HC Deb 07 June 1972 vol 838 cc454-95


3.38 p.m.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown (Glasgow, Provan)

I beg to move Amendment No. 104, in page 29, line 2, leave out 'January' and insert 'October'.

Mr. Speaker

With this Amendment it will be convenient to discuss Amendment No. 105, in page 29, line 4, leave out 'January' and insert 'October'

Mr. Brown

I am sure every one of us will feel sympathy for those involved in the disaster in Rhodesia. Perhaps this is parochial nationalism because we have enough disasters to contend with with the Government in Scotland.

An Amendment similar to this Amendment, but not identical, was moved in Committee. I wish to obtain from the Minister some up-to-date figures of the number of houses that are involved. There seems to be some doubt about this. The generally accepted figure was that there were still 100,000 houses subject to possible decontrol in Scotland of which we think 40,000 are in Glasgow. In Committee and during subsequent proceedings the Under-Secretary broke the figure down to show how it will be affected by the Clause. He said that it was roughly estimated that 30,000 houses would be involved in each of the three specified periods set out in subsection (2), but some of us have doubts about that.

I have some difficulty in dealing with the matter and I make no apology for exposing my lack of detailed knowledge because it is a most complicated subject. But I would have thought that following the phasing of decontrol under the 1969 Act there should now no longer be any houses which are not subject to decontrol. Perhaps I could explain that, because it is not too clear to me and I can understand if hon. Members who are as ignorant as I am on the subject do not understand my point.

Section 51 of the 1969 Act gave the phasings under which valuations of £45 or more would come under decontrol in January, 1971, those between £30 and £45 by July, 1971, and the remainder from 1st January, 1972. What I do not understand, and what my researches have not shown in detail, is why we are still discussing 100,000 houses. Whether or not action was taken under the 1969 Act, it could have been taken and can still be taken. If houses are below the rateable value laid down in that Act, they are eligible for decontrol in the sense that either the landlords or the tenants can seek fair rents. If I am right in that assumption and we are left, according to the Minister's figures, with 100,000 houses liable for decontrol on the basis of the three phasings in Clause 34(2), what does the Minister think will be the progress in getting to complete decontrol?

I presume that the figures in the Bill do little more than take into account the revaluations of properties in 1971; in other words, the £45 is increased to £50 as a result of the revaluation figures. But has the Minister any evidence that there have been substantial revaluations in the case of the 100,000 houses that we are discussing? In his calculations, what difference has revaluation made to the figure of 30,000 houses in each of the three categories? We suspect that the bulk will be in the third category and have the lowest rateable values, and those are houses which we insist do not merit a single penny on the rent because of the shocking state of most of them. We are entitled to some more information from the Minister than we were able to get in Committee.

I do not know whether revaluation will have any effect on future rent levels in the private sector. It has always been one of the main arguments that revaluations of council houses were based largely on rents and amenity groupings. It is surprising that a city assessor should ignore the amenity groupings worked out by the corporation. What effect will any change in valuation have on the three categories referred to by the Minister?

The Amendments do not affect the principle. All that we seek to do is to postpone the applicable date from 1st January to 1st October in the two years 1973 and 1974. They are modest and practical Amendments which will help smooth the administrative duties of rent officers. One of the major concessions to which the Minister has agreed is to reword the form issued by rent officers. Big deal! However, the hon. Gentleman will require the co-operation of rent officers since he will be adding to their burdens. I believe that the Amendments are modest, practical and sound, and I hope that the Minister will see fit to accept them.

3.45 p.m.

Mr. Edward Taylor

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Hugh D. Brown), described his Amendments as "modest, practical and sound". Those of us who know the hon. Gentleman will agree that that is a very practical description of himself. When he presents a case to the House, he always does it in a reasonable way. However, having heard his argument in support of these Amendments, I am still not clear why he wants to change the dates.

Why should we change January to October? Either the provision is a bad one or it is a good one. If there is to be a postponement, why should we have such a postponement? I cannot understand why. Very rightly, the hon. Gentleman referred to the provisions of the 1961 Act which is now consolidated in the 1971 Act. My understanding is the same as his—namely, that under the previous legislation every privately rented unfurnished house in Scotland which could obtain a qualification certificate could, under the existing legislation, be brought within the fair rent arrangements. It appears to me that if we postpone from January to October the date in line 2 of subsection (2) it will mean that the provisions of the existing legislation will apply, and, of course, regulation or decontrol can take place under that legislation. To that extent, I cannot see any merit in changing the date from January to October. We should simply continue the life of the existing legislation and postpone the coming into force of this Bill.

Can my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary tell me whether my assumption is correct that every single privately rented unfurnished house can be brought within the fair rent arrangements now in accordance with Section 77 of the 1971 Act, whether or not we have the proposed subsection and whether or not we have this Bill? My understanding is that Section 77 of the 1971 Act provides that all houses with rateable values of £45 or more could be brought within the fair rent system as from 1st January, 1971, that houses with valuations up to £45 but not less than £30 could be brought into regulation on 1st January, 1971, and that houses with valuations of less than £30 could be brought within the fair rent system on 1st January, 1972. That last date has passed. Therefore the effect of the Amendments would be to postpone nothing except for those houses for which qualification certificates could not be obtained.

This is a question of principle and not a question of time. I cannot see the argument for saying that we should have 1st October instead of 1st January. Therefore, my first question to my hon. Friend is: what would be the practical effect? Would it simply mean that the 1971 Act would continue to apply to these houses until the date specified in the Amendment?

My second question is to ask whether my hon. Friend believes that rent officers will be able to cope with the date which he proposes and which the hon. Member for Provan seeks to amend. It is alarming to hear, as we did in Committee, about the number of houses which may be affected by the new arrangements. When we talk about 30,000 or even 20,000 houses, do we believe that rent officers will be able to undertake the task on the due date? At present, rent officers are very busy people. In some cases they are run off their feet bringing in fair rents under the 1969 Act. Certainly this is so in Glasgow and elsewhere. Obviously there will be a considerable expansion of their work. If we are to have rent officers within seven days calling on every house where a notice is given to discuss the position with the tenant and advise him of his rights, will not that in itself mean that the work of rent officers will be substantially increased and, to that extent, that there may be difficulty in meeting the dates proposed?

My third question relates to the proposal made by the hon. Member for Provan that the relevant date in respect of houses with valuations of £50 and more should be October, 1973, and that that for houses with valuations between £25 and £50 it should be October, 1974. Presumably we are still left with the date of 1st January, 1975, for those with values of less than £25.

Mr. David Steel

The hon. Gentleman should look at the next Amendment.

Mr. Taylor

I have done so. It says that we should leave out "January" and insert "October" in line 4—

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is not trying to mislead the House. If he looks at Amendment No. 106 he will see that it is proposed to delete from the Bill altogether all houses with valuations below £25. The hon. Gentleman must not try to suggest that we are not worried about houses with valuations less than £25.

Mr. Taylor

I was about to come to that. Amendment No. 106 suggests that we should leave out from "£25"to the end of line 8. That would have the result of deleting all reference to houses of this sort. I am simply suggesting that if we are proposing to do the job in a period of one year from October to October, rent officers may be involved in substantial additional work. I am concerned to know whether they will be able to cope.

My next question has some relevance to the dates of January, 1973, and 1974. When will the rent allowance scheme come into force? We have had a number of assurances. However, if we are to agree to 1st January, 1973, and not to October, it is crucial that we should have a clear assurance not only that the rent allowance scheme will be operating on 1st January, 1973, but that tenants of private houses will have had full details of the scheme before then so that they are in a position to take advantage of it as from the date when the rent increases apply under the subsection.

The rent allowance scheme is very significant. Let us take, for example, a rent of £2.50, which is the kind of figure which has been discussed a great deal. Let us take the case of a married man who has two children and earns £20 a week. It appears from the tables with which we have been supplied, and which are subject to adjustment because of the increase in supplementary benefits, that the rent payable will be only £1.25. In other words, the man with two children earning £20 per week will have to pay only £1.25 on 1st January, 1973, instead of £2.50—

Mr. John Robertson (Paisley)

That is what many are paying now.

Mr. Taylor

I had that point in mind, but I did not want to rub it in too much. Under existing legislation, houses of this sort can have their rents increased to £2, £3, £4, £5, or even £6 a week, and there is no protection under a rent allowance scheme.

This was one of the major defects in the previous legislation which has to be put right. The hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) is right to draw attention to the fact that at present tenants on low incomes have no protection whatever, apart from the protection which they can obtain from supplementary benefits. To that extent, the rent allowance scheme is crucial to those tenants who will be affected by the subsection. I should like a clear assurance from my hon. Friend that if we accept the date of January as opposed to October, not only will the scheme be introduced as from 1st January but tenants will have the full details and an application form to send in so that it can become effective as from the date of the first stage of the rent increase.

The next thing I want to ask about deals with the date of 1st January, 1973. Can my hon. Friend say whether he believes that this target can be met, bearing in mind the increasing number of houses which are having their rents reviewed every three years in terms of the 1965 Act? We are talking about controlled houses which will be subject to fair rents. Those of us who have discussed these matters with rent officers are aware that a large part of their work is to do not with bringing houses out of control and into the fair rents system but with the three-yearly reviews of houses which have already been brought into the fair rents procedure. With most of these houses the initial work of the rent officers took place two, three or four years ago. Quite a substantial backlog has been built up and these houses will have to be inspected and their rents reviewed every three years. Can we have some idea whether this date might be affected by these reviews?

While I am always sympathetic to the arguments put forward by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan I cannot for the life of me see that there is any special case for fixing this date of October instead of January, because unless there is a practical problem—and I do not think that the hon. Gentleman has given any indication of one—it seems that no question of principle arises. I can see that there is an important question of principle about whether we should introduce into the fair rents system houses for which a qualification certificate cannot be granted, and we have discussed this in Committee. There is also an important point of principle about whether we should have a rent allowance scheme and whether houses which are controlled should be brought within fair rents.

Since I cannot see that there is any such question of principle raised by the hon. Gentleman, we have to consider whether there is a practical problem. From the information that I have been given, I cannot see that any practical problem would arise. On the other hand. we want to know whether there is any reason in practice why the date of 1st January cannot be met. Bearing in mind that 1st January, 1973, brings in all houses of £50 or more, we should like to know whether the revaluations have increased the numbers to such an extent that there will be more than is contained in the second section, namely those coming in on 1st January, 1974.

4.0 p.m.

Mr. Robert Hughes

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) has attempted in his usual fashion to pretend that many of the evils from which tenants suffer are the results of Labour Government legislation and that all kinds of inequities are being visited upon Scottish tenants. If rents in Scotland for private accommodation are so high and so many houses have been decontrolled since the 1969 Act, one wonders why the Government have found it necessary to introduce this Bill.

In Committee the Under-Secretary pointed out that one of the reasons why the Bill was so essential was that the average rent in private rented accommodation in Scotland was £16 per annum. He said this as reported in column 1880 of the OFFICIAL REPORT. Rents of less than £16 per annum are quite common and it is not necessary to be a mathematician of any repute to understand that the rents in some cases must be well below £16 to produce an average of £16. If the Minister was saying that landlords are so rapacious that they are pushing up rents and the Bill was needed to introduce the rent allowance scheme, there might be some sense in it, but for the hon. Member to say that it is all the Labour Party's fault just does not stand up to any logic.

Mr. Edward Taylor

The simple fact is that every single private rented house in Scotland, except for those that could not get a qualification certificate, could have its rent increased under the legislation enacted by the previous Government—and with no protection.

Mr. Hughes

The hon. Gentleman is well aware that the Francis Committee said that the best protection for private tenants in Scotland was the low level of council house rents, that as long as there was that low level landlords would find it impossible to get the rents they wanted. The Francis Committee said that the difficulty was that the rent officers and rent assessment committees were unable to let things go because of this built-in resistance to increased rents.

One big practical advantage of the Amendments is that perhaps by the time the dates for decontrol arrive the Government will have done some homework. It is astonishing that a Government should introduce a Bill of this kind and yet be unable to produce the figures for the number of houses within each category and the standard of such houses. We asked for that information in Committee and now that it has been given the figures are incredible. I have not read every word of HANSARD for yesterday and I was not in the Chamber for every minute of the debate, but I have not seen any correction of the figure of 215,000 houses below the tolerable level.

The Government have been in office for almost two years. It is longer than that since they were boasting about how they would push rents up. If they still do not know the basic housing facts then it is time they postponed their proposals to see what will happen. The Labour Government set up the Francis Committee to discover the effect of their legislation. This Government have done nothing to discover what will happen as a result to these proposals. We suspect the worst, and we suspect that houses with intolerable conditions will be subject to rent increases. Until the Government find out what sort of accommodation they are dealing with they ought not to proceed, and, if for that reason alone, I support the Amendments.

Mr. Michael Clark Hutchison (Edinburgh, South)

I share the view of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Hugh D. Brown) in finding a great deal of difficulty in understanding this Bill. I suspect that I am not the only person in that category.

Mr. John Brewis (Galloway)

I understand it perfectly.

Mr. Clark Hutchison

I should like to ask the Under-Secretary certain questions. It may be that postponement would be satisfactory, I do not know. I have not had any information from Edinburgh, but then I very seldom do get any information from that Corporation. I should be glad to know whether my hon. Friend has received any representations on the point.

In my constituency there are a number of people who own houses which have been controlled and the result has been that these people cannot afford to carry out repairs to these houses. I have had a few of them coming to me about this. As I understand it, the Bill will give them some chance to put these repairs in hand. If it does it is a good thing, because the houses may be sound enough. If they can be put into good order, so much the better.

If we accept this Amendment, it seems that we put back the opportunity that these people will have to make the improvements, and I cannot believe that that is a good idea. I see that if tenants of these houses are suddenly faced with rent increases they may be in some difficulty and I have great sympathy with them. Therefore I am anxious to know whether this rent allowance scheme will come into operation at the same time or earlier. This was the point my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) raised and it seems very important. If it comes in at the same time, in January, then it will be all right but if there is a difference in timing, I am not so sure about it.

Secondly, can my hon. Friend tell me whether there was anything in previous housing legislation such as this rent allowance scheme or is this a new proposal? I admit that I am not well up in housing, I find it extremely complicated. [Laughter.] At least I am quite honest about it. I should like to know whether this is a new proposal or whether such a scheme has been used in previous legislation. If not, was this a failure in the legislation introduced by the Labour Government?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is going rather wide of the Amendment.

Mr. Clark Hutchison

I have not spoken very much on the Bill. I will restrict myself to those matters. If my hon. Friend can answer the questions I have put, I shall be gratified.

Sir John Gilmour (Fife, East)

The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) drew the attention of the House to the figure of £16 annual rent which my hon. Friend gave in the Committee proceedings and thereby underlined what a great mistake it would be to accept these Amendments, particularly the second one, which would put back from 1st January, 1974, to 1st January, 1975, the time when the Measure would apply to houses with a value of between £50 and £25. It is surely in these houses above all others that we need to have the improvements done. This must be the area of housing where the greatest good could be done by bringing the Bill into force at the earliest moment.

The longer we delay in improving old houses the more difficult it is to make the improvements. For many years in Scotland we have suffered from a low level of rents which has not allowed the landlords to carry out the necessary repairs and improvements. We should make certain that we do not put the date back from 1974 to 1975 for houses between £50 and £25. Not so much harm would be done if we delayed it for houses of £50 or more but for the former category it would be the gravest mistake to accept the Amendment.

Mr. Patrick Wolrige-Gordon (Aberdeenshire, East)

There are three points involved in this Amendment: first, the number of houses involved; secondly, the load on rent officers at present; and, thirdly, the timing of the rent allowance scheme. I wholly support the principle and aim of the Bill in this respect, but it will involve difficulties for tenants of these particular houses. We want to be satisfied that they will not be adversely affected because of the undue pressure or difficulties involved in the implementation of the Clause.

The Under-Secretary of State for Development, Scottish Office (Mr. George Younger)

I suggest that the Opposition's proposal to delay the starting point for the decontrol of these two categories of houses from January to October each year should not be accepted as being to the benefit either of housing generally in Scotland or of the tenants who are living in these houses.

I will say a word or two about these Amendments and then try to answer as briefly as I can all the matters which have been raised by hon. Members.

Under Clause 34(2) the conversion of controlled tenancies into regulated tenancies will take place in three annual stages according to the rateable valuations of the properties. The earliest date is 1st January, 1973. That is the date applicable to a dwelling house which has the highest of these values; that is, a rateable value of £50 or more. 1st January, 1974, is the date applicable to a dwelling house which has a rateable value of less than £50 but not less than £25. 1st January, 1975, is the date applicable to a dwelling house which has a rateable value of less than £25. We will discuss that aspect on a later Amendment.

The effect of these two Amendments would be to postpone the first two stages of this conversion for 10 months from January to October in the years in question. I should make it clear that the situation brought about by rent control over the many years it has existed is inconsistent with the requirements of logic, justice and good housing.

Mr. John Robertson

Will the Under-secretary accept that most of the houses in these categories were never in any sense good houses, that they were always slums, and should be put out of existence right away?

Mr. Younger

I appreciate the feelings of the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) on this matter. These houses were fairly old by the time I had a chance to see them. That is another argument, to which I shall come later and which we covered in quite considerable detail yesterday; namely, whether it is just for a fair rent to be assessed for a house which is not of a high standard provided that fair rent reflects the standard of the house.

Mr. Robertson

There is no such thing as a fair rent.

Mr. Younger

I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman, although I respect his point of view, that there is no such thing as a fair rent. Neither I nor the hon. Gentleman's right hon. Friends who formed the Government which introduced the fair rent system believed that there was no such thing.

Rent control is, in effect, an obligation on certain persons to provide housing accommodation and to maintain it to the best of their ability for others in an area and age of steadily rising costs, and to maintain it with a financial return which is at least 15 years out of date. That arises because controlled rents have remained absolutely fixed since 1957. This obligation takes no account of the means of the owner of the property, nor of the occupant of the property. It obliges the owner, whoever he or she may be, to try to maintain the house on an average income of less than £16 a year or approximately 30p a week.

I ask every hon. Member, however strongly he may feel about housing matters, to think how he would get on trying to maintain his own house—those who have their own houses, which is probably most hon. Members—on a total budget of £16 a year.

Mr. Frank McElhone (Glasgow, Gorbals)

The Under-Secretary is displaying a great lack of knowledge in this matter. I re-emphasise a point that I made yesterday. Most of the flats the Under-Secretary is talking about are tenemental properties. Anyone who represents areas like that knows that on average 50 per cent. of flats within these properties have been sold for more than the value of the whole property. In my opinion, there is no likelihood of any property owner spending any of that gross profit on any of these substandard houses. The Under-Secretary knows that.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Younger

That may or may not be the case. I have no doubt that in some instances, which the hon. Gentleman from his knowledge could probably cite, that may be so. I am referring to a house under rent control and, therefore, not able to be sold which is nevertheless expected to be kept in good repair on a total budget of £16 a year.

I accept the point made in Committee that many of these houses—

Mr. Robertson

Most of them.

Mr. Younger

—possibly most of them—are in tenement blocks. Therefore, if an expensive roof repair is necessary it may be that it will be shared between a number of different properties and that the repair would not have to be carried out within a £16 budget. However, that does not alter the fact that, if hon. Members search their own records of the simplest repairs to their own houses—to a window sash, a drainpipe or a leaking pipe—they will find that any one of those items of repair will cost nearly £16? There is no point in pretending anything but the truth. To expect a house to be kept in repair for that amount of money is not on unless the person doing so is prepared to subsidise it.

Mr. Robertson

I know that we are probably giving the Under-Secretary more ammunition, but does he not realise that when it comes to repairing a cluggie, or the common toilet, serving about 12 households, it may be that the house is not worth repairing. When it comes to the "jam-box" or the facilities at the window of a living room-cum-bedroom-cum-every other room, it may be that the property is not worth saving. People are still paying rent for these properties. As the money that was spent in building them has long since been recovered, it may be that the best thing is to knock them down and not to talk in this fashion about saving them. This kind of housing is not worth saving.

Mr. Younger

The hon. Gentleman makes an eloquent and correct description of the results of years and years of rent control. It may be that some of the houses which he is probably accurately describing as now not worth maintaining would have been worth maintaining if this provision had been made for them 20 years ago. They would now have been providing, instead of shaky and undesirable accommodation, good accommodation because they would have been kept in good repair.

I respect the views of hon. Members who feel strongly that the only thing that matters is the rent that the occupant pays. They may feel that keeping property in good condition should be the responsibility of someone else. My point is that unless we are to see more of these houses falling into the sort of state the hon. Member for Paisley has described we must do something about it. It would be a cowardly Government that shirked taking action, all too late, to ensure that some of these houses are saved from falling into the state that others have fallen into through previous Governments not having had the courage to do this.

I do not want to be ungenerous to the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) and his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), because they had the courage to start this process by introducing the fair rents system. I respect them for doing that, because it must have been difficult for them. They introduced it—rightly—and we are trying to extend it to more properties, which perhaps they did not have time to do while they were in office. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman never thought that he would hear me say that, but I assure him, that I mean it, and I know that he will accept it that way.

Mr. Peter Doig (Dundee, West)

The hon. Gentleman has repeated what he said in Committee; namely, that it is impossible to keep houses in repair for £16 a year. Can the hon. Gentleman tell us how much local authorities spend on the repair of their houses?

Mr. Younger

I could not give the hon. Gentleman a detailed explanation without notice.

Mr. Doig

An approximate figure will do.

Mr. Younger

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the figure for the cost of repairs to local authority houses, but repairs are carried out, and under the Bill for the first time they will be partly subsidised through the housing expenditure subsidy, which will be a valuable help.

Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)

For the sake of accuracy, and in order to help my hon. Friends, I think that we have to be reasonable and honest when we are debating this matter. When I was a member of the Stirlingshire County Council, our experience was that it would have been much more beneficial to the ratepayers of the county, because of these excessive costs of repairs, to have given the houses away free to the sitting tenants. By so doing we would have been able to reduce the rates There is a problem here which has to be solved. Whether the method that has been suggested is correct is a matter for debate, discussion and decision, but the hon. Gentleman is correct in what he has said.

Mr. Younger

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his opinion. He has had a lot of experience in these matters, in both private and local authority tenancies. Although it is sometimes uncomfortable to face the truth, we must face it, and any Government with any sense of responsibility must do so. I had hoped that on this issue we would have had a little more support than we have had from hon. Gentlemen opposite.

The other problem, which is much more difficult for us to face, is that in many cases we have been relying on the landlord to subsidise the repair of these properties. I have no doubt that that is acceptable when the landlord is a big company or somebody with plenty of money. But there are many small landlords who own one or two small properties which they would very much rather not own. It is not fair to expect them to subsidise the repair of houses. We must try to solve that problem and put right the anomalies of the past.

Mr. Robertson

I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman knows anything about the property racket in Scotland. Many of these houses never were satisfactory. Even when they were brand new they were sub-standard. Does the hon. Gentle- man know that some property companies are demanding a deposit of £16 against the possibility of somebody absconding and not paying his electricity bill? Does the hon. Gentleman know about the level of rents which they are demanding, or about the threats which they are making? Is the hon. Gentleman with it? When I hear him speaking from that Dispatch Box, I wonder whether he spends any time in Scotland, apart from in houses costing £20,000 or more. Has he no knowledge of the horrible places in which people live, for which they are asked to pay £16 a year? The figure is far too high.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are not in Committee now. This is the Report stage.

Mr. Younger

If the hon. Gentleman is right, and £16 a year is far too high, that is precisely what the rent officers are for. They will, and do, fix fair rents which are below the existing figure where the condition of the property demands it. I have a number of examples which I could have given last night. I threatened to list them but, in the interests of time, I did not do so. I must press on with my speech, because I have given way a number of times.

Both justice and the need to preserve the housing stock require a change as soon as possible in the present unsatisfactory position. Nevertheless, the needs of both practicality and of the tenant's interest must be, and are, provided for in the Bill as it stands. Provision is made for the conversion to take place by stages, starting on 1st January, 1973. This date was chosen with the tenant's interests in mind—and this deals with the point made by my hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) and Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison)—because this is the date on which the rent allowance scheme will come into effect. We do not think that it would have been right to have brought in this new Measure without a rent allowance scheme to protect those tenants of lesser means from the effects of the higher rents which some of them will have to pay. It weighs a little heavily on the conscience of hon. Gentlemen opposite that they introduced a fair rents scheme without thinking of people on lower incomes. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Greenock did not decontrol these houses.

Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)


Mr. Younger

But the hon. Member did decontrol some houses, and he introduced a fair rents system. He was right to do that, but, with respect to him, he was wrong to do it without introducing a rent allowance system to protect those on lower incomes who could not afford the fair rents placed on them. It redounds to the credit of the Government that they have brought in rent allowances for these people for the first time. I think that we are entitled to blow our own trumpet and say that that is a great advance which many people will welcome and benefit from.

The Bill includes a further protection for tenants whose tenancies will be converted under Clause 34. The phasing provided for by Clause 36 and Schedule 6 ensures that those tenants who do not qualify for a rent allowance, as well as those who do, will have any increases in rent phased over two years, long enough for them to adjust their personal spending.

Mr. Edward Taylor

On the question of rent allowances, my hon. Friend has given an assurance that the new scheme will come in on 1st January, 1973. It would help if he could say that details of the scheme will be published, and perhaps application forms issued, so that tenants will be able to apply for an allowance on the date on which the rent increases apply. May I ask my hon. Friend for an assurance that details of the scheme will be circulated some weeks before the date of its coming into operation?

Mr. Younger

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for raising that matter. I shall, in a moment, come to the question of giving information about the scheme.

The hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) asked how much local authorities spend on repairs to their property. I have some very round figures which I hope will be of interest to the House. Total repair and management expenditure per house—this is the Scottish average of these figures—in 1970–71 was £34 per house. In the previous year, 1969–70, it was £28 per house. The only point I make is that those figures are very much more than the £16 per house to which I referred a few moments ago.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart asked whether rent officers would be able to cope with the additional work imposed on them, and this matter was referred to yesterday. I assure my hon. Friend that I am satisfied that rent officers will be able to cope with the extra work. There are the equivalent of 23 full-time rent officers in Scotland, and we are proposing to appoint a further 30 before the end of the year. I think that that number will be adequate to cope with any extra work involved.

The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) asked two questions. He asked, first, about the figure given by my right hon. Friend yesterday of 215,000 houses below the tolerable standard. The hon. Gentleman said that he was doubtful about that figure. I can confirm that my right hon. Friend, as I would expect, was absolutely correct. That is the best estimate that can be made of houses of all types—private, owner-occupied and council.

Mr. Robert Hughes

The question was related not to the figure of 215,000 but to whether it referred to all types of houses and not just rented accommodation.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Younger

I thought that my right hon. Friend had made that plain, but I am glad to repeat it.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart asked whether it would have been possible for all the houses mentioned in this Clause to have fair rents assessed under the qualification certificate procedure. This is correct. It would have been and still is possible for them to be transferred if the issue of a qualification certificate can be given. After the passing of this Bill, it will still be possible for houses which are in the second or third category and, therefore, not due to come into decontrol for a year or two to be brought in earlier, provided that a qualification certificate is issued and approved at the time of application.

I was also asked about the figures for each of these categories which will be decontrolled under the Bill. I confirm that we calculate that there are about 100,000 houses involved, about 30,000 in each of the three categories mentioned in the Clause. I hope that that will now be accepted as the best estimate we can make in an area in which the obtaining of information is difficult. I mentioned this in Committee, reported in c. 1878 on 25th April, 1972.

As to the source of this information, the hon. Member for Greenock will remember that at the end of 1969 local authorities were asked in a circular to report their assessment of the problem and the lines of their plan of action. Up to date, 162 authorities have given information in one form or another, giving a total of about 215,000 houses below the tolerable standard. Most of the authorities which have not submitted specific estimates are small burghs, and it is estimated that, when allowance is made for them and for the number which may have been dealt with since 1969, the total number of houses is probably still about 215,000.

I can confirm that tenants will be given information about the Bill before 1st January, 1973. The Department will be publishing explanatory leaflets which will be obtainable free from rent officers and local authority offices and will be available as soon as possible after the Bill is enacted. The contents cannot, of course, be finalised until the Bill is in its final form, and a little time will be needed for printing, but they will be available well before the end of the year and well before 1st January, 1973, when the rent allowance system should apply.

Similarly, local authorities will publicise their rent allowance schemes under Clause 19, and my right hon. Friend hopes to make the necessary direction order under that Clause soon after the Bill is enacted. Landlords will be obliged under Clause 20 to inform tenants of their rights in the matter.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart asked about the practical effect of these Amendments. They would simply postpone the dates on which controlled tenancies would be converted into regulated tenancies under Clause 34, and it would remain possible for a controlled tenancy to be converted earlier on the date of the issue of a qualification certificate under the 1969 Act, as consolidated into the 1971 Act.

I believe that the acceptance of these two Amendments would fly directly in the face of all the needs of housing in Scotland and tenants in Scotland. Although it would postpone the qualification of fair rents by ten months for these categories, it would certainly not be in the long-term interests of those tenants or of getting better housing by arresting the decline and decay of so many of our houses in and around the cities.

It would have been far easier for the Goverment not to attempt to do anything about this problem. We could have left it to drift on, as our predecessors have done for years. But we have not done that. We have deliberately taken a step which is long overdue, to try to put right this long-term scandal, which has been the failure of ourselves and our predecessors in previous years to face this dreadful problem and instead to let houses decay in the streets before our very eyes, while still allowing people to live in them. This is something of which we should be thoroughly ashamed, and I am glad that this Government have had the guts to face up to it.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne (South Angus)

I am delighted to support my hon. Friend's arguments against these Amendments. We hear a great deal from hon. Members opposite about the machinations of the property company. Some of us, certainly in my part of Scotland, see something of the effect that years and years of controlled tenancy rents have had on individual private landlords. These are not large property companies. I am thinking of people who have been to see me and on whose behalf I wrote time and again to the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) when he was responsible for these matters, to call attention to the crying injustice that was being done to these people.

They are often elderly retired people with a pension to live on, who hoped when they invested their savings in them many years ago that there would be some return from one, two or three individual properties.

In one case, details of which I sent to the hon. Member for Greenock, an elderly lady had a property of three rooms built in 1938. This is not the sort of derelict and collapsed slum tenement to which the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) was referring. This lady re- ceives for that a rent of £25 a year. On that she is expected to maintain the property in proper repair. As my hon. Friend demonstrated, she cannot possibly do it. This is substantially less than the average sum spent by a local authority on maintaining each of its houses.

In another rather instructive case, on one side of a stair is a flat let at a furnished rent of £4 a week while on the other side is a controlled tenancy—an exactly similar property—at a rent of £16 a year. The owner of the second flat was an elderly pensioner who was expected to maintain the property.

If we accepted the Amendments, we should be postponing yet further the operation of fair rents for this type of property, which in many cases will not move on to the fair rents system anyway until January, 1976, or January, 1977, because of the application of Schedule 6.

The refusal of hon. Gentlemen opposite to face facts is in large measure the reason for the amount of derelict property we have in Scotland today. It has been made impossible for this property to be maintained adequately, and with every week that passes more and more of it is going beyond the point of recovery. Landlords simply cannot afford to maintain it at the controlled rents they are receiving. The Amendment would prolong this state of affairs and put many more houses beyond the point of no return.

With the extension of the rent rebate scheme, coming into operation at the same time as the second part of subsection (2), we are ensuring that adequate protection is given against hardship. This is happening not before time. We have a chance of saving many of these houses because landlords will be able to maintain them adequately. I therefore strongly support the Minister in resisting the Amendment.

Mr. Ian MacArthur (Perth and East Perthshire)

The Minister mentioned two figures of considerable significance. If there were any argument in favour of the Amendment, it would be that delay is necessary, but the Bill was first published in November of last year. Considerable time has elapsed for people to become aware of what is proposed. There must be time for rent officers to take the action that will be necessary to meet the requirements of the legislation.

In this connection, I was relieved to hear the Minister say that the number of rent officers will be considerably increased from 23 to 53. May we be told how the additional officers will be recruited, what experience they will have had in the housing sphere and what training they will be given before being called on to carry out their new duties?

The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes), referring I think to the Francis Committee, claimed that a low level of council house rents in Scotland was the best protection for tenants of private property. Protection of what kind? I assume he means protection by the establishment of some sort of rent norm which, if low, will help to keep the rents of private property similarly low.

That argument does not stand examination. The average rent of private property in Scotland in 1971 was £16 a year, compared with an average of £79 in the public sector, showing a very large gap indeed. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have been so consistently and irresponsibly opposed to the Bill and its purpose from the beginning that they are now posing as the protectors of tenants in Scotland.

4.45 p.m.

I assume that hon. Gentlemen opposite have forgotten their record, and this brings me back to the average private rent figure of £16. During the time that the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) was in charge of Scotland's affairs, rents doubled. Either he or his then Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon), claimed that as a result of their prices and incomes policy they had somehow kept rents at an even level. In fact, during the years when Labour's prices and incomes policy applied—1967, 1968, and 1969—average rents in Scotland went up by 52 per cent. That happened between 1967 and 1970.

The £16 rent is interesting in that in the two years between 1967 and 1969 average local authority rents in Scotland went up from £48 in 1967 to £64 in 1969 and £74 and more in 1970. Let us therefore have no more nonsense about hon. Gentlemen opposite protecting tenants. They allowed rents to double, and it is wrong for them to pose now as the protectors of the people. By their policies, thousands of people in Scotland have been condemned to live in decrepit property, simply because of the hatred of hon. Gentlemen opposite of any kind of private ownership.

Mr. Harry Ewing (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that he should have made the speech which he is now making before the municipal elections?

Mr. MacArthur

I see at what the hon. Gentleman is aiming. Before the municipal elections I was warning electors about the misrepresentations which they would be hearing about this legislation from hon. Gentlemen opposite, and how right I was to issue that warning. Indeed, the Labour Party was circulating leaflets in Perth saying that rents would be doubled. That statement was false. The only time when rents were doubled was when Labour Members were in power.

It is clear that something must be done to help people living in decaying property. I agree with the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) that many Scottish houses are a disgrace, primarily because of the absurdly low rent levels which have existed for many years. How can landlords begin to keep their houses in good repair on a return of only £16 a year?

The second significant figure to which the Minister referred was the cost of repairing local authority houses in Scotland. If that cost were £34 last year, and private landlords are receiving on average rents of only £16 a year, how can private property be kept in decent repair? The vast bulk of the local authority houses to which the Minister was referring are much more modern than the bulk of private property in Scotland, which naturally needs more money spending on it.

The position is nosensical and hon. Gentlemen opposite had the courage, when they were in office, to begin the process of having reasonable rents. They should be reminded of that. We are simply extending that process, in my view wisely.

I agree with the hon. Member for Paisley that there are many horrible properties in Scotland. The standard of much of our housing is a disgrace to the nation, and this points to the fact that the present housing system, the whole structure of subsidies and the approach of successive Governments to rents have been wrong.

If we are interested in achieving adequate standards in Scotland, the system must be changed and direct help given where it is needed. For the first time ever, rent allowances will be provided to help tenants of private proper-

ties who will face rent increases and who will have to accept them if they are to live in the decent housing conditions we all want to see in Scotland.

Question put, That the Amendment be made: —

The House divided: Ayes 235, Noes 255.

Division No. 206.] AYES [4.50 p.m.
Abse, Leo Fletcher, Raymond Ilkeston) McGuire, Michael
Albu, Austen Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mackenzie, Gregor
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Foley, Maurice Mackie, John
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Foot, Michael Mackintosh, John P.
Armstrong, Ernest Ford, Ben Maclennan, Robert
Ashley, Jack Forrester, John Mcmillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Ashton, Joe Fraser, John (Norwood) Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Atkinson, Norman Freeson, Reginald Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Barnes, Michael Galpern, Sir Myer Marks, Kenneth
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Gilbert, Dr. John Marsden, F.
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Baxter, William Gourlay, Harry Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Grant, George (Morpeth) Mayhew, Christopher
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Meacher, Michael
Bidwell, Sydney Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Bishop, E S. Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mendelson, John
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mikardo, Ian
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hamling, William Millan, Bruce
Booth, Albert Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Broughton, Sir Alfred Hardy, Peter Milne, Edward
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Harper, Joseph Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Harrison. Walter (Wakefield) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hart, Rt Hn. Judith Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Buchan, Norman Hattersley, Roy Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Heffer, Eric S. Murray, Ronald King
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hooson, Emlyn Oakes, Gordon
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Horam, John Ogden, Eric
Cant, R. B. Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas O'Halloran, Michael
Carmichael, Neil Howell. Denis (Small Heath) O'Malley, Brian
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hughes, Rt. Hn.Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oram, Bert
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Oswald, Thomas
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Owen, Dt. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Padley, Walter
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Hunter, Adam Palmer, Arthur
Cohen, Stanley Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Pardoe, John
Concannon, J. D. Janner, Greville Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Conlan, Bernard Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Pavitt, Laurie
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jeger, Mrs. Lena Pentland, Norman
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Perry, Ernest G.
Crawshaw, Richard Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Cronin, John John, Brynmor Prescott, John
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jones, Dan (Burnley) Price, William (Rugby)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Probert, Arthur
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Jones Gwynoro Carmarthen) Rankin, John
Dalyell, Tam Jones, T Alec (Rhondda, W) Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Kaufman, Gerald Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Davies. Ifor (Gower) Kelley Richard Rhodes, Geoffrey
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Kinnock, Neil Richard, Ivor
Deakins, Eric Lambie, David Roberts Albert (Normanton)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Lamborn, Harry Roberts, Rt. Hn Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Dempsey, James Lamond, James Robertson, John (Paisley)
Doig, Peter Latham Arthur Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Dormand, J. D. Latham George Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Roper, John
Driberg, Tom Leonard, Dick Rose, Paul B.
Dunn, James A. Lestor, Miss Joan Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Eadie, Alex Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Rowlands, Ted
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Sandelson, Neville
Edward, William (Merioneth) Lipton, Marcus Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Ellis, Tom Loughlin, Charles Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
English. Michael Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Evans, Fred Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Ewing, Harry McBride, Neil Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Faulds, Andrew McCartney, Hugh Silverman, Julius
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McElhone, Frank
Skinner, Dennis Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.) Whitehead, Phillip
Smith, John (Lanarkshire,N.) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy Whitlock, William
Spearing, Nigel Tinn, James Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Spriggs, Leslie Torney, Tom Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Steel, David Urwin, T. W. Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Stoddart, David (Swindon) Varley, Eric G. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John Wainwright, Edwin Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Strang, Gavin Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Summerskill, Hn. Dry Shirley Wallace, George Woof, Robert
Swain, Thomas Weitzman, David
Taverne, Dick Wellbeloved, James TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff,W.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Mr. James Hamilton and Mr. Tom Pendry.
Thomas. Jeffrey (Abertillery) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Fell, Anthony Le Marchant, Spencer
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Fidler, Michael Longden, Sir Gilbert
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Loveridge, John
Astor, John Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Luce, R. N.
Atkins, Humphrey Fookes, Miss Janet McAdden, Sir Stephen
Awdry, Daniel Fortescue, Tim MacArthur, Ian
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Fowler, Norman McCrindle, R. A.
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Fox, Marcus McLaren, Martin
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fry, Peter Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Batsford, Brian Galbraith, Hn. I. G. McMaster, Stanley
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Gardner, Edward McNair-Wilson, Michael
Bell, Ronald Gibson-Watt, David McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Maddan, Martin
Benyon, W. Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Madel, David
Berry, Hn. Anthony Goodhart, Philip Marten, Neil
Biffen, John Gorst, John Mather, Carol
Biggs-Davison, John Gower, Raymond Maude, Angus
Blaker, Peter Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Mawby, Ray
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Green, Alan Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Body, Richard Grylls, Michael Meyer, Sir Anthony
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Gummer, J. Selwyn Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Bossom, Sir Clive Gurden, Harold Miscampbell, Norman
Bowden, Andrew Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W)
Braine, Sir Bernard Hall, John (Wycombe) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Bray, Ronald Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Moate, Roger
Brewis, John Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Molyneaux, James
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hannam, John (Exeter) Money, Ernle
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Harrison Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Monks, Mrs. Connie
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Haselhurst, Alan Monro, Hector
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Havers, Michael Montgomery, Fergus
Bryan, Sir Paul Hawkins, Paul More, Jasper
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N&M) Hayhoe, Barney Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Buck, Antony Hicks, Robert Morrison, Charles
Bullus, Sir Eric Higgins, Terence L. Mudd, David
Burden, F. A. Hiley, Joseph Murton, Oscar
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Holland, Philip Neave, Airey
Chapman, Sydney Holt, Miss Mary Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Hordern, Peter Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Chichester-Clark, R Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Normanton, Tom
Churchill, W. S. Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Nott, John
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Howell, David (Guildford) Onslow, Cranley
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Clegg, Walter Hunt, John Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Cockeram, Eric Hutchison, Michael Clark Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Cooke, Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Parkinson, Cecil
Coombs, Derek James, David Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Cooper, A. E. Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Cordle, John Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pink, R. Bonner
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Jessel, Toby Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Cormack, Patrick Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Costain, A. P. Jopling, Michael Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Crouch, David Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Proudfoot, Wilfred
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Kaberry, Sir Donald Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Quennell, Miss J. M.
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Kershaw, Anthony Raison, Timothy
Dixon, Piers Kilfedder, James Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Drayson, G. B. King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Redmond, Robert
du Cann. Rt. Hn. Edward King, Tom (Bridgwater) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Dykes, Hugh Kinsey, J. R. Rees, Peter (Dover)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Knight, Mrs. Jill Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Knox, David Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Lamont, Norman Ridsdale, Julian
Emery, Peter Lane, David Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Eyre, Reginald Langford-Holt, Sir John Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Farr, John Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Rost, Peter
Russell, Sir Ronald Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
St. John-Stevas, Norman Sutcliffe, John Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Scott, Nicholas Tapsell, Peter Ward, Dame Irene
Sharples, Richard Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart) Warren, Kenneth
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Weatherill, Bernard
Shelton, William (Clapham) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Simeons, Charles Tebbit, Norman White, Roger (Gravesend)
Sinclair, Sir George Temple, John M. Wiggin, Jerry
Skeet. T. H. H. Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Wilkinson, John
Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Winterton, Nicholas
Soref, Harold Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Speed, Keith Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Spence, John Tilney, John Worsley, Marcus
Sproat, Iain Trew, Peter Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Stainton, Keith Tugendhat, Christopher Younger, Hn. George
Stanbrook, Ivor Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) van Straubenzee, W. R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard Mr. Victor Goodhew and
Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Waddington, David Mr. Hamish Gray..
Stokes, John

Question accordingly negatived.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

I beg to move Amendment No. 106, in page 29, line 6, leave out from '£25'to end of line 8.

As we know, we are working under a guillotine. The debate on the previous Amendment took 70 minutes, 62 of which were occupied by the Government, including 26 minutes by the Minister, and eight of which were occupied by the Opposition. As a member of the Business Committee, I can only regard that as a complete breach of the understanding we had about fair play in business time and in the allocation of time.

This Amendment, with two others and many Amendments proposed by the Government of which we were not aware at the time we allocated business time by agreement, has to be covered rapidly. On behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends I protest about the behaviour of the Government and the Minister in this matter so far. It is dishonourable and disgraceful. If I ever serve again on a Business Committee with the Minister I shall not accept his word about fair play. It was an absolute disgrace to take 26 minutes to reply to the Amendment Much of it could have been kept to some other time.

I hope that we shall not have more evasions and filibustering of this nature. I make no reflection upon you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in relation to this Amendment, which is quite specific and definite. It relates to a matter which we discussed yesterday and on which we were promised figures. Despite the 26-minute speech, we have no more figures than we had yesterday. I was solemnly promised, as was my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes), that we would have the figures for this category of house. I asked the Secretary of State: How many houses are below the tolerable standard among the 100,000 houses which are still in control?"— that is to say, in the Clause with which we are dealing. The Secretary of State said: I am afraid that I have not that figure to hand. I shall attempt to get it for the hon. Gentleman during the course of the debate."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th June, 1972; Vol 838, c. 261.] All of us who were present yesterday know that we did not get the figures, either at the end of the debate or at the end of yesterday's proceedings.

This Amendment could not be more specific. It talks about 30,000 houses at £25 or below on the valuation roll. No one in Scotland can think of houses of this kind and not recognise that they are among the most inferior dwellings we have. They are at £25 valuation not in English terms of 1963 but in Scottish terms of 1971. Many of them have no inside toilet. Many families in them share a common toilet. Many of them are without bath or hot water supply. Indeed, many of the houses are in a disgraceful state of disrepair. I will not go into the reasons for that, but I am simply saying that this category of house which the Secretary of State is putting into rent regulation—for example, at higher rents, because their rents could hardly be lower—are all low grade houses.

We have heard speeches from the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) and the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur)—I did not begrudge their speeches—telling us of the low grade of these houses. It is obvious why they are so low grade. They are poor properties. They do not command a proper rent. In fact, many of them should be taken out of housing accommodation almost at once. I am certain that under the Public Health Acts a large number could be so represented in the sheriffs' courts and taken out of accommodation at once as being unfit within the law for human habitation.

Yet the Government insist that these houses be put back into rent regulation and allowed higher rents. It is intolerable. The rents of houses which have come out of control have been raised enormously. In a curious perversion of argument yesterday, the right hon. Gentleman said that as others living in houses of this character, with outside toilets and no modern facilities had had their rents raised higher than was reasonable, as he claimed, under past Acts, it would be wrong for us not to allow these other houses to take the same place. He was arguing a case of equality of misery. He argues that since some houses were unlucky enough to have been decontrolled by the 1957 Act and brought back into regulation by the 1965 Act, everyone must suffer the same. That is the logic of his argument. He said that this was what the Francis Committee had told him. He must know that when a committee recommends something to a Minister it does not mean that he has to do what it says. As Minister, he should weigh the pros and cons, taking into account the work of the committee, and decide whether it was right or wrong.

The right hon. Gentleman hides behind the Francis Committee on every issue. He said that the Francis Committee recommended that all houses must come out of control into regulation. He says that even this miserable section of houses must conform to that diktat. I suggest that there is no basis in social justice for doing so. Yesterday the right hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest that it would be a good thing if these houses were improved. He said that by the time this provision came into being in 1975 they would be so improved. That is nonsense. Anyone who is acquainted with these houses knows the physical problems of converting them into reasonable accommodation. It means in many cases changing a 12-apartmenit tenement into an eight-apartment tenement, con- verting the middle flat into a bathroom and so on. Physically, it is extremely difficult and expensive so to do.

Some of these houses are not worth saving or converting. They might as well be torn down. The time to take these houses into rent regulation is when they have been improved. At that stage one can discuss a reasonable rent. But, of course, many will not be improved. Many will be torn down, and it follows that they should not have higher rents imposed in the interval between now and when they are torn down.

The right hon. Gentleman makes great play of the slum clearance subsidy and what he is doing about clearing the slums of Scotland. These houses are the slums of Scotland, although of course there may be others in other categories. But these are slums. It is monstrous that in a Bill of this nature, which seeks to deal with slums, we should be regarding these houses as being fit for the rent regulation system.

I am not seduced by the argument that under the device of the Bill rents are bound to go lower. In the first place, these houses are at very low rent now. I can hardly believe that under the present appreciations carried out by rent officers and rent assessment committees their rents will not rise. Even if the figures of analysis given by the right hon. Gentleman yesterday were right, and one-third dropped in rent, one-third remained the same and one-third rose in rent, it would still be intolerable to increase rents on the 10,000. It would be outrageous to ask anyone in these houses to pay higher rents.

I cannot understand any hon. Member opposite being party to this operation. The Bill unamended must, in remorselessly putting these houses into rent regulation, raise their rents. I earnestly put it to the Under-Secretary of State that he should either accept the Amendment or at least say that he will think about this matter further and seek to amend the provision in another place when he has had time to reflect.

There is also the question of the Government's figures. This Bill has had the longest ever Committee stage of any major piece of legislation in a Scottish Standing Committee. Despite that and the guillotine, the Bill has been distinguished by a lamentable lack of information from Ministers on the social fabric of Scotland. The Amendment crystallises the nub of the problem, which is our curse of bad housing. I plead with the Government to realise that mine is not an outrageous request. It is sensible, and in all logic should be granted. I earnestly hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept it.

Mr. Younger

I must say how strongly I disagree with the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) in his taking unto himself the right to declare the time we will take on individual debates in this House. After the long hours we spent listening to the repetitive arguments of the Opposition on Amendment after Amendment after Amendment in the longest Committee stage ever on a Scottish Bill, it is a bit hard to hear him, on one of his own Amendments, objecting to our discussing the very important issues which were raised on the last Amendment. No one affected by the Bill in Scotland will resent the time we are spending on it. It is extremely unfortunate that the hon. Gentleman should presume to declare which debates are to take time and which are not. We rightly took time on the last debate, which was on a very important subject deserving proper discussion.

The hon. Gentleman's usual accuracy has vanished. He criticised my right hon. Friend for not having given him an answer to his question yesterday. The hon. Gentleman said yesterday: The right hon. Gentleman referred to 30,000 houses being below the £25 valuation. But how many houses are below the tolerable standard among the 100,000 houses which are still in control? My right hon. Friend replied: I am afraid that I have not that figure to hand. I shall attempt to get it for the hon. Gentleman during the course of the debate. The hon. Gentleman has complained that he did not get that information. He has not looked very far in HANSARD. If he had done so, he would have seen on the very next page that my right hon. Friend later said: Perhaps I might take this opportunity to answer the question raised by the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon). We do not know exactly the number of houses. There are 215,000 houses under the tolerable standard, but it is not known what proportion of them are under controlled tenancies. It could be a large number. It is a bit hard, therefore, to hear the hon. Gentleman complaining that my right hon. Friend did not answer. My right hon. Friend did answer.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Will the hon. Gentleman read further on? I then asked the right hon. Gentleman: Never mind the 215,000 anywhere else. Will he concentrate on the 100,000 that we are discussing in this debate?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th June, 1972; Vol. 838, c. 261 and 262.] At the moment, we are discussing 30,000 houses below £25 valuation. Can we have an answer to that one?

Mr. Younger

The answer has been given.

Dr. Mabon

It has not.

Mr. Younger

The hon. Gentleman may not like the answer but it has been given. It is that we do not know precisely what proportion of the 100,000—or, for that matter, of the 30,000—are below the tolerable standard. I said earlier that it could be a considerable number. But we do not have the information, nor did the hon. Gentleman when he was Minister because it is information which has not been and is not available.

I want to be as brief as I can. This Amendment would aim to prevent the conversion of controlled tenancies with a rateable value of less than £25. Conversion of these houses would not automatically mean an increase in rents. The hon. Gentleman said that it is no use pretending that these rents can go anywhere but upwards because they could hardly be lower. I am not suggesting that anything but a small number of them will go downwards, but they can be lower. They have been lower in quite a number of cases. I will not weary the House because we have little time, but I will quote three cases.

5.15 p.m.

The first is a house in Edinburgh, with two small rooms and outside water closet. It is a very poor house in a deteriorating area. The previous registered rent of £78 was reduced to £33.80. There is another case in Edinburgh where the registered rent was reduced from £65 to £32. In a case in Aberdeen the registered rent of £37 was reduced to £18. I must emphasise that I am not saying that the generality of the houses will be reduced on decontrol. That would be wrong. But I do say that the fixing of the registered rent by the rent officer does reflect the value of the property, and if the property is very poor the rent will be very low. If the property is sufficiently poor, the rent can be, and in some cases is, reduced.

Dr. Mabon

But the hon. Gentleman cannot quote those examples. Those houses were decontrolled under the 1957 Act and registered under the fair rent provisions. I cannot speak for that in the first case, but certainly in the first two. This Amendment is about houses which have never been decontrolled. These houses were never decontrolled under the Rent Acts and were unaffected by the 1957 Act. Therefore, their rents are considerably lower than the figure he has given.

Mr. Younger

That is fair enough, but the argument is whether it is better to leave these houses as they are in every respect—that is, in their present state of repair—or whether it is better to get a move on and do something to improve them. I accept that this is a legitimate argument between us. It has been our view over many years that until someone has the guts to grasp the nettle and take these houses out of control—we have machinery for this in the fair rents system, which reflects the condition of the property—then these houses and those living in them will remain in their present condition. That is not acceptable to me. I do not think that it should be acceptable to the House, and that is why I hope we shall reject the Amendment.

Mr. Robert Hughes

I want to raise one or two points of issue with the Under-Secretary of State because he is living in a dream world of housing. He forgets that once the Bill goes through the price of housing will not be any figure of fair value or objective assessment of what the house is worth, but what the market will bear.

Mr. Younger

indicated dissent.

Mr. Hughes

The Francis Committee made it clear that once council house rents were forced up there would be an increase in rents of general property, and that those who had had their rents assessed three years ago would, when they came into comparison with houses more recently valued, pay still more in a leapfrogging situation. It is nonsense to pretend that that will not happen. Excessively high rents have been charged for houses decontrolled under the 1957 Act.

What evidence does the hon. Gentleman have that the landlords of decontrolled houses who have been getting rents of £70 a year have spent one penny on repairs and improvements? The answer is that these landlords have spent nothing even when they have had money coming in. If they had spent money on keeping their property in good repair from the day they were built, we should not be having the trouble we have today. To suggest that the only way to deal with this situation is to allow rents to be increased—that this the only way to get repairs and improvements done—is nonsensical.

The only way we shall get repairs done to these properties is for them to be taken into ownership by local authorities, which will carry out the repairs. Only then shall we begin to get an improvement in housing standards. Through the hours we spent in Committee on this and other points we derived no satisfaction from the Under-Secretary. He was not prepared to budge. He was prepared to make Amendments to the existing law to protect his friends, and one of the things the Government are doing for which they should be ashamed is allowing people to receive grants of up to 75 per cent. from local authorities to improve properties. A man in Aberdeen boasts that he will be a millionaire as a result of the council giving him money to renovate properties which he can then sell without having to pay a halfpenny back.

If the Under-Secretary would be prepared to show a little compassion to the people who live in tenement property—we know he cannot understand the problems because he has never had to live in these squalid conditions—and if he would try to apply his mind to what is involved he might give way on this Amendment, if on no other. If he cannot show compassion for, and give protection to, some of these tenants, God help the rest of Scotland!

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

I need not comment on the last series of Amendments. What happened speaks for itself. I am sure that the House will appreciate that the sudden spate of oratory was related to the absence of certain hon. Members on the Government side—probably at Epsom. They were trying to keep things going until their hon. Friends returned. If Lester Piggott had been as slow as the hon. Gentleman a great many people would be very unhappy today.

We are dealing with a serious problem that has been before the House for a long time. My heart was bleeding as I listened to the unusual speeches by the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne), and the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur). I should remind them that there were 13 uninterrupted years of Tory rule in which they could have done something and in which they produced two Acts. One was the 1954 Act, which authorised owners to increase rents by 40 per cent. but only on condition that precedent to the increase the owners spent no less than 60 per cent, of their controlled house rental on the house. We have heard how low that rental was.

The result was that the 1954 Act was a complete failure. Out of the 700,000 controlled houses in Scotland, the rents of only 3 per cent. of the houses were increased, so the landlords could not show that they were even spending that amount on repairs. The Tory Government tried again with the 1957 Act. This time the private landlords were given a 25 per cent. increase for doing nothing to improve the kind of property to which my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) was referring.

We must take note that in 1954 there were 700,000 privately-tenanted houses. By 1966 there were only 303,000. In the following three years the figure fell to 229,000. Today it is probably down to 180,000. I disagree with the hon. Gentleman's figures. I believe that the relevant figure is probably about 80,000. I would like an explanation. We all sympathise with the Secretary of State having to be brought in at the last moment. He demonstrated that he was out of his depth—he did not even leave the beach. If we are told that there are 215,000 houses below the tolerable standard can we be told where they are and what kind of houses they are? If they are local authority houses—this was the implication in the latest reply—their rents will increase even though they do not meet the tolerable standard. If the rents of these houses do not go up, someone else's rent will because the authorities must find £24 per house and £26 per house in the succeeding year.

Are these houses privately owned? If they are, these are the slum properties that the landlords of Scotland have been selling to people because no other houses were available. The complaint was made that we built too many authority houses. The Scottish Office knows a great deal about the problem of the £25 rateable value house and below. There are hundreds of files in Glasgow on this kind of house as a result of the high storm, when the Government had to spend £6 million making these rotten warrens wind and water-tight. It would be interesting to know how much of that money was paid back and how many of these houses that are fit for habitation only because of Government money will have their rents increased.

The Under-Secretary said that we must not take it for granted that rents will be increased. But every speech from the Government side of the House took it for granted that these rents would go up, and the people living in these houses will be wise to take the same attitude. This is the intention. The Under-Secretary's argument is that we must do something about these houses. He would not live in them. The trouble is that we on this side of the House know too much about them. We were all brought up in them. I do not know what the Under-Secretary is smiling at, because this happens to be true. We know the closed stair, the single end room and kitchen—if one was lucky! We know that even 20, 30 or 40 years ago the tenants, not the landlords, were maintaining these properties, but the tenants will not get the benefits of anything they have spent on these properties. The landlord will gain. He has done nothing, and there is no guarantee that he will do anything.

The Under-Secretary spoke about what we did and did not do. It is interesting to note that under the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1969, before regulated tenancy was granted a dwelling had to be: certified by the local authority, on the application of the landlord, to satisfy the following conditions, that is to say, that it is provided with all the standard amenities, that it is in good repair, having regard to its age, character and locality and disregarding internal decorative repair, and that it meets the tolerable standard. This is what the hon. Gentleman refused to put into the Bill, and it is because of that that we now say as a last step "Take these houses out because they are the slums of Scotland." These are the houses in which the people of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee have had to live for generations. Nothing has been done about them, and all the hon. Gentleman now proposes to do is to allow rents to be raised without any guarantees that they will ever reach a tolerable standard of accommodation. He cannot give us any guarantees about the behaviour of the rent officer or, more important, the rent assessment commit-

tee. We have the Francis Committee's Report. Why did the Government not act on that? The rents were reduced for 12½ per cent. of the houses, about 5½ per cent. remained the same and over 82½ per cent. of the rents were increased That was the Scottish situation.

Mr. Frank Allaun (Salford, East)

And the same in England.

Mr. Ross

There is a danger now with these houses if they are not sold, and I reckon that many of the 215,000 houses below tolerable standard are owner-occupied, the kind of house that caused more trouble during the storm damage, because of multiple ownership, than any other kind. This Bill will not help Scottish housing. I hope that we shall vote against this Amendment.

Question put, That the Amendment be made: —

The House divided: Ayes 236, Noes 255.

Division No. 207.] AYES [5.30 p.m.
Abse, Leo Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Albu, Austen Davies, Ifor (Gower) Huckfield, Leslie
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Deakins, Eric Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Armstrong, Ernest Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Ashley, Jack Dempsey, James Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Ashton, Joe Doig, Peter Hunter, Adam
Atkinson, Norman Dormand, J. D. Irvine, Rt. Hn. SirArthur (Edge Hill)
Barnes, Michael Douglas-Mann, Bruce Janner, Greville
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Driberg, Tom Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Dunn, James A. Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Baxter, William Eadie, Alex Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Edwards, William (Merioneth) John, Brynmor
Bidwell, Sydney Ellis, Tom Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Bishop, E. S. English, Michael Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Evans, Fred Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Ewing, Harry Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Booth, Albert Faulds, Andrew Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Broughton, Sir Alfred Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Kaufman, Gerald
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-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 Lamborn, Harry
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Ford, Ben Lamond, James
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Forrester, John Latham, Arthur
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Fraser, John (Norwood) Lawson, George
Campbell, I.(Dunbartonshire, W.) Freeson, Reginald Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Cant, R. B. Galpern, Sir Myer Lestor, Miss Joan
Carmichael, Neil Gilbert, Dr. John Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham. N.)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Gourlay, Harry Lipton, Marcus
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Loughlin, Charles
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Cohen, Stanley Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Concannon, J. D. Hamling, William McCartney, Hugh
Conlan, Bernard Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) McElhone, Frank
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hardy, Peter McGuire, Michael
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Harper, Joseph Mackenzie, Gregor
Crawshaw, Richard Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mackie, John
Cronin, John Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mackintosh, John P.
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hattersley, Roy Maclennan, Robert
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Heffer, Eric S. McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Hooson, Emlyn Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Horam, John Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Dalyell, Tam
Marks, Kenneth Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Strang, Gavin
Marsden, F. Prescott, John Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Marshall, Dr. Edmund Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Price, William (Rugby) Swain, Thomas
Mayhew, Christopher Probert, Arthur Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff,W.)
Meacher, Michael Rankin, John Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Mendelson, John Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Mikardo, Ian Rhodes, Geoffrey Tinn, James
Millan, Bruce Richard, Ivor Torney, Tom
Miller, Dr. M. S. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Urwin, T. W
Milne, Edward Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon) Varley, Eric G.
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Robertson, John (Paisley) Wainwright, Edwin
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, A. I Saints)
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Roper, John Wallace, George
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Rose, Paul B. Weitzman, David
Murray, Ronald King Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Wellbeloved, James
Oakes, Gordon Rowlands, Edward Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Ogden, Eric Sandelson, Neville White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
O'Halloran, Michael Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Whitehead, Phillip
O'Malley, Brian Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Whitlock, William
Oram, Bert Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.) Willey Rt. Hn. Frederick
Orbach, Maurice Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Oswald, Thomas Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Sillars, James Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Padley, Walter Silverman Julius Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Paget, R. T. Skinner, Dennis Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Palmer, Arthur Smith, John Lanarkshire, N.) Woof, Robert
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Spearing, Nigel
Pardoe, John Spriggs, Leslie TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Steel, David Mr. James Hamilton and
Pavitt, Laurie Stoddart, David (Swindon) Mr. Tom Pendry.
Pentland, Norman Stonehouse. Rt. Hn. John
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Coombs, Derek Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Cooper, A. E. Hannam, John (Exeter)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Cordle, John Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Astor, John Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Haselhurst, Alan
Atkins, Humphrey Cormack, Patrick Havers, Michael
Awdry, Daniel Costain, A. P. Hawkins, Paul
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Crouch, David Hayhoe, Barney
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Crowder, F. P. Hicks, Robert
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Higgins, Terence L.
Batsford, Brian d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hiley, Joseph
Beamish, Col. Sir Tutton Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Hill, James (Southampton, Test)
Bell, Ronald Dixon, Piers Holland, Philip
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Holt, Miss Mary
Benyon, W. Dykes, Hugh Hordern, Peter
Berry, Hn. Anthony Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hornby, Richard
Biffen, John Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia
Biggs-Davison, John Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)
Blaker, Peter Emery, Peter Howell, David (Guildford)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Eyre, Reginald Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Body, Richard Fair, John Hunt, John
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Fell, Anthony Hutchison, Michael Clark
Bossom, Sir Clive Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Iremonger, T. L.
Bowden, Andrew Fidler, Michael Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Braine, Sir Bernard Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) James, David
Bray, Ronald Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Brewis, John Fookes, Miss Janet Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Fowler, Norman Jessel, Toby
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Fox, Marcus Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Fry, Peter Jopling, Michael
Bruco-Gardyne, J. Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Bryan, Sir Paul Gardner, Edward Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Gibson-Watt, David Kilfedder, James
Buck, Antony Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Kimball, Marcus
Bullus, Sir Eric Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Burden, F. A. Goodhart, Philip Kinsey, J. R.
Campbell, Rt. Hn.(Moray & Nairn) Goodhew, Victor Knight, Mrs. Jill
Carlisle, Mark Gorst, John Knox, David
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Gower, Raymond Lamont, Norman
Chapman, Sydney Grant, Anthony (Harrow. C.) Lane, David
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Grant, George (Morpeth) Langford-Holt, Sir John
Chichester-Clark, R. Green, Alan Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Churchill, W. S. Grylls, Michael Le Marchant, Spencer
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Gummer, J. Selwyn Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Gurden, Harold Longden, Sir Gilbert
Clegg, Walter Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Loveridge, John
Cockeram, Eric Hall, John (Wycombe) Luce. R. N.
Cooke, Robert Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
McAdden, Sir Stephen Parkinson, Cecil Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
MacArthur, Ian Percival, Ian Stokes, John
McCrindle, R. A. Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
McLaren, Martin Pike, Miss Mervyn Sutcliffe, John
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Pink, R. Bonner Tapsell, Peter
McMaster, Stanley Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
McNair-Wilson, Michael Price, David (Eastleigh) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Tebbit, Norman
Madel, David Proudfoot, Wilfred Temple, John M.
Marten, Neil Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Mather, Carol Quennell, Miss J. M Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Maude, Angus Raison, Timothy Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Mawby, Ray Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Redmond, Robert Tilney, John
Meyer, Sir Anthony Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Mills, Peter (Torrington) Rees, Peter (Dover) Trew, Peter
Miscampbell, Norman Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Tugendhat, Christopher
Mitchell, Lt. Col. C.(Aberdeenshire, W) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Ridsdale, Julian van Straubenzee, W. R.
Moate, Roger Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Molyneaux, James Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Waddington, David
Money, Ernle Rost, Peter Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Monks, Mrs. Connie Russell, Sir Ronald Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Monro, Hector St. John-Stevas, Norman Ward Dame Irene
Montgomery, Fergus Scott, Nicholas Warren, Kenneth
More, Jasper Sharples, Richard Weatherill, Bernard
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Morrison, Charles Shelton, William (Clapham) Wiggin, Jerry
Mudd, David Simeons, Charles Wilkinson, John
Murton, Oscar Sinclair, Sir George Winterton, Nicholas
Nabarro, Sir Gerald Skeet, T. H. H. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Neave, Airey Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Soref, Harold Woodnutt, Mark
Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Speed, Keith Worsley, Marcus
Normanton, Tom Spence, John Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Nott, John Sproat, Iain Younger, Hn. George
Onslow, Cranley Stainton, Keith
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Stanbrook, Ivor TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Mr. Tim Fortescue and
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Mr. Hamish Gray.

Question accordingly negatived.

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