holds this office he is committed by this party to this policy. It is not the policy of an individual Minister; it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government. In the light of that fact, and with the explanations which I have given on some points which have worried hon. Members opposite, I hope that the House will see fit to accept the new Clause.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
With the leave of the House, I want to reply extremely briefly to one or two points made by the Minister. We agree that the Government are breaking new ground and that this creates its own difficulties. We recognise that the Minister must retain some measure of flexibility. We hope that if the Clause proves to be workable it will not be long before this procedure is extended to other nationalised industries, or that if, as the right hon. Gentleman has consistently maintained, he already has power under the respective Acts to oblige the production of these figures, he will 558 exercise that power. His point about welfare is a bad one. The Clause refers specifically to businesses, and it is doubtful whether the sort of welfare organisation to which he was referring could properly be described as a business.
It may be that he has a good point on overseas activities, but despite what he says we maintain that it would not be right for him to be able to exclude these simply by Ministerial fiat. I hope that my noble Friends in another place will think it right to return to the Clause and to suggest that the power to exclude should be operated by Order. Similarly, the power to vary the amounts should be exercised by Order—if necessary by way of the negative procedure, if it is thought that the affirmative procedure is too cumbersome. It should be subject to some form of Parliamentary scrutiny.
These figures are to be provided for the information of Parliament and the public, and the Minister should not retain power off his own bat substantially to water down these provisions. Indeed, the Minister may well consider introducing such Amendments himself when the Bill reaches another place.
I retain my view that limits are justified. I am not persuaded by the argument about the Ministry of Power canteen. I would not have thought that this could possibly be described as a capital-intensive activity. I suggest that it is a labour-intensive activity. I should have thought that £100,000 was an appropriate limit. I have some sympathy with the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis), who suggested that the relationship of the two figures in subsections (1) and (2) seemed rather strange, and that we should quadruple the figure from £250,000 to £1 million when we are talking about two or more classes of business. This point, too, would have been dealt with by the Amendments.
However, it is only on the first point made by the right hon. Gentleman that I feel that we cannot accept the case which he has put this evening. He has said that once we are able to see how the Clause can be implemented it is his intention to make it operative. He said that in political terms it would not be possible to delay its operation. The House cannot be satisfied with that. We 559 see absolutely no reason why businesses that the Corporation is taking over should not publish figures from the beginning. We have allowed a 12 months' delay in our Amendment.
We have imposed this provision only in relation to subsection (1), concerning individual businesses and individual companies in the Corporation. Subsection (2) will obviously take longer, because in that case we are going to aggregate accounts which may have been prepared in quite different ways by different companies. Time is necessary to enable that to be done. That is why there is no comparable Amendment to subsection (2). But on subsection (1) I am totally unpersuaded by anything said by
§ the Minister, and when the time comes it will be my intention to move the relevant Amendment formally, and I hope that my hon. and right hon. Friends will see fit to support it in the Lobbies.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time.
§ Amendment proposed to the proposed Clause, in line 2, leave out from 'ending' to 'carried' in line 3 and insert 'more than twelve months after vesting day'.—[Mr. Patrick Jenkin.]
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Clause:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 303, Noes 229.563
|Division No. 234.]||AYES||[9.45 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)|
|Albu, Austen||Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Dalyell, Tam||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.|
|Alldritt, Walter||Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Anderson, Donald||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hamling, William|
|Archer, Peter||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hannan, William|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Davies, Robert (Cambridge)||Harper, Joseph|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Delargy, Hugh||Hart, Mrs. Judith|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Dell, Edmund||Haseldine, Norman|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Dempsey, James||Hattersley, Roy|
|Barnes, Michael||Dewar, Donald||Hazell, Bert|
|Barnett, Joel||Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis|
|Beaney, Alan||Dickens, James||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.||Dobson, Ray||Henig, Stanley|
|Bence, Cyril||Doig, Peter||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Driberg, Tom||Hilton, W. S.|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Dunn, James A.||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)|
|Binns, John||Dunnett, Jack||Hooley, Frank|
|Bishop, E. S.||Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Horner, John|
|Blackburn, F.||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Eadie, Alex||Howarth, Harry (Wellingboroug)|
|Boardman, H.||Edelman, Maurice||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)|
|Booth, Albert||Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Boston, Terence||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Howie, W.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. Herbert||Ellis, John||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Boyden, James||English, Michael||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Ensor, David||Hunter, Adam|
|Bradley, Tom||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hynd, John|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Fernyhough, E.||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)|
|Brown, R. w. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Buchan, Norman||Foley, Maurice||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, s.)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Ford, Ben||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Forrester, John||Judd, Frank|
|Cant, R. B.||Fowler, Gerry||Kelley, Richard|
|Carmichael, Neil||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Chapman, Donald||Freeson, Reginald||Lawson, George|
|Coe, Denis||Galpern, Sir Myer||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Coleman, Donald||Gardner, Tony||Ledger, Ron|
|Concannon, J. D.||Garrett, W. E.||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Ginsburg, David||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Gregory, Arnold||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Cronin, John||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Orbach, Maurice||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Loughlin, Charles||Orme, Stanley||Slater, Joseph|
|Luard, Evan||Oswald, Thomas||Small, William|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Snow, Julian|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Owen, Will (Morpeth)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Mabon, Dr. J, Dickson||Paget, R. T.||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire.W.)|
|McBride, Neil||Palmer, Arthur||Stonehouse, John|
|MacColl, James||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Macdonald, A. H.||Park, Trevor||Swain, Thomas|
|McGuire, Michael||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Taverne, Dick|
|McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Pavitt, Laurence||Thornton, Ernest|
|Mackie, John||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Tinn, James|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Tomney, Frank|
|Maclennan, Robert||Pentland, Norman||Tuck, Raphael|
|MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Urwin, T. W.|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Varley, Eric G.|
|McNamara, J. Kevin||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Price, William (Rugby)||Wallace, George|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Probert, Arthur||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)||Randall, Harry||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Manuel, Archie||Rankin, John||Weitzman, David|
|Mapp, Charles||Redhead, Edward||Wellbeloved, James|
|Marquand, David||Reynolds, G. W.||Whitaker, Ben|
|Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Rhodes, Geoffrey||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Mason, Roy||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Whitlock, William|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|Mellish, Robert||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Mendelson, J. J.||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Mikardo, Ian||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Millan, Bruce||Roebuck, Roy||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Rose, Paul||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Moonman, Eric||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Moyle, Roland||Sheldon, Robert||Winnick, David|
|Murray, Albert||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Neal, Harold||Shore, Peter (Stepney)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Newens, Stan||Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'stle-u-Tyne)||Woof, Robert|
|Norwood, Christopher||Short, Mrs. Renée(W'hampton,N.E.)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Oakes, Gordon||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Yates, Victor|
|Ogden, Eric||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|O'Malley, Brian||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Oram, Albert E.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Mr. Harry Gourlay and Mr. John McCann.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Carlisle, Mark||Fisher, Nigel|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Astor, John||Cary, Sir Robert||Forrest, George|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Channon, H. P. G.||Fortescue, Tim|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Chichester-Clark, R.||Foster, Sir John|
|Balniel, Lord||Clark, Henry||Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Clegg, Walter||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.|
|Batsford, Brian||Cooke, Robert||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan|
|Bell, Ronald||Costaln, A. P.||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Crawley, Aldan||Glover, Sir Douglas|
|Biffen, John||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Glyn, Sir Richard|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Crouch, David||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Crowder, F. P.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Cunningham, Sir Knox||Goodhew, Victor|
|Blaker, Peter||Currie, G. B. H.||Gower, Raymond|
|Body, Richard||Dalkeith, Earl of||Grant, Anthony|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Dance, James||Grant-Ferris, R.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Grieve, Percy|
|Braine, Bernard||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)|
|Brewis, John||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Doughty, Charles||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Drayson, G. B.||Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)|
|Bryan, Paul||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Eden, Sir John||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Burden, F. A.||Eyre, Reginald||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere|
|Campbell, Gordon||Farr, John||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Hawkins, Paul||Macmillan, Maurlce (Farnham)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Hay, John||Maddan, Martin||Royle, Anthony|
|Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Maginnis, John E.||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||St. John-stevas, Norman|
|Heseltine, Michael||Marten, Neil||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Maude, Angus||Scott, Nicholas|
|Hill. J. E. B.||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Sharples, Richard|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Mawby, Ray||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Stainton, Keith|
|Holland, Philip||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Hordern, Peter||Miscampbell, Norman||Stodart, Anthony|
|Hornby, Richard||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Monro, Hector||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hunt, John||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Teeling, Sir William|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Temple, John M.|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Murton, Oscar||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Tilney, John|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Neave, Airey||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Nicholle, Sir Harmar||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Nott, John||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Jopling, Michael||Onslow, Cranley||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Kimball, Marcus||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Wall, Patrick|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Walters, Dennis|
|Kirk, Peter||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Kitson, Timothy||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Webster, David|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill||Peel, John||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Lambton, Viscount||Peyton, John||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Langford-Hoit, Sir John||Pink, R. Bonner||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Pounder, Rafton||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Prior, J. M. L.||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Longden, Gilbert||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Wylie, N. R.|
|Loveys, W. H.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Younger, Hn. George|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|MacArthur, Ian||Ronton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross&Crom'ty)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Mr. Francis Pym and Mr. Jasper More.|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Roots, William|
§ Clause added to the Bill.