HC Deb 10 July 1972 vol 840 cc1239-71

The cost of structural alterations to premises carried out on the instructions of the fire prevention authorities shall be considered as an expenditure wholly exclusively and necessarily incurred under the Income Tax Acts and be allowed as a deduction for income tax and corporation tax purposes.—[Mr. Joel Barnett.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Joel Barnett

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker

With this new Clause we can discuss also new Clause 38,

Income tax and corporation tax: Allowances for structural alterations for fire prevention purposes.

The cost of structural alterations to premises carried out on the instructions of the fire-prevention authorities in accordance with the pro- visions of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 shall be considered as an expenditure wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred under the Income Tax Acts and be allowed as a deduction for income tax and corporation tax purposes.

and new Clause 40,

Tax deduction for structural alterations to prevent fire.

(1) In computing profits or gains or losses for any period of a trade which consists in or includes the provisions of accommodation in a hotel, inn or boarding house or similar establishment there shall be allowed as a deduction any expenditure incurred by the person carrying on the trade in making to any part of a building in which the trade is carried on any structural or other alterations the making of which is requisite as being a step mentioned in a notice served under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 whether or not such expenditure would otherwise be allowed as a deduction.

(2) For the purposes of this section any structural or other alterations made on the recommendation or advice of a fire authority as defined for the purposes of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 shall be treated as if they were alterations the making of which is requisite as being a step mentioned in a notice served under that Act.

Mr. Barnett

The object of new Clause 1 will be obvious from its contents. Other new Clauses go in detail into the question of what is forced on businesses by the Fire Precautions Act, 1971. It is absurd that the Income Tax Acts should be so interpreted that such expenditure is not allowable. Under the Fire Precautions Act there is provision for a £400 fine or, in certain circumstances, a sentence of two years' imprisonment for using premises that have not been structurally altered as prescribed by the Act.

It is possible to obtain tax allowances for some fire prevention equipment, but structural alterations such as the installation of a new door or of a fire escape is not an allowable expense, even though a man cannot stay in business without incurring this expense. I am not talking about premises that are used for the manufacture of goods, because in the case of factory premises all expenditure is allowable under the industrial building allowance scheme. I am talking about expenses incurred in respect of shops, offices, hotels and places of entertainment.

Substantial expenditure is involved and it is not by any stretch of the imagination wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the purposes of trade. It is unlike some expenses. A firm must incur this expense to stay in business, whereas it could well say "We will not incur certain expenditure on advertising and travelling "and still stay in business.

The question of fire precautions and structural alterations has been highlighted by some of the more recent hotel fire tragedies, though the problem is a continuing one. In 1965 loss through fire damage in the United Kingdom amounted to £75.1 million. By 1971 the figure had risen to £128.7 million. In the distributive trades there were 800 fires in 1958 and the number had risen to 1,740 by 1969. Those figures were taken from the United Kingdom Fire and Loss Statistics for 1969. In public entertainment premises there were 2,988 fires in 1958 and 7,290 in 1969. Clearly there is a growing problem here. When introducing the Fire Precautions Act, the Minister made clear that this was something with which we should be concerned, yet we have a situation in which expenditure which has to be incurred by firms is not allowed as a deductible expense against tax.

6.30 p.m.

I am aware that the Government have a case to make against this proposition and I think I know some of the arguments that will be used, so I shall try to deal with some of them. I think the net result of resisting such a Clause would be to make it more difficult and more costly to take precautions which all hon. Members would wish to be taken. Firms would either seek to avoid carrying out essential work or would delay doing so because they have not the funds available. All of us know of companies which have cash flow problems. If they have funds available they tend to use those funds in a way which will bring a small return. That is understandable and we cannot blame those firms. They would not find it easy to obtain resources and put them to use for a purpose which would bring no return at all.

Such firms might try in the cheapest possible way to do the job on which the Fire Precautions Act insists. I think you Mr. Speaker, when asked for your free advice once said "Cheap is cheap". I am sure you were not referring to cheapness in this context and I am paraphrasing somewhat widely, but undoubtedly firms would try to do this work in as cheap a way as possible, yet here people's lives are concerned and cheapness could lead to tragedy.

I hope that the Treasury will not use the argument that new Clause 1 and the other new Clauses which are being considered with it are badly drafted. I would be perfectly happy, if the Chief Secretary chose the purport of any of these Clauses, to accept a manuscript Clause from him. He might well use the argument about cost. If the cost involved in accepting the new Clause would be high, that could only mean that many buildings need structural alterations to be done urgently. Most hon. Members will agree that there probably are such buildings. If the cost would be high, there are reasons for that.

If the cost is a trading expense as the cost of other items may be, it is allowable. In such a case the firm cannot trade without undertaking the expense. It seems ridiculous to agree to expense which is allowable as a trading expense and to say that that is because it is wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the firm to stay in business, yet to say that this expense cannot be allowed because it is too costly. That argument does not appear to be justified in any way. There are many allowances in a profit and loss account.

It is a strange argument for the Treasury to say that this expense would not be allowed on the ground that it would be too costly while allowing expenses such as those for travel, entertainment of people from overseas, advertising or repairs. Those expenses are at present allowed under the terms of Schedule E. But repairs, advertising and motoring expenses do not have to be wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred; they have only to be wholly and exclusively incurred. Although it was not necessary, I have included the word "necessarily" in the Clause. I have done so because this item of expenditure is literally necessarily incurred, because without it a firm could not stay in business. Therefore, to say that one should disallow this expenditure on the ground of cost is an argument which I hope the House will not accept.

Probably the major reason that the Chief Secretary will adopt for resisting the Clause is that it relates to expenditure of a capital nature which would result m improvement to a building rather than to expenditure of a revenue nature. Of course it could be argued that it would be an improvement to the premises which was not available for capital allowance purposes under the industrial buildings legislation. But improvements to other premises—factory premises for example—are allowable for the purposes of claiming deductions. There is another Clause on the Paper concerning hotels. I have always thought it rather silly not to allow for purposes of capital allowance the construction of a shop front, which is as much an item of expenditure for a firm as any other item. In this case, however, where the improvement has to be carried out it is not allowed. That is not because the firm wants to expend money on improving the premises or in some way to improve its turnover. One would like to think that the public use hotels, offices and places of entertainment because they are safe, but I cannot believe that that is in the mind of the public when they go into those premises. Those premises are being "improved" only because the firm is forced to make those so-called improvements.

I appreciate that there is a problem here. There would be no allowance for the installation of a fire escape or special doors in a factory. However, I believe it would be quite easy for the Government, if they accepted my Clause, to define the part of the building which had been installed purely for fire precaution purposes. It is not difficult to define a fire escape, and the cost of a fire escape would be easy to separate from the cost of the rest of the building. It would be an improvement—using the word in its widestsense—to install a fire escape in a new building and any improvement which was realised on a sale would be subject to capital gains tax, but some relief would have been given before the building was sold. This seems a reasonable thing to suggest because the expenditure would have been incurred at the behest of the Government.

There is the even more absurd situation of the tenant who has to pay for this installation although the landlord receives the benefit if the tenant leaves and the landlord rents off or sells the premises. All round, this seems most unfair to the person or firm carrying on the trade at the time when the expenditure has to be incurred.

The only other argument that could be put forward by the Government is that this would be unfair to those who have already carried out expenditure on old premises. It is true that they would not receive the allowance, but that argument is worth putting forward only if one intends to resist all changes at any time. Transitional problems always arise when a change is made. Treasury Ministers will know that the new tax that they are bringing in with the cessation of purchase tax raises such problems. I hope we shall have no arguments about transitional difficulties.

There is the question of loss through fire. I have referred to examples in terms of loss in life and money. In the Second Reading debate on the Fire Precautions Bill on 20th November, 1970, the Undersecretary of State said that the Bill made a significant contribution to reducing fire risks…which present a real human problem."—[Official Report, 20th November, 1970; Vol. 806, c. 1661.] Nobody on either side of the House would disagree with that, but it would contradict the whole of those arguments if we were to disallow this item of expenditure for tax purposes and so make it more difficult to carry out the very precautions that that Measure was introduced to enable firms to carry out.

Mr. Costain

I represent a constituency which has many small and medium-sized hotels, and I was therefore interested to hear the proposals of the hon. Member for Heywood and Royton (Mr. Joel Barnett). At first sight it would seem reasonable that these tax allowances should be made, but I have had representations from the owners of a number of small hotels who are extremely worried about the effects of the capital expenditure that they would have to undertake in order to comply with the Fire Precautions Act. We passed that Act with the best of intentions, without realising that when fire officers were asked to put forward safety requirements they would not unnaturally put forward the most stringent regulations, because if they did not and a fire took place in premises which complied with their requirements they would get the blame whereas if they were over-cautious nobody would blame them.

The effect has been that some small hotels are faced with proportionately large capital expenditure. Some of these hotels are owned by people who came to Folkestone on retirement to run hotels in order to supplement their pensions. I have discussed with them the proposal that they should be allowed tax relief in order to offset the extra expenditure, and they have laughed and asked me whether I realised that they could not afford the cash to carry out the necessary structural alterations and that the income they were receiving from the hotels made it unlikely that they would be liable for tax anyway. These people are much more interested in receiving a loan or an allowance to help them carry out the necessary work.

They further pointed out, and I agree with them, that the larger and more profitable hotels have already raised their fire precaution standards above those laid down, and that if the new Clause were accepted we should be penalising them—so why should not we allow them tax relief? I hope that my hon. Friend will pay attention to the suggestion that some form of loan or grant should be given to help hotels to carry out the necessary work, instead of concentrating on the saving of capital.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Dalyell

Hon. Members will recollect the biblical parable of the five wise virgins with their crude oil and the five foolish virgins with their crude oil. It may seem at first sight that this is a case of the foolish virgins being rewarded and the wise virgins being done a bit. I prefer to think of the parable of the prodigal son. Those who have not carried out repairs should be welcomed as prodigals rather than as persons who have failed to carry out their duties. The argument that will be put forward against that suggestion is that it is unfair to those who have carried out the work. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Royton (Mr. Joel Barnett).

The City of Edinburgh has a long and honourable history in terms of fire precautions. We can claim to have had the first professional fire brigade anywhere in the world, under a remarkable fire-master called James Braidwood, in the last century. Frank Rushbrook has just retired as Edinburgh firemaster. I have talked with him. Considerable expense would have to be borne by hotels in Central Scotland in bringing them up to the standard that they should have attained long ago. We want to hear from the Government what plans they have to enable hotels to comply with the necessary standards.

Do not let us over-state the situation; in many cases repairs would not be all that expensive, but in some cases hotels would go out of business if they had to implement the regulations in respect of their rather ancient premises. I therefore hope to hear a coherent plan from the Government, even if they do not accept the argument.

It is no good saying that we can simply drift along. I warn Ministers that the next time there is a hotel scandal of the kind we have known fairly recently there really will be a public outcry. The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, who is present, must know that even now, in certain parts of the country—and I include my own area—many hotels have not registered. The fire brigade does not conceive it as part of its duty to require them to register. That argument has gone on in various parts of the country and the Undersecretary has been asked many questions on the subject.

I should like to be assured that the Government have a coherent view, not only in relation to the new Clause but in respect of hotel finance in general, in terms of fire precautions. It is the general picture to which we must have regard.

We are talking not only about hotels; we are talking about premises in general. I should be more concerned about some factory buildings—the buildings of small firms. I do not want to be irrelevant but I point out that one of the startling facts that emerged from the recent Cold-harbour tragedy was that the fire risk was made greater precisely because modernisation had taken place.

It is not only a question of old premises. We are talking about a large number of premises in which modern equipment, modern installations and particularly modern plastics have been introduced on a large scale in the past 10 years and which tragically are not less but more vulnerable to fire. That was the lesson of not only Cold-harbour but a number of other recent fires where there was no loss of life. In all the circumstances, great changes may have to be made not only in old buildings but in reasonably up-to-date buildings to bring them up to standard. Therefore expense is important, and we should like to hear in general terms the Government's tax policy in relation to the whole problem.

We cannot leave this general subject without some discussion of the effects on premises that involve the use of chemicals. One of the startling things we notice when we visit fire brigades is the amount of chemical knowledge they must now master. The fire officers have become highly skilled people in our society. With all the changes that result from the changing nature of technology, we should like to know something about the tax policy involved.

Mr. Robert Adley (Bristol, North-East)

I should like to speak specifically to new Clause 38, which is in my name and the names of some of my hon. Friends. First I declare an interest, as I have some involvement in the hotel industry, but I point out immediately that what I am concerned about is the plight of small hotel keepers, including the very small hotel keepers, as was my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain).

I thank my hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for seeing a number of deputations on behalf of the Parliamentary Tourism Committee, and I also thank my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, who is aware of that committee's concern about the Fire Precautions Act.

The hon. Member for Heywood and Royton (Mr. Joel Barnett) spoke cogently about the plight of some of the small hotels. He concentrated on the need to allow expenditure on fire precautions against taxation. My hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe said that what we need is a means of alleviating the hardship of those concerned, but not necessarily by means of taxation allowances. The hon. Gentleman's Clause might help those who need help less but fail to help those who need it most. I hope that my hon. Friend the Chief Secretary will have noted my hon. Friend's point, which I endorse.

The root of the trouble is that when the Act was being discussed the tourism lobby was perhaps unaware of the problem, and certainly was not sufficiently well organised to mount a campaign to make sure that the possibly harmful financial effects on small hotels could be alleviated.

In the two years since June, 1970, we have spent 48½ hours on the Floor of the House discussing coal mining, but only two hours discussing tourism, although the hotel and catering industry employs 1,200,000 people and has 132,500 employers.

The side effects of the Fire Precautions Act are much wider than was envisaged when it was under discussion. It has involved the Department of Trade and Industry, the Home Office and the Treasury, but we have finished up with the Treasury and we face the possibility of a financial penalty on safety. We all support the Act, as the hon. Member for Heywood and Royton said, but it is important that nothing should be done by one Department to hinder its initial intentions. The Home Office drafted the legislation, but the small hotel keeper is left with the Treasury as his only hope of preventing many of the bankruptcies of which the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) spoke.

Many of us who have been involved through our constituents in the past few months could quote many cases of the hardship which will result if the Government do not find a way to provide relief or, more important, to provide funds for the small hotel keeper to carry out the necessary work. Everyone wants the work to be done. The problem is to find a way to make sure that it can be done. I shall not weary the House with numerous quotations from letters I have received, but it is clear that the size of the problem is not understood by the Home Office, the Treasury or the Department of Trade and Industry. This was illustrated by an answer I received from my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 8th May, when I asked what effect he expected the Fire Precautions Act to have upon small hotels. He replied that he could not give an estimate and then told me why he could not do so.

In our discussions with the Treasury we have been asked to give an idea of what we thought such a concession was likely to cost and how many hotels were likely to be involved. Nobody even knows how many hotels there are in the country. One of the advantages of hotel registration, which is being discussed by the Department of Trade and Industry, is that it will enable the Treasury to know the extent of any problem in connection with the hotel industry that is brought to its attention.

The hon. Member for Heywood and Royton rightly pointed out the difference between the lack of allowances on structural work and the allowances on equipment. It is difficult to explain to a small hotel keeper why he can count a fire extinguisher but not a fire escape for taxation purposes. It is in the hope of trying to bring some logic into the situation that we have tabled new Clause 38.

In our discussions at the Home Office about the Act a code of practice has been mentioned. The impression has been given that we should not worry too much about the Act and likely difficulties for small hotels, because the Home Office would issue a code of practice alleviating those difficulties. That has not happened. I should like to read a short extract from a letter from the Glasgow Corporation Fire Department to a hotel company. It says: I am sure you appreciate the difference between mandatory legislation and a guide. In fact, the guide itself on page 1 states, 'This booklet does not have legal force.' I hope this clarifies the matter for you. The legislation has had a financially harmful effect and, unless the Government find a way to enable small hotels to carry out the necessary work without going bankrupt, many small hotel keepers will be in great difficulty. If hotels were classified as industrial buildings the problem would be alleviated very quickly. Alternatively tax relief should be provided, although this might not help a man who keeps a really small hotel. Best of all, perhaps, the Government should quickly find a means to provide loans, preferably through the local authorities, so that the small hotel keeper can enjoy benefits similar to those which the Act already gives in respect of private dwellings.

7.0 p.m.

The Minister has told me that I worry too much and that bank loans will be available to these people. But small hotel keepers find it extremely difficult to borrow money from the banks. This is the crux of the problem. Let me read a sentence from a letter which I have received from a small hotel keeper in Bristol. He says: As a small family hotel we do not have the vast financial resources of a hotel group and we have had to pay for the work out of our takings. These are the sort of people who need help. If my hon. Friend the Chief Secretary cannot make a tax concession to help such people, let us have some sign that he is prepared to consider a form of loan. I say to him with friendliness but firmness that we look for some form of action rather than ameliorating words.

Mr. John Pardoe (Cornwall, North)

I refer particularly to new Clause 40, tabled by my right hon. and hon. Friend and myself, which seeks to enable hoteliers to set against tax the expense of work done under the Fire Precautions Act. New Clause 39, which has been coupled with others for debate later, would enable hoteliers to claim hotels as being industrial buildings for tax purposes. But that goes much wider. The new Clause under discussion is specifically linked to that expenditure incurred as a consequence of the Fire Precautions Act.

Anyone who speaks for a constituency which has a large tourist interest knows that no one in the tourist industry challenges the necessity for the Fire Precautions Act. Some people have put forward considerable claims for alleviation on financial grounds, but no one has said to me that the Act is not right and necessary. There have been some severe hotel fires in the last few years and every one in the industry and outside recognises the need to protect the people staying in hotels from danger. It came as a shock to the great majority of hon. Members who helped to pass the Act to discover that expenditure incurred in implementing the Act was not allowed against tax. I doubt whether many hon. Members realised that when the Act was passed.

The industry wants to be safe from fires. It wants to protect its guests. But is it being encouraged to do so? I am aware that it cannot do other than accord with the Fire Precautions Act. It incurs very heavy penalties if it does not conform with the Act, and many small hoteliers and guest house keepers may well be driven completely out of business as a result of it. But there is a difference between honouring the Act in the spirit and honouring it in the letter. We should be encouraging hoteliers to go as far as they can in protecting their guests from fire and even to go further than honouring the strict letter of the Act. Inevitably there will be temptations to cut corners in implementing the Act. One can hardly blame hoteliers, faced with the expenditure which some of us representing tourist areas have had brought to our attention in the last few weeks, for cutting corners.

The Taxes Act allows some relief for expenditure on fire precautions. For instance, it allows relief for expenditure on repairs and maintenance, insurance and management. But, according to the Revenue, replacements and improvements of a capital nature are not admissible. Where exactly is the difference? For example, fire doors may well cost as much as £60 each. A constituent has written to me enclosing a letter from the inspector of taxes in Truro. It concerned the expenditure of £233 on fire doors in a small private hotel. The inspector stated in his letter: The bill you paid for £233 seems to be an expenditure which is not revenue but capital, i.e. it relates to installation of fire doors which would seem to be an improvement or alteration as opposed to a repair or maintenance". That is a strange division between the two. I admit that if I had been in my constituent's position I should have been exceptionally puzzled. Suppose she had replaced her doors with modern doors for interior decoration purposes. One might have been able to argue that this was simply in keeping with the interior decoration, and if her interior decorator had been hired professionally and had advised the use of a particular type of modern door one might have been able to persuade the Inland Revenue that this was an allowable expenditure.

Suppose, to get a step further from replacement, she had simply been advised by her interior decorator to add hardboard panels to the outside of existing doors, not to fireproof them but to make them more in keeping with modern design and modern decoration. I suggest that the cost of adding hardboard panels would have been allowable against tax. If the doors had been lined with asbestos panels, would the difference between hardboard and asbestos make one allowable and the other not allowable? Distinctions of that kind are nonsensical, and the new Clauses have been tabled in an endeavour to clear up the matter.

In replying to some of these points in a letter to me on 28th June, the Chief Secretary said: There is no universal rule of thumb for deciding on which side of the line any particular item falls". Some of my constituents have taken legal advice on this matter and their solicitors have argued with great ingenuity exactly where the expenditure lies in relation to the law. Unfortunately, however, the Inland Revenue is proving obdurate and it is extremely difficult to get round the matter.

The Chief Secretary in his letter to me endeavoured to put forward reasons why he did not envisage the Government accepting this suggestion. He said: I do not think there is justification for singling out this particular form of expenditure for special tax treatment". He went on to say that there are other industries which have to make their premises not only safe from fire but hygienic. He suggests that some shopkeepers have to incur expenditure in bringing their premises up to the hygiene standards. That is true. But it does not usually involve major construction or the kind of expenditure which many hoteliers are being called upon to make in relation to the size of their turnover; and most work done to bring shop premises up to the hygiene standards is usually an admissible expense. So the comparison is not fair.

What about the possibility of alternative finance which has been suggested today from the Conservative benches? It is extraordinary to find a Conservative Member arguing for some sort of subsidised loans or grants instead of the normal Conservative pleasure ground of tax allowances.

Mr. Adley

I was arguing for loans. We are not asking for grants, and certainly we are not asking for anything of UCS proportions. I remind the hon. Gentleman of a letter which I forwarded to him from his own constituency pointing out that the Newquay chief executive officer informed one of the hon. Gentleman's constituents that grants might be available from local councils but that this applied only to private dwellings and not hotels. That is my point.

Mr. Pardoe

It was partly on the basis of that letter that I made that very point. The Newquay District Hotels and Caterers Association states clearly in its letter that it would much rather have tax allowances than any kind of subsidised handout or loan. On 16th May its chairman wrote to me as follows: The general feeling amongst our members appears to be that allowances for taxation purposes are a more satisfactory and fairer system…than any grants or loans which may be proposed. Certainly in my recent experience of the tourist industry tax allowances would be the best way. Some help has been offered from the Small Industries Committee of the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas. Its chairman wrote to me on 25th April saying that he hoped that the council might be able to help with the provision of a limited number of loans. But of course this would not solve the whole problem.

What is to happen if the Chief Secretary cannot accept the principle contained in the new Clauses? I suggest that one result will be that some smaller guest houses will revert to private use. This has been spelt out in the letter from the chairman of the Newquay hoteliers' association, which says that some of its members are already considering how they can cut down on their upper storey rooms to bring their accommodation within the Act by reducing the number of letting rooms. Surely that is not the Government's intention.

With the support of the then Opposition, the last Government introduced the Development of Tourism Bill. I thought it was a load of nonsense. Largely I have been proved right. Most of the money has gone into the pockets of the large takeover merchants and not into smaller hotels. The objective was to increase the number of hotel rooms by pumping in the taxpayer's money. Here the Government are refusing to ensure that the number of hotel rooms that we have is kept to the present level. I suggest that the Government will succeed in reducing substantially the number of rooms available for letting in small hotels.

Mr. Rees-Davies

The hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) must give credit where it is due. Does he not realise that as a result of that scheme more than 60,000 bedrooms have been provided which have gone a long way to meet the enormous increase in tourism, with over 7 million visitors in the current year? It was begun under a Socialist Government, but we must give them credit for achieving the objective they had in mind, for the benefit of Liberals and Conservatives.

Mr. Pardoe

The hon. Member for Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) has fallen into the trap of believing that it would not have happened without Government handouts. The fact is that over 60 per cent. of the money has gone to people who would have carried out the developments because of the massive demand for hotel rooms in London and our other major cities. They would have done it without the grants. They did not really need the money. If one is thinking of pumping public money into improving an industry in this way, I believe that it should go to those parts of the industry which cannot carry out the necessary improvements without public handouts. That is why I complained about the Act and forecast what would happen. I have been proved right.

We are proposing, as a result of the Fire Precautions Act, to levy a 60 per cent. tax on the greater part of what is incurred in implementing the Act—[Interruption.] Righthon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Government side look mystified. For their benefit I give the simple details. To put in a £60 door, the hotelier will have to earn £100. He will be taxed £40 on that, and £40 on an expenditure of £60, as the Chief Secretary will know, is more or less what I said at the start of the calculation. If a farmer puts in a farm gate, he pays no tax. If a hotelier puts a new carpet in his hotel, he pays no tax. But a fire door will be charged tax at the rate of 60 per cent. This is madness.

7.15 p.m.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

This has been an important debate, and I do not wish in any way to prevent those who have points to make, whether on behalf of constituency interests or otherwise, from doing so but I think it may be helpful if I intervene at this stage to give the Government's view on the issues as they have been put so far. If any further points arise, then perhaps, Mr. Speaker. I might seek the leave of the House to reply at a later stage.

I can begin with one point on which I am sure the whole House is united in agreement; namely, the need to make premises to which the public have access as safe from the risks of fire as possible. It was to this end that Parliament passed the Fire Precautions Act last year. It was to this end that the first order applying the Act to hotels and boarding houses was made in February last and came into operation on 1st June. This order was made on the advice of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Councils for England and Wales and for Scotland. It is the view of those responsible for the protection of the public against fire that the need to bring the standard of fire precautions in hotels and boarding houses to a minimum and acceptable level is urgent. I do not need to remind the House of the tally of hotel and boarding house fires in recent years. Saffron Walden, Bayswater, Cambridge, Hastings are but a few that spring to mind. We all agree, therefore, that it is right to take action.

Second, it is also right that, while the safety of the public must be the overriding consideration, fire precautions should be imposed in a way that is both practical and realistic. The Fire Precautions Act clearly recognised that when, during the Bill's passage through the House, our hon. Friends in the Home Office explained that it was not the intention to apply the Act all at once to all premises within its scope; instead it would be introduced by stages with high risk premises being dealt with first. Further, Ministers gave an undertaking that no orders would be made applying the Act to particular classes of premises until the interests affected had first been consulted and an agreed code of practice drawn up. I can assure the House that the code of practice for hotels and board- ing houses—although the Amendment covers all premises, I think that it will be agreed that the bulk of this debate has been on the narrower subject—was agreed with national organisations representing the industry before the designating order was made. The House may agree that it is unlikely that the industry would have accepted the code had it been unreasonable.

For instance, the order excludes the smallest premises altogether from its scope; a family which provides sleeping accommodation for six or fewer guests on the first floor is not affected. Again, the Act provides that the fire authority may require only what is reasonable in the circumstances of the case, and its requirements are subject to appeal to the courts. It is right, too, that I should remind the House that when appeals have been considered under similar provisions of comparable legislation—for instance, the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act, 1963—the courts have always taken the question of cost into account. Thus, a fire authority cannot demand precautions which cost more than what is reasonable having regard to the nature of the premises. Again, a fire certificate must be tailor-made for each industrial building: there is no question of regulations being applied rigidly regardless of the individual characteristics of a particular building and the way in which it is used.

Again, I emphasise that the requirements must relate solely to means of escape and associated fire precautions. They are concerned primarily not with the protection of property but with the protection of life. Thus no fire authority could require a small hotel or boarding-house keeper to fit, for instance, a sprinkler system, for such a system is primarily for the protection of property.

The point here is that within the overriding need to protect human life it was the purpose of Parliament, and, therefore, the intention of the Department, that the Act should be applied reasonably and gradually and only after full consultation and subject to rights of appeal. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, who carries the responsibility in these matters, has authorised me to emphasise this today. I very much welcome the presence of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department on the Front Bench beside me.

Furthermore, the fire service is well aware of all this. Nevertheless, the Home Office has thought it right in recent months to arrange special seminars on the Act for chief fire officers and others, and conferences have been held in different parts of the country. In all this it has constantly been stressed by the Home Office, and accepted by the fire service, that all circumstances must be taken into account, including financial considerations, before requirements under the Act are specified. In addition, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department has personally put to the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Councils the difficulties faced by the proprietors of the smaller hotels and boarding-houses. Aspecial circular, which a number of hon. Members may have seen, was last month sent to fire authorities drawing attention to the problem and suggesting that they might arrange local conferences with hotel and boarding-house keepers at which these matters could be discussed.

Of course, the Government have in the last resort no power to direct the fire authorities; it is they who are vested by law with the responsibility for implementing the Act. But my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has authorised me to say that he is fully satisfied, following the discussion in the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council and the sending of the circular, with the Council's backing, to all fire authorities, that the problems of the small establishments in particular are well understood and recognised by those authorities. In respect both of the requirements to be imposed and of the time to be allowed for carrying out the work, it is always open to hotel and boarding-house keepers to discuss their difficulties with the fire authority. My right hon. Friend has no doubt that they will be given a sympathetic hearing.

One other anxiety has been expressed; namely, that differing standards will be imposed by different fire authorities. My right hon. Friend wishes me to underline the fact that by the publication of a code of practice, through special training courses and in other ways, the Home Office has been at considerable pains to ensure uniformity of standards. This has been carried out with the full agreement and co-operation of all sections of the fire service itself, and my right hon. Friend has no doubt whatever that the fire brigades, with their unrivalled record of public service, will discharge their duties under the Act with the same efficiency and consideration which characterise their other activities. In view of all this, I believe I am right in claiming that some of the wilder cries of alarm which have been heard in recent weeks will turn out to have been unjustified.

However, I go on at once to acknowledge that fire precautions, even if reasonable and carried out over a period, will cost money. I believe, again, that I am on firm ground when I assert that it has for long been a settled principle in such matters that where the law requires premises to which the public are invited to be made safe, the financial responsibility for complying with the law rests on the proprietors. We have, for instance, for years had legislation, as the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) acknowledged, applying standards of hygiene and public health to many types of premises. It has never been felt right, merely because these requirements are imposed by law, to transfer any part of the costs of complying with them to the public purse. Indeed, it would be very unfair. Very many proprietors of many different kinds of premises that are or will be covered by the Fire Precautions Act have already taken the necessary steps, perhaps years ago, to make their premises safe. It would, I think, be justifiable ground for complaint if those who have not done this were to receive unduly favoured treatment simply because new statutory regulations have come into force.

However, I recognise that this is not the case which hon. Members on both sides of the House have put forward. Instead, they have sought to argue that the tax rules should be changed so as to allow all expenditure of whatever nature undertaken to comply with the Fire Precautions Act to be a deduction for tax purposes. I understand this argument. Of course, a good deal of this expenditure qualifies already. Much of the equipment which might have to be installed under the Act, for instance, qualifies as plant and machinery for 100 per cent. first-year capital allowances. This would include, for instance, fire extinguishers, alarm systems, emergency lighting, hoses and hose reels, including plumbing back to the point on the main, some types of escape apparatus, and so on. Again, there will be some work which can be classified as replacements or renewals of a revenue nature and which will qualify as a deduction under the normal expenses rule.

Mr. Joel Barnett

On that basis, is the Chief Secretary now giving some indication to the Revenue that the replacement of one type of door which is not as safe as another would be an allowable deduction?

Mr. Jenkin

It is always a question of fact in each case. It depends how far the particular work that is carried out is a repair or a renewal and how far it is to be regarded as an improvement. I will come to capital expenditure later. This is a basic principle of revenue law which covers a vast area of expenditure by businesses, trades and professions. It would be wrong for any Minister to attempt to indicate to or influence the Inland Revenue how it should carry out its responsibility in this regard. I understand the problem mentioned by the hon. Member for Cornwall, North. A fire door may be a good case in point. If it is merely the replacement of an existing door with no substantial element of improvement, I have little doubt the inspector would find no difficulty in allowing it. However, if it represents a significant improvement so that, in effect, it is different from what it has replaced, it would be regarded as capital expenditure. I recognise that there will be certain types of expenditure which are neither revenue nor able to be classified as plant and machinery for which, as the law stands, there can be no tax relief.

Here I must ask the House to look at the structure of our taxing Statutes as a whole. For very many years there were no capital allowances as such at all. Then in 1945 Parliament introduced a system of capital allowances which, through all the many variations since then, have always been limited to plant and machinery or to industrial buildings and structures. Commercial buildings of whatever nature have never been within the capital allowances arrangements.

There are two main reasons for this. First, commercial buildings on the whole do not depreciate as rapidly or as inevitably as does plant and machinery and as do industrial buildings. On the contrary, one does not need to look more than a mile or so from this House to realise that certain types of commercial buildings, far from depreciating, can appreciate very substantially. I suggest it would be somewhat unreal for the tax system to provide depreciation allowances in these circumstances.

More important, however—this is a reason whose compelling force has been accepted by successive Governments—the cost of extending capital allowances to commercial buildings generally cannot be accepted. If such allowances were given generally, the cost would rise to between £250 million and £300 million per year. This would mean, for instance, that to maintain the yield from corporation tax, instead of the 50 per cent, rate which we have used for illustrative purposes under the system that will come into force next year, the rate might have to be nearer 60 per cent. I believe the House would regard this as wholly unacceptable. But it is argued, and has been argued this afternoon, that this is quite unnecessary. A line can be drawn which would separate expenditure on fire precautions over all other expenditure on commercial buildings and structures. If this were so it would be an argument of some force, because the cost to the revenue of allowing expenditure of this sort would be very much less than the figures which I have mentioned, but the advice which we have received is that it would, in practice, be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to draw a line between what would qualify and what would not.

7.30 p.m.

It would be easy enough where alterations of an existing building are being made and are confined to those required by a fire authority. Naturally, since this is the particular case to which attention has been focused in recent weeks, this might appear at first blush to be a reasonable solution. But what one has to remember when claims are made for special allowances for tax purposes is that the tax system applies to about 25 million taxpayers, and that as far as possible it must treat those in like circumstances in a like way.

I put it to the House whether it would be possible to have an allowance in respect of alterations to comply with fire precautions and have no allowance at all for new buildings which were built to comply with those specifications. I suggest not. The hon. Member for Cornwall, North suggested a way round this. He suggested that possibly one could separate that part of the cost of a new building which was attributable to compliance with a fire authority's requirements; but I suggest that that, too, would be a wholly impossible task, and, bearing in mind that one would be dealing with inspectors and tax officers all over the country, and dealing with thousands of taxpayers, I suggest that it would be wrong to try to impose that task on the Inland Revenue.

Suppose we gave an allowance for hotels and boarding houses. How could we justify withholding a similar allowance for other commercial buildings to which the public have access—theatres, cinemas, offices, shops—

Mr. Adley

That used to be the Treasury argument until the passing of the Development of Tourism Act. The Treasury said that one could not give any allowance to hotels or make arrangements for hotels because nobody knew what an hotel was. The previous Government having passed the Development of Tourism Act, it is clear what is an hotel. With respect to my hon. Friend, I think that there is some difference between a cinema and an hotel.

Mr. Jenkin

I reiterate the point that I made, that adding something to an existing tax system which covers millions of taxpayers is a different operation from separating a particular sector of the economy and legislating for it separately under an entirely different Act and administering it in a different way. I assure my hon. Friend that if one were to attempt to give an allowance of the sort which has been claimed here for hotels and write it in as part of the tax Statutes, not only would it be extremely difficult to draw the line, but it would inevitably spill over to affect the other kinds of premises. I do not deny that it is possible to distinguish a cinema from an hotel, but that is not the point. The point is that once something has been conceded for hotels, inevitably the pressure will be on to concede it equally for cinemas, offices, theatres, shops, and so on.

I have been driven to the conclusion, however sympathetic one might be to the case that has been made, that any attempt to shift the line of demarcation away from the broad distinction between industrial and non-industrial buildings would be bound sooner or later to lead to all commercial buildings qualifying for capital allowances. I should have thought that that would be unacceptable, on grounds of cost, to both sides of the House.

A sum of £250 million to £300 million a year would be at stake. If right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite intend to vote for the Clause I think that they owe it to the House to explain how they propose to meet the cost or how they propose to draw a new line and hold it against what I believe would become irresistible pressure to extend the allowance until it covered all commercial buildings, and I must advise the House to reject the Clause.

Nevertheless, I go on to make it clear that I recognise that there is a problem which has to be met. It is a problem mainly affecting small hotels and boarding houses, and a number of my hon. Friends have emphasised that this afternoon. They have said that some of the proprietors of these small establishments will find it very difficult to meet the requirements of the Fire Precautions Act solely from their own resources. It is common knowledge that there are many thousands of small hotels and boarding houses whose owners draw from them only a very modest living and who have not foreseen the demands of the Act. These are people who have had to apply for a certificate under the designating order, and in due course their premises will be inspected and work may be necessary to obtain afire certificate. Some, those in a more substantial way of business and with access to bank lending and so on, will find little difficulty in complying with the Act. But others who are in a small way of business may face a heavy burden, heavy, that is, compared with the income which they derive from these small establishments. I believe that this is a case which must be met. It is clear that tax relief would be of limited value in these cases. My hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Adley) emphasised this. Many of these proprietors have incomes of little more than their personal allowances. Indeed, it is common knowledge that in some cases such people have to resort to social security during the winter months.

What seems to me to be necessary is to provide such people with access to loan finance so that they can have the work carried out as and when required by the fire authorities. I am therefore able to tell the House that early in the next Session of Parliament the Government intend to introduce legislation to this effect. Under Section 36 of the Fire Precautions Act, 1971, local authorities can make loans at the Government lending rate to certain categories of proprietor mainly of residential flats.

The legislation which I am announcing will enable us to extend this borrowing facility to the proprietors of small hotels and boarding houses which provide only a small livelihood. I cannot today give the House the full details of this scheme. We have to hold consultations with local authorities on the administration of the proposed power. In addition, further study is necessary to enable us to settle the details.

I can, however, say that the essence of the new facility will be that local authorities will have a discretion to act in the rôle of lender of last resort for a small hotel or boarding-house keeper who finds it difficult to borrow the money he needs from other sources. It is not our intention to help those who can turn to the normal sources of funds—the banks, and so on. We shall, therefore, impose an upper limit; this might be by reference to the number of bedrooms or, alternatively, to the value of turnover. It is for consideration whether, to avoid undue administration, there might be a threshold figure, but, if so, it would have to be a low one.

All this is for further consideration and discussion, notably with the local authorities. The Government, however, for their part are ready to introduce the necessary legislation early in the new Session, and it is our hope that it can become law just as swiftly as possible. I hope the House will agree that a scheme of this sort, tailored as it will be to meet the precise situation which many hon. Members on both sides of the House have put to the Government in recent weeks, is the right way of avoiding hardship for people in a small way of business who may not have foreseen the need for this expenditure and for whom tax relief would be of little value. It would supplement the arrangements already being made by the industry.

If the House accepts, as I hope it will, that what I have said goes a long way to meet the case that has been put, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite may feel that they need not press the Clause.

Dame Irene Ward(Tynemouth)

I should like to take this early opportunity of thanking the Chief Secretary for his imaginative and creative plan. It is true that we do not know all the details, but my heart always warms when I hear action being taken to help those who, out of their own resources, have helped themselves to earn a livelihood.

The House of Commons is a peculiar place. I have been a Member now for 36 years and I cannot remember a single occasion on which a Chief Secretary, supported by a very distinguished Undersecretary at the Home Office, has acted with such speed. It is the most extraordinary thing I have ever seen done in parliamentary life, and I congratulate my hon. Friend on his speed and engenuity. I therefore hate to tell him that it has given me a wonderful idea of increasing speed on many other occasions. At any rate, when a need is urgent—and to small hotel and boarding-house keepers these fire precaution regulations are a matter of great concern—it is very satisfying to know that the Chief Secretary can act with such speed.

My hon. Friend has made some very important points. I have had a large number of letters from constituents and it is quite exciting to know that, though we have talked about Cornwall and all sorts of wonderful places but not talked about the North-East Coast, the North-East Coast will be very grateful for being included in this very important announcement.

It is always very difficult to get those living on small fixed incomes to know what their rights are and how they can make their personal communications. I have always thought that all Governments pay far too much attention to the "big boys" who find it very easy to put in their demands, while those who are not so well off and who deserve all we can give them have neither the knowledge nor the facility.

We shall have a variety of fire precautions officers serving an area and trying to abide by a common code, and I do not think that anybody will be better pleased than those who are living, or trying to live, on small fixed incomes, by the knowledge that something is to be done to help them continue their good work in living on their own resources and running a satisfactory hotel and boarding-house industry.

Even if I have to disagree with my hon. Friend in the future, I hope that he will accept what I say as a very sincere vote of thanks from all of us who have been working very hard behind the scenes. Curiously enough, it is not always outside publicity that gets action from any Government, so we are very pleased indeed to have had such a success.

7.45 p.m.

Mr. Joel Barnett

I hope I may have leave of the House to speak again. It is very interesting to hear the hon. Lady the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) in her unusual rôle in thanking the Chief Secretary. I do not know what he felt about it, but I can only think that her heart warms easily.

I noted with interest that Government supporters were satisfied with the Chief Secretary's concession, but let us see what it amounts to. The hon. Gentleman told us that there would be a loan for small hoteliers, and he preceded that statement by telling us that those hoteliers were doing so badly that they earned just about enough to cover their personal allowances and that some were on social security. Presumably, therefore, they will repay this munificent loan out of social security. This great concession is a loan which presumably will be repayable. I do not know whether it will be subject to interest but, if so—

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

I thought I made it clear that loans under Section 36 of the Act were at the Government lending rate and that the same would apply to this new loan.

Mr. Barnett

That is even more interesting, because under the Bill the first £35 of interest will not be allowable against tax. It will not be protected interest, because the expenditure for which it is incurred is not allowable for tax. Therefore, the first £35 of interest of this great concession will not even be an allowable expense for tax. It is quite incredible. Yet this announcement is greeted with great glee by the Chief Secretary's hon. Friends and by the hon. Lady.

Mr. Peter Rees

The hon. Gentleman has surely misunderstood the position. The interest will be allowable either as business interest or as interest on expenditure to improve real property. I am sure that as an accountant he would like to correct what he said.

Mr. Barnett

On the contrary. The commercial expenditure on the commercial property about which we are talking is not an allowable expense, so it is not a business expense. If I am wrong I shall be delighted to be told. The hon. Gentleman must accept that expenditure incurred in improving commercial property is not allowable, and we have been told earlier—

Mr. Jenkin

In order to prevent the hon. Member for Heywood and Royton (Mr. Joel Barnett) plunging any deeper into the mire of his own creation, I can assure him that in the case we have been talking about it will be protected interest and it will be allowable.

Mr. Barnett

That is a very interesting intervention because earlier the Chief Secretary said that he would not tell the Inland Revenue what was protected or not protected or what was allowable or not allowable. He now says that he is instructing the Inland Revenue as to what is protected and what is not. I am delighted to hear it: we are having changes in the Income Tax Acts all the time.

The main argument advanced by the Chief Secretary was based on cost, to which I had earlier referred. First of all, he tried to frighten us with a cost of £250 million or £300 million—not if he allowed the new Clause but if, because of accepting it, he accepted its logic. That is most interesting because he is now telling us that the Treasury and the Inland Revenue are becoming logical.

Earlier today they did not have quite that sort of logic. When my hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Sheldon) told them that when they were making a concession on television rentals they were arguing that the principle of double taxation was wrong for rentals generally and that all the Chief Secretary was doing was conceding the case for television rentals and for nothing else, the reply was that this was a specific case that could be defined.

We are here saying that it is very easily possible to define what is expenditure under the Fire Precautions Act. As the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) said, it was interesting to note, in view of the hotels in his constituency, that the Minister of State, Treasury did not reply to the debate on this new Clause. It will have been noted with great interest how, instead of having a logical tax system, this magnificent new loan system will be a great help.

I note with interest what the hon. Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Adley) will do. He talked about the illogical nature of the tax system which disallowed this sort of expenditure, which is a trading expenditure, while allowing other sorts of expenditure such as all the other items to which I have previously referred. But now, presumably, he will be satisfied with this little sop he has had thrown to him. Presumably, the hoteliers in his constituency will be coming to him in a year or two saying "Will you please try to get another Bill passed like the Industry Bill to ensure that I do not have to repay the loan?".

Mr. Adley

I have not been a Member of the House as long as the hon. Gentleman. I am thankful for small mercies. If I were at present considering whether

to press my new Clause to a Division, having listened to the hon. Gentleman I find that he has almost made up my mind that it would not be worth doing so, even without the concession. I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend the Chief Secretary. In the short time available he has done something and, since he has shown his willingness to do something, there is no reason why in the future we should not expect much more.

Mr. Barnett

I had a feeling that was what the hon. Gentleman would say. I hope it will do him good in some places, but I doubt it. When it comes to the crunch and when those small hoteliers on social security in his constituency find that they have to repay these loans, they will see that the concession is nothing like as good as what the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are so happy to accept as a major new concession from the Treasury Bench.

Mr. Adleyrose

Mr. Barnett

The Chief Secretary said thata great deal of expenditure in this respect was now allowable, for example fire extinguishers and other items. He called that a great deal of expenditure. But he knows very well that the bulk of the really costly expenditure is not allowable—that is, structural alterations and fire escapes. This is the big difference.

I find it incredible that hon. Members on the Government side have made such a fuss about an issue that has involved and could involve not only millions of £s lost through fire damage but, tragically, the loss of lives through lack of fire precautions.

For those reasons, I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will support the new Clause, which we shall certainly press to a Division.

Question put,That the Clause be read a Second time: —

The House divided: Ayes 185, Noes 202.

Division No. 281.] AYES [7.53 p.m.
Abse, Leo Barnes, Michael Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)
Albu, Austen Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Broughton, Sir Alfred
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne.W.)
Allen, Scholefield Baxter, William Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)
Ashton, Joe Blenkinsop, Arthur Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Atkinson, Norman Booth, Albert Cant, R. B.
Bagier,Gordon A. T. Bottomley. Rt. Hn. Arthur Carter. Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Probert, Arthur
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Rankin, John
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Concannon, J. D. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.) Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Roper, John
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Rose, Paul B.
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Judd, Frank Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Dalyell, Tam Kaufman, Gerald Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Davidson, Arthur Lambie, David Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lamborn, Harry Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Latham, Arthur Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Lawson, George Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Deakins. Eric Leadbitter, Ted Silverman, Julius
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Skinner, Dennis
Dempsey, James Leonard, Dick Small, William
Doig, Peter Lestor, Miss Joan Spearing, Nigel
Dormand, J. D. Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Spriggs, Leslie
Driberg, Tom Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Stallard, A. W.
Duffy, A. E. P. Lipton, Marcus Steel, David
Dunnett, Jack Lomas, Kenneth Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Eadie, Alex Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Ellis, Tom Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McElhone, Frank Strang, Gavin
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McGuire, Michael Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mackenzie, Gregor Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Foot, Michael Maclennan, Robert Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Ford, Ben McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Tinn, James
Fraser, John (Norwood) Marsden, F. Tomney, Frank
Freeson, Reginald Marshall, Dr. Edmund Torney, Tom
Galpern, Sir Myer Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Tuck, Raphael
Garrett, W. E. Meacher, Michael Urwin, T. W.
Gilbert, Dr. John Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Varley, Eric G.
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Mendelson, John Wainwright, Edwin
Golding, John Mikardo, Ian Wallace, George
Grant. John D. (Islington, E.) Millan, Bruce Watkins, David
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Wellbeloved, James
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hamling, William Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Whitehead, Phillip
Harper, Joseph Moyle, Roland Whitlock, William
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith O'Halloran, Michael Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Hattersley, Roy O'Malley, Brian Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Healey, Rt. Hn Denis Oram, Bert Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Horam, John Orme, Stanley Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Oswald, Thomas Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Palmer, Arthur Woof, Robert
Hunter, Adam Pardoe, John
Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill) Parker, John (Dagenham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Janner, Greville Pavitt, Laurie Mr. Donald Coleman and
Jeger, Mrs. Lena Pentland, Norman Mr. James Hamilton.
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Prescott, John
John, Brynmor Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Astor, John Chichester-Clark, R. Fidler, Michael
Atkins, Humphrey Churchill, W. S. Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Awdry, Daniel Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Clegg, Walter Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Batsford, Brian Cooke, Robert Fookes, Miss Janet
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Fortescue, Tim
Bell, Ronald Cormack, Patrick Foster, Sir John
Benyon, W. Costain, A. P. Fox, Marcus
Berry, Hn. Anthony Critchley, Julian Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)
Biggs-Davison, John Crouch, David Fry, Peter
Blaker, Peter Crowder, F. P. Gardner, Edward
Body, Richard d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.Maj.-Gen. James Gibson-Watt, David
Boscawen, Robert Dean, Paul Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Bossom, Sir Clive Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Glyn, Dr. Alan
Bowden, Andrew Digby, Simon Wingfield Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Bray, Ronald Dixon, Piers Goodhart, Philip
Brinton, Sir Tatton Dodds-Parker, Douglas Gorst, John
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dykes, Hugh Gower, Raymond
Bryan, Sir Paul Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Buck, Antony Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Gray, Hamish
Bullus, Sir Eric Emery, Peter Green, Alan
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Eyre, Reginald Grieve, Percy
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Farr, John Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Fell, Anthony Gummer, J. Selwyn
Chapman, Sydney Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Gurden, Harold
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire.W) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Hall, John (Wyeombe) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Simeons, Charles
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Moate, Roger Sinclair, Sir George
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Monks, Mrs. Connie Skeet, T. H. H.
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Monro, Hector Soref, Harold
Havers, Michael Montgomery, Fergus Speed, Keith
Hawkins, Paul Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Spence, John
Higgins, Terence L. Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Sproat, Iain
Hiley, Joseph Morrison, Charles Stanbrook, Ivor
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Murton, Oscar Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Neave, Airey Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Holland, Philip Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Stokes, John
Hordern, Peter Normanton, Tom Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Hornby, Richard Nott, John Tapsell, Peter
Hornsby-Smith.Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Osborn, John Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Hunt, John Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Tebbit, Norman
Hutchison, Michael Clark Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Temple, John M.
James, David Parkinson, Cecil Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Peel, John Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Jessel, Toby Percival, Ian Tilney, John
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Pink, R. Bonner Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Trew, Peter
Kershaw, Anthony Price, David (Eastleigh) Tugendhat, Christopher
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Proudfoot, Wilfred Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Kinsey, J. R. Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Knox, David Quennell, Miss J. M. Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Lamont, Norman Raison, Timothy Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Lane, David Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Ward, Dame Irene
Le Marchant, Spencer Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Warren, Kenneth
Longden, Sir Gilbert Redmond, Robert Weatherill, Bernard
Loveridge, John Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Wells, John (Maidstone)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Rees, Peter (Dover) Wiggin, Jerry
MacArthur, Ian Rees-Davies, W. R. Wilkinson, John
McCrindle, R. A. Ridsdale, Julian Winterton, Nicholas
McLaren, Martin Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
McNair-Wilson, Michael Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Worsley, Marcus
Madel, David Rost, Peter
Marten, Neil Russell, Sir Ronald TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mather, Carol Scott-Hopkins, James Mr. Victor Goodhew
Maude, Angus Sharples, Sir Richard and Mr. Michael Jopling.
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)

Question accordingly negatived.

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