HC Deb 18 March 1970 vol 798 cc531-65
Mr. Carol Johnson (Lewisham, South)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the London Authorities (Transfer of Housing Estates, etc.) Order 1970 (S.I., 1970, No. 171), dated 5th February 1970, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18th February, be annulled.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Will hon. Members who wish to leave the Chamber please do so quietly.

Mr. Johnson

The Order which is the subject of this Prayer is made under the provisions of the London Government Act, 1963. That Act dealt, among many other matters, with the transfer of housing accommodation within the Greater London Area and provided for a programme of transfers to be submitted to the Minister by April 1970, though it did not say that the transfers must take place by that date, nor, indeed, by any date. The Act did, however, provide that the Minister should submit to Parliament an Order covering any agreement arrived at between the G.L.C. and the borough councils if requested so to do by the parties concerned. Perhaps I might explain briefly the background to the Order. In December 1967 the G.L.C. proposed a programme for housing transfers in four separate stages. Stage one dealt with the transfer of new estates on completion, but the Order is not concerned with these in any way. Stage two related to the then existing G.L.C. estates, some of which are included in the Order and are the subject of the debate. Stages three and four need not concern us, for the third stage was not to be proceeded with for some time, and then only after the impact of the stage two changes had been assessed, while stage four was left over until 1974 and 1975.

At the beginning of my remarks, which I shall keep short because I know that many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate, I wish to make it quite plain that in tabling this Prayer I intend no attack on the G.L.C., nor do I seek to argue that in no circumstances, and at no time, should the G.L.C. arrange the transfer of some of its housing accommodation to the boroughs. My opposition is devoted solely to the Order and to the present transfers, and I hope to show that there is a valid case for argument on the merits or demerits of what the Order contains.

I shall seek to establish three main arguments in support of the Prayer. The first is that the authorities concerned, the Greater London Council and the acquiescing London boroughs, have gone ahead with agreements about transfer without satisfying themselves that such agreements would commend themselves to the Minister, and that, therefore, it is right for Parliament to say whether or not the Order should be confirmed.

Second, in the borough of Lewisham, part of which I represent, we have a special interest in the matter, since it is one of the authorities most affected. About 6,400 dwellings are involved, and, whatever the attitude of the borough council may have been, the Labour Opposition on the council and public opinion generally have consistently and persistently opposed these proposals from the very start.

Third, at a time when housing needs in London in general and in Lewisham in particular are so great—we still have no fewer than 10,500 families on our waiting list—the proposed transfer of a small part of the G.L.C. estates is a mere irrelevance, providing not a single additional housing unit. If there is a challenge to the Order at what some may think is a late hour, this is entirely because a greater London Council throughout these negotiations failed to take the Minister into account, despite the indications given by him to the authority at an early date that he would wish to consider the matter before final decisions were taken.

This was made clear in Circular 1/65, issued on 20th January, 1965, in which, in the section dealing with the subject of transfer of housing under the 1963 Act, the Minister made it clear that he did not think that the G.L.C. would be able to initiate substantial transfers until it had reviewed the housing needs and prospects of Greater London as a whole. So far as I know, that still remains to be done.

The circular went on to say that the Minister would keep the matter under review and return to it in due course, but the authority did not wait for him to return to it. In December, 1967, although the G.L.C. knew that the Minister had not yet taken any further action, it decided as a matter of policy that, in addition to any new developments, it would offer the London boroughs about a third of its stock of existing houses.

What is surprising is that this decision, which was originally intended to cover no fewer than 70,000 houses, should be arrived at, apparently, without any detailed research or consideration of the total London position and without setting out at all clearly the reasons why this scale of transfer and this timing was right.

Thereafter, a working party was set up to consider the offer in detail and, as a result of its report, negotiations were opened with the individual boroughs, including, of course, Lewisham. Then, in January of this year, the G.L.C. asked the Minister to make the Order giving effect to their agreement, although, if my information is correct, at no time throughout this period was any formal approach made to the Minister to ensure that he approved of the policy and the procedure.

Mr. Peter Walker (Worcester)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Minister's officials were on the working party throughout the whole period that it was working?

Mr. Johnson

I am aware that there were observers on the working party, but the circumstances were entirely dictated by the directive given by the Minister at the very beginning.

Perhaps I might now be allowed to turn to the Order itself. The agreement relating to the second stage did not after all include the 70,000 houses originally proposed by the G.L.C., but only about 46,000, which were to be transferred to 25 London boroughs, who were the only boroughs who agreed to come into the scheme. As I said, of those 6,400 are in the Borough of Lewisham, and of these at least half are in South Lewisham, so I have a personal interest in the matter.

The first thing to note about this proposal is that the dwellings covered by the Order represent only a small proportion—less than 22 per cent.—of the total G.L.C. holding of some 210,000, and this very limited extent is a relevant factor in assessing the value of the Order.

As I indicated earlier, at some unspecified time in the future a further transfer is to be made, but even after that the G.L.C. intends to retain between 140,000 and 150,000 houses to carry out its permanent housing functions, and it will thus continue to be responsible for the bulk of London's housing, some 70 per cent. Indeed, I have heard that the G.L.C. now thinks that its estimate of 150,000 is too low and may have to be revised.

Against this background, which I have hurriedly sketched, it is difficult to make much sense of the limited and partial devolution proposed. What is the object of the operation? Certainly the people of Lewisham have never been told. A full explanation is called for. Despite all the effort which must have been involved in the negotiations, they do not add one additional housing unit towards London's desperate and growing needs. They also seem to have made a complete mockery of the Minister's initial intimation, in the circular to which I referred, that the job he really wanted the G.L.C. to undertake first was a review of the housing needs and prospects of Greater London as a whole.

I suggest, in this connection, that it would be desirable that some consideration should be given to what the South-East Planning Council said in its Report on the Greater London Development Plan. I will not quote the long paragraph on the housing needs of London and the need for a London-wide strategy, but note should be taken of the view which the Council strongly expressed about the desirability of having one housing authority for all London. Whether or not one agrees with that view, it should be taken into account.

On the question of local opinion, it is rather surprising that at no time was any attempt made by the authorities concerned to consult the people most affected, the council tenants.

Mr. Brian Batsford (Ealing, South)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the G.L.C. has had many meetings on these matters with residents' associations?

Mr. Johnson

In Lewisham we failed to get a councillor from the G.L.C. to come to explain the scheme to us. [Interruption.] At a time when "participation" is on the lips of so many politicians, it is valid to question why no effort was made to communicate with the tenants. On the contrary, the working party turned the idea down and it is interesting to note that in paragraph 24 of its First Report it said: The criteria we have put forward for selecting estates for transfer have not included the wishes of the tenants of those estates. We do not consider it would be practicable to take account of these and there is nothing in the 1963 Act or in the Minister's Circular 1/65 to suggest that we should. It is unlikely that tenants would be unanimous on the matter"— It is correct about that— and their views would probably be largely determined by any difference in rent policy followed by the G.L.C. and the Borough inheriting the estate. The rent question might well be a backlash to any transfer, as the Lewisham Council Labour opposition pointed out, and it would surely have been better to have faced it from the start. It must have been obvious that many transfers would affect the community life of estates, particularly as at least half of them involved the splitting of estates between the Greater London Council and the borough or, in one case, two boroughs. There would inevitably have been management problems which should have been faced at the outset.

I want to refer to the attitude taken to the scheme from the very start in Lewisham itself. The labour opposition on the Lewisham Council opposed the proposals, for which, incidentally, no real arguments were advanced at any time. That opposition was based on the following sound factors. There was no housing gain. It was impossible to get a clear picture of what it would ultimately cost Lewisham in terms of finance. There was lack of firm information about the future. Despite the transfer, the Greater London Council was to retain the right to nominate 65 per cent. of the tenants when transferred properties became vacant. There was no indication that the Minister approved of the scheme. Last, but for obvious reasons not least, the difference in rents payable by tenants of the G.L.C. and the borough council was a significant factor. That last factor is important, particularly in the case of the post-war properties, where there is a marked disparity in the rents charged by the two authorities.

The reason for the Greater London rents being lower is to be found in the confession made by Mr. Horace Cutler, The Greater London Council housing chairman, who said: At the moment new building is paid for partly from the profits of older property and if this were lost the remaining Council tenants or the ratepayers would have to make up the difference. This was simply transferring to the borough council a very real rents problem.

We of the Labour opposition on the council tried to canvass opinion amongst the tenants. We called meetings, and we invited the Greater London Council councillors to attend them and to explain, but they failed to do so. It was impossible to get from the Greater London Council any clear statement of the reasons for the present proposals. In the end, because of the general concern, my local Labour Party thought it desirable to make the strongest possible representations to Her Majesty's Government. This was done in a resolution sent to the Prime Minister last October. We then found out what everyone else could have found out, and what the Greater London Council itself could have found out, what the position was.

In a letter sent from the Prime Minister's political office on 30th October last, it was said: It is the case that the Minister of Housing and Local Government has no powers under the London Government Act, 1963, to vary the terms of agreement reached between the Greater London Council and a London Borough for the transfer of housing property under that Act. It is for either House of Parliament to annul any order dealing with such transfers if they consider the proposals unacceptable. For these reasons, and in these circumstances, I think that the House will be well advised to decide that it cannot endorse proposals which are irrelevant to London's present true housing needs, and which merely change slightly the pattern of public housing without making any material or permanent improvement in it.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. As we have already been reminded by the hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. Carol Johnson), many hon. Members wish to speak. Brief speeches will help.

10.19 p.m.

Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)

The Order which we are now asked to annul represents two years of hard work, discussion and negotiation between the Greater London Council and the London Boroughs. It is due to operate this day week, and I am therefore sure that the House will have in mind that to disturb at the last moment the result of this detailed negotiation would be a very serious matter, causing a great deal of dislocation, confusion and waste of public money.

The hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. Carol Johnson) referred, very rightly I thought, to the position of the Minister. He said, very generously, that he was not attacking the Greater London Council, but he went on to say that he thought the Greater London Council had not taken into account—I think those were his words—the position of the Minister. We should examine the position of the Minister. It is my information that these discussions over the last two years have been conducted with the full knowledge and, indeed, helpful co-operation of the right hon. Gentleman's Department. For two years, therefore, the Department for which the right hon. Gentleman is responsible has known of these proposals. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will challenge the assertion that until last month, when he had already signed the Order and when his Private Secretary wrote to the Leader of Greater London Council, neither the right hon. Gentleman nor his Department had given the slightest indication to the Greater London Council that there would be any hesitation on his part either in making the Order or in commending it to Parliament.

The hon. Member for Lewisham, South told the House a very significant thing. Up until February the right hon. Gentleman, through his Department, was in full touch and co-operation with the local authorities concerned in the drafting of this Order, in its preparation, and making the necessary administrative arrangements, without the slightest hint that the Minister, having made the Order, might be prepared to go back on his signature. The hon. Member said that, as long ago as 30th October last, what he called "the Prime Minister's political office"—I am not quite sure of the distinction between that and the Prime Minister himself because the Prime Minister's activities at the moment seem to be wholly political—

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

Party political.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As my hon. Friend says, party political. As long ago as 30th October last, the Prime Minister's political office was replying to the hon. Member's constituency party with at least a broad hint that the Government might be prepared to go back on the arrangements made with the full knowledge of the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

When he speaks tonight, the Minister owes the House an explanation. Will he tell the House when he decided that, although he would make the Order, he would be disposed to go back on it? Will he tell the House whether, on 30th October last, he already had it in mind that he would recommend the House to reject the Order which some months later as Minister he was to make? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell the House that when he replies. I am assuming, because this is the extraordinary situation that the House is now in, that the Minister will go back on his signature. If he will not, no one will welcome it more than I. It is part of the criticism of him that he has allowed this matter to go on until tonight, a month after he signed the Order and a week before it comes into effect, before telling the House, whatever the merits of the matter, what he is proposing to recommend to the House.

Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money have been spent on these arrangements. Innumerable people have been consulted about the impact on them personally, 50,000 families have been informed of the arrangements to be made for payment of rent and the normal safeguards made for them. Quite a number of employees have had arrangements made in respect of them proceeding on the basis that in good faith the Minister would carry out his statutory duty to make and support the Order.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that that if the Minister, when considering the matter, came to the conclusion that what was proposed was neither in the interests of the tenants concerned nor of the rate-, payers of the boroughs, it would be his bounden duty to advise the House accordingly?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The right hon. Gentleman has known of this matter for two years. If he were disposed to take that attitude, it is a little late in the day now. I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) for assisting me. If the right hon. Gentleman took that view—he is perfectly entitled to take it—why in heaven's name did he not months ago inform those concerned, the people at County Hall and in the boroughs, the residents in the houses, the employees of the Greater London Council and all concerned, so that time and money would not be wasted in preparing a scheme in the belief—apparently, the unreliable belief—that the right hon. Gentleman would do his statutory duty?

I hope that the hon. Member for Putney will agree that, whatever view the right hon. Gentleman took, it is indefensible to leave it till now when money has been spent, the arrangements made, and the whole scheme due to come into operation in a week's time.

The Minister knows—the letter from his private secretary to Mr. Plummer accepts it—that where the parties concerned, that is, the Greater London Council and the boroughs, are in agreement, under Section 23 of the London Government Act, 1963 he is under a statutory duty to make the Order. Indeed, his letter hints that that is why he has made it.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not say—this is reminiscent of what his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said a few months ago—that he proposes to comply with the technicalities of the statute and then act to defeat its intention. It is essential that Ministers above all, particularly Ministers who, as in this case, are making the law—for this Statutory Instrument is part of the law— should be prepared to observe not only the letter but the spirit of the law. If Ministers will indulge in a trick to upset—

Mr. Roy Roebuck (Harrow, East)


Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Indeed, it would be humbug. I accept the word. If Ministers are prepared to indulge in humbug, going through the forms of the statute and then, through party channels, seeking to negative its effect, the result must be serious for general respect for the law in this country.

Mr. James Dickens (Lewisham, West)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No. There is more in this than even the fate of the 50,000 families involved. There is something even more important than that. There is involved here the question whether Ministers of the Crown in performance of their statutory duty are prepared to abide by the law which they make or are prepared to indulge in a squalid trick to avoid it.

10.28 p.m.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Anthony Greenwood)

In intervening at this stage, I hope that what I have to say may help the House in reaching a decision. Before I state the Government's attitude to the Prayer, I wish to say a few words about the London Government Act, 1963, under which the Order was made.

There are two provisions of special relevance, Section 23(3) and (4). Subsection (3) provides that, where the Minister is asked by both the Greater London Council and the London Boroughs concerned to make an order transferring G.L.C. houses to boroughs, he must make and lay such an Order. He has no option. That is what has happened in the present case. I had no choice. Neither could I amend it.

Subsection (4) provides that the G.L.C. must submit to the Minister before 1st April, 1970, a programme—I repeat "programme"—of proposed transfers. The right hon. Gentleman for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph), who was Minister at the time, made the intention of this quite clear when he said: I must emphasise that this does not mean that transfers will necessarily have taken place or be about to take place by 1970."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee F, 19th February, 1963; c. 310.] So it was to be expected that the G.L.C. would submit a programme of its intentions to the Minister, discuss it with him, and then proceed to the implementation of the programme by negotiating with the borough councils and applying for Orders.

But it did not do this. It submitted an application to me for an agreed Order in January of this year—asking for no discussion and giving me no option but to make an Order. It said, in effect, "Oh, by the way, you can take that as the first phase of our submitted programme". Now it has been said that all this was worked out by a working party on which I had a representative.

With characteristic hyperbole, the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) said that I had my officials on the working party. That really will not do. A firm decision was taken by the G.L.C., in December, 1967, to offer one-third of its housing stock to the boroughs as soon as the mechanics could be worked out. Only after that were the working parties set up, on one of which the Ministry had an observer, and the job of these working parties was simply to work out ways and means, not the scale and timing of the offer itself.

The policy decision, as I said, was taken in 1967, but the scheme changed constantly throughout 1969. As soon as the scheme was received, I reserved my position, as the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) has said, but it has been said that I should have intervened before the scheme was submitted to me. However, Ministry circular 1/65 was sent to London authorities on 20th January, 1965, and dealt with the housing provisions of the 1963 Act. On transfers, except for the special problem of sons and daughters of L.C.C. tenants—my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. Carol Johnson) paraphrased it—the message was "The Minister does not expect the G.L.C. to submit a programme of transfers to him for some time after the appointed day. He will keep this matter under review and will return to it in due course". But when the Tories came to power in the G.L.C. they did not wait for me to return to it; nor did they raise it with me. They simply took their own policy decision and went ahead with it.

I have dwelt on this at some length in case anyone should assume an air of grievance and injured innocence about what has happened. But I do not rest my argument on it. The main point is not that the G.L.C. has not consulted me, but that it has produced no reasons to Parliament or to anybody, supporting this momentous step. What is the reason for thinking that 150,000 is about the right size of housing pool for the G.L.C. to keep indefinitely, to carry out its "strategic" housing role? What is the reason for thinking that 46,000—a figure which started at 70,000—is about the right number to transfer at the first stage? What is the reason for thinking that now is the right time for the first stage? Nobody has been told by the G.L.C. the answer to any of these questions

I called it a momentous step. I maintain that the transfer of ownership of 46,000 houses is a momentous step, and should not be approved by Parliament in the absence of full supporting reasons showing that the extent, and timing, are right. These reasons we have not had, either from the G.L.C. or from the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames.

Here let me make it clear that my reservations about the Order do not express a lack of confidence in the London Boroughs. Many of them have a first class housing record, and many—though, most regrettably, not all—there are Members representing some of the backsliding authorities here tonight—are continuing to do their utmost.

The best of them would probably be the first to agree that it is essential to consider carefully what is the right balance between the strategic rôle of the G.L.C. acting for London as a whole and the rôle of the boroughs, acting as the primary housing authorities for their areas, before large-scale transfers are made. My hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South referred to the South East Economic Planning Council. In its comments on the Greater London Development Plan it showed that it is anxious about this question of London housing. As my hon. Friend reminded us, it goes so far as to say that there should be only one local authority for the whole of London and that that authority should be the G.L.C. I do not share that view, that the housing functions should go entirely to the first-tier authority, but the fact that this can be suggested by such a body shows that we are concerned with more than a matter of mere detail.

So far I have simply said that the proposal ought to be properly justified. I now come to a feature which seems to me very unfortunate. This is the division of single estates between two and sometimes three housing authorities—that is the G.L.C. and one, or even two, of the London boroughs. This is against all the principles of good housing management. There is the suggestion that the Becontree Estate should be, split between the G.L.C., Barking and Redbridge, that St. Helier should be divided between the G.L.C., Sutton and Merton, that Harold Hill should be divided between the G.L.C. and Havering, and that Great Watling Estate should be divided between the G.L.C. and Barnet. I cannot believe, without further good reasons given by the G.L.C., that this is sensible housing management policy.

Even the working party felt obliged to say: This is not a happy arrangement". But it said it could not be avoided if each Borough was to get a pro rata share of G.L.C. dwellings". That may be so, but it does not dispose of the problem. The disadvantages flowing from divergent management practices in single estates, especially in the longer term, can be imagined. What assessment has been made of them, and what advantages are there which might be held to outweigh them? I do not think this has been sufficiently considered, it indeed, it has been considered at all.

As regards the timing of the proposal, I have considerable doubt whether this is the moment, when London boroughs are, or ought to be, fully stretched on house-building, slum-clearance, and improvement work under the new Act, to saddle them with an additional burden. I have not had any assurance that the G.L.C., when relieved of this burden, will spring forward to a higher pitch of activity in the rest of its housing work—quite the reverse.

Why must transfers begin now rather than a year or two later? We have not been told. The Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London said at Paragraph 795 that the actual timing of transfers would have to be settled in the light of the particular circumstances of individual estates". That suggests a less crude arrangement than is now proposed.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The right hon. Gentleman says that he has not been told by the G.L.C. why this should take place now. Did he through his officer, who was at these discussions, ask the G.L.C. to deploy its reasons, and if so, did it do so?

Mr. Greenwood

It seems a very odd thing that the right hon. Gentleman should seek in that way to excuse a public authority for not laying before the House the reasons why it seeks to adopt a particular course of conduct.

Hon Members

Answer the question.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Noise does not help the debate at all.

Mr. R. W. Brown (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

My right hon. Friend may be satisfied that many of us demanded of the G.L.C. why it was doing it. It refused to answer. That is why my right hon. Friend was not told—because It had no answer to the question "Why?"

Mr. Greenwood

The decision had been taken by the G.L.C. before the working party was appointed.

I have also had evidence of objections or reservations from the staffs concerned. For example, I have had a letter from the Greater London Council Staff Association dated 19th February objecting to the absence from the Order of provisions for appeals by staff who are dissatisfied with the posts to which they are to be transferred. The Order does propose a tribunal to hear appeals on "comparability", but the association think that this requires clarification and strengthening. It is also concerned about staff promotion prospects. These points seem to me to be matters on which more complete understanding might be possible if more time were taken.

I have also had representations from the General and Municipal Workers Union and the National Union of Public Employees expressing reservations about the proposals from the point of view of the position and careers of the staff. Their objections are something which the authority should seek to remove as far as possible by discussion and clarification.

On the other hand I have been told by the right hon. Gentleman of the preparations made both by the G.L.C. and the boroughs, and the waste of money and effort that will follow if the proposals are not rubber-stamped by the House—a curious attitude to the High Court of Parliament. I am very sorry about the trouble that has been taken, but I must say that the fault is primarily with those who went ahead so rashly. They could have discussed a programme with me before seeking to implement it. They could have produced a considered case in support of their proposals. But they did neither of these things. When the decision is clearly defined by Statute as being one for Parliament, and for Parliament alone, it is the height of imprudence to seek to pre-empt the decision of either House.

I do not, of course, take the attitude that any transfer at any time must be wrong. What is wrong on this occasion is the way in which this has been put forward without adequate investigation of the implications. I would urge the need for a careful, rational look into the problem, which will result in the local authorities involved, and Parliament, and the Minister having some better way of judging when and how fast and how far this process should go. I had hoped that the G.L.C. would put a programme to me for consideration, without at the same time putting a pistol to my head.

I should like to remove the pistol and to consider the programme. I therefore make this suggestion to the House, which I hope will be seen—as I intend it—to be a constructive one: I believe that it would be helpful if an experienced and independent person, acting as a consultant, were to inquire into and report on these proposals, and in particular the effect they would have on the respective rôles of the G.L.C. and the London Boroughs, and also on the requirements of good management. I am therefore asking Professor Cullingworth to undertake this task, and I am most grateful to him for agreeing to accept my invi- tation. Amongst other things he was, as hon. Members will know, Chairman of a Sub-Committee of the Central Housing Advisory Committee, which has recently produced a quite oustanding and sensitive report on some of the difficult problems of house management. He will come to this particular problem with an open mind and no prejudices. I suggest that he should analyse and comment on the problems involved rather than come to firm conclusions. In this way the local authorities, to which the report will of course be made available, need not feel that they are being unduly fettered. I hope too that such an inquiry and report will help Parliament in its further consideration of this important issue. In the meantime, I must say that the Government's view is that the proposed transfers should not go forward.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Peter Walker (Worcester)

The Minister's speech discloses a degree of neglect and lethargy on his part which will cost the ratepayers of London a great deal of money, cause a great deal of uncertainty amongst staff and do a great deal of damage. The Minister, knowing the policy of the Greater London Council as long ago as December, 1967, agreed to appoint one of his officials to the principal working party to decide the detail of the scheme of transfer. That official sat on that working party throughout the whole of 1968. No criticism was made of the findings of that working party. Thereafter, the Minister provided one of his legal advisers to assist the G.L.C. in drafting the Order. That adviser worked on it, without any criticism of the Order, throughout 1968. For the Minister then to come to the House, a few days before the transfer is to take place, and to announce publicly for the first time that he is against the policy is an appalling act of neglect on his part.

His excuse is that the G.L.C. did not give all the reasons. One would have thought that he was paying the salary of an official to sit on that working party to keep him advised. The Ministry has had the expense of preparing an Order and of paying the salary of an official and at the end of the day all the work of the London boroughs and of the G.L.C. has been completely and utterly wasted.

If the Minister's view was that this should have been handled by an independent inquiry, by Professor Culling-worth or anyone else, the time to have said so was two years ago when the G.L.C. announced its policy. The Minister has known for two years what the policy has been, yet two days before its implementation he announces his attitude. This is an act of lethargy the cost of which Londoners will have to meet.

The one supporting piece of evidence which the Minister clings to is that the Economic Planning Council suggests that the G.L.C. might be the only housing authority. But the Minister knows full well that the Milner Holland Report advocated that policy, the legislation upon which this policy is based was founded upon a Royal Commission Report and the Minister, in a White Paper prepared by his Department on the reform of local government, makes it clear that he considers that housing should be the responsibility of the second-tier authorities in the Metropolitan area. All the accumulated evidence of the Royal Commission, the Milner Holland Report and the Government's White Paper is that this was the principle which the Government supported.

The Minister for two years has expressed no criticism of the principle, either through his officials or publicly. He allowed all the work to go on. Only when some of the constituency Labour Parties in London decided that there was political capital to be made by frightening tenants on this issue did the Minister decide, for cheap party political reasons, to pray against his own Order tonight. Just as the Government voted against their Orders to gerrymander the electorate, they intend to vote against their own Order tonight, in an effort to overcome their complete failure for two years to stop all this work taking place. The three working parties on which the Minister has been represented has undertaken an immense amount of detailed work. Points raised by staff associations have been discussed through the proper machinery, there is provision for appeals and the career prospects and salary position have been looked into. Therefore, the Minister tonight by saying that he sees no reason in principle why there should not be transfers to the boroughs in the years ahead is now creating an immense area of uncertainty for all staff concerned. Already staff have been transferred to the London boroughs and rent rolls have been prepared—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. One hon. Member can state the case for his side. He does not need help.

Mr. Walker

The G.L.C. was under the misguided impression that the Minister having laid the Order intended to support it. But for cheap party political reasons the Government are wasting ratepayers' money, disturbing the position of tenants and the staff concerned, so that any confidence which anybody had in the Government has been found to be completely unjustified.

The staff position has been carefully examined, tenants have been informed, some 50,000 circulars having been sent out to them, meetings have been held with tenants' associations and preparations for the transfer have been going on for two years. But not once has any spokesman from the Ministry contacted the G.L.C. or the London boroughs to say that the Ministry might have to reconsider the matter, or indeed might have to vote against it. In October the hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. Carol Johnson), who prayed against this Order, wrote to the Prime Minister's office, to constituency Labour Party offices, and contacted the Minister's office. Yet there has not been one utterance of policy from the Ministry.

They knew all the work was going on, that people were being informed and that expenditure was being incurred and that staff would have to be transferred. Yet only tonight the Minister tells the country what he intends to do. It is a shabby, disgraceful performance, a performance of which the electors of London will show their disapproval in a very short time.

10.57 p.m.

Mr. R. W. Brown (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

The hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) has not addressed himself to the real problem. He has attempted to be polemical about the matter, but he has not answered the three questions which I put to the Greater London Council originally. I must admit to the House—

Mr. Speaker

Order. It will help HANSARD if the hon. Gentleman speaks up.

Mr. Brown

Yes, Mr. Speaker. First, I asked the Greater London Council the reasons for the transfers. Secondly, I asked them to tell me what were the advantages of such transfers. Finally, I asked what would be the cost of such transfers. Those three questions have gone unanswered right the way through.

Eventually Councillor Plummer had to call his colleagues together at some sort of soirée in September last to try to sort out all the questions so that they might get on with the job. That was the situation and it is wrong for the hon. Gentleman to infer that apparently all things in the garden were lovely during the two years during which the investigation was taking place.

There are pages and pages of meetings of the London Boroughs Association at which these questions were continually being asked and being hedged. Then when the programmes were coming forward, further questions were being asked about certain estates. But one could never discover how much the maintenance of housing was costing. We were told that the costs could not be broken down, and that there were no such figures. Finally, after weeks of pressuring, we got a false figure, and it was a figure which I had known from the beginning to be false.

The history of this began with the decision to get rid of the G.L.C.'s housing to the boroughs. It was a doctrinaire party political issue, and the G.L.C. made no bones about it from the beginning. Therefore, it is right that we should ask ourselves why we should accept such transfers at a time when we see in the borough of Hackney 13,000 families on the waiting list and in the borough of Islington about 10,000, and when I am persistently asking the G.L.C. to help solve some of the housing problems—because Islington and Hackney cannot solve them. I have told my right hon. Friend repeatedly that someone should be able to solve them, but certainly Islington and Hackney cannot. The G.L.C. is the only authority which is likely to be able to help, since it has a wider area in which it can offer accommodation. To reduce the 270,000 homes would be ridiculous when there is such a desperate need.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite talk about this "great participation", but what has happened in the London borough of Sutton? On the St. Helier estate there, 1,701 properties are to be handed over. In the area which takes in those 1,701 houses, there are 3,400 people on the register. There is a petition signed by 2,500 people asking the Minister not to allow it and asking this House to turn it down. The hon. Member for Worcester has not mentioned that. Why not? Unfortunately, I do not represent Sutton, so I cannot present the petition, but the petition exists.

What does Sutton want to do with the 1,701 properties? It has made it clear. If this Order is approved, the 1,701 will be decanted and the area sold to private developers. That is a situation in which hon. Members must ask themselves what is the purpose of transferring homes to the boroughs if they are to be got rid of to private developers, housing associations, or to anyone but themselves? Consequently, I ask the House to turn down the Order. It has been a disgraceful business from beginning to end.

Why should a borough take over property, only to find that the G.L.C. will have 65 per cent. of the voids which will arise? Those who occupy them will have to pay not the borough's rents but those which the G.L.C. dictates. If they do not pay, the boroughs will have to make up the difference. They will have to pay the amount which the G.L.C. determines for maintenance. We know how desperately low that has been. The G.L.C. will not do the maintenance. If the borough does additional maintenance, it must pay the difference between its cost and the rate set by the G.L.C. In addition, all the subsidies go directly to the G.L.C.

The hon. Gentleman has spoken about the poor staff. He should read the report of the working party. It cannot make up its mind whether all the staff, half the staff, or 800 of the staff should go over. At the end of the day the best optimisation they can make is that the extra G.L.C. wages bill to start the exercise will be £250,000, the whole thing is an absurdity from beginning to end.

The G.L.C. has done a bad job of negotiation between the Government and itself and between itself and the boroughs. It might be thought that this was a vast issue of 33 boroughs. But eight of the boroughs which have voted in favour of the scheme are not involved and three others are so small they are insignificant. That is 11 voting in favour of something which does not affect them. But Hackney and Islington, which are important, say, "No, thank you". Hackney says that it is impossible and Islington says that if it is forced to have the transfer it will hand them over to housing associations because it cannot cope. Therefore, we must ask the question: is this the right time to have a change of this magnitude? I do not think that it is.

If such a transfer was made only in selected areas, I ask what happens to the areas which have said no, because they cannot cope? It means that the staff will be taken from the G.L.C. maintenance area to service those that have been handed over. This is what the arrangement with the staff was about. Inevitably, it means that work needed to be done on housing estates which are retained in those areas will not be done to the required standard.

It has been stated that there should be an opportunity for up to 70,000 transfers to be made. The people in my constituency have no nice cottages or houses. They are warehoused in some G.L.C. properties with baths in the kitchens. I have raised this point before. There are no homes in my area for them; they must go out into somebody else's area. I can understand those areas which will get those nice cottage estates saying, "Thank you. We can cope with that in our own area." But what will happen if somebody in my borough living in a slum clearance area desires to move to those more desirable areas? The borough concerned will say, "We have enough problems with our one, two and three-bedroom properties. We would if we could, but we cannot."

I hope that the House will reject the Order and argue that something better should take its place.

I commend my right hon. Friend on setting up a consultant to examine the matter properly in the interests of Londoners. That is the criterion that we should have.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I remind the House that still a goodly number wish to speak. Mr. Lubbock.

11.4 p.m.

Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)

I agree with the hon. Member for Shore-ditch and Finsbury (Mr. R. W. Brown) that the criterion ought to be: what is to the benefit of Londoners as a whole? That is the way that I intend to look at the Order.

The hon. Gentleman said that the whole matter was an absurdity from beginning to end, by which I suppose he means the original scheme outlined by the G.L.C. in 1967. I must say that I wondered why the Minister did not give any intimation to the Greater London Council of the way that his mind was working. I think that he had some good arguments tonight why the Order should not go through. If he had mentioned these matters to the G.L.C. earlier, as the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) said, a lot of needless expenditure could have been avoided and perhaps this debate would not have taken place. The Minister could have said to the G.L.C., "You should properly justify your proposals before we can recommend them in the form of an Order to the House; you should not split up estates between several authorities"—I agree with him entirely on that—"and you should consider which of the boroughs have enough to do already without being faced with the additional burden of taking over this extra responsibility." Even after hearing the Minister's speech it was still a mystery to me why, having had this official on one of the working parties—and, as the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) said, it was the most important of the three working parties—the Minister did not use this as a channel through which to convey his views to the G.L.C. at an earlier moment.

But that is not what we are being asked to decide. We have to consider the proposal on its merits and whether it is for the benefit of Londoners to have this transfer made. I am not convinced that it is, much as I am attracted by the idea that as much as possible of the housing in the boroughs should be administered locally. Generally speaking, the tenants get a better service—though that is not saying much, because the housing departments of the boroughs do not give them a very good service either—but if they have to choose between having somebody locally at whom they can get, and having to go to County Hall to see the Director of Housing, who is far too busy to see them anyway, the London boroughs are the lesser of two evils. From the point of view of the convenience of the tenants in being able to get at the person responsible for the service, it is better to have housing administered locally, but there are these other factors which the Minister outlined. For example, should estates be split between as many as three different authorities, or would the difficulty which that would create be so great that it would negate the benefits of local administration?

I think that it is a good idea to get Professor Cullingworth to look into these matters, and I hope that he will get the co-operation of the G.L.C. and the London boroughs in the investigations that he is undertaking. It is important that Professor Cullingworth should enjoy the confidence of the G.L.C. and the boroughs in conducting this investigation if it is to have the greatest possible value.

I have consulted certain people in my constituency about the G.L.C. estates there, and about the views of the staff. They tell me that it is generally believed among the staff, in spite of what the hon. Member for Worcester said, that the terms and conditions will be worsened, and that promotion opportunities will be fewer if they go over to the service of the boroughs. I am not saying that this is true. I am merely saying that the staff association has not been satisfied with the arrangements proposed by the G.L.C. and the boroughs.

Furthermore, and more important, tenants have expressed the gravest anxieties about what will happen in terms of an increase in rents and the service which they will get if they are transferred from the G.L.C. to the boroughs. Once again I am not saying that these doubts are justified, but there is a great deal more convincing to do before the tenants will accept the scheme.

Although, as I understand it, there have been these various meetings with tenants, they have not been in the nature of consultations. It has been a question of take it or leave it, and far more work needs to be done by the G.L.C. and the boroughs concerned to make sure that tenants are fully aware of what is intended by this scheme.

Having studied this matter most carefully, and having listened to the Minister, I have concluded that this Order must not be allowed to go through, but that we should allow a further breathing space to enable the matter to be considered more thoroughly. I am sure that in a few months' time, with the advice of Professor Cullingworth, the House will be able to make a much better and wiser decision.

11.9 p.m.

Mr. John Parker (Dagenham)

This is a matter on which opinions are bound to differ according to the borough that one is considering. The views of my Borough of Barking are different from those which have been expressed on this side of the House so far. The fact is that two-thirds of the houses in my constituency of Dagenham belong to the G.L.C., and more than half the houses in the Borough of Barking belong to the G.L.C. The Becontree Estate which, when it was built, was the largest housing estate in Europe, and is still the largest of the G.L.C. estates, has particular problems which required to be dealt with in particular ways. The houses in this area were built by the London County Council outside its own boundaries in the late 1920s and early 1930s. All the possible mistakes were made that could be made in town planning at that time. No natural centres were created, no jobs were provided for the people living there. Fords and other factories only came along because the labour was there. They had to be fitted in.

We have always had great problems with Becontree and they need specially dealing with at present. Up to 1947 the position was that tenants' sons and daughters on the estate were frequently found vacancies when they occurred. When the estate was built, it was for young families with large numbers of children. There were therefore not many vacancies in the early days, but they gradually began to arise as people died or moved elsewhere and the vacancies tended to be offered to sons and daughters of existing tenants. The policy then changed and sons and daughters were refused places on the estate. The result was that vacancies which arose were given to people from areas inside the L.C.C., particularly for inner London. We do not object to taking our share for inner London, but the sons and daughters of tenants all had to move elsewhere to find homes and the result was that there was a lack of community life in the area and that clubs and churches could have no continuing life, because young people moved away when they got married and had children of their own. This created great social problems in this large estate.

As early as 1947, Dagenham and Barking Labour Parties put forward proposals to take the estate over into the hands of the local councils, because only in that way could vacancies be filled mainly by people from the area. We have pressed for this takeover since that time. I pressed for it when the G.L.C. took over from the L.C.C. in 1964. The result of this trouble was that pressure was put on the L.C.C. and because of this, arrangements were finally made to allot a certain number of vacancies to be filled by the sons and daughters of tenants. The number was to begin with quite small and we had to pay the L.C.C. for permission for sons and daughters to go on the list. Gradually, under pressure, the numbers increased until last year, out of 495 vacancies, 238 went to local people, just under half.

Some vacancies must go to people from central London if we are to play our fair part in dealing with the housing problems of central London, but I take the view that we in the locality should have the biggest say in what should happen to the houses. Under the proposed scheme 8,361 houses will be handed over to the Barking Council. A much larger proportion should be taken over by the local council. The area taken over is in a reasonable unit: the whole of the area south of the railway and a considerable proportion north of it. That fits in well with the local council estates.

Repair and maintenance work carried out has deteriorated enormously since the Tories took over the G.L.C. There have been complaints that adequate repair work has not been done and modernisation is required in the way of bathrooms and kitchens and all that kind of thing. It will never be done by the G.L.C.: it will only be done by the borough. The present Greater London Council is selling off houses, but it is ridiculous to sell off one house in the middle of an estate. We want to stop this. Estates should be run as units. I am glad that the Minister is setting up this inquiry, but I hope that it will find solutions to the particular problems of particular parts of London. My area has particular problems and I hope that they will be met.

Mr. Hugh Delargy (Thurrock)

I agree very much with what my hon. Friend has said, but would he not join with me in asking the Minister that this independent inquiry should also extend to the estates which are now outside the boundaries of London?

Mr. Parker

I agree. A case in point is Slough, where there is a big G.L. estate outside the boundaries of Greater London.

11.16 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Rossi (Hornsey)

We have heard some curious reasons for the oppoisition to the Order. The hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. Carol Johnson) opposes it because, he says, the proposed transfer is irrelevant, because it does not add a single housing unit to housing in Lewisham. The hon. Member for Shoreditch and Finsbury (Mr. R. W. Brown), on the other hand, opposes it because it would reduce the housing of the G.L.C. Hon. Members opposite cannot have it both ways—saying that it reduces in one direction, but does not add in the other. There is some illogicality in their arguments.

Of course, transfer neither increases nor reduces the number of houses in existence. All it means is that one authority has more than it had before and that another has fewer. It is such a simple proposition that one wonders why hon. Members opposite get themselves into such a tangle trying to find arguments for resisting an Order which they know in their hearts there is no legitimate reason at all for resisting.

The hon. Member for Lewisham, South, is very much concerned, of course, with the housing pool in his borough, and says that this proposal adds nothing to Lewisham. In fact, the proposal in the Order would transfer from the G.L.C. to Lewisham 6,560 dwellings, of which the residents of Lewisham, the people on the housing list, would have the priority of 35 per cent. Perhaps the people on the waiting list in Lewisham will be rather disturbed to learn that their Member of Parliament is opposing in the House a Measure which would increase their pool of available housing by over 2,000 units. The same can be said of all hon. Members opposite representing London constituencies who are taking the same attitude.

Mr. R. W. Brown rose

Mr. Rossi

No, there is very little time—

Hon. Members

Give way!

Mr. Speaker

Order. Merely shouting "Give way" does not make an hon. Member give way.

Mr. Rossi

The hon. Member has already made his speech, to which I listened patiently, without interrupting, and there are very few moments left. The hon. Gentleman asked earlier—and said that he had asked the G.L.C.—what was the reason for the transfer. The reason is simple and is contained in an Act passed in 1963—that steps to be taken to transfer houses from the G.L.C. to the London boroughs. Parliament required this to be done simply because a Royal Commission had sat for many months considering the whole structure of local government in the Greater London area.

It had come to the conclusion that a two-tier structure was required in such a manner that the unitary authorities—to borrow a phrase from Maud—or the London boroughs should be the authorities responsible for the personal services, so that they should be the authorities responsible for housing. It was therefore proposed that, over a transitional period from 1963, there should be laid out a programme for the eventual transfer of the housing of the G.L.C.—the former L.C.C. housing pool—to the London boroughs to fit in with the new concept that was accepted by Parliament.

The Minister is now going back on that, and we know why. It is because the mandarins of the old L.C.C., the Labour Party caucuses that used to control London, hated the idea that the empire which they created was being dismembered. We saw this with the children's services. That was the first battle. There was a tremendous fight over the children's services being transferred from—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must not widen the debate.

Mr. Rossi

Following logically from that mentality, we now have resistance by the London Labour Party to the transfer of housing from its creature to the authorities, which a Royal Commission decided were appropriate to deal with these matters of housing. One wonders how the Government will deal with the problems raised by Maud. Will they play ducks and drakes with legislation in exactly the same way? Nobody can have any confidence in the way in which the present Government operate.

If I have any criticism to make of the G.L.C., it is that at this late stage it should not be seeking to transfer the whole of its housing pool but merely part of it to the local authorities. Its original proposal was for the transfer of 70,000 houses, reduced to about 46,000 because some local authorities would not fall in with the scheme. But the G.L.C. decided to retain 150,000, and the Minister knows that it gave good reasons for doing that. Because of its commitments to the road programme, the development of sites for schools, open spaces and so on, it needed to retain, for the time being, this pool of 150,000 houses. If there is any criticism, it is that it is seeking to transfer merely part of its housing stock against the findings of the Royal Commission.

The Minister complains that he was not consulted. One feels that there is more than an element of amour propre in this; that the local authorities should dare to reach agreement among themselves as to how to discharge their obligations under the Act and that they should dare to try to work out a sensible working arrangement—compromise their various demands, one against the other—and then say to the Minister, "This is what we, the elected representatives, feel is best for London". The Minister, sitting in his ivory tower in Whitehall, says, "No. The elected representatives of London do not know what is best for London. I and the Labour Party know what is best, and what we say should be done, you will do".

This is why we have this present situation. The Minister asks for reasons: these can be given to him quite easily. When the Greater London Council had to consider how it should allocate these 70,000 houses that it decided it should transfer, three possibilities were open to the G.L.C. It could either allocate to the local boroughs in accordance with their housing needs. That, for example, would have resulted in Tower Hamlets having a far greater percentage than Barking. That was one way of doing it—dividing according to housing needs. The second alternative was to allocate in accordance with the value to the G.L.C. itself of the houses it was holding. The third was to allocate to each borough council pro rata according to the G.L.C. housing stock in that borough.

After discussions between the Greater London Council and the London Boroughs—[HON. MEMBERS: "Under pressure."] Under what pressure? This was a freely negotiated agreement in discharge of a statutory duty imposed by Parliament. If there was any pressure it was that of the statutory duty, and no other.

The Greater London Council tried to do the best it could to carry out this duty, and at all times, the Minister's observer and adviser was present and able to see what was going on and indicate if the Minister had anything to say about the method of approach. But he who keeps silence, consents—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The Minister, in allowing these discussions to continue in this way, with his representative present, was taken to consent to what was going on.

The Minister had every opportunity to say that he did not like this method; that he did not want a pro rata alloca-

tion. He could have said that it should be done according to the housing needs. Did his observer or adviser say that? He knew what was going on, and was reporting back to the Minister, who knew what was going on. But he knew that this was a perfectly fair way, and that the Greater London Council and the boroughs between them had agreed that it was fair.

Why, therefore, should the Minister now intervene? Because one feels that the Minister agreed all along with what was going on and approved of it, but has now received his orders from somewhere else.

Mr. Greenwood

The truth is that the G.L.C. made this policy decision in 1967. It was only in the middle of January, 1970, that we knew what the scheme was going to amount to. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] What the hon. Member is saying is that we should condemn it before we knew what it said.

Mr. Rossi

The Minister knew the statutory obligation. He knew of the decision to retain 150,000 houses and to give over 70,000 for the reasons I have given, and he knew that two years ago. All that remained was ways and means, administrative procedure. That is all we are talking about, not policy. They discussed administrative procedure for two years with the knowledge of the Minister, who raised not one word of protest, an utterly discreditable and disgraceful action on the part of a Minister of the Crown. If he had the courage of his convictions he would hand in his resignation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] There can be absolutely no merit in the attitude of the Minister. One is surprised to find that a right hon. Gentleman for whom one had some sympathy should behave in this way.

It being half-past Eleven o'clock, Mr. SPEAKER put the Question forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 100 (Statutory Instruments, &c. (Procedure)).

The House divided: Ayes 291, Noes 230.

Division No. 86.] AYES [11.30 p.m.
Abse, Leo Anderson, Donald Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)
Albu, Austen Archer, Peter (R'wley Regis & Tipt'n) Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Armstrong, Ernest Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice
Alldritt, Walter Ashley, Jack Bagier, Gordon A. T.
Allen, Scholefield Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw) Barnes, Michael
Barnett, Joel Grey, Charles (Durham) Maxwell, Robert
Baxter, William Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mayhew, Christopher
Beaney, Alan Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Bence, Cyril Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J. Mendelson, John
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mikardo, Ian
Bidwell, Sydney Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Millan, Bruce
Binns, John Harper, Joseph Miller, Dr. M. S.
Bishop, E. S. Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Milne, Edward (Blyth)
Blackburn, F. Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Haseldine, Norman Molloy William
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hattersley, Roy Moonman, Eric
Booth, Albert Hazell, Bert Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Boston, Terence Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Boyden, James Henig, Stanley Morris, John (Aberavon)
Bradley, Tom Hobden, Dennis Moyle, Roland
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Hooley, Frank Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Brooks, Edwin Hooson, Emlyn Murray, Albert
Broughton, Sir Alfred Horner, John Neal, Harold
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Newens Stan
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Norwood Christopher
Buchan, Norman Hoy, Rt. Hn. James Oakes, Gordon
Butler, Herber[...] (Hackney, C.) Huckfield, Leslie Ogden, Eric
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) O'Halloran, Michael
Caliaghan, Rt. Hn. James Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) O'Malley, Brian
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Roy (Newport) Oram, Bert
Carmichael, Neil Hunter, Adam Orbach, Maurice
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hynd, John Orme, Stanley
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur Oswald, Thomas
Coe, Denis Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Owne, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Concannon, J.D Janner, Sir Barnett Padley, Walter
Conlan, Bernard Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Paget, R. T.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.) Palmer, Arthur
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Park, Trevor
Dalyell, Tam Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.) Pavitt, Laurence
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Jones J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek) jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Judd, Frank Pentland, Norman
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kelley, Richard Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Delargy, H. J. Kenyon, Clifford Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Dempsey, James Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Dewar, Donald Latham, Arthur Probert, Arthur
Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Lawson, George Rankin, John
Dickens, James Leadbitter, Ted Rees, Merlyn
Dobson, Ray Ledger, Ron Richard, Ivor
Doig, Peter Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dunn, James A. Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock) Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy
Dunnett, Jack Lee, John (Reading) Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter) Lestor, Miss Joan Robertson, John (Paisley)
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold (Cheetham) Robinson,Rt.Hn.Kenneth(St.P'c'as)
Edelman, Maurice Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Roebuck, Roy
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lomas, Kenneth Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Ellis, John Loughlin, Charles Rose, Paul
English, Michael Luard, Evan Rowlands, E.
Ennals, David Lubbock, Eric Ryan John
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) McBride, Neil Sheldon, Robert
Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) McCann, John Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Faulds, Andrew MacColl, James Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Fernyhough, E. MacDermot, Niall Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Finch, Alan (Wigan) Macdonald, A. H. Slater, Joseph
Fletcher,Rt.Hn. Sir Eric(Islington,E.) McGuire, Michael Snow, Julian
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McKay, Mrs. Margaret Spriggs, Leslie
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Foley, Maurice Mackie, John Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mackintosh, John P. Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Ford, Ben Maclennan, Robert Strauss, Rt. Hn. John
Forrester, John Macmillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Fowler, Gerry McNamara, J. Kevin Taverne, Dick
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.) Thomas, Rt. Hn. George
Freeson, Reginald Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Thornton, Ernest
Gardner, Tony Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thorpe, nt. Hn. Jeremy
Garrett, W. E. Mallalieu.J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.) Tinn, James
Ginsburg, David Mapp, Charles Tomney, Frank
Golding, John Marks, Kenneth Tuck, Raphael
Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Marquand, David Urwin, T. W.
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Gregory, Arnold Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Walden, Brian (All Saints) White, Mrs, Eirene Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Whitlock, William Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Wallace, George Wilkins, W. A. Winnick, David
Watkins, David (Consett) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.) Woof, Robert
Weitzman, David Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Wellbeloved, James Williams, Clifford (Abertillery) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin) Mr. William Hamling and
Whitaker, Ben Willis, Rt. Hn. George Mr. Ernest Perry.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Gibson-Watt, David Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Astor, John Glover, Sir Douglas Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Glyn, Sir Richard Miscampbell, Norman
Awdry, Daniel GOdber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Baker, Kenneth (Acton) Goodhart, Philip Monro, Hector
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Goodhew, Victor Montgomery, Fergus
Balniel, Lord Gower, Raymond Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Batsford, Brian Grant, Anthony Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Grant-Ferris, Sir Robert Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Bell, Ronald Grieve, Percy Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Murton, Oscar
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm) Gurden, Harold Nabarro Sir Gerald
Berry, Hn. Anthony Hall, John (Wycombe) Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Biffen, John Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Biggs-Davison, John Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)
Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Nott, John
Black, Sir Cyril Harris, Reader (Heston) Orr, Capt, L. P. S.
Blaker, Peter Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Hastings, Stephen Osborn, John (Hallam)
Body, Richard Hawkins, Paul Page, Graham (Crosby)
Bossom, Sir Clive Hay, John
Boyd-Carpsnter, Rt. Hn. John Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Boyle, Rt Hn. Sir Edward Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Braine, Bernard Heseltine, Michael Peel, Jonn
Brewis, John Higgins, Terence L. Percival, Ian
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hiley, Joseph Peyton, John
Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.Sir Walter Hill, J. E. B. Pike, Miss Mervyn
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hirst, Geoffrey Pink, R. Bonner
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Pounder, Rafton
Bryan, Paul Holland, Philip Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Buchanan-Smith,Alick(Angus,N&M) Hordern, Peter Price, David (Eastleigh)
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Hornby, Richard Prior, J. M. L.
Bullus, Sir Eric Howell, David (Guildford) Pym, Francis
Burden, F. A. Hunt, John Quennell, Miss J. M.
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Hutchison, Michael Clark Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Iremonger, T. L. Rawlinson, Rt Hn. Sir Peter
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Channon, H. P. G. Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Chataway, Christopher Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Chichester-Clark, R. Joseph, Rt Hn. Sir Keith Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Clegg, Walter Kaberry, Sir Donald Ridsdale, Julian
Cooke, Robert Kershaw, Anthony Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Kimball, Marcus Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Corfield, F. V. King, Tom Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Costain, A. P. Kirk, Peter Royle, Anthony
Crouch, David Kitson, Timothy Russell, Sir Ronald
Crowder, F. P. Knight, Mrs. Jill St. John-Stevas, Norman
Cunningham, Sir Knox Lancaster, Col. C. G. Sandys, Rt Hn. D.
Currie, G. B. H. Lane, David Scott, Nicholas
Dalkeith, Earl of Langford-Holt, Sir John Scott-Hopkins, James
Dance, James Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Sharples, Richard
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Dean, Paul Lloud, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral) Silvester, Frederick
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Longden, Gilbert Sinclair, Sir George
Digby, Simon Wingfield McAdden, Sir Stephen Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Dodds-Parker, Douglas MacArthur Sir Stephen Smith, John (London & W'minster)
Doughty, Charles Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Speed, Keith
Drayson, G. B. Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain Stainton, Keith
Eden, Sir John Stodart, Anthony
Emery, Peter McMaster, Stanley Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Errington, Sir Eric Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Summers, Sir Spencer
Eyre, Reginald McNair-Wilson, Michael Tapsell, Peter
Farr, John McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Fisher, Nigel Maddan, Martin Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Fortescue, Tim Marten, Neil Temple, John M.
Foster, Sir John Maude, Angus Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Tilney, John
Fry, Peter Mawby, Ray Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
van Straubenzee, W. R. Ward, Christopher (Swindon) woodnutt, Mark
Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John Ward, Dame Irene Worsley, Marcus
Vickers, Dame Joan Wells, John (Maidstone) Wright, Esmond
Waddington, David Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Walker, Peter (Worcester) Wiggin, Jerry TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek Williams, Donald (Dudley) Mr. R. W. Elliott and
Wall, Patrick Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) Mr. Jasper More.
Walters, Dennis Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick