HC Deb 28 May 1968 vol 765 cc1593-619


Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

I beg to move Amendment No. 158, in page 55, to leave out line 5 and insert: 'to a figure which corresponds at least to the total sum invested in new capital by the Board in the five years commencing 1st January 1964'. This is a very important Amendment which involves a considerable sum of public money. The amount involved is £1,200 million. The capital debt of the British Railways Board is reduced from £1,500 million to £300 million. Even in these days when millions do not count for a great deal, this is a substantial sum.

It could be argued that this is not the amount which we are considering, and that the amount by which we are reducing the debt totals only £557 million. But this disregards the fact that in 1962 it was envisaged that at some time the Minister might direct that the whole or part of the suspended debt of £705 million now to be written off should carry interest and be repayable. The figure of £300 million to which the capital debt is to be written down is ludicrous, and all the arguments which have been put forward to support it are foolish.

The basic reason the Government seek to reduce the amount is that they hope, by an accountancy exercise, to eliminate the deficit of British Railways which has caused such alarm and which is now over £150 million per annum. The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) put this correctly in a debate of 26th June last, when he said: The railwaymen would be jubilant if they managed a substantial reduction in the deficit. It would give them greater heart and give greater impetus to the success of British Railways than anything else."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th June, 1967; Vol. 749, c. 135.] He was saying, "Let us eliminate the deficit, and this would be an enormous boost for those working with British Railways." We agree with this. The deficit is something which causes a greater degree of alarm than anything else in British Railways and its staff.

On the other hand, there are limits to which one can go. To go to the extent of writing down the capital assets of British Railways to a figure of £300 million is to make an absurdity of accounting procedures. The amount of money which has recently been expended on capital works by British Railways gives us some idea that the figure of £300 million is ludicrous. The amount spent by British Railways on capital works over the last ten-year period was £1,200 million. That takes no account of the historical assets or of properties and land acquired over the years. It is just the amount spent on capital in the last ten years.

To draw attention to this absurdity, we have suggested in our Amendment that the figure should be the amount spent on capital equipment over the five years commencing with 1964. This works out to a figure of between £500 million and £600 million. It might be argued that in choosing this figure we are not choosing a precise amount of money, since the amount spent on capital by British Railways tends to vary with the Government's financial restrictions.

We on this side of the House have consistently said that, while the Government have been prepared to spend millions on write-offs, capital loans and subsidies for British Railways, they have failed miserably in the one direction which is vital to the future prosperity of British Railways. Many hon. Members on this side of the House look to the future of British Railways with optimism, but the one area where they have failed—

Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)

The hon. Gentleman appears to be enjoying himself. Before he goes any further would he care to tell the House how much the previous Conservative Administration wrote down the accumulated debt at the end of 1962?

Mr. Taylor

I am coming to that point and I shall deal with it in great detail. I would point out to the hon. Gentleman that the amount of suspended debt of about £700 million was not written off. It was put in suspended debt, and it was made quite clear at the time that a substantial amount of this at a later stage could bear interest and could be paid back.

We are considering whether £300 million is a fair and reasonable amount to take into account for the capital debt of British Railways. How can a figure of £300 million be justified in relation to the assets of British Railways? The National Plan contained interesting figures, although now unfortunately it has become one of the Government's massive contributions to the wastepaper drive. At the time the National Plan was published it was pointed out that it was essential that we should have capital spending in British Railways of around £135 million per year up to 1969.

The allocation for 1966 was £120 million, and it was reduced in July, 1966, by £14 million, so we see a substantial fall in relation to this estimate. Then we had the 1967 estimate of capital spending, which would be taken into account in our suggestions in the amendment. That came to a figure of £104 million. Taking into account the effects of inflation, that is a substantial reduction. More recently, we had the Government's announcement that the 1968 allocation was being reduced by £5 million to about £100 million, and then we have a further savage reduction of £11 million in the allocation for 1969.

It is a tragedy for British Railways that the Government have made such savage cuts in the necessary and important investment in areas which could help the railways to overcome their deficit in the proper way by providing an efficient service, instead of by a squalid accountancy exercise of which this Clause is a part.

The figure of £300 million is ludicrous. However, let us assume that it can be justified on the Government's arguments. They do not pretend that £300 million is realistic in relation to the assets. They say that, if this figure is brought in, it may be possible to eliminate the deficit by accountancy means. In the January edition of "Modern Railways", which I know many hon. Gentlemen opposite read with great interest, that splendid gentleman, Mr. Gerard Fiennes, explained the position clearly. He said in his article: They have shuffled the deficit under the rug. That is precisely what the Government are endeavouring to do by this Clause. They have not eliminated the deficit in the way in which it should have been done, by providing long-term means for British Railways to overcome their problems. First, they have slashed investment. Second, they have taken away a major part of the very important freight-liner services from British Railways, on which so much depends.

Mr. Stainton

Would my hon. Friend care to consider a third action which has been precipitated by the Government, or will be on Thursday—the increase in fares and freight rates?

Mr. Taylor

I should like to deal with that in detail, but it would be out of order. However, my hon. Friend is quite right.

When one considers the slashing of investment and taking away from British Railways the major share in the freight-liner services, one sees how the Government have undermined the morale, profitability and efficiency of the railways.

In those circumstances, we feel strongly that it is no answer to the problem of deficits to say that they can be overcome by the simple accountancy procedure of writing down the capital debt to a ludicrous figure. It would not be possible for any private concern to eliminate a deficit by this means. However many losses and foolish decisions it made, no business could be run on its own rules of accountancy. The only argument to support the figure of £300 million is that, if it is applied by accountancy mechanisms, it will be possible to eliminate the deficit.

In the Blue Paper on Railway Policy, there is a clear statement of how the Government arrived at their sums. It was done on the basis of certain assumptions which are contained in Appendix G.1, on page 62. The assumptions were that total output would expand by 3 per cent. per annum, that industrial production would expand by 3.3 per cent. per annum, and that wages would rise by 3 per cent. per annum. In addition, it said that there would be no changes in the prices paid by the Board for materials and services.

When one considers the figure which the Government are trying to justify on the basis of these general assumptions— and there are many more—bearing in mind the Government's economic record and achievements, if they can be called that, it is clear that those assumptions have been blown sky high by the series of financial crises that we have had.

We have, therefore, suggested an alternative. We consider that the best answer would be for the assets employed by the railways to be fairly, squarely and appropriately represented in their accounts. This is the argument that we have put forward in relation to the National Freight Corporation, and it is the argument that we put forward in Committee in relation to the railways. However, we suggest something just a little different in this Amendment, and we do it in an endeavour to draw the Government's, the House's and the country's attention to the fact that the figure of £300 million is ludicrous. We have suggested that the figure should be made more appropriate to the amount spent by the railways in a five-year period.

Is it really asking too much that the capital debt should be fixed at the capital spending for a five-year period? Everyone knows that even our figure would be ridiculously inadequate when compared with the real value of the assets of the railways, but it is a step in the right direction, it affords the Government an opportunity to explain their position and, I hope, to change it so that the accounts of the railways will not be altered by a squalid accountancy exercise to produce a surplus where there is none. It is a nonsensical position which cannot be justified, and I hope that it will be rejected decisively.

Mr. Leslie Huckfield

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) has referred to the situation as nonsensical. However, it would be far more appropriate to apply that description to British Railways' deficit financing hitherto. If anything has been sheer nonsense, it is the method adopted in the past whereby the grant for one year has been used to pay off the interest on the debts of the year before. That is a process which has gone on under successive Governments, and that is the kind of procedure that we are chosing to bring to an end. Yet, because we are chosing to bring to an end this Alice in Wonderland system, we are told that it is highly dangerous and nonsensical. I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he looks at the system of financing which has been operated in the past. He will find that the financial status being given to British Railways now is far more appropriate and sensible than they have had hitherto.

How, then, do we arrive at a position where we have to try to estimate the realistic value of the assets? One matter which causes the Amendment to be brought before the House is that, in the past, compensation and interest has had to be paid on British Transport Commission stock irrespective of whether British Railways have made a profit or a loss. In many years in which the railways did not make a profit, they should not have been obliged to pay interest on the stock.

Apart from that, if the hon. Gentleman seriously accuses the Government of putting forward economic proposals for British Railways which will not stand up to detailed examination, I suggest that he looks at the £15,000 million modernisation plan for the railways which was put forward by his Government in 1955. That was the modernisation plan which was taken by the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries and refuted point by point. If he accuses the Government of putting forward plans which do not hold water, he should look at plans which were produced by his own Government—

Mr. Peter Mahon (Preston, South)

I think that my hon. Friend has made a slight slip of the tongue. I think that he meant to say £1,500 million.

Mr. Huckfield

I am grateful for that intervention. Of course, I meant £1,500 million.

The facts and figures brought to light by the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries still give us the same kind of answer. The investment proposals put forward by the Railways Board in the past do not stand up to the kind of examination which hon. Members on both sides of the House would like to see. Let us put an end to this Alice-in-Wonderland argument because it will not hold water. The hon. Gentleman should look at the background to the current situation and particularly at the background from 1955 onwards—most of which occurred under Conservative Administrations.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)

I have noticed that when hon. Gentlemen opposite want to refer to history, particularly regarding the railways, they pick their authorities carefully. The hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Leslie Huckfield) was referring to the report on modernisation produced by Sir Brian Robertson, as he then was. Earlier in the debate we had Sir Brian Robertson being held up as a greater authority than Lord Beeching, but on the question of modernisation he certainly was not. I notice that though hon. Gentlemen opposite are keen to condemn Lord Beeching's Report on many issues when it comes to modernisation and getting rid of the deficit, the subject is not mentioned. The whole point of the Beeching Report was to find a pattern for the railways which was suitable for modern conditions, and it was believed that the ultimate result of the Report would be to produce a railway system which would pay its way. The temporary arrangements which have been condemned by some hon. Gentlemen opposite were those arrangements made when certain substantial sums of money were put into the expense account on the expectation that eventually they would be paid off. It is a remarkable thing that during the few years of Lord Beeching's administration, the railway deficit fell; it was only when he left that it began to go up, and it has gone up ever since.

I am rather surprised at the figure of £300 million. I do not know exactly how it has been arrived at, except that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) talked about shovelling things under the carpet. That seems one way of dealing with a deficit, but until one has set about getting a pattern of railway services in this country that meets current needs, there will always be a deficit. Hon. Gentlemen opposite apparently expect that. They do not pattern their railways after what is needed but according to what decision is made by some tycoon in the Ministry of Transport as to what railway facilities will be required by the public, regardless of whether or not that is what is required. If one proceeds on that basis one will always be wrong, there will always be a deficit and we shall get into serious trouble.

I support the Amendment because it seems that the figure of £300 million is quite unrealistic. I do not know that the figure we have suggested is any more realistic, but at any rate it is a move in the right direction. I hope that the Minister will give further information about why this figure was published in the Blue Book, and how it arose. We should consider whether some other figure might not be more appropriate.

Mr. J. T. Price

I rise only because the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) ducked the question I put to him during his speech. I asked him to inform the House how much of the accumulated deficit of British Railways had been written off or put into cold storage by previous Conservative Governments. He said, "I will be coming to that later", but he never did come to it. This is one of the oldest gimmicks in the House, and I protest about it. It is not only hon. Gentlemen opposite who are guilty of this but, I am sorry to say, some of my hon. Friends, too.

If one gets a question which one cannot answer, instead of standing up honourably and saying, "I am very sorry; I have not the figures but will look them up and send the hon. Member a letter", they say, "I am coming to that later", but they never do. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman need not work himself into a state of synthetic indignation, because I am familiar with that and I can do that sort of thing, too.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson rose

Mr. Price

I will not give way. I want to address the House briefly. Under the 1962 Act—which was passed by a Conservative Administration—and under the 1957 Act very large sums were written off for special reasons. They amounted in aggregate to about £750 million. [Interruption.] If I have got a nought in the wrong place, I apologise. I know some people who put a nought on the other end and speak of thousands of millions instead of hundreds of millions, which is a bit much. I had the pleasure of serving; on the Committee upstairs on the last Bill and the one before that, when all these transactions were fully explored and the reasons fully ventilated.

The Member for Cathcart gets a bit bumptious on some occasions, but he should not be allowed to get away with wild statements simply because he lives in ignorance of the history of the railways. He has not even taken the trouble to acquaint himself with the facts of the situation. British Railways were, in fact, breaking even by about 1952 and it was only because later economic conditions produced deficits which were never funded that we had interest upon interest upon compound interest, with an astronomical spiralling of the debt.

When we investigated this we found that three-quarters of the debt was represented by unpaid interest. My right hon. Friends are far better advised than hon. Gentlemen opposite. If hon. Gentlemen opposite make wild statements, they must expect to be challenged by people who know the facts. I hope some of the hon. Member for Cathcart's more responsible colleagues will have the decency to admit that when we are seeking to put the finances of British Railways on a sounder footing and to make them viable in the future, we ought to have his support and not his disdain and cheap sarcasm, based on a complete misreading of the history of the railways.

Mr. Stainton

I anticipated this debate in Committee and there are a few points to explore further and ventilate more fully. I have some sympathy with the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price) but he forgot to mention the heavy burden on the railways in terms of the capital deficit arising from an adjustment of book values amounting to a £350 million deficiency. It is an accumulation of all these factors which has led to the sorry state of British Railways plus, of course, their operating inefficiency.

The important point to bear in mind is that in proposing to write down the capital of British Railways to £300 million we are valuing our railway service and all that it implies in terms of land, buildings and facilities generally. I will give the figures of capital investment in fixed assets by British Railways. I have only the 1966 accounts. This is new money going into British Railways. This has nothing to do with interest upon interest upon compound interest to which the hon. Member for Westhoughton referred or with the £305 million deficit in book values.

Let us trace our steps back a few short years and see precisely what the figures show. In 1966 new money coming in to British Railways amounted to £1068 million. In 1965 it totalled £121.1 million and in 1964 it totalled £108 million. We have, therefore, already exceeded the figure of £300 million. We are going to write British Rail down in terms of how it stands in the books of the populace of this country by a lesser figure than the new money put in in the last three years. Whether it is right or wrong for this to be done is a matter of profound importance which must cause us to reflect on how this state of affairs has come about and whether we have things right now for the future.

It is with this motive that my hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart and I tabled this proposal. It would have the effect of causing the Railways Board, when new capital is created, to ensure that it is not less than the new money invested in British Rail in the last five years. There is nothing sacrosanct about the figure five, just as I stressed that there is nothing god-given about the figure three. However, it would be healthier to think that we could keep our heads above water over the previous five years in terms of new investment compared with the last three years. The Minister must address himself to this question because I am sure that that is how it will be seen by the man in the street.

I must now weary the House by becoming rather more technical, since the question of the future capital structure of British Rail will have a great deal to do with its viability and to the process whereby it is going to sustain future capital. One of the curiosities of accounting techniques is depreciation. The higher one's capital, the larger the depreciation; and one need only glance at the capital accounts of British Rail to see that the depreciation fund has gone a long way in the past towards meeting capital investment, and that, in turn, has got swept into the deficit.

What are the future financing requirements of British Rail to be in relation to the £300 million postulated in the Bill? How will this be achieved? It is to be achieved, in part, by the cash flow under the heading "depreciation", and that will be substantially less than it has been in the past. It may be £35 million compared with £65 million—so that already one is the loser there by £30 million. There are realisations of surplus assets and presumably that is not something that can go on indefinitely. Sales proceeds fluctuate, and that figure reached £33½ million in 1966.

I suspect that, with the grant we have approved today for the liquidation of surplus track and signalling equipment—this must be achieved in the next five years— a lot of the extra surpluses will be got quickly out of the system. What will plug that gap in terms of the financing of British Rail's capital requirements? Over and above that, what are the borrowing requirements to be? We could arrive at the curious position, in terms of writing down the capital now to £300 million— with the fall in the depreciation fund and the fall in the realisation from surplus assets each year—that British Rail will be precipitated into a borrowing situation, and the extra borrowing could be vastly more than the capital which we are now leaving in the books of British Rail.

I would go so far as to hazard, considering the figures exchanged in Committee upstairs, that within the next five years British Rail will have new borrowings of at least £250 million. That is a severe criticism of the writing down of the present capital employed in British Rail to the mere figure of £300 million.

While we appreciate that it may not be possible for the Government to act on an Amendment of this description— there is no finite logic in these things— I hope that the Minister will take note of the points that have been made and will give a considered reply to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)

The hon. Member for Sudbury and Wood- bridge (Mr. Stainton) has obviously studied this subject extremely thoroughly. Hon. Members will be grateful to him for the figures he gave, which amply support the Amendment. I do not always agree with the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor), but on this occasion he has advanced arguments which deserve our serious consideration.

If we are to reorganise the finances of British Rail—and I assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that I do not quarrel with that principle—then we should do it on the basis of objective criteria. Simply to pick the figure of £300 million out of thin air—I say that because I am not aware of any justification of the figure by the Minister—is not good enough and is an insult to the intelligence of hon. Members.

The hon. Member for Cathcart has suggested that the commencing capital debt should be calculated in accordance with certain rules which at least bear some relationship to the value of the assets employed by British Rail. While his solution may not be perfect, it would at least be a better proposal than the Government's. Merely to wipe out the deficit on paper might result in all sorts of difficulty and we should not lend ourselves to this exercise.

The value of the assets of British Rail, as shown in its books, should bear some relationship to the reality of the situation, so that when we look at the accounts we should be able to judge, from the figures provided against this commencing capital debt, whether an enterprise of British Rail has been successful in any one year. If we were to sweep away this vast amount of capital debt, nobody looking at the accounts could form such a judgment.

Naturally, we all want British Rail to be successful. I hope that ultimately it will make a profit. However, we do not want to do this by cheating or by fiddling the books—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]— fiddling them honestly, so to speak. I am all in favour of doing the things which the hon. Member for Cathcart recommends—of investing in equipment which will enable British Rail to offer a service to the travelling public and at the same time make a profit.

I do not know what is under consideration in the Ministry regarding the electrification of the line from Manchester to Glasgow. The information I have received suggests that this would be a very successful investment indeed. I would be out of order to go into that, but it is the sort of project which the Minister should be considering, rather than furtive book-keeping—

Mr. Swingler

I appreciate that the hon. Gentleman was not a member of the Standing Committee. He will recall, however, that there was for many months an investigation by reputable consultants into the whole system of the railways, under a Joint Steering Group chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Mr. John Morris) who was then the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport. This group reported last autumn and its findings are in a Blue Book entitled "Railway Policy." That document went into all these matters in great detail. It was as a result of the recommendations both of the consultants and of the Steering Group that this figure was arrived at.

Mr. Lubbock

I understand that the consultants did not recommend any particular figure and did not mention £300 million, although we are now discussing whether or not the figure should be £300 million or some other amount.

Mr. Swingler

I spoke of a course of action.

Mr. Lubbock

The Minister should not draw my attention to a report which does not contain the information.

Mr. Swingler

The hon. Gentleman surely will appreciate that this is based on a policy decision. The policy decision which he is discussing now is whether to end the deficit, and if so whether at the end of this year, next year, or when, and of course the calculation results from that policy decision.

Mr. Lubbock

If the Minister has made some calculations, I certainly hope that he will disclose them to the House. This is the whole basis of the argument, and the Minister could have saved a great deal of the time of the House if at the beginning he had shown us how this £300 million is calculated. Let him start with the report of the consultants and justify the figure of £300 million on the basis of objective criteria. If he can do that it will make a lot of difference to my thinking, but so far I can see nothing, and have heard nothing in this debate from the other side of the House, which can satisfy me that any consideration has been given to objective means of deciding what the commencing capital debt should be.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that among the many assumptions on which the figures were based was the admission that there would be no major difficulty in securing an allocation of investment for the projects of British Railways, but despite that there have been major cuts.

Mr. Lubbock

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. This is just the kind of thing I was referring to. I absolutely agree that instead of this book-keeping transaction greater attention should be given by British Railways and by the Minister to means of making British Railways more profitable, and that we do not have to go through these technical exercises. If the Minister can say that he is doing all these things and show me that the figure of £300 million has been arrived at from the consultants' report this will make a lot of difference to my thinking. But nothing I have heard from that side of the House in the course of this debate has convinced me that the Minister is right.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

When I have intervened on one or two of the other Amendments and Clauses in this debate there has been some sort of noise from the Government benches, and I understand that. I think that it is because they know that transport is not a subject I have followed in the House in the years I have been here. It is perfectly true. If hon. Gentlemen cast their minds back to where I have made observations, they will acknowledge that they have not been on the technical jargon of anything to do with transport, but on points where I think that Governmental procedure is involved. Having been a member of a Government for 5½ years, I have some idea of how the thing works. I have criticised the Government when they have deviated from good procedure and where general business principles are concerned, because certain principles apply whether it is a matter of transport, selling paint, which I do, or anything else. Whatever it is, certain business principles apply.

Mr. Peter Mahon

Is this a resume of the hon. Gentleman's career?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is introducing his argument.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

If the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel), who is a very excellent loco driver, had confined all his remarks to driving trains they would have been much more relevant than some of the comments he made on the business aspect.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We now come to the Amendment, I think.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Having justified my intervention on this occasion, I want to reinforce the point made by the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock). To write the figure down for no good reason to £300 million without really justifying it and without following some formula is not good business. It will not allow anybody to have confidence in any of the accounts submitted by this section of Government trading in the future. If, as the Minister of State said, he is following the consultants' recommended course of action, then he ought to spell out how tihe formula recommended by the consultants arrives at this figure. Does it arrive at exactly £300 million? In 1962 about £1,200 million was spent and between £500 million and £600 million have been spent over the past five years. Did the consultants' recommendations say any of that ought to be taken into account?

I was very interested in the general argument put by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price). He put the old argument which dates back a good many years—[An HON. MEMBER: "Perfectly sound."]—quite right. The way the railways had to battle on for many years past put it in the position where it was necessary to write down its capital, for otherwise its interest costs and overheads were such that they could not hope to recoup them by day-to-day business. But I do not think the hon. Member for Westhoughton would argue that that situation has arisen since 1964. We were aware of the problems he de- scribed so vividly before 1964, and one would have thought that the considerable money spent since 1964 could be considered to have been well spent. It ought to be considered to be an asset which could be taken into account. Is it suggested that all the problems which dated back to the days when the railways had to face the beginning of the new road transport system and the introduction of the motor car and so on were still in existence in 1964?

Mr. J. T. Price

If the hon. Gentleman wants to address rhetorical questions to me and wants me to give a worth-while answer we shall be here all night. I do not want to be drawn on this, but he is being most provocative. Perhaps I could say to the hon. Gentleman without malice that when he says that nobody will have any confidence in the railway accounts in the future he is surely forgetting that we have a Comptroller and Auditor-General, who will investigate them most thoroughly. It is a slight on our Government machinery that he should say that these accounts would not be acceptable to anybody with common sense.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

If the auditors had instructions to ignore all money except £300 million, they would be doing their job. What I am trying to get the Minister of State to do is to give sound instructions to the auditors when they some to it. But the hon. Member ought not to attack me. I was agreeing with the hon. Gentleman. I was not attacking him; I was going along the road with him.

Mr. Manuel

I take it that the hon. Gentleman has studied the Blue Paper.

Sir Harmar Nicholls


Mr. Manuel

The Steering Group presided over by my hon. Friend who was Parliamentary Secretary, but has now moved to another Department, reported in November, 1967. The White Paper contained a review of long-term forecasts, the effect of grants, the Board's future financial structure, and then the recommendations. There is another section dealing completely with finance. If the hon. Gentleman studied that he would understand parts of the Bill he is now questioning.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

The Minister said the same thing another way a moment ago. He said that it had all been explained in Committee, and he suggested that if we had read the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Committee proceedings we should have had the answer. I have not read all the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Committee proceedings, any more than I have read the Blue Book, but my hon. Friemds have assured me they have not had this explanation. [AN HON. MEMBER:"It is here."] It looks as though the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) is trying to lead the House astray. He is trying to give the explanation that all the answers are in the Blue Book. People who have read the Blue Book tell me that that is not so.

7.0 p.m.

The Minister said that he gave all these explanations in Committee. Whether he did or not, he should give them on Report. I am asking him to give a really detailed explanation of how the figure of £300 million is arrived at. Whether our Amendment, suggesting that we use the amount of money spent since 1964 is right, I do not know. If the Minister said that we shall have a figure for the last four years, or even three years, I should be prepared to accept that if it has the support of the consultants.

I support the hon. Member for Orpington on this. We should know how the £300 million is arrived at and the Minister should accept an Amendment—I am not arguing that it should be this one— which gives a formula without naming a figure. If the figure is arrived at from a sound formula it will carry more confidence in the future. I am disturbed because we cannot get the explanation. The Minister must give one if he expects the figures which we must accept in the future to carry any confidence.

Mr. Ted Leadbitter (The Hartlepools)

We have again had a repetition of what has been, during the whole debate, an exercise in exaggeration. Hon. Members have over-exaggerated and gilded the whole of their case with a great deal of synthetic anger. The Steering Group outlined a new approach to the financing of the undertaking, but when one has to decide on a policy arising from its report it is a matter of conjecture whether the starting capital value is £300 million, £400 million or £200 million. Anyone picking any starting capital debt can make out an argument for it. But the House will have to accept that the liabilities should have been brought long since into line with the undertaking's net earning power. It is futile for hon. Members opposite to try to persist in an argument which has proved in the past to be an absolute waste of time and a great burden on the undertaking.

Earlier today the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) challenged the House to point to a column in the OFFICIAL REPORT where we accused him of making this kind of approach through Amendment after Amendment, Clause after Clause. I have that reference—

Mr. Michael Heseltine

On a point of order. I have not intervened in this guillotine section. We are anxious to get on to important areas which it seems that we shall not be able to discuss in view of the way this debate is going. Is it possible for the hon. Gentleman to understand the Opposition's dilemma and sit down?

Mr. Marsh

Should not it be made absolutely clear that there are important issues to be discussed later in relation to the manufacturing powers of nationalised industries, that the time for discussing that section was cut at the Opposition's request, and that there is every indication that this debate has been prolonged in a deliberate attempt to ensure that that section is guillotined?

Mr. Speaker

Order. Let us return to the debate.

Mr. Leadbitter

I rose about three minutes ago. I have sat here all day and not said a word, listening patiently. The hon. Gentleman should accord me the courtesy of allowing me to develop my argument.

Hon. Members opposite have tried to suggest that the starting capital debt of £300 million is the wrong amount. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) talked about a writeoff of about £1,200 million. I never heard him screaming when we wrote off £415 million of the Coal Board debt in order to keep coal miners at work. The principle of writing-off has long been established, but we must put the finances of this undertaking into perspective. Hon. Members opposite have tried to lead the House and the public outside to believe that we are confining ourselves to a liability which is not in keeping with the investment programme over the past few years. The Board's liabilities are very different from what has been suggested. Under Section 19 of the 1962 Act its loan-bearing liabilities, savings bank liabilities and the interest-bearing liabilities of its pension fund amount to about £400 million. Its total liabilities for 1969 are expected to be about £800 million.

Mr. Stainton

The hon. Gentleman is merely re-perambulating all the arguments and figures which the previous Parliamentary Secretary disclosed to the Committee. May I briefly tell him where the Parliamentary Secretary went wrong. What he did was simply to add up the total of the liability side of the balance sheet, which gave us the gross assets, not the net capital structure, which is what we have been talking about all evening.

Mr. Leadbitter

I shall not follow that argument. I shall make my own speeches. Hon. Members opposite have been repeating and repeating themselves until we have been bored to tears. Not one new thing has been said in the House since yesterday morning that was not said upstairs. We have had repetition after repetition and filibustering of the worst kind.

The Government have readily and wisely accepted the general approach to the Board's financing as laid down by the Steering Group, because it gets rid of what was the real trouble between 1955 and 1962—that there is no point in having an investment programme on a modernisation scheme for the Board if the amount of money being put in annually is taken up to meet the debt interest charges of previous years. That was the great trouble, and there is no question about it. The House must accept the principle, if not the amount of £300 million.

The idea of getting rid of what was known as deficit financing and introducing in its place a matching of liabilities with the Board's net earning capacity is a formula which cannot be argued against.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that all the money put in since 1964 has been just to pay the interest?

Mr. Leadbitter

It has not been just to pay the interest, but one cannot have a major modernisation programme based on the principle of deficit financing. We need not go into an analysis of the finance of those years. We need only refer to the matters raised time and time again by hon. Members opposite in relation to complaints about the deficits of British Rail.

That has been the result of the financing policy of hon. Members opposite. My hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) indicated earlier that the British Railways Board was working on a surplus up to 1953 before hon. Members opposite started to tinker with it. We may go on tomorrow and on Thursday morning with over-exaggeration of these issues causing uncertainty unnecessarily outside, but hon. Members opposite must bear in mind that in this Clause the amount of liabilities to be matched with the calculated under-earning capacity is not an arguable point and therefore £300 million is a matter of policy decided by the Government.

I am sure that hon. Members opposite would not argue against this, bearing in the mind the loan liability under Section 19 of the 1962 Act. The hon. Member for Tavistock challenged this House. We are dealing with the idea of integrating the services and giving them certain manufacturing and other powers.

Mr. Peter Walker

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member lor The Hartlepools (Mr. Leadbitter) time and time again throughout our debates has made filibustering speeches. My hon. Friend the Member for Tavislock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) has not spoken in this debate. The subject with which the hon. Member for The Hartlepools is dealing has not been covered in the debate. We have only 15 minutes left for this subject.

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order. The hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. Leadbitter) must come to the Amendment dealing with capital debt.

Mr. Leadbitter

I have been speaking for seven minutes—[An HON. MEMBER: "Twelve."] I shall pick this point up later this evening and for the benefit of the hon. Member for Tavistock, the column number will be read out loud and clear and definitely in order that the hon. Member will not do it again.

Mr. Swingler

I think we all agree that this has been a rather long discussion. It will also be agreed that most of it has been entirely a repeat of the discussion which we had in Standing Committee. Some hon. Members have made exactly the same speeches as they made in Committee. Further, one hon. Member confessed that he had not read any of the documents, that he had not read the policy document or the consultants' report. Obviously he has not read the Committee Report. This applies to several hon. Members.

The speeches which have been made on this Amendment stand in the way of a discussion by the House of a Clause over which the Opposition have made a tremendous song and dance. Clause 45 deals with the manufacture, repair and supply powers of nationalised industries and we had an interesting discussion on it in Committee. There is some suspicion, as my right hon. Friend implied, that this is all a deliberate attempt to prevent discussion of the very important issue, raised in Committee, due to the prolonging of this discussion by hon. Members who have confessed that they have studied neither the Committee proceedings nor even any of the documents in which these matters are explained.

Therefore, I shall deal with these matters very briefly. If the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) thought that the report of my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Mr. John Morris) was a load of rubbish, he could have had the guts to say so across the table in Committee. He did not do that. We had discussions in Committee on these matters, and they were constructively and fruitfully dealt with. The explanation was given then quite clearly, and I give it again in these terms. The consultants recommended— this is in the Vote Office if hon. Members wish to see the document called "Railway Policy "—that the debt of the Board should be written down to a level at which it could reasonably be expected that the interest payments could be found out of prospective revenues in the early 1970s. That was the policy recommendation of the consultants who had for many months been examining the structure of British Railways and what their future might be.

The Government decided that we should not wait until the 1970s, but that we should end the demoralising open-ended deficit situation as soon as possible. We should take the decision to put an end to deficit financing at the end of this year, to introduce the social grant system for the maintenance of unremunerative lines in supercession of the Beeching Report, and to give British Railways a chance to break even with the necessary calculated reduction of the commencing capital debt. This had to be about £300 million.

7.15 p.m.

Those who vote for £500 million, which is what the Amendment means, will vote for a continuance of deficit financing. That is exactly the nature of their calculation. The question is whether we should do this. Ever since I have been at the Ministry some hon. Members have openly confessed from the Conservative benches that they fully support the iron logic of the Beeching Report. Others have come to me privately and said that they never supported it, as they had an interest in getting subsidies for the unremunerative lines in their constituencies. That has led to great confusion about where hon. Members opposite stood on the question of the iron logic of the closure policy, and on the question of making British Railways profitable by reducing deficit financing.

The question which has to be faced is whether it is right to end deficit financing at the end of this year and to combine it with the social grant system for unremunerative lines. If hon. Members agree with that as a policy decision, the best calculation we could make is that the commencing capital debt should be reduced to £300 million.

Mr. Peter Walker

We want quickly to move to the Clause which the Government are obviously trying to avoid. All I can say in summarising the arguments of the Minister of State is that the difference between the two sides of the House is that he considers we should get rid of deficit financing by giving the deficit a different name, while we consider that we should get rid of it by improved efficiency.

Question put, That that Amendment be made: —

The House divided: Ayes 217, Noes 285.

Division No. 185.] AYES [7.18 p.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Goodhew, Victor Murton, Oscar
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Cower, Raymond Neave, Airey
Alstor, John Grant, Anthony Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Grant-Ferris, R. Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Awdry, Daniel Gresham Cooke, R. Nott, John
Baker, Kenneth (Acton) Grieve, Percy Ortslow, Crantey
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Orr. Capt. L. P. S.
Balniel, Lord Gurden, Harold Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Batsford, Brian Hall, John (Wycombe) page, Graham (Crosby)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Bell, Ronald Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos. & Fhm) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Peel John
Berry, Hn. Anthony Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Percival Ian
Biggs-Davison, John Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Peyton John
Black, Sir Cyril Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere Pike, Miss Mervyn
Blaker, Peter Harvie Anderson, Miss Pink, R.Bonner
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Hastings, Stephen Pounder, Rafton
Body, Richard Hawkins, Paul Poweff, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Hay, John Price, David (Eastleigh)
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Prior, J.M.L.
Braine, Bernard Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Pym, Franics
Brewis, John Heseltine, Michael Quennell Mils J. M.
Brinton, Sir Tafton Higgins, Terence L. Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Bromley-Davenport.Lt.-Col.SirWalter Hiley, Joseph Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hill, J. E. B. Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hogg, Rt. Hn, Quintin Ridley,Hn.Ncholas
Bryan, Paul Holland, Philip Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Buchanan-Smith,Alick(Angus,N&M) Hordern, Peter Ridsdale, Julian
Bulfus Sir Eric Hornby, Richard Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Burden,F.A. Howell, David (Guildford) Rusself, Sir Ronald
Campbelf, Gordon Huntchison Michale, Clark St. John-Steavas, Norman
Carlisle, Mark Iremonger, T.L. Scott, Nicholas
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Scott-Hopkins, James
Cary, Sir Robert Jenking, Patrick (Woodford) Sharples, Richard
Chicheste-Clark, R. Jennings, J.C. (Burton) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh& Whitby)
Clark, Henry Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Silvester, Frederick
Clegg, Walter Kaberry, Sir Donald Sinclair, Sir George
Cooke, Robert Kerby, Capt. Henry Smith, Dudley (W'wick&L'mington)
Corfield, F. V. Kershaw, Anthony Smith, John (London & W'minster)
Costain, A. P. Kimball, Marcus Speed, Keith
Craddock,Sir Beresford(Spelthorne) King, Evelyn (Dorset,S.) Stainton,Keith
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver Kirk, Peter Stodart, Anthony
Crouch, David Kitson, Timothy Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)
Crowder, F.P. Lambton, Viscount Tapsell, Peter
Cunningham, Sir Knox Lancaster, Col. C. G. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Currie, G. B. H. Lane, David Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow.Cathcart)
Dalkeith, Earl of Langford-Holt, Sir John Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Dance, James Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Teeling, Sir William
d'Avigdor-Goldsm.d, Sir Henry Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Temple, John M.
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Ceoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield) Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W.F. (Ashford) Lloyed, lan (P' tsm'th, Langtsone) Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Digby, Simon Wingfield McAdden, Sir Stephen Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Dodds-Parker, Douglas MacArthur, Ian Vickers, Dame Joan
Doughty, Charles Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Walker, Peter (Worcester)
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Drayson, G.B. McMaster, Stanley Wall, Patrick
Eden Sir John Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Walters, Dennis
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Maginnis, John E. Webster, David
Elliott,R.W.(N'c'tie-upon-Tyne,N.) Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Wells, John (Maidstone)
Emery, Peter Marten, Neil Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Errington Sir Eric Maude, Angus Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Eyre, Reginald Mawby, Ray Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Farr, John Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Fisher, Nigel Mills, Peter (Torrington) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Fortescue, Tim Miscampbell, Norman Woodnutt, Mark
Foster, Sir John Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Worsley, Marcus
Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) Monro, Hector Wylie, N. R.
Gibson-Watt, David Montgomery, Fergus Younger, Hn. George
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) More, Jasper
Glyn, Sir Richard Morrison, Charles (Devizes) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Mr. Anthony Royle and Mr. Bernard Weatherill.
Goodhart, Philip Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Abse, Leo Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)
Albu, Austen Fletcher, Raymond (likeston) Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mackie, John
Alldritt, Walter Foley, Maurice Mackintosh, John P.
Alien, Scholefield Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Maclennan, Robert
Anderson, Donald Ford, Ben MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)
Armstrong, Ernest Forrester, John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Fowler, Gerry McNamara, J. Kevin
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Fraser, John (Norwood) MacPherson, Malcolm
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Freeson, Reginald Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)
Barnes, Michael Galpern, Sir Myer Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Barnett, Joel Gardner, Tony Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)
Baxter, William Cinsburg, David Manuel, Archie
Beaney, Alan Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Mapp, Charles
Bence, Cyfil Gregory, Arnold Marks, Kenneth
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Grey, Charles (Durham) Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Bessell, Peter Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly) Mayhew, Christopher
Bidwell, Sydney Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mendelson, J. J.
Bishop, E. S. Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J. Mikardo Ian
Blackburn, F. Hamling, William Millan, Bruce
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hannan, William Miller, Dr. M. S.
Booth, Albert Harper, Joseph Milne' Edward (Blyth)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)
Boyden, James Haseldine, Norman Molloy, William
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hattersley, Roy Moomnan, Eric
Bradley, Tom Hazell, Bert Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Haffer, Dric S. Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Brooks, Edwin Heing, STanley Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town) Murry Albert
Neal, Harold
Brown,Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Hooley, Frank Newens Stan
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hooson, Emlyn Norwood Christopher
Buchan, Norman Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Oakes, Gordon
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough) Odgen, Eric
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) O, Maslley, Brain
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Oram, Albert E.
callaghan Rt. Hn. James Howie, W.
Cant, R.B. Hoy, James Oswald Thomas
Carmichael, Neil Huckfield, Leslie Owne, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Owen, Will (Morpeth)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.) Page, Derek (King's Lynn)
Chapman, Donald Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Page, Derek (King s Lyrm)
Coe, Denis Hughes, Roy (Newport) Peget, R.T.
Coleman, Donald Hunter, Adam Palmer, Arthur
Coneannon, J. D. Hynd, John Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh) Pardoe, John
Cradrtock, George (Bradford, S.) Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Park, Trevor
Crawshaw, Richard Janner, Sir Barnet. Parker, John (Dagenham)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Parkyn, Brain (Bedford)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n & St.P'cras,S.) Pavitt, Laurence
Dalyell, Tarn Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Davidson, Arthur (Aecrington) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Davidson,James(Aberdeenshire,W.) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Pentland, Norman
Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull W.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. R.E.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Davies, Dr. Ernest(Stretford) Jones,Rt.Hn.SirElwyn(W.Ham,S.) Prince, William (Rugby)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Randall, Harry
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Judd, Frank Rankin, John
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Kelley, Richard Rees, Meriyn
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kenyon, Clifford Reynolds, G. w.
Delargy, Hugh Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Dell, Edmund Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Richard, Ivor
Dempsey, James Lawson, George Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Dewar, Donald Leadbitter, Ted Robertson, John (Paisley)
Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Ledger, Ron Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c' as)
Dickens, James Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton) Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow,E.)
Doig, Peter Lee, John (Reading) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Driberg, Tom Lestor, Miss Joan Roebuck, Roy
Dunn, James A. Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Rose, Paul
Dunnett, Jack Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Lomas, Kenneth Ryan, John
Eadie, Alex Loughlin, Charles Shaw, Arnold (llford, S.)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Luard, Evan Sheldon, Robert
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lubbock, Eric Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Ellis, John Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
English, Michael McBride, Neil Short, Rt. Hn. Eclward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Ennals, David MacColl, James Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Ensor, David MacDermot, Niall Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) Macdonald, A. H. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Paulds, Andrew McGuire, Michael Slater, Joseph
Fernyhough, L. McKay, Mrs. Margaret Small, William
Snow, Julian Urwin, T. W. Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Spriggs, Leslie Varley, Eric G. Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Steel, David (Roxburgh) Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley) Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Storehouse, John Walden, Brian (All Saints) Winnick, David
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Wallace, George Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Swain, Thomas Watkins, David (Consett) Woof, Robert
Swingler, Stephen Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor) Wyatt, Woodrow
Symonds, J. B. Weitjman, David Yates, Victor
Taverne, Dick Wellbeloved, James
Thornton, Ernest Whitaker, Ben TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy Whitlock, William Mr. John McCann and Mr. Ernest G. Perry.
Tinn, James Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Tomney, Frank Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
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