§ Lords Amendment No. 3: In page 4, line 42, leave out paragraph (b).
§ Read a Second time.
§ Mr. Marsh
We are here concerned with an argument about which hon. Members on both sides of the House feel very 423 strongly. The Amendment is intended to delete from the Bill the provision for setting up a freightliner company and the transfer of 51 per cent. of its securities. together with the British Railways Board's holding in Tartan Arrow, to the National Freight Corporation.
The objections can be summarised under two heads. It is said that the Railways Board is being treated unfairly, and that there are severe implications for morale. The second objection, which was put very strongly in another place by Lord Beeching, among others, is that it is fundamentally wrong to divide production and marketing between two different bodies.
I do not think that the first objection would stand up. It can hardly be claimed, whatever else is said about the Government or the Bill, that either is based on an anti-railway concept. I know that the people in the industry feel very strongly and emotionally involved in it. One of the main themes of the Bill is the recognition all the way through of the need to give the railways a new start by relieving them of the unfair burdens which history has tended to place on the industry. That is why compensation for social obligations is provided for, and why there is a more sensible capital structure for the industry.
On the freight side, we are in the process of taking away one of the biggest headaches of railway management, the sundries operations, which have probably been the industry's most difficult sector, and one of its biggest loss-makers, for many years. They are being transferred to the Freight Corporation, not to please the railways—though I am sure that this is an activity the railways would not be unhappy to lose—but because in our view these operations can best be handled as a road and rail operation integrated under the Corporation.
The same argument applies to the transfer of the freightliners. This is not done to upset British Railways. That would be an absurd suggestion, but one can understand the feeling in some parts of the House on this subject. What we are trying to achieve is an integrated freight transport organisation, and that means that we must transfer some activities from one industry to the new Corporation. I can understand the strong 424 feelings about the issue, because the British Railways Board deserves the highest praise for pioneering the imaginative freightliner concept, which was not only produced but highly successfully developed by it.
We accept that rail haulage is an important part of the service, but it is not the total service. It is in recognition of the important part that the railway service will play in this new arrangement that the Board will have a 49 per cent. stake in the freightliner company. It will have members on the board, and it will have a share of the undoubted profits which will accrue from this imaginative new organisation.
I think that Lord Beeching's organisational argument is probably the more substantial one, and I shall deal with this at some length. Unlike Lord Beeching, I regard the separation of the production and marketing of the freightliner service as essential if the service is to be as efficient as we all want it to be. The railways have an incredibly complex job. They have the task of developing a network in response to modem needs in an industry where technology is changing rapidly, and they have to face changes in their financial structure.
Of course, the freightliner system will be much more than just a part of the railway system. Indeed, I think it would probably be to its disadvantage if it became just a part of a very large organisation with complex problems. The freightliner system is a hybrid, relying to a very large extent on efficient collection and delivery by road, and it is this combination together which makes it essential that the new body should have knowledge and understanding of and involvement with road haulage as such. The whole concept of the freightliner company, which has been combined to take maximum advantage of railway facilities to transfer freight over long distances at high speeds and at low costs with retailing of those services, is of a very different task from the normal work which is done by the British Railways Board, and in our view for this task the National Freight Corporation is much better suited, partly because the freightliner road services will be themselves users of the services. In an earlier debate, which I do 425 not want to start all over again, there was strong pressure that the various services should be combined together.
The Freight Corporation will inherit from the Transport Holding Company very wide experience of the methods and the flexibility of the road haulage industry. It does not seem that there is anything particularly unnatural in the separation of the two basic functions of production and selling. They require different skills; they require different contacts, which hon. Members opposite know are a very important part of any business; and, of course, they require a different outlook. There are very many other spheres in which businesses do not retail the goods or services they produce, but in which they specialise in mass producing goods or services which will in turn be part of goods or services for others to retail. This is fairly common practice in industry generally.
The railways have always concentrated their attention, quite rightly, on providing tailor-made facilities for large industrial concerns, and the freightliner service is already linked to private hauliers who bring traffic to the freightliners, exactly as the National Freight Corporation will do.
I think it is important not to fall into the trap of believing that the National Freight Corporation is intended to be simply a continuation of the Transport Holding Company shorn of its bus subsidiary but with the addition of railway sundries. If this were all it were to be, there would not be very much to be said for it on the concept of an integrated freight organisation. The freightliner services are an essential part of that body if such a body is to exist. If this were not so, we would have virtually the Transport Holding Company which had just sundries in exchange for having lost its buses.
For these reasons I think there is a very strong case indeed for the transfer to take place. I recognise that men who have been very much involved in the development of a highly successful section of the railway industry will see it pass over to a company—in which they have a sizeable holding—with some regret; but I think that if we are to have a National Freight Corporation, and once that decision is taken, then, for the reasons which I have detailed, as its very basis is to integrate the operations of both 426 road and rail and handling of freight, to have a freight corporation which did not have this highly crucial part of the freight movement business would reduce it to such a state that one would wonder if there was any real purpose in having the Corporation at all. [Interruption.] I know the hon. Gentleman does not agree. There are many things, I regret to say, on which he takes a mistaken and wrong-minded view. Leaving aside his objections, I would say that, now that we have agreed to have a National Freight Corporation, I think it is essential that it should have as one of its major operations this very large, highly successful, crucial sector of freight movement.
Mr. Edward M. Taylor
There will be bitter disappointment throughout the railways that the Minister has proceeded with his inflexible, ideological approach to this question. It is a very important matter affecting the future morale and efficiency of the railways, and I think it is tragic that the Government should have taken this course. They have had a long hot summer to think over this matter and I forecast that there will be a winter of discontent on the railways when the implications of this decision are realised. The freightliner service has a great future. I think it is clear to all informed opinion that the Government's present plans will be a savage blow to the morale and efficiency of the railways.
Everyone who takes an interest in the railways is aware that the freightliner service is the brightest jewel in their crown. It has had dynamic growth and is a terrific success, started off, built up, and exploited by the railways themselves, and it is surely criminal folly, at a time when we are trying to build up the railways, that the Government are going ahead with this decision. Look at the growth since the service was inaugurated in November, 1965. The freightliner network has expanded to 20 terminals, four container ports, and 45 routes with services to Ireland and to Europe. The plans at present are, if the Government's cuts, which they so often put on the railway industry, are not carried out, to carry this progress forward to 25 terminals, five container ports and 80 routes by 1970.
The railways are so proud of their achievements—their very real achievements—that they constantly publish documents of one sort and another to 427 show how well they are doing. In my mail this morning I had one such document entitled, "Freightliner: New Transport System for the Haulage Industry". This shows what wonderful progress has been made. Hon. Members on both sides, and particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) after his splendid speech on postal problems, will be interested to know that on the third page of the document there is stated a grim warning. To show how serious the warning is, there is a very large red circle, and inside that circle it is stated:The freightliner is faster than the post so make sure you give your customer ample warning that you sent freight by freightliner.When this was drawn up, this was a very real boast but I am sure that developments in the postal services make an enormous contribution to show how the freightliners are faster than the postal services. The point is that real progress has been made.
Did the Minister give us any real reason for his decision? The White Paper on the transport of freight stated that the basic objective of Government policy must be to improve the efficiency of the whole transport system and that nowhere was this more urgent than in the field of freight. Can the Minister give us any explanation how those objectives will be achieved by transferring the freightliners to the N.F.C. and depriving British Railways of the right to sell services and to develop the large market?
It is generally recognised by all informed opinion that it is wrong to split the two basic functions, the production of services and the selling of services, because the two are complementary. That is not just my opinion. Far from it. The whole weight of opinion in the railway industry—among the unions, the men, the Board—is that this is a stupid action, to separate the production of services and the selling of services.
To give a few examples of that opinion, Lord Beeching in another place on 11th June said thatit is an organisational absurdity to bring about deliberately a situation in which the two classes, production and selling, are split between two large separately accountable Corporations."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 11th June, 1968; Vol. 293, c. 89.]428 Lord Beeching certainly knows more about the railways than most of us in this House. He does not say that this was wrong; he does not criticise it mildly: he says it was an organisational absurdity.
Then we had Sir Stanley Raymond, who was in charge of British Railways, and who wrote a savage article in the Sunday Times, describing the decision as a foolish step, and there was Lord Robertson, who also at one time was in charge of the railways, and also condemned this proposal, and very much so, in the other House. So it would seem that all informed opinion which has been at the top of British Railways has condemned this.
Where does the Minister give us any contrary opinions? He quoted not one. There are within the confines of this House and the other place many hon. Members and noble Lords who have had much experience of railway work. The noble Lord, Lord Popplewell, in another place said:…to make this freightliner service successful and to keep it the success that it is I think, deeply and sincerely, that it should definitely be under the control of one authority I believe that the marketing and selling of goods should be an integral policy in this Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords. 24th June, 1968; Vol. 293, c. 1145.]Here we have informed opinion in another place saying precisely the same. In this House the same view has been put forward by railwaymen with knowledge and experience. I am delighted that the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. John Hynd) has just come in; it enables me to quote a reference from the splendid speech which he made on Report. He said:Much has been said about the railwaymen, but in my experience—I know this is true of the major railwaymen's union—railwaymen are not in favour of dividing the freightliner service from the railway service."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th May, 1968; Vol. 765, c. 1359.]The former head of British Railways, hon. Members and noble Lords in the other place, people with experience, have all said that this is a foolish step, and a step which will deal a blow to the railways.
§ Mr. Manuel
Would the hon. Gentleman take it from me that what the rank 429 and file railwaymen, especially the locomotive staff, are concerned about is the growing volume of traffic coming on to the railways? The more successful freightliners are, the more work they will have and so further redundancies will be a voided.
The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) says that the railwaymen are shortsighted and looking only to the work and to their wages at the end of the week. Far from it. My experience has been more in line with that of the hon. Member for Attercliffe, that the railwaymen are largely concerned with the future of the industry; they want it to grow, they want it to be efficient and they want the Board to exploit the developments which they have achieved. The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire is very much out of touch with the feeling of railwaymen in this country. The hon. Member for Attercliffe is more in touch with the feeling of the railwaymen than is the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire. Here we have the situation of a man who knows a great deal about the railways, and who is in contact with the railways, supporting the Government in something which is universally condemned by those who have the real interests of the industry at heart. Let us discount, as many of us do, what the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire has said in these debates.
Who is in support of the move? Is the Railways Board in support of it? Are former Chairmen of British Railways in support of it? Are the trade unions in support of it? Are the users in support of it? No single body or person is in support of it. The Minister cannot even scrape the barrel and find a "little Neddy" to support it. It seems that only the gnomes of St. Christopher House and the Luddites of the Labour Party led by the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire support it. The Government's decision is wrong, it will make a mark on the railways and inflict damage.
Sound arguments should have been put forward by the Government which we could deal with, answer and, if we could, parry, but what arguments have been put forward by the Minister today? We have had only the same arguments 430 which he advanced on Report and which he put in one sentence:…because of all the evidence of the interaction of the service in relation to transport."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th May, 1968; Vol. 765, c. 1360.]He said this again today. I did not know what it meant on 27th May and I still do not know.
One serious argument was put forward by the hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. Ronald Atkins), and by Lord Winterbottom in another place, as to whether the railways were able to exploit this wonderful new system. Lord Winterbottom expressed his doubt when he said:The Railways Board will concentrate on what it can do best, which is the wholesale activity of providing bulk transport by the train load; and the Freight Corporation will be the retailer."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 24th June, 1968; Vol. 293, c. 1142.]He was expressing serious doubt as to whether the Railways Board had the men, the ability and the knowledge to exploit this system.
The hon. Member for Preston, North said:Of course, the Railways Board has shown success in the operation of the freightliners, but so far the system has barely been tapped."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th May, 1968; Vol. 765, c. 1358.]Members on this side took exception to that because they felt, as some people have felt, that these words could be taken as a vote of no confidence in the railway management's ability to exploit this particular market. We on this side do not share this view. We feel that the railways are more than able to exploit this splendid asset.
§ Mr. Marsh
In all fairness, I think the hon. Member should not put into the mouths of other persons in other parts of the House sentiments which they do not have and which he knows full well they do not have. The spokesman in the other place was saying what I have said here, that these are two different jobs. This does not decry the capability of the British Railways Board and the capabilities and capacity of its staff. All we are saying—the hon. Gentleman may agree or disagree—is that there are two different jobs here and it is sensible to separate them. At no time has anyone 431 cast a reflection on British Railways Board; they have done a splendid job
If hon. Members mention statements of opinion it is usual to quote them, and in each case I have quoted them. I have made a point of not expressing my opinions but of simply reading what was said in another place, in this House, and by people who have previously served in British Railways.
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
The hon. Member has suggested that my speech was in the words in which he paraphrased it. It certainly was not. I challenge him to find anything in that speech which suggests that a difference of opinion as to the best formation for this organisation is a denunciation of the efficiency of the Railways Board.
I have the OFFICIAL REPORT in front of me for that day. Would the hon. Gentleman explain what he meant by saying:When I hear my hon. Friends saying that the railway administration is not capable of selling the freightliners, I ask them to reconcile that with the record of the railways in achieving this success."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th May, 1968, Vol. 765, c. 1359.]These were the words he used, and he was disagreeing with his hon. Friends. Certainly, we on this side do not share that view. We have full confidence in the ability of British Railways to exploit this themselves, and we think that it is a scandal that something which they have built up so well should be transferred.
What are the dangers of the move, apart from those that I have mentioned? It will be another reorganisation, and this Government are obsessed with reorganisation and integration. I know the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley) will share this view, since he has mentioned this often in the splendid speeches he has made about the railways in this House. The Government are always setting up commissions, councils, boards and study groups for the purpose of achieving more integration, more reorganisation, and, of course, more committees. The railways are getting fed up to the teeth with the amount of reorganisation, the transferring of responsibility and so on. At least when we were in power we gave the railways a 432 once-for-all opportunity to get going and to solve their problems.
We know the kind of railways that the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire wants. He wants them to go ahead and shuffle along in a subsidised dehumanised way. We believe in giving the railways an inducement to go ahead and to become a progressive organisation. Will the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire explain—I know the investment allocation for the railways has been cut savagely on many occasions—how he can justify the delays in electrification that have taken place? If he really had the interests of the railways at heart, he would try to do some good for them, as this party did, by giving them money to invest in progressive items and so provide the railways with a dynamic future rather than letting them shuffle on with more and more subsidies providing a poorer and increasingly inefficient service.
Here we have yet another reorganisation and, bearing in mind the low morale in parts of the railways as a result of successive reorganisations, I suggest that any new reorganisation should be justified fully. The present proposal is one which has not been justified at all.
Another danger which I and my hon. Friends who are friends of the railways see is, whether the Minister likes it or not, that the National Freight Corporation will be a road-dominated service. In terms of profitability, mileage and capital investment, because of its origin and the way that it is constructed, the National Freight Corporation will be a road-dominated service. I can see no value or merit in transferring what is the brightest jewel in the crown of the railways to an organisation which inevitably will be a road-dominated one.
Quite apart from that, those of us who are friends of the railways—always excluding the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire—are conscious of the fact that top management in the railways is a problem. Because of the policies of this Government and the real problems that the railways have faced, it has been difficult to persuade bright young men that there is a dynamic future in the railways. As a result, it has been difficult to attract the best management into the 433 industry. With the freightliner service, the railways had one real growth point, and there they succeeded in attracting some of the best brains and skills to the industry.
Certainly my hon. Friend the Member for Truro (Mr. Geoffrey Wilson) and I were glad to have a tour of British Railways and to meet some of the men engaged in the freightliner service. We were most impressed by the calibre of the management and the job being done. If the service is to be taken away from the railways, we shall deprive them of this management skill, because it will no longer be available to the railways as such. These top men will be employed by the Freight Liner Company, which will be a separate entity. Thus there is a real danger of diverting from the railways the skilled top management which has been carefully attracted and nurtured.
Perhaps the most important point, however, is morale. Despite the intense loyalty of the men on the railways, it has not been easy to keep morale high when, necessarily, there have been line closures, reductions of service and so on. It is very difficult to keep morale high in an organisation which necessarily must be contracting. In those circumstances, how foolish it is for the Government to take away from a contracting service one of the very real growth points. It has experienced a dynamic growth recently, and it has far greater growth to come in the future. There could not be a worse decision for the morale of the railways. Even if we discount all the factors of organisation and the other arguments advanced so powerfully by my hon. Friends, surely the morale of the railways should weigh heavily in the Government's minds.
Investment is another factor. So long as the freightliner service is part of British Railways, they have a better chance of getting new investment. The railways management is very conscious of the great potential of the freightliners. Despite all the Government's silly words about being friends of the railways, they have a scandalous and shameful record in railway investment. They have starved the railways of investment. The figures have gone down, despite the reduction in the value of money. We all remember that great exercise in the wastepaper campaign, the National Plan. That laid down 434 specifically that £135 million a year was needed as a minimum for railway investment up to the 1970s. As a result, for 1966 it was down to £120 million. In 1967, it came down to £104 million. In the last squeeze, the Government lopped another £5 million from the 1968 allocation, and another £11 million from the 1969 allocation.
The future of the railways depends on getting investment in the growing parts of them. The Government have dealt a great blow to morale and the future efficiency of the railways by bringing forward this proposal.
We have put forward similar arguments before in this House, in Committee and in the other place. Sometimes we have had fiery arguments. At other times we have discovered real and important issues of significance and importance to one of our greatest industries. We on this side of the House are convinced that this proposal is a major blunder which will reduce morale in the railways and serve no useful purpose. We know that many hon. Members opposite share our view. We know that the chairman and former chairman of British Railways, the Railways Board and the National Union of Railwaymen do. All those interested in fighting for the future of the railways share it. In those circumstances, I would appeal to the Government to think again. They are making a major mistake, and it is one which will be opposed by us all the way.
§ Mr. Tom Bradley (Leicester, North-East)
I am second to none in my general support for the Transport Bill, but I have never disguised my unhappiness about certain aspects of it. Therefore, I take this opportunity to express my serious misgivings about the Government's intentions in respect of the Freightliner Division of British Railways, but I hope that I shall not become involved in the emotional and florid language that we have heard from the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor), although his unsolicited tribute to me has rather preempted the force of what I have to say.
I gained the impression from what my right hon. Friend said today that the only reason why the Government had created this Freightliner Company and were placing it under the control of the 435 National Freight Corporation was because if they did not the National Freight Corporation would be rather under-weighted—
§ Mr. Marsh
Then let me hasten to correct that impression. I did not say that, having got the National Freight Corporation, it would be a good idea to give it something to do, but that the basic concept of this part of the Bill rests on the integration of a freight system and that, without the freightliners, the National Freight Corporation could not do the job that it was set up to do. If one believes in the system which lies behind the National Freight Corporation, this transfer has to go through. The intention is not to give it a job. It is crucial to the whole concept.
§ Mr. Bradley
Well, we could all argue about that. However, I am glad that my right hon. Friend has cleared up that misunderstanding. But, whatever gloss may be put upon it, the fact remains that part of the responsibility for the freightliners is being removed. This concept of a divided responsibility is bad commercial practice, and there seems to be very little doubt about that among the authorities competent to pass judgment on it. It has been condemned particularly by Sir Stanley Raymond and Lord Beeching.
I cannot think of any other commercial organisation where the production and selling sides of the business are under different bosses. No one is suggesting that British Railways should provide their inter-city passenger services while another organisation sells them, and it seems equally illogical to extend that kind of principle to the freight side.
I can envisage a great number of practical difficulties which are not in the interests of promoting efficiency on the railways. British Railways, for many years, have spent a lot of time and a good deal of public money in building up sales and marketing organisations. The future of those organisations is now in peril. We are all a little vague about 436 the future form of those organisations and how they will survive under the National Freight Corporation.
There is the question of the occupation of the permanent way. This is not an easy matter to determine. It has to be properly planned and diagrammed in advance. The railways are not in a position to suddenly take on loads of traffic which is brought to them from other organisations without proper warning or effective planning. There has to be careful dovetailing of commercial and operating practices. That is why it is fundamentally wrong to divide the responsibility in the manner being suggested.
Serious differences of opinion might arise on the board of the new Freightliner Company. What is convenient for the railways may not always be ideal from the National Freight Corporation's point of view. In theory we all know that both British Railways and the National Freight Corporation will have an interest in the success of the Freightliner Company, but this interest may well be diluted because British Railways are no longer able to influence directly the amount of traffic that it is to carry. The National Freight Corporation will be only too well aware that only 50 per cent. of the profits will accrue to it when it is seeking to disperse such traffic as it may attract. The temptation will rest with it, despite what is said in Clause 1, to send traffic by road and secure an undivided profit.
Will the railways in future seek to encourage customers to send goods on their existing wagon load arrangements, which I understand are to be left to them, although again the situation for the future is a little vague, rather than by the freightliner process? In other words, are they to keep as much full load traffic within their overall control as is possible? I can see a division of opinion even within the railways' own domestic field of operation.
Will the National Freight Corporation representatives on the Freightliner Company show enthusiasim to invest new money in rail liner development when one of the concerns affected will almost most certainly be the long distance haulage section of the National Freight Corporation?
437 It makes it even more imperative for the Minister to appoint to the National Freight Corporation and the Freightliner Company people who have a proper approach to co-ordination and public ownership if we are to achieve the basic objectives laid down in the Bill.
Finally, I should like to mention a point which is worrying many of us. There are a great many railwaymen—I say this with due respect to my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel)—who are—
§ Mr. Bradley
Really! There are a great many railwaymen who are very unhappy at the prospect of transferring not just to a nominal employer, but to a new employer, involving, as it does—and we on the trade union side have been though this process many times since the war—serious disruption in a man's promotional opportunities, seniority and other entitlements which flow from his present occupation. Therefore, we are not happy about the prospect, on January 1st, of transferring to an entirely new employer unless we are to have certain safeguards. That is why, in recent weeks, there have been very delicate, tense discussions on securing for existing railway personnel who pass over to the new National Freight Corporation the facility of an option to return to railway employment should they so desire.
If this is carried to its extreme, from where will the staff to man the new Freightliner Company and, for that matter, the whole gamut of the operations of the National Freight Corporation be recruited? I would remind my right hon. Friend that many new freightliner depots remain to be built. It will be interesting to see from where they will recruit staff if existing railwaymen desire to return to their former employer, the Railways Board. It will mean that the Freightliner Company—indeed the National Freight Corporation itself—can only recruit off the streets or from existing railway personnel. Whether some of my hon. Friends like it or not, the fact remains that existing railway personnel are not happy about being compelled to change the name of their employer and all that it involves at pre- 438 sent. Therefore, we could have serious difficulty in future concerning labour relations.
§ Mr. Marsh
I am sure that my hon. Friend does not intend to overstate his case too extremely. I recognise my hon. Friend's problems, but is he really suggesting that men who are employed in a particular job in particular surroundings will in many cases find themselves in grave difficulties because the name has changed? This is a problem which has been faced before.
§ Mr. Bradley
It goes much deeper than that. Promotional prospects on the railways depend not only on suitability, but on seniority. If railway personnel suddenly find themselves drawn together with British Road Services personnel in the new organisation, their seniority rights, as well as their suitability, become seriously disturbed regarding future opportunities. I ask my right hon. Friend to believe me when I say that there is a deep human problem here.
Until recently the Railways Board was rather unhelpful about giving the facility of an option to return to its employment to personnel going over to the National Freight Corporation. That option has now been secured, but only for a limited period of time. If everyone exercises that option and returns to railway employment, from where will the new organisation recruit its staff? This leads me to my final point.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Bradley
It is a hard choice for me. I think it will probably be fair to the three hon. Members who are seeking to interrupt me if I continued my speech, because I have almost finished.
This leads me to my final point. I have said time and again, not only in this House but in the country, that it would have been better basically to have had an overall transport authority to achieve the kind of co-ordination that we all want. Had British Railways been able to retain wholly what I agree is one of their proudest possessions, they could have gone on planning and developing and exploiting liner trains. It would have been better for the men's morale, for the prestige of the industry and for the managerial prospects of senior management. 439 I felt compelled to make those remarks, because I am genuinely worried about the situation. I can only hope, having expressed those reservations, that time will prove me wrong.
§ Mr. Peyton
I am sure that the whole House will wish to congratulate the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley) on a very remarkable speech, even if we did not agree with everything in it. We all admit the cogency of his argument. His success in moving the Minister from his seat was at least a partial success. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman did not go a bit further and move his right hon. Friend to acceptance of his argument.
I have often thought that it would be very nice if there were some high authoritative tribunal which had the power to arraign politicians and confront them with the consequences of their arrogant and often ignorant intrusions into industry. I am sorry the Minister is going out, because I had hoped that, as the Minister responsible for nationalising the steel industry, he might spare a moment to listen.
I make no exception as to party here, although I think the Conservatives have been less guilty than the Socialists, for obvious reasons. But, concerning the railway industry, I am certain that if the kind of tribunal I have in mind could be composed of successive chairmen of railway companies and those who have presided over the fortunes of the nationalised railways since nationalisation and they had the chance of saying what was the biggest curse with which they had to contend while they held a high and difficult position, they would, one and all, say, "Interference from the Government." Practically no Government in the history of the railways have been able to refrain from casting their quota of spanners into the works. I cannot think of anything more disappointing than for railway men, at any level, to experience this constant interference, backed by a calamitous and colossal ignorance.
Here we have a situation with which we never thought we would be faced, that of a Socialist Government decapitating a nationalised industry, pinching its wallet, and going away with the best things that it has. Just think of the wave of disapproval, the real shriek of pain, 440 which would have been wrung from the party opposite if a Conservative Government had tampered with a really successful venture.
§ Mr. Peter Mahon (Preston, South)
Can we take it from what the hon. Gentleman is saying that he is not in favour of a nationalised industry being decapitated?
§ Mr. Peyton
The hon. Gentleman is terribly clever. I cannot think where his intervention gets him. The best service that I can render the House is to ignore the hon. Gentleman's remarks.
What would the Socialist Party have said if we had meted out this kind of treatment to the railways? What would hon. Gentlemen opposite have said if a Tory Minister had ignored the opinions of such men as Lord Robertson, Lord Beeching, and Sir Stanley Raymond? These men are waved aside. The Minister hardly thinks it necessary to consider their views. The right hon. Gentleman says that he will have to deal with this point because they are against the course of action which he is advocating. He refers to the argument, but he does not go into details. He does nothing to refute the immense weight of opinion which those men must carry. With such an attitude I think that the Minister and his colleagues must stand convicted of the most unpardonable errors.
One thing that one can always say to the right hon. Gentleman is that he is a highly skilled Parliamentarian. One of the achievements of Conservative Opposition during the course of the Steel Nationalisation and Transport Bills was to make the Minister into a skilled Parliamentarian. He had to face Parliament with two quite intolerable propositions and in the course of that he became a skilled Parliamentarian.
The right hon. Gentleman says to the Opposition, "I accept that you do not want a Freight Transport Corporation, but you have got one and you must give is something to do". The hon. Member for Leicester, North-East was right in his interpretation of what the Minister said. Everybody in the House understood what the Minister said, but he rose and put a slightly different gloss on his statement. I thought that the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West went a little far in charity when he thanked 441 the Minister for removing the misunderstanding. I thought that of all the courteous remarks that I have heard recently the hon. Gentleman's remark was a champion. I am not sure how far he meant it to be taken seriously. The Minister has made it clear that we have set up a Freight Corporation and we must therefore give it something to do. What a rotten and miserable argument.
I welcome the Minister's return to the Chamber. I have been discussing the point made by the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West, which he said was disturbing him. He was referring to the Minister's statement, "You have a great corporation. You must give it something to do". Apart from the Minister and his colleagues on the Front Bench, everybody in the House had no doubt what the Minister meant, and certainly we on this side of the House, to a man, support the view expressed by the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West.
I find this mutilation of the Railways Board in this way, simply to suit yet another arrogant Socialist experiment, quite intolerable. I am sure that my hon. Friend will advise the Opposition to divide against the Minister's insistence on this wretched proposal which has made every railwayman on that side of the House, in his heart at least, if not publicly, ashamed of the Government.
§ Mr. Ronald Atkins (Preston, North)
What I found most remarkable in the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) was the reason given by him for the Minister's taking power from a nationalised industry. He said that the reason was ideological. We have frequently been accused of being ideological because we have sought to extend the powers of nationalised industries. The hon. Gentleman's attitude comes as a bit of a surprise, and I hope it means that the Opposition have seen the error of their ways and will help us in future when we seek to extend the powers of a nationalised industry, for example the manufacturing powers of British Railways.
What I found even more remarkable was that when the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) agreed with me and referred to this inconsistency, the hon. Member for Cathcart said, "Hear, hear."
§ Mr. Atkins
The inconsistencies in the Opposition's argument are quite clear. What I also found remarkable, and even amusing, was the statement that the Government were not investing enough in the railways. Day after day we have been told that the Government are spending too much on the nationalised industries. Where do the Opposition stand on this issue?
Perhaps even more amusing, however, is the Opposition's new rôle of friend of British Railways and railwaymen. This must send a shiver down the backs of railwaymen who, since 1947, have heard the Opposition denigrate and malign British Railways on every possible occasion. The Opposition have suddenly found confidence in British Railways.
No one is a greater friend of British Railways than I am. I am a former employee, and have an almost over-sentimental attachment to the railways. When I was on the railways I realised that if there was a weakness it was in sales promotion, and I think that the Minister put up an arguable case for his proposition. The chief reason for what is happening lies in the origins of British Railways as a monopoly transport authority. They were unduly protected as a monopoly during the nineteenth century, and they had obligations as well, but this position in transport persisted well into the twentieth century, and was in evidence even in the 1940s. If powers in connection with freight transport were not transferred to the new Corporation, it would be necessary to set up a separate sales organisation in British Railways anyway. We need a new structure, and if we are to have one, surely it is right that it should be a structure which integrates all forms of transport? That, I think, is what the Minister is trying to do. He has been much maligned.
§ Mr. Atkins
This new-found friendship of the Opposition for the railways is due to the fact that their malice against my right hon. Friend is greater than their malice against British Railways.
§ Mr. Atkins
I withdraw that remark, Mr. Speaker.
443 I am not saying that I have no doubts about this change; I had doubts originally, partly because I am a railwayman and it was not easy for me to come to the conclusion that what we are now suggesting was probably the best way. I am not saying that I am without doubt even now, because—like other human beings—I am worried about change and its consequences. But I am not congenitally opposed to change, as is the case with hon. Members opposite. That is part of their trouble.
One safeguard about the new Corporation is the fact that the railways themselves have a large proportion of the holding. I am fairly confident that the new body is the kind of body that we need to increase freight traffic generally. I hope that the anxiety of the Opposition to be the friends of British Rail will be demonstrated in the future at Question Time by their praising the achievements of British Rail instead of their seeking every opportunity to denigrate it. After much consideration I have come to the conclusion that the Government are doing the right thing.
§ Mr. Peter Bessell (Bodmin)
We have heard the most devastating indictment of the Government this afternoon from the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley), who put to the House the best possible argument why the case presented by the Minister should be rejected. It would be wrong for us to go over the arguments which we ventilated at considerable length in Standing Committee on the issue of the freightliner service and the transfer of the control of that service from British Rail. That is the purpose of the Amendment.
I regret that in asking us to reject the conclusions reached in another place the Minister was not able to muster any new argument in support of his case. I do not mean this disrespectfully, but his arguments today did not seem nearly as strong as those put to the Standing Committee by his predecessor, who at least made a cogent case for a coordinated service. Today the Minister admitted that the one argument which appeared to have impressed him was the argument advanced in another place by the noble Lord, Lord Beeching. I find 444 it difficult to be in agreement with the noble Lord, because in terms of British Railways and my constituency I regard him as a butcher. But in this matter he was right. The Minister admitted that the organisational difficulties referred to by the noble Lord have real substance. It is a pity that this argument did not weigh with the Minister even if the other arguments, such as those advanced by the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East, could not be accepted by him.
The Minister said that the freightliner service was a hybrid—partly rail and partly road. He said that it is necessary for the freightliner service to be served by road services. But this is true of every aspect of rail freight transportation. Nobody takes a grand piano by hand, or on a bicycle or in a wheelcart, to the station to have it transported by rail: it has to be conveyed, from the place of manufacture or the place from which it is to be transported, by road, to the station. There is nothing unique about this.
I admit that the freightliner service involves special containers, and that these containers are themselves carried by road in rather different circumstances, but the basic principle is the same. That is no argument for suggesting that because it has a road-rail composition it is right to remove this service to the National Freight Corporation.
The prospect of British Rail losing control of the freightliner service is one which we have been assured by everyone is greeted with dismay by the experts. I am sure that it is greeted with dismay by the railwaymen—certainly those with whom I have discussed it in my constituency, as I did during the proceedings in Standing Committee—who regard it as a retrograde step. It is not right that the railways, which can genuinely boast in this case that they have provided one of the most efficient forms of transport that this country has developed since the war, should be robbed not merely of the control of that service but of the benefit of a large proportion of the profits which will derive from it. How often does a Minister—be he a Labour Minister or a Conservative Minister—have to justify the assistance which has to be given to the railways?
445 Yet here, at the very time when, through this Bill, we are placing a responsibility on the railways to pay their way; when, through this Bill, we are demanding that the subsidy be reduced; when, through the Bill, the railways will be instructed to make economies which will enable them to produce, if not profit at least, eventually, a situation when they are no longer in the red, we are axeing part of their profits and the best potential they have in the entire network for making money. This is absurd, and it stands upon its head every argument advanced by the Government that the Bill is intended to assist the railways. if it is intended to assist the railways why allow this absurd transfer to take place?
I was flattered when the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) said that the freightliner service is "the brightest jewel in the crown of British Rail". I used that term. This is one aspect of British Rail in which railwaymen can feel a sense of pride. Railways are criticised. People complain that we are subsidising them too much. People complain about the services. But any railwayman can now say, "Look at the freightliner service. Here is something which cannot even meet the demand that is being made upon it by the public." There are freightliner depots—for instance, the one in Glasgow—where the demand exceeds the capacity, and British Rail has to do everything in its power to build up the service and increase the capacity to meet that demand.
Here is a positive achievement—something to which the railways and railwaymen at every level of employment can point with justified pride. Yet at this moment the Government choose to clobber it. They do not choose to clobber it in respect of a service which is not making a profit, or in respect of unprofitable lines; they choose to take from British Rail the profit and control of a service which can be effectively controlled only by railwaymen themselves. Apart from the utter absence of logic in this decision, the thing that distresses me more than anything else is the fact that when a service which has encountered incredible difficulty—difficulty caused not by its own mismanagement but largely by circumstances beyond its control, namely, the inevitable shift from rail to 446 road of many forms of transport, passenger and freight alike, as the result of the development of the internal combustion engine and other things—at last comes up with a winner, that winner is subjected to this treatment.
I am certain that, on the grounds of the efficiency and morale of the railwaymen and a better transport service and every other argument, the Government are making a serious error. I hope that, even at this late moment, the Minister, who always approaches these matters objectively and genuinely seeks to serve the interests of the industries under Government control, will admit that the changes suggested in another place and by those of us on this side in Standing Committee, and which must be supported by many hon. Members opposite who have been associated for so long with the railways, should prevail, and that, in this Amendment at least, the House should agree with the Lords.
§ Mr. Manuel
I had not intended to intervene in this debate, but certain things which have been said must be answered—[Laughter.] Does the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) wish to interrupt?
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
If the hon. Gentleman is giving me the floor, I would like to ask how long he has taken on the responsibility of answering for the Treasury Bench. They are perfectly capable of answering points made from either side of the House. It is not for the hon. Member, who has shown such bigotry in his treatment of his hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley) to say that he will answer.
§ Mr. Manuel
I gave way because I thought that the hon. Gentleman wanted to question something that I had said. When I said that certain things had to be answered, I did not mean to answer for a Minister but only as regards my own knowledge of the railways and my beliefs. An hon. Member said that our policy over the freightliner service would mean a mutilation of the railways. This is linked with what the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell) said, that roads had to be used anyway, since the containers are taken into the freightliner 447 depots. I agree with his example of a piano. I do not carry one in my bag at any time, far less into a railway depot.
But that is only a proportion of rail traffic. The same applies to what my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley) said about single wagon loads. Many kinds of goods are affected. For instance, coal does not go by road on to railways: the transport goes right into the pit and under the hoppers. If my hon. Friend was saying that road services would destroy that single wagon load, which is getting results and making way for coupled trains with vacuum braking throughout—
§ Mr. Bradley rose—
§ Mr. Manuel
No, my hon. Friend would not give way to we when I asked him to and I will not give way to him.
My hon. Friend also has nervous fears about certain sections of railway workers which he need not have—
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
On a point of order. Is it not a strong convention of the House that when an hon. Member has criticised another hon. Member he should give that hon. Member a chance to intervene to rectify the position?
§ Mr. Speaker
I am grateful to the hon. Member for his advice to another hon. Member. It is a matter, however, for the hon. Member who has the floor to decide.
§ Mr. Manuel
I would point out to the hon. Member for Peterborough, who knows so little about the Bill, that the circumstances were the same when I was trying to intervene in my hon. Friend's speech: he was referring to me. Therefore, I am just paying him out in his own coin—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) had better keep out of this.
My hon. Friend was over nervous, because what we are dealing with here is a rapidly expanding arm of British Railways, the freightliner service, which will go on expanding. As to the staff employed having fears of redundancy and seniority difficulties, this is not the case. No one knows more about seniority clauses affecting locomen in this country than I do. I admit that a tar bigger 448 quota of these clauses deal with staff with whom my hon. Friend is familiar, but he is still over-nervous. Whether there is an expansion of the number of vehicles carried by freightliner trains or of the number which enter depots with containers, this will lead to promotion. Seniority clauses need not be claimed to retain certain postions, and the same applies to pensions.
I ask my hon. Friend to show some faith. Those who talk loosely of this being left to railwaymen—the hon. Member for Bodmin, for instance—should realise that it will be. The same fellows will be doing the job, with the same desire to help railways, and of greater volume of traffic will be going on unused lines. More freightliner depots will be built. This itself is the insurance against my hon. Friend's fears.
After all, something which is to be mutilated is not helped and sustained by being given half the securities. In this set-up, 51 per cent. of the securities will be transferred to the Freightliner Company and 49 per cent. left with the Railways Board. Therefore, the more profitable the freightliner service is, the better it will be for the railways and the greater security will be enjoyed by the employees.
I am certain that these numbers which my hon. Friend is nervous about will find their positions more secure and their wages and conditions better than in the old bad days of Beechingism and the Tory hacking about with British Railways which have now departed forever. We are now striding into an era of greater development for the railways and greater security for its workers.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
I do not know how much satisfaction it has given the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley) to have the assurances of the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel), but I would suggest to the latter that he should read the Bill before giving such categorical answers as he has given. For example, would he say that, with the Bill as it stands and under the new authority, if that were transferred, these railwaymen would get the concessionary vouchers for travel which they get now? I think he will find that before he gives this blanket approval affecting these employees he had better read the Bill.
449 I urge the Minister to treat with great respect and seriousness the point of the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East abut morale. There is no doubt that they are worried about the future and that they are left in a very disturbed frame of mind which cannot be good for the railways.
I represent Peterborough, one of the old-established railway centres, and I tell the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire that there is not the same bigotry or antipathy between the locomotive men and the clerks as he suggests. I do not know why in his speech he suggested that the only men who are railwaymen are, in fact, locomotive men. The whole of the service must work together if we are to succeed. I advise him as a friend not to bring that sort of bigotry into debates in the House.
The Minister showed himself to be badly informed on the question. From his answer he seemed to suggest that the feeling so well described by his hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East did not, in fact, exist. I add my words to those of his hon. Friend and ask the Minister to pay some attention to this problem. If he intends to use the Whip to defeat the Lords Amendment, he will have the power of the vote to do so, but he would be spending his time wisely if he went to some trouble to deal with the fears expressed by his hon. Friend, who is one of the most experienced railway negotiators in the House, who has played a leading part in railway affairs over many years and who has always shown a sense of responsibility in dealing with matters affecting the unions.
We must have an efficient railway service if we are to meet the transport challenge of the future. It therefore behoves all of us to see that we do not undermine the most important factor making for the success of any business—the morale of those who have to operate it. I advise the Minister to go to some trouble in his reply to give assurances that the chances of promotion of these men, their general status and their freedom of action to enjoy their retirement will not be taken from them by the reorganisation suggested in the Bill. I can well understand him wanting to fob off speeches from this side of the House on the ground that they are partisan or that they are the type 450 of speech which an Opposition is expected to make. But he cannot level such a charge against his hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East. Irrespective of the answer which he gives to my hon. Friends, I hope that he will pay serious attention to the points made by his hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East.
§ Mr. Marsh
The hon. Member has made a point at great length about the disturbance which may be involved. This will be negotiated by the trade unions with the employers. It is not an issue in which the House usually gets itself involved. May I assume that this attitude to disturbance and his objections to it will be the same if the disturbance involved the dislocation of people's lives following the denationalization of nationalised industries?
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
I am making a point which runs beyond any ideological theories—that if we have industries which must be maintained for the good of the nation, it behoves anybody interfering with the structure of those industries to look to the morale of the people who have to work in them.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
I shall be brief because the debate has begun to wander far beyond the strict terms of my right hon. Friend's proposal. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not want to be persuaded not to be brief, and if hon. Members desist from interrupting I will make a contribution to the House by being brief.
I was surprised to find that the debate had begun to move away from the issue involved, particularly when the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) talked about this jewel of the Freight Corporation and his concern about the way in which the present proposals would affect British Rail. I was surprised that he did not observe that this jewel was created only recently and certainly not during the years of the Tory Administration.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
The hon. Member also spent considerable time applauding British Railways, but in Standing Committee we spent many hours asking hon. Members opposite to desist from criticising British Railways. What they said 451 upstairs is one thing and what they say in the Chamber is another.
We have here a simple issue: is it right and proper that we should have a Freight Corporation charged with the responsibility of marketing and management? That is basically the issue. To truncate the duties of the Freight Corporation, as the Lords Amendment proposes, without having regard to the real purpose of the Corporation would be foolhardy.
The hon. Member for Cathcart tried to call in support of his case a speech made by Lord Popplewell in another place on 24th June, but he omitted to say—a point which I am trying to make clear—that, as reported in column 1144 of the Official Report of the House of Lords, Lord Popplewell—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member cannot quote his Lordship unless his Lordship was a Minister of the Government explaining Government policy.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
His Lordship in fact indicated that in spite of what he had said—and I do not detract from the point which the hon. Member for Cathcart made—he would not support the Tory Amendment in the Division because he was satisfied that the Tories were not sincere.
That is the situation with the Amendment in this House. The Opposition are concerned not with the Amendment but with the previous debate. They do not want a Freight Corporation. They do not want this set up at all. They talk in terms of lack of efficiency or of cooperation or of co-ordination, but they omit to spell out Clause 1(2)(d) on page 2 of the Bill which makes it clear that the Corporation and the Railways Board are empowered to co-operate. It reads:for the purposes of such co-operation, the Corporation—that is, the Freight Corporation—and the Board—that is, the Railways Board—shall have power to enter into such arrangements with one another with respect to the exercise and performance of their respective functions on such terms as may appear to them to be expedient.452 Discounting the unnecessary and vicious comment made by the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) who, having made his comment, departed from the House, it seems to me that any worries of the Opposition in this respect should have been dissipated long ago, because the conditions in the Bill for co-operation are quite clear and well understood.
It is absurd for hon. Members opposite to rely upon the evidence of Lord Beeching when they refer to the division between selling and production. That was a red herring. Many of us respect the opinion of Lord Beeching, but many of us also accept that, like most human beings, he is a fallible creature and can make errors of judgment like anybody else.
Mr. Edward M. Taylor
Whether Lord Beeching is or is not right, may I ask the hon. Member to name any prominent railwayman, past or present, who supports the Government's proposals?
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
It is not for me to re-structure my speech because the hon. Member produces a questionnaire.
I emphasise that a point made far too often in the House about the morale in the industry has not been substantiated. There are many hon. Members in industrial areas who have not had from railway people, whether in authority or on the workshop floor, the kind of indication of lack of morale which hon. Members opposite have claimed. It is arguable whether in the end it would be better to have British Railways' freight services run in the manner suggested by hon. Members opposite or whether they should be run in the manner suggested by the Government, but even where there is an element of doubt about which is the best way to do it, it is irrefutably clear that management and marketing ought to be together.
§ Mr. Bessell
Does not the hon. Member agree that all the evidence of the success of the Freightliner Service under the control of British Rail indicates that they have succeeded in marketing and, therefore, that the marketing issue does not arise?
§ Mr. Leadbitter
I hope that in argument, to strengthen any point which I 453 make, or any point which any other hon. Member seeks to make, it will not be suggested that the kind of progress mentioned by the hon. Member has not taken place. It is because it has taken place, and because this is shown clearly to be a winner in the transportation of freight, that we see more clearly still the need in such an expanding part of our transport system for the Corporation to have management and marketing in one organisation. If those of us who hold that view are said to be wrong, we should like to hear specific arguments showing that we are wrong, but we have heard none. All that we have heard called in evidence is a quotation or two from Lord Beeching and another gentleman and quotations from an article in The Times. That newspaper is not well known for its accuracy on a large number of subjects.
My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East raised an issue on which there is unity on both sides of the House—the future of people who work in British Railways and who will be affected by the Bill when it becomes an Act. I urge the Minister to ensure that the many men who have spent their lifetime in British Railways and the many young men who have hopes of a future in a progressive industry will, on transfer, not suffer any loss of advantages in terms of pension rights or any other rights.
I hope that the discussions taking place between the Ministry and the representatives of the unions concerned will have, in particular, one goal in mind—that these men shall not suffer loss. I say that in order that outside the House the men may take heart that a long-standing principle in the House will not be diminished in any way—the principle that whenever transfers of this kind take place, the welfare of the men is considered with great care. I hope that hon. Members, be they for or against nationalisation, will not exaggerate the position but will do everything in their power to add to the constructive contribution which the country requires from Parliament to enable our transport services, particularly on the freight side, to be efficient.
§ Mr. Gower
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) was reproached for speaking in too emotional and extravagant terms. Even the hon. Member for 454 Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley) was said by the Minister to have exaggerated some aspects of the matter. The hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. Ronald Atkins) expressed surprise that my hon. Friends were so concerned about the future welfare of British Rail. There is nothing surprising about this, particularly since the recent action of Ministers has been singularly cruel to the railways. On no occasion did a Conservative Minister act so cruelly towards British Rail as recent Socialist Ministers.
§ Mr. Keith Stainton (Sudbury and Woodbridge)
Would my hon. Friend consider the annual loss that will be occasioned as a result of the removal of this part of British Rail's activities?
§ Mr. Gower
I do not want to be drawn into other aspects of British Rail's activities. I am concerned with one of its biggest activities.
In every country rail traffic began to decline after the war. Whatever was done, it seemed inevitable that the industry would contract. There seemed no hope. Gradually hope appeared and something new and dynamic was built up. The part of British Rail's activities which we are considering represents the dynamic part of the railways and it was that part which gave hope to those who were and are engaged in the industry, not just those at administrative and management level but the rank and file. Now the Government are determined to snatch away this one part of the industry which has obvious signs of continued dynamic growth. This is why hon. Members on both sides of the House, their Lordships and all concerned with the industry feel so strongly about this part of the Bill.
The Minister and others have suggested that the sales side of British Rail is weak. My experience has been that it is not weak and that it has been considerably strengthened in recent years. Some splendid and highly qualified people have been recruited by British Rail on the sales side in recent years and, to use a hackneyed phrase, a "better type" now 455 runs this service. University graduates with good qualifications are among the young, energetic men who in many areas are running the sales side of the railways. I have encountered many of them in the western area of British Rail and can vouch for their ability. They would have done equally well in sales promotion outside the railways.
They were persuaded to join British Rail because of the new hope which the traffic which we are considering gave to the railways. If we now take it away, 51 per cent. of the profits from this traffic will be lost and the control of it will pass to a new body. The importance of British Rail will be depreciated once again and the sort of recruitment about which I have been speaking and which is still badly needed will be lost. This is an extraordinarily serious state of affairs and I hope that the Government will, even now, have second thoughts about the matter.
The hon. Member for Leicester, North-East made the valid point that British Rail is capable of selling this part of its service. It has been suggested that it sells itself. In any event, British Rail has shown no weakness in exploiting this valuable part of its activity. Any growth that now takes place in this traffic will result in only half its profitability going to the railways. The road side of its activities will bring in a reward of 100 per cent. and there is obviously the danger that the railways will concentrate on exploiting that side of its activities.
This is the most cruel thing that any Ministry has done to British Rail in recent years. I am not surprised that so many people are revolting against it.
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
I would not have intervened but for some of the remarks of the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) and other hon. Members. I have been slightly nauseated by the constant references to the cruel act which the Government are perpetrating against the railways by removing a profitable service and thereby making matters difficult for the railways. The hon. Member for Barry described this as the cruellest thing that any Government had done to the railways in recent years. He did not say how recent.
456 I recall an organisation known as the British Transport Commission, which was created at a time when the railways were in a most difficult period. Under this co-ordinated National Transport Authority, the railways became part of an integrated transport service, made a profit for the first time in years, and continued to do so until 1951, when the most profitable part of it—the road haulage part—was not just brought into this sort of part co-ordination, with joint management, but was completely broken away by the then Tory Government. That was about the limit in cruelty to the railways, and it had little regard for the future of railwaymen and the efficiency of the nation's transport services.
Much has been said about the overwhelming body of expert opinion which has said that it would have been a better arrangement had the freightliner services been left with the Railways Board, since this service was created by the railways, is being run effectively by them and are selling themselves.
I do not agree with some of the criticisms that have been made about the railways' advertising and salesmanship in recent years. I have had long experience of the railways and I assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that from the time when road transport began to be a serious menace to the railways in 1918 an energetic salesmanship drive has been in operation. British Rail's services have been built up so that today the liner services and other facilities almost sell themselves. Nevertheless, salesmanship is still required and it is effectively undertaken by the railways.
The expert opinion which has been quoted includes people like Lord Popple-well who, like myself, emanates from the N.U.R. Many hon. Members, including some of my hon. Friends who speak for other parts of the industry, including the clerical union, have spoken strongly in favour of the railways retaining the service with which we are concerned. We represent bodies of opinion which for many years have had close knowledge and experience of railway working, and who are, therefore, highly qualified to express an opinion on these matters and I trust that their views will be taken into account by the Government.
457 The railway unions are so concerned with this issue because, with their vast experience, they are convinced that it would be better for the railways and the set-up of the new integrated transport system if the Bill did not propose this course and if the freight services were retained by the railways. They think they are right—although of course they may be wrong, but it is worth remembering that this great body of expert opinion also holds views about the Bill in general. These great unions are unitedly in support of the Bill and have welcomed it.
Hon. Members who have been fluent in their praise of railway union comment on this issue should realise that, whatever views have been expressed about certain parts of the Bill—the N.U.R. also has reservations about other parts of the Bill which are not so particularly controversial; details which the union would have preferred to be dealt with in the Bill somewhat differently—these experts are, above all, concerned to prevent the Bill from being destroyed. It is because they and we know the purpose behind some of the Amendments and speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite that we are aware of their intention, which is the destruction of the Bill and of the concept behind it. That is why, despite our reservations, we intend to see the Bill become law.
Mr. Geoffrey Wilson
I will not comment on the speech of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. John Hynd), who went into the history of the railways. If I did, I might be tempted to repeat all the speeches that I have made on this subject in the House since 1950.
The hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. Leadbitter) said that my hon. Friends did not like the idea of the National Freight Corporation and wanted to do away with it. That is true. However, the Minister said that one could not have the Corporation unless the Corporation had control of the liner services. That was a boomerang of an argument because on the one hand the Minister believes that the Corporation cannot work without controlling the liner trains while, on the other, almost everybody with knowledge of the industry agrees that the liner services should continue to he under the control of British Rail.
458 We have heard very little this evening in favour of these proposals, even from the other side. We have heard many references to Lord Beeching who seems to be elevated into a sort of bogy man. Anyone who looks at the Beeching Report will find that Lord Beeching never proposed to scrap any railways at all. He was asked to produce a pattern of transport to meet modern needs, and at least three times in his Report he said that if uneconomical lines were required by the Government of the day the Government must pay for them—
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but references have been made in this debate to Lord Beeching, and particularly with regard to his criticism of this proposal. I would, however, remind hon. Members opposite who have been speaking about Lord Beeching that he was not alone in his criticism of this proposal. Lord Robertson of Oakridge agreed with him on this point, and so did Sir Stanley Raymond. No hon. Member opposite will accuse Sir Stanley Raymond of being a politician hostile to the principles of nationalisation. He was a railway man of great distinction whose politics were not in that direction at all. Most people who have had experience of the matter are very critical of the organisation proposed under this Clause.
Mention has been made of the railway clerks, the engine men and the station staffs, but no one has mentioned the middle management—the railway officers. I am thinking of the people who used to be in a separate organisation from the other unions, but they have now combined. It is the higher ranks of middle management who are very important to the management of the railways. We can have a perfectly good station staff and a perfectly good general manager, but if the seconds-in-command are despondent the thing will not work.
Those are the people with whom I had to deal so much for 20 years. I was mixed up with them very much, because I served for 20 years with British Railways—19 years under private enterprise and one year under nationalisation. What one noticed particularly on nationalisation was the despondency of the middle management. It was not a political despondency: they were afraid of the 459 future of the railways, and that fear continued for a very long time after nationalisation.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) referred briefly to the fact that during the Summer Recess he and I, at the invitation of British Rail, toured some of the modernisation activities. We went to the research station at Derby, and we saw the new station at Euston. In particular, we saw the liner train services, the terminals, and the loading of liner train containers at the container ports. We were very much impressed with the efficiency of what was going on; and with the great hopes for the future that these activities displayed. But what impressed me most was the great improvement in the morale of the middle management. They were all on top of the world and believed greatly in the future of this activity.
It is all very well to say that these are the same people who will be managing things when taken over by the National Freight Corporation, but I cannot help but think that the change-over will cause a lowering of morale in those left with the railways. It is suggested that the liner service part of the Corporation's activities will be done by those transferred from the railways, but what about the men who are not so transferred? There will be a lack of morale among them. This is a most unfortunate proposal, and it ought not to have been made. I do not think that it will do the railways any good, and I am doubtful whether it will work.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Marsh
By leave of the House, may I say that I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. John Hynd) touched on a very interesting point. Judging by virtually all the speeches from hon. Members opposite this evening, and assuming, as one always does, that they were totally genuine and spontaneous, one would expect to find that hon. Members opposite had changed their minds on a number of factors in the Bill and one would be interested to hear their views on quantity licensing. If ever an issue has been overstated, it has been this present controversial matter. If hon. Members opposite have changed their 460 minds on quantity licensing, I am pleased to hear it, because it is something that British Rail regard as essential—
§ Mr. Webster
On Report, the Minister had to spend a lot of time correcting the misapprehension of the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. John Hynd) who said:…I know this is true of the major railwaymen's union—railwaymen are not in favour of dividing the freightliner service from the railway service."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th May, 1968; Vol. 765, c. 1359.]It seems as though someone else has also changed his view.
§ Mr. Marsh
Better the one than the nine and ninety.
As I say, this issue has been overstated. If the great fear is of the effect on the morale of the industry, some of this evening's speeches have not helped. I do not think that this change faces the men with the sort of serious situation that has been suggested, based on the assumption that, as someone said, we could look to the possibility of the National Freight Corporation allowing the freightliners to run down because the Corporation would not be getting a full share of the profits. That is absolute nonsense.
A lot of hon. Members have spoken as though the relationship between the Corporation and British Rail will be that of two hostile, warring factions. Here we have a situation in which British Rail will hold a 49 per cent. interest in the Corporation and will have its members on the board of the Corporation. Both organisations will use each other's facilities, and each will be totally dependent on the other.
§ Mr. Bradley
That is exactly the situation at the moment between British Road Services and British Rail. There is intense, unfair and insane competition between two public bodies. We do not want this carried over to the new organisation.
§ Mr. Marsh
With great respect, my hon. Friend has missed the point of the whole exercise. There cannot be war between the two bodies because the whole purpose of the National Freight Corporation is to co-ordinate freight movement. The two are not in competition: both are participating in the same job.
§ Mr. Bessell
As was said in the previous debate: is it not true that, once again, the final arbiter is the Freight Corporation and not British Rail?
§ Mr. Marsh
Here we have a body which depends for its very existence upon facilities which are controlled by British Rail. British Rail has a 49 per cent. holding in that body, which also has British Rail members on its board. It is perfectly legitimate for hon. Members opposite to put up a case against the coordination of freight movement, but if one is arguing for that co-ordination it seems to me to be extraordinary to view this as concerning two different warring factions—
Mr. Geoffrey Wilson
Referring to this argument about the 51 per cent. holding, if no competition arises because of such a holding, and British Rail has members on the board, and so on, why was it necessary to buy the B.E.T. buses, which were in exactly the same position? Was there not thought to be some competition there? If there was not, why was £35 million paid out to that company?
§ Mr. Marsh
This is an entirely different situation. There is no similarity between these two sets of circumstances. If hon. Gentlemen will bear with me, I want to develop the reasons why I think that this is not only desirable but inevitable once we move towards the idea of an integrated freight system. We heard many contributions which varied in their purple prose, one of which went to the length of describing this as depriving British Railways of the brightest jewel in its crown. An hon. Gentleman laid claim to that phrase, but I think that probably it had been around for quite a bit before that. None the less, on this occasion the phrase was used with great feeling and great emotion.
The picture we had was that of this vast industry having its very existence threatened by the removal of freightliners. Apart from one passing reference to sundries by the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton), there was not one reference to this subject. If sundries, which are currently losing on their own about £25 million a year, are taken away from British Railways, the exercise on the whole is a not unattractive one for British Railways in cash when the emotion has been put on 462 one side. It was right to take sundries away from British Railways and transfer them to the Corporation, not purely as a method of relieving British Railways of a £25 million loss-maker, though this would have been attractive to British Railways, but because it was all part of the total concept of a National Freight Corporation handling sundries and handling freightliners as well.
Hon. Gentlemen have almost gone so far as to suggest that there is nothing left for British Railways to do. This is the extent to which hon. Gentlemen have totally overstated the case all along. Two hundred million tons out of 214 million tons of freight a year is in full wagons and full trainloads. There is this vast investment and this very sophisticated exercise, in addition to fast inter-city passenger services which British Rail are doing superbly well. There are all the problems of taking this industry, as the Board is doing, and giving it the stability and financial viability which it has lacked for so many years.
Therefore, taking the whole question, the balance of advantage lies with British Railways on this transfer. If hon. Members think that it does not, there are one or two other parts of the Bill on which they can lend their support to giving British Railways some more assistance.
The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell) put his finger very firmly on the concept. In taking up one of my remarks, he said that it is perfectly common for someone who wants to move a piano a long distance to take it by one form of transport to the station, then to transport it by rail, and then to put it on a third form of transport and deliver it at the other end. Of course that is common. That is understood. It is precisely this that we are trying to avoid. We are trying to produce a situation where we can have a guaranteed policy for the total through movement of goods; and that cannot be achieved without an overall investment policy. There cannot be an overall investment policy unless the various arms of the total movement are under one central control.
I can well understand the feeling of many railwaymen, because this is an industry which develops a loyalty and an attraction for the industry which very few other industries develop. If I were to get on to this bandwagon, I could tell the 463 hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Geoffrey Wilson) that I was born in Swindon and brought up in a Great Western Railway house and am virtually an honorary member of the firm.
§ Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall)
My right hon. Friend has said that he appreciates the great anxieties that railway staffs have at a major change of this kind. Would he accept, as the Minister who, as well as this House, is responsible for these major changes, that we should be equally keen to assure the staff concerned that they will in no way suffer? Will he as Minister go so far as to confirm, not only that they will not suffer, but that they ought to gain in the long term?
§ Mr. Marsh
I am not quite sure about gaining what specifically. I am in no doubt that railwaymen under this arrangement, and railwaymen in general, have a very bright future. I have said this recently. I think that the industry, technically, commercially and financially, has now reached a take-off point where every aspect of its activities is becoming highly successful and the future for the industry is very good. If my hon. Friend had in mind what I think he may well have had in mind, I do not think that the intervention of Ministers in trade union negotiations is welcome by either employers or unions. This is a fairly commonly held view.
In conclusion, this is based on a different concept, one of the total movement. It is based on the assumption that it is important that the very expensive investment decisions which have to be made should be made by the Corporation. The future which this offers, both for the industry and for railwaymen generally, is a very bright one indeed. Given the safeguards, given the fact that these two bodies are inextricably linked, given the fact that, as well as removing from the railways what was described as the brightest jewel in their crown, we have taken the precaution at the same time of removing from them what was just about the most expensive part of their activities, all in all I ask the House to support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Webster
I delayed rising so that the Government benches could cheer the 464 Minister's speech, but they did not. We have had the usual technique at which the Minister is adept. He begins every speech with sweet reason, so that one hopes that he will relent in response to the good sense expressed by the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley). However, it is not long before we realise that behind the sweetly reasonable approach there is a completely inflexible will on this subject.
It is tragic. I am not ashamed to say that it is a shame and a bad thing to take away one of the things that is generally the best morale improver that could have happened to British Railways. For years the deficit got greater. It got worse. The position became hopeless. People who had not only themselves spent a lifetime in the service but whose parents and grandparents had been in the service were thoroughly demoralised. There is nothing hypocritical about my saying that I think it is wrong-headed to take potentially the most profitable part of the railway system completely away from the railways. I know that it is emotional; I accept that; but there are many people who have been working in British Railways for years and who needed an uplift, but it has now been removed.
We have had the active connivance of railwaymen in the House. We have listened to a cogent, courageous and clear speech by the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East. I had hoped that as a result of that the Minister would have thought again. There is still time for him to think again. It is interesting that Lord Popplewell, who I would have thought would have probably been behind the Government, has come out independently against this proposal and disapproves of the change. No doubt Lord Popplewell had the advantage, as I did, of listening to the excellent speeches which Lord Robertson of Oakridge and Lord Beeching made, not from any party bench, but from the crossbench in the House of Lords.
We on this side are always accused of being opposed to the railways. The previous Minister always accused us of that. Therefore, if we who are alleged to be always opposed to the railways are asking that this service should stay with the railways, that puts it at its lowest common denominator.
465 The hon. Member for Leicester, North-East was on a thoroughly valid point when he spoke about the dislocation of the railways. Not nearly enough thought has gone into this. Normally I would not interfere in a thing like this, but the personnel problems must be colossal. Those who are trying to make a good job of man-management, one of the biggest difficulties in the whole railway undertaking, will have a terrible problem on their plate and a problem which will raise a great deal of ill will as well.
The question of concessionary travel has been raised. I am not sure that the Minister has given an undertaking about it, and I should like to hear from him if he is willing to give an undertaking now.
§ Mr. Marsh
The hon. Gentleman puts the specific question to me. He must be aware that these are matters which are negotiated between the unions and their employers. Those negotiations are taking place. I give him my assurance that Ministerial intervention in the negotiations, or, indeed, in most other trade union negotiations, would be bitterly resented by both unions and employers.
§ Mr. Webster
Now one knows the position on that subject, at least. Obviously, it is something which worries railway men in this House. I do not differentiate between a railway clerk and a railway man in this respect. They are all railway men to me.
Apart from the emotional side of the matter, which, as is natural to it, the House has taken to its heart today, there is the whole question of the management structure. Both Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge and Lord Beeching talked of the great mistake of taking sales away from operation. In a nationalised industry and a communications industry, and something which is very nearly a monopoly, this is a dangerous step to take. It creates ill will from the customer, which is bad
§ again for the railways, and it is bad all round. One cannot but remember that Lord Beeching was the developer of the freightliner service. Whatever has been said in hard words about him tonight, he probably has more imagination on the subject and has studied it in greater wealth of detail than anyone alive. That is not an unfair suggestion. It is tragic and wrong-headed to take the whole thing away and that Lord Beeching's advice and the advice of those who have run this great organisation should be totally disregarded.
§ The hon. Member for Leicester, North-East made other points which drove home the validity of what we are trying to do. If the freightliner system is taken from the railways and put under the National Freight Corporation, an organisation only 50 per cent. controlled by the railways, there will not be the same incentive to send by rail. As the hon. Gentleman said, it is a road-based organisation by tradition, and the whole of that tradition will lean towards sending by road. There will not be the same incentive to send by rail. The Minister's action completely defeats the arguments of the previous Minister, who said that the greater part of the Bill was to relieve traffic congestion by sending goods by rail.
§ It is wrong for the men. It is wrong in terms of man-management. It is wrong in terms of the management structure. It is thoroughly wrong-headed to throw away the experience and advice of people who have run this industry and have presided over the inception of what is the most advanced and progressive service in the whole British Railways system. For this reason, we shall resist the attempt to take out the Lords Amendment.
§ Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 258, Noes 206.469
|Division No. 292.]||AYES||[7.34 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Boardman, H. (Leigh)|
|Albu, Austen||Barnes, Michael||Booth, Albert|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Baxter, William||Boston, Terence|
|Alldritt, Walter||Beaney, Alan||Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur|
|Anderson, Donald||Bence, Cyril||Boyden, James|
|Archer, Peter||Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Braddock, Mrs. E. M.|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Bradley, Tom|
|Ashley, Jack||Bidwell, Sydney||Bray, Dr. Jeremy|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Bishop, E. S.||Brooks, Edwin|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Blackburn, F.||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Orme, Stanley|
|Brown, Bob(N 'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Buchan, Norman||Howie, W.||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hoy, James||Padley, Walter|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Cant, R. B.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Carmichael, Neil||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Parmell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hunter, Adam||Park, Trevor|
|Coe, Denis||Hynd, John||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Coleman, Donald||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Janner, Sir Barnett||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jeger, George (Goole)||Pentland, Norman|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Perry, Ernest C. (Battersea, S.)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Probert, Arthur|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Judd, Frank||Rankin, John|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Kelley, Richard||Rees, Merlyn|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Kenyon, Clifford||Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lawson, George||Robinson, Rt.Hn. Kenneth(St.P'c'as)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Leadbitter, Ted||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Dell, Edmund||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Dempsey, James||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Dewar, Donald||Lestor, Miss Joan||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Ryan, John|
|Dickens, James||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Dobson, Ray||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Sheldon, Robert|
|Doig, Peter||Lipton, Marcus||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Lomas, Kenneth||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Loughlin, Charles||Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Ellis, John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Silverman, Julius|
|Ennals, David||McCann, John||Slater, Joseph|
|Ensor, David||MacColl, James||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||MacDermot, Niall||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Vardley)||Macdonald, A. H.||Storehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Faulds, Andrew||McGuire, Michael||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Fernyhough, E.||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Swain, Thomas|
|Finch, Harold||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Swingler, Stephen|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mackie, John||Symonds, J. B.|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mackintosh, John P.||Taverne, Dick|
|Ford, Ben||Maclennan, Robert||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Forrester, John||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Fowler, Gerry||McNamara, J. Kevin||Tinn, James,|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||MacPherson, Malcolm||Tomney, Frank|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Gardner, Tony||Mailalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Garrett, W. E.||Manuel, Archie||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Cinsburg, David||Mapp, Charles||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Marks, Kenneth||Weitzman, David|
|Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Marquand, David||Wellbeloved, James|
|Gregory, Arnold||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Whitaker, Ben|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Mayhew, Christopher||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mendelson, J. J.||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Millan, Bruce||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Hamling, William||Moonman, Eric||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Harper, Joseph||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Winnick, David|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Hattersley, Roy||Moyle, Roland||Woof, Robert|
|Hazell, Bert||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Neal, Harold||Yates, Victor|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Newens, Stan|
|Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Oakes, Gordon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hilton, W. S.||O'Malley, Brian||Mr. Charles Grey and|
|Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Oram, Albert E.||Mr. Neil McBride.|
|Hooley, Frank||Orbach, Maurice|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Awdry, Daniel||Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Bell, Ronald|
|Astor, John||Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Berry, Hn. Anthony|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Balniel, Lord||Bessell, Peter|
|Biffen, John||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Hastings, Stephen||Percival, Ian|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hawkins, Paul||Peyton, John|
|Blaker, Peter||Hay, John||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Pounder, Rafton|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Heseltine, Michael||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Higgins, Terence L.||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Hill, J. E. B.||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Braine, Bernard||Holland, Philip||Pym, Francis|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hordern, Peter||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col, Sir Walter||Hornby, Richard||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Howell, David (Guildford)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Bryan, Paul||Hunt, John||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Iremonger, T. L.||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Burden, F, A.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Jopling, Michael||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Kerby, Capt, Henry||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Kershaw, Anthony||Scott, Nicholas|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Kimball, Marcus||Sharples, Richard|
|Clegg, Walter||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Cooke, Robert||Kitson, Timothy||Silvester, Frederick|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Cardie, John||Lambton, Viscount||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Corfield, F. V.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Costain, A. P.||Lane, David||Speed, Keith|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Crouch, David||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Lloyd, Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'n C'dfield)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Dance, James||Longden, Gilbert||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Davidson, James(Aberdeenshire, W.)||Loveys, W. H.||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lubbock, Eric||Teeling, Sir William|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Temple, John M.|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||MacArthur, Ian||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Doughty, Charles||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross & Crom'ty)||Tilney, John|
|Eden, Sir John||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Elliot, Capt, Walter (Carshalton)||Maddan, Martin||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Maginnis, John E.||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Waddington, David|
|Eyre, Reginald||Marten, Neil||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Farr, John||Maude, Angus||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Mawby, Ray||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Fortescue, Tim||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Wall, Patrick|
|Foster, Sir John||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Walters, Dennis|
|Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh (S'fford & Stone)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Webster, David|
|Giles, Rear Adm. Morgan||Miscampbell, Norman||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Monro, Hector||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Montgomery, Fergus||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Glyn, Sir Richard||More, Jasper||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Goodhew, Victor||Murton, Oscar||Wolrige-Cordon, Patrick|
|Gower, Raymond||Neave, Airey||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Grant, Anthony||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Wright, Esmond|
|Grieve, Percy||Nott, John||Wylie, N. R.|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Onslow, Cranley||Younger, Hn. George|
|Gurdon, Harold||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Mr. Anthony Royle and|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
§ Subsequent Lords Amendments disagreed to.