HC Deb 26 July 1972 vol 841 cc1843-911

Lords Amendment: No. 11, in page 58, line 9, at end insert: ( ) In subsection (1) for the words from "there has" to "this Act" there shall be substituted the words "a local authority—

  1. (a) have failed effectively to discharge any of their functions under Part II, III or IV of the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1972; or
  2. (b) have failed so to discharge any function conferred on them by that Act or any other enactment as to secure the effective discharge of any of their functions under those Parts of that Act;"

Read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker

I understand that it would be convenient to consider at the same time the Government Amendment to Lords Amendment No. 11 and also Lords Amendment No. 33.

Mr. Younger

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, to leave out 'shall be' and insert 'were'.

This is a purely grammatical Amendment. If the House will look at the words which are being deleted, I think it will agree that the words "shall be" would make wrong grammar as they come after the words "as if" in the original wording in the Bill. It is clear, purely on grammatical grounds, that the passage should read "as if there were substituted the words", which will lead to better understanding of the provision.

Mr. Ross

Not only for the better understanding of the provision but the accuracy of it. On that understanding, we agree with the Amendment to the Lords Amendment.

Amendment to the Lords Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Younger

I beg to move, That the House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

At the outset I assure the House that the group of Amendments relating to default powers under the Bill, which we are now to discuss, in no way betoken any change of policy on this issue from that which I outlined during the Committee stage and which my right hon. Friend and I also outlined during the progress of Report stage of the Bill. These are powers which have been taken in housing Bills for a long time. The Housing Bills introduced by the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) during his time at the Scottish Office were no exception. There have always been default powers in housing legislation, and I think it is common ground that such powers there have to be. There is nothing new in these powers, which we hope—I think it will also be the feeling of the House as a whole—will rarely if ever have to be used.

That has been the position in the past. The powers have only been used on rare occasions. They are powers which have to be held in the background, and we all hope that they will never have to be used. Nevertheless, it is important, if such powers are to be in the Bill and any housing legislation generally, that they should make sense in terms of the legislation and that they should be brought up-to-date from time to time to make sure they are relevant to Acts as they are produced.

The present default powers of the Secretary of State relating to rents are contained in Section 195 of the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1966, which in turn refers to the duty of a local authority under Section 151(5) of that Act, which says: …review rents and make such changes either of rents generally or of particular rents and rebates as circumstances may require. Under the Bill a local authority's duties in the fixing of rents and the granting of rebates are prescribed in detail. Consequently, it is only logical that parts of Section 151 of the 1966 Act are repealed.

Paragraph 11(a) of Schedule 9 to the Bill as it is at present inserts the appropriate reference to the Bill into Section 195 of the 1966 Act. However, it is possible that a local authority might fail effectively to discharge one of its functions under Parts II, III or IV of the Bill because of a prior failure to discharge a function under another part of the Bill or under some other enactment. For example, it is possible that a local authority might fail to comply fully with the requirement of Section 62 of the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1969, to provide written notice of rent increases not less than four weeks before the date on which the increase is due to take effect. It is therefore necessary to recognise such a possibility leading to a default situation, and the Amendment does exactly that.

At the same time, for ease of reference, the wording of the existing Amendment to Section 195 of the 1966 Act presently contained in paragraph 11(a) of Schedule 9 has been slightly revised by the addition of "effectively" and it has been brought into Clause 72 of the Bill. That addition might, for example, cover a situation where an authority gave the required notice of rent increase but took no steps to collect the increased rent.

I suggest that these small Amendments are necessary to make sure that the effect of what the House clearly wanted is attained; namely, that it will be clearly understood by local authorities what their duties are, and it will be possible for the Secretary of State to ensure that they are carried out according to the Statutes as passed by Act of Parliament.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown (Glasgow, Provan)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am in a little doubt. Are we dealing with Lords Amendments Nos. 11, 12 and 13?

Mr. Speaker

I understand that we are dealing only with Lords Amendments Nos. 11 and 33. We have already disposed of the Amendment to No. 11.

Mr. Brown

It might have been for the convenience of the House to have discussed Lords Amendments Nos. 11, 12, 13, 33 and 34 together. Perhaps the Government would agree to that course.

Mr. Younger

It probably would be convenient to discuss Amendment No. 33 now and the rest of the Amendments mentioned by the hon. Gentleman in a group.

Mr. Speaker

I understood that the grouping suggested had been agreed to.

Mr. Brown

I do not know who it was agreed with, and nobody seems to know. It is unfortunate that the debate will be split on what is basically the same subject. On Lords Amendment No. 11 the Government do not seem to have been able to bring their script up to date. It is word for word the same as was used in another place by the noble Lord, the Minister of State. I admit that the Under-secretary of State conveys the impression that he knows a wee bit more about it than the noble Lord.

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman probably wrote it for the noble Lord.

Mr. Brown

All things are possible. However, it is unfortunate that we seem to be circulating, to some extent, these general powers. The Minister is taking no new powers—that is the gist of the argument he has put up. Reference has been made to the 1966 Act, which was a Labour Government Act, and no doubt we shall hear something about that from hon. Members opposite. That Act was taken from a previous Act.

Mr. Ross

It was a consolidation Act.

Mr. Brown

Whether the 1966 Act was consolidation or not, the provision was in the 1969 Act as well. So far as I am aware, it has always been a part of all housing Acts since the earliest of them and states To review rents and make such changes either of rents generally or of particular rents and rebates as circumstances may require It is difficult to argue against that because obviously the powers have been there, although they have never been used by a Labour Government, who always prefer to be reasonable in bringing local authorities along with them. Although it is difficult to object to a continuation of powers in this narrow sense—I accept that it is difficult to object to the Secretary of State haying some kind of power—nevertheless, it is on the second group of Amendments that I shall show that the powers will be used in entirely different circumstances. Although this is mainly a drafting Amendment, it is related to the three other Amendments which I want to speak against later. In the meantime, on the matter of principle we should disagree with the Amendment.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Ross

We very much disagree with the Amendment. After all these weeks, after all the discussions in Committee, and on Report, when we dealt at length with default powers, sacrificing our right to discuss other matters to concentrate on them, and to obtain from the Government an idea of what they intended, it is surprising that the Government find it necessary to particularise and specify new default powers. It is particularly surprising in view of the importance the Government place upon the Bill and the benefits they think will accrue from it.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Hugh D. Brown) said, there have been default powers in previous Measures. I remember giving a history of the matter and receiving the thanks of the Under-Secretary at the time, though later he said that I had taken too long. It sometimes takes a long time to enlighten people. I pointed out that there were default powers in the 1924 Act, powers that were exercised by Governments. I said then that they can be used beneficially or otherwise.

The John Wheatley 1924 Act included powers to ensure that local authorities would build houses for the people. The burgh the Under-Secretary represents and the burgh in which I live is the burgh in which my father was a town councillor. He was one of five people who signed a form applying to the Secretary of State to use his compulsory powers to compel Ayr Town Council to build houses. That was a worth while use of power by a Secretary of State. But the kind of power we are dealing with is one that was instituted by Tory Governments to force local authorities to increase rents. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) will remember being at the receiving end of one of the inquiries involved and the compulsions used by a Secretary of State to compel his local authority to put up rents. That is an entirely different thing.

The Amendment comes very ill from a Government that proclaimed at the last General Election how they were all for freedom of local authorities, for letting the people decide, because they know it all. Evidently now the Government know it all. Having produced the Bill and specified within it exactly when the rents will go up, and by how much, they are determined to follow through and see that no discretion is left to local authorities. Therefore, they say, "We must have specified and special default powers". There are within the local government Measures default powers. If a local authority does not carry out a duty, then after an investigation and local inquiry the Government can compel it to carry it out. I think that it was in the 1963 Act that the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) introduced the provision whereby the Government could introduce not only a rent scheme but also a rent rebate scheme. I do not think the power was ever used, but the Conservative Government were always more concerned about raising rents than about building houses.

The Under-Secretary says that there is no change of policy, but there is a change of weapons to enforce the policy. More and more powers and additional weapons are being used to ensure that there is no loophole left for local authorities which have declared that they do not want anything to do with this legislation and which have told the Secretary of State, "If you want to put up the rents, if you are denying to local authorities what has been their responsibility ever since there was public housing, and also the responsibility for deciding the rent, and are putting in legislation exactly what will be done, then you do it". That is effectively what many local authorities are telling the right hon. Gentleman. Therefore, he is determined to ensure that there will be no loophole. That is the reason for the new subsection. It is a considerable new subsection, because it does not wipe out anything that already exists within the Clause. The Clause is one of the more important in the Bill, adding two new subsections to Section 195 of the 1966 Act.

Local authorities are being told that they all know what is in the Bill, but they do not. They will not know what it is in it until we have dealt with the Lords Amendments before us. Probably the Under-Secretary's own local authority—certainly my own local authority—is not sitting this month or for the first fortnight of August. Even local authorities and their staffs get holidays. At the last minute we have this kind of confrontation, with a new power in respect of default.

We have not had an adequate explanation. I agree with what my hon. Friend said about the debate in another place. I, too, read in the Official Report what was said by the noble Lord in charge of the Bill there. I did not find anything very enlightening in what he said.

I think the default powers were quite adequate. The Government were satisfied in Committee and on Report that they were adequate. I think that the change has come about because they have begun to realise exactly what they are up against, and that they will have to act. They are determined that there will be no legal loophole left to local authorities which seek to defend themselves from the invasion of their own sphere by the Secretary of State. The fixing of rents and granting of rebates are prescribed in detail, and consequently parts of Section 153 of the 1966 Act are repealed. We knew all that. We knew that the Government were laying down something that was new entirely in respect of rents. They are not asking for a review of rents. They are telling local authorities what the result of that review will be, not just for next year but for the year after, the year after that, and the following year.

All this could have been forseen. We could have had a reasonable argument in reasonable time. But it is twenty minutes to five and we have to finish dealing with all the Amendments by eight o'clock. The Secretary of State thinks that this is reasonable. He was boasting about it, and the benefits of the Bill, at a garden fete somewhere in Scotland last weekend —[Interruption.] The silent Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray) should be careful. I was going to applaud the fact that he was not in the other place when it got into a muddle. It would probably have been an adequate explanation if he had been there, but in this case Lord Polwarth did not need any help.

I am not satisfied that we are dealing with a purely technical matter, that the Government are just putting right something they forgot. It is an important matter, and I ask the Secretary of State to show us exactly why it is necessary that there should be this kind of further Amendment. It presumes a public inquiry and investigation by the Secretary of State. Am I right in thinking that the prelude to it is a public inquiry?

One of the things the Government seek to cover up is the fact that a local authority must give four weeks, notice of raising the rent. The only discretion given to local authorities applies in the first year, and the first year is practically over, because it is the financial year ending next May. Quite a few months have passed already. They have to raise £24 for every house on the housing revenue account for that year. The Bill is not yet law. As it stands at present it does not become law—except in those places where it gives a particular date, 1st October—until one month after its passing.

Let us take the position of a local authority. The Bill has to return to another place. It does not finish here today. The Government hope that we shall disagree with the Lords in one of their Amendments, so we shall have to have the general confabulation that takes place in respect of this kind of thing. Today is 26th July. I do not know when the Bill will obtain Royal Assent. Will it be tomorrow, or the next day, or the end of July? It will be the end of August, as the Bill stands, before certain provisions become law. Some local authorities are already on holiday; their officials are away. The £24 per house does not necessarily fall upon every house. The one discretion to a local authority is that within the maximum of 75p per week per house, the authority can grade it; a little more on one type of house and a little less on another type.

I wonder whether the Secretary of State appreciates how long it takes to work out this kind of thing We have found how long it took him to work out these default powers. It took him from November until July. But the local authority has to do this within a matter of days, according to the Secretary of State. Do the Government consider it right that if a local authority does not do it, the Secretary of State should use the big stick and exercise the powers of default?

Local authorities have to introduce a rent rebate scheme and a discretion is given to bear a certain percentage of the cost. This, too, will take time, and this, too, is covered by this new default power, covering up for a local authority which will say, "You can hardly claim that we are entirely in default because, under a certain other statute, we have to give so much notice to tenants." They will have to give due notice about the rent rebate schemes as well, and tenants will have to make up their minds about whether they will apply. Time will be required for that. Many forms will be necessary, and so on. The Under-Secretary says that this is purely a little technical matter.

The Government are being unreasonable. I spoke about this matter on Report and in Committee. I pleaded with the Government that if they wished to avoid confrontation they should do something before the Bill passed to another place to give them a certain amount of latitude. The Government must regret this in respect of other Bills which have been passed under guillotine procedures and which were not properly argued out.

I disagree entirely with the Under-secretary in his assessment of the merits of the Amendment. We have not had an adequate explanation. It was interesting that the only justification given for this, both here and in another place, was the reference to the fact that if one changed the rent one had to give tenants a certain amount of notice. This might well conflict with the date of 1st October if local authorities take their time about deciding. By means of this Amendment related Amendments on matters which the Government hope to put back into the Bill later—what I call the Polwarth muddle—the Government seek to deal with their problem.

4.45 p.m.

Instead of taking more time to introduce the Act and giving more time to local authorities, the Government are giving local authorities less time. They are to hamper and harass local authorities with something those authorities do not like. The Government are denying them the time and still declaring them to be in default. That is utterly and totally unreasonable. I do not know how that will stand up in law. I am sorry that the Lord Advocate is not present to advise us. I have had a message from him about why he cannot be with us. I understand the reason, and we sympathise with him. But it leaves us at a considerable disadvantage because the Minister in charge of the Bill in another place pleaded his ignorance in respect of the technicalities. But from a legal point of view, and for all it will mean to a local authority and local authority members, we are entitled to a full and adequate explanation of what this means for the individual member of a local authority.

If the Under-Secretary does not give such an explanation he is not being responsible to his office and not being fair to those people who are working, unpaid, in public service as councillors of burghs and county councils throughout Scotland. They will be the people who will carry these burdens. They are nearest to the people who will have to pay these increased rents. I hope that the Secretary of State appreciates that the rents of local authority houses in Scotland, after a change made in the English Bill, will rise by more than those in England rise. The right hon. Gentleman may consider that that is fair, but I do not. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is able to explain to the people of Scotland exactly why, in a part of the United Kingdom that is hardest hit by unemployment—and there is a history of this—higher rents will be charged. That is not an answer for a Government who are fighting inflation. Any increase in rents has to be considered on the basis of it being additional to the present expenditure. Why should it be higher in Scotland than in England? There is no justification for this, and there can be no way out for the Government. Why is there this greater burden upon Scottish local authority tenants?

The Secretary of State is being taken for a ride on this matter. I do not think that he has anyone with experience of local government finance or housing in the Scottish Office. The Under-Secretary does his best, but we have had with us the report of the proceedings of the other place, and we were able to read every word that the Under-Secretary said. His inflections were slightly different, but his accent was the same. The hon. Gentleman probably attended the same English school.

Mr. Younger


Mr. Ian MacArthur (Perth and East Perthshire)

We have heard that one before.

Mr. Ross

Hon. Members will hear it again. Not many hon. Members on the Government benches attended a Scottish school. But it makes it rather doubtful whether the hon. Gentleman is just reading a brief or whether behind that is a background of local authority experience and knowledge. The hon. Gentleman need not worry about my accent. I need not wear a kilt to let folk ken I am a Scotsman. My hon. Friends will have something to say about this matter. Although we have limited time that does not mean that we have to modify our language in dealing with the ridiculous proposal that we should agree to the Amendment.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I said earlier that I thought that the House would be in some difficulty. I am now in some difficulty myself. I wanted to relate Lords Amendment No. 11 to Nos. 12 and 13. Although Amendment No. 11 deals only with a continuation of powers and Amendments No. 12 and 13 can be said to be a slight extension of existing powers, it would have been to my convenience and to the convenience of the House if these Amendments had been grouped, because there will obviously be a wide-ranging debate on default powers and their possible use. Is it too late for these Amendments to be grouped?

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

The Amendments were not grouped originally, but if it is for the convenience of the House they probably can be, even at this late stage. It is not for me to say whether they shall be grouped.

Mr. Younger

I always like to be as helpful to the House as I can, but to group the Amendments at this stage would lead to confusion. I moved Amendment No. 11 and spoke to that Amendment only. I am sure that we can have a satisfactory debate on the next Amendment and, indeed, can group future Amendments as the House may wish, but it would be confusing to go back on what we have done.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

At this stage it would be improper to group the Amendments.

Mr. Peter Doig (Dundee, West)

I want to reinforce some of the arguments advanced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross). My local authority does not meet during August. This is in accordance with the council's standing orders, which can be changed only after giving one year's notice to change them for the following year. There is no hope of the standing orders being changed for this year. Accordingly, the Corporation of Dundee cannot meet during the whole of August.

If the Bill comes into force at the end of July, it may be said that the officials in Dundee can apply the Bill. However, local government is democratic and officials have no power to apply anything. The corporation must make the decision before the officials can do anything. The corporation cannot start to consider this matter and cannot comply with the terms of the Bill, however much it may want to, until the beginning of September.

I have been a victim of default powers. I used to believe that no Government would contemplate financially penalising members of local authorities who perform unpaid public service for which they have been elected but who have made what can be at best described as an error of judgment. I know now from experience—I will not say to my cost, because in the end it cost me nothing—that this can easily happen. Had I not been able to furnish the then Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble), with the reasons why we had done certain things and why financial sanctions should not be applied against me and other local authority members, I should have been penalised financially for what could at most be described as lack of good judgment.

The default powers cover not one or two Clauses but Parts II, III and IV and important things like rent rebates and allowances. Some local authorities already operate rent rebate schemes which will become illegal if the Bill is enacted. If the Bill is passed at the beginning of August, it will presumably be illegal for these local authorities to operate such schemes during August. Yet there is no way in which officials can be empowered to change the schemes during August. How do other local authorities which do not operate such schemes set about dealing with the matter? No local authority operates a rent allowance scheme.

Local authorities must determine the rent. The rent must be fixed in such a way that it produces exactly the amount that the Secretary of State says, neither too much nor too little. It will be readily seen that a local authority can easily land itself in default. It will be almost impossible for a local authority not to land itself in default over something in view of the great number of things that it must do.

As I now know from experience that it cannot be said that no Secretary of State would ever apply penal sanctions against unpaid local authority members, I object to the extension of these default powers as proposed in the Amendment and urge my hon. Friends to oppose the Amendment.

Mr. Harry Ewing (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)

I, too, oppose the Amendment. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) said, the provisions of Parts II, III and IV are very important, none more so than Part IV which relates to the determination of rents and other charges.

Much has been said about the time which will be necessary to fix rents, to introduce rebate schemes, and to bring into operation the new housing accounts which will be necessary to cater for the subsidies. Time is of the essence. In my constituency one local authority has decided to implement the Bill. As a result of the combined forces of the Scottish National Party and of the Tory Party in Stirling, which were sufficient to outvote my colleagues on the town council, a rent increase of £1.50 a fortnight has been applied to all council tenants in Sterling.

On Monday of last week the Provost of Stirling, in arguing for this decision, said that he guaranteed that the Bill—I do not know for whom he was speaking, whether for the Government or for himself—would of certainty be on the Statute Book in the not too distant future. This is a sort of reverse example of a local authority being under pressure.

A great many of the local authorities of Scotland are Labour-controlled, fortunately, and they will take the time necessary to protect their tenants from the vicious effects of the Bill, but there are less fortunate areas, such as Stirling, where authorities will not take proper care and time but will jump the gun and set about introducing the Bill even in advance of its being passed. I am grateful, therefore, for the opportunity to put on record my abhorrence of the decision taken in Stirling, and I strongly oppose the Amendment.

We have still to hear from the Government how they define those areas of housing administration which they propose to take over—and, perhaps more important, how they propose to do it—if a local authority decides, as many apparently will, not to implement the Bill. This is another essential matter in relation to the default powers.

Time is of the essense. We must have a far better explanation from the Government of what they propose, and of their motives, than we have had in all our debates on these matters so far.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. David Lambie (Central Ayrshire)

I, too, oppose the Amendment. Both on Second Reading and in Committee the Secretary of State and the Under-secretary gave assurances that the default powers under the Bill were no different from the default provisions in other housing Acts since 1919. But I am suspicious whenever the Government accept an Amendment along these lines from the other place, an Amendment which seems to me to strengthen the default provisions already in the Bill.

I warn the Government that they are on dangerous ground. In industrial relations and trade union matters, we have seen them use their majority in the House to pass laws which were not acceptable to the majority of the people. In their confrontations with the miners, with the railway workers and with the dockers, the Government have been forced on each occasion to give way against the weight of public opinion.

The Government should remember that, although they may have a majority of votes in the House, they do not have the majority of the people of Scotland behind them. We are the people of Scotland. It is the Labour Party which represents the people, not the political dilettantes who come from the agricultural and residential areas of Scotland to sit on the benches opposite. We are the people of Scotland. We represent 80 per cent. of the Scottish people.

I can guess where the English Members are at the moment. They are not here, but we know that by 8 o'clock they will come trooping into the Chamber to vote against the wishes of the majority of the people of Scotland. But I warn the Government that it will not be the end of the matter if they push the Amendment through. If they cannot defeat the miners, who are a minority of the population of the United Kingdom. If they cannot defeat the railway workers, who, equally, are a minority, and if they cannot defeat the dockers, who are concentrated only in small areas of the United Kingdom, how do they imagine that they will defeat 80 per cent. of the people of Scotland?

The Government may use their English majority tonight to go against the wishes of the majority of the Scottish people, and we may be defeated here, but we shall win, as the dockers, the railway workers and the miners won on the streets of Britain. We shall win on the streets of Scotland.

Every local authority is now considering the default powers which the Minister is laying down. The majority will follow the lead given by Glasgow Corporation, which has said that, in spite of the default provisions, and this Amendment which tightens them, it will not implement the Bill on 1st October. If every Labour local authority in Scotland follows that lead, the Government will not be able to force their will through, in spite of their majority here—an English majority, not a Scottish majority. Even at this late stage, therefore, I urge the Minister to reconsider the default provisions and think again about the full implications of the Bill.

I do not know what the latest position is in the docks dispute, but I have heard it said that, if the Government are successful in having the dockers released from prison, they will have a hard job to get them out—they will have to carry them out—because once a man is made a martyr he wants to remain a martyr.

Mr. MacArthur

Wasting time.

Mr. Lambie

I can speak from some knowledge of councils and councillors. My father is treasurer of a small but important burgh in Saltcoats. He has said that it is impossible to fulfil the requirements of the Bill and bring in rent increases from 1st October this year because, in the first place, all the local officials are on holiday in August. Do the Government want the holidays of local officials to be cancelled so that they may stay behind and work out the ramifications of the Bill? When September comes, and the local budget, is the fixing of rates to be delayed? Does the Secretary of State want the town chamberlain to be taken away from work on the rates and be put on working out the implications of his Bill? My father has said that that will not be done, because the rates must be fixed. The Tories are always interested in rates, so we shall have to fix the rates. Thus, the local authorities will be able to deal with the Bill only in October, but it is supposed to be implemented then.

The Government have often said that only one person in five will pay the maximum increase, and the majority, because of our low wages and poor standard of living, will be entitled to a rebate. Accordingly, we shall have to send out to forms to all local authority tenants and say "You are likely to be entitled to a rent rebate. Please give full particulars of your family circumstances." Not only that. We shall have to investigate the matter to see whether they tell the truth.

All this will take a long time. In most of the areas we represent, the majority of the people are council tenants. We are dealing here with 80 per cent. of the people. In my constituency, in the burgh of Kilwinning, 90 per cent. of the people are council tenants. So this will be no small job such as it may be in England and Wales where only a minority of the population are involved. With the best will in the world, no local authority in Scotland with a large number of council tenants will be able to meet the conditions of the Bill before January, 1973. If they do not do it by January, 1973, the Secretary of State must operate the default Clauses.

The Under-Secretary of State and the Secretary of State will find themselves dealing with innocent councillors who will perhaps want to apply the Bill when it is an Act but will not be able to do so because it will be physically impossible. Will the Government apply this Amendment to such councillors? Will they treat them as criminals before they are judged to be criminals? My father, who, as I have said, is treasurer in a small council, became a council member in 1929. He will leave office in two years time, in 1974, with the reorganisation of local government. He has been a member of a local council and a county council, and he has been a treasurer, bailie and magistrate. The only place where he has not been is in gaol.

If the Government want martyrs, there are plenty of them among the councillors of Scotland, just as there are among the railway workers, miners and dockers who are prepared to go to gaol on principle. Just as the Government has given way to the miners, railway workers and dockers, they will need to give way to the councillors of Scotland if they are prepared on principle and on conscientious grounds to go to gaol in defiance of the law.

If the Under-Secretary of State wants a confrontation in Scotland and to fight 80 per cent. of the Scottish people, let him pass the Amendment. But if he wants peace, as the Prime Minister now wants peace among the dockers and as he wanted peace among the miners and railway workers, then he must withdraw the Amendment and support the view of the Opposition. I suggest to my right hon. and hon. Friends that we should oppose the Amendment and say that when the time comes and the confrontation takes place with local authorities in Scotland we shall give the local councillors the same support as we gave the railway workers, miners and dockers. If we have any faith in democracy, the will of 80 per cent. of the people of any area must prevail. The minority in Scotland is only a rump; it is of no importance in Scotland. It is irrelevant to the Scottish political situation. I hope that my hon. Friends will oppose the Amendment and carry their opposition into the streets of Scotland.

Mr. Younger

If a person of no importance to Scotland may be permitted to address the House, may I say that there has been a great deal more heat than light in the debate. However, we have had one marvellous suggestion—one of the best that I have heard for a long time. The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie) is my neighbour and I have thought many things, mostly friendly, about him. But I have never thought of him as "Mr. Scotland". He, and no one else, is the people, he tells us. That thought will bring great pleasure to the hearts of all Scotsmen. The Scottish Tourist Board should obtain the hon. Gentleman's picture and put it in all their literature. We would be trampled to death by the rush of people coming to Scotland—"Come to Scotland and see me". The hon. Gentleman's speech was most amusing, but I do not think it added much to our consideration of the Amendment.

5.15 p.m.

All we are discussing is one Amendment to improve the default powers which will be needed to ensure that the will of Parliament in housing matters is carried out. The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) did not dispute that there was a need for default powers. Indeed, he could not dispute it, because he had ample opportunity to exercise all the default powers from housing legislation during the seven happy years that he was Secretary of State. But he never did. [Interruption.] It seemed like 70 years, but I was giving the right hon. Gentleman the benefit of saying that it was seven.

Mr. Ross

It was a record.

Mr. Younger

It was a record which I hope will never be achieved again. The right hon. Gentleman did not suggest that default powers were unnecessary, because he knows that they are necessary. He made sure that he had default powers—and I am getting the right hon. Gentleman's schoolmaster habit of wagging my finger at the House. However, the right hon. Gentleman's attitude is very strange. He did not deny that default powers were necessary. Indeed, he said that we must have default powers. But he would prefer that they were ineffective rather than effective. There is a perfectly sound case for saying, "Let us have no default powers", or for saying, "Let us have default powers which work." But there is no case for saying, "Let us have default powers which do not work." They would be a waste of everybody's time. It would be a waste of Parliament's time to ask it to pass such powers.

Mr. Ross

We exercise default powers in respect of responsibilities we place on local authorities by legislation. What I object to is the responsibilities which the Government are placing upon local authorities. They are anathema to anyone who has any sense of feeling about the rôle of local authorities in Scotland. I do not like the Bill and therefore I have no desire to see it implemented. Why should I wish to strengthen the default powers in it?

Mr. Younger

The right hon. Gentleman has departed from his usual logic. He is perfectly entitled to dislike the Bill. We are all entitled to dislike Bills. To hear the right hon. Gentleman and some of his hon. Friends talk one would think that this was the first occasion on which any local authority had disagreed with legislation. Judging from the noise made, one would think that it had never happened before. But even during the time that I have been a Member of the House there have been literally scores of Bills of which many hon. Members disapproved. There is nothing new in right hon. and hon. Members disapproving of Bills.

What we are being asked to do is to regard this Bill as quite different from any other. But it is not. It is anathema to some people and to right hon. and hon. Members opposite, just as were many of the Bills which the right hon. Gentleman introduced. My hon. Friends would not wish me to remind them of all the Bills to which they objected when the right hon. Gentleman was in office. But we did not, when we were in opposition, encourage local authorities to find it difficult to implement Bills.

Mr. Ross

My goodness!

Mr. Younger

I suggest to right hon. and hon. Members opposite—

Mr. Ross

Let the Under-Secretary of State ask his hon. Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur) about his activities after the passing of the Teaching Council (Scotland) Bill. Let him ask the Secretary of State about his activities when Edinburgh Corporation failed to implement the Labour Government's Education Act. Their hands are not clean in this respect.

Mr. MacArthur


Mr. Younger

It would be very convenient for the right hon. Gentleman if what he said were true, because it would help him. But I remember, as he does if he is honest, the clear, statesmanlike and courageous way in which my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur) who was on the Opposition Front Bench at the time, made it plain that he did not support the breaking of the law. He deserves a great deal more credit than does the right hon. Gentleman for the rather more ambivalent way he is treating this matter at the moment. Of course, we all know that there have to be default powers, and we all know that if there have to be default powers they must be able to work.

The right hon. Gentleman's other point was that there would not be time to implement this Bill. I wonder if he is right about that. There are throughout the length and breath of Scotland many local authorities which willhave no difficulty whatever in implementing this Bill. Many of them have already taken steps, prudently, to do so, and any local authority which genuinely wishes to obey the law and to carry out the Act of Parliament—as we hope by then it will be—will be able to do so. That is the test which it is only perfectly right and reasonable to apply.

I wonder sometimes what the effect would have been if this had been a Bill laying down that local authorities should reduce rents all over Scotland. Would we have had local authorities queuing up not to implement it? Would they have defied the law? Would they have said they would not do it? They would not have done so, and we all know they would not have done so.

The House should address itself much more calmly and sensibly to the simple proposition of this Lords Amendment. Of course, local authorities and hon. Members may object to what is in an Act of Parliament. I have done so myself, and I disagree with things in Acts still on the Statute Book, but I have never taken it upon myself to say which laws I will obey and which I will not obey. When a Bill is passed by Parliament it becomes the law of the land, and the vast majority of local authorities—I hope all—however strongly they may feel themselves to be against this Bill will, I believe, implement it in the normal way so that these default powers will not be needed.

Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrew, West)

Since the hon. Gentleman feels these abstract principles so strongly, would he have applied them to the situation many decent Germans were facing after 1933?

Mr. Younger

The hon. Gentleman has, perhaps, not been the most regular contributor to our debates on this Bill. I am not sure whether he will go down in history as having made the most useful contribution by referring us back to something which happened—in Germany, was it?—in the 'thirties. I though that I was reasonably well briefed for this debate, but I am afraid that I skipped over the Clauses relating to German history in the 'thirties. I hope the hon. Gentleman will now address himself to the Bill. Perhaps he will take it by stages and come up to the 'forties and onwards, and when he gets to the 'seventies perhaps he will give us a telephone call to tell us and we will we come him back into the House of Commons.

These Lords Amendments are, in essence, concerned simply with making the default powers more effective. It will enable those concerned to know where they stand, and to enable Parliament to know that the Bill, if it is passed and becomes an Act, is carried out in the way Parliament intended it to be carried out. I very much respect the right of anyone to disagree with what is in an Act of Parliament, but, while disagreeing with what is in an Act of Parliament, it is very much more advisable—indeed, it is only right—for everybody to carry out the law of the land when it is made and to carry it out in the way all of us have to do. This Lords Amendment makes clearer what the obligations are. I do not think it will make any difficulties for anyone. I hope that the House will agree with these Lords Amendments.

Mr. Harry Ewing

I am following the hon. Gentleman's argument very closely. He is making great play with the fact that these Lords Amendments are designed to make these default powers more effective. Are we to assume from this that the default powers in the 1972 Act will have to be more effective because of the Act itself and the conditions it imposes on local authorities?

Mr. Younger

No. I think the hon. Gentleman was here—I do not think he left the Chamber at all—when I explained with great care exactly what these Lords Amendments do. I shall not weary the House by repeating that.

The right hon. Gentleman was complaining that on this occasion the explanation I gave was the same as the explanation given in another place. I am seriously wondering what he would have said if it had been different. Wagging his finger at us he would have said, "What sort of Government is this which gives one explanation in another place and another explanation here?" It is the same explanation because it is the truth. It is the explanation of what the Lords Amendments are about. What did the right hon. Gentleman expect us to produce?

Mr Ross

I expected a variation in language at least. The trouble is that the explanation here was inadequate, as it was in another place. It is the inadequacy of which we complain.

Mr. Younger

I always feel happy and satisfied when the right hon. Gentleman thinks that my arguments are inadequate, because I know that that is the highest compliment which anyone on this side of the House can get from him.

We have had a useful short debate on these Lords Amendments. We have other Lords Amendments on the default powers to come. I think it would be for the convenience of the House if we moved on now. I hope that the House will accept this Lords Amendment.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment, as amended:—

The House divided: Ayes 282, Noes 262.

Division No. 324.] AYES [5.25 p.m.
Adley, Robert Farr, John Knight, Mrs. Jill
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Fell, Anthony Knox, David
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Lamont, Norman
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Fidler, Michael Lane, David
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Langford-Holt, Sir John
Astor, John Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Atkins, Humphrey Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Le Marchant, Spencer
Awdry, Daniel Fookes, Miss Janet Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Fortescue, Tim Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Foster, Sir John Longden, Sir Gilbert
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fowler, Norman Loveridge, John
Batsford, Brian Fox, Marcus Luce, R. N.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) McAdden, Sir Stephen
Bell, Ronald Fry, Peter MacArthur, Ian
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Galbraith, Hn. T. G. McCrindle, R. A.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Gardner, Edward McLaren, Martin
Benyon, W. Gibson-Watt, David Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Berry, Hn. Anthony Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)
Biggs-Davison, John Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) McNair-Wilson, Michael
Blaker, Peter Glyn, Dr. Alan McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Goodhart, Philip Maddan, Martin
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Goodhew, Victor Madel, David
Bossom, Sir Clive Gorst, John Marten, Neil
Bowden, Andrew Gower, Raymond Mather, Carol
Braine, Sir Bernard Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Maude, Angus
Bray, Ronald Green, Alan Mawby, Ray
Brewis, John Grieve, Percy Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Brinton, Sir Tatton Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Gummer, J. Selwyn Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Gurden, Harold Miscampbell, Norman
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hall, John (Wycombe) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Moate, Roger
Buck, Antony Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Money, Ernle
Bullus, Sir Eric Hannam, John (Exeter) Monks, Mrs. Connie
Burden, F. A. Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Monro, Hector
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Haselhurst, Alan Montgomery, Fergus
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Hastings, Stephen More, Jasper
Carlisle, Mark Havers, Michael Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hawkins, Paul Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Cary, Sir Robert Hayhoe, Barney Morrison, Charles
Chapman, Sydney Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Mudd, David
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Heseltine, Michael Murton, Oscar
Chichesler-Clark, R. Higgins, Terence L. Neave, Airey
Churchill, W. S. Hiley, Joseph Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Clegg, Walter Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Nott, John
Cockeram, Eric Holland, Philip Onslow, Cranley
Cooke, Robert Hordern, Peter Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Cooper, A. E. Hornby, Richard Osborn, John
Cordle, John Hornsby-Smith.Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Cormack, Patrick Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Costain, A. P. Hunt, John Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Critchley, Julian Hutchison, Michael Clark Parkinson, Cecil
Crouch, David Iremonger, T. L. Peel, John
Crowder, F. P. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Percival, Ian
Dalkeith, Earl of James, David Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Dean, Paul Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pink, R. Bonner
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Jessel, Toby Pounder, Rafton
Digby, Simon Wingfield Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Dixon, Piers Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Jopling Michael Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Drayson, G. B. Kaberry, Sir Donald Quennell, Miss J. M.
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Raison, Timothy
Dykes, Hugh Kershaw, Anthony Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Kimball, Marcus Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Redmond, Robert
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) King, Tom (Bridgwater) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Elliott, R W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Kinsey, J. R. Rees, Peter (Dover)
Emery, Peter Kirk, Peter Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Eyre, Reginald Kitson, Timothy
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Sproat, Iain Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Stainton, Keith Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Ridsdale, Julian Stanbrook, Ivor Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Wall, Patrick
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Walters, Dennis
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Warren, Kenneth
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Tapsell, Peter Weatherill, Bernard
Rost, Peter Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Royle, Anthony Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Russell, Sir Ronald Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wiggin, Jerry
St. John-Stevas, Norman Tebbit, Norman Wilkinson, John
Scott, Nicholas Temple, John M. Winterton, Nicholas
Scott-Hopkins, James Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Sharples, Sir Richard Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Shelton, William (Clapham) Trafford, Dr. Anthony Woodnutt, Mark
Simeons, Charles Trew, Peter Worsley, Marcus
Sinclair, Sir George Tugendhat, Christopher Younger, Hn. George
Skeet, T. H. H. Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) van Straubenzee, W. R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Soref, Harold Vaughan, Dr. Gerard Mr. Hugh Rossi and
Speed, Keith Vickers, Dame Joan Mr. Hamish Gray
Spence, John Waddington, David
Abse, Leo Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Albu, Austen Douglas-Mann, Bruce Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Driberg, Tom John, Brynmor
Allen, Scholefield Duffy, A. E. P. Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Ashley, Jack Dunn, James A. Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Ashton, Joe Dunnett, Jack Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Atkinson, Norman Eadie, Alex Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Edelman. Maurice Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Barnes, Michael Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Edwards, William (Merioneth) Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Ellis, Tom Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) English, Michael Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Bidwell, Sydney Evans, Fred Judd, Frank
Bishop, E. S. Ewing, Harry Kaufman, Gerald
Blenkinsop, Arthur Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Kelley, Richard
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Kinnock, Neil
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lambie, David
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Foley, Maurice Lamond, James
Bradley, Tom Foot, Michael Latham, Arthur
Broughton, Sir Alfred Ford, Ben Lawson, George
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Forrester, John Leadbitter, Ted
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Fraser, John (Norwood) Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Freeson, Reginald Leonard, Dick
Buchan, Norman Galpern, Sir Myer Lestor, Miss Joan
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Garrett, W. E. Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Gilbert, Dr. John Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Golding, John Lipton, Marcus
Cant, R. B. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Lomas, Kenneth
Carmichael, Neil Gourlay, Harry Loughlin, Charles
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Grant, George (Morpeth) Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Griffiths, Will (Exchange) McBride, Neil
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. McCartney, Hugh
Cohen, Stanley Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) McElhone, Frank
Coleman Donald Hamling, William McGuire, Michael
Concannon, J. D. Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Mackenzie, Gregor
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hardy, Peter Mackie, John
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Harper, Joseph Mackintosh, John P.
Crawshaw, Richard Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Maclennan, Robert
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith McMilan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis McNamara, J. Kevin
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Heffer, Eric S. Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Hilton, W. S. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Dalyell, Tam Hooson, Emlyn Marks, Kenneth
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Horam, John Marquand, David
Davidson, Arthur Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Marsden, F.
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Huckfield, Leslie Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Mayhew, Christopher
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Meacher, Michael
Deakins, Eric Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hunter, Adam Mendelson, John
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill) Mikardo, Ian
Dempsey, James Janner, Greville Millan, Bruce
Doig, Peter Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Miller, Dr. M. S.
Dormand, J. D. Jeger, Mrs. Lena Milne, Edward
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Price, William (Rugby) Strang, Gavin
Molloy, William Probert, Arthur Strauss, Rt. Hn G. R.
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Thomas, Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Richard, Ivor Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon) Tinn, James
Murray, Ronald King Robertson, John (Paisley) Torney, Tom
Oakes, Gordon Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Urwin, T. W.
Ogden, Eric Roper, John Varley, Eric G.
O'Halloran, Michael Rose, Paul B. Wainwright, Edwin
O'Malley, Brian Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Oram, Bert Rowlands, Ted Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Orbach, Maurice Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Wallace, George
Orme, Stanley Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Watkins, David
Oswald, Thomas Short,Rt.Hn.Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Weitzman, David
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Padley, Walter Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Whitehead, Phillip
Paget, R. T. Sillars, James Whitlock, William
Palmer, Arthur Silverman, Julius Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Skinner, Dennis Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Parker, John (Dagenham) Small, William Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Pavitt, Laurie Spearing, Nigel Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Spriggs, Leslie Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Pendry, Tom Stallard, A. W. Woof, Robert
Pentland, Norman Steel, David
Perry, Ernest G. Stewart, Donald (Western Isles) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Mr. James Hamilton and
Prescott, John Stoddart, David (Swindon) Mr. Ernest Armstrong.
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords Amendment: No. 12, in page 58, line 32, at end insert: and he may direct that the authority shall not during such time as the order is in force perform any function conferred by the order on him.

5.30 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Gordon Campbell)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this Amendment it will be convenient to discuss Lords Amendment No. 13.

Mr. Campbell

Lords Amendment No. 12 deals with Clause 72 on default procedure. It clarifies something which had always been assumed. We put forward the clarification so that any possibility of misunderstanding shall be removed.

The Amendment provides that during any period in which the Secretary of State is exercising the functions of a local authority under Part II, III or IV of the Bill the authority shall not at the same time exercise any of the same functions. That is clearly right and common sense.

It had been thought that the action by the Secretary of State in rendering an authority's powers exercisable by himself would amount to a tranfer of functions and would therefore mean that the authority had no power in the matters in ques- tion. I am advised, however, that there might be some doubt, and the Amendment makes the situation palpably clear.

Amendment No. 13 also clarifies. Where the Secretary of State has made an order rendering the functions of the local authority exercisable by him, the Amendment clarifies the position of members and officials of the local authority by placing them under a statutory duty to assist the Secretary of State in carrying out the functions.

In the last debate about the default powers in general the suggestion was made by the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) that about three years ago when I was in Opposition I encouraged Edinburgh Corporation not to carry out an Act of Parliament. I take this early opportunity of repudiating entirely that suggestion. There was never any question of my suggesting to any authority that it should not carry out the law. My proposal was an entirely different one. I said over and over again that when we returned to office we should change that law, and that is what we did.

In the summer of 1970 we were returned to office, and one of the first Bills we introduced was the one which changed that Act. Never at any time before that had I said or suggested anything to encourage a local authority in Scotland not to carry out the law as it stood.

I should like to refer to what happened when the Transport Bill was going through the House; it is relevant on this point. I served on the Standing Committee which considered that legislation. The hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) was also a member, and the number of Sittings broke all records. The majority of trade and industry throughout the country were opposed to parts of the Bill, and I attended protest meetings in England as well as in Scotland on that legislation. But at no time did I or my colleagues ever suggest that when that legislation became an Act it should not be carried out. But, because of our opposition, no fewer than 23 pages of the Bill were dropped by the then Government while that Measure was going through the House, and other parts were postponed.

When we came to office, those provisions were not brought into action. But certainly at no time was there any question of my saying that the Bill when enacted should not be carried out. Therefore, I repudiate what was said by the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock.

Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)

The references by the Secretary of State both to the Transport Act, 1968, and to his activities on the earlier Bill are a kind of apologia—and an inadequate one. We know that hon. Members opposite have conspired, to the point almost of danger, in trying to undo legislation produced by the Labour Government. It is only when the Conservatives produce legislation of a character which excites a great deal of public annoyance, as they are now doing, that they seek to defend themselves in this way.

The Secretary of State is not the biggest offender in this respect, nor is the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor). The biggest offender is somebody who is not here at the moment, and that is the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne). However, I will not go into that, I will stick to the Amendment.

I do not accept the assertion made by the Secretary of State that this Amendment is necessary. He says that he is advised that the provision is necessary to make certain that local authorities should not exercise a function which he by order has conferred upon himself. It is almost a matter of semantics. The hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) said quite sincerely that the default power would not be exercised at all if the Government could avoid it. Indeed, no Government have exercised this default power—despite all the trouble we have had in Scotland over the last 20 years when authorities may not have been considered to match up to what central Government wanted them to do. Both Conservative and Labour Governments are involved. The Labour Government first instituted the idea of default powers. Many authorities were not building and were not being fair to their own people. The default occurred among the unprogressive and unfeeling authorities.

I accept that the Government have no intention of using the default powers; they will not bring them in unless there is a complete confrontation with the local authorities. However, it will be necessary for them to bend in many ways as they assess the situation.

Why should we have an Amendment which seeks to make it absolutely certain that if a function is transferred, no part of that function can be exercised by the local authority? In other words, if the Secretary of State says, "I now direct that councillors in the burgh of so-and-so have no power to do anything in relation to housing under the terms of the Bill: I am taking over this power myself", he is directing the town clerk or any other officer or servant of the town council to act in accordance with what St. Andrew's House says. It may be that part of this function might desirably continue to be exercised by the town council. If a housing department is taken over, it may consist of two parts, one concerned with building and the other with management. Does he intend to say that he will not allow the town councillors to exert any influence on the building section of that Department? Will he say, "I will make them build houses only in accordance with what I think"?

Why do we not leave the matter in doubt so that perhaps part of the power might be exercised by local councillors? I admit that this is a marginal fear and is a matter of semantics, but this is all bound up with whether default powers will be used in a disciplinary manner. We were told in Committee that they are only an instrument of last resort and will never in fact be used. Therefore, I suggest that we do not make these Amendments in order to ensure that the default powers are not proceeded with. We should encourage local authorities to accept the spirit and letter of the legislation rather than dragoon them into imposing arithmetical absolutes.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. John Smith (Lanarkshire, North)

I query the necessity for Amendment No. 13. I do not think the Secretary of State gave a satisfactory explanation of it.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

He did not give any.

Mr. Smith

I am being more than fair to him, as I always am to people who are not very good at defending themselves. The Secretary of State failed to give an explanation because it is difficult to find one on Amendment No. 13.

I am puzzled as to why Amendment No. 13 has been tabled at all. We are told in Amendment No. 12 that if a local authority is removed from the scene, then the Secretary of State will move in. If there is a vacuum of power then it is made clear that the Secretary of State will take over the functions. Then in Amendment No. 13 we see: It shall be the duty of a local authority" to do particular things. When one talks about "a local authority" in contradistinction to an officer or servant, one must mean presumably those who are elected to an authority. The House is being asked to accept that a duty shall be imposed on elected members of an authority whose housing powers have been removed from them. This will mean that if the local authority has come to a decision that it does not wish to impose a rent increase, the Secretary of State will move in and take over that function. Those elected members will have to be brought back to the council chamber in order to carry out the Secretary of State's work for him.

There should be no doubt about this matter. Either the local authority should carry out this function or the Secretary of State should do so. Does the Secretary of State intend to impose sanctions on democratically elected people? Why cannot the Secretary of State stand on his own feet instead of calling on others to do the work for him?

Let us suppose a situation in which the Secretary of State exercises his default powers in terms of an increase in existing rents. I appreciate that it will be necessary for him to give orders to officials and servants of local authorities, otherwise what he intends to do will not be carried out. But what need is there to bring in the elected members at all? They have had their powers removed. Does the Secretary of State want them brought into the council chamber and compelled by law to approve motions—which would be hypocritical for them to do because if they had not opposed the Secretary of State there would be no default power there in the first place?

I hope that the Secretary of State will do what any Minister should be able to do about any piece of legislation and give a concrete example as to why the Amendment is necessary, how it will work in practice, and what will be the result of the House passing it. This House should not pass legislation without a clear idea about its impact.

We ought to construe this strictly. It is a tradition of this House that we construe penal Statutes very carefully since the liberties of the individual are involved. Similarly, taxation policy is construed strictly, albeit with more enthusiasm by right hon. and hon. Members opposite. This legislation may have penal effects on the councillors involved, and we should be very clear about it. Not only should we have an explanation in place of the usual non-explanation that we have had from the Secretary of State. We ought also to have a practical, concrete example of what it means, otherwise we may be letting our elected councillors in for a lot more than anyone has yet bargained for.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

The Secretary of State said that he had been successful in getting a Labour Government to drop 23 pages from one of their Bills. May I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that I should be willing to settle for his dropping three Clauses from the present Bill, Clauses 28, 29 and 30?

We are not discussing these Clauses. However we are discussing the need for default powers. The Secretary of State has chosen not to give anything other than the technical justification for these Amendments. He may feel that that is enough. But he ought to understand that he and his Department will need to think this one through in the likely event of some local authorities deciding not to implement parts of the Bill.

I do not feel that Amendment No. 12 is the important one. Amendment No. 13 is an additional power. It creates an additional duty. In circumstances that I can readily see occurring the Secretary of State will need to go through the machinery of declaring an authority in default, following which there will be a public inquiry when, if the local authority does not accept the instruction from the public inquiry, the right hon. Gentleman will make an order instructing the authority's officials to carry out functions on his behalf which the elected members have declared that they will not carry out. Those may be hypothetical circumstances at the moment, but they are likely to become a reality, and the Secretary of State should address his mind to them. What is more, as my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) said, the right hon. Gentleman ought to give the House an idea of the circumstances in which he sees himself operating these powers and whether he feels that they are likely to arise.

In making it clear that, in the event of default, a statutory duty is now to be placed on officials to perform functions on behalf of the Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North omitted to point out that the Court of Session can be asked for an order to require a specific performance by officials—not the elected representatives. For that reason, I have to address myself to the circumstances in which that might arise, whether there are any, and what all of us should do about it if it should come about.

This may be correct in House of Commons terms. It may be correct even for lawyers to take a stand on these narrow technical grounds. But the Secretary of State had better get it into his head that he will have to think in terms of applying this provision to the realities of the political situation.

We have already gone over the reasons why we have to have default powers. My right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) and my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) have dealt with the general acceptance of default powers—[Interruption.] I see the Under-Secretary shaking his head. He can shake it as often as he likes—

Mr. Younger

For the sake of clarity, as it will be recorded in Hansard that I shook my head, let me make it clear that I nodded my head.

Mr. Brown

In any event, the hon. Gentleman is agreeing with me. I hope that he agrees with me on the next point.

This technical approach to default powers will not do. Some of us have had experience of public inquiries because of a failure to review rents, where according to the public inquiry it was proved that the failure to review rents was a failure on the part of the local authority to review its own rents and the levels that it had itself fixed.

Does not the Under-Secretary realise that he may be right to claim misrepresentation but that he fails to appreciate that local authorities will be in a new situation? They will be taken to task if they default on rents when they have not had the power to fix the rents. That is the key. The Bill lays down rent increases which will be obligatory on local authorities. It has never been done before. We are not discussing previous default powers as amended in the past. We are discussing a new period and we are insisting that local authorities not only review rents but increase them by specific amounts at specific times—

Mr. MacArthur

Not necessarily.

Mr. Brown

The Bill is specific. It requires certain amounts of rent income this year, next year and the following year until the housing account is in balance. That is a new factor confronting local authorities. If we discuss only default powers without taking other matters into account we are not "with it".

Mr. MacArthur

There are certain authorities in Scotland, notably Perth, which have run prudent rent policies. In Perth, the rent increases will be very small, and the rent rebates will be higher and wider spread than in the past. For an authority like Perth the Bill is a very good one.

Mr. Brown

I know that Perth has done very well out of it. I presume that the hon. Gentleman's local paper will be published this week, if others are not. But this is one major change that has influenced the attitude of local authorities.

Let me give some of the other changes. In the case of the major authorities, the rent increases are fixed. I do not include Perth in that category, though Perth is a wonderful city—I had better not say why, but it has something to do with a honeymoon. We are dealing not only with Perth, but with the major authorities, particularly Glasgow and Lanarkshire, which have gone on record as saying they will not implement the Bill.

6.0 p.m.

The rent increases are specified and laid down in the Bill. I do not think the Under-Secretary will disagree with that. The limitation on the rate contribution is also fixed to some extent in the housing expenditure subsidy. The Government's whole argument is that instead of £40 million going out of rates in five years, or whatever time it is, there will be only £20 million. There is now a further restriction non the freedom of a local authority to put the rate contribution into the housing account. The Minister may argue that this is long overdue. I am not disputing that point. I am merely pointing out that local authorities realise that this is another freedom which is being taken away from them. Local authorities must get into balance on their housing accounts. Hon. Members opposite might argue, and some of us might accept, that is not a bad thing to aim at, although we might argue about the speed, and so on. Nevertheless, a statutory obligation is being placed on local authorities to do something they were never required to do before.

On rebates there are four points: the rent increases, the changes in rate contribution, the requirement to have the housing revenue account organised in such a way as ultimately to get into balance, and the rebate scheme. I am not arguing whether it is better or not as good as some schemes run by local authorities. This is being laid down nationally, and an argument can be made for that; but this again is something being taken away from local authorities. Therefore, it is fatuous for the Secre- tary of State or the Under-Secretary to come along in some kind of academic situation without realising these are some of the fundamental matters—I am not arguing about misrepresentation—that have put up the backs of local authorities.

In the wider context, we have the opposition to the Industrial Relations Act. There is also the defeat, as it were, over school milk. Local authorities are still bitter about that. In Glasgow there is the attitude towards selective schools. Again, I am not arguing about the merit or otherwise of these individual matters; I am merely indicating that on each of these different and several issues groups of local authority members feel very strongly. It may be that the councillor who feels most strongly about selective schools or school milk is not an expert on housing. However, all these matters are boiling up in local authorities against the political background in the country. I am not just talking about the dockers who are in gaol.

Mr. Frank McElhone (Glasgow, Gorbals)

They are out now.

Mr. Brown

Perhaps even at this late stage the Scottish Office—the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart(Mr. Edward Taylor), the lost voice of reaction, is shaking his head. I do not know why. There is some evidence that the Government do not want a confrontation. Therefore, I suggest they should pay attention to those of us who are arguing for greater flexibility in the Bill. Otherwise, the default powers will need to be used.

One is never popular in politics if one says, "I told you so." The Secretary of State tries this now and again. It does not make him the most popular person in politics to be right. I realise it is equally dangerous, but I hazard a guess that if the default powers are not used the threat of using them will be brought into play. There is no doubt about that. That is as far as I go at the moment. I cannot speak for others.

In this kind of atmosphere people are beginning to understand—I hope that even the backwoodsmen on the Government benches are also beginning to understand—that when there is a fear in people's minds, whether it be about the loss of jobs in the docks or, indeed, just change, that applies also to local authorities in Scotland. Every major local authority is heavily involved in arguing or wondering how it will fare in the West Region, if there is a West Region. Individual councillors are thinking ahead and wondering whether they might be regional or district councillors, or possibly not even councillors at all. There is an atmosphere of uncertainty. In this kind of atmosphere it is sometimes easier for the person who makes the most militant of speeches to sound as if he or she has all the answers to the problems which many of us know are more complicated and sophisticated than the sheer militancy of a speech sometimes leads people to believe. Therefore, I beg the Minister not to underestimate the strength of feeling in the local authorities.

The Chairman of the Scottish Special Housing Association has resigned, as I understand it, on two grounds. The first is the instruction by the Government that SSHA houses should be sold. The Minister shakes his head. I will give him an opportunity to make some comment on that matter. The second ground is that there has been a rundown in the direct labour force of the SSHA. Does the Minister suggest that in the event of a local authority being in default he will use his powers to sell off council houses, even though that authority has already decided not to sell them?

The Government really must govern. I realise that sounds like my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. It would not be a bad thing if we had the kind of Government which would govern and say in what circumstances they would use these powers and whether they would do this or that. I suggest the selling of council houses is a factor which might make local authorities feel they should defy the Secretary of State.

I should like to refer to another matter which affects the freedom of local authorities. We have had a furore, as usual well publicised, by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart about the circular issued by Glasgow Corporation. The article in the Glasgow Herald is headed: Taylor questions legality of leaflet.

Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith (Glasgow, Hillhead)

Hear, hear.

Mr. Brown

Hear, hear. I hope the Government will give the same prominence to their reply. Is it or is it not legal? I raised this specific point in Committee and received an assurance from the Under-Secretary that no attempt would be made to interfere with the right of local authorities to explain to their tenants the implications, as they saw them, of the Bill.

Mr. Galbraith

Surely this document does more than explain. It is a political document urging an attack on the Bill, not explaining it.

Mr. Brown

I will not go into the details of it.

Mr. Galbraith

It is just as well.

Mr. Brown

I will debate it at any time, but I do not wish to take up too much time now. I think I could have made a better job of it.

Mr. Edward Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

Has the hon. Gentleman read it?

Mr. Brown

I have indeed. I think it is right. In any case, why are the hon. Members for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) and Glasgow, Cathcart so worried? If there is so much merit and good in the Bill, why should they object to a bit of propaganda against it? At least it is factual. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen will be able to make their own speeches.

Are the Government going to tell Glasgow Corporation that this document is legal, even though they do not agree with every dot and comma in it? They must make up their minds. Do they want freedom for local authorities? They must say whether they think these default powers will rarely, if ever, be used. The Government have to make up their mind whether, even in things like this, they will niggle and tell major local authorities what they can and cannot do.

In case it has been overlooked, I draw the attention of my hon. Friends to the fact that the English Bill provides for a fine of £400 if there is any obstruction by a local authority, an elected member of it or by an official. Why has the Secretary of State for Scotland not introduced that provision for Scotland? I am not, of course, asking that he should, but the Under-Secretary has been saying that the Government do not want these default powers unless they are effective, and one is entitled to ask how he will discipline a local authority member who intentionally or otherwise, or perhaps even after taking a firm decision, does not implement the Bill?

What is the relevance of the statement by NALGO that it will protect any member who refuses to co-operate with officials in carrying out something on behalf of the Secretary of State? What will happen to such a person? The Under-Secretary of State said that if there are to be default powers they should be effective and there should be no loopholes. The English Bill provides for a fine of £400, but there is no mention of anything similar in the Scottish Bill. I know that circumstances are different in England, but the Government must be worried about the non-implementation argument.

I hope that I have convinced the Secretary of State and the Under-secretary of State of the feelings of some local authorities. However irrational or wrong the Government might think local authorities are in the view they take of the Bill, I assure the right hon. Gentleman that that is how they feel, and he had better understand that if they are angry it would be worth while trying to get some kind of agreement with them.

I speak for myself. If the Government, even at this late stage, were willing to compromise and settle for something less than £1 a week increase in October, I should be willing to use my influence with the local authorities to see whether we could get some kind of agreement. Some of my hon. Friends may not agree with me.

Mr. Lambie

Hear, hear.

Mr. Brown

I did not expect my hon. Friend to agree with me, but I am thinking of the ultimate effect on the people whom I represent. I shall carry out propaganda and the political battles, but I get no satisfaction from doing so if, by agreement there is any possibility of reducing some of the burdens that might be placed on the people whom I represent. I am willing to talk to the Government to see whether a compromise can be effected, bearing in mind that the Prime Minister is almost on his knees to the TUC to get some kind of—

Mr. Lambie

No surrender.

Mr. Brown

I do not like the use of that term in any circumstances. I am genuinely concerned about the Scottish Bill because it is different from the English Measure, and also because the STUC is not part of the TUC.

As my right hon. Friend said, it may be that in October the Government will find it necessary to use these default powers against local authorities, who refuse to impose rent increases in excess of anything being imposed on English council tenants. It is no good saying that rent and wage levels are different. The extra money required to come out of the pockets of tenants in Scotland may be in excess of that paid by English council tenants. I am not talking about the rent rebate element, but about those who will have to pay the full increases.

It is the height of folly for the Government to introduce these Amendments in this academic and legalistic way without understanding the realities of the political situation, and I hope that even at this late stage they will see sense.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Edward Taylor

Today and on previous days we have been discussing the responsibilities of local authorities and trade unions under the law. I think it is true to say that local authorities who accept the rule of law accept, too, that they have an obligation to obey the letter of the law, if not necessarily the spirit of it.

The hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) referred to the speeches made by my right hon. Friend and others during the previous Government's term of office. It is one thing to say to a local authority that a law has been badly drafted, there is a loophole in it, and they should take advantage of it. It is quite different to say to a local authority that it should defy the letter and intention of the Bill. I support the Lords Amendment, because it is designed to try to close any possible loopholes. If we mean to introduce the Bill and apply it, nothing but harm can come if we leave too many legal loopholes.

The complaints made by hon. Gentlemen opposite about the activities of certain local authorities when the previous Government were in power must be brought into perspective. It was not then a question of local authorities breaking the law, but of finding loopholes in the law which had not been seen at the time the Measure was passed because the Bill had not been drafted as tightly as hon. Gentlemen opposite intended. If we find any loopholes in this Measure and take action to close them we shall be performing a real service to the Government and, indirectly, to local authorities.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Hugh D. Brown) talked about uncertainty. There can be no greater uncertainty than that which results from the law being drafted in a shoddy manner and leaving obvious lopholes which local authorities can take advantage of to destroy the spirit of the legislation. These two Amendments are designed to close any possible loopholes, and for that reason they are worth making.

Mr. John Smith

I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman would explain the purpose of Lords Amendment No. 13 as it applies to the elected member of a local authority? In what circumstances does he envisage its being implemented?

Mr. Taylor

I have my own ideas about that. No doubt my right hon. Friend could give a more authoritative statement, but two circumstances come to mind. One is the availability of records. An elected committee of a corporation or local authority has control of its own records. It may be that records not related directly to housing are necessary for the performance of the authority's housing function. A local authority could frustrate the activities of the Secretary of State or his agent by withholding those records. The important thing is that there are possible loopholes, and it is therefore better to sew them up by making the Amendments.

Having studied the Official Report of the debates in the other place, I am not clear whether the Amendment relates solely to the powers which might be taken in relation to rents, to the housing function as a whole, to some parts of the housing function, or to most parts of that function. It seems that in two debates in the other place contrary opinions were given about the possible sale of council houses. On one Amend- ment it was said that this might be done, but that it would be under separate legislation. I should like the Minister to say whether the default powers under the Amendment will relate solely to rents, or whether they will have broader application. It would seem from my reading of the Bill and from the reports of the Lords debates on matters relating to housing that the necessary steps would have to be taken under separate legislation.

The hon. Member for Provan raised a matter relating to Amendment No. 12, which states: and he may direct that the authority shall not during such time as the order is in force perform any function conferred by the order on him. I see great difficulties arising in defining the area of that function in relation to the functions of other committees of the local authority. We could get no better example than the one which the hon. Member for Provan mentioned, namely, the circulation to every householder in Glasgow of a pamphlet issued by the Corporation of Glasgow about the Bill. I am not certain how that was done, but obviously ratepayers' money from the housing account was used. There is nothing in the world to stop such a pamphlet being issued by another committee of the local authority using funds from a separate vote.

I can see great dangers that under the Amendment, while a committee of a local authority might be prevented from carrying out functions it previously exercised, another committee of the same local authority might be able to perform similar functions under other legislation. I have written to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State about whether it would be possible for a local authority to issue a pamphlet on the Bill, using funds from another vote and with the authority of another committee, relating possibly to the dissemination of information, advertising or something of that kind.

It cannot be stressed too strongly, certainly in my view and in the view of many fair-minded people, that the pamphlet which was issued in Glasgow was more than an information document. It appeared to contain statements of untruths. There can be no doubt about that. The opening sentence, states that the Bill is putting up the rents of all tenants irrespective of their ability to pay. It refers to both private tenants and local authority tenants.

We have differing views about the Bill and its merits, but I cannot see that it is right, fair or just that ratepayers should be called upon to pay for what is obviously a blatant propaganda document which contains many statements which are untruths. Surely this is wrong under existing law.

Mr. Ross

On a point of order. I do not like the fact that we must finish these discussions by 8 o'clock. We are dealing with the powers of the Secretary of State under a default order. It is something which has already been done by a local authority that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) questions. I suggest that that is not, and cannot possibly be, in order.

Mr. Taylor

The matter was raised and talked about at considerable length by the hon. Member for Provan. It seemed, although an interesting matter, that the hon. Member was not relating it to the Amendment. I am asking my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, taking that matter as an example, whether it would be possible in future, despite the terms of Lords Amendment No. 12, flora local authority using separate funds from a separate committee to issue a pamphlet on the Bill. As the Government are taking steps under Lords Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 to try to block any loopholes in the Bill, it is important that we should take steps to prevent abuses which involve the substantial expenditure of ratepayers' money for purposes other than the dissemination of information, which is clearly a function that is sensible and right. Obviously we have dffering views on what is relevant information, but the issuing of blatant propaganda is wrong. It should have been stopped in the past and it should be stopped in future.

Mr. William Small (Glasgow, Scotstoun)

This is my first contribution to the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Bill, since I was not a member of the Committee. The Secretary of State delivered his case for the Amendment in terms of esoteric mythology. As the Secretary of State is a yachts- man, he might recognise the the highest danger point in navigation is in the Greek Sea between the two islands, Scylla and Charybdis. The essential argument is one of political identification of elected members or officials in terms of co-determination to will the political behaviour of a given party. That is what is being asked. That is what the Secretary of State actually said. I will use two Latin tags for the entertainment of hon. Members opposite. We have the regalia majora, who are the senior group, and the regalia minora, who are in these terms the supporters in making policy in any corporation.

The argument about elected representatives is that they are simply elected representatives. When one stands for local government and one is elected, what happens? Immediately one transfers the whole of one's personality. One becomes an employer. What frightens me is the identification of the uniformity of political behaviour. The exercise of default powers has a frightening aspect because the nature and the construction of the whole Bill means that under the Bill everybody in Scotland will become a Government tenant. There has never been anything I have yet seen whereby a Government fix everybody's rent and place in society. I cannot support any Amendment to strengthen the default powers which already exist and which are tough enough.

Mr. Gavin Strang (Edinburgh, East)

It is precisely seven weeks since we discussed default powers during the Report stage. At that time we drew attention to the fact that the Bill was different from previous Measures in the sense that it was likely that the default powers would be used. We urged the Secretary of State to think again, to drop government by confrontation and adopt a conciliatory attitude towards local authorities. What was the Secretary of State's response? What meetings has he had with local authorities to try to come to some agreement, to try to find out precisely which parts are the most objectionable?

It would appear that instead of adopting that conciliatory approach, the Secretary of State has spent his time ensuring that his officials go to great lengths to tighten up these additional powers. It seems typical of the Government's whole approach to housing and every other issue. Where does government by confrontation get them? One would think that today of all days they would think about adopting a different approach.

The Secretary of State says that Lords Amendment No. 12 is important because the Government want to make absolutely sure, although they are taking over certain functions and are telling local authority officials that they have certain duties, that the elected councillors and the officials are carrying out their functions.

Perhaps the Secretary of State had in mind a situation in which, for example, half the computer personnel at Edinburgh Corporation were backing the Government and the other half were backing the councillors. Do the Government envisage that the night shift would be putting out rent demands based on Government assessed rents while the day shift would be putting out rent demands in line with the views of the Edinburgh Corporation Labour Group? Is that the sort of situation which the Secretary of State thinks might arise? Is that why he is ensuring that he has power to instruct officials to do what he requires? This will concern not only officials in the housing department but also computer officials, who are key figures in this exercise.

6.30 p.m.

May we take it that Lords Amendment No. 13 is designed to make clear that not only can the right hon. Gentleman instruct councillors but that local authority employees must answer to him rather than to the elected councillors? What happens if some employees decide that they are not prepared to accept this invasion of their agreed terms of employment—that they are not prepared, having been employed by Edinburgh town councillors, to be dictated to by the Secretary of State? Will they end up in gaol? Is that a possibility? Do we have an Official Solicitor in Scotland?

Mr. John Smith


Mr. Strang

My hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) says that there is no such thing as an Official Solicitor in Scotland. Suppose that some councillors or officials have an approach to these matters similar to that of some of the dockers and that when instructed to do something they do not do it. After all the processes have been gone through, can they go to prison? Are we to have the same sort of nonsense in this case as in the case of the dockers? Are we to have once again the law brought into disrepute, as it has been this week, or does the right hon. Gentleman take the view that this case is quite different in that the workers will not use their industrial power this time to force the Government to back down? If the right hon. Gentleman is banking on that, he should be careful.

The first time the Government put any councillor or official in gaol—indeed, it may happen as soon as they start to intervene—there will be industrial action. It will not be the first time we have had industrial action on such issues. If the right hon. Gentleman recalls his history, he will see that there have been strikes and demonstrations in Glasgow in the past on such issues. He could be creating a dangerous situation if he tried to intervene. There will be the possibility, for example, of the dustmen going on strike—and then perhaps the Lord Advocate will have to come in and get the Government off the hook just as the Official Solicitor has done in London in the case of the dockers.

When we last discussed this matter, we asked the Secretary of State to adopt a more reasonable attitude towards the local authorities. We did not ask him to climb down. We simply asked him, in the light of the local elections and of the massive opposition of the vast majority of the Scottish local authorities, to think again and at least discuss the matter with them. We have got nothing. Yet during that same period the Secretary of State for the Environment made concessions on the Housing Finance Bill dealing with England and Wales, although he could at least claim that the Conservatives are in an elected majority in England. In Scotland, on the contrary, the Conservatives are in a minority. In these circumstances one would have thought that the Secretary of State for Scotland would at least have felt obliged to discuss with the local authorities in order to try to meet to some extent the views of the majority of the people in Scotland. But the right hon. Gentleman has adopted instead the most intransigent attitude. If he really thinks that he is going to implement these default powers and that he can win a confrontation on them, he will have to think again.

Mr. Buchan

In view of the events of this week, it is a pity that we should be operating under a guillotine on a Bill the end result of which may produce the kind of effect which my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie) described when he spoke of his father. Indeed, after the events of this afternoon, the situation is something like an Irish tragedy: one is never quite sure whether it is tragic or comic. The Official Solicitor has once again pulled the Government off the hook but there is no Official Solicitor in Scotland to pull them off the hook there. There should be recognition by the Government that they will get a bloody nose in Scotland as well if there is confrontation over these powers in the Bill.

The Lords Amendment would make the whole situation even worse than it is. First of all it is obscure; even the flat earther himself, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) does not understand it. Secondly, as my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) has pointed out, Lords Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 appear to contradict one another. I do not think they do, however. I think that the relationship between them is more complicated than the present Secretary of State can ever explain to us. I wish that the Secretary of State would stop claiming that he has discovered everything in Scotland or would stop excusing himself for everything that went wrong in the past.

For the last week hon. Members opposite have been saying that only one absolute matters, and that is the absolute of obeying the law. Yet some of them were among the most active in encouraging local authorities, if not to break the law, to look for every possible loophole in it. The Under-Secretary of State nods, as I knew he would. Hon. Members opposite have never understood the difference between immorality and legality. Legality is not absolutely the most important principle. The whole of history shows that to be so. I asked the Secretary of State earlier to apply his abstract principles to events in Germany after 1933, but he did not even understand the question. A lot of humbug about legality has been talked during the past week. What brings the law into contempt is bad law, law that is used consciously and deliberately to create a political confrontation. Throughout history man have changed bad laws by resisting them.

Mr. Iain Sproat (Aberdeen, South)

But resisting electorally—that is the difference.

Mr. Buchan

They have changed bad laws by resisting them and there are more important principles than that people should obey bad laws. I challenge the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur), the hon. Member for Cathcart or the Secretary of State to say that they have never broken the law.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

Income tax?

Mr. Buchan

I am coming to that. I challenge them to say that they have never taken a chance in parking, for example, because they knew that there would only be a small fine if they were caught. It is only if they have never at any time broken the law that they can start criticising councillors and others.

Mr. Younger

It would be helpful if we could get clear what the hon. Gentleman is saying. It is possible that he may again hold office in a future Government.

Mr. Sproat


Mr. Younger

If the hon. Gettleman ever does return to office, will he give me the absolute right to choose at that time which of the laws of the land I obey and which I do not? Will he guarantee me freedom from any form of legal penalty for whatever I may do on my own at the time?

Mr. Buchan

The hon. Gentleman has never understood the point. He has the absolute right to decide which laws he is going to accept, just as the nation has the absolute right to decide. The Government are creating a situation in which people, in being driven to defend their communities, are being forced into exercising the absolute right of breaking the law. Before the hon. Gentleman starts dropping abstract philosophical questions, as he did an hour ago, he should reread his philosophy.

What the Government are doing by taking the power of making default orders is to ensure that by deterrent their malevolence is carried out. They are trying to make the elected members of a local authority and even the local officials do their dirty work for them. That is like telling the victim of the condemned cell that he not only has to tie the knot round his neck himself but that for a week beforehand he has carefully to oil the hinges of the trap. That is bound to create resistance in Scotland.

In the light of the events of the past week, with defeat after defeat from the miners, the dockers, and other workers, the Government would be wise not to undertake this confrontation in Scotland, for two reasons. The first is that it mobilises and calls into action some of the most respectable and respected members of our community. We are dealing not with tub militants but with pure respectable Scottish bailies. In Scotland there is no means for the Government to get themselves off the hook on which they are busy impaling themselves; there is nobody like the Official Solicitor. The only person who can climb down openly is the Secretary of State.

The most terrifying thing that has been said about this Amendment and its implications was enunciated by the Secretary of State for Employment. He said in a television broadcast that he regarded the law is more important than parliamentary democracy. With respect, it is not. Parliamentary democracy is the will of the people as expressed in this place. The law is merely an implement, and if the Government fashion an implement which becomes more important than the will of the people they are in trouble. The events of this week have shown that.

Mr. Robert Hughes

In the proceedings on this Bill we always seem to be working against a tremendous pressure of time. The Secretary of State and his deputy always make excuses not to answer the questions they are asked. In Committee I tried to discover from the Under-Secretary how he intended to implement the Bill, and especially the default Clauses. With the bland, innocent assurance that he always presents he told us not to become excited about the default Clauses because the Bill would leave everything exactly as it was before; no additional powers were to be taken, and it was unnecessary to go into the matter because the present Government would operate as past Governments had operated.

When the Under-Secretary was asked how he would act in confrontation with local authorities he always told us, "The question will never arise". In the seven or eight weeks after the Bill came from Committee the parliamentary draftsmen produced all kind of Amendments, both on Report and when the Bill went to the House of Lords, trying to spell out the position. When we discussed Lords Amendment No. 11 we were told that it was a technical matter, a matter of tidying up the legislation. When we raised the question of extensions to the default Clauses we were told to wait for the Amendments. We have now almost reached the end of the default Clause Amendments and we have not got an answer yet.

The Secretary of State has said virtually nothing, except that all we were doing was tidying up the position. We have asked the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary what the position would be in the case of specific local authorities and they have always refused to face the question. It the Secretary of State refers back to the proceedings on Report he will find that a number of important questions were asked.

Local authorities are not saying that they will act in contempt of the law; they are saying that they will refuse to carry out statutory responsibilities laid upon them by the electorate and the general law. They are saying that if the Secretary of State wishes to prescribe in every detail how all the housing accounts will be operated, how the rent increases will be operated and how they should treat individual tenants, the Secretary of State must be prepared to do the work himself.

Having asked the Ministers specifically for an answer and having been refused one, we must now go further and ask for assurances. Once the Bill becomes law, if local authorities say that they will not implement it, how can they be in default of their statutory responsibilities? They are giving advance notice from 1st October that they are handing over the collection of rents to the Secretary of State, which is what he is asking for in the Bill. He is asking that powers should be taken by the Secretary of State and simply operated by the elected members of the councils as his agents.

6.45 p.m.

Local authorities will not accept this. They are handing these duties back to the Secretary of State and we must ask for assurances that in those respects no penal sanctions will be applied to them. We hope that in all these Clauses and Amendments there are no hidden default sanctions which will land them in prison. If they tell the Secretary of State exactly where they stand and there is no loss or rent revenue, there will be no question of surcharging councillors in respect of the revenue. It will have been collected late but it will nevertheless have been collected.

The Secretary of State has a duty to say where he stands in the matter. He has never made it clear where he stands in relation to local authorities and the people. From the start of the Bill he began to take the powers from elected representatives in local authorities. He is stripping them of all authority, all dignity and all respect for themselves and for the law. If they say, as many undoubtedly will, "We will not be parties to our own humiliation", the Secretary of State should be prepared to allow them the dignity and the right to exercise their freedom—the freedom with which they were elected to govern the people as members of local authorities.

Mr. Ross

We are here making law. That is the purpose of the House of Commons. We ought to try to make as wise law as possible. Within the terms of this discussion we are presuming that a local authority has already been adjudged to be in default and that the Secretary of State is exercising certain functions in respect of it.

It has been asked what functions the Secretary of State will exercise. I am surprised that anyone who was a member of the Committee on the Bill should have any doubts about it. All that anyone has to do is to read Clause 72 which says that the Secretary of State may make an order rendering exercisable by him such functions of a local authority under Part II, III or IV of the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act"— that is, this Measure— as are specified in the order and such other functions of the local authority as the Secretary of State considers necessary or expedient… It is not limited to any Clause of the Bill; it covers anything in relation to local authority functions that the Secretary of State deems it necessary to take.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

Where does he get the staff?

Mr. Ross

If my hon. Friend will listen I hope to deal with that point later.

The first thing I must make clear about the Lords Amendment is that the local authority has nothing to do with the taking over of its functions. The Amendment says that the Secretary of State may direct that the authority shall not during such time as the order is in force perform any function conferred by the order on him That provision operates whether it relates to this Bill or any other Measure which concerns the functions of local authorities that come within the right hon. Gentleman's responsibilities. That is fairly reasonable. If they have said "We do not want to perform these functions", we would expect the right hon. Gentleman to take them over. It is not likely that they will be performing them.

But then we come to the next Lords Amendment. This is one of the most staggering things I have ever come across at this stage of a Bill. Certain responsibilities that have long been those of the local authorities are taken away and new duties are placed upon them, with no discretion for them—they carry them out or else. Then suddenly, on 20th July, eight months after the Bill was first printed, the Secretary of State places a new duty upon the local authorities, which takes effect when they are in default. It should be remembered that the has just sacked them and said "You will have nothing to do with this." He then says: It shall be the duty of a local authority…to take all reasonable steps to facilitate the performance of those functions by the Secretary of State. He has kicked the authority out, but he then says "Come back and help me." What kind of people does he think we are?

Mr. Galbraith

Decent chaps.

Mr. Ross

Exactly, and we value our decency. But this is not decent law. I should like a lawyer on the Government Front Bench to tell us exactly what all this means. What is a local authority, according to the consolidated legislation? It is the town council, not the individual members of that council. The town council must take all reasonable steps to facilitate". The phrase should be burnt into the minds of trade unionists, because it is straight out of the Industrial Relations Act. How does a local authority, not the individual members of the council, take all reasonable steps? Is that taken by a decision? The council has been told that it has no function to perform. Will the Secretary of State compel it to meet and to vote a particular way?

I believe that this law is nonsense. I am no lawyer. Where are the lawyers? We know the difficulties in respect of the Lord Advocate, but the Secretary of State should have had here someone learned in the law to tell us exactly what this means and whether it is practical. My hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. JohnSmith) is a lawyer. I do not know whether he agrees with me.

Mr. John Smith

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right.

Mr. Ross

By definition, what the Secretary of State is concerned about is nonsense. We learnt that from the discussions in another place, because simple Johnny Raw told us. We have never got the Secretary of State or the Under-Secretary to tell us how the Government will implement the provision, but we learnt it in the following way: My Lords, I assume that he would carry out these functions through his officials with the collaboration"— a lovely word— of the officials of the local authority concerned. In England a commissioner is to be put in. The Secretary of State for Scotland has no intention of putting in a commissioner. He will use the force of law, telling the local authorities to do it and, putting them in default if they do not.

We learnt in the House of Lords, again from simple Harry, that the Government would be able to apply to the Court of Session to make this latest duty effective. First the local authority is in default, so the Government place a new duty on it, and if it does not carry it out to their satisfaction they take it to the Court of Session. What on earth are we coming to when we have all this paraphernalia of default powers? The Government will never use them. I sincerely hope that some of my hon. and learned Friends and learned Conservative Members will examine this matter.

Perhaps the Secretary of State is afraid because he is not the employer of the officials he wants to use, because their employer is the local authority. He is afraid that the local authority will tell them not to collaborate. I do not think they will. What he is equally afraid of is that the officials will not feel themselves fully free, because they still have to live with the local authority after his order has expired. The Secretary of State will create all sorts of difficulties within local government, difficulties that will last much longer than his default order. I never thought he was such a foolish man as to race into confrontation in this way when he could have accepted the measure of compromise that we offered in Committee and on Report. He has made his own difficulties, and this kind of law will not save him. I doubt very much whether he could pin this new duty on any local authority.

What a time to place a new duty on a local authority, at this stage of the Bill's consideration! On the next Amendment the right hon. Gentleman will say that the local authorities have known all about the Bill for a long time. They have not, because it is still being amended. We have another 10 Amendments relating to the rebate scheme and the rent allowance scheme in which changes are made.

Our case has been made, and the Government have made no case. They have failed to come clean with the people of Scotland and the local authorities and individual councillors. The Secretary of State, too, has duties and responsibilities. He takes them under this provision. Default power means that he exercises powers. How will he exercise them? The last time I asked him that, he said that the Bill was not yet law. But the same right hon. Gentleman says that the local authorities should have made all their preparations even though the Bill is not law. I challenge him to tell us what he will do and how he will exercise the powers.

We have heard about the possibility of a £400 fine on an English local authority. It could be even higher in Scotland because of the introduction of the Court of Session. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what are the penal sanctions in the Court of Session. I remind him of what was said by his noble Friend the Minister in charge of the Bill in another place. He is the Minister of State, Scottish Office—Heaven help us. The noble Lord said: This statutory duty can be enforced, if necessary, by an application to the Court of Session for an order for specific performance."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 20th July, 1972; Vol. 333, c. 921, 928.] What is the limit of the penalties in the Court of Session in respect of this new duty that has been suddenly imposed under default powers that will never be used?

The Secretary of State knows—his officials should have told him by now, if they are in this world—what faces us in respect of this legislation. We have warned the Government time and again. I started by saying "We are making law here. Let us make wise law". This is not wisdom. This is blind folly.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

With the leave of the House, I shall reply to the debate.

As I said earlier, these two Amendments do not propose changes. They simply qualify what was already assumed to be in the Bill, and this has been agreed by some who have spoken from the Opposition benches during the debate.

The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) asked for legal advice from the Government about whether it would be practicable to put this into effect. He referred to my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate having to depart suddenly. It is fair that I should say that he has had to go at short notice because of serious family illness; otherwise he would have been present and able to deal with these points. But I assure the House that he has advised me that it is practicable.

The hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) reinforced what my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary said in the last debate, which was a very general debate about the default procedure. That was that we hope that this procedure will never be needed. The hon. Gentleman said that he hoped it would never be needed. So do we.

The hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) indicated that he thought that the Amendments were not necessary. He felt that the Bill was clear already in this respect. We have decided that it should be doubly clear. The hon. Gentleman asked whether there was a requirement to call meetings of councils. There is no question of calling a council meeting to discuss and approve policies or decisions when the Secretary of State has taken over these functions; but co-operation might be required in order that information could be made available to the Secretary of State. The hon. Member also asked for an example of a situation which might arise. An authority might, for example, say that although the officials were carrying out the functions, as required, they would no longer provide the office accommodation or services to enable the officials to carry on. This is a possibility. It is is not probable, but this is where the councillors come in. It is a possibility of a case in which it would be not taking the steps required for the performance of the functions which the Secretary of State had taken over.

Mr. John Smith

I did not imagine that we should be taken so far into the drafted to allow the Secretary of State's examples. But if his justification is information, why is the Clause not directed to allow the Secretary of State to recover all relevant records pertaining to the housing matters of a local authority? Second, if the Secretary of State envisages some concealing of information, why does not he make a requirement upon councillors to divulge information? Does he seriously think that councillors carry in their heads things which are not available in the council offices? What is the real purpose of these Amendments? I cannot imagine that it is what the right hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. Campbell

To be fair to the hon. Gentleman, he said that he did not think that the Amendments were necessary and that this was already clear. None the less, we felt that it should be spelled out. I have given the hon. Gentleman an example of a situation which could arise. I hope that it never would. But the hon. Gentleman asked for an example and I have given one.

The hon. Member for Greenock queried Amendment No. 12. Here we have the old question which arises in Scottish debates so often, the difference between "may" and "shall". It is here "may" and, therefore, not something that inevitably need happen. Furthermore, the term "function" in this context need not be construed as widely as the hon. Gentleman implied. For example, it could be related to a relatively small executive function, for example, a letting.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Hugh D. Brown) asked for an example, and I have answered that point. He also raised the question of the Chairman of the Scottish Special Housing Association and his resignation.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way for a second?

Mr. Campbell

I must move on because we do not have much time. I have tried to answer points and I have given way already.

Dr. Mabon

Before the right hon. Gentleman comes on to the Scottish Special Housing Association, we did not hear what he said a short while ago. He same "some minor functions, such as" and then we did not hear it. Will he explain a little more?

Mr. Campbell

There could be minor functions and not major functions.

Dr. Mabon

Such as?

Mr. Campbell

The letting of an individual house could be a minor matter which comes up, as well as the major matters with which councillors and officials have to deal.

The hon. Member for Provan raised rather an important question, the resignation of the Chairman of the SSHA. Since the Chairman became the treasurer of Glasgow Corporation I had realised that he might feel it necessary to resign because he might not find the two appointments running together compatible. But he did not do so for some months, and suddenly the other day he decided to submit his resignation—[An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Only he can answer that. As I made clear in my reply, in which I accepted his resignation, the points he made in his letter were wrong. The SSHA was not under instruction to sell its houses. The management council of the Association is the responsible authority and it reached its own decision in the knowledge of Government policies. It was also completely wrong to say that the programme—

Mr. Buchan

That was a good one.

Mr. Campbell

—of the SSHA is being run down. It is being enlarged by considerably more overspill houses and by building in support of the North Sea oil developments.

Dr. Mabon rose

Mr. Campbell

I have given way to the hon. Gentleman, to whom I like giving way as often as possible, but I must move on.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) inquired which functions of officials would be covered by Amendment No. 13. The Secretary of State can exercise only the functions specified in the order he makes. In practice these would be under Parts II, III and IV of the Bill together with any other housing management functions and other functions necessary to fulfil the requirements of the Bill. My hon. Friend also asked—putting a rather interesting example from the past—to what funds or accounts might leaflets be charged. In his speculation, my hon. Friend exhibited his usual fertile imagination. But the range of possibilities he mentioned demonstrates the need to ensure that officials and members take all reasonable steps to facilitate the performance of functions.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) was making comparisons with the English Bill and indicating that the rent provisions of the English Bill would be preferable to those of the Scottish Bill.

Dr. Mabon


Mr. Campbell

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East must be the only Scottish Member in the House who believes that. The hon. Member was indicating that the Scottish system would not be as good as the English one. In Committee on the English Bill some English Members made it clear that they would have preferred our system.

Mr. Strang

There must be a limit to the degree of distortion which the Secretary of State is capable of. The one point I made was that, since we last discussed the matter in the House, the rent increases which tenants in England and Wales have had to face in many conurbations had been substantially less than had been expected. Everyone knows that to that extent the English Department has compromised. The English Minister has preferred to compromise to head off the massive non-implementation campaign. We have not had a similar response from the Secretary of State for Scotland. That is all that I said.

Mr. Campbell

That is exactly the point. The English had a fair rent system, a different one from us. It has always been clear that where some English local authorities had rents near the fair rent level to start with the rents would not necessarily have to rise by the maximum. If the hon. Gentleman cares to compare the average rent in one

of those local authority areas—[Interruption.] This is the most important point. This is why the hon. Gentleman did not say it. He did not talk about the rents which were being paid; that is the one thing he did not mention. He said that under the English system there was to be something preferable to the Scottish system. He carefully omitted to mention the rents which were being paid. He will find that for comparable houses the rents in those areas are two or three times the rents being paid in Scotland. Would he prefer rents in Scotlandimmediately to be doubled or trebled in one year?

Dr. Mabon

My hon. Friend did not say that.

Mr. Campbell

Of course he did not. The hon. Gentleman said that the English system was preferable to ours. The hon. Gentleman has just said it again for our benefit. The House will recognise that the Scottish system of pooled historic costs and true rents is of benefit to Scotland and different from the English system.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 288, Noes 266.

Division No. 325.] AYES [7.13 p.m.
Adley, Robert Bullus, Sir Eric du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Burden, F. A. Dykes, Hugh
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Archer, Jeffery (Louth) Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Astor, John Carlisle, Mark Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Atkins, Humphrey Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)
Awdry, Daniel Cary, Sir Robert Emery, Peter
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Chapman, Sydney Eyre, Reginald
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Chataway, Rt. Hn. Chirstopher Farr, John
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Chichester-Clark, R. Fell, Anthony
Batsford, Brian Churchill, W. S. Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fidler, Michael
Bell, Ronald Clegg, Walter Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Cockeram, Eric Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Cooke, Robert Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Benyon, W. Cooper, A. E. Fookes, Miss Janet
Berry, Hn. Anthony Cordle, John Fortescue, Tim
Biggs-Davison, John Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Foster, Sir John
Blaker, Peter Cormack, Patrick Fowler, Norman
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Costain, A. P. Fox, Marcus
Boscawen, Robert Critchley, Julian Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)
Bossom, Sir Clive Crouch, David Fry, Peter
Bowden, Andrew Crowder, F. P. Galbraith, Hn. T. G.
Braine, Sir Bernard Dalkeith, Earl of Gardner, Edward
Bray, Ronald Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Gibson-Watt, David
Brewis, John Dean, Paul Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Digby, Simon Wingfield Glyn, Dr. Alan
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dixon, Piers Goodhart, Philip
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Dodds-Parker, Douglas Goodhew, Victor
Bryan, Sir Paul Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Gorst, John
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N.&M) Drayson, G. B Gower, Raymond
Buck, Antony
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Green, Alan McMaster, Stanley Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Grieve, Percy Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham) Rost, Peter
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) McNair-Wilson, Michael Royle, Anthony
Gummer, Selwyn McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Russell, Sir Ronald
Gurden, Harold Maddan, Martin St. John-Stevas, Norman
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Madel, David Scott, Nicholas
Hall, John (Wycombe) Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Scott-Hopkins, James
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Marten, Neil Sharples, Sir Richard
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mather, Carol Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hannam, John (Exeter) Maude, Angus Shelton, William (Clapham)
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mawby, Ray Simeons, Charles
Haselhurst, Alan Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Sinclair, Sir George
Hastings, Stephen Meyer, Sir Anthony Skeet, T. H. H.
Havers, Michael Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Hawkins, Paul Miscampbell, Norman Soref, Harold
Hayhoe, Barney Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W) Speed, Keith
Heseltine, Michael Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Spence, John
Higgins, Terence L. Moate, Roger Sproat, Iain
Hiley, Joseph Money, Ernle Stainton, Keith
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Monks, Mrs. Connie Stanbrook, Ivor
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Monro, Hector Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Holland, Philip Montgomery, Fergus Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Hordern, Peter More, Jasper Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Hornby, Richard Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Sutcliffe, John
Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Tapsell, Peter
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Morrison, Charles Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Mudd, David Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Hunt, John Murton, Oscar Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Neave, Airey Tebbit, Norman
Iremonger, T. L. Nicholls, Sir Harmar Temple, John M.
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
James, David Normanton, Tom Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Nott, John Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Onslow, Cranley Trafford Dr. Anthony
Jessel, Toby Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Trew Peter
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Osborn, John Tugendhat, Christopher
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Jopling, Michael Page, Graham (Crosby) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Page, John (Harrow, W.) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Kaberry, Sir Donald Parkinson, Cecil Vickers, Dame Joan
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Peel, John Waddington, David
Kershaw, Anthony Percival, Ian Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Kimball, Marcus Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Pike, Miss Mervyn Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Pink, R. Bonner Wall, Patrick
Kinsey, J. R. Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Walters, Dennis
Kirk, Peter Price, David (Eastleigh) Ward, Dame Irene
Kitson, Timothy Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Warren, Kenneth
Knight, Mrs. Jill Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Weatherill, Bernard
Knox, David Quennell, Miss J. M. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Lamont, Norman Raison, Timothy White, Roger (Gravesend)
Lane, David Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Wiggin, Jerry
Langford-Holt, Sir John Rawilnson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Wilkinson, John
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Redmond, Robert Winterton, Nicholas
Le Marchant, Spencer Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rees, Peter (Dover) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Rees-Davies, W. R. Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Longden, Sir Gilbert Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Woodnutt, Mark
Loveridge, John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Worsley, Marcus
Luce, R. N. Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Younger, Hn. George
McAdden, Sir Stephen Ridsdale, Julian
MacArthur, Ian Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
McCrindle, R. A. Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Mr. Hamish Gray and
McLaren, Martin Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Abse, Leo Blenkinsop, Arthur Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm,Northfield)
Albu, Austen Boardman, H. (Leigh) Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara
Allen, Scholefield Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Clark, David (Colne Valley)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Bradley, Tom Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)
Armstrong, Ernest Broughton, Sir Alfred Cohen, Stanley
Ashley, Jack Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Concannon, J. D.
Ashton, Joe Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Atkinson, Norman Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Buchan, Norman Crawshaw, Richard
Barnes, Michael Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)
Bidwell, Sydney Cant, R. B. Dalyell, Tam
Bishop, E. S. Carmichael, Neil Darling, Rt. Hn. George
Davidson, Arthur Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Pavitt, Laurie
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.) Pendry, Tom
Deakins, Eric Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Pentland, Norman
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Perry, Ernest G.
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Judd, Frank Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Dempsey, James Kaufman, Gerald Prescott, John
Doig, Peter Kelley, Richard Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Dormand, J. D. Kinnock, Neil Price, William (Rugby)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lambie, David Probert, Arthur
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lamond, James Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Driberg, Tom Latham, Arthur Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lawson, George Richard, Ivor
Dunn, James A. Leadbitter, Ted Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dunnett, Jack Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Eadie, Alex Leonard, Dick Robertson, John (Paisley)
Edelman, Maurice Lestor, Miss Joan Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Roper, John
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Rose, Paul B.
Ellis, Tom Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
English, Michael Lipton, Marcus Rowlands, Ted
Evans, Fred Lomas, Kenneth Sandelson, Neville
Ewing, Henry Loughlin, Charles Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Foley, Maurice McBride, Neil Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Foot, Michael McCartney, Hugh Sillars, James
Ford, Ben McElhone, Frank Silverman, Julius
Forrester, John McGuire, Michael Skinner, Dennis
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mackenzie, Gregor Small, William
Freeson, Reginald Mackie, John Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mackintosh, John P. Spearing, Nigel
Garrett, W. E. Maclennan, Robert Spriggs, Leslie
Gilbert, Dr. John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Stallard, A. W.
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) McNamara, J. Kevin Steel, David
Golding, John Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Gourlay, Harry Marks, Kenneth Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Marquand, David Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Marsden, F. Strang, Gavin
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Marshall, Dr. Edmund Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Mayhew, Christopher Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Meacher, Michael Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hamling, William Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Mendelson, John Tinn, James
Hardy, Peter Mikardo, Ian Tomney, Frank
Harper, Joseph Millan, Bruce Torney Tom
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Miller, Dr. M. S. Tuck, Raphael
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Milne, Edward Urwin, T. W.
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Varley, Eric G.
Heffer, Eric S. Molloy, William Wainwright, Edwin
Hilton, W. S. Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Walden,"Brian (B'ham, All Saints)
Hooson, Emlyn Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Horam, John Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Wallace, George
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Watkins, David
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Weitzman, David
Huckfield, Leslie Murray, Ronald King Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oakes, Gordon White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Ogden, Eric Whitehead, Phillip
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) O'Halloran, Michael Whitlock, William
Hunter, Adam O'Malley, Brian Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill) Oram, Bert Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Janner, Greville Orbach, Maurice Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Orme, Stanley Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Jeger, Mrs. Lena Oswald, Thomas Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Woof, Robert
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Padley, Walter
John, Brynmor Paget, R. T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Palmer, Arthur Mr. James Hamilton and
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Mr. Donald Coleman

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords Amendment: No. 13, in page 58, line 35, at end insert: (4C) It shall be the duty of a local authority, any of whose functions the Secretary of State is exercising by virtue of an order under subsection (4A) above, and any officer or servant of such an authority, to take all reasonable steps to facilitate the performance of those functions by the Secretary of State.

Motion made, and Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment—[Mr. Gordon Campbell].

The House divided: Ayes 288, Noes 265.

Division No. 326.] AYES [7.24 p.m.
Adley, Robert Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Emery, Peter King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Eyre, Reginald Kinsey, J. R.
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Farr, John Kirk, Peter
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Fell, Anthony Kitson, Timothy
Astor, John Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Knight, Mrs. Jill
Atkins, Humphrey Fidler, Michael Knox, David
Awdry, Daniel Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Lamont, Norman
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Lane, David
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Langford-Holt, Sir John
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fookes, Miss Janet Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Batstord, Brian Fortescue, Tim Le Marchant, Spencer
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Foster, Sir John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Bell, Ronald Fowler, Norman Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Fox, Marcus Longden, Sir Gilbert
Benyon, W. Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Loveridge, John
Berry, Hn. Anthony Fry, Peter Luce, R. N.
Biggs-Davison, John Galbraith, Hn. T. G. McAdden, Sir Stephen
Blaker, Peter Gardner, Edward MacArthur, Ian
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Gibson-Watt, David McCrindle, R. A.
Boscawen, Robert Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) McLaren, Martin
Bossom, Sir Clive Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Bowden, Andrew Glyn, Dr. Alan McMaster, Stanley
Braine, Sir Bernard Goodhart, Phillip Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)
Bray, Ronald Goodhew, Victor McNair-Wilson, Michael
Brewis, John Gorst, John McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Gower, Raymond Maddan, Martin
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Madel, David
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Green, Alan Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Grieve, Percy Marten, Neil
Bryan, Sir Paul Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Mather, Carol
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Gummer, J. Selwyn Maude, Angus
Buck, Antony Gurden, Harold Mawby, Ray
Bullus, Sir Eric Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Burden, F. A. Hall, John (Wycombe) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Miscampbell, Norman
Carlisle, Mark Hannam, John (Exeter) Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C. (Aberdeenshire,W.)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Cary, Sir Robert Haselhurst, Alan Money, Ernle
Chapman, Sydney Hastings, Stephen Monks, Mrs. Connie
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Havers, Michael Monro, Hector
Chichester-Clark, R. Hawkins, Paul Montgomery, Fergus
Churchill, W. S. Hayhoe, Barney More, Jasper
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Heseltine, Michael Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Clegg, Walter Higgins, Terence L. Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Cockeram, Eric Hiley, Joseph Morrison, Charles
Cooke, Robert Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Mudd, David
Cooper, A. E. Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Murton, Oscar
Cordle, John Holland, Philip Neave, Airey
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Hordern, Peter Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Cormack, Patrick Hornby, Richard Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Costain, A. P. Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Normanton, Tom
Critchley, Julian Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Nott, John
Crouch, David Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Onslow, Cranley
Crowder, F. P. Hunt, John Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Dalkeith, Earl of Hutchison, Michael Clark Osborn, John
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Iremonger, T. L. Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Dean, Paul Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. James, David Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Parkinson, Cecil
Dixon, Piers Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Peel, John
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Jessel, Toby Percival, Ian
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Drayson, G. B. Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Pike, Miss Mervyn
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Jopling, Michael Pink, R. Bonner
Dykes, Hugh Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Pounder, Rafton
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Kaberry. Sir Donald Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Price, David (Eastleigh)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Kershaw, Anthony Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Kimball, Marcus Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Quennell, Miss J. M. Sinclair, Sir George Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Raison, Timothy Skeet, T. H. H. Vickers, Dame Joan
Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Waddington, David
Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Soref, Harold Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Redmond, Robert Speed, Keith Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Spence, John Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Rees, Peter (Dover) Sproat, Iain Wall, Patrick
Rees-Davies, W. R. Stainton, Keith Walters, Dennis
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Stanbrook, Ivor Ward, Dame Irene
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Warren, Kenneth
Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Weatherill Bernard
Ridsdale, Julian Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Wells, John (Maidstone)
Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Sutcliffe, John White, Roger (Gravesend)
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Tapsell, Peter Wiggin, Jerry
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Wilkinson, John
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart) Winterton, Nicholas
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Rost, Peter Tebbit, Norman Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Royle, Anthony Temple, John M. Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Russell, Sir Ronald Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Woodnutt, Mark
St. John-Stevas, Norman Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Worsley, Marcus
Scott, Nicholas Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) Younger, Hn. George
Scott-Hopkins, James Trafford, Dr. Anthony TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Sharples, Sir Richard Trew, Peter Mr Hamish Gray and
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Tugendhat, Christopher Mr. Kenneth Clarke.
Shelton, William (Clapham) Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Simeons, Charles van Straubenzee, W. R.
Abse, Leo Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Huckfield, Leslie
Albu, Austen Deakins, Eric Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Allen, Scholefield Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Dempsey, James Hunter, Adam
Armstrong, Ernest Doig, Peter Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)
Ashley, Jack Dormand, J. D. Janner, Greville
Ashton, Joe Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Atkinson, Norman Douglas-Mann, Bruce Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Driberg, Tom Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Barnes, Michael Duffy, A. E. P. Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Dunn, James A. John, Brynmor
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Dunnett, Jack Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Eadie, Alex Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Bidwell, Sydney Edelman, Maurice Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Bishop, E. S. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Edwards, William (Merioneth) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Ellis, Tom Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur English, Michael Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Evans, Fred Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Bradley, Tom Ewing, Harry Judd, Frank
Broughton, Sir Alfred Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Kaufman, Gerald
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Kelley, Richard
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Kinnock, Neil
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Foley, Maurice Lambie, David
Buchan, Norman Foot, Michael Lamond, James
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Ford, Ben Latham. Arthur
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Forrester, John Lawson, George
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Fraser, John (Norwood) Leadbitter, Ted
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Freeson, Reginald Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Cant, R. B. Galpern, Sir Myer Leonard, Dick
Carmichael, Neil Garrett, W. E. Lestor, Miss Joan
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Gilbert, Dr. John Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Golding, John Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Lipton, Marcus
Cocks, Michael (Bristol. S.) Gourlay, Harry Lomas, Kenneth
Cohen, Stanley Grant, George (Morpeth) Loughlin, Charles
Coleman, Donald Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Concannon, J. D. Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. McBride, Neil
Crawshaw, Richard Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) McCartney, Hugh
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hamling, William McElhone, Frank
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) McGuire, Michael
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Hardy, Peter Mackenzie, Gregor
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mackie, John
Dalyell, Tam Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mackintosh, John P.
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Maclennan, Robert
Davidson, Arthur Heffer, Eric S. McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Hilton, W. S. McNamara, J. Kevin
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hooson, Emlyn Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Horam, John Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Howell, Denis (Small Health) Marks, Kenneth
Marquand, David Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Marsden, F. Pendry, Tom Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Marshall, Dr. Edmund Pentland, Norman Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Perry, Ernest G. Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Mayhew, Christopher Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg Strang, Gavin
Meacher, Michael Prescott, John Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Mendelson, John Price, William (Rugby) Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Mikardo, Ian Probert, Arthur Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Millan, Bruce Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Miller, Dr. M. S. Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, E.) Tinn, James
Milne, Edward Richard, Ivor Tomney, Frank
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Torney, Tom
Molloy, William Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon) Tuck, Raphael
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Robertson, John (Paisley) Urwin, T. W.
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Varley, Eric G.
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Wainwright, Edwin
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Roper, John Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Rose, Paul B. Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Murray, Ronald King Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Wallace, George
Oakes, Gordon Rowlands, Ted Watkins, David
Ogden, Eric Sandelson, Neville Weitzman, David
O'Halloran, Michael Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
O'Malley, Brian Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Oram, Bert Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Whitehead, Phillip
Orbach, Maurice Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Whitlock, William
Orme, Stanley Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Oswald, Thomas Sillars, James Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Silverman, Julius Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Padley, Walter Skinner, Dennis Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Paget, R. T. Small, William Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Palmer, Arthur Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Woof, Robert
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Spearing, Nigel TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Parker, John (Dagenham) Spriggs, Leslie Mr. James Hamilton and
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Stallard, A. W. Mr. Joseph Harper.
Pavitt, Laurie Steel, David

Question accordingly agreed to.

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