HC Deb 23 January 1974 vol 867 cc1654-72

'The Secretary of State shall for the year 1974–75 only make to each metropolitan county and to the non-metropolitan counties of Avon, Cleveland and Humberside a transitional grant for the purpose of assisting such new county authorities in the provision of building or renting office accommodation, furnishings and equipment'.—[Mr. Oakes.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.45 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Oakes (Widnes)

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

Mr. Robert C. Brown (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West)

This is an eminently reasonable request to make to the Government because it involves, after all, a once-and-for-all payment in what is a once-and-for-all expenditure for the new metropolitan county authorities.

The new metropolitan counties and the three new non-metropolitan counties have what we consider to be a completely unreasonable burden in the initial provision of accommodation for their staffs. The existing counties have the advantage of their own established buildings. Many of the existing counties, such as Durham, for instance, have magnificent county halls where, in a great number of cases, rather than being subject to increasing pressure many are being relieved of pressure because the counties are contracting rather than expanding.

It may well be argued that some of the existing counties, because of the new geographical borders of the new non-metropolitan counties, may wish to relocate their county headquarters. But I would strongly contest that wish. In any event, even in the case of a county which finds that its existing headquarters is far removed from the new geographical centre, it has at least the advantage of great realisable assets, which is something which the new metropolitan counties do not have.

In addition to the problem of making immediate provision for their staffs, the new metropolitan counties must also make provision for the police and fire services. The allocation for locally-determined schemes is very small—certainly for the Tyne-Wear county, in which it is hardly enough to meet existing commitments. I doubt very much whether that does not apply also to the other metropolitan county authorities. This means that the cost of providing accommodation for the staffs of the new metropolitan counties would have to be met from revenue, which compounds the problem.

I can speak with authority about only one area, but I have no doubt that my hon. Friends will speak about other metropolitan counties. I speak with some authority about the new Tyne and Wear metropolitan county. It has had a dreadful problem in finding office accommodation anywhere. That is fairly well spread out in a number of buildings and it is a costly proposition. The staff have one piece of temporary office accommodation which is costing £52,000 per year. They also have what I would call semi-permanent accommodation at Sandyford House, which they have rented for five years. The rent of that accommodation for eight months of this year is £193,150. There are two other buildings fairly close in which there are staff and the rent for three months for those two buildings is £67,350. In a full year, therefore, the cost of renting buildings for the Tyne and Wear staff will be £611,125.

The new Tyne and Wear authority has had something of a bonus in that it has been able to purchase for £300,000 the old NCB headquarters at Ashington. Mercifully the necessary adaptations to the building will be reasonably small. The fire service in the Tyne and Wear area will adapt a temporary building at a cost of £56,400.

To add to the costs which I have mentioned, the furnishing, fuel and lighting for the next year will be £181,600. Further, the unfortunate ratepayers of the new authority will be lumbered this year with a bill of £1,149,100. That is to get the new authority off the ground.

I think that I have established firmly a case for the Tyne and Wear authority. I have no doubt that other hon. Members will establish equally strong cases for other authorities. I anticipate that other Members will speak about the three newly created non-metropolitan counties.

I think that I have said sufficient to persuade the Government that this is a worthwhile new clause which they should not have any difficulty in accepting. If I were insisting that a new clause should be accepted which would burden the Government with an annual expenditure, I could understand that the right hon. Gentleman would want to resist its inclusion. As I have said, this is a once-and-for-all payment. I hope that the Government will give it sympathetic consideration.

Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)

Tyne and Wear will much appreciate the points whioh have been put forward by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Robert C. Brown). I find that in general Governments find it awfully difficult to adopt a particular case. They are good at dealing with an overall plan which fits into their concept—for example, when we were told yesterday what they would do about the city centres. Governments are not so good at dealing with the matters which have been raised by the hon. Gentleman.

We should have thought out this matter before. I have said on several occasions relating to other aspects concerning the North that during the last war the North was allowed nothing because the assessment was that it was no good to give it anything because it was more than likely to be bombed. That assessment happened to be wrong. No one is complaining about the assessment because it was the correct assessment at the time. However, when we begin a new local government operation we should not be faced with a situation in which Tyne and Wear will not be in a position to build some of the fine buildings which have been built in other areas. It would not be right for the authority to be faced with that expenditure when the Government have decided, for good or ill, that we shall have a reorganisation of local government.

I am worried that my right hon. Friend does not appear to have realised the difficulties which will arise when authorities have to find suitable accommodation. I do not see why authorities such as Tyne and Wear should have to put up with such difficulties. It was right that from the national point of view of winning the war that the North had to put up with all sorts of difficulties because of its geographical situation, but I do not see why, when we are starting something which is new, we should have to put up with inefficient, crowded or unsatisfactory accommodation. Those of us who represent areas in the North will expect action from the Government.

Mr. Michael Cocks (Bristol, South)

I agree with the hon. Member for Tyne-mouth (Dame Irene Ward) that the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment have not fully grasped the problems which face the counties which are being established by the local government reorganisation. The House has spent a lot of time on that reorganisation. Some areas have had little change and they accepted it willingly. Other areas have had substantial change and they have been extremely unwilling to accept it.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider the problems facing a new county which has to start from scratch. I expect that hon. Members will have seen the article which appeared in The Times on 21st January about the building or renting of office accommodation. The article referred to the impact on the office market last year resulting from heavy demand in provincial cities, much of that demand resulting from the restructuring of local government. Apart from accommodation, there is the need to acquire furnishings and equipment. In that regard great difficulty has been experienced.

There is also the difficulty, which I have tried to raise with the right hon. Gentleman over some months, about the staffing of the new authorities and the appointment of senior officers. The appointment of those officers at inflated salaries has aroused a great deal of anxiety. On 25th October I had an answer from the right hon. Gentleman. He said: The determination of salaries for chief officers is a matter for local authorities— … and … the Pay Board."[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th October 1973; Vol. 861, c. 633.) So great has the concern become about the appointments of senior officers that on 20th December the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House admitted in response to an inquiry from myself that the Government were finding that local government reorganisation was resulting in some local authorities greatly expanding the size of their bureaucracies. The right hon. Gentleman later said: expectations have gone wrong … in connection with staffing."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th December 1973; Vol. 866, c. 1729.] Such matters are placing a burden on the ratepayers of the new authorities.

In an attempt to find out what the Government were prepared to do about the matter, I asked about estimates which were made for the new authorities. The right hon. Gentleman, on 10th December 1973, said that £15 million was included in the relevant expenditure forecasts for 1974–75 to take account of the cost of establishing new authorities and of paying new members' attendance allowances. He went on to say that the forecasts were prepared nationally and not on an authority-by-authority basis.

4.0 p.m.

I probed the matter further. On 15th January I asked him how the £15 million was broken down between the cost of establishing the new authorities and paying the new members' attendance allowances. The right hon. Gentleman replied that the local authority associations, in discussions with his Department, had produced a broad overall assessment of cost and this was not broken down into separate parts.

That is so vague that I do not think that the Department is thoroughly seized of the problem. This vagueness was repeated yesterday in the rate support grant, where in Annex B on page 9 there is merely the mention that Particular provision has been made, where appropriate, for additional costs arising from local government reorganisation". We do not even know what is covered by "where appropriate". We do not know what sum is being made available. We do not know how it is being divided up between authorities or on what basis it is being divided up between authorities. The right hon. Gentleman must explain more fully.

In answer to the hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Boscawen), who asked What special measures has the Secretary of State in mind to help those county authorities whose provision has been drastically cut in size the Secretary of State said this: … it will be necessary to look at the position county by county, but we have borne in mind the difficulties which arise when entirely new authorities are created. Some will receive an additional percentage of the total grant available."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd January 1974 ; Vol. 867, c. 1476.] We are still in the dark about what sort of action the Government are prepared to take. We need reassurance.

I will now speak briefly on the question of one of the non-metropolitan counties mentioned in the clause. When Avon, where I am now a representative, began there were no premises ; the authority possessed nothing. There was not even a desk or a typewriter. The problems of setting up this authority and the costs involved have been very closely followed and documented in the local Evening Post, which from time to time has given the general public glimpses of costs.

In December there was a report about the leasing of Avon House—a large office development on the Haymarket—at a rental of £100,000 a year plus rates and a service charge of £26,000. This month we are told that a further phase of the Copthall development there is to be rented at a cost of £250,000 a year plus rates, and it is freely reported that the cash situation will mean that the Avon accounts will be in the red in January.

I have heard only today that a report is going to the council tomorrow asking for overdraft facilities to borrow up to £5 million—it must be borne in mind that this will be at interest rates of approximately 14 per cent. to 17 per cent.—to cover expenditure in the next five months. The whole thing appears to be proving far more expensive than was at first thought, because my understanding is that only about seven to 10 days previously the discussions were centring round a sum of about £3 million and it has now risen to £5 million.

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what support we are to get? It is a great tragedy that probably the Minister's mind is now made up on the support we are to have. I submit that his mind has been made up on inadequate information.

The Secretary of State talks about looking at things county by county. I believe that we should have had more chance to explain our position before a decision was taken. Only yesterday I tabled a Question to the Secretary of State asking when he would see a deputation of Members of Parliament and civic leaders from the County of Avon to put this problem to him.

The Government insisted on Avon, and many Bristolians are beginning to ask what was the point of reorganisation ; what benefit are we supposed to be getting from it? They can see no benefit. The Government, having willed the existence of the new authority, should at least will the means to get it off the ground.

I have quoted the Minister's words at him before. I will repeat them. When he opened Avon House he described the new county as "a bonny bouncing baby". Bristolians feel that they have been left holding the baby. I ask the Minister to give the new county a good start. We would like things to be ship-shape and Bristol fashion, and I say to the Minister, "Please do not spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar."

Mr. John Wells (Maidstone)

I want to address myself to you, Mr. Speaker, rather than to the matter under discussion. The House has become more and more a specialist forum for more and more specialist debates. This afternoon we are debating a highly boring, tedious and specialist matter—[Hon. Members: "No."]—though it may be very interesting to the 12 hon. Members besides myself who are present.

We are told that this is a matter of grass roots democracy. The Liberal Party keeps telling us that Liberals are the people of the grass roots democracy. There are no Liberal Members present. There are six members of the Liberal Party, four of them on, as it were, the shadow pay roll. There are six members of my party present, two of them on the real pay roll. There are 12 hon. Members in all.

I know that it is out of order to refer to the Gallery, but looking through the back of my head I can count a good many more than 12 people up there. Looking in front of me I can count about six reporters, although two of them are on the pay roll of the OFFICIAL REPORT. The point I seek to make to you, Mr. Speaker, is that through your Conference which deals with the affairs of this House we should review our procedures for dealing with Measures of this sort—they are of great importance but are purely technical and are of only limited interest—and change things.

I am not speaking from a constituency point of view. The reorganisation of local government in my part of the world is small compared with what the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks) has just said about his part of the world. I quite appreciate that the new County of Avon is a matter of great importance to the hon. Gentleman and his area. To us in our part of the world the reorganisation is not so vast. I am very concerned about where the House is going and what is to be the position in the future.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I have allowed the hon. Gentleman considerable latitude. I do not think that he is addressing his argument to the new clause. He has made a reference to the Conference over which I am presiding. That is a conference about election to the House, not about how the House conducts its affairs. How the House conducts its affairs is for the Select Committee on Procedure. If the hon. Gentleman has any further remarks to make, he should address them to the new clause.

Mr. Wells

In conclusion, I hope that the Chairman of the Select Committee on Procedure will read tomorrow's Hansard.

Mr. James Wellbeloved (Erith and Crayford)

May I on behalf of my colleagues welcome the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells) to our deliberations. It is not often that we see him here. Whenever he is here he endeavours to make a contribution, if only it is eating an apple on the benches. I do not take the same view as the hon. Gentleman. I know that many of my colleagues are at present engaged in a number of committees of my party upstairs considering important matters such as trying to get this country back to a more stable industrial base by bringing about a settlement of many of the things that have occurred.

I turn to the new clause very quickly, Mr. Speaker, because I can see that I am causing some agitation. As a London Member I listened with increasing sympathy and understanding to the case presented by my hon. Friends the Members for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Robert C. Brown) and Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks). London was reorganised 10 years ago and the fears of my hon. Friends about local authorities—anxious about the increased costs, growing bureaucracy, the absence of any dramatic improvement of services to compensate at least for the dramatic increase in rates and costs—having come to pass in London, I, too, support the new clause because if the Government of the same complexion who forced upon London an unwanted reorganisation have now decided to take some action on the rest of the country they surely, in the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South, ought to will the means to enable their own policies to be implemented.

The new clause calls for the special one-off grant to enable the new county authorities to provide buildings, furnishing and equipment so that they can discharge their duties. It is an essential requirement. My own local authority, the London borough of Bexley, is still suffering because in the London reorganisation the Government of the day failed to make the kind of provision which my hon. Friends are now requesting through the new clause. In Bexley we are still split into four town halls with an enormous extra cost thrust upon our local ratepayers. Indeed, in the first year of full authority of the new London borough there was a rate increase of about 14 per cent. due entirely to the effects of reorganisation. I have no doubt whatsoever that the rest of the country will face a similar serious financial burden as a direct result of the reorganisation.

The least that the Government can do is to accept the new clause to enable local authorities, by the grant, to try to bring together their departments into one place and to ensure that the accommodation is such that the extra costs are kept to a minimum.

I do not believe it right that the ratepayers in the rest of the country should have placed upon them the burdens that London has had to bear without the lessons of London being taken into account by the Government. The Government can learn those lessons and take them into account if they accept the new clause, thus enabling new local authorities to start without the burden which we have had to bear in London.

4.15 p.m.

The Minister for Local Government and Development (Mr. Graham Page)

I would say to my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells) that the facts which have been aired about the effects of the existing legislation on local authorities are of great value and show the usefulness of a debate of this type. Whether one calls it "technical" or "of limited interest", it is important that the facts should be known and should be considered by the Government. I cannot say that I can be optimistic about the result, but I appreciate that the argument is that this is a once-for-all grant towards the initial costs of office accommodation, furnishing and equipment due to the difficulties of a number of new county councils.

Mr. John Wells

Would my right hon. Friend not agree, however interesting this may be to a handful of hon. Members' that it might be better if the procedures of the House were altered in some way so that debates of this sort do not occupy the Chamber at great cost to the nation and with the negligible attention of hon. Members?

Mr. Page

It is important that all aspects of local government should be discussed in the House since local government is the second biggest spender of national income. It is important that these problems should be examined.

I was a little piqued when I was told by my hon. Friend and Opposition hon. Members that I did not realise what was happening or that I did not know anything about the subject, especially by the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks). I opened the Avon County Council offices on the 4th August. Having seen those offices, I cannot say that I would be happy at the quality of the accommodation, but at least it is adequate. In my frequent visits to other parts of the country I have discussed the problem of the standard of accommodation with other county councils. The position is that all new local authorities will face some special administrative problems in their first year, which are likely to require some degree of special expenditure.

Even an authority, whether county or district, which inherits unchanged geographical areas from its predecessor will have a different range of services to cope with and the period of transition will involve a degree of dislocation and expense. Boundary changes may involve further transitional problems concerning either a sudden expansion of services over a wider area or contraction of services within a smaller area. Indeed, strong representations have been made by new county councils, which will inherit a reduced area from predessors, about the difficulty in the short term of scaling down their services in proportion to loss of population.

There are problems not only for those who have been selected for assistance in the amendment but problems for almost all the new local authorities during the transitional period.

The new clause singles out a particular class of authority as being deserving of special treatment, the once-for-all payment this year to help them over the transitional period. The problem of Avon, for example, and some other authorities, is that they will not, for general purpose property, be the legatees of existing authorities. On the other hand Humber-side and West Yorkshire, both included in the new clause, directly or indirectly, will be general purpose legatees of the East Riding and West Riding County Councils respectively. There are different problems even for those authorities included in the new clause.

It would be impossible to give special transitional grants to one class of authority without doing justice to others. That was the principle on which the Government worked in deciding, in consultation with local authority associations, the amount of rate support grant. The best we have been able to do is to include in the forecast of relevant expenditure on a percentage of which the rate support grant is paid a national expenditure total for next year in respect of the transitional period.

The figure was raised by the local authority associations. We asked for their views about what would be a reasonable figure to include in relevant expenditure for the transitional period. It includes more—£15 million has been mentioned—than perhaps merely office accommodation, but it is intended to cover, in an overall way, the expense of the transition of local government from the existing authorities to the new authorities on 1st April.

It is reasonable to say that reorganisation has not increased the total sphere of local government administration. Fewer functions than before will be administered. It is true that they will be administered by different authorities but they will be administered through 400 authorities where 1,400 exist at present.

We have reduced, or should have reduced, administration by the reorganisation of local government, but I appreciate that the transition stage, setting up new authorities, means moving house, which is expensive. The rate support grant, based on the relevant expenditure, which included the global sum of £15 million for this, will, I hope, be sufficient when the distribution is announced, which will be as soon as possible. The formulae have of course been announced.

Mr. Robert C. Brown

It is not a question of the new metropolitan counties having to move house. I hope that the Minister is not missing the point. They are in fact in the position of first-time house buyers. In view of what has been said about first-time buyers, he might think in the same terms about these councils.

Mr. Page

The hon. Gentleman is right to pick me up about that. I agree that in many cases they will be "buying a home" for the first time. But I would ask the districts, who should have some accommodation to spare, to assist in these cases. In many areas, they have done so. Some counties have been able to use accommodation provided by the districts. That is right, because, if the rate support grant figure when distributed is not sufficient, the cost will fall on the precept made by the counties on the districts. So it will be to the benefit of the districts to assist. I am sure that ratepayers will be grateful if their districts and their counties can get together in that way.

Without the reorganisation of local government finance under the Bill, Avon and many other counties would have been much worse off. I can assure the hon. Member for Bristol, South that Avon and its districts should, overall, get a significantly greater share of grant than if we had kept the 1966 Act in force for another year. The same goes for the metropolitan counties. In fact, under the new formulae, it will be a good thing for them to replace the 1966 Act with this Bill.

I cannot hold out any hope for a special grant. We will keep a close eye on whether the distribution is sufficient for county authorities. I have been only too willing to discuss this with the authorities concerned. The hon. Member for Bristol, South has asked to bring a deputation to me on the matter and I have already said that I am only too happy to receive it. I have discussed this with other counties.

I do not finally close the door ; I simply say that I cannot do anything about it at present. But during the next months, let us discuss the position and see whether it is a serious matter, in which case I could possibly make representations in some other way.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the new clause was supported by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Robert C. Brown)? All that my right hon. Friend has done is talk about Avon, about which he seems to know quite a lot. He has not addressed one remark to the problem on Tyne and Wear. As for the reference to dealing with the matter "county by county", Tyne and Wear is two counties. Will he not address any comment at all to this point? It is impolite to the hon. Member, who did a very good service to our area, when he is not really affected himself. I am not going to vote for the Government, let me tell you that.

Mr. Page

I regret it if my hon. Friend considers me discourteous. I acknowledged, I thought generously, the facts brought forward by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West. I know the district quite well and I have discussed these difficulties with the county and with representatives from that area. There was no intention of discourtesy. I picked on the hon. Member for Bristol, South because he was sitting glaring at me in front and I thought that I had better calm him down. My hon. Friend is behind me, and I do not always see her.

Mr. Oakes

The comments of the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) are understandable. The Minister spoke of authorities coping by scratching around the districts for accommodation—a most unseemly way for new councils to begin life. There are some areas—I understand that the area of the hon. Lady and my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Robert C. Brown) is one—in which there is no accommodation which could be taken from the districts. Tyne and Wear authority has had to establish new premises in Newcastle at considerable expense. I can therefore understand the hon. Lady being unwilling to vote with her own party when her constituency is affected.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks) graphically described the difficulties of the new Avon county. I should like to talk to the Minister about the county that we know best, the new metropolitan county of Merseyside. That is in the same difficult position as Tyne and Wear. It has had to go to the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo to hire office premises. It will have to hire furniture, equipment, typewriters and, presumably, computer time. This is all costly. Authorities might be financing these things out of revenue at the moment, but in the long term they will have to precept for this expenditure.

In his closing remarks the Minister gave me some encouragement when he said that the Government will be sympathetic if the plight of these new authorities becomes evident. But the clause says that that plight is evident now and that aid must be given now since we are getting nearer to 1st April, the magic date when the new metropolitan counties and the three non-metropolitan counties mentioned in the new clause will have to start their statutory duties. If they are already in these dire straits concerning office equipment, furnishings and so on, surely now is the time for the House to decide that since we created them—the metropolitan counties are certainly creatures of the Government—we shall start them off in life with the equipment necessary to carry out their duties.

4.30 p.m.

The clause is not concerned with the frills of local government, with the maces, the council chambers and the members' retiring rooms. It is about the bread-and-butter issues of typewriters, desks, copying equipment and all the things that a local authority needs to get on with its work. There is a big difference between the authorities mentioned in the clause and those in being. I instance the case of Lancashire, an authority I know well because my wife served upon it, and that of Cheshire, on which she now serves. These authorities will face difficulties but they have a county hall, office equipment, computers and the wherewithal to continue, although they may be much smaller authorities than they were previously.

However, Merseyside, Tyne and Wear, Avon and West Midlands all have to start from scratch. They are in a very different position from the luckier county council, the shire county or possibly, to a limited degree, the counties of Humberside and West Yorkshire which have better provision in that they at least have premises which they inherited from shire counties. The Minister knows that we spent this morning in Committee discussing an order which will transfer the administration of superannuation funds from the districts to the county councils. As I said this morning, most of the county councils are concerned that they have no computers to operate that scheme. They will have to go back to the district councils to borrow computers to carry out the essential work of compiling statistics for the funds.

This is a reasonable clause. It asks the Government, on a once-for-all basis for the year 1974–75 only, to provide the wherewithal for the babies they created—the new metropolitan counties—and the three non-metropolitan counties which did not exist before the Local Government Act came into operation. Those authorities desperately need these facilities. The Minister well knows how much Merseyside in particular needs them. Merseyside has no district council accommodation that it can inherit in Liverpool, and Liverpool is the obvious centre for the new Merseyside County Council.

It is unseemly for the authorities to have to start off by trapesing round the district councils trying to locate spare rooms. It is also far more costly to have office accommodation scattered all over the county, with all that that involves, instead of having it located in one building. If a central building is to be used, however, it will have to be rented because the authorities will have no capital to buy their new town hall. Even if they had the capital, the Government probably would not let them build it because of the emergency restrictions and the state of the economy. Therefore, a central building must be rented, probably at very high cost. There is also the hire of furnishings and equipment.

Although I welcome what the Minister said in the concluding part of his speech

Division No. 35.] AYES [4.36 p.m.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Gourlay, Harry Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Armstrong, Ernest Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Atkinson, Norman Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Murray, Ronald King
Austick, David Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Oakes, Gordon
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Ogden, Eric
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Hardy, Peter O'Halloran, Michael
Beaney, Alan Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) O'Malley, Brian
Beith, A. J. Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Orbach, Maurice
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Heffer, Eric S. Orme, Stanley
Bidwell, Sydney Hooson, Emlyn Oswald, Thomas
Bishop, E. S. Horam, John Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Palmer, Arthur
Booth, Albert Hughes, Roy (Newport) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Hunter, Adam Pardoe, John
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Janner, Greville Parker, John (Dagenham)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Pavitt, Laurie
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Radice. Giles
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Buchan, Norman John, Brynmor Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Roberts. Rt. Hn. Goronwyf Caernarvon)
Carmichael, Neil Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Kaufman, Gerald Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Kelley, Richard Silverman, Julius
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Kerr, Russell Skinner, Dennis
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Lamborn, Harry Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Concannon, J. D. Lamond James Spriggs, Leslie
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.) Latham, Arthur Stallard, A. W.
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Lawson, George Steel, David
Dalyell, Tam Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Leonard, Dick Stott, Roger
Deakins, Eric Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Taverne, Dick
Delargy, Hugh Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund McBride, Nell Tinn, James
Dormand, J. D. McCartney, Hugh Varley, Eric G.
Duffy, A. E. P. MacDonald, Mrs. Margo Wainwright, Edwin
Dunn, James A, Mackenzie, Gregor Wallace, George
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mackie, John Ward, Dame Irene
English, Michael Mackintosh, John P. Watkins, David
Evans, Fred Maclennan, Robert Weitzman, David
Faulds, Andrew McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Wellbeloved, James
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Marks, Kenneth Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Marsden, F. Whitlock, William
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Marshall, Dr. Edmund Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mayhew, Christopher Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Foot, Michael Meacher, Michael Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Ford, Ben Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Freeson, Reginald Mikardo, Ian Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Freud, Clement Millan, Bruce Woof, Robert
Galpern, Sir Myer Miller, Dr. M. S.
Gilbert, Dr. John Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Mr. Joseph Harper and
Golding, John Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Mr. Ernest G. Perry.

that he will see how things go, I feel that that will be too late. The time to act is now, the Bill to do it is this Bill, so that the provision may come into operation before 1st April 1974. I must ask my right hon. and hon. Friends, the hon. Member for Tynemouth and all hon. Members who represent the new counties created by the Government to come with us into the Lobby in support of this once-for-all grant to help the new counties as they start off in life.

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

The House divided: Ayes 158, Noes 173.

Adley, Robert Grylls, Michael Nott, John
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Gurden, Harold Onslow, Cranley
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Actor, John Hall, Sir John (Wycombe) Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Atkins, Humphrey Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Percival, Ian
Awdry, Daniel Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Pink, R. Bonner
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Hannam, John (Exeter) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Haselhurst, Alan Price, David (Eastleigh)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hawkins, Paul Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Hayhoe, Barney Raison, Timothy
Benyon, W. Hicks, Robert Ramsden, Rt. Hn. Jamea
Berry, Hn. Anthony Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Redmond, Robert
Biffen, John Holland, Philip Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Biggs-Davison, John Holt, Miss Mary Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Bossom, Sir Clive Howell, David (Guildford) Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Bowden, Andrew Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Bray, Ronald Hunt, John Rost, Peter
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hutchison, Michael Clark Russell, Sir Ronald
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Sainsbury, Timothy
Bryan, Sir Paul James, David Scott, Nicholas
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Jenkin, Rt. Hn. Patrick (Woodford) Scott-Hopkins, James
Bullus, Sir Eric Jessel, Toby Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby;
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Sinclair, Sir George
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Jopling, Michael Skeet, T. H. H.
Chapman, Sydney Kaberry, Sir Donald Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mlngton)
Chichester-Clark, R. Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Soref, Harold
Churchill, W. S. Kimball, Marcus Speed, Keith
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Kinsey, J. R. Spence, John
Clegg, Walter Kirk, Peter Stainton, Keith
Cockeram, Eric Kitson, Timothy Stanbrook, Ivor
Cooke, Robert Knight, Mrs. Jill Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Coombs, Derek Lamont, Norman Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Cooper, A. E. Lane, David Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Cormack, Patrick Langford-Holt, Sir John Sutcliffe, John
Crouch, David Le Marchant, Spencer Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Tebbit, Norman
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Loveridge, John Temple, John M.
Dixon, Piers Luce, R. N. Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Drayson, G. B. McAdden, Sir Stephen Thomas, John Stradllng (Monmouth)
Dykes, Hugh MacArthur, Ian Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon. S.)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) McLaren, Martin Trew, Peter
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) McMaster, Stanley Tugendhat, Christopher
Emery, Peter McNair-Wilson, Michael Waddington, David
Eyre, Reginald Marten, Neil Walder, David (Clltheroe)
Fell, Anthony Maude, Angus Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Fidler, Michael Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Walters, Dennis
Fisher, Nigel (Surblton) Mawby, Ray Weatherill, Bernard
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Foster, Sir John Meyer, Sir Anthony White, Roger (Gravesend)
Fowler, Norman Moate, Roger Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Fry, Peter Monks, Mrs. Connie Wiggin, Jerry
Gilmour, Sir John (File, E.) Monro, Hector Wilkinson, John
Glyn, Dr. Alan Montgomery, Fergus Winterton, Nicholas
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Goodhart, Philip Morrison, Charles Younger, Hn. George
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Mudd, David
Gray, Hamish Neave, Airey TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Green, Alan Nicholls, Sir Harmar Mr. Marcus Fox and
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Normanton, Tom Mr. Cecil Parkinson.

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Michael Cocks

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it correct that the names printed above new Clause 10 are the only ones that were handed in? You will see that both names are those of Opposition Front Bench Members, and in virtually every other case there are three names to our amendments. I wonder whether this is a printer's error. Could it be checked with a view to its being corrected?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Morton)

I am prepared to have this matter checked, but I have no reason to think that other names were handed in.

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