HC Deb 09 November 1976 vol 919 cc215-21

3.40 p.m.

Mr. Anthony Steen (Liverpool, Wavertree)

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to restore the status of voluntary work by ensuring that a percentage of at least 50 per cent. of each phase of the Urban Aid Programme is apportioned to voluntary and community organisations. Since Beveridge dreamed up the Welfare State, a continuous rash of social legislation has created expectations, stronger with each succeeding generation, that the Government's job is to solve all our problems. As a result, people have grown conditioned to look to a beneficent State for everything from the proverbial cradle to the grave and hesitate before lifting a finger to help themselves.

For some time it has been evident that the State can no longer cope with the task that it has taken on.

Local authorities now find themselves unable to perform the jobs thrust upon them by Parliament. For example, the Chronically Sick and Disabled Act 1970 obliged local authorities to find and help the handicapped. Yet how many authorities have actually put that Act into practice? Insufficient central funds have prevented the implementation of the Children and Young Persons Act.

The Government now forecast an extended period of restraint, and local authorities will be badly hit as funds to run the social and health services are cut back. It is therefore essential that each local authority defines the services that it will run and sets limits beyond which it cannot offer assistance. Local authorities must tailor their services to the resources available and not insist on covering the whole board.

The pruning back of the Welfare State provisions will inevitably result in an increasingly wide area of need emerging, and it is here that voluntary work needs to take over as it provides the most cost effective use of public moneys.

Local authorities should turn to voluntary work in their areas by involving community groups, neighbourhood councils, self-help bodies, tenants' and rate- payers' associations, and the 101 other grass root organisations which abound throughout the country. If they did this, they would get better value for money and things would get done which they themselves can no longer do.

It is already evident that urban aid funds given to such voluntary work organisations go further because such organisations can recruit volunteers and find part-time helpers who work for free, are not forced to pay local government rates where full-time professionals are employed, raise their own money to supplement public funds received, and are free of statutory and union constraints. As a result, administrative costs are kept low.

Voluntary work has taken a knocking. It is often jeered at by its opponents as being synonymous with ladies with large hats doling out gruel, and its status has declined with the encroachment of the Welfare State.

If we are to recruit new volunteers, we must show that personal responsibility can no longer be borne on the State's shoulders and that initiative and self-help must be rewarded.

My Bill will see a resurgence of voluntary work in this country, raise its status, and give it recognition. It will do this by ensuring that voluntary work receives a guaranteed minimum slice of income from the urban aid cake, not just the crumbs. As the economic recession advances, local authorities will be hungry for an even greater share of the urban aid cake. My Bill will also stop local authorities from the temptation of diverting urban aid moneys to prop up their running-down services.

My Bill therefore ensures that no less than 50 per cent. under each of the urban aid capital and revenue phases will be given to voluntary work in each district, so that, when local authorities come to submit their bids to the Home Office, they will know in advance that they should include sufficient applications from the voluntary sector and not just put up their own. The Home Office in turn will be bound to see that voluntary work receives its right quota.

To date, the Government have distributed over £78.3 million through the urban aid programme over the past eight years and issued 15 circulars. For the capital building programmes, the local authorities have cornered 84.1 per cent. of the money made available; voluntary bodies 15.9 per cent. On non-capital recurrent expenditure 56.6 per cent. of the money made available has gone to local authorities and only 43.4 per cent. to voluntary organisations. For non-capital and non-recurrent projects—that is, for expenditure on holiday projects, play schemes and so on—54.3 per cent. has gone to local authorities while 45.7 per cent. has gone to voluntary organisations.

The situation has improved, but it is still solely dependent upon the whim of the local authority to what extent it includes voluntary work bids. By all accounts, as the Chancellor's economic measures make local authorities squeal, they in turn will be less inclined to put in applications for their voluntary organisations.

It should be made plain that I am not proposing further expenditure. On the contrary, I am suggesting that, by redistributing the money available, it will go further.

At the same time, my Bill could result in a considerable number of essential services being continued, even though they will no longer be carried out under the auspices of the local authorities but of the local voluntary organisations, neighbourhood councils and self-help groups.

Voluntary work provides an alternative to State domination in community and social provisions. By ensuring that voluntary work organisations receive a minimum slice of the cake under a programme aimed at improving life in inner city and urban areas, a real change could take place. Affirmative action will ensure that deprivation will be tackled involving the whole community and that an uncharted reservoir of voluntary help will be tapped.

Voluntary work is at the cornerstone of the British way of life and we on the Opposition Benches wish to make sure that it is not snuffed out.

3.46 p.m.

Mr. Eric Ogden (Liverpool, West Derby) rose—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Is the hon. Gentleman seeking to oppose the motion?

Mr. Ogden

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I seek to oppose simply, briefly, and, I hope, clearly.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Steen) has succeeded in reversing the normal timetable of the House of Commons over the past few weeks by using the Ten Minutes Rule for a series of Adjournment debates.

Each time the hon. Gentleman has spoken of "My Bill." There is no Bill this time and there has been no Bill any other time on which he has brought up this subject. Even if there were, with the new Session of Parliament starting on 24th November, there would not be time to carry his Bill through into legislation. In other words, the hon. Gentleman raises hopes that he cannot possibly succeed in carrying through. For that reason, it is an abuse of the procedures of the House and we ought to consider whether—

Mr. Steen

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker—

Mr. Speaker

Order. There can be no interventions during a Ten Minutes Rule discussion on one side or the other.

Mr. Ogden

I will amend that. In my opinion, it is an abuse of the intentions of the procedures of the House. I suggest that it is time that the House of Commons considered whether, if we give a Member leave to introduce a Bill, time should be allocated for the Bill.

This afternoon there is no Bill. Even if there were, there would not be time to have it carried into legislation. For those two reasons alone, we ought to reject the motion.

Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of Select Committees at commencement of Public Business):—

The House divides: Ayes 188, Noes 234.

Division No. 377.] AYES [3.49 p.m.
Adley, Robert Hall, Sir John Penhaligon, David
Aitken, Jonathan Hampson, Dr Keith Peyton, Rt Hon John
Alison, Michael Hannam, John Pink, R. Bonner
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Price, David (Eastleigh)
Baker, Kenneth Hawkins, Paul Prior, Rt Hon James
Banks, Robert Hayhoe, Barney Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Beith, A. J. Hicks, Robert Raison, Timothy
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Higgins, Terence L. Rathbone, Tim
Benyon, W. Holland, Philip Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Berry, Hon Anthony Hooson, Emlyn Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Biggs-Davison, John Hordern, Peter Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Blaker, Peter Howell Ralph (North Norfolk) Ridsdale, Julian
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hunt, David (Wirral) Rifkind, Malcolm
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Hutchison, Michael Clark Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Boyson, Or Rhodes (Brent) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Braine, Sir Bernard James, David Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Brittan, Leon Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'df'd) Ross, Shephen (Isle of Wight)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Buck, Antony Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Royle, Sir Anthony
Budgen, Nick Jopling, Michael St. John-Stevas, Norman
Bulmer, Esmond Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Scott, Nicholas
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Kershaw, Anthony Scott-Hopkins, James
Carlisle, Mark Kilfedder, James Shelton, William (Streatham)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Kimball, Marcus Shepherd, Colin
Channon, Paul King, Tom (Bridgwater) Shersby, Michael
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Kirk, Sir Peter Silvester, Fred
Clark, William (Croydon S) Knight, Mrs Jill Sims, Roger
Clegg, Walter Knox, David Sinclair, Sir George
Cockcroft, John Langford-Holt, Sir John Skeet, T. H. H.
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Latham, Michael (Melton) Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Cormack, Patrick Lawrence, Ivan Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Corrie, John Lawson, Nigel Speed, Keith
Costain, A. P. Le Marchant, Spencer Spence, John
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Lester, Jim (Beeston) Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Lloyd, Ian Stanley, John
Dodsworth, Geoffrey McAdden, Sir Stephen Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James McCrindle, Robert Stokes, John
Drayson, Burnaby Macfarlane, Neil Stradling Thomas, J.
Durant, Tony MacGregor, John Tapsell, Peter
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Mather, Carol Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Elliott, Sir William Mawby, Ray Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Eyre, Reginald Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Farr, John Meyer, Sir Anthony Townsend, Cyril D.
Finsberg, Geoffrey Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Trotter, Neville
Fisher, Sir Nigel Mills, Peter Tugendhat, Christopher
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Monro, Hector Viggers, Peter
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Montgomery, Fergus Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Fookes, Miss Janet Moore, John (Croydon C) Wakeham, John
Forman, Nigel More, Jasper (Ludlow) Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Freud, Clement Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Wall, Patrick
Gilmour, Sir John (East File) Mudd, David Walters, Dennis
Glyn, Dr Alan Neave, Airey Warren, Kenneth
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Nelson, Anthony Weatherill, Bernard
Goodhart, Philip Neubert, Michael Wells, John
Goodhew, Victor Newton, Tony Wiggin, Jerry
Goodlad, Alastair Onslow, Cranley Winterton, Nicholas
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Page, John (Harrow West) Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Paisley, Rev Ian TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gray, Hamish Pardoe, John Mr. Anthony Steen and
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Parkinson, Cecil Mr. Peter Bottomley.
Grylls, Michael Pattie, Geoffrey
Anderson, Donald Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Castle, Rt Hon Barbara
Archer, Peter Bradley, Tom Clemitson, Ivor
Ashley, Jack Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Cocks, Rt Hon Michael
Ashton, Joe Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Cohen, Stanley
Atkinson, Norman Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Colquhoun, Ms Maureen
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Buchan, Norman Concannon, J. D.
Bates, Alf Buchanan, Richard Corbett, Robin
Bean, R. E. Canavan, Dennis Cowans, Harry
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Cant, R. B. Cox, Thomas (Tooting)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Carmichael, Neil Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)
Bidwell, Sydney Carson, John Crawshaw, Richard
Bishop, E. S. Carter, Ray Cronin, John
Blenkinsop, Arthur Carter-Jones, Lewis Crowther, Stan (Rotherham)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Cartwright, John Cryer, Bob
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Johnson, James (Hull West) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Dalyell, Tam Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Richardson, Miss Jo
Davidson, Arthur Jones, Barry (East Flint) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Judd, Frank Robinson, Geoffrey
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Kelley, Richard Roderick, Caerwyn
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Kerr, Russell Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Kilroy-Silk, Robert Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)
de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Kinnock, Neil Rooker, J. W.
Dempsey, James Lamborn, Harry Roper, John
Dormand, J. D. Lamond, James Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Rowlands, Ted
Duffy, A. E. P. Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Sedgemore, Brian
Dunn, James A. Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Selby, Harry
Dunnett, Jack Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Lipton, Marcus Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Edge, Geoff Litterick, Tom Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Lomas, Kenneth Sillars, James
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Loyden, Eddie Silverman, Julius
English, Michael Luard, Evan Skinner, Dennis
Ennals, David Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Small, William
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) McCartney, Hugh Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) McDonald, Dr Oonagh Snape, Peter
Evans, John (Newton) MacFarquhar, Roderick Spriggs, Leslie
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Stallard, A. W.
Faulds, Andrew McNamara, Kevin Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Madden, Max Stoddart, David
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Magee, Bryan Stott, Roger
Flannery, Martin Mahon, Simon Strang, Gavin
Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Mallalieu, J. P. W. Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Marquand, David Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Swain, Thomas
Ford, Ben Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Forrester, John Maynard, Miss Joan Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Meacher, Michael Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Freeson, Reginald Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Mendelson, John Tierney, Sydney
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Mikardo, Ian Tinn, James
George, Bruce Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Torney, Tom
Gilbert, Dr John Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Urwin, T. W.
Ginsburg, David Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Gould, Bryan Molloy, William Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Graham, Ted Molyneaux, James Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Moonman, Eric Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Grant, John (Islington C) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Ward, Michael
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Watkins, David
Hardy, Peter Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Watkinson, John
Harper, Joseph Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Weetch, Ken
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Weitzman, David
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Newens, Stanley Wellbeloved, James
Hatton, Frank Noble, Mike White, Frank R. (Bury)
Healey, Rt Hon Denis O'Halloran, Michael Whitehead, Phillip
Heffer, Eric S. Orbach, Maurice Whitlock, William
Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Ovenden, John Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Huckfield, Les Padley, Walter Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Palmer, Arthur Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Park, George Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Hunter, Adam Parker, John Wise, Mrs Audrey
Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Parry, Robert Woodall, Alec
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Pavitt, Laurie Woof, Robert
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Perry, Ernest Wrigglesworth, Ian
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Phipps, Dr Colin
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Prescott, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Price, C. (Lewisham W) Mr. Eric Ogden and
John, Brynmor Price, William (Rugby) Mr. Michael McGuire.
Radice, Giles

Question accordingly negatived.