HC Deb 24 April 1972 vol 835 cc1139-63

7.15 p.m.

Mr. Crosland

I beg to move Amendment No. 33, in page 19, line 23, leave out paragraph (c).

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu)

With this Amendment we are to take the following Amendments:

No. 34, in page 103, line 1, leave out Schedule 1.

No. 43, in page 110, line 25, leave out paragraphs 17 and 18.

No. 46, in page 20, line 1, leave out subsection (2).

Mr. Crosland

I start by expressing our gratitude that the Minister showed good sense and wisdom in accepting three of our Amendments and, indeed, taking them over and moving them himself. I hope that this is an earnest of good intentions for the remainder of the Report stage.

Amendment 33, and the others taken with it, have the object of ensuring that if a local authority chooses to impose rents which produce a surplus on the housing revenue account, that surplus is retained by the local authority and is not sequestrated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the manner laid down in the Bill.

I note that this is one of the provisions to which the whole local authority world objects most bitterly and unanimously. Their objection to the sequestration of the surplus forms one of the parts of the resolution passed with only three dissentients at the notable special meeting of the AMC on 7th March.

In a joint statement, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred in a previous debate, the AMC, the RDCA and the UDCA also bitterly object that half the surplus on the housing revenue account should be taken by the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer. This provision has been most strongly attacked in all the local authority journals from the moment that the Government's intention became clear in the White Paper last summer. The Opposition share the objections put forward by the local authority associations. Indeed, we probably take those objections further than they might take them.

We object in principle to an additional tax being imposed on council tenants alone of all housing groups. I wish there were more hon. Gentlemen opposite, particularly hon. Members who did not serve on Standing Committee E. I wonder whether they realise exactly what is being proposed under the surplus provisions of the Bill. Council tenants over most of the country outside the major conurbations, the areas of housing stress—forexample, my constituency which is fairly typical—will pay their ordinary taxes and rates like everybody else, and, under the proposals in the Bill, they will have an increase in rents which will save the Government £200 million of subsidies by 1975–76.

Those parts of the country outside the big conurbations, on top of the ordinary taxes and rates, which they should pay, will pay the full unsubsidised cost of the council housing in their areas. In addition, they will pay the cost of rent rebates to their poorer council tenant neighbours and the cost of rent allowances to the poorer private tenants living in their areas. On top of paying the full unsubsidised cost rent, the rebates and the allowances, they will produce in most parts of the country in only three or four years from now a surplus in the housing revenue account, half of which will go to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in extra taxation and half of which will be repaid by him to the general rate fund to relieve the general ratepayer.

The only figure which we have been given relating to the size of the surplus was an estimate by the Minister in Committee when he put the size of the surplus in 1975–76 at £30 million a year. This struck all of us as an astonishingly low figure. I know that some of my hon. Friends who have done calculations will make some comment upon that estimate this evening. Even if the figure is as low as that in 1975–76, there is no doubt that it will grow rapidly in the years thereafter and will become very significant.

No serious attempt has been made to justify the principle of the surplus, half of which will accrue to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. For example, owner-occupiers in Grimsby—good luck to them—will receive large sums of money from the Chancellor in the form of mortgage interest tax relief, while council house tenants, who on average have lower incomes than owner-occupiers, will receive no help or subsidy of any kind, and will pay this extra tax to the Chancellor in the form of the surplus. It is an extraordinary situation when the most aid is going to those who need it less and the least aid is going to those who need it most, if we take the total paid to council tenants, on the one hand, and owner-occupiers, on the other.

The only justification which the Minister sought to give in Committee underlined this contrast and contradiction. When we were debating Schedule 1 on, I think, 18th January, he said, in effect, that the Government had in the past paid out large sums of subsidy which had enabled council houses to be built and that in future, under the provisions of the Bill, they would cover a percentage—it alters from year to year; initially it will be 75 per cent.—of any deficit in the housing revenue accounts of local authorities, and that by doing that in the past and pledging themselves to do it in the future the Government have, in some sense, established an equity in council housing, and that on this equity they should receive a dividend in the form of half of any surplus in the housing revenue account.

That argument might carry some weight, but I think that it is brought forward at an odd time. The Government's argument is that because of their generosity with subsidies part of the surplus should accrue to them, but in practice what they are doing is substantially cutting aid to the council housing sector as a whole.

However, ignoring that, I suppose one might find some merit or attraction in the argument—I rather doubt it, but one might—if it were applied across the board and not only to council housing. But it is not applied across the board. The Minister is not proposing any simi- lar return on his investment from owner-occupiers. They will continue to get from the Chancellor relief amounting to more than £300 million a year, and growing rapidly at present rates, but they will not pay back to the Chancellor anything equivalent to what the council tenant sector as a whole will pay back in the form of half the surplus. I do not believe that that is the real justification for what the Government are doing, because it will not stand up in logic or in equity.

The real motives for these proposals—not merely the reduction in subsidies which we discussed a few minutes before seven o'clock, but also the provision for the repayment of the surplus—are different, and are two in essence. First, the Government are determined to improve the competitive position of private housing and to reduce the part played by public sector housing. This was made clear—and I make no apology for repeating it, because it is such a significant and accurate guide to the Government's attitude—in the famous speech by the Secretary of State for the Environment to the Housing Research Centre in July, 1969, when he said bluntly—and this is what the Conservative Party believes—that the ratio of council housing at the present level of wages is much too high.

We heard again and again from Conservative Members in Committee what I found a hideously unattractive argument. The argument is that people should not live in council houses if their income rises beyond a certain point; that somehow council housing is for certain types of person only and that if people do not fall into that category, and in particular if their incomes rise beyond a certain point, they should not go on living in council houses and they ought—and this will happen under the Bill—to be pushed into buying their own houses.

The Government's motive is basically to diminish the rôle played by council housing in our total housing scene and to make it become a residual system for the poor. I found it ironic that in an earlier debate there was a reference to the Prime Minister's Disraeli-like appeal for one nation, because the Bill will create an absolutely horizontal dividing line in housing between two nations.

That is the first motive behind this provision for the repayment of the surplus and other provisions in the Bill. It is to weaken the council housing sector and to confine it to a sector for the poor, fundamentally, and to strengthen the competitive position of the private sector.

The second objective of these provisions about the surplus and of the Bill as a whole is to save a large sum of public expenditure—first, by a cut in subsidies; secondly, by introducing into council housing the concept of a surplus, of a landlord profit; thirdly, by expropriating half that profit in the form of additional tax.

The result of all this is that council tenants will bear a disproportionately heavy tax burden compared with other housing sector tenants. The motive is not one of housing policy fundamentally. The motive is basically one of strict Conservative ideology. It is for all those reasons that I have moved the Amendment which has the effect of bringing to an end the proposal to impose on council tenants already paying ordinary rates and taxes this additional tax in the form of half the surplus.

Mr. Peter Hardy (Rother Valley)

I have a number of comments to make. Both in the previous debate and in Committee the Minister appeared to say that local authorities, by making a compulsory contribution from the rate fund, would be given an opportunity to indulge in greater responsibility. I suppose that his argument in favour of the compulsory payment from surpluses is that it would give housing committees of local authorities an opportunity to engage in a display of compulsory patriotic fervour.

The right hon. Gentleman said in the previous debate that the Bill was designed for the people, but the people are not to be given any choice about whether they make a contribution to Whitehall. In many parts of the country this will become compulsory. Last week, on Yorkshire Television, the Minister made the comment, which I am sure he will recall, that Yorkshire authorities were unlikely to be in a position in which they would make contributions from the surpluses in their housing revenue accounts. One cannot speak with cer- tainty at this stage, but it seems to me that many authorities will be making a contribution; that many areas of considerable unemployment will make large payments to Whitehall. Our argument is that money should be steered from the south to the north, and not in the opposite direction.

I can illustrate my argument by taking an example from my own constituency, and I do not regard this as an isolated example. Many authorities in the West Riding of Yorkshire will share a similar experience.

In the largest of the local authorities in my constituency, State subsidies amount to £154,575 per year. I do not suppose that that figure would have increased had the Bill not been introduced. I suppose that on a reasonably generous estimate, the total cost of rebates in that authority—assuming that there is a take-up of 35 per cent. to 40 per cent.—will be less than £200,000. If the fears of the pessimists are proved right, if rents are trebled, or even quadrupled, that sum will be greater but, taking a modest, conservative estimate of what rent increases will amount to, a sum slightly less than £200,000 will cover the total cost of the rebate. This means that the cost of subsidy added to the cost of rebate will be £210,000 short of what unrebated rents will be yielding in my constituency, or in the one authority in my constituency, by 1974–75.

If those estimates are correct—and I think they are—there will be a surplus of £210,000 and there are in that authority about 7,600 council houses. The Minister will be able to calculate that a surplus of £210,000 in one year spread amongst 7,690 houses is not very far short of £30, and since balances are already substantial, and as they will increase in the two years before 1974–75, it is clear that there is a serious likelihood not that we shall be able to make no surplus at all but that there will be a very heavy surplus, indeed.

I therefore suggest that the Minister's comments on Yorkshire Television last week were misleading. I believe that a careful study of the implications of this part of the Bill for the county authorities in the North of England will lead to the view that the problem will be that areas in great need, areas with environmental problems, areas with a need for economic expansion will be pouring money into the South of England.

As the representative of a West Riding constituency, I find these provisions objectionable. I am sure that what I have described is not an isolated consideration and that the Bill needs drastic improvement.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Edward Rowlands (Merthyr Tydvil)

I find myself in the unusual position of having read all the Official Reports of the Standing Committee proceedings, though I was not a member of the Committee. While it must have taken a masochist to be a member, I must be unique among those who bothered to read everything that was said at that stage.

By the curious fortunes of politics, one can become involved in an aspect of work and then be cut off from that activity by the intervention of a General Election, at any rate for the time being. I was a junior Minister at the time of the last Labour Government and played a modest part in the housing finance review which was being conducted before the Conservatives came to power at the last election.

Much has been said about what was not taken into account in that review, and I do not consider it improper to refer to the work that was done at that time, particularly on this question of a housing surplus. The last Labour Government came to the conclusion that the concept of fair rents in the local authority sector should be rejected. The overwhelming reason—a reason arrived at not by ardent Socialist Ministers but by impartial witnesses who had scrutinised the possibilities of having such a system—for rejecting this concept was the conclusion that there was no fair way of distributing the surplus money.

It is curious that much of the work that is conducted by one party when in power does not see the light of day if at the next election another party takes office. A great deal of good, honest, factual information remains in the archives of the Department as a result of our housing finance review, and it will probably not be; resurrected for 30 years or more. It is a pity that this detailed work will never see the light of day.

I wish that both sides could agree to publish such documents. If that were done it would be clearly seen that fictitious figures—I can only conclude that they are fictitious—have been brought to the forefront since the last election on this question of surpluses. I was astonished to hear it suggested that the surplus would be only £30 million. I vividly recall the statistical assessments that were made when I was in office. Having compared the fair rents of thousands of properties with dwellings in the local authority sector we concluded in our housing finance review in 1969 that the fair rental income of all local authorities would exceed expenditure by about £250 million.

That figure was arrived at via a detailed computer analysis. The computer at the Department was "neutral" in those days, and unless the Government have installed a Tory-type computer, I cannot understand how the right hon. Gentleman arrived at the figure of £30 million. It is clear that some authorities would have a minus or tiny surplus, while the major authorities would have massive ones, particularly in the early days.

I recall figures of £1¼ million, £4 million and even £10 million being mentioned as the surpluses of the largest housing authorities. In other words, profit—"profit"is the word to use—of that magnitude, would be creamed from local authority housing revenue accounts and put in the Treasury pool. The right hon. Gentleman has no right to talk about small sums being involved.

The way in which the Bill proposes to implement so-called fair rents will represent one of the most arbitrary forms of taxation ever devised. People will not be taxed each according to his means and ability to pay but according to the accident of one's family holding a local authority tenancy. Not since the window tax of the nineteenth century has there been such an arbitrary form of taxation. It is monstrous.

Having rejected the idea of fair rents, we in the 1969 Labour Government considered how, even if the idea were implemented, one could dispose of the surpluses so derived. Could they go into local authority house building? No, because that would result in more houses producing even larger surpluses. Could the money be used to improve housing estates and individual homes? No, because under the fair rental system that would penalise the tenant in that he would be charged higher rents, likewise resulting in larger surpluses.

The decision to reject the fair rent concept was taken not by mad Socialist Ministers but by a combination of people in the housing sphere, after taking and considering advice. It was finally concluded that surpluses of that kind should not be dropped into the enormous pool of the Exchequer.

The Government know that it is nonsense to argue that the surplus will go towards slum clearance or to other valuable housing purposes. Never since the road fund tax of the 1920s has it been possible to appropriate moneys in that way to a specific purpose; it all drops into the general Exchequer, and it can be spent on anything from troops east of Suez to slum clearance in Manchester or Liverpool. No one will know whether the money goes to housing or not. It is a monstrous and evil suggestion to say that it will be specially appropriated to housing. It cannot be, and it will not be, for there is no such provision in the Bill.

If there were a special provision that all surpluses would be handed back to local authorities to help with slum clearance, I should still object, because I see no reason why money should be taken from one section of a local community to meet other needs, even for such a good purpose as housing. But, in fact, there is nothing to that effect in the Bill.

What possible case is there for taking away the surpluses? My right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) mentioned some of the arguments used by the Government, the so-called equity argument, and so on. But why should present tenants pay higher rents for the benefits which past tenants received in subsidy 10 or 15 years ago? Again, there is no case for it.

What these provisions do—this is why we object to them so strongly—is to destroy a basic principle in housing which, until this time, has been accepted on both sides. I am not a consensus politics man, but one matter on which there has been a consensus written into every piece of housing legislation since the First World War is that local authority housing should be a non-profit making operation. But the Government now propose that every major housing authority should turn itself into a profit making body, becoming, so to speak, a Rachman in its own area, raising money in extra rents over and above what is required to balance the housing revenue account, and raising, as I say, not thousands but millions of pounds, if the assessments of the Department are to be taken as correct, as one assumes they are.

This provision will not apply to Scotland. I hope to have an opportunity at some stage to argue that it should not apply to Merthyr Tydvil or to Wales generally. I see no reason why English and Welsh tenants should have this imposition put upon them.

When all the paraphernalia of conditions and qualifications behind this proposal are stripped away, it is seen as one of the most arbitrary features of the application of fair rents to the local authority sector. I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends feel as strongly as I do that this is one of the most reprehensible and nauseating features of the Bill. There are many such features, but this is particulary monstrous because it destroys the principle of local authority housing being a non-profit making operation, and it penalises certain members of the community because of the pure accident that they are local authority tenants. What more unjust scheme could be devised, either locally or nationally?

At this late stage, the Minister is committed to the Bill, but even now I make a plea to him. I do not do it as a doctrinaire Socialist—though I should be very ready to do that on a matter such as housing—but as one urging the right course upon a man who is capable of thinking again on certain aspects of the Bill. I urge the right hon. Gentleman to ask his own officials what their view was in 1969 of the idea of a surplus or a profit on the housing revenue account. Let him think again, and come forward at a later stage with proposals designed to remove one of the greatest injustices ever perpetrated in housing in Britain.

7.45 p.m.

Sir Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)

There is, I think, no traditional obligation upon me to congratulate the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Rowlands) on a second maiden speech, but, as the last occasion we were together was one on which we enjoyed a convivial evening as the guests at a local association banquet, I hope that he will allow me to say, "Welcome back to this place".

We have six more Clauses and two Schedules to discuss before half-past eight, so I shall make but two points. I confess that I should like to have seen the whole surplus kept by the local authority, coupled with an obligation upon the authority to spend it upon housing. I do not understand the hon. Gentleman when he says that it is monstrous to suggest that the surplus should be used for slum clearance——

Mr. Rowlands

I did not say that.

Sir Gilbert Longden

—to build houses for the old, and so on. That is what I should like to have seen, but there are two reasons why I shall not vote for the Amendment.

First, it cannot be denied that a large amount of Exchequer money has gone into the housing from which this revenue comes. Second, whatever may happen to the surplus, it does not adversely affect the council house tenant that he has to pay a fair rent. There is no reason why every council house tenant, like every other tenant in the kingdom, should not pay a fair rent for the accommodation which he occupies. If it is justified, the council tenant will have a rebate. Therefore, as I say, whatever happens to the surplus, the council tenant is not adversely affected.

For those two reasons, I cannot support the Amendment.

Mr. David Stoddart (Swindon)

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Rowlands). I was not here in the last Parliament, so I did not have the opportunity to hear him. Obviously, I missed a great deal, and I look forward to hearing many of his speeches in the future, for he feels deeply on many matters and knows a great deal about housing.

Before the last election, the Tories talked a good deal about freedom, freedom for the local authorities, more freedom than they had under Labour, freedom to do what they wanted in their own areas. The Clause contains measures which put local authorities in the strongest straitjacket they have ever been put into. To add insult to injury, the Government take away not only their freedom but their money. It is little wonder that the local authorities are very concerned about this aspect of Government policy. Some people might not mind losing a bit of freedom, but they do not like losing hard-won surpluses. Certainly, the local authorities do not.

The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Sir G. Longden) said that Exchequer money had gone into local authority housing over a long period, and for that reason he would not vote for the Amendment. There are several points to be made on that, and I have not the time to make them all, but over that period the major financial contribution for local authority housing has been made not by the Exchequer or the local authorities but by the council tenants. It is, they who have paid for the major part of the council housing assets that we now have. That should be borne in mind when we talk about the Exchequer contribution.

My right hon. Friend said that the Government were determined to make local authority housing a profitable and profit-making service. That is a dastardly thing to do at this point——

Mr. Rowlands

At any time.

Mr. Stoddart

Particularlyat this time. I have always believed there is far too much profit in housing. Too many people have jumped on the housing band-waggon and have charged exorbitant amounts for land, building and services. Many people have made fortunes out of the housing needs of others. The Government are seeking to make local authority housing something that it has not been—a profit-making service—at a time when there is a great need to lower financial temperature in housing. Throughout the country housing costs are escalating at a frightening rate. Yet the Government introduce a Bill which will exacerbate rather than help the housing situation and the housing price situation. Already, the cost of houses for owner-occupiers is escalating at 30 per cent. a year. I do not know what will happen when the pressure is increased by council tenants seeking to buy in the private market.

We are concerned about inflation. Why should the Government at this time introduce a Bill which is bound to increase inflationary pressures? We understood that they were committed to dealing with inflation, to bringing down prices at a stroke, yet they introduce a Measure which will appreciably increase the weekly outgoings of a large section of our population.

It is not as if the profit is needed in housing. Mr. Henry Aughton, Borough Treasurer of Hemel Hempstead and financial adviser to the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants, estimated that to balance the housing books without any Exchequer or rate contributions there would be a need for £174 million extra paid in rent. But he estimates that under the Bill the Government will increase the surpluses on housing revenue accounts and will net an extra £420 million. What is the object of that? Why does the Minister increase the inflationary pressures and tendencies in this way? Why does he want to raise an extra £420 million when only £174 million would be needed to balance the local authorities' housing books without any assistance from the Exchequer or the ratepayers at large? This is economic and financial nonsense, and can only increase the inflationary pressures on the economy.

There is great resentment among local authorities. I have mentioned their resentment at having their freedom and their money taken away, but there is a greater resentment. In general, local authorities have done an exceptional job over the past 40 or 50 years in housing. Without their contribution, the housing situation would be impossible. They feel very aggrieved that the Government, so committed before the election to freedom, should now take their freedom away. That resentment is increased because many local authorities, owing to falling interest rates, would now be in a position not to put rents up but in many parts of the country to stabilise them and in some parts of the country to bring them down.

During the debate in Committee I told the Minister that in Reading, where I live, there was a surplus in the last financial year of £500,000, and that local authority could have reduced rents by 50p a week per tenant and spent another £250,000 on needed repairs and improvements.

That is the measure of the disenchantment local authorities have with the Bill. I hope that the Minister, even at this late stage, will see sense and will at least advise his right hon. and hon. Friends to vote for the Amendment.

Mr. Arthur Blenkinsop (South Shields)

I share the misgivings of my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. David Stoddart). I feel very strongly about the Amendment. I speak as one of the many Vice-Presidents of the Association of Municipal Corporations, which is by no means a revolutionary body, although if the Government continue in this way it may very well be a good deal more revolutionary within a month or two. I think it highly likely that it will be.

That cool and collected body, with a majority of representation supporting the Government, has passed resolutions which make it clear that, particularly on the point in the Amendment, it is almost unanimous in saying that any surplus in the housing revenue account should be retained by the local housing authority. This is self-evident.

8.0 p.m.

I thought for a brief moment that the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Sir Gilbert Longden) was supporting this proposition but, alas, at the last minute he weakened and did not fully support it.

The general governmental attitude of declaring at one time that local authorities shall have greater freedom of action and immediately imposing first a rate of rent which local authorities may not wish to impose and then requiring local authorities to disgorge part of the surplus which may emerge is a level of dishonesty which is considerable even for this Government. I do not impute such a thing to any individual member of the Government. It is clear that the Association of Municipal Corporations believed that its political friends, as I suppose that they would be, on the Government side would take note of its view and make some amendment to these proposals. The town which I represent has temporarily been afflicted with a Conservative council, but not for long. Even that Conservative authority made it clear that it has no intention of increasing the rents as might have been required under the Bill, because it said that there would be every possibility of an amendment to the Bill before it became law.

Naïve though they must be, the members of that local authority assumed that the right hon. Gentleman and the Government would be capable of accepting advice from their party in the country as well as from the Opposition. They have been proved to have been misguided. They, like everybody else, will have to bear the consequences within a month or so.

Throughout local government, almost irrespective of the political composition of local authorities, there is a growing contempt for the Government attitude, above all for the Government's refusal to allow local authorities any independence of action in a crucial area like this. In the north of England it is exactly in the areas where higher rents are to be imposed against the will of local authorities to secure surpluses that the surpluses inure to the Treasury in large amount.

Can any right hon. or hon. Member be surprised if many sober, industrious, middle-of-the-road authorities, faced by such actions, declare that they will not operate the Bill? The Government's action calls for this kind of insurrection, although I regret it. By denying local authorities rights that should belong to them, it is not surprising that councillors rise up and insist that they should be able to act as they feel right for those in their neighbourhood. It is the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues who are denying them that right, unless he accepts the Amendment.

Mr. Michael Cocks (Bristol, South)

On the question of the disposal of the surplus, I reiterate what has been said by my hon. Friends the Member for Swindon (Mr. David Stoddart) and South Shields (Mr. Blenkinsop) about taking freedom from local authorities. Whilst this Bill was being considered in Committee, for day after day I sat in a neighbouring Committee Room, like my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields, considering the Local Government Bill. Day after day we heard the Government expound the philosophy that local autho- rities should be given greater freedom to take decisions. Yet in this Bill we have the absolute humbug that the Government are imposing a straitjacket in respect of the housing function.

The Government came within five votes of defeat in the House last Monday on their proposal to create a county of Somerset of 385,000 people and yet reduce the City of Bristol to a district council of 425,000 people, despite the disparity in population of the two resulting authorities. The only major sector of responsibility left to Bristol will be housing, Bristol will be shackled by the Government, and is shackled by the Bill. It will be reduced to the status of a rent collector for the Tory Government.

My constituents and others in council accommodation in Bristol already know that rents will rocket under the Bill. What they do not yet realise is that they will be milked to supply a surplus which the Exchequer can then give away in tax cuts to the wealthy. In scrounging around for any source of revenue to use for tax concessions to the already well off, the Government are introducing the wrong Measure at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.

Mr. Amery

The hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks), and the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) and other hon. Members opposite who have intervened, have advanced two arguments. They say, first, that there should not be a surplus for disposal and, second, that if there is a surplus none of it should go to the Exchequer.

It is an essential part of our proposals that the rents which tenants pay are not related to the state of the housing revenue account. As my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Sir Gilbert Longden) said, the tenant pays a fair rent for his dwelling if he can afford it and a rebated rent if he cannot afford it. As a result, income in the housing revenue accounts of some authorities will fail to meet expenditure, and such authorities will get a subsidy to cover the deficit. In other authorities the income will exceed the expenditure; and the account, after allowing for a reasonable working balance, will be in surplus.

The best estimate that I can give the House is that over the country as a whole such surpluses might amount to about £30 million by 1975–76.This is necessarily a tentative estimate, but it is the best that I can make. Much greater estimates have been suggested by hon. Members opposite. I believe that these fail to take sufficient account of several factors. As more and more dwellings reach the fair rent, rent income will tend to rise more slowly looking beyond 1975–76. Some rent increases, particularly in the first year, will not give rise to much extra income, because of rent rebates, and expenditure itself on new building and the like is likely to go on increasing.

Indeed, there is a rather curious conflict in the Opposition claiming, as the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Rowlands) did, that the housing revenue surpluses will be enormous and, simultaneously, that local authorities will have to make intolerable housing fund contributions to meet deficits, as was argued on Amendment No. 3.

Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)

When was the Minister's estimate of the amount of the surplus made, and has it taken into consideration the recent decline in the rate of interest which resulted in surpluses in a number of authorities?

Mr. Amery

When I made the estimate I told the Committee that it was necessarily a rough and ready estimate. It is difficult to be detailed in an estimate of this kind. There are many factors of which we have no certain knowledge.

Mr. Rowlands

Is this estimate of the surplus at £30 million the estimate of the surplus that would accrue nationally after fair rent levels have been reached in every local authority, or in the interim period?

Mr. Amery

I just gave the date—1975–76.

The Opposition, particularly the right hon. Gentleman, described the creation of a surplus and the passing of part of that surplus to the Exchequer as a tax levied on tenants. They argue that because the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or, for that matter, a borough treasurer, may set receipts from a housing revenue account surplus against expenditure, or use it to relieve taxation, those receipts somehow become a tax on those who pay the rent. That is totally illogical. If a private tenant pays rent to a private landlord and the landlord pays part of that rent to the Government as tax, no one can reasonably argue that part of the rent is a tax on the tenant. The tenant pays the same rent to his landlord whether or not the landlord pays part of it to the Government.

Under our proposals, in this respect the council tenant will be in the same position as the private tenant. The council tenant will pay a fair rent, which will be rebated if necessary. He will pay that rent irrespective of whether his local authority has a surplus or a deficit. The rent is not designed to create a surplus. It is not increased if there is a deficit. The rent is no more a tax on a tenant when there is a surplus which is shared by taxpayers and ratepayers than if there is no surplus. Under our proposals, the tenant is not called upon to help taxpayers or ratepayers, because the rent tenants pay is not fixed with either the ratepayer or the taxpayer in view. This is an improvement on the present situation.

At present, a tenant's rent may be increased to avoid the ratepayers having to meet a deficit, even if his rent is already fair and reasonable in relation to his dwelling. Those authorities which pride themselves on avoiding rate fund contributions, or keeping them down, are saying that tenants must pay more so that ratepayers should pay less, or less than they would otherwise have paid.

The right hon. Gentleman also brought up one of his favourite red herrings in this matter that whereas money was being taken away from council tenants—he argued they were being taxed—tax relief was being given to owner-occupiers, which he described as a subsidy. I have never equated tax relief with subsidy and I do not propose to do so tonight.

Clearly the option mortgage subsidy is a subsidy in the true sense of the word. What is clear is that whereas there are some 5 million council tenants who will continue in one way or another to receive some £300 million worth of subsidy a year, through the option mortgage subsidy, which is only a tiny fraction, and tax relief, the owner-occupier sector, which is more than half the population, will receive about the same amount, so that there is no very strong argument about that.

Mr. Hardy

Did the right hon. Gentleman say that the 5 million council tenants would receive £300 million in subsidies from the Government?

Mr. Amery

In one way or another. We are saying that the subsidies will continue at about the present rate, although they may be a little higher than the present rate. The fair rent itself in most cases will be a subsidised rent and there are all the other subsidies which we debated at great length in Committee and with which the hon. Gentleman is familiar.

Mr. Frank Allaun

We have heard some things which we have let pass, but it would be intolerable to let this pass. The Minister knows very well that the present Government subsidy to local authorities is £157 million a year and that when he talks about £300 million a year he is including supplementary benefit to old-age pensioners and all the rest. He knows that to do so is unfair.

Mr. Amery

I am including the help with rent which supplementary benefit recipients receive, and I am putting in the entire element of subsidy that is directly attributable to housing. This will continue at about the same level as now if not somewhat higher.

If there is a surplus to be disposed of to either ratepayers or taxpayers, the next question is whether the whole of it should go to the ratepayers or some to the Treasury. Under our proposals, the surplus is used first to meet the cost of rent allowances in the proportion in which taxpayers and ratepayers contribute towards that cost and thereafter is shared equally between taxpayers and ratepayers. I recognise that the local authority associations argue that the ratepayers should get the whole of the surplus and not just part of it. That is a natural argument for them to make and I understand their putting it forward.

8.15 p.m.

But there is a strong case for letting taxpayers have a part of any surplus. It relates not merely to the past, as the right hon. Gentleman appeared to sug gest when he said that I had advanced the argument that the Exchequer had a share in the equity of council houses. In future, as in the past, taxpayers will make a much more substantial contribution to housing revenue accounts than will ratepayers and where a deficit arises most of it will be met by the taxpayers at large. Thus, the whole community will shoulder a larger burden in areas of housing stress than will the stress areas themselves. This is quite right, because the problems of the housing stress areas are too great to be solved entirely by financial contributions from those areas themselves.

But it is also fair that taxpayers, who have to continue to bear most of the burden of helping the housing stress areas, should receive some alleviation of that burden from housing revenue account surpluses arising in areas where there is no housing stress. All taxpayers will have to continue to meet housing need and they have a claim as well as those fortunate ratepayers who no longer have to contribute towards meeting that need.

The Opposition have presented the disposal of the surpluses as a transfer of funds from poor areas to rich areas. That is not so. It is a complex situation but it is clear that the ratepayers in housing stress areas will not gain, because they will have to go on meeting part of the housing revenue account deficit while the deficit lasts. Moreover, domestic ratepayers in stress areas tend to make an average payment for all purposes which is relatively high. For example, in the inner London boroughs the average rate demand for 1971–72 is expected to be in the range of £70 to £90 while in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool it will be about £60. On average, domestic ratepayers in other areas tend to make rate payments for all purposes which are relately low. For example, in some authorities in Derbyshire and North-East Lancashire, where a housing revenue account surplus is likely to arise, the average rate payment for 1971–72 is estimated to be mainly in the range £23 to £35.

Nor do I accept the argument that to pay the ratepayers only part of the surplus is to penalise those local authorities which have been prudent in the management of their housing affairs. A housing authority which incurs a deficit in its housing revenue account may be, and often is, as prudent as one that has no deficit. It does not incur a deficit necessarily through inefficiency, but because its housing problems are more severe, in spite of all that has been done in the past to solve them.

Many authorities likely to have housing revenue account deficits are those which as a matter of policy avoided rate fund contributions to the housing revenue account wherever they could do so. Their claim to the surplus is reasonably made by the arrangements for sharing for which the Bill provides. These arrangements are fair between citizens as tenants, as taxpayers, and as ratepayers. They put the council tenant and the private sector tenant and the owner-occupier on the same footing for taxation and rate payment purposes. The council tenant will pay a fair rent just as the private sector tenant will pay a fair rent. They will pay no more than the fair rent and they will get a rebate if they need it. Any surplus which arises is not the aim of the fair rent but it enables the Exchequer to make a further contribution to housing needs.

The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Rowlands) asked whether the money would go back into housing. It is not earmarked as such but since the surplus will be about £30 million and the subsidy paid out will be about £300 million it seems clear that the Exchequer will be paying out at least ten times as much on housing as it receives through the surplus.

Mr. Frank Allaun

This Amendment goes to the root evil of this altogether evil Bill. Weare discussing the disposal of any surplus in the housing authority revenue account and it is clear, while we do not know the exact figure, that it will be a big surplus. We ask, why should there be any surplus at all? Further we ask, why should there beany compulsory surplus? Never before in the history of this House and in the history of housing have councils been forced to make a profit out of their tenants. This is absolutely obnoxious and it is equally obnoxious to the local authorities.

They are forced to make a profit out of their tenants by raising rents even if they do have one penny deficit. Most have had rather a convenient handout because there has been a reduction of interest rates which are the main factor of housing costs. Most have a nice little surplus. Despite that they will be forced to double their rents in the next four years. The Minister will no doubt say that that is stretching it. His figures for about seven or eight cities were only—only!—about 50 per cent. Butthat is for next year and he knows that by 1976 there will have been a considerable further increase. They will be forced to start with £1 a week this October, if they have not put on 50p in April, to make a surplus in their accounts. Then it is to be taken away in the manner suggested after paying rebates to council tenants and allowances to private landlords' tenants and supplementary benefits to old-age pensioners, which are surely the responsibility of the community as a whole and not the responsibility purely of council tenants.

After that the Government are saying that 50 per cent. of the surplus must go to the Government. As my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Rowlands) pointed out in his maiden speech, this will not go on housing. It could go on battleships, and everyone here knows how enthusiastic I am about spending money on battleships! Or it could go to surtax payers. It will not go on housing. Is it any wonder that Tory-controlled local authorities are in revolt about this?

The Association of Municipal Corporations, the Rural District Councils Association and the Urban District Councils Association have all commented on this. I would guess that nine out of ten of these councils are Conservative controlled, and the Minister knows that they have twice made strong representations to him on this. The letter which came to us today signed by the three principal organisations representing 1,300 housing authorities says: However although there have been some clarifications and minor improvements to the Bill no changes have so far been made to meet the representations on the main points which cause concern". One of the points mentioned is precisely the point referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland). Point 3 of this letter says: (3) That any surplus in the housing revenue account should be retained by the local authority. It is strange that central Government should seek the surrender by local authorities of a share in the equity of their housing stock at this time when discussions are in hand with central Government to supplement the resources of local government by new and improved forms of local taxation. As a redistributive measure this proposal is strongly challenged. The state of its housing revenue account is not the best measure of the overall resources of a local authority's area. Here we have the view of the Conservative-controlled local authorities. This Bill will go down as the worst Measure in housing history, worse than the 1957 Conservative Rent Act which raised most rents by 60 per cent. and took a large number completely out of rent control. This is worse because it is forcing councils to make a profit out of their tenants, to charge more money than the cost of the houses requires. This part of the Bill alone affects 5½

Division No. 144.] AYES [8.30 p.m.
Abse, Leo Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hooson, Emlyn
Albu, Austen Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Horam, John
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Deakins, Eric Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Huckfield, Leslie
Armstrong, Ernest Delargy, H. J. Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Ashley, Jack Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Ashton, Joe Dempsey, James Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen. N.)
Atkinson, Norman Doig, Peter Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Bagier, Gordon A. T Dormand, J. D. Hunter, Adam
Barnes, Michael Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Irvine, Rt. Hn. SirArthur (Edge Hill)
Bernett, Guy (Greenwich) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Janner, Greville
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Driberg, Tom Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Duffy, A. E. P. Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Dunn, James A. Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Bidwell, Sydney Dunnett, Jack Jenkins. Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Bishop, E. S. Eadie, Alex John, Brynmor
Blenkinsop, Arthur Edelman, Maurice Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Booth, Albert Edwards, William (Merioneth) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Ellis, Tom Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Bradley, Tom English, Michael Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Broughton, Sir Alfred Evans, Fred Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Ewing, Henry Kaufman, Gerald
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Faulds, Andrew Kelley, Richard
Buchan, Norman Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Kinnock, Neil
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Fitch, Alar (Wigan) Lamond, James
Butler, Ms. Joyce (Wood Green) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Latham, Arthur
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Leadbitter, Ted
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Foley, Maurice Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Cant, R. B. Foot, Michael Leonard, Dick
Carmichael, Neil Ford, Ben Lestor, Miss Joan
Carter, Ray (Bimingh'm, Northfield) Forrester, John Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Fraser, John (Norwood) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Galpern, Sir Myer Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Garrett, W. E. Lipton, Marcus
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Gilbert, Dr. John Lomas, Kenneth
Cohen, Stanley Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Loughlin, Charles
Coleman, Donald Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Gourlay, Harry Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Concannon, J. D. Grant, George (Morpeth) McBride, Neil
Conlan, Bernard Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) McCartney, Hugh
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) McElhone, Frank
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. McGuire, Michael
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mackenzie, Gregor
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mackie, John
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Hamling, William Mackintosh, John P.
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Dalyell, Tam Hardy, Peter McNamara, J. Kevin
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Harper, Joseph Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Davidson, Arthur Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Marks, Kenneth
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Marquand, David
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Marsden, F.

million council tenants. If we include their wives and children, it is a third of the population. That is a third of the population with votes. I want the Minister that this will be the dominant issue at next month's municipal elections. I am not a betting man, but if I were I should be prepared to take a gamble on this. Some things are right but unpopular. But this is something which is wrong and unpopular. If the Government force this through against the wishes of the population they will suffer for it. This will meet resistance and lead to all kinds of things which we have not seen for many years.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 251 Noes 272.

Marshall, Dr. Edmund Pavitt, Laurie Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Pentland, Norman Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Mayhew, Christopher Perry, Ernest G. Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Meacher, Michael Prescott, John Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Swain, Thomas
Mendelson, John Price, William (Rugby) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mikardo, Ian Probert, Arthur Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Millan, Bruce Rankin, John Tinn, James
Miller, Dr M. S. Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Tomney, Frank
Milne, Edward Rhodes, Geoffrey Torney, Tom
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Tuck, Raphael
Molloy, William Robertson, John (Paisley) Urwin, T. W.
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Roderick Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Varley, Eric G.
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Roper, John Wainwright, Edwin
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Rose, Paul B. Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Wallace, George
Moyle, Roland Rowlands, Edward Watkins, David
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Sandelson, Neville Weitzman, David
Murray, Ronald King Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Wellbeloved, James
Oakes, Gordon Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Ogden, Eric Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
O'Halloran, Michael Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton.N.E.) Whitehead, Phillip
O'Malley, Brian Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Whitlock, William
Oram, Bert Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Orbach, Maurice Sillars, James Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Orme, Stanley Silverman, Julius Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Oswald, Thomas Skinner, Dennis Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Small, William Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Padley, Walter Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Woof, Robert
Paget, R. T. Spearing, Nigel
Palmer, Arthur Spriggs, Leslie TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Stallard, A. W. Mr. Tom Pendry and
Pardoe, John Steel, David Mr. John Golding.
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Adley, Robert Cormack, Patrick Hall, John (Wycombe)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Costain, A. P. Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Critchley, Julian Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Crouch, David Hannam, John (Exeter)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Crowder, F. P. Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Astor, John Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Atkins, Humphrey d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Haselhurst, Alan
Awdry, Daniel d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj. Gen. James Hastings, Stephen
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Dean, Paul Havers, Michael
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Hay, John
Batsford, Brian Digby, Simon Wingfield Hayhoe, Barney
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Heseltine, Michael
Bell, Ronald Drayson, G. B. Hicks, Robert
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Higgins, Terence L.
Benyon, W. Dykes, Hugh Hiley, Joseph
Berry, Hn. Anthony Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Biffen, John Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hill, James (Southampton, Test)
Blaker, Peter Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Holland, Philip
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Emery, Peter Holt, Miss Mary
Body, Richard Eyre, Reginald Hordern, Peter
Boscawen, Robert Farr, John Hornby, Richard
Bossom, Sir Clive Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Hornsby-Smith.Rt. Ht. Dame Patricia
Bowden, Andrew Fidler, Michael Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)
Bray, Ronald Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Howell, David (Guildford)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Fletcher-Cooke. Charles Hunt, John
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Fookes, Miss Janet Iremonger, T. L.
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Fowler, Norman Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Bryan, Paul Fox, Marcus James, David
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Fry, Peter Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Buck, Antony Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Gardner, Edward Jessel, Toby
Bullus, Sir Eric Gibson-Watt, David Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Burden, F. A. Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Jopling, Michael
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray&Nairn) Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Carlisle, Mark Goodhart, Philip Kaberry, Sir Donald
Chapman, Sydney Goodhew, Victor Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Gower, Raymond Kershaw, Anthony
Chichester-Clark, R. Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Kimball, Marcus
Churchill, W. S. Gray, Hamish King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Green, Alan King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Grieve, Percy Kinsey, J. R.
Clegg, Walter Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Knight, Mrs. Jill
Cooke, Robert Grylls, Michael Knox, David
Coombs, Derek Gummer, J. Selwyn Lane, David
Cooper, A. E. Gurden, Harold Langford-Holt, Sir John
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Le Merchant, Spencer Page, Graham (Crosby) Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Page, John (Harrow, W.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Parkinson, Cecil Stokes, John
Longden, Sir Gilbert Percival, Ian Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Loveridge, John Pike, Miss Mervyn Tapsell, Peter
Luce, R. N. Pink, R. Bonner Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
MacArthur, Ian Price, David (Eastleigh) Tebbit, Norman
McCrindle, R. A. Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Temple, John M.
McLaren, Martin Proudfoot, Wilfred Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Maclean, Sir Fltzroy Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Thomas John Stradling (Monmouth)
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Quennell, Miss J. M. Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
McNair-Wilson, Michael Raison, Timothy Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Tilney, John
Maddan, Martin Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Madel David Redmond, Robert Trew, Peter
Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Tugendhat, Christopher
Marten, Neil Rees, Peter (Dover) Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Mather, Carol Rees-Davies, W. R. van Straubenzee, W. R.
Maude, Angus Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Maudling Rt. Hn. Reginald Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Vickers, Dame Joan
Mawby, Ray Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Waddington, David
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Ridsdale, Julian Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Mills, Peter (Torrington) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Miscampbell, Norman Rost, Peter Walters, Dennis
Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C.(Aberdeenshire, W) Royle, Anthony Ward, Dame Irene
Moate, Roger Russell, Sir Ronald Warren, Kenneth
Money, Ernle St. John-Stevas, Norman Weatherill, Bernard
Monks, Mrs. Connie Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Monro, Hector Scott, Nicholas White, Roger (Gravesend)
Montgomery, Fergus Sharples, Richard Wiggin, Jerry
More, Jasper Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Wilkinson, John
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Shelton, William (Clapham) Winterton, Nicholas
Morrison, Charles Sinclair, Sir George Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Mudd, David Skeet, T. H. H. Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Murton, Oscar Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Woodnutt, Mark
Nabarro, Sir Gerald Soref, Harold Worsley, Marcus
Neave, Airey Speed, Keith Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Normanton, Tom Spence, John Younger, Hn. George
Nott, John Sproat, Iain
Onslow, Cranley Steinton, Keith TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Stanbrook Ivor Mr. Tim Fortescue and
Osborn, John Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Mr. Paul Hawkins.
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)

Question accordingly negatived.

It being after half-past Eight o'clock, Mr. Deputy Speaker proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) and the Orders [13th March and this day] to put forthwith the Questions on Amendments, moved by a Member of the Government, of which notice had been given, to that part of the Bill to be concluded at half-past Eight o'clock.

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