HC Deb 17 November 1970 vol 806 cc1165-93

Again considered in Committee.

Question again proposed, That the Amendment be made.

Mr. Meacher

I was making the point that there still remains the delicate question of the amount by which F.I.S. will be raised, taking into account such indices, presumably, as the rise in prices, the advance in earnings, and improvements in disposable per capita income.

It is a great temptation to any Government to preserve to themselves the timing of increases and the announcement of the size of any new offer of official generosity, since a growing proliferation of benefits and nicely timed statements of largesse for all, or for certain sensitive sections of the electorate at least, puts into the hands of any Government potent pre-electoral persuasion which it might not be best for Governments to possess.

The interests of the poor are not necessarily identical with the interests of the Government and it would be wrong to vest in the hands of any Government this delicate responsibility for protecting the poor against the over excessive rigours of an inflationary environment. There is far too much painful experience already that Governments will all too readily take advantage, when there are no constraints of economic pressure, of the lack of articulation, or the lack of adequate organisation, among the poor, to initiate deflationary measures at precisely that point of the community where such measures can least be borne. The only proper way in which to avoid these pressures is by establishing a definite published ratio of F.I.S. to average earnings. Once this is done, the future of the matter is taken outside the cockpit of politics, and the more the temptation to score petty advantages is reduced, the better.

But there is a further crucial reason for taking the fixing of the making-up level out of the sphere of politics. It is that any major development of F.I.S. must inevitably involve the Government in a virtual open-ended commitment almost indefinitely to increase public expenditure to shore up very low wages. Is this what the Government really intend? If so how will the huge problem of disincentives be handled? I am well aware that in winding up the Second Reading debate the Under-Secretary declared: Speenhamland started … in a very small way. We intend to keep this small."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th November, 1970; Vol. 806, c. 333.] This is partly corroborated by the reply which I received a fortnight ago to a Parliamentary Question about the cost to the national wages bill of restoring partly or substantially the former differentials between skilled workers and low-paid workers following the introduction of the scheme. The Minister of State at the Department of Employment and Productivity replied: I would not expect the family income supplement scheme to have any effect on the national wages bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th November, 1970; Vol. 805, c. 466.] Be that as it may, the Government cannot have it both ways. Either the F.I.S. will be increased by significant amounts at regular intervals, in which case the demoralising Speenhamland effect on incentives will be grossly aggravated, or F.I.S., while being occasionally reviewed, will be only very marginally improved, in which case the charge stands that it will not prevent the poor from being made much worse off as a direct result of other parts of the total public expenditure package simultaneously introduced. Either way the poor will lose.

Faced with this logical dilemma, the Government will, I believe, be sorely tempted to keep F.I.S. at the relative level of the pittance it already is. Therefore, I ask them to save their credibility over the Bill by tying the supplement to a moving standard of living index, which alone will honourably exculpate them from any possible future suspicions that they have marked out the very low paid for prime attention as helpless pawns in any struggle against inflation.

There are at least five other distinct reasons, to each of which I attach considerable importance, for requiring a cost-of-living-or standard-of-living-based relativity in determining the make-up level. I shall spell out each separately, but briefly.

The first concerns the wage-stop. I fully accept that it is one of the very few agreeable features of the Bill that a certain number of claimants now subject to this notorious restriction on their so-called entitlement to supplementary allowances will have this infringement of their rights considerably eased. But, however many or however few are assisted here, the number will rapidly decline unless F.I.S. is pegged to a realistic index of the movement of earnings. The Government have already made a lot out of this diminution of the wage-stop, and very justifiably. I appeal to them to carry through the meaningfulness of the improvement by ensuring through the Amendment, as no haphazard or unpredictable review can ever achieve, that this much-vaunted object of the Bill is not uselessly dissipated in the sands of inflation.

My second further reason for the Amendment concerns the smoothness in the process which it envisages. It may well be argued by the Government that the point just made about maintaining the mitigation of a wage stop could equally well be met by regular reviews and deliberate increases in F.I.S. from time to time. I doubt that this will occur as generously as might be promised, for the reasons I have given. But leaving that aside, increases in F.I.S. made at intervals, even if biennial, like most insurance benefits, would still be only haphazardly related to the needs of those assisted.

Increases brought about by Government dictat must in the nature of the case involve a step-like pattern which at the outset would maximally improve the standard of living of claimants, who would then have to watch helplessly as inflation gradually but inexorably eroded their advantage until at some notional point within the interval their standard of living lost its gain relative to the standard of the rest of the community and they began to approach or even pass the point where they would be worse off relatively, and even possibly in absolute terms, than at the time of the previous rise in benefit. That is a desperate situation only too familiar in the case of retirement pensions. I believe that all the emotion and righteous anger generated by the issue on both sides of the Committee about the inadequacy of even a biennial review at times of rapid inflation are great enough and damaging enough to justify making every effort to avoid this unsatisfactory and unjust situation in the case of an entirely new benefit.

Will the Government, therefore, make clear whether the Bill is intended to be closely related to the needs of the potential claimants? If so, will they accept that only a fixed, guaranteed relationship with earnings or prices, or an amalgam of the two can achieve that end?

The Amendment offers the Government the opportunity to begin the desperately-needed synchronisation of benefit levels for the whole multitude of different means-tested benefits. If we include, as we must, the vast diffusion of discretionary local authority benefits, the whole bureaucratic apparatus of means-testing, involving in Britain today over 3,000 means tests, of which 1,500 are unique and not precisely reproduced anywhere else in the system, we see that it is an utter and fantastic muddle.

The party opposite has always prided itself on its management capabilities, and "rationalisation" has always been a vogue word with it. Here is an excellent opportunity to exercise those talents. I very much hope that the Government will seize the initiative by establishing a relative pegging system for this benefit, which could serve as a prototype for similiar treatment of other benefits. But rationalisation and the imprint of strategy, desperately needed though they are in the social services, are not the only advantages of accepting the Amendment and extending its logic into adjacent fields. Another major advantage is that it would establish at least the beginnings of a framework in which the standard of living of the various categories of persons accepted to be living in poverty could, because they would be immediately accessible to precise measurement, he progressively raised as an essential ingredient in any overall strategy to eliminate poverty in Britain.

I do not want to raise the stakes too high, but there can be no doubt that the principle behind the Amendment is exceedingly important and has the widest ramifications. To this extent, and bearing in mind the essential principle, whilst it would diminish the full effectiveness of the Amendment to relate F.I.S. to a price index rather than publish average manual earnings, such a move would still be compatible with the underlying design of the Amendment and still mark a very definite improvement. Will not the Government accept this at the very least as a minimal concession to protect the interests of the very poor? In a year when prices are only too likely to rise by 7 or 8 per cent. or more, surely it would be very unreasonable to do otherwise?

It is significant that the Secretary of State has already had to admit that the figures on which the Bill is based are already sharply out of date. I suspect, though I do not know, that the figures were based on the Family Income Survey of 1968. It is not enough for the right hon. Gentleman to say, as he has, that the make-up level will have to be reviewed before August, 1971. If we go on as we started, it is clear that the damage wrought by savage inflation is far too great to leave it to the palpable charity of government to rescue those who are helplessly ensnared in the inflationary spiral.

What makes the situation particularly disturbing is the apparent complacency—I am bound to use that word in relation to the right hon. Gentleman—of the Secretary of State when he tries to appease us with the sweeping statement that as things are, earnings are definitely rising, even for most of the very poor. Surely he must be aware that the two recent sensational reports by Incomes Data Services Limited pointed to an utterly different conclusion. They showed that for the poorest workers wage increases were not only at a significantly lower level in size but that the intervals between them were significantly greater.

Not only that. They showed that for workers covered by 30 of the 53 wage councils concerned, wages had risen less over the recent period than the rise in prices. In other words, the poorest workers are not only increasingly falling behind in their standard of living compared with the rest of the community, but their standard of living is dropping in real terms.

I submit that this appalling state of affairs in the wage market makes it all the more vital that any wage supplement is enabled to maintain its full value and that this can be properly done only by the Government accepting the Amendment. And having stated the case for the Amendment, I will make a few exploratory probes at some of the possible objections.

10.15 p.m.

It may be said that when translated into absolute figures, the percentages given produce amounts slightly higher than those at present written into the Bill. I accept this, but it is not a serious objection. Clearly, the percentages could be reduced, though this would destroy the nicely rounded figures and give a rather unfortunate impression of pernickety exactitude over what is supposed to be a generous Measure. But the obvious need to review the rates of supplementary benefit scales so soon after they were last increased, in view of the sharply accentuating pace of inflation, means that the figures given in the Amendment are anything but high.

However, I have no doubt that a much more substantial objection is likely to be that the Amendment carries with it certain inflationary implications. There are several ways of rebutting this objection, and I will give a few.

First, if the market is defective as a protector of low wages, as it patently is, do the Government intend to pick out the very low paid, because of their helplessness and lack of power in retaliating, as the one section of the community which should be penalised? If low-paid manual workers are not put on a more dynamic escalator, such as the Amendment would provide, than any at present within their reach, it will be seen, and rightly so, that they are being selected to bear the brunt in the forefront of the Government's economic policy.

Secondly, I refute the objection on the grounds that the inflationary consequences of implementing the Amendment, bearing in mind the tiny amount of Government expenditure involved, cannot be argued to be more than miniscule. Again, it would be the discriminatory collusion of the one-eyed to stare disapprovingly at an incomes rise for a few very low-paid workers, while turning a comparatively blind eye to some substantial price rises in both the public and private sectors which ripple devastatingly through the entire economy.

Thirdly, I would counter against the objection of inflation the fact that what is sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. If the Government can afford to give away, as they are doing, £330 million in tax relief for the well off, it is scarcely beyond argument that they can afford to give away a minute amount of far less than £10 million to the very poor.

I therefore conclude that the objection about inflation is really in no sense at all sustainable, and in view of the insubstantialness of the counter arguments against the Amendment, but more particularly in view of the several solid and vitally important advantages to be derived from its acceptance, as I have outlined, I urge the Government to take this step and so transform the Bill from a relatively minor measure of alleviation into a piece of major legislation by acepting the Amendment.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Paul Dean)

The hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) appealed to us when moving the Amendment to go back to Beveridge. That was an unusual rôle for him. He is usually urging us to go forward with Pardoe.

Mr. Pardoe

It is the same thing.

Mr. Dean

I will leave that matter there.

The hon. Gentleman was proposing, and the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) supported him, that there should be an automatic index for this supplement rather than what is proposed in the Bill. This undoubtedly has superficial attractions. The hon. Member for Cornwall, North urged that as there are automatic indices for a number of other social service benefits, there is no reason why an index should not apply in this case. As I say, this is admittedly a superficially attractive proposition.

Having said that, I wish to make it clear that some real difficulties are involved. For example, we are introducing an entirely new benefit. To put it immediately on to an automatic index basis would be to accept a great deal in that one would, unless one got the automatic index right from the start, find it not as easy to change it as by the regulation provisions in the Bill. Thus, one of the big disadvantages to taking the step proposed by the Amendment is that there would be less flexibility to make changes in the actual figures than there would be under the proposals now in the Bill. This is an important argument against the Amendment, particularly when, as now, we are introducing a completely new benefit.

That is, however, not the only argument against it. Other difficulties would arise in practice and I will give a few examples of what the effect of the Amendments would be; and the two Amendments are similar, although the figures in them are slightly different. The Amendments would mean that, if wages rose faster than prices, a higher supplement would be paid although the family's living standards had risen, but if prices rose faster than wages the real value of the supplement would fall when real wages were also falling. The hon. Gentleman may say that it is highly unlikely that the latter situation would exist, and I accept this, but it illustrates my point that the more we write in an automatic index at this stage the less likely we are to be able to make changes if unforeseen circumstances arise.

The main difficulty of this approach is in the actual figures suggested by the hon. Members for Cornwall, North and Oldham, West. I will give the Committee an indication of what the effect would be but, before doing so, I remind the Committee that in selecting the figures that are in the Bill the Government had in mind three main factors; first, the level of earnings, secondly, the supplementary benefit level and, thirdly, the tax threshold.

The effect of these proposals on the tax threshold and the normal supplementary benefit requirements I will illustrate by giving a few figures. In the case of Amendment 11, for the one child family the proposed make-up level would be £16 2s., which compares with the tax threshold level of £14 7s. and the supplementary benefit level of £14 6s. In other words, the proposed make-up level even for the one child family would be higher than both the tax threshold and the supplementary benefit level. That gap widens as the number of children grows. This is partly because of the 30 per cent. which is included in the Amendment.

For the two children family the proposed make-up level would be £19 16s., whereas the tax threshold level is £16 3s. and the supplementary benefit level is also £16 3s. Going to the extreme of a six children family, the proposed make-up level would be £34 12s., the tax threshold level £23 7s. and the supplementary benefit level £23 12s. The hon. Gentleman will see from those figures the substantial double disincentive effect which his proposal would have.

Mr. Pardoe

Without making the obvious point that it might have been better to use the £350 million which the Government gave away to raise the threshold of tax and thereby solve the problem, may I ask the Minister to tell us exactly what figures he is taking for rent in the figures he has quoted for the threshold of supplementary benefit?

Mr. Dean

I am taking the figures we took in the Bill. The figures I have given show clearly that the Amendments would have a substantial disincentive effect, particularly on families having a substantial number of children. The figures in every case are above, and in many cases, well above, the tax threshold and the normal supplementary benefit requirements for similar families. These are the main disincentive effects which would operate to a substantial degree in this area.

Mr. Timothy Raison (Aylesbury)

I am not clear whether my hon. Friend in using the term make-up level is talking about the prescribed amount or the amount after the 50 per cent. has been knocked off.

Mr. Dean

I am talking about the make-up levels proposed in the Amendment.

Mr. Raison

I am sorry, but I am still not clear. There is a difference between the prescribed amount, which is what I take to be the make-up level, and what is received—which is only half the difference between income and the prescribed amount.

Mr. Dean

I am sorry, I misunderstood my hon. Friend's point. I am taking the prescribed amounts, which are the figures the hon. Gentleman has used.

I turn to some of the other points which have been mentioned. The hon Member for Cornwall, North mentioned the Bagley thesis and we shall give close examination to this matter in the studies we are now conducting on the whole question of poverty, particularly family poverty. This study is concerned with relativities rather than with absolute amounts, and it is not clear whether the studies in this thesis would help his argument or not. We must await further studies to see whether that is so.

The hon. Gentleman then referred to the 30 per cent. figure and asked why we had selected £2. The short answer is that it is the average rate based on supplementary benefits for children under the scale. We took that amount because we wished in the Bill to take the simplest possible figures and to make the simplest possible approach.

As my right hon. Friend said on Second Reading, there is power in subsection (2) to substitute different figures. My right hon. Friend intends to look at these figures in the light of the three indices I have mentioned, and in particular in the light of the tax thresholds and the level of earnings. I hope the Committee will feel that, although there are certain superficial attractions in the approach suggested, we are more likely to achieve the immediate objective that we have in mind and to maintain flexibility by adopting the proposals in the Bill rather than the Amendments.

Mr. Meacher

The objections put forward by the hon. Gentleman against the Amendment were not particularly strong. They were on three main grounds. The first was that if a pegging system were adopted at the outset it would not be possible to change the figures largely because it was a different arrangement. This seems to be a defensive argument and does not seem to show a great deal of confidence in the desirability of extending the new benefit. I find this approach disappointing.

Secondly, the argument was used that if any unforeseen changes occurred, such as prices rising faster than earnings, this would produce problems In the first place, it would be possible to change the percentages while preserving the principle of a pegging system. It is possible to get round the point by saying that in some situations there could be an amalgam between price rises and increases in earnings to safeguard the situation.

Thirdly, it was said that make-up levels might be above the supplementary benefit line and above the tax threshold. Although I admit that this is the case, we need to press the point since this does not provide a real objection to the Amendment. There could be other means of raising the tax threshold. This is not an argument against the use of a pegging system for family income supplement or for any other benefit.

Mr. Pardoe

In view of the interesting discussion which has taken place, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

10.30 p.m.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

I beg to move, Amendment No. 13, in page 1, line 23, leave out '15' and insert '£16'.

I understand that it is convenient to take at the same time the following Amendments:

No. 15, in page 1, line 24, leave out '£15 plus £2' and insert '£16 plus £1.50'.

No. 16, in page 1, line 24, leave out: '£2 for each additional child' and insert: '£1 8s. for each additional child under the age of five years, £1 13s. for each additional child between the ages of five and 10 years, £2 1s. for each additional child between the ages of 11 and 12 years and £2 4s. for each additional child between the ages of 13 and 15 years'. No. 17, in page 1, line 25, at end insert: 'and (c) the amount by which the rent or rent and rates (as the case may be) paid or payable for the accommodation of the said family exceeds £3 per week, so however that such amount shall not exceed £2 or such higher amount as in the circumstances of the case may be approved by the Supplementary Benefits Commission'. In speaking to this group of Amendments I am conscious that we on this side of the Committee have preferred an acceptance of the Amendments moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) and the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe). There is no doubt that when the Under-Secretary spoke about the hon. Member for Cornwall, North, in effect, going forward to Beveridge, he was not so far from the point, because in the present cycle of history it would without doubt be going forward to go back to Beveridge.

Because we took the view that it was unlikely that the Government would at this stage be willing to accept a complete re-casting of the Bill in the form put forward by those two hon. Members, we are suggesting a more modest Amendment which we believe puts before the Government the direct choice of moving a little closer towards the original pledge to spend £30 million on family poverty than the amount that they are at present contemplating spending. Many people took that pledge to mean that £30 million would be spent on those in poverty, not that the Government were committed to a particular scheme. Certainly the Prime Minister, in reply to a Question put to him this afternoon by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley), on which I asked a supplementary question, made it clear that he was committed to this scheme. But we suggest that he can spend £30 million on poor families in the way that we propose and will put forward in other Amendments.

The purpose of this group of Amendments is to deal with two particular weaknesses in the Bill, which the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues have directly admitted. The first concerns the level of the prescribed income. I should like to hear out what was said by the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison). We must get the term "prescribed income" used in Committee, not "makeup level", because everybody will think that they will get £15 if they are a one-child family. We do not want to start people off with a set of illusions.

The right hon. Gentleman has admitted that he regards these levels as being likely to be amended. The phrase that he used on Second Reading was: Already the earnings on which we have based our figures in the Bill are sharply out of date. So the first purpose of the Amendment is to bring those prescribed income levels up to date and, in particular, to allow for the fact that the Government will have to increase supplementary benefit next November, just as the previous Government increased it this November, to keep faith with the usual assumption that people on supplementary benefit shall be enabled to keep abreast of increases in the cost of living.

The other end or purpose of this group of Amendments is to deal with the major anomaly in the Bill that nothing is done to recognise the fact that many poor families pay exceptionally high rents.

With his usual frankness, the right hon. Gentleman specifically agreed that this was a weakness of the scheme when, on 10th November, he said: People who pay large rents are not helped by the Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th Nov. 1970; Vol. 806, c. 227–229.] The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that among the poor there are many who pay exceptionally high rents. Therefore, we commend these Amendments to him.

The purpose behind Amendments Nos. 13 and 15 is to establish, as far as possible, that the prescribed income and the poverty line, as set by supplementary benefit, are one and the same. It is not easy to do this, because the Supplementary Benefits Commission has wide discretionary powers to give special payments in respect of heating, clothing, and certain other needs. We are attempting to reflect what the supplementary benefit will be next November, allowing for the probable increase in the cost of living assesed by many commentators as being between 6 and 8 per cent.

There is another purpose which is crucial to us. The right hon. Gentleman made it clear on Second Reading that he had not ruled out the possibility of increases in family allowances. We welcome this. However, as the F.I.S. Bill is drafted, no increases in allowances would benefit those covered by the Bill. They would simply lead to further deductions from basic income. The poorest would not be affected by an increase in family allowances on any basis, such as partial claw-back, partial tax regarding family allowances and so on, unless an Amendment like this is passed linking a disregard of family allowances with the amount in the Bill for each child and to establish the prescribed income level.

This means that any future increase in family allowances would be paid across the board to these families because we are reducing the amount of prescribed income to leave room for family allowances. This is why we set our figure at £16 for the one-child family but reduced the amount for further children from the present £2 to £1 10s. The present family allowance is 18s. for a second child and £1 for the third and subsequent children. This means that, taking present family allowances, the figure would be £ 1 10s. for the first child, £2 8s. for the second and £2 10s. for subsequent children, broadly in line with the supplementary benefit figures, although not so carefully refined from the point of view of ages. It strikes broadly around the middle.

We are trying to establish a single poverty line. It is important to do this for simplicity and so that we do not see the beginning of the erosion of the line established by the S.B.C. We recognise that the Government have a problem about disincentives and need to taper off the amount given to families. The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that this tapering needs to be between F.I.S. and other means-tested benefits such as school meals. It does not arise between F.I.S. and supplementary benefit for the reasons he gave on the Clause dealing with women earners choosing between F.I.S. and S.B.C. There is no question of poverty lines overlapping as between F.I.S. and S.B.C., since no one can claim both.

Let me tell the right hon. Gentleman what we suspect will happen in the next 15 months. The Chancellor has clearly recognised the effects of inflation by increasing the income limits for means-tested national benefits, such as prescription charges and school meals, by 30s. As we know, this was done at the point at which the public statement of the Chancellor was discussed. We know that, at the beginning of October, means-tested benefit orders were being laid which did not include a 30s. increase, and that, by the end of October, there was the Chancellor's statement of the all-round 30s. increase.

It is reasonable to suppose that supplementary benefit levels will probably rise in line with the increase. If they do not, there will be an unacceptable position. In consequence, supplementary benefits will reflect higher fuel and food prices and higher rents, which are bound to occur as a result of Government policy. On that basis we assume at least a £1 increase in supplementary benefits and possibly more by 1971. Therefore our figures are, broadly speaking, right to allow for that further increase.

If the right hon. Gentleman does not feel able to increase the income levels even before the scheme comes in, he knows better than I do that the effect will be that many people earning less than supplementary benefit will not be covered by the scheme. They will not get F.I.S. nor will they be able to draw supplementary benefits because they will be at work.

As an example, at present a family with one child will be entitled to draw F.I.S. if the man's earnings are less than £15 a week although the amount will be small unless his earnings are no more than £12 a week. They will otherwise be of the order of only a few shillings because he gets only 50 per cent of the difference. The point is that the man on F.I.S. is paying heavily for going to work. A man with one child earning £15 a week will be paying 4s. a week income tax, 22s. a week National Insurance and, on the most conservative assumption, perhaps 5s. a week for travel. That is almost certain to be much higher.

This means that his net income, after stoppages which he cannot prevent because he is working, will be £13 9s. The present level for supplementary benefit is £13 5s. Hon. Gentlemen will discover at every point that the difference between net income after stoppages of a man who is just on the prescribed income level for F.I.S. and that of the man on supplementary benefit grows further apart, and the larger his family is, the greater the gap will become.

I am still thinking about November, 1970, supplementary benefit rates and August, 1971 F.I.S. rates. I make no assumption about the increase in supplementary benefits. If they are increased, as they should be, to take account of higher prices, by £1 or 30s. for a married couple between November 1970 and November 1971, this Bill will not even deal with many families getting well below supplementary benefit level.

The other factor, the joker in the pack, is the question of rent. This is why we are trying to deal with the situation. The national difference between supplementary benefit and family income supplement prescribed levels widens the moment there is a rent higher than £2 19s., which is the present supplementary benefit standard assumption and the assumption in the Bill. How many families can hon. Gentlemen opposite think of whose rent is more than £2 19s.? I can think of very many, some in council houses and some in private accommodation, some in furnished accommodation. There are thousands of poor families whose rent is above that level. Yet the effect of the fair rent procedure being extended to council houses, as the Secretary of State for the Environment has said it will be shortly, and the effect of the gradual withdrawal of subsidies, however slowly it starts, will be to make this figure of £2 19s. look even less realistic than it is now.

Sir K. Joseph:

The whole idea of the arrangement proposed by my right hon. Friend is to see that rent allowances are available to those who are poor, whether they live in public or private housing, except for the relatively small furnished sector.

Mrs. Williams

I should not have given way to the right hon. Gentleman because I was coming to that point. Both the fair rents procedure and the beginning of the rearrangement about subsidies, which is obviously linked with it, are likely to commence before the new scheme can come in.

10.45 p.m.

The Minister said that it would be at least 18 months to two years before the scheme could come in. I therefore want to press my Amendment on the ground that this is an attempt to cover a gap of at least a year—and I am giving this the most favourable possible connotation—between the commencement of the F.I.S. scheme and the commencement of any housing scheme that will benefit people in this group.

The right hon. Gentleman's concern should, I think, be greater than mine, because he is concerned about the Bill not being seen to be a mockery when it starts. We, the Opposition, are not so concerned about that. From the right hon. Gentleman's point of view we are generously offering him an Amendment which will cover a situation which will give rise to anomalies and injustices with which he will find it exceedingly difficult to cope.

I hope that we can get from the right hon. Gentleman some sort of assurance about the levels at which the provisions in the Bill will commence. In the last three months—that is to say July, August and September—according to official figures, there has been an increase in the cost of living of 1.1 per cent. This assumes about 4½ per cent. over a 12-month period if nothing gets worse. We have had an increase in fares of 3s. in the pound in the London area, which makes my assumption about working expenses look extremely modest.

I do not want to embarrass the right hon. Gentleman, but I must say that it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that some time between August, 1971, and August, 1972, there will be an increase in employees' contributions for National Insurance purposes, which will mean a further deduction before we reach the figure for net income from prescribed income, so that the gap will be even wider between F.I.S. supplement and supplementary benefit supplement.

In the light of all that, I suspect that the right hon. Gentleman's figures are, to put it conservatively, at least £1 out, or to put it pessimistically, more like 30s. out, and I urge him to consider accepting the Amendments, bearing in mind that one of them attempts to deal with the serious anomalies about rents which will dog the Bill for the first two years that it is in operation.

The Chairman

Order. I remind the Committee that with this Amendment we are discussing Amendments Nos. 15, 16 and 17.

Mr. McNamara

I shall be brief, because time is getting on, and some of the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) have been answered by the Under-Secretary of State.

When I put down my Amendment I made an error in the scales. It refers to the scales in operation a fortnight ago, and not to those in operation now, but that is of little significance, because the right hon. Gentleman has admitted that he has been working on figures which are two years old.

The purpose of my Amendment is to try to bring a little consistency and equity into the system of allowances. Earlier my hon. Friend referred to the number of means tests that are available. Yesterday I telephoned around the various departments in my locality and asked whether, without putting themselves out, they could forward to me at the House the various types of means tests that are applied in respect of school meals, rent and rate rebates, and so on. I gather that at least 14 different types of means tests can be applied without difficulty in the City of Hull. That was just scratching the surface, for these are many more.

I do not know what the tests do to those who apply for benefit, but, by God, they frighten me, to paraphrase the noble Duke. The scheme introduces another means test. I should like to know why the Government cannot use a commonly accepted means test, that used by the Supplementary Benefits Commission.

In choosing the figure of £2 for children of all ages right through the scale, the Government have been completely arbitrary and have failed to recognise that the demands of children as they grow increase rather than diminish, that after parents have got over the initial expense of the first child—and on this occasion a benefit is provided in respect of the first child—expenses become greater as children grow, as they become school children and then teenagers. The Supplementary Benefits Commission recognises that by its escalating scale of benefits.

Because of the lateness of the hour, my speech, which I had timed to last one-and-a-half hours, I have kept briefly to two points. I know that there are many comments which may be made about the Amendments and I was prepared to meet them, but I have confined myself to asking why the Government have not used an existing means test and why they have not used an escalating scale rising with increasing age of children rather than a fixed sum.

Mr. Michael Barnes (Brentford and Chiswick)

A few more words need to be said about Amendment No. 17 which seeks to do something about rent. A scheme of this kind, prescribing amounts up to which benefits are paid, cannot possibly function effectively unless it takes account of rent levels. In big cities such as London it is possible for families with good wages to be living in poverty because of the rent. This is particularly so with families which have recently moved to London, or with couples who have recently married. They are not able to buy their homes because they do not have the money to do so, and they have not yet accumulated sufficient points to be rehoused by the local authorities. If there are children, such families are pushed into substandard accommodation, unhealthy, damp basements and so on, or into accommodation which is too expensive for their income, and in those circumstances rent may be a major factor in causing poverty.

This can be the case even with families with average wages when there are three or four children. It is possible in London for such a family to be paying £8 or £9 a week for a private flat, or about one-third of its income. The rent and fuel bills have to be paid and it is expenditure on children's clothing and children's food which has to be cut, where the economies have to be made.

I have referred to families on an average wage, but the Bill will do nothing for such families, because they will be earning too much. The scope of the Bill is such that a family with four children will need to earn only £18 a week, excluding family allowances, before it is taken out of the scheme.

Earlier, the Secretary of State spoke of his scheme as helping the poorest of the poor—"and, mercifully", he said, "they are few". They are few because the Bill sets its sights so incredibly and so pathetically low. In fact, there are millions living in poverty who will continue to live in poverty and not be covered by the Bill at all. I am glad that we have now reached a point of major disagreement. It is about time such a point was reached. There has been a good deal of attempt earlier in the debate to modify and improve the Bill, and it seems to me that some of my hon. Friends feel that, if a Bill pays some money to some families who need it badly, that is a reason for not voting against it. But I believe that the Bill, with its miserable benefits under the present Clause, is not in the long-term interests of the poor. It will be looked upon in future years as a retrograde step in our social security legislation.

The right hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) referred to the rent rebate scheme announced by the Secretary of State for the Environment which is to be introduced in two or three years. It will not cover families living in furnished accommodation. What estimate has the right hon. Gentleman of the numbers who will qualify for help who are living in furnished accommodation at present? I suspect that the figure is much larger than many people realise.

There is a tendency for hon. Members opposite to think that furnished accommodation is not the permanent home, that the people living there must be just passing through, in some sense, passing through London, or moving between jobs. In fact, for many people, particularly in the big cities furnished accommodation is their permanent home. The irony is that in many cases such furnished accommodation may not be furnished and would not meet the legal test of what is a furnished flat. Landlords let it as furnished or partly furnished in order to get round the Rent Acts.

Unless rents are taken into account in a scheme like this, it will be absolutely useless. It is essential that, in the two or three years before the comprehensive rent rebate scheme comes in, something be done not only for tenants of private unfurnished accommodation but for tenants of furnished accommodation, too. Furnished accomodation now is the worst buy on the market for people with low incomes. Shelter did a survey recently which showed that for people living in furnished accommodation with incomes of up to £20 a week it was not uncommon for the rent to be as high as half the family income in some cases, and in no case less than a quarter.

I am glad that we have now, towards the end of today's debate, reached a point of major disagreement. The miserable benefits built into this scheme, with no provision to tie them to average earnings, as my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) wanted, and its failure to make adequate provision for the amount of rent which people have to pay, will make it a useless scheme.

11.0 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Paul Dean)

By moving the Amendment to increase the prescribed amount, the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Williams) is asking us to do what there is already power in the Bill to do by regulation when we have more up-to-date figures. There is very little difference between us on this. I do not dispute that the figures which she suggested may be right. But rather than write in figures now which may or may not be right in the light of the latest possible information, surely it is much better to use the power in regulations when we have the most up-to-date information on earnings and tax thresholds. I argue, not that the hon. Lady's figures may not be right, but merely that it would be better to wait until we have more up-to-date information.

The hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) has taken out-of-date supplementary benefit figures in speaking to his Amendment with regard to different levels for children of different ages. As a result, his proposal would be less generous than the average £2 figure in the prescribed amount in the Bill. I am sure that he does not intend that.

Mr. McNamara

I am sorry that I did not command the complete attention of the Committee, because I made that specific point. But I thought that if my figures were only two weeks old and the figures the Secretary of State used to introduce the Bill were two years old he could not complain. If the hon. Gentleman will accept the principle of my Amendment, I am willing to withdraw it and we can talk about appropriate figures on Report.

Mr. Dean

I was going on to say that even if the hon. Gentleman had had up-to-date figures, although in some cases families would admittedly be better off, in others they would be worse off. I do not think that that is the effect that he wants.

The main part of the debate has centred on the point made in the speeches about rents. My right hon. Friend has admitted right from the beginning that in order to have the simplest possible scheme, which can be put into operation at the earliest possible moment, we have taken an average figure; we have taken for the prescribed amount an average housing cost of £2 10s. a week. There are some below that and some above. We have never attempted to disguise from the Committee, and we do not do so now, that there will be some families whose rent costs are higher than that. This is the significance of the scheme which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment announced the other week. To try to introduce such a scheme into this Bill would enormously complicate the operation. It would certainly make it impossible to keep to the date of operation of

the scheme for which we are aiming—next August. That would be a serious disadvantage.

It comes a little ill from hon. Members opposite to criticise us in this regard when this is the first time that any Government have tackled this problem, particularly with regard to families in poverty. Many of them are living in privately-owned accommodation. It comes very ill from hon. Gentlemen opposite to criticise us because there are still some months to go before a scheme which will go a long way to solving this problem is introduced. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has produced the scheme extremely fast in the lifetime of this Government. It will deal with this problem. To try to deal with it in the Bill would not be appropriate. That would make it immensely more complicated and threaten the starting date of next August, which I believe both sides of the Committee wish to see effective.

Mr. McNamara

Despite the fact that the Under-Secretary did not listen to what I said—he answered neither my point concerning a sliding scale nor my question about the reason for a new means test—and because, if I persisted, I might spoil voting arrangements later, I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

The Chairman

The hon. Member's Amendment is not yet before the Committee.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

May I make it quite clear that while the Under-Secretary may feel that both the Family Income Supplements Bill and his right hon. Friend's proposals for rents solve the problem, it is the view of this side of the Committee that they would solve it in totally the wrong way. I must, therefore, advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the Government on this occasion.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 126, Noes 161.

Division No. 23.] AYES [11.6 p.m.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Ashton, Joe Barnett, Joel
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Atkinson, Norman Baxter, William
Armstrong, Ernest Barnes, Michael Beaney, Alan
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Palmer, Arthur
Booth, Albert Hunter, Adam Pardoe, John
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Pavitt, Laurence
Buchan, Norman John, Brynmor Pendry, Tom
Carmichael, Neil Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Pentland, Norman
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Prescott, John
Cohen, Stanley Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Concannon, J. D. Kaufman, Gerald Rhodes, Geoffrey
Cunningham, George (Islington, S. W.) Kerr, Russell Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (C'n'von)
Dalyell, Tam Kinnock, Neil Roderick, Caerwyn E.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lambie, David Roper, John
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lawson, George Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Deakins, Eric Leadbitter, Ted Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Dempsey, James Lestor, Miss Joan Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Douglas, Dick Lomas, Kenneth Sillars, James
Duffy, A. E. P. Loughlin, Charles Skinner, Dennis
Eadie, Alex Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Spearing, Nigel
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McBride, Neil Spriggs, Leslie
Edwards, William (Merioneth) McCann, John Stallard, A. W.
Ellis, Tom McCartney, Hugh Stoddart, David (Swindon)
English, Michael McElhone, Frank Strang, Gavin
Evans, Fred McGuire, Michael Taverne, Dick
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, L'wood) Mackenzie, Gregor Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Thomson, Rt. Hn. George (Dundee, E.)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McNamara, J. Kevin Torney, Tom
Ford, Ben Mallalieu, J. P. W.(Huddersfield, E.) Tuck, Raphael
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Urwin, T. w.
Golding, John Meacher, Michael Varley, Eric G.
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Mikardo, Ian Watkins, David
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Wellbeloved, James
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Whitehead, Phillip
Hamling, William Moyle, Roland Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Murray, Ronald King Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Hardy, Peter O'Halloran, Michael
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) O'Malley, Brian TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Heffer, Eric S. Orme, Stanley Mr. Joseph Harper and
Horam, John Oswald, Thomas Mr. Kenneth Marks.
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Padley, Walter
Adley, Robert Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Fookes, Miss Janet Kinsey, Joseph
Atkins, Humphrey Fowler, P. N. Knox, David
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Fox, J. Marcus Lane, David
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Fry, Peter Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Benyon, W. R. Gibson-Watt, David Le Marchant, Spencer
Biffen, John Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Loveridge, John
Biggs-Davison, John Glyn, Dr. Alan MacArthur, Ian
Blaker, Peter Goodhew, Victor McLaren, Martin
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Gorst, John Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)
Boscawen, R. T. Gower, Raymond McNair-Wilson, Michael (W'stow, E.)
Bossom, Sir Clive Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) McNair Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Gray, Hamish Maddan, Martin
Bray, Ronald Green, Alan Madel, David
Brewis, John Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Mawby, Ray
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Gummer, Selwyn Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Hall, John (Wycombe) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Chapman, Sydney Hannam, John (Exeter) Miscampbell, Norman
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mitchell, Lt-Col. Colin (Aberd'sh'e, W.)
Churchill, W. S. Haselhurst, Alan Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hawkins, Paul Moate, Roger
Clegg, Walter Hayhoe, Barney Molyneaux, James
Cockerram, Eric Hicks, Robert Money, Ernie
Cooke, Robert Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Monks, Mrs. Connie
Coombs, Derek Holland, Philip Monro, Hector
Cooper, A. E. Holt, Miss Mary Montgomery, Fergus
Cormack, Patrick Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P. More, Jasper
Critchley, Julian Howell, David (Guildford) Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Crouch, David Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Curran, Charles Hutchison, Michael Clark Mudd, David
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack James, David Murton, Oscar
Dean, Paul Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Jessel, Toby Neave, Airey
Drayson, G. B. Jopling, Michael Normanton, Tom
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Kellet, Mrs. Elaine Osborn, John
Eyre, Reginald Kershaw, Anthony Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Farr, John Kilfedder, James A. Page, Graham (Crosby)
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Pink, R. Bonner
Pounder, Rafton Spence, John Waddington, David
Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Sproat, Iain Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Stanbrook, Ivor Wall, Patrick
Redmond, Robert Stewart-Smith, D. G. Ward, Dame Irene
Reed, Laurance (Bolton, East) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Warren, K.
Rees, Peter (Dover) Stokes, John Weatherill, Bernard
Rees-Davies, W. R. Sutcliffe, John White, Roger (Gravesend)
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wiggin, Jerry
Rost, Peter (Derbyshire, S. E.) Tebbit, Norman Wilkinson, John
Scott, Nicholas Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Sharples, Richard Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Shelton, William J. (Clapham) Tugendhat, Christopher TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Simeons, Charles Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H. Mr. Tim Fortescue and
Soref, Harold Vaughan, Dr. Gerard Mr. Keith Speed.

Amendment No. 17 proposed, in page 1, line 25, at end insert: 'and (c) the amount by which the rent or rent and rates (as the case may be) paid or payable for the accommodation of the said family exceeds £3 per week, so however that such amount shall not exceed £2 or such higher amount as in the circumstances

of the case may be approved by the Supplementary Benefits Commission'.—[Mrs. Shirley Williams.]

Question put. That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 126, Noes 162.

Division No. 24.] AYES [11.15 p.m.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hardy, Peter Orme, Stanley
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Oswald, Thomas
Armstrong, Ernest Heffer, Eric S. Padley, Walter
Ashton, Jos Horam, John Palmer, Arthur
Atkinson, Norman Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Pardoe, John
Barnes, Michael Hughes, Roy (Newport) Pavitt, Laurence
Barnett, Joel Hunter, Adam Pendry, Tom
Baxter, William Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Pentland, Norman
Beaney, Alan John, Brynmor Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Prescott, John
Booth, Albert Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Buchan, Norman Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Carmichael, Neil Kaufman, Gerald Roderick, Caerwyn E.
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Kerr, Russell Roper, John
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Kinnock, Neil Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Cohen, Stanley Lambie, David Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Concannon, J. D. Lawson, George Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Cunningham, C. (Islington, S. W.) Leadbitter, Ted Sillars, James
Dalyell, Tam Lestor, Miss Joan Skinner, Dennis
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lomas, Kenneth Spearing, Nigel
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Loughlin, Charles Spriggs, Leslie
Deakins, Eric Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Stallard, A. W.
Dempsey, James McBride, Neil Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Douglas, Dick McCann, John Strang, Gavin
Duffy, A. E. P. McCartney, Hugh Taverne, Dick
Eadie, Alex McElhone, Frank Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McGuire, Michael Thomson, Rt. Hn. George (Dundee, E.)
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Mackenzie, Gregor Torney, Tom
Ellis, Tom McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Tuck, Raphael
English, Michael McNamara, J. Kevin Urwin, T. W.
Evans, Fred Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Varley, Eric G.
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, L'wood) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Meacher, Michael Watkins, David
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McIlish, Rt. Hn. Robert Wellbeloved, James
Ford, Ben Mikardo, Ian White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Fraser, John (Norwood) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Whitehead, Phillip
Golding, John Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Moyle, Roland
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Murray, Ronald King TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) O'Halloran, Michael Mr. Joseph Harper and
Hamling, William O'Malley, Brian Mr. Kenneth Marks.
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Adley, Robert Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Benyon, W. R. Boscawen, Hn. R. T.
Atkins, Humphrey Biffen, John Bossom, Sir Clive
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Biggs-Davison, John Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Blaker, Peter Bray, Ronald
Brewis, John Holland, Philip Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Holt, Miss Mary Osborn, John
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P. Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Howell, David (Guildford) Page Graham (Crosby)
Chapman, Sydney Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Pink, R. Bonner
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Hutchison, Michael Clark Pounder, Rafton
Churchill, W. S. James, David Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Clegg, Walter Jessel, Toby Redmond, Robert
Cockeram, Eric Jopling, Michael Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Cooke, Robert Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Rees, Peter (Dover)
Coombs, Derek Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cooper, A. E. Kershaw, Anthony Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Cormack, Patrick Kilfedder, James A. Rost, Peter
Critchley, Julian King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Scott, Nicholas
Crouch, David King, Tom (Bridgwater) Sharples, Richard
Curran, Charles Kinsey, Joseph Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Knox, David Shelton, William J. (Clapham)
Dean, Paul Lane, David Simeons, Charles
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Soref, Harold
Drayson, G. B. Le Marchant, Spencer Spence, John
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Loveridge, John Sproat, Iain
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'le-u-Tyne, N.) MacArthur, Ian Stanbrook, Ivor
Eyre, Reginald McLaren, Martin Stewart-Smith, D. G.
Farr, John Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy McNair-Wilson, Michael (W'th'st'w, E) Stokes, John
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (N. Forest) Sutcliffe, John
Fookes, Miss Janet Maddan, Martin Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Fowler, P. N. Madel, David Tebbit, Norman
Fox, J. Marcus Mawby, Ray Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Fry, Peter Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Gibson-Watt, David Meyer, Sir Anthony Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Mills, Peter (Torrington) Tugendhat, Christopher
Glyn, Dr. Alan Miscampbell, Norman Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Goodhew, Victor Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Vaughan, Dr. G. F. Gerard
Gorst, John Mitcholl, Lt.-Col. Colin (Aber'sh'e, W.) Waddington, David
Gower, Raymond Moate, Roger Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Molyneaux, James Wall, Patrick
Gray, Hamish Money, Ernle Ward, Dame Irene
Green, Alan Monks, Mrs. Connie Warren, K.
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Monro, Hector Weatherill, Bernard
Gummer, Selwyn Montgomery, Fergus White, Roger (Gravesend)
Hall, John (Wycombe) More, Jasper Wiggin, Jerry
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Wilkinson, John
Hannam, John (Exeter) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mudd, David Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Haselhurst, Alan Murton, Oscar
Hawkins, Paul Nabarro, Sir Gerald TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hayhoe, Barney Neave, Airey Mr. Tim Fortescue and
Hicks, Robert Normanton, Tom Mr. Keith Speed.
Hill, James (Southampton, Test)
Sir K. Joseph:

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again. We have had a useful four hours on the Bill and, although we have not got quite as far through it as I had hoped, we have dealt with the meat of two of the main Clauses. The Opposition have given strong evidence of having done their homework; they have been defeated a couple of times but have had one Amendment accepted by the Government.

We have had a useful exchange of views on the Bill, and the Government have undertaken to look at several points which have been raised. If the Motion is accepted, I hope that we shall make even better progress tomorrow.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.