§ '(1) There shall be included among the basic scheme benefits specified in section 9(1) of the Social Security Act 1973 the following additional benefit, namely an allowance, payable without regard to contributions, to be paid to the parent of every only, elder or eldest child in a one-parent family at the rate of £1.50 a week.
§ (2) An allowance shall not be paid under this section to the parent of any child in respect of whom any other allowance is being paid under Part I of the Social Security Act 1973'.—[Sir B. Rhys Williams.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
With this we are to take Amendment No. 14, in page 11, line 27 [Clause 13], after '7', insert:'and (First child allowance for one-parent families)'.
§ Sir B. Rhys Williams
The clause is an attempt on my part to give effect, in a very small way and as a humble beginning, to the recommendations of the Finer Report. It also gives the Government an opportunity—they have been provided with rather a lot of opportunities lately, which they have not taken—of expressing their views on family endowment and the introduction of family allowances for the first child. I think that hon. Members on both sides will agree that I have selected families most in need of help through family allowances for the first child. I trust that I shall be thought to have made a useful recommendation.
I realise that some colleagues on both sides of the House may say that the 432 clause is defective. I should be the first to acknowledge that, because it does not go far enough, but I wanted to put forward on Report something which would not be regarded as introducing a large new point which had not been considered in Committee—something which followed on from the debates there and which would be acceptable as a Report stage new clause. The clause may be defective in other ways, which the Minister will no doubt relish pointing out.
This is a back-bench motion, which gives hon. Members an opportunity to express their views. I am delighted to see the hon. Member for Welwyn and Hatfield (Mrs. Hayman) present. The House will listen to her with respect on this subject, as it is beginning to listen to her with respect on all subjects.
The Finer Report estimates that there are 400,000 fatherless families, no fewer than half of which are receiving supplementary benefit, and 100,000 motherless families, of which 10,000 are receiving supplementary benefit. Therefore, the House may conclude that those potentially able to benefit from the clause number about 500,000 children.
The Government might consider this an opportunity to make a start with the introduction of the family allowance for the first child. Although they amount to a great deal of problems, a total of 500,000 cases are not too many, in terms of expense. We understand, from an answer only yesterday, that the net cost of the benefit would be £11 million per year—£21 million before tax. I wonder whether that answer took note of the disregard. I have not tried to make the allowance a disregard for supplementary benefit, because I wanted to make only a small beginning. The benefit is obviously liable to tax for those who are earning, so it does not confer very much on them, but it is a beginning. For those on supplementary benefit it will give only the self-respect of having part of their income as of right. But this small step is worth taking, and the time is right.
The clause may be said to be a test of the Government's good faith in their declarations of general support for the Finer Committee's recommendations and as to their intention to introduce family allowances for the first child.
433 We had another interesting and illuminating reply from the Secretary of State yesterday. She said:The question of additional financial support for one parent families generally must be considered in relation to the child benefit scheme, details of which will be announced in due course."—[Official Report, 28th January 1975; Vol. 885, c. 80.]Hon. Members who are interested in the subject are beginning to wonder what "in due course" means. Immediately after the General Election, in February, the Secretary of State announced with great enthusiasm that she was abandoning the Conservative tax credit scheme. We were then led to expect that something was ready to take its place immediately and that an announcement would soon be made. Months dragged by and nothing happened. Children who might have benefited are getting older. The problems remain, and, with the rapidly rising cost of living—in spite of the Government's lavish expenditure on food subsidies—they are becoming worse every month. Yet, month after month, there is fencing, dodging and prevarication on the issue. No answers are given in the House on this important subject. We are becoming exasperated with the Secretary of State's dilly-dallying over the question of benefits for families.
This small measure is an opportunity for the Secretary of State to show what her intentions are. Let the House now hear what is the Government's timetable for child endowment. What are Socialist priorities where mothers and children are concerned? Do Labour Members really care about mothers and children? If they do, they will have the opportunity to show it with their votes this afternoon.
Does the Labour Party put the rescue of our one-parent families high on its list of priorities? When will the Government act? If they do not like my drafting, they will have the opportunity to correct the clause in another place, but let the Minister make a binding commitment today to accept the spirit of my clause and to do something about it.
§ Mrs. Helene Hayman (Welwyn and Hatfield)
It comes as something of a disappointment that we should have to be debating, as a measure of aid to one-parent families, something as narrow as the provision of family allowances for 434 the first child. Many of us would have hoped to see a family endowment plan, and a family allowance scheme for all first children, introduced a lot sooner than appears to be the case.
We are all getting impatient about the date for the introduction of family allowances for the first child. One reservation about putting forward the view that we should have a family allowance for the first child of one-parent families might be that it would be used as an excuse for deferring family allowances for all first children even further. We know of the poverty of one-parent families and we also know of the problem of family poverty generally. There is a desperate need for family allowances for the first child.
It is also a disappointment that the greatest measure of financial aid for one-parent families, arising out of the long deliberations of the Finer Committee, should be merely a family allowance for the first child. There is a danger in the amendment as it is drafted. There is the great irony that family allowances for those depending on supplementary benefit—I refer to half the fatherless families in the country—are at the moment counted as income in the reckoning of supplementary benefit. The mothers of the families with whom we are most concerned, namely, those who are officially put on the poverty line, would pick up an additional family allowance at the post office and would find themselves paying it back when they went to the local supplementary benefits commission office.
I urge the Government, in their consideration of this matter—I welcome this measure as a start, small and disappointing though it is—to ensure that it is designed to help the 50 per cent. of fatherless families and the 10 per cent. of motherless families who are dependent on supplementary benefit. I ask the Government to ensure that family allowance is not counted as income for the purpose of reckoning supplementary benefit entitlement.
§ Mr. R. A. McCrindle (Brentwood and Ongar)
The hon. Member for Welwyn and Hatfield (Mrs. Hayman) indicated both concern and compassion. Her remarks were consistent with her known views on family allowances in general and family allowance to the first child in 435 particular. I thought that the tone of her speech was in sharp contrast to the snide remarks of the Minister of State. The right hon. Gentleman could not wait even to get to his speech—I assume that he will address us on the new clause—before playing party politics with the whole matter of family allowances by reminding Conservative Members of the failure of the previous Conservative Government to improve the family allowance situation. If it gives him any comfort, let me say that there were many occasions on which I chided my own Government in that direction.
The speech which I shall make on the new clause, limited as the purpose of the new clause undoubtedly is, will, I hope, be consistent with speeches which I have made on a broader front over the past four or five years. I start by recognising that on family allowance provision we have relatively little to boast about. If we look at the family allowance provision of our fellow members of the EEC we find that we are fairly low down the list. It seems that our generosity has not been outstanding. I think that I am correct in saying that we are one of the few countries in the EEC which do not provide family allowances for the first child.
§ Mr. McCrindle
I am reminded that we are the only country that does not pay family allowance to the first child. That is an indictment upon Governments of both political parties. They have had the opportunity to expand the scheme over many years. No doubt we have had financial crises that have come and gone. No doubt it is always possible to raise the existence of a financial crisis as a reason for delay. The fact is that we have been considerably remiss in not turning our attention to improving family allowance provision over the past years.
There is a major Government responsibility to respond generously to the new clause. I think that the present Government have a special responsibility because on taking office in February last year they indicated their opposition to the tax credit system that was proposed by the previous Conservative Government. That was a system which, in the view of most of 436 my right hon. and hon. Friends, would have taken care of a large part of the problem that we are now considering almost a year later.
Not only that—the Government have poured scorn on the family income supplement system. I am the first to concede that the family income supplement arrangement has major defects, but the fact is that it was intended as a partial contribution to help to remove family poverty. The Government having poured scorn on the family income supplement system must be expected to react in a favourable way to the proposition now before us. They have virtually rejected the recommendations of the Finer Committee. Their actions are in sharp contrast to the statements made by Labour Members when in Opposition. They come as disappointing to many of my hon. Friends who had hoped for better things on the arrival of the present Government in February of last year.
The Government have said that their approach to family poverty is all tied up in the family endowment scheme. I echo the sentiments of my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams) and the hon. Member for Welwyn and Hatfield. The Government's approach sounds fine, and it may be a great breakthrough which can be supported by both sides of the House, but as time goes by we become wary and not a little suspicious of exactly what the approach contains. We are moving towards a feeling that the Government's thinking on these matters is not half as far forward as the Secretary of State has suggested in recent weeks.
In the present economic circumstances it can easily be said—I suspect that the Government will say so—that this is the wrong time to move into additional expenditure of a sizeable order. It is for that reason that my hon. Friend has pitched his proposal in a modest fashion. We are not proposing that the family allowance should be extended to the first child, although there is a strong argument that that should be done. We are saying that it should move into the area in which family poverty bites hardest—namely, one-parent families.
It is incumbent upon the House, if resources are as limited as we are led to believe, to turn our attention to assisting in particular those women who are 437 trying to earn a living while bringing up a child on their own. There is a need for some help to be directed to them. I remind the House that we are now in Women's International Year. It seems that if we are to make any contribution within the relatively narrow confines of the Bill we should assist those women who, by their own efforts, are trying to maintain under difficult circumstances a reasonable standard of living for their child or children, they having been left for one reason or another to do so on their own.
I believe that the pressure is now on the one-parent families. I cannot but contrast the Government's approach to them with the provision of food subsidies. It seems that we have an almost open-ended commitment to food subsidies. Surely even the Government will concede that such a large amount of money spread over such a large number of people brings very small help to each individual or family. There would be a very small additional provision under the Bill if the clause were to be accepted by the Government. It would direct assistance where it is greatly needed. Although the relatively modest amount referred to in the new clause may seem to indicate hardly any improvement in the family situation, I believe that in the circumstances in which the people to whom we are referring find themselves it would be of major assistance.
I ask the Government once again to try to cast aside the temptation to play party politics on this matter and turn instead to a recognition that this is a modest proposal, directed to a particularly hard-pressed section of the community. On that basis, I hope that it will be supported not only by the Opposition but by Government Members.
§ Mr. Andrew Bowden (Brighton, Kemptown)
I support new Clause 2 as strongly as I can. I believe that there is deep concern on both sides of the House for one-parent families. I have to be careful not to broaden the debate into the general terms of the Finer Report, but the fact remains that the clause would deal, even if inadequately and on a modest basis, with at least part of one of the most important recommendations of the report.
It is true that the clause is narrow, and 438 would have only a limited effect, but I believe that it would be a step, though not a big one, in the right direction. We all know of the exceptional problems faced by one-parent families. I had the opportunity to meet a group of these parents recently in my constituency, and was immensely impressed by their determination and courage. What emerged time and again was that the vast majority of them wanted to work but were penalised if they did so. Clearly, therefore, it is much easier for some of them to give up work and to rely entirely upon the benefits supplied by the State. Yet the great majority of single parents want to avoid that. They need encouragement and some help, however. They want to continue to work and earn money for themselves and their children, whom they are bringing up under immensely difficult conditions.
If we do not encourage such determination we shall place an even greater burden on the Exchequer than if we decide to accept the clause, with its modest expenditure of, perhaps, between £10 million and £14 million. Individual parents bringing up children face many problems—indeed, so many that one could talk about them and their financial circumstances for a long time—but a fixed cash allowance could help by playing a part in alleviating their difficulties. They have little enough room for manoeuvre in their financial incomes. They need help quickly. In the absence of action on the Finer Report, in a wider sense, let us at least take a little action today and give them the help they need very quickly.
§ Mrs. Lynda Chalker (Wallasey)
I support the new clause. One aspect of the problem of one-parent families that I have seen at fairly close quarters is the increasing number of younger mothers, resulting, where marriage breaks down, in younger single parents, caring at an early age for a child. That is all right when the departed husband pays the maintenance allotted by the courts, but in many cases there are months when the husband pays and months when he does not, and to all intents and purposes the family eventually becomes a one-parent family, with perhaps only the one child—the sort we are talking about in this debate.
439 Under Governments of both parties, we have been very slack in the provision of family allowances. We have heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) that we are the only EEC country which does not have an allowance for the first child in the family. We have also been very slack in other ways, in the provision of benefits to such people, who are struggling to bring up their families in the orderly and right manner that we would all consider to be best for the child.
It is often the single parent, fighting alone on whom the excessive expense of the care of the first child falls. Every father in this House must surely recall the number of occasions when his wife has asked him for money for the first child because there was nothing to pass down from older children.
The hon. Member for Welwyn and Hatfield (Mrs. Hayman)—although she, too, does not like the prospect that, if we accept the clause, the money will be collected at one pigeonhole and taken back from another—rightly says that the clause would be a first step to sorting out the situation, which is anomalous and unfair, and a disincentive, particularly to young women to do the right thing by their families.
Over the last few months, I have been talking to some members of Gingerbread throughout the country. They were very disappointed that the Bill as presented last November contained no move to bring forward family allowances for the first child, particularly for one-parent families, among which poverty is so common. They were fobbed off with the news that there would be the child endowment plan. At every questioning, they are told that it is on the way. I shall welcome the announcement of the plan when it comes, but until that day I should like to know what the Ministers are doing, because they seem to be taking a very long while to produce it, having talked about it since the days when we were giving evidence to the Finer Committee. I have heard many hon. Members on the Government side talking about the matter in private over the years, and they never expressed any doubt that this was the direction in which they would move once they saw that the excellent 440 tax credit scheme introduced by the Conservative Government was to be abandoned.
I am not prepared to see child poverty as a result of the continuation of the situation in which there is no family allowance for the first child. I think that we are united, regardless of the Government Whips, in our commendation of the new clause. My hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr. Bowden) mentioned encouraging young women with children to go back to work, to do something for themselves. I know a number of women who would like to continue their studies but cannot do so because they have a child. There is no child allowance for them. These girls do not wish to continue to be a drain on State funds, which would be better given to those who are unable to earn their own living and support their families.
In this topsy-turvy world of health and social security, we seem yet again not to be giving to one of the most deserving groups the priority that is required. The new clause seeks to give priority to the hardest hit by giving a family allowance for the first child to the one-parent family. I shall be firm in my support for it now, and hereafter in the endeavour to extend its benefit.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Stan Thorne (Preston, South)
It is a source of regret to me that we have to discuss the question of assisting one-parent families by means of a clause moved by a member of the Opposition. It seems that there was every opportunity over recent years, when the Opposition were in government, for them to have taken steps to legislate and provide for one-parent families, particularly on the subject of family allowances. However, I hope that the Government Front Bench will not reply to the debate in those terms but will acknowledge that although there has been a default on the part of the Opposition there is a responsibility on the Government.
In common with many others, during two elections in 1974 I made it plain that the Government would differ from the previous Conservative Government in that they would attend to priorities of this description. There is in the social 441 services sphere, and in various other areas, a demand for Government assistance which the Government would argue they are attempting to place into a list of priorities set against a background of scarce resources. I am far from satisfied with the performance of the Government in this area over recent months.
It is a deplorable state of affairs when literally hundreds of millions of pounds can be found for certain Government projects, particularly in defence, yet we are worried about finding small sums of money to assist families in difficulties. The Minister will have to talk hard today to convince me that I should not go into the Lobby in support of this clause, because in my view it represents a needy contribution to those who need it now.
§ Sir George Young (Ealing, Acton)
I very much hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams) will stick to his guns and press the clause to a Division. So far we have had several speeches from both sides of the House with not one hon. Member dissenting from what my hon. Friend proposes. Nearly all hon. Members are committed to extending family allowances to the first child. It was in the manifestos of the two principal parties. The only way we have of trying to fulfil that commitment is to vote for my hon. Friend's clause. In the absence of the child benefit Bill, which we have been promised and which is long awaited, there is no other possibility open to those who wish to honour that commitment.
As I understand it, the Government's policy is to abolish family allowances and child tax allowances and to substitute child benefits. We have been promised a Bill for some months now which will do this. I tabled a Question yesterday which was replied to by the Secretary of State for Social Services, who was unable to give me a firm date for the publication of the Bill. I hope that in his reply the Minister will be able to tell us when the Bill is to be published and when it will be implemented. Without that information we are in some difficulty in honouring the commitment given to the electorate.
In Committee we asked time and again what was holding up the Bill. The 442 Labour Party rejected the Tory Party's tax credit scheme some time before the last election. It has had ample time to think out the problems. The Government have been in office for nearly a year with the full benefit and resources of the Civil Service. Perhaps the Minister can tell us whether the implementation of the scheme is dependent on the construction of buildings in Washington. Can he shed some light on the rumour that those buildings have been affected by the concern over high alumina cement, which has held up completion of public buildings in other parts of the country? I hope that the Minister will be able to take us into his confidence on this.
Or is it that the hard-faced men at the Treasury have told the Minister that the Bill cannot be implemented on the date which I understand is suggested, 1st April 1976? If it is to be deferred to 1978 or 1979, what will happen to the first children of families in the meantime? Is it proposed to delay the fulfilment of that commitment for four or five years? Is it the problem of identification which is delaying the legislation? It seems that the Government envisage some scheme rather like Herod seeking out the firstborn before they can implement their plans. It is not the case that it will be so difficult to identify the children who would be entitled to the allowance.
My hon. Friend's clause would cost about £11 million. If we contrast that with the hundreds of millions of pounds that we shall be considering tomorrow, in connection with food subsidies, I suggest that there is a case for taking the £11 million from the sum involved there and allocating it instead to this Bill.
I trust that this debate will flush the Minister out from the undergrowth where he has been hiding for so long. I hope that it will make him give us some answers. We have been asking questions for month after month about the child benefit Bill but have received no satisfaction. In the absence of any satisfactory reply I hope that the Government Whips will allow Labour Ministers to vote according to their consciences and that they will vote in favour of the clause and defeat the Government.
§ Mr. Leslie Spriggs (St. Helens)
This clause is covered by Labour party policy. It is our policy to introduce legislation 443 to provide child allowances for the first child. I find it regrettable that the Government have not taken this opportunity to introduce new legislation providing an allowance for the first child for the first time in the history of this country. We will do all in our power to influence the Government to do something about this before the Bill completes all its stages.
I compliment my hon. Friends and Conservative Members who have met members of the Gingerbread Group, whom I had the honour of meeting last Saturday morning in my constituency when we discussed the group's plans. What attracted my attention to the efforts of the members of this group most of all was their desire to work for their families. They have a big programme before them. They are meeting welfare officers of local authorities and want to meet Government Ministers to discuss plans for the proper provision of child care during the working month and school holidays, so that mothers and fathers—because there are fathers who form single-parent families—can work for these families. At the meeting I had on Saturday I spoke to men who were part of single-parent families and, who had been left in circumstances similar to some mothers.
§ Mr. Bowden
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that when a single-parent family involves a member of our sex, even more difficult problems are involved, sometimes, because it is hard for a man to adjust, particularly if he has been in full-time employment. He no longer has a wife, who is a vital part of the household. He has to adjust to the difficult job of running a home, which is a highly skilled and specialised operation. For a man to have to do this raises big problems, and finance is the first one.
§ Mr. Spriggs
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. I realise he is trying to be helpful. However, in single-parent families the problem is just as difficult for women. They are expected to keep homes open and provide for their child or children. They must shop in the same place as other people. It is their desire to do what men are normally expected to do, namely to work to give their families a reasonable standard of life.
These people want to help provide premises and the specially trained staff to 444 look after their children while they are at work. During the school holidays they want to feel that they can trust the people who have charge of their children. The provision of buildings will be costly. I was pleased to hear the men and women of the Gingerbread Group saying that they understood the difficulties of local authorities and Government. They want to help pay for the provision of vital necessities. Hon. Members have put a watertight case to the Government. I appeal to the Minister to promise us that before the Bill reaches its final stages the Government will act to help the single-parent family.
§ Mr. David Price (Eastleigh)
I am sure that the Under-Secretary of State will find the plea of his hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens (Mr. Spriggs) irresistible. I certainly do. I speak in support of the new clause.
Whatever be the arguments for or against the family allowance system—and there are alternatives—I can see no argument in favour of excluding the first child. Many of us know from personal experience that proportionately the first child usually costs more than the second. Certainly it does not cost less. The evidence is that the change of life-style comes when the first child arrives. Many childless couples have one life-style, but as soon as the first child arrives it changes.
I am sorry that it has taken so long for the major political parties to agree that we should include the first child in this allowance. I was therefore as disappointed as any hon. Member that in the Bill the Government continued to exclude the first child. [AN HON. MEMBER: "So did the Conservative Government."] I accept that, but with this difference: the Conservative Government proposed the introduction of a totally new system, the tax credit system, which would have incorporated in the tax credit methods for dealing with the narrower problem which the new clause attempts to tackle and the wider problem of the first child.
Whatever party differences we on the Select Committee had about the merit of the tax credit system, there was unanimous agreement that a family allowance, or a tax credit, whichever it might be, should be extended to the first 445 child. Those who did not agree with the concept of the tax credit system were at one with us in believing that the first child should receive a family allowance or a tax credit. It is interesting to observe that the Secretary of State was an active and agreeable member of that Select Committee. It is therefore disappointing that she has not felt able to introduce this agreed measure in the Bill.
The effect of inflation on family income, especially on those who are less well off, identifies the problems of the one-parent family. The House will forgive me for quoting figures given in a circular from the Child Poverty Action Group. They show that in 1968 the difference in average weekly expenditure between a childless couple and a couple with one child was £4.60 a week. Today the comparable figure is £7.60. It is worth observing that, according to the same source, one-third of all poor families are one-child families.
It is against that background that my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams) has moved his fairly narrow new clause which proposes the introduction of a family allowance for the "only, elder or eldest child" in one-parent families. I should have thought that the case was irresistible. I realise that it may take time for the Government to digest the proposals of the Finer Committee. They were published only in July last year, though no doubt the Government may have had an idea earlier about the way in which the Committee's thoughts were moving.
We are soon to have a referendum on the EEC. Whether one is for or against our membership of the EEC, we can applaud the fact that all other Governments of the members of the Community pay a family allowance for the first child. I hope the Under-Secretary of State, with his normal Welsh charm, will accept the new clause. I have no doubt that his departmental brief refers to the administrative difficulties of identifying one-parent families and the problems which officers of his Department might encounter. He could overcome all the administrative difficulties by asking my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington to withdraw the clause and promising to 446 introduce in another place a wider clause, having proposed yet another money resolution, extending the family allowance for all first children. I give the hon. Gentleman the easy way out. If he does that, our happiness for today will be complete.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe)
I have some sympathy with the Under-Secretary of State in having to reply to this debate, because I am sure that it was thought in the Department that this was a small uprating Bill which would be wholly non-controversial, which would take a few sittings and which would, with a little good will on all sides, pass into law without difficulty. However, the hon. Gentleman has taken a terrible buffeting and has been defeated on this and that and has had pressure put upon him.
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams) on seizing the opportunity, despite the money resolution, to press the Government on this important matter of a family allowance for the eldest child in one-parent families. As my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Mr. Price) has pointed out, there is all-party agreement on this issue. When we were in office we prepared the tax credit scheme, which was our method of meeting our objective. A Select Committee had considered the matter and clearly it was ready for legislation.
The Labour Government did not like our method, but in their manifesto they committed themselves to the child family endowment scheme. There was vague talk about a child benefit Bill coming before the House. The Government committed themselves to introducing an allowance for the eldest child, particularly in one-parent families. I understand that not only is it a Labour Party manifesto commitment but that it is an element in the Government's policy for the social contract. One of the Government's obligations under the social contract is to do something about family allowances for the first child.
I welcome the pressure which Government Members have put on the Government to give substance to our aim, which is a family allowance for the eldest child. We are appreciative of their efforts to get something out of the Minister. But they must take one point on board. We 447 are getting nothing out of the Government on the child benefit Bill. It is my firm belief that the Cabinet, as opposed to back-bench Members on the Government side, has resolved to postpone the family endowment scheme. If hon. Members opposite want to maintain the pressure, they will have to realise that the Government have let them down and that the date April 1976, when we were expecting family alowances for the first child to be introduced, will not be realised.
It is time that we had an explanation from the Minister why that has been done. As usual, everybody except the House of Commons knows that the scheme has been postponed. Certainly people who read the specialised Press know it. The Cabinet has resolved to postpone the family endowment scheme and a sub-committee of the Cabinet called the Anti-Poverty Group—which no doubt proposes the expenditure of large sums of money on indiscriminate food subsidies and other measures to combat poverty—is deciding the Government's political stance to defend the decision to postpone the scheme.
The matter is best described in the New Society article by Paul Harrison, which appeared on 2nd January 1975, in which he describes the Government's dilemma and the decision that has been taken to postpone the scheme. The Minister must, first, admit that that decision has been taken and, secondly, tell us why it has been done and give an explanation of it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Acton (Sir G. Young) touched on doubts about office accommodation. We want to know what is going on at Washington in county Durham and whether there are difficulties there which have helped to delay the scheme. I believe that what has happened is that the Treasury will not give the money.
The hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne), said that large sums of money were being spent and that it was time that this small expenditure of £11 million—which was given in an answer to me yesterday—should be made. I ask the hon. Member for Preston, South whether, if his Minister refuses to allow that expenditure, he will vote tomorrow on the Prices Bill to give the Government 448 authority to spend an extra £1,000 million on indiscriminate food subsidies over the next few months, authorised no doubt by the Cabinet anti-poverty subcommittee. if the hon. Gentleman votes for that £1,000 million tomorrow and resists today an expenditure of £11 million on this worthwhile cause, I hope that he will have a guilty conscience.
The Department has been considering the clause and I trust that the Minister, in face of the pressure to which he has been subjected, will make a sympathetic response to its limited aims. The New Society article reads as follows:The Department of Health and Social Security was naturally concerned about the decision in Cabinet to postpone the family endowment scheme. The Department's view, it is understood, was that it would even be politically impossible to announce the postponement without offering some kind of sop, at least to protect the most vulnerable families. It proposed the extension of the existing family allowance of £1.50 to the first child of single-parent families—a move that would also, neatly, offer interim action on the Finer Committee's recommendations.It is not my hon. Friend's fault. He would like to propose that the family allowance should cover the eldest child but in view of the money resolution, he is able to move this limited step forward. The sop referred to in the article is before the House and it has some inevitable limitations. The hon. Member for Welwyn and Hatfield (Mrs. Hayman) spoke about the supplementary benefit disregard which will mean that the hardest hit families will not get much relief.
If the scheme is limited to one-parent families I assume that a cohabitation rule will have to be introduced for yet another benefit to sort out which are genuine one-parent families. Those technicalities need not stop us looking carefully at this scheme, which is a serious step forward and the very least that the Government should contemplate if they are to get something in their timetable by April 1976. We wish it to go further, and we want news of the child benefit Bill.
If the Minister contradicts what I said about the decision to postpone, no one will be more delighted than I. We all look forward to his trying to knock down what we have said about the decision to postpone and telling us that the family endowment scheme will come in by 1976. If he does not, the people covered by 449 the amendment will be affected, as will be large families with two parents. Large families of low-wage-earners are a key poverty group which will be particularly affected. That group would be helped by the granting of a family allowance for the first child. We would prefer the tax credit system, but we shall not allow the Government to get away with saying nothing. I see that there are a few Labour backbenchers who also are not prepared to allow the Government to get away with it.
If the Government postpone family allowances for all first children the Conservative Government's family income supplement becomes an important matter. We introduced it in response to our commitments to do something about family poverty. It was intended to be a temporary expedient before the tax credit system was introduced. If the family endowment scheme is postponed, the temporary expedient must be made to last longer.
We believe that the Government are not making full use of the FIS scheme because they are resentful of its Conservative authorship and they attacked it too strenuously in Opposition. They are seriously cutting down expenditure on advertising the availability of the FIS scheme so that the take-up has dropped. I understand that expenditure on advertising in 1971 was £310,000; in 1972, £325,000; in 1973, £161,000, and in 1974, £124,000. Experience in Government will surely tell the Minister that a national advertising campaign costing less than £150,000 is not worth doing. The Government are not advertising the availability of the scheme, and the number of people who are claiming FIS and benefiting from it has dropped from the first years.
I have tried to avoid too partisan an approach, but we shall not watch the Government dragging their feet on the endowment scheme, attempting to discredit FIS by ceasing to advertise its availability and continuing to make the party points they made in 1972 and 1973 about the low take-up of FIS and its inadequacy. We accept it as an expedient, but we should like to see a tax credit scheme. The House wants something to be done. We do not want the Government to say that in due course the Secre- 450 tary of State will make a statement. A decision has been taken about a statement which should have been made. The decision to postpone the scheme is extremely unfortunate and the Minister should face the House frankly and put us in the picture. He should tell us why he is failing to keep an electoral commitment which, I understand from Labour supporters, is an important part of the social contract.
§ Mr. Alec Jones
I might have been tempted at the beginning to think that this "little uprating Bill", as the hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke) described it, would go through easily. If that was my view at the beginning, experience has shown otherwise. One can see that the hon. Gentleman has benefited from his experience in the Opposition Whips' Office. Not only is he whipping his own supporters but he is doing his best to whip mine into the Conservative Lobby. I trust that my hon. Friends will be aware of the seductive practices of the hon. Gentleman in that respect.
The hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. Price) suggested that I might try to use Welsh charm on the House, if there be such a thing. I say to him that the charm from Eastleigh is infinitely more flattering.
There is considerable importance in the subject we have been discussing. I am always pleased to follow the hon. Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams) when he describes the specific needs of groups in our community. Both he and other hon. Gentleman have made a substantial case for special help for one-parent families.
The clause suggests that special help could be given by extending family allowances to the first child. I shall not pursue the subject of the technical expertise or otherwise contained in the clause. What has emerged from the debate so far is that there is no fundamental difference between the two sides of the House in our desire to do something for one-parent families. Not only do we agree that there is a need for such action but we also say that if there were any differences on this aspect they would be difficult for anybody to justify after publication of the Finer Report.
451 All who have contributed to the debate have emphasised the difficulties which face a single parent, whether male or female, in seeking alone to bring up a child or children. Obviously those people face special problems of a nature and scale not met by married couples. The problem is to decide how we are to give help and what that help should be.
The hon. Member for Kensington said that the acceptance or otherwise of the clause would be a test of the Government's good faith. I prefer the hon. Gentleman when he concentrates on the needs of people rather than when he seeks to make party political points. The House is at its best when hon. Members resist that temptation. If, however, party political points are made on one side, they have to be answered on the other side of the House. The hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) spoke of the failures of the Conservative Government in respect of family allowances, and I can only say that confession is particularly good for the souls of Conservative Members.
The needs of one-parent families and the need to extend family allowances did not suddenly arise last February. They were present in the period from 1970, when we were assured by the then Conservative Government that our economy was so sound that money could be allocated to relieve the lot of the better off. If the Conservatives were really concerned about one-parent families, that was the time when they could have done something about the situation.
It is untrue to suggest that we have done nothing for one-parent families. The uprating which we are now discussing has given substantial help to half the number of one-parent families. Indeed, a total of 350,000 out of 600.000 receive national insurance benefit, such as allowances for widowed mothers, or supplementary benefit, and one-parent families will be measurably better off as a result of the consequences of uprating. There has been other help, but this does not diminish the importance of the improvements enjoyed by one-parent families inherent in the uprating and in other aspects of Government policy—particularly in regard to food subsidies, which have been attacked today by Conserva- 452 tives. I emphasise that there are other ways, apart from uprating, in which one-parent families have been helped. I concede that they may be small, but they are important to the individuals concerned.
The earnings disregard which we are now introducing means that 13,000 heads of one-parent families with earnings of more than £4 a week will, as a result of our alteration in earnings disregard, receive the equivalent of a £2 a week increase in their scale rates. Another 12,000 whose earnings have been restricted will now have the opportunity to earn extra without restriction in terms of disregard.
§ Sir George Young
The Minister said that such people will now have the opportunity to do certain things. Does that mean that the new disregards are coming into effect as of now? If not, can he give the date when they will come into effect?
§ Mr. Jones
We have gone through all this. The date of implementation of disregards will be announced to the House. When I say "now" I am talking of when the disregards are brought into operation. Later this evening, or even in the early hours of tomorrow morning, we shall discuss Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 which are close to the heart of the hon. Member for Rushcliffe, and—who knows?—depending on the decision of the House further relief may be provided for one-parent families in regard to children's earnings.
In addition, the Supplementary Benefits Commission has taken certain action which has been called for by hon. Members on both sides of the House. The lone father who stays at home to look after his family no longer needs to register for work as a condition of receiving supplementary benefit. The hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr. Bowden) made particular reference to lone fathers. It is as well to remember that those people no longer need to register. That decision can affect 100,000 lone fathers.
The hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker) drew our attention to the special problem of the young unmarried mother. The fact that the Supplementary Benefits Commission decided that the young mother between 16 and 18 will now 453 receive the full adult scale, even though she may not be a householder—in other words, she might be living with her parents—again will be of some help.
I do not suggest that the steps I have outlined are massive or are enough or are substitutes. I am using them to indicate that it is not true to say that we have done nothing in this respect. Far from it. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State clearly said in her statement on 13th November:The Government are committed to extend the family allowance to the first child under their child allowance scheme, and I shall be making a statement on the timing and other details of the scheme in due course."—[Official Report, 13th November 1974; Vol. 881, c. 418.]That commitment stands and fulfils an election promise which was contained in our election manifesto, and it implements one of the major recommendations of the Finer Report.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The Minister is now getting down to the reality of the debate. Will he give an answer "Yes" or "No" to the question whether a decision has been taken to postpone the family endowment scheme? It is no good saying that there will be a statement in due course. All this delay in the matter of a statement means that the Government lack the courage to face the House, and perhaps their own supporters, in confessing that they have postponed the scheme.
§ Mr. Jones
For an Opposition Member to suggest that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State lacks courage is a monstrous perversion of the truth, as those who know my right hon. Friend are well aware. Whatever one may say about my right hon. Friend, I do not think anybody in the House would suggest that she lacks courage. What she indicated in that statement was our firm commitment, as I repeat today, to extend the family allowance to the first child under the child benefit scheme. That is a commitment and fulfils our election promise. The child benefit scheme will amalgamate existing family allowances and child tax allowances. It will be payable for all children including the first and will be payable to the mother—a point on which we had serious differences and difficulties some time ago.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The Under-Secretary has failed to answer the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke). Is it true that a decision has been taken to postpone that Bill? If it has not been taken, may we be told whether in the next six, nine, 12 or 18 months we can expect the announcement?
§ Mr. Jones
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has indicated time and time again, and I repeat, that when she is ready she will make a statement to the House giving the full details of the nature of the scheme and the date of implementation.
The hon. Member for Rushcliffe referred to rumour and speculation. He will not expect me to comment on that. If I were to take up a great deal of time commenting on all the Press speculation, it might make for an exciting debate but it would not add very much to our knowledge. Any comments I might make might be as useful as attempting to answer the question whether I had yet stopped beating my wife. If I were tempted to make comments on Press speculation, I might make comments upon the election which is shortly to take place affecting certain Opposition Members.
The principal accusation seems to be that the present Government are slow in implementing their proposals. I should like to deal with that. I understand the natural desire of hon. Members to proceed as quickly as possible with this type of improvement. We have to look at the matter against the background that since February 1974, when this Government first came to office, we have embarked upon two major upratings, expending the sum of £2,500 million. Indeed, some of the criticisms of the uprating Bill make me think that, far from increasing the benefits, we are reducing them.
We are also introducing the new benefits of the non-contributory invalidity pension and the invalid care allowance. We are improving benefits which were long neglected by the Conservative Party. Later in the day we shall debate the earnings rule. Last July we increased the earnings rule from £9.50 to £13. Family allowances are being increased to £1.50. It is the Labour Government who are improving the disregards of earnings and capital. When the Opposition say that the Government are slow in one sphere, 455 I look across the whole board of social security provisions in judging the speed or otherwise of this Government—
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Is the Minister aware that the report of his speech will indicate that he spent the first 10 minutes or quarter of an hour talking about every benefit under the sun other than that which might have had some effect on one-parent families? Now, after comments taking up two paragraphs at most, he is launching into the peroration of his speech, which I am not surprised to find is dealing with the family endowment scheme.
Will not the hon. Gentleman answer one question about the position at Washington, about the possible date of implementation, what has been decided and what will happen?
He does not have to answer Press speculation. But if he avoids answering any questions he confirms by his attitude every word of the allegations made against his Government by the Opposition.
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Gentleman is talking nonsense on that aspect. The main burden of the case made by the Opposition is that we have been unnecessarily slow. That is what I am attempting to put into perspective. I have indicated the improvements we have carried out in social security since the Government came to office in February 1974. I am sure that, if the Opposition had had a similarly good record in a comparable period, they might have been in a better position to face the electorate in February last year.
The hon. Member for Rushcliffe and many of his hon. Friends made great play with the fact that, if we had implemented the Conservative tax credit scheme, everything in the garden would have been lovely. The 1972 Green Paper on tax credits said that if Parliament approved the scheme on these lines it would take about five years to get it working. If that is so, I do not see how either the hon. Member for Rushcliffe or the hon. Lady the Member for Wallasey can suggest otherwise.
§ Mr. Jones
The delay was not caused by me.
The matter was dealt with not only in the 1972 Green Paper. The October manifesto of the Conservatives stated that, as a first step towards establishing the tax credit scheme, they would introduce a system of child credits when economic circumstances allowed. However, no firm date or commitment was given by them when they faced the electorate in October. They are now suggesting that the absence of any firm date from the Government makes nonsense.
The absence of a date in the Opposisition's election manifesto makes nonsense of the suggestion that we have been tardy in setting out the details of our child allowance scheme.
§ Mr. Thorne
I wonder whether my hon. Friend will take note of the fact that we are not so perturbed about what the Opposition promised and failed to carry out. We are concerned with what the Labour Party said to the electorate about what it would do when it became the Government.
§ Mr. Jones
I assure my hon. Friend that I am naturally concerned with what is said by hon. Members on both sides of the House. Were I to indicate a preference as to the side to which I would pay the greatest attention, it is what is said on this side which carries considerable weight with me.
I thought I indicated clearly that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State 457 had indicated in her interim statement on this scheme that we would carry out and were in the process of making arrangements to fulfil our election manifesto pledge on this matter. The Opposition said that there were no problems. References were made to Washington.
§ Mr. D. E. Thomas (Merioneth)
I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's difficulty. If the family endowment scheme is as effective as we hope, why is he unable to agree to operate the scheme set out in the clause?
§ Mr. Jones
If the hon. Gentleman will bear with me, I am sure he will appreciate the point I want to make.
It is unrealistic for Members, on both sides, to believe that a child endowment scheme of this size can be implemented without considerable preparation and without appreciating the considerable difficulties. We are talking of taking on 3 million singleton children. We say that, even before we can entertain claims from these children, we are talking of major computing programme difficulties, major printing programmes, housing difficulties and staffing problems. I do not suggest that any one of those problems is the cause of delay. But it would be folly for us to start out on a scheme of this nature without ensuring that all those problems were first solved. It is the total of these problems which is one factor influencing my right hon. Friend in making a firmly-dated decision on this matter.
Let me say to the hon. Member for Kensington that I am not attacking the principle of providing assistance for one-parent families any more than I am specifically attacking the proposal in the clause. As those minor matters to which I referred clearly show, we as a Government are looking at ways of providing for one-parent families. We want to give help to them as soon as possible. We believe that help can best be provided as part of a co-ordinated plan. When the details of that co-ordinated plan are finalised, with a definite date, my right hon. Friend will make a statement.
As a Government and as a party, we are deeply concerned with the plight of the one-parent family. We accept our responsibilities as a Government. We 458 accept the responsibilities laid down in the manifestos, upon which my right hon. and hon. Friends fought the last two elections. We have already taken steps to ease the plight of one-parent families. The next big step forward must be the introduction of a child benefit scheme. We are not yet ready to make an announcement on this. In the meantime I must ask the House to resist the temptation to ask me to jump the gun by accepting the specific proposals in the clause.
No one denies the need. We are as anxious as anyone to find means of helping one-parent families. I am sure that when my right hon. Friend makes her announcement hon. Members on both sides of the House will agree that our proposals will meet that need.
§ Sir B. Rhys Williams
Right hon. and hon. Members are anxious to move to a vote, so I shall not detain the House very long.
I thank the Minister for going as far as he has. In fact he went wide on the question of child benefits but, in the end, did not say anything. He did not analyse my clause in detail, and I am grateful for that because I do not think that it would have stood up to the analysis that he might have brought to it if he had wished to be destructive. He was not destructive, because he knows in his heart that it is necessary and that it should come. The Minister has had a difficult job, because he has had to defend his Department for a decision taken outside it, but the Government have decided not to go ahead with the child endowment scheme, and that is painfully clear.
That being so, why cannot we have a Green Paper about it? The Secretary of State has made much of the difficulties. Very well. Let us discuss them. Let public concern be expressed. Why cannot we have a statement of Government policy, even if the implementation cannot be carried through at once? If the Government cannot implement the reform at once, why not take us into their confidence about their plans, instead of simply resisting even minor amendments on the grounds that an announcement will be made in due course, though they cannot say when? The right hon. Lady feels that the legislative process in bringing in her child endowment scheme will be long 459 drawn out. I doubt that. We in this House are unanimous that something has to be done quickly. But if she thinks that, let her start the legislative process by introducing a Green Paper.
There was reference to the problem of finding the money. The money is there for lavish subsidies, though the food subsidies have not prevented a rise in the cost of living, as poor families know too well. Family allowances have been increased, but not as much as the increase in the cost of living since the last family allowances increase. For that reason, the Minister cannot make too much of those aspects of Government policy as a way of defending himself against the fact that the Government are not doing enough for one-parent families.
Again, the Government make much of administrative difficulties. I remind the House that, once they got down to it, the
|Division No. 76.]||AYES||[6.25 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Macfarlane, Neil|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)||MacGregor, John|
|Alison, Michael||Glyn, Dr Alan||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Godber, Rt Hon Joseph||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Arnold, Tom||Goodhart, Philip||Mates, Michael|
|Awdry, Daniel||Goodhew, Victor||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Bain, Mrs Margaret||Goodlad, Alastair||Mayhew, Patrick|
|Banks, Robert||Gorst, John||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Beith, A. J.||Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Biffen, John||Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)||Moate, Roger|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)||Griffiths, Eldon||Molyneaux, James|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)||Grist, Ian||Monro, Hector|
|Bradford, Rev Robert||Grylls, Michael||Moore, John (Croydon C)|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Hall, Sir John||Morgan, Geraint|
|Brotherton, Michael||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Morris, Michael (Northampton S|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Morrison, Peter (Chester)|
|Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)||Hampson, Dr Keith||Mudd, David|
|Budgen, Nick||Hannam, John||Neave, Airey|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Hastings, Stephen||Nelson, Anthony|
|Burden, F. A.||Hawkins, Paul||Neubert, Michael|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Henderson, Douglas||Newton, Tony|
|Carson, John||Holland, Philip||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)|
|Clark. Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)||Hooson, Emlyn||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Cockcroft, John||Hordern, Peter||Pardoe, John|
|Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)||Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Cope, John||Hurd, Douglas||Pattie, Geoffrey|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Penhaligon, David|
|Corrie, John||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch|
|Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E)||Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Crawford, Douglas||Jessel, Toby||Rathbone, Tim|
|Crouch, David||Johnston Russell (Inverness)||Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter|
|Crowder, F. P.||Jones, Arthur (Daventry)||Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)|
|Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)||Jopling, Michael||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Dodsworth, Geoffrey||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Reid, George|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine||Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)|
|Drayson, Burnaby||Kimball, Marcus||Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)|
|Dunlop, John||King, Evelyn (South Dorset)||Ridley, Hon Nicholas|
|Durant, Tony||Knox, David||Rifkind, Malcolm|
|Dykes, Hugh||Lamont, Norman||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Ross, William (Londonderry)|
|Emery, Peter||Latham, Michael (Melton)||Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)|
|Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)||Lawrence, Ivan||Sainsbury, Tim|
|Eyre, Reginald||Lawson, Nigel||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Fairgrieve, Russell||Loveridge, John||Shepherd, Colin|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Sims, Roger|
|Freud, Clement||MacCormick, Iain||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.||McCrindle, Robert||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)|
§ German Government introduced family allowance for the first child within five months.
§ I thank my hon. Friends for their support for my clause. I offer my special thanks to those Government supporters who have had the courage to speak out in favour of it. I hope that they will follow their voices with their votes. I trust that this House will demonstrate to the Department that something has to be done and that we are exasperated by the delay. I am glad to see that the Secretary of State is present. She knows the strength of our feeling, and I believe that we can depend on her for action. I hope that I shall be proved right.
§ Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 174, Noes 275.
|Smith, Dudley (Warwick)||Tebbit, Norman||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek|
|Spence, John||Temple-Morris, Peter||Walters, Dennis|
|Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)||Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret||Watt, Hamish|
|Spicer, Michael (S. Worcester)||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)||Wells, John|
|Sproat, Iain||Thompson, George||Welsh, Andrew|
|Stainton, Keith||Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Stanbrook. Ivor||Townsend, Cyril D.||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Stanley, John||Trotter, Neville||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)|
|Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Tugendhat, Christopher||Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)|
|Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)||Viggers, Peter||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)||Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)||Mrs. Lynda Chalker and|
|Stokes, John||Wakeham, John||Sir Brandon Rhys Williams.|
|Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Abse, Leo||Dormand, J. D.||John, Brynmor|
|Allaun, Frank||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Johnson, James (Hull West)|
|Anderson, Donald||Duffy, A. E. P.||Johnson, Walter (Derby S)|
|Archer, Peter||Dunn, James A.||Jones, Alec (Rhondda)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Dunnett, Jack||Jones, Barry (East Flint)|
|Ashley, Jack||Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Ashton, Joe||Eadie, Alex||Judd, Frank|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)||Edelman, Maurice||Kaufman, Gerald|
|Atkinson, Norman||Edge, Geoff||Kelley, Richard|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)||Kerr, Russell|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel||Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)||Kilroy-Silk, Robert|
|Bates, Alf||English, Michael||Lambie, David|
|Bean, R. E.||Ennals, David||Lamborn, Harry|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Lamond, James|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Evans, John (Newton)||Latham, Arthur (Paddington)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Ewing Harry (Stirling)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Bishop, E. S.||Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.||Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Boardman, H.||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Booth, Albert||Flannery, Martin||Litterick, Tom|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur||Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Loyden, Eddie|
|Boyden, James (Bish Auck)||Ford, Ben||Luard, Evan|
|Bradley, Tom||Forrester, John||Lyon, Alexander (York)|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)||McElhone, Frank|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Freeson, Reginald||MacFarquhar, Roderick|
|Brown, Ronald (Hackney S.)||Garrett, John (Norwich S)||McGuire, Michael (Ince)|
|Buchan, Norman||Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Buchanan, Richard||George, Bruce||Maclennan, Robert|
|Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)||Gilbert, Dr John||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Ginsburg, David||Madden, Max|
|Campbell, Ian||Golding John||Magee, Bryan|
|Canavan, Dennis||Gould, Bryan||Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh)|
|Cant, R. B.||Gourlay, Harry||Mahon, Simon|
|Carmichael, Neil||Graham, Ted||Marks, Kenneth|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Marquand, David|
|Cartwright, John||Grant, John (Islington C)||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)|
|Castle, Rt Hon Barbara||Grocott, Bruce||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Clemitson, Ivor||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)||Hamling, William||Meacher, Michael|
|Coleman, Donald||Hardy, Peter||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert|
|Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen||Harper, Joseph||Mikardo, Ian|
|Conlan, Bernard||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Millan, Bruce|
|Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)||Hart, Rt Hon Judith||Miller, Dr M. S. (E. Kilbride)|
|Corbett, Robin||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)|
|Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Hatton, Frank||Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)|
|Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)||Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Molloy, William|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Heffer, Eric S.||Moonman, Eric|
|Cronin, John||Hooley, Frank||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Cryer, Bob||Horam, John||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington S)||Hoyle, Douglas (Nelson)||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)|
|Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)||Huckfield, Les||Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Dalyell. Tarn||Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)||Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King|
|Davidson, Arthur||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Newens, Stanley|
|Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Noble, Mike|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelli)||Hunter, Adam||Oakes, Gordon|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)||Ogden, Eric|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Irving, Ri Hon S. (Dartford)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Deakins, Eric||Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)||O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Jackson, Miss M. (Lincoln)||Orbach, Maurice|
|de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Janner, Greville||Ovenden, John|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Owen, Dr David|
|Dell, Rt Hon Edmund||Jeger, Mrs Lena||Padley, Walter|
|Dempsey, James||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Doig, Peter||Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)||Park, George|
|Parker, John||Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)||Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)|
|Parry, Robert||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Pavitt, Laurie||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)||Walker, Terry (Kingswood)|
|Perry, Ernest||Sillars, James||Ward, Michael|
|Phipps, Dr Colin||Silverman, Julius||Watkins, David|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Skinner, Dennis||Watkinson, John|
|Price, C. (Lewisham W)||Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)||Weetch, Ken|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Snape, Peter||Weitzman, David|
|Radice, Giles||Spearing, Nigel||Wellbeloved, James|
|Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)||Spriggs, Leslie||White, Frank R. (Bury)|
|Richardson, Miss Jo||Stallard, A. W.||White, James (Pollock)|
|Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)||Stewart, Rt Hn M. (Fulham)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Stott, Roger||Whitlock, William|
|Roderick, Caerwyn||Strang, Gavin||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Rodgers, George (Chorley)||Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.||Williams, Alan (Swansea W)|
|Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Rooker, J. W.||Swain, Thomas||Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)|
|Rose, Paul B.||Taylor, Mrs Arm (Bolton W)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Rowlands, Ted||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)||Woodall, Alec|
|Ryman, John||Thomas, Ron (Bristol NE)||Woof, Robert|
|Sandelson, Neville||Tierney, Sydney||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Sedgemore, Brian||Tinn, James||Young, David (Bolton E)|
|Selby, Harry||Tomlinson, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)||Torney, Tom||Mr. David Stoddart and|
|Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.||Mr. John Ellis|
|Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcasle C)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.