HC Deb 15 July 1976 vol 915 cc1047-60

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Neville Trotter (Tynemouth)

I beg to move Amendment No. 271, in page 38, line 18, at end insert— 'Provided that no charge shall arise if the private use of the car made by him or others being members of his family or household in that year was merely incidental to his other use of it in the year.'

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

With this it may be convenient to take Amendment No. 272, in line 18, at end insert— '(1A) For the purposes of this section "incidental" private use shall mean private use not exceeding twenty per cent. of the total use'.

Mr. Trotter

In Clause 58 we were not talking about cars for the "man in the street", but rather about the small number of cars hardly used at all for business. In this clause, however, we are talking of those cars with substantial business use, in other words about hundreds of thousands of ordinary taxpayers who are to be arbitrarily assessed on figures which bear no resemblance to the facts of their own motoring—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. It would be convenient if hon. Members were able to hear what was said.

Mr. Trotter

There is of course some change in the Government proposals. The taxed benefit on an 1800 cc or 1900 cc car will be reduced by the derisory sum of £10 from £360 to £350, which figure bears no regard to the facts of each case. Hardly any taxpayers will benefit and a very large number stand to lose as a result. We do not know the amount of additional revenue. It has been suggested, however, in the Press that something like an additional £100 million may be brought in.

My suggestion is that we should ignore incidental private use of a car which is basically used for business purposes, and Amendment No. 272 suggests that 20 per cent. should be taken as "incidental" for this purpose.

If the Minister feels that it is unfair that incidental private use should be ignored. I refer him to Clause 60 dealing with pool cars, under which the incidental use of a pool car will not give rise to an assessed benefit on the fortunate person who has the use of it. I need hardly remind the Minister that he is the fortunate recipient of a pool car.

It seems strange to me and will seem strange to hundreds of thousands of ordinary motorists who are to suffer penal charges as a result of Clause 59 that there should be different treatment for Ministers' cars from that for the ordinary man in the street.

Recently I asked the Chancellor in a Written Question whether he could explain why, when assessing benefits, private mileage was to be ignored for the chauffeur-driven cars used by Ministers when it was not to be ignored for the ordinary citizens. The answer was that Ur; Minister would let me have a reply as soon as possible. It seems that the civil servants in the Treasury have not been able to think of a satisfactory explanation. I have not been able to think of one, and I suggest that the ordinary motorist will not be able to think of one either. I look forward to hearing whether the Minister can provide a satisfactory explanation tonight.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

The purpose of this amendment is to relieve from a charge to tax the benefit received from a company car where the private use of that car is not more than 20 per cent. of total use. The hon. Member for Tyne-mouth (Mr. Trotter) seeks to provide that such cars will be exempt from the provisions of this legislation. I should point out that if the amendment were carried we would be back with the old situation of obtaining the agreement of the inspector of taxes to an apportionment of the amount of use of the car for business and the amount of use for private purposes. The inspectors of taxes are in no position to challenge the proportions put to them.

For the large number of people who have to provide not only the purchase price of their cars but also the running costs, the disadvantages would remain. Those with company cars would retain an unchallengeable advantage. What we seek to do is to provide a reasonable and rational approach whereby those with company cars, and requiring them for good reasons, pay the correct amount of tax, which they know and understand in advance.

The hon. Gentleman is asking about pool cars, and I can tell him something about them. A pool car arrangement—and there are many such arrangements throughout industry and commerce—consists of cars which are made available to more than one employee, and which are not kept overnight at an employee's home. Anyone who wants to set up such an arrangement is perfectly entitled to do so.

I will deal with the case for exempting pool cars from these provisions. There are two tests to be satisfied before we are entitled to carry this part of the legislation into effect. First, we must ask whether there is a case for a special arrangement to be made for those pool car services at present in operation. Is there a distinction between those pool car services at present operating and company cars? Is there a distinction between the benefit receivable from a pool car and the benefit receivable from a company car? If we answer "Yes" to that, the next question is, how should this difference be treated for tax purposes.

The first aspect of a pool car arrangement is that the person does not have the car available for his own purposes. It is not normally available for weekends or holidays. He does not have it available at his garage other than for business use.

Mr. Trotter

Not many ordinary taxpayers can afford £10,000 a year for the benefit of a chauffeur-driven car, as enjoyed by the Ministers.

Mr. Sheldon

It is for industry to decide how to make arrangements for the transport of employees. It is not for me to dictate to industry or to commerce how best to organise the travelling arrangements of employees. It is up to industry or commerce to make the choice in the way that is thought most suitable and to meet the requirements imposed by taxation.

Mr. David Mitchell

Will the Minister not accept that the position he has described is the identical position which exists in the case of the small business man using his car for business purposes all the time? How will the Minister go home from the debate tonight? Will he be taken home in a pool car?

Mr. Goodhew

Can the Minister assure us that the pool car with the chauffeur is a much greater benefit than a car which the—

Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham and Heston)

Let us get back to the argument.

Mr. Goodhew

The hon. Gentleman consistently wastes the time of the House in attacking me whenever I speak. Does not the Minister accept that the pool car with a chauffeur to clean it and look after it and pick up the occupant is a much greater benefit than the normal person receives from the car that he has to drive and to clean for himself? If the Minister tells me that he cannot be driven home in his car tonight, I will drive him home in my car.

Mr. Sheldon

The basis of the pool car is that it is made available to the employee for business use. I am seeking to establish what a pool car does. The hon. Gentleman will then be quite entitled to see whether the Government car service meets the requirements of the pool car arrangements in the current legislation. Under the pool car arrangements as they exist in the Bill today—and as they presumably will continue to exist—company cars are made available for employees to enable them to go about their business activities. These suffer a number of restrictions from which company cars do not suffer.

Concerning the advantages of a company car, I quote from a book by Peter N. C. Cooke entitled "The Company Car". He has had much experience in operating car services in a number of different firms. He writes: Company executives who receive a car would not expect to have restrictions placed on its use. This accords with all our experience. We all know that company cars provided in this way answer to this description in much more than 90 per cent. of cases. The writer continues: Some companies restrict the drivers allowed to use the car to people nominated by the executive concerned, normally restricting the list to the employee's spouse and, perhaps, his children or immediate family. 11.15 p.m.

The restrictions that companies place upon the cars they provide for their employees are very few indeed. We know from this book that company cars are normally available for foreign travel. This accords with our understanding of the use made of company cars throughout the country.

This does not apply in the general arrangements for pool cars. They are kept in a central area for the benefit of employees who may use them in going about company business. These cars are available to more than one employee and not kept at employees' homes.

Mr. Goodhew

Is the Financial Secretary going to be driven home in a pool car this evening or does he want me to give him a lift?

Mr. Sheldon

I should prefer to walk home rather than accept the hon. Gentleman's invitation.

As long as no one seeks to deny the difference between the operation of pooled and company cars, we shall listen to hon. Member's views with interest, but we must consider the advantage of company cars and their proper taxation. We do not wish to return to the unsatisfactory features of the impossible task of inspectors of taxes who were expected to deal with these matters without knowledge of the business of the company concerned or the proportion of private mileage to the total. We now have the opportunity to bring order into this matter.

Mr. F. P. Crowder

Before the war, Cabinet Ministers were paid £5,000 a year and did not have pool cars They were paid £5,000 a year so that they could provide their own cars and, if necessary, drivers. In order to put the matter on a firm financial basis, should we not be paying Ministers a proper salary to enable them to provide their own cars? Nothing horrifies me more than seeing Ministers of the Crown going off with their drivers— who are, no doubt, waiting for them at this moment.

I am sure that the Financial Secretary would prefer a reasonable salary and to provide his own car on a proper taxation basis. Otherwise, if Ministers are to be put in the privileged position of using pool cars, they will, in effect, be having free use of a car which would cost other people about £1,000 a year to run. Surely that is the last thing a Socialist Government would wish to see. I am sure that Socialist Ministers would agree that if they are to have cars they should provide them for themselves.

Mr. Peter Walker (Worcester)

At night the drivers of ministerial cars used to be entitled to take their cars home and to garage them there. If that is still the position, may I ask—this is in the interests of Government drivers rather than those of Ministers—whether any form of taxation will be levied on Government drivers who constantly take cars home and have the benefit of using them to go to their place of work? If those drivers are exempted, what is the position of the chauffeur employed by a private company who lives either in the same house as—or in a cottage in the grounds of the residence of—the chairman of the company? That chauffeur constantly garages the car at his home in the same way as ministerial drivers are allowed to garage ministerial cars.

Mr. Peter Rees

This is a matter of some delicacy. Perhaps you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would give a little guidance to the House. I wonder whether the Minister should make a declaration of interest. Perhaps he has no interest to declare. [Interruption.] I shall be happy to give way to Government supporters who may wish to intervene, but I shall not give way to those who attempt to intervene from a sitting position.

This debate has delicate overtones. It might be to the advantage of the House and the debate if the Minister indicated whether the car that brought him here this afternoon was made available to and used by, more than one Minister of the Crown. The Financial Secretary is a man of sensitivity and honour. It might help the House to make up its mind on this important amendment if we knew how far Ministers of the Crown —and especially the Financial Secretary —were involved in this matter.

Perhaps you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, might give your guidance to the Minister and the House on this point.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I have no indication to give to the Minister as to what he should or should not declare. I should like to declare that my impression was that we were talking about private use.

Mr. Peter Rees

How may I know what private use is accorded to the Minister? Perhaps the Minister would like to disclose to the House how far and how often his car is used to take him back to his house. As I understand the definition, that is private use. I do not complain. However, we should like to know, in the general context of this debate, how much private use is accorded to Ministers. As I say, I do not complain as, on the whole, Ministers are hard-used and underpaid. It would help us to judge the merits or demerits of this case if we knew how much private use was accorded to Ministers and whether their cars, by the strict and narrow definition of this clause, may be regarded as pool cars. I think that the House and the public would be interested in that point.

Mr. Fairbairn

It is important when considering the question of the taxation of company cars to study the ministerial position with some care. The Treasury conclude that the person involved should not get away with this benefit, especially if his car is used privately. I am informed that the Leader of the House frequently dines or lunches at Lockets. If that is so, does he go there in a Ministerial car?

Mr. David Mitchell

He is an honourable man.

Mr. Fairbairn

The Prime Minister referred to those upon whom we depend for investment to enable the country to go ahead again. Are the Government now saying that those people are getting away with something? Let us have a little honesty. These are only pool cars.

Mr. Peter Walker

I hope that my hon. and learned Friend appreciates that yesterday, when dining at Lockets, the Leader of the House gave a lift to Tory MPs who perhaps should declare their interest.

Mr. Fairbairn

That is public use. I am talking about private use. No doubt the Leader of the House refused the offer of the hackney fare which no doubt Tory MPs would have offered him. That at least was a pool car, so we could pretend that it was not private use but a kind of Government service that we should all enjoy.

Let us consider the position of the ex-Prime Minister. The right hon. Member for Hyton (Sir H. Wilson) has a personal car with a chauffeur, fuel, and everything at the taxpayers' expense—£12,000 a year.

Mr. Ridley rose

Mr. Neil Kinnock (Bedwellty)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is there not some danger of this debate descending into inordinate stupidity, which I realise is not strictly out of order, if hon. Members are allowed to make these ridiculous comparisons and exchanges on the basis of what former Prime Ministers of both major parties are entitled to? Is it not demeaning the House to engage in this kind of exchange?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The thought had crossed my mind that we were straying a little from the strict wording of the amendment.

Mr. Fairbairn

I am concerned with principle. When we are dealing with private use—[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite are always appealing to great high-flown principles. Let them listen for a moment to this concept and principle. They are always appealing to civil liberties and fairness.

Mr. James Lamond (Oldham, East)

This is pathetic.

Mr. Fairbairn

If there is to be a charge on the citizen for private use, we should consider whether others are getting a benefit. Here we have not only Ministers but Members of this House who have no more right than any other citizens. I should like to think that we regarded ourselves as having less right and more duty than other citizens. But a Member of this House has a car, a driver and fuel for either private or public use. 'That is a matter on which the Treasury should put its jealous eyes. If necessary, it should break into one or all of his holiday homes to look for papers which might disclose fraudulent evasion of tax.

One example is good enough. A principle should apply to all or to none. We have people who are obtaining a benefit of £12,000 a year on the public Exchequer for their own private purposes as ordinary citizens who happen to be Members of this House, and that benefit is not subject to tax. If that is not an abuse of private use, the Treasury and Ministers should withdraw any suggestion that other citizens, who are doing their best by the community, should be made subject to a tax to which certain priviledged people who have committed the sin of becoming very rich, which I understand is wrong in the eyes of hon. Gentlemen opposite—they find that offensive—are not subject. It is bad enough that anybody should be an exception, but that somebody who has committed the offensive sin of becoming rich, which I understand is a sin, should have this benefit on a personal basis seems very bad. To use such a benefit for personal use is an affront to the pretence of hon. Gentlemen opposite who claim to care for those in poverty.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

I should like to reply briefly to two important points. I take note of what the hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn) said.

The first point arises from what was said by the right hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Walker). One of the requirements of pool car status is that it is not normally kept overnight at or in the vicinity of any residential premises where the employees reside. Clearly, occasional garaging of the car where the employee resides would be acceptable. What we have to bear in mind is that we are not here concerned with tax on ministerial cars.

It would be relatively easy if we wanted to introduce a tax just on ministerial cars

to deal with this problem but we have to consider what is the practice in industry and we must not create legislation which will make the task of those people operating services of this kind more difficult than it is at present. Once we accept that pool cars have a certain position which singles them out, this makes them eligible for treatment different from that which would be adopted in the ordinary way. We have to consider whether the proposed tax arrangements are worked out in fairness to operations of this kind, and I believe that that is the case.

Mr. Trotter

That was an interesting debate but the main argument put forward by the Minister was really that the Revenue is unable to cope with the present procedure and therefore it proposes to be unfair to practically all taxpayers to get over its little difficulties. I found that a quaint answer.

With regard to pool cars, I do not think that it was a stupid comparison, and I do not believe that the ordinary motorist will regard it as a stupid comparison, if any ordinary motorist happens to he passing here when the 70 cars drive out with their 70 chauffeurs and 70 Ministers —although there do not seem to be 70 Ministers present tonight.

The Minister cannot deny that if a business car were used solely for journeys to and from home by a business man there would be a tax assessment on that car. But there is no such assessment on Ministers. I cannot help thinking that the situation would be different if there were no pool cars for Ministers. If pool cars were applied only to business men we would see them being taxed in the same way as everybody else's car.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 101, Noes 152.

Division No. 255.] AYES [11.35 p.m.
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Crowder, F. P. Hawkins, Paul
Biggs-Davison, John Dodsworth, Geoffrey Hayhoe, Barney
Blaker, Peter Drayson, Burnaby Higgins, Terence L.
Boscawen, Hon Robert Fairbairn, Nicholas Holland, Philip
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Farr, John Hordern, Peter
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Finsberg, Geoffrey Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Buck, Antony Forman, Nigel Howell, David (Guildford)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Gardiner, George (Reigate Hurd, Douglas
Carlisle, Mark Glyn, Dr Alan James David
Clark, William (Croydon S) Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)
Cockcroft, John Goodhew, Victor Kimball, Marcus
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Goodlad, Alastair Kirk, Sir Peter
Cope, John Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Lamont, Norman
Crouch, David Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Lane, David
Langford-Holt, Sir John Nott, John Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Lawrence, Ivan Onslow, Cranley Stanbrook, Ivor
Lawson, Nigel Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Stanley, John
Le Marchant, Spencer Paisley, Rev Ian Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Macfarlane, Neil Parkinson, Cecil Tebbit, Norman
MacGregor, John Percival, Ian Townsend, Cyril D.
Madel, David Price, David (Eastleigh) Trotter, Neville
Mates, Michael Pym, Rt Hon Francis Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Mather, Carol Raison, Timothy Viggers, Peter
Meyer, Sir Anthony Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Wakeham, John
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Warren, Kenneth
Moate, Roger Ridsdale, Julian Weatherill, Bernard
Montgomery, Fergus Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Wells, John
Morgan, Geraint St. John-Stevas, Norman Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Scott, Nicholas Wiggin, Jerry
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Shersby, Michael Winterton, Nicholas
Neave, Airey Sims, Roger
Nelson, Anthony Smith, Dudley (Warwick) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Neubert, Michael Speed, Keith Mr. Anthony Berry and
Newton, Tony Spicer, Jim (W Dorset) Mr. Fred Silvester.
Abse, Leo Golding, John Pavitt, Laurie
Archer, Peter Grant, George (Morpeth) Pendry, Tom
Atkinson, Norman Grant, John (Islington C) Penhaligon, David
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Hamilton, W. W. (Central File) Perry, Ernest
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Hardy, Peter Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Bates, Alf Harper, Joseph Richardson, Miss Jo
Beith, A. J. Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Hooley, Frank Robinson, Geoffrey
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Huckfield, Les Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Bidwell, Sydney Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Rooker, J. W.
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Roper, John
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Sandelson, Neville
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Janner, Greville Sedgemore, Brian
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Selby, Harry
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Jeger, Mrs Lena Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Carter, Ray Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Cartwright, John Kelley, Richard Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Kerr, Russell Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Clemitson, Ivor Kinnock, Nell Silverman, Julius
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Lamborn, Harry Skinner, Dennis
Coleman, Donald Lamond, James Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Conlan, Bernard Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Snape, Peter
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Spearing, Nigel
Corbett, Robin Lipton, Marcus Stallard, A. W.
Crawshaw, Richard Loyden, Eddie Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Cronin, John Luard, Evan Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Stoddart, David
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) MacFarquhar, Roderick Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Cryer, Bob MacKenzie, Gregor Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Madden, Max Tierney, Sydney
Davidson, Arthur Mallalleu, J. P. W. Tinn, James
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Marks, Kenneth Tomlinson, John
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Marquand, David Torney, Tom
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Maynard, Miss Joan Ward, Michael
Deakins, Eric Meacher, Michael Watkins, David
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Mendelson, John Weetch, Ken
Dormand, J. D. Mikardo, Ian Weltzman, David
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Whitehead, Phillip
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Moyle, Roland Whitlock, William
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Newens, Stanley Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Ford, Ben Ogden, Eric Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Forrester, John Orbach, Maurice Wise, Mrs Audrey
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Woodall, Alec
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Ovenden, John
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Owen, Dr David TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Palmer, Arthur Mr.Thomas Cox and
George, Bruce Park, George Mr. Ted Graham.

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

I beg to move Amendment No. 86, in page 38, line 23, leave out '£5,000' and insert '£6,000'.

This is the first of a number of amendments dealing with changes in the scales which follow our undertaking to consult the motor industry about benefits provisions. It is as a result of a number of meetings involving all sections of the trade, various Government Departments, the Inland Revenue and the Treasury— I have taken part in some myself—that the changes are proposed.

The amendment defines the difference between the less expensive cars with a cylinder capacity covered by Table A and those covered by Table B. We may want to discuss these matters in a wider context later.

Amendment agreed to.

11.45 p.m.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

I beg to move Amendment No. 87, in page 38, line 31, leave out from year' to end of line 33.

The amendment concerns the half scale for 1977–78, which is not now required because of the changes in the scales and the break points. Because of the provisions already made, we seek to remove the interim period.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

I beg to move Amendment No. 88, in page 39, line 8, after 'year', insert 'or the use of it has been preponderantly business use'. The amendment concerns the position of the employee whose business use of the car is more than 25,000 miles. It is a response to representations made to me by the Motor Agents Association as well as to comments made in Committee and other representations.

The result of the amendment is that if a car is used by an employee for a business mileage of more than 25,000 miles in the year half of the scale benefit will apply. If the car is not available for the whole year the figure of 25,000 miles will be proportionately reduced. It is intended to meet the case of the heavy business user of the car. On a number of occasions the example has been given of a salesman whose business use is so extensive that the availability for private use is limited.

I think that the amendment meets the representations made and should find favour with the House.

Mr. David Howell (Guildford)

We do not agree with the Financial Secretary. We do not think that the amendment meets the needs of the industry or of the situation. But we have a number of amendments which we shall seek to press when we read Schedule 7, and that may be a more opportune time to express our strong feelings on the matter.

Mr. Lawson

I should like to draw attention to the appalling English that the Treasury draftsman has used. The key word here is "preponderantly", which is a comparative term, as is clear from the Oxford English Dictionary. Yet the concept here is absolute, not comparative. The 25,000 miles is not compared with any other mileage. This is not an irrelevant point, because in connection with car mileage in another part of the Bill we must deal with substantial or insubstantial use. This is a term that may or may not be relative. We have sought on several occasions to get guidance from the Government as to the meaning of substantial and insubstantial.

It does not help us when words that have a clear meaning in English are used by the Treasury to mean something wholly contrary to their English meaning. It makes the Opposition's task of scrutinising this legislation almost impossible when the way in which it is written is in no language known to man, and certainly no language known to Englishmen.

Amendment agreed to.

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