HC Deb 01 February 1978 vol 943 cc589-626

10A.—(1) The Coast Protection Act 1949 shall be amended as follows.

(2) In subsections (4) and (5) of sections 5 and 8 there shall be inserted, in each case at the beginning, the words 'Subject to subsection (5A) below".

(3) After subsection (5) of each of those sections there shall be inserted the following subsection:— (5A) Where—

  1. (a) notice of objection has been served under subsection (3) above by' an excepted statutory undertaker (within the meaning of section 79(1) of the Scotland Act 1977) and not withdrawn; and
  2. (b) the coast protection authority proposing to carry out the work concerned is in Scotland;
the powers of the Minister under subsections (4) and (5) above shall be exercised by a Scottish Secretary with the consent of a Minister of the Crown.

(4) In subsection (4) of section 17 there shall be inserted at the beginning the words "Subject to subsection (4A) below".

(5) After subsection (4) of that section there shall be inserted the following subsection:— (4A) Where—

  1. (a) the undertakers are an excepted statutory undertaker (within the meaning of section 79(1) of the Scotland Act 1977); and
  2. (b) notice of objection has been served under subsection (3) above by a coast protection authority in Scotland and has not been withdrawn;
a Scottish Secretary, after affording to the undertakers and to the authority an opportunity of being heard by a person appointed for the purpose by him with the approval of the appropriate Minister, shall, subject to the consent of that Minister, determine the objection.".'

The Coast Protection Act in Sections 5, 8 and 17 provides for joint action by the Minister responsible for coast protection and by the Minister responsible for a statutory undertaker where either wishes to carry out works to which the other objects.

After devolution, coast protection will be the responsibility of the Scottish Assembly and Executive while the United Kingdom Government will be responsible for excepted statutory undertakers as defined by Clause 79(1). Joint action would not be possible after devolution if it involved the Scottish Executive and the Government. It has therefore to be replaced by an alternative procedure.

The amendment would insert an entry in Schedule 16 to replace the provision for joint action in the Coast Protection Act with new procedures designed to meet the new circumstances. These will safeguard the interests of coast protection authorities and excepted statutory undertakers by providing that, when a dispute occurs between a body of one type and a body of the other, the decision will be taken by a Scottish Secretary but subject to the consent of a Minister.

This is a fairly minor matter, but it is important to get it right. I hope that the Committee will adopt the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Sir John Gilmour (Fife, East)

I beg to move Amendment No. 601, in page 82, line 20, at end insert England, Wales and Northern Ireland or elsewhere in Europe. I was worried whether, by not including the other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe, we might be denied the opportunity of using harbours, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, for transport possibly to the Continent or to other parts of the United Kingdom.

The matter is slightly complicated because paragraph 17 alters the definition of "marine work". Yet Schedule 15, which specifies the reserved functions of local authorities, includes Ports (other than marine works). Therefore, marine works are excluded from what local authorities may do. That does not seem to equate with what happens in my constituency. When we have harbour repairs in Anstruther or Pittenweem, as far as I can see the whole bill falls on the local authority. I hope that the Secretary of State will be able to explain that matter to me.

"Marine work" is explained further in the 1937 Act. There are exceptions in Schedule 3 to that Act. That takes out the major ports of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. But in Schedule 16, paragraph 17, allowance is given for the Highlands and Islands, Orkney and Shetland and that part of Argyll not on the Firth of Clyde to gain help for communications to other parts of Scotland.

I think that there may be a need, for instance, to have transport facilities from Orkney and Shetland to Norway. I have been in Shetland and seen ships loading fish to go to North America. I think that at times vessels might want to load fish in Stornoway for transport to France and so on.

I hope that I have misunderstood the object of this wording and that the Secretary of State can allay my fears.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

Since the hon. Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Gilmour) drew my attention to his amendment, I have been puzzled by its effect. Therefore, I should like to know the purpose of this part of Schedule 16.

I understand that the wording is almost identical to that of the previous Act, except that the Scottish Secretary is substituted for the Secretary of State. I also understand that ports are now not a devolved subject, but that marine works are.

What is the effect of paragraph 17(b) in limiting the definition of "marine work" to places which have communications with any other part of Scotland? This was the point that was raised by the hon. Member for Fife, East. I expect that it is explained easily. Not only are there certain harbours in my constituency which have a trade with Norway and Russia but some of the smaller harbours have a trade with the North East coast of England. Will this have any effect upon them?

Mr. Millan

I understand why the amendment has been tabled but I do not believe that it is necessary. I draw the Committee's attention to the fact that marine works are a devolved function under Group 12 of Schedule 10. If the Committee looks at that it will see that we are dealing, in the context of marine works, with harbours and boatslips, basic fishing harbours or those used for communications to the islands.

In Schedule 16 there is a slightly amended definition to take care of a situation where the Scottish Secretary rather than the Secretary of State for Scotland is involved. We are not widening or narrowing the definition of harbours or marine works. The wording in the schedule does not say that these works must be exclusively used for fishing, agriculture or the maintenance of communications. It says that they must be "principally used" rather than "exclusively used". Therefore, a particular harbour that might come under this category would not be removed from the definition of "marine works".

Under existing harbours legislation ports are not to be devolved. That must be a little comfort to the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) in the context of Shetland. At the moment fisheries harbours are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland, whereas ports such as the Clyde Port are the responsibility of the Transport Minister. Under existing legislation there is a provision to allow the Secretary of State for Scotland to add harbours to the category of harbours for which he is responsible. He does that with the concurrence of the Transport Minister. When we have devolution and the Scottish Secretary takes over the functions of the Secretary of State for Scotland it will be necessary to provide that harbours can be brought within his competence only with the concurrence of the Secretary of State for Scotland who will be a United Kingdom Minister.

We shall move from the position where the Secretary of State can have a harbour defined as a marine works with the concurrence of the Transport Minister to a situation where the Scottish Secretary can do that with the concurrence of the Secretary of State for Scotland. If that were not so it would be possible for a Scottish Secretary to devolve harbours which are not intended to be devolved by having them redefined as marine works which are within his competence.

That is why we have had to write a different definition into Schedule 16 to include the concurrence of the Secretary of State as part of the definition of marine works. But apart from that, we are not altering the definition, and I can therefore assure the hon. Member that his fears are groundless. If we were to widen the definition we would potentially be widening the area of devolution, which I believe, is not what the hon. Member had in mind. I hope that with that explanation the Committee will accept that the amendment is neither necessary nor desirable.

Sir John Gilmour

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. George Younger (Ayr)

I beg to move Amendment No. 603, in page 83, leave out lines 11 to 17.

This amendment gives us the opportunity at long last to discuss a subject that many hon. Members wished to discuss earlier in our debates. I refer to the question of forestry, and, if the Bill becomes law, its destination.

The purpose of the amendment is to question the lines of the schedule. I hope, however, that we shall have the opportunity to embark upon a general discussion of forestry in our debate on the amendment. Forestry is closely bound up with agriculture. In many respects it is modern practice—desirably so—for both sets of activities to be welded together. They often interact one upon the other and it is therefore strongly felt by those involved in these activities that as far as possible the destination of the various powers and functions after devolution should as nearly as possible follow parallel lines.

That is why considerable concern has been expressed on this matter. Hon Members on both sides of the Committee will have had representations on the question of the different treatment that is proposed for forestry as against agriculture.

The Bill provides that agriculture is a divided function. Those parts of agriculture which come within national negotiations affecting the whole of Britain, and those parts affected by EEC decisions which increasingly impinge upon agriculture, are to be retained functions. Aspects of agriculture which can be more conveniently dealt with by the Assembly are to be devolved. We hope that forestry can be treated in a similar way.

Will the Minister indicate whether he is prepared, after a preliminary debate tonight—a debate which can be only perfunctory at this stage—to take note of the unanimous views of those in forestry that the Bill as drafted is unsatisfactory. We have had representations from the Scottish Woodland Owners Association that they are concerned about the matter. Many of us have had similar representations from constituents. Although we cannot know officially the views of the Forestry Commission on this matter, the Secretary of State will know what advice it has given him from time to time, and hon. Members have ways of discovering the views that are generally held in those quarters.

Therefore, although this is to be a cursory and perfunctory debate, I hope that it will provide an opportunity for views to be expressed and for the Minister to indicate some sympathy with the great concern felt by many people involved in forestry.

9.45 p.m.

Mr. Hector Monro (Dumfries)

I am extremely concerned about the part of the schedule which affects forestry, and I am very glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) has been able to move the amendment, even at the very last hour of our guillotined proceedings in Committee.

I have not heard one good word in Scotland for the inclusion of forestry as a devolved subject and, more importantly, as a separate issue from that of agriculture. For decades everyone involved in farming and forestry has been saying that we must integrate the two activities and bring them forward together. Yet here the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is also our Minister of Agriculture, is splitting up the two functions. It surely must be completely against the trends and the desires of those engaged in farming and forestry at the present time.

This does not apply only to the interests of the individual forester and the individual farmer. It also involves going against the policies of the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, which has for years been working to bring together these two parts of our land resources. Indeed, the Select Committee which examined the subject a long time ago pointed to the tremendous advantage of forestry being as close as possible to agriculture.

We have to consider also the position that may follow in Scotland. Not only have we this policy decision on the splitting up of these two activities; over the years there has been a very close relationship between the Forestry Commission and the owners of private woodlands. The Forestry Commisison has been responsible for administering the grants on a national basis to private woodland owners. There will now, presumably, be a splitting up of functions.

Many foresters in England and Wales are surely wondering why, after setting up this splendid Forestry Commission headquarters in Edinburgh to look after forests in the whole of the United Kingdom, a large proportion of its duties are to be taken away from a body which has gained so much stature in Scotland and is regarded as being of such importance. We ought to have regard, therefore, to the undoubted success of the Forestry Commission in Scotland.

Forestry, being a United Kingdom function, is split up into conservancy areas. In Scotland, conservancy has had spectacular success in South-West Scotland, not only in forestry but also in the development of recreation and tourism, which now go hand in hand with the development of planting and the subsequent felling, saw-milling, and so on. In this context we also have to consider the controversy concerning the future of pulping and chipboard in Scotland.

These are all part of an overall United Kingdom function and must not be reduced to an almost parochial function within Scotland, which would be without the benefit of the overall integration of forestry in the United Kingdom.

We also have to consider the staff who have been employed, naturally on a United Kingdom basis, from the time that they joined the Commission. How are they to be parcelled out between the Scottish part of the Forestry Commission and the rest of it?

I do not know where the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland will be in relation to the Secretary of State. It will have an agricultural function, but apparently not a forestry function. That is a retrograde step.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ayr rightly said that a whole host of objections had been set out in great detail by all the distinguished bodies looking after forestry not only in Scotland but in the United Kingdom. I think particularly of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society, the Scottish Woodlands Owners Association, the Timber Growers' Association in England and many other organisations which know what they are talking about in terms of timber growing. They know the snags. They realise the problems of timber imports and how best to fight that danger, but do not have much support from the Government.

Forestry is crucial to Scotland's future, and we shall have it for hundreds of years ahead. I cannot see how devolving this major resource away from the power of the whole United Kingdom, as the Secretary of State wishes, will advance its interests. I entirely support the amendment, and hope that we shall win in the Lobby.

Mr. Russell Fairgrieve (Aberdeenshire, West)

I am glad that we have had the opportunity to reach this subject. It is one upon which I recently said a few words and gained a certain amount of publicity when I described forestry as a British disgrace. Therefore, I have some caveats about the amendment, although I do not intend to push the matter to a vote.

Having the chance of this debate, we should analyse exactly where forestry should be in a devolved Scotland. Let us look at countries similar to Britain. We find that 25 per cent. to 30 per cent. of the land area of Germany, France and Japan is covered by trees. In the United Kingdom, which is of similar size, similar development and similar population, the percentage is a miserable, miserly 7 per cent.

It is not possible to apportion blame to one party or the other. Remembering that the lifespan of softwood is 75 years and that of hardwood is 150 years, we see that we can go back to the Gladstonian Liberal policies of the last century, which made it far more attractive to import timber than to grow it in this country. Therefore, the reason for our forestry problem goes back not over Governments but virtually over a century.

Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith (Glasgow, Hillhead)

Does not my hon. Friend think that perhaps part of the trouble in the old days was the estate duty started by the Liberal Party?

Mr. Fairgrieve

I do not think that the matter is quite as simple as that. I think that the cause was policies which made it far simpler, easier and more economic for people in this country to import timber than to grow it here. I leave it to others to work out what acts caused it, but I believe that the policies initially caused it.

This is where we must look at the position in Scotland. We represent one-third of the United Kingdom land mass but have barely one-tenth of the United Kingdom population. By every ratio we are a country most suitable for the growing of trees. In fact, for most of the types we could grow, our growing rate is, because of our geographical conditions, twice that of Scandinavia. Yet what do we find in Scotland? We find vast areas of land—

Mr. Henderson

Grouse moors.

Mr. Fairgrieve

I shall return to that stupid point a little later.

We find vast areas of land covered not by cattle, sheep or grouse moors but by nothing but scree, bracken or gorse. There are millions and millions of acres of unused land. A lot of it could be under trees.

What is more serious to the United Kingdom as a whole is that we have three colossal import bills—for food, energy and timber products. It is surprising to learn after the figures I have given, that timber is our third largest import, costing a colossal £2,000 million-plus per annum. The import bill for food will come down if the Government's policies encourage the production of food from our own resources. The import costs in respect of energy will come down substantially as North Sea oil comes on stream. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that, as a result, timber could become our largest import bill. What a disgrace. That is why I say that this is an important debate on a subject which ought to be widely ventilated.

Here I must take issue with my colleagues on the Front Bench. Had Scotland been an independent country, or one which controlled its own resources, we would have had to consider forestry in the same way as do the Scandinavian countries. Our forestry industry would have been similar to those in Sweden Norway and Finland where over 50 per cent. of the land is under trees. None of us should be sceptical in this respect. Scotland has suffered in its forestry development because of industrial priorities. Taking the United Kingdom as a whole and considering its industrial priorities, we have such things as car making, consumer durables, and agriculture at the top of the list. Forestry in the United Kingdom probably comes about No. 5 on a list of 10. If forestry were to become a Scottish problem it would rise immediately to about No. 8. It would have a far higher priority within a Scottish decision-making context.

Mr. Galbraith

How can my hon. Friend maintain that, when the bulk of the population in Scotland is an industrial population, in the central belt, and is not a bit interested in what happens to the rest of the population?

Mr. Fairgrieve

I suspect that my hon. Friend is not interested in this Bill if there are any arguments which do not suit his point of view. I am not talking about the central industrial belt. I am pointing out that Scotland's population represents one-tenth of the United Kingdom population and that Scotland has a third of its land area.

Mr. Galbraith

My hon. Friend is saying that, because Scotland is part of Great Britain and because Great Britain is primarily an industrial country, forestry in Scotland has not been properly developed. All I am saying is that if Great Britain is an industrial country, Scotland is even more so.

Mr. Fairgrieve

It is obvious that my hon. Friend wishes these great masses of unutilised land in Scotland to remain unused. His argument convinces no one in any party. I suggest that he puts a little timber in his pipe. Scotland has lost out here because forestry does not have the correct priority in the United Kingdom industrial set-up.

I agree with some of the remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro). In this country, we have been slow in the integration of agriculture and forestry. It is not a question merely of shelter belts but of learning how to winter cattle—for example, to winter them in the lower slopes of tree-planted areas—and of understanding that trees can be grown and cropped just as wheat and other renewable sources can.

In trees we have not only a renewable source of energy but an employment multiplier. Forestry is one of the few remaining labour-intensive industries. Once the trees are there, whatever one is dealing with on the spot at any given moment in time, one has all the downstream employment multipliers of milling, pulp making and paper board. Trees are there, and they are available the whole time providing an indigenous source of energy.

I do not disagree with the amendment, but I enter a caveat. Were we looking at forestry from the purely Scottish point of view instead of from the United Kingdom point of view, we would not be in the present situation over the importing of timber. I hope that it will not happen in future.

10.0 p.m.

Mr. W. Benyon (Buckingham)

I support the amendment. It is an indication of the absurdity of the guillotine procedure that we should be discussing forestry on this amendment. We should have been discussing it on Schedule 10. If by chance the amendment were passed, it would be consequential on a provision which is already passed in the Bill as a result of the guillotine. But that is a nit-picking point.

I strongly support what my hon. Friends have said about the integration of agriculture and forestry. It is a most important point. I await with interest to hear what the Minister of State says as to why the two are to be separated.

I want to make a consequential point to what my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Fairgrieve) said. We have had the discovery of a major natural resource in the British Isles—and I emphasise "British Isles"—in oil. We are told that it will last for 25 to 30 years. During that period we have to consider how we can best equip the country to face the years thereafter. One of the ways in which we can do that is as my hon. Friend pointed out, to tackle those industries where we have a major import problem—and timber, of course, is the one which concerns my hon. Friend. By a modest application of about £5 million or £10 million a year from oil revenues, a transformation of that problem could be accomplished during that period. But I emphasise that it means treating the United Kingdom forestry estate as a whole, regarding it as a whole, and giving it the same incentives and the same provisions.

Mr. Fairgrieve

My hon. Friend has made a most important point. Recently in Scotland, one of the major international oil producers asked whether it could help Britain by investing money that it was getting out of oil in a renewable source. It asked particularly about timber. But wherever it tried it could not get the land to do it.

Mr. Benyon

I take the point. Here we have an opportunity to turn the situation round. But if we have provisions for timber in Scotland different from those in England and in Wales, the situation will be far more difficult. I pay warm tribute to what the Forestry Commission has done. I am not among those who want to see it curtailed or abolished. It has provided a very fine partnership with private woodland on the one hand and State operation on the other. Under these provisions of the Bill, that situation stands in jeopardy.

Mr. Russell Johnston

The hon. Gentleman has twice said that the situation would be worse but he has not attempted to say why it would be.

Mr. Benyon

I said that it could be worse. Why should we run our heads into this noose? We are not trying to do it with agriculture, but we are with forestry. We could leave land tenure as a devolved subject, as it is in agriculture, but why forestry? I say again that it could happen, although it need not. Why make it possible for it to happen? That is why I warmly support the amendment.

Mr. Gordon Wilson (Dundee, East)

The courageous and powerful speech by the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Fairgrieve) has stated the position correctly in regard to forestry. Scotland possesses the land, it possesses the capability, it possesses a lot of the skills, and I do not take the pessimistic view expressed by the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon) that any change would be for the worse.

The very fact that the land is available and the resources are there must mean that forestry will be given far more attention. In this short debate, I shall not go into the reasons why forestry has not developed faster in Scotland, but, as the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West said, our import bill for timber must be one of the weakest points in economic planning within the United Kingdom. It is an import which could have been stopped, or at least reduced, with benefit to the balance of payments, had forestry been encouraged.

I am sure that as time goes by forestry and wood products of all kinds, including pulp, will become progressively more valuable, and as a world resource wood will become scarcer, so that forestry will grow in importance.

In my view, the Government should be given credit for deciding to devolve forestry to the Scottish Assembly, and I hope that the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) will have the grace to withdraw his amendment. However, at the hinner end of this Committee stage, I take the opportunity of thanking him for giving us the opportunity to have a brief but useful debate on this important subject.

Mr. Galbraith

I had not intended to speak until I heard what my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Fairgrieve) said. I represent a Glasgow constituency. My hon. Friend, whose views I cannot share, represents a constituency to the north of me, in Aber deenshire. My hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger), who moved the amendment, represents a constituency in the south of Ayrshire.

Let me make clear at the outset that I agree with all that my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West said about the importance of forestry. I am very much in favour of forestry. As he said, it offers us a way of saving on our import bill. On all those matters I agree. I differ from him, however, in his explanation of why there is less forestry in the whole of the United Kingdom and in Scotland than there might be. It has nothing to do with his suggested English connection that forestry is not as big in Scotland as it might be.

Mr. Fairgrieve

It has nothing to do with what my hon. Friend is getting at, either. It is a question of the geography and geology of the United Kingdom land mass. Let my hon. Friend look at the climate and see where the suitable areas are. I do not suggest that trees could be grown in vast numbers in England. It does not fit in.

Mr. Galbraith

It does not fit in? It fits in with almost every part of England. It fits in very well with certain parts of England, with certain parts of Ireland and with certain parts of Wales. For that reason, because it fits in very well with different parts of the United Kingdom, I agree firmly with my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr. I hope that my hon. Friend will not listen to the blandishments of the Scottish nationalists and ask leave to withdraw his amendment.

The two uses of land, forestry and farming, go together. The practical forester and the practical farmer do not want to deal with two different Departments. They want to deal with one, and they want it all done on a United Kingdom basis, as my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon) said.

I hope that the Minister will explain in practical terms why he has decided to split the two and give the forestry responsibility to the Assembly instead of leaving it on a United Kingdom basis, where it has done so well.

Mr. Fairgrieve

Done so well? Good heavens!

Mr. Galbraith

Yes, it has done well relatively, and it is doing relatively well, but it has great potential to do better if done on a United Kingdom basis.

Mr. Fairgrieve

Is my hon. Friend suggesting—

The First Deputy Chairman (Sir Myer Galpern)

Order. The hon. Member said that he had finished.

Sir John Gilmour

As my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Ben-yon) said, we should have been discussing this on Group 15 on Schedule 10. The reason why we did not is that the Scottish National Party put down a lot of frivolous amendments to Part I and prevented the whole of the rest of Schedule 10 from being discussed at all. SNP Members are entirely responsible for having this Bill discussed in a most piecemeal and useless way. They put down amendments that are of no relevance to the discussion that should have taken place on Schedule 10.

Mr. Henderson

Your pals have done a lot of filibustering.

Sir J. Gilmour

I have made a few short contributions to this debate. There is no justification for that allegation.

I want to underline what my hon. Friends have said about the importance of forestry. What sticks out a mile, apart from our dependence on timber imports, which is one of our biggest burdens now that we have our own oil resources, is the fact that the timber we import comes mostly from the Communist world. We put ourselves at very great risk. We could find ourselves in the same situation as we were in during the oil crisis. If the Communist bloc decides not to fell any more trees and to hold up supplies because it will get more money in five, 10 or 15 years' time, this will increase considerably the amount of money that we have to spend.

We need to know the workings of forestry under devolution. Paragraph 20(2) of Schedule 16 says that any power of the Forestry Commissioners to make regulations includes power to make separate provisions for Scotland. Does this mean that with the devolved power of forestry, it will be possible to have different levels of maintenance and plant ing grants in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom? Or is it just a form of words which says that the forestry powers devolved will apply to felling licences and amenity rather than the nitty gritty of actual financial work?

Most hon. Members will agree that the thing that makes the difference between whether people plant trees this year, next year or the year after is the impact of taxes. I understand that tax-paying powers will not be devolved. Therefore, it is presumably true that the whole financial aspect of forestry is still controlled by this House. I hope that the Minister of State, when he replies will tell us that the Secretary of State will still be the forestry Minister for Scotland and that we shall be able to put questions to him.

It is easy enough to devolve forestry, but it is not clear what the powers will be. I imagine that because neither agriculture nor fishing is to be devolved to the Assembly, having already been devolved to the EEC, if the EEC produces a forestry regime which this country accepts and adopts, we would have to claw back from the Scottish Assembly anything to do with forestry because we would be devolving it to the EEC.

10.15 p.m.

I hope that the Minister will be able to answer this point. It relates to the set-back that we have experienced in forest-planting in past years. This has been due entirely to fiscal measures taken by the Labour Government. I am glad to see that the Government have seen the error of their ways. They have set up a committee which we hope will alleviate the difficulties. I believe that confidence is returning to those who are engaged in planting and that we can look forward with some confidence to the future. However, the matter still resides with the House of Commons.

I should like to have an explanation from the Minister of State on how the responsibilities for forestry are to be split between this House and the Assembly. Will he say which powers will be granted to the Assembly and which will remain with this House? I hope that the Minister will be able to give an explanation because the action we shall take on this amendment will depend upon his reply.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton (Edinburgh, West)

I regret that I missed the first part of the debate on forestry, but I should like to make one or two points on this amendment.

It appears that many of the officials who work for the Forestry Commission and who reside in my constituency would prefer to see an integrated forestry policy throughout the United Kingdom. It will be appreciated that those officials are not allowed to put forward their views because they are civil servants, but I am sure that the Committee will agree that there is no reason why I should not undertake that task for them.

There are others in my constituency who are engaged in the forestry business. One gentleman, a Mr. D. B. Crawford, has a small business connected with forestry and he has written a long treatise on the subject. He said in part of his remarks: To maximise the production of food and wood in Britain, there must be a British integrated land use policy which takes fully into account both the problems and the potential of each of the three countries. This means in practical terms a uniform total strategy, and a relatively uniform system of grant aid and taxation. There is a fear that while the EEC is working towards a common policy on forestry, this will be made more difficult if forestry matters are devolved to Scotland. There is a tremendous potential for forestry in Scotland. The Committee may be interested to know that 44 per cent. of forests in the United Kingdom are in Scotland, and the potential for development is primarily in Scotland. That is why the headquarters of the Forestry Commission has been kept in Scotland. Therefore, it must be recognised that a great deal of administrative devolution has already taken place.

I also wish to put on record the views of the Scottish Woodland Owners Association. That association is against devolution in respect of forestry. It says: With Britain so heavily dependent upon imports of wood and wood products costing the nation some £2,000 million a year, an all-British forest policy and strategy is needed to build up home timber resources and make the country more self-sufficient". The Association believes that the division of forestry by devolution into virtually three separate entities could dis tort the timber market and create difficulties in siting new wood processing industries. I shall be grateful if the Minister will try to answer these points.

Mr. John Smith

The hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) has done the Committee a service by tabling this amendment and allowing us to have a debate on forestry matters. This debate could more appropriately have taken place on Schedule 10, but the hon. Gentleman has rectified the situation by initiating this discussion.

The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Fairgrieve) was in slight disagreement with some of his colleagues. I noticed how passionately and sincerely were his feelings in respect of forestry development. That was most evident from the way in which he spoke.

I have been asked a number of important questions. These matters have been reinforced by the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro) who said that since we had retained the matter of agriculture, we should also retain forestry matters. The answer is that there are special features in respect of agriculture which make it necessary for it to be retained. If those features did not exist, agriculture might be subject to devolution.

Indeed, the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) argued the case for the devolution of agriculture on the basis that it was a natural matter for devolution. I took issue with him on that occasion because the Government's involvement with agriculture is in financing agriculture. It is very difficult to make different arrangements for financing support systems in agriculture in different parts of the United Kingdom. That is the view of the farmers' unions in different parts of the United Kingdom. I know that the hon. Member for Dumfries is closely associated with the National Farmers' Union of Scotland.

There is also a very important aspect of the EEC involvement in agriculture which makes it necessary for it to be a United Kingdom responsibility. Post-devolution, the Secretary of State will continue to be responsible for agriculture. So it will be possible for the voice of Scottish agriculture as well as that of English agriculture to be heard. That is the case for the retention of agriculture, with which the majority of the Committee agreed with the exception of hon. Members from the SNP, some Liberal Party Members and the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns. But we do not think that the same criteria apply to forestry.

There are other matters which we have devolved and which the Committee has decided should be devolved. There is land use, agricultural land management, the countryside, tourism and rural development. With all these matters, forestry has quite a close connection. In deciding whether it should be a retained United Kingdom function or whether it should go to the Assembly we took into account its close links with those matters. It is closely involved with land use and agricultural land management, with the countryside, tourism and, perhaps increasingly, with tourism because the Forestry Commission does a number of imaginative things which assist with the development of tourism and rural development.

But there are some features—the hon. Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Gilmour) mentioned some—that are retained by the United Kingdom Government. There is the fact that the tax system is not devolved. Responsibility for taxation and changes in taxation remains a United Kingdom matter. We had a long debate about that.

As to whether taxation should be retained by a United Kingdom Parliament, or any aspect of it, taxation arrangements with regard to forestry, which are of particular importance to the private forestry owners and developers, will remain the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government. That is the main impact of Government so far as the private woodland owners are concerned.

Sir John Gilmour

Would that, therefore, mean that the Secretary of State will still answer Questions in this House about forestry matters because he is responsible for the financing of forestry?

Mr. Smith

The hon. Member for Fife, East, if he were asking questions about taxation, would probably wish to ask them of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He would certainly be able to do that following devolution. But the question of forestry being devolved depends on the conventions at which the House arrives. We had a debate on that matter earlier. If it followed the Stormont precedent, I think general questions of forestry not related to the taxation aspect might not be appropriate to put to the Secretary of State because the Secretary of State post-devolution will not be the responsible Minister. That responsibility passes to the Scottish Secretary.

The hon. Gentleman was most concerned about taxation. He is quite right in emphasising that that is the matter of principal concern to the private woodland owners. He was generous enough to say that the Scottish Government had done a great deal to stimulate the development of private forestry.

Sir John Gilmour

One of the things that struck me was that we have always been able, if we are asking about forestry in England, even though it was a financial matter, to put our questions to the Minister of Agriculture because he was the Forestry Minister in England. But now we shall have a situation in which English Members of Parliament will be able to ask Questions of the Minister of Agriculture but Scottish Members of Parliament will not be able to ask Questions of the Secretary of State for Scotland. As long as that is understood, I am quite happy. But I think that we ought to understand that this is how we shall run our affairs in future.

Mr. Smith

I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman's analysis. If forestry is a devolved matter it is the responsibility of the Scottish Administration and the Scottish Assembly. The distinction, therefore, after devolution between agriculture and forestry would be that questions could be asked of the Secretary of State for Scotland about agriculture but not about forestry. It is a consequence of devolution that forestry is a devolved matter, in the same way as education will be the responsibility of the Assembly.

Mr. Galbraith

The Minister says "the same as education". Education is quite different. Here we have to consider the farmer. He is farming and he has animals and trees on his land. He does not want to have to deal with two different Ministries. He wants to deal with the same Ministry. In the House of Commons we wish to be able to cross-examine the same Minister on the two aspects of the use of land.

Mr. Smith

I think that the hon. Gentleman does not want devolution at all and wants it all to be dealt with in the House of Commons. When one has devolution, that involves the splitting of responsibility and the conferment of administrative and legislative responsibility on another body. It is inevitable that the scope of the United Kingdom Government is restricted in regard to the matters devolved. A transfer of responsibility is taking place. I say to the hon. Member that it is a consequence of devolution.

What the Committee is presently considering, and what we have to decide, is whether the Government were right to say that forestry, instead of going with agriculture and being a retained matter, should go with land use, agricultural land management, the countryside, tourism and rural development. We felt that the balance lay on the side that it should be a responsibility of the Assembly.

There are, though, some features of the arrangement that I should like to point out to the hon. Member for Dumfries. The Forestry Commission will be retained as a single unit. It is beyond the competence of the Assembly to set up a separate Forestry Commission for Scotland.

Mr. Sproat

If forestry is to be devolved to Scotland, will not that inevitably mean that the United Kingdom headquarters of forestry can no longer be in Scotland and will have to come back to England, and that, therefore, those jobs in Scotland will be lost? Or is the Minister seriously trying to tell English Members of the House of Commons not only that forestry will be devolved but that the United Kingdom headquarters will remain in Scotland? That is surely untenable.

Mr. Smith

I see no difficulty in the headquarters remaining in Edinburgh. The hon. Gentleman is raising an unnecessary fear. I have no reason to think that the Forestry Commission believes that its headquarters in Edinburgh are in any way unsuitable. Many of its activities, take place in Scotland. It is a suitable administrative headquarters for the management of forestry responsibilities for the whole of the United Kingdom. I see no difficulty whatsoever in forestry being managed by the Forestry Commission from its headquarters in Edinburgh, the Forestry Commission having acquired, not so long ago, headquarters in the constituency of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton), as he pointed out.

Mr. Monro

The Minister is putting forward an astonishing proposition. We shall have a United Kingdom Forestry Commission, yet forestry is to be run by the Assembly in Scotland. Will he explain further'?

Mr. Smith

It is not at all an astonishing proposition. The point that I was answering concerned the location of the headquarters. I see no reason why the: Forestry Commission cannot operate from Edinburgh. Indeed, it is a very desirable place from which it can operate, being a very desirable place in which to live and to work.

However, concerning the devolution of forestry, the Forestry Commission will be responsible for its Scottish activities to the Scottish Assembly and the Scottish Administration, and for its English activities it will be responsible to the Minister of Agriculture, as is presently the situation. In the present system of Government, the Forestry Commission is responsible to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to the Secretary of State for Scotland and to the Secretary of State for Wales. I know that they are three Ministers in the same Government, but that recognises the Scottish, Welsh and English interests in the development of forestry. [Interruption.] I am trying to deal with the matter seriously. I do not know whether hon. Members are trying to prolong the debate.

Mr. John MacGregor (Norfolk, South)

I have been listening with great interest because I have large Forestry Commission territory in my constituency in England. It seems to me that the Minister's position is extraordinary. At present the Forestry Commission is responsible to one Parliament, here at Westminster. Although all three Ministers come together, they at least come together in this House of Commons. The Minister is now suggesting that the Forestry Commission should remain as a single unit but should be responsible to two bodies, this Parliament and an elected Assembly. What is the logic in that?

Mr. Smith

If we decided that forestry should be a devolved matter—and there are very strong reasons for that, which I have been developing—and should be the responsibility of the Scottish Assembly we had then to ask whether it should be within the competence of the Assembly to set up a separate Forestry Commission for Scotland. We thought that that would be undesirable, so in the Bill it is beyond the competence of the Assembly to create a separate Forestry Commission so that we would have two Forestry Commissions operating in the United Kingdom. We have safeguarded against that possibility.

That may not please some hon. Members on the nationalist Bench, but I am sure that the general view of the Committee is that we have taken a wise decision. We see no reason why the Assembly cannot be responsible for forestry in Scotland. Some Conservative Members may criticise our proposal, but I suggest that they should have a word with the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West about this matter.

10.30 p.m.

Mr. Teddy Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

I am not trying to catch the Minister out, but I should like some information. Who will appoint the members of the Forestry Commission? Will some be appointed by this House and some by the Assembly or will they all be appointed as they are at present?

Mr. Smith

I understand that the Scottish Administration will appoint some members but I am not sure about that. I shall check and write to the hon. Gentleman.

The main point is on which side of the line forestry should go. We have concluded that it would be wise to have it on the devolved side and we have built into that decision a number of factors, including the provisions that there should be a single commission, that the taxation system, which is the principal interest of the private sector, should be reserved and that we should also reserve plant health, since tree disease is no respecter of boundaries.

Obviously there can be legitimate arguments about whether forestry should go with agriculture or elsewhere. We concluded that it would be wiser for it to go with agriculture, given its close connection with rural development, land use and tourism.

Weighing up the matter and considering the advantages and disadvantages, we consider that it would be right to retain the provisions in the Bill. If the amendment were passed, forestry would be reserved. I do not know whether the amendment was put down to enable us to have a general discussion or in an attempt to change the Bill. Certainly, if it were accepted, it would wreck the devolution of forestry. That may be its purpose. It is certainly not a technical amendment. It goes to the root of the matter.

I shall write to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) about the appointment of members of the Commission. I think that they are appointed by Her Majesty, but I am not sure.

Mr. Teddy Taylor

Will the Minister also tell me what good he thinks will come of this. He has admitted that it will lead to an administrative shambles.

Mr. Smith

That is a misrepresentation of what I said. That may be the hon. Gentleman's sincerely held opinion, but it is not an accurate portrayal of what I have been saying. We think that it will work perfectly well. Some of the arrangements may be beyond the comprehension of some hon. Members opposite, but we believe that forestry should be devolved and that the Assembly should have responsibility for it because of its close links with other matters. I understand that there may be legitimate differences of opinion about that.

One of the differences between this Bill and the Scotland and Wales Bill is that the Forestry Commission now falls into the category of the bodies in Schedule 13 with which consultation has to take place before orders implementing devolution go through. The Commission believes that to be a useful advantage.

Sir John Gilmour

Will the Minister answer two questions that I put to him earlier? Paragraph 20(2) refers to: Any power of the Forestry Commissioners to make regulations under Part II of that Act includes power to make regulations making separate provision as regards Scotland. We ought to know what sort of regulations can be made under this paragraph.

If it means that we can have separate levels of planting grants and maintenance grants in Scotland that the Assembly passes, presumably out of its block grant, that is something that the Committee should know about. If that is not made known, we are devolving forestry without giving any power to the Assembly. Surely the hon. Gentleman should be able to tell us that.

Secondly, if the House of Commons were to accept an EEC forestry regime, would we have to take back the devolvment of forestry from the Assembly? We have not devolved agriculture and fishing because they are matters to be discussed by the Council of Ministers in the EEC. Therefore, if we accepted an EEC forestry regime, presumably we should have to bring back forestry and put it entirely into the control of the House of Commons.

Mr. Younger

We are most grateful to the Minister of State for answering the debate. In the course of his remarks the hon. Gentleman asked us to treat the matter seriously. I believe that the Committee would completely break faith with itself if it did not treat it as an extremely serious matter.

The hon. Gentleman's reply—I am sure that it was offered in good faith—revealed a most extraordinary muddle. When I moved the amendment I never believed that we would get anything remotely like that which has been put before us. I take that view against the background of every viewpoint within the forestry industry being opposed to the devolving of forestry.

The Government have apparently thought out these matters as carefully as they can. That is what the Minister said. Having done that, they have come up with a solution that Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan would have been overjoyed to invent. It is not as if they are sticking to their convictions and fully devolving forestry. They have decided that they cannot do that and have kept one Forestry Commission. I am glad that they are doing so, but that decision contradicts the idea of having two separate political bodies—namely, the House of Commons and the Scottish Assembly—possibly with separate forms of political control, controlling one industry. If we have one body situated in Edinburgh that does not have complete control at either one end or the other, a greater and more obvious recipe for chaos for forestry, whether we are for devolution or against it, would be hard to devise.

Let us consider the parliamentary side. The Minister has admitted that we shall not be able to table Questions or in other ways to question Ministers about Scottish forestry. That is because it will be a devolved matter and will come under the Assembly. However, as the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) would no doubt be quick to remind us yet again, those who represent Scottish seats will be able solemnly to table Questions on English forestry matters. The answers will be dreamed up by the Forestry Commission, which will be one body for both parts of the country.

It seems that the Government have not begun to think through the implications of what they are trying to do. I must ask them to return to the fact that the forestry industry is one industry. There is no way in which anyone can get away from the fact that it is one industry. It is serving one market. It is in one country where the same sort of laws apply throughout. The Minister has admitted that the same tax laws will affect forestry north and south of the border, and for that matter in Wales, which no doubt we shall consider when we discuss Welsh devolution. However, the Scottish Assembly and the House will have the power to have different systems of grant for the two different parts of the forestry industry that will be administered by the same commission. The whole thing is a muddle.

The Minister must face the fact that if we are to have two different sources of political control for one industry there will be different policies. The Assembly could decide, if it gets this power, to have different systems of support for forestry.

Mr. Millan

What is wrong with that?

Mr. Younger

There is nothing wrong with that if the whole of it is devolved. But we are to have it half devolved, and the Secretary of State will ask the same single Forestry Commission to administer it in some way not yet specified. I do not know what authority officials in the Forestry Commission will have over the officers on the ground. We have no time to go into that matter tonight.

If the same officials are to be obliged to operate two different systems from one office and one headquarters under one director, with one board of commissioners appointed jointly by these two bodies, it is inconceivable that it will work properly. It would be like running one industry with two different boards of directors, two different sources of control, two different policies, two different lists of products and two different methods of work.

The Minister said that he weighed up the balance whether forestry should more logically go with agriculture or with the other functions associated with it, such as the countryside, tourism and so on. That is a legitimate argument. But it is perverse to say that these other functions are more likely to be correctly allied with forestry and to ignore the one most obviously allied with it.

It is not as though it were a new idea that agriculture and forestry are closely allied one with the other. The Minister of State and the Secretary of State will be aware that there have frequently been great controversies in various parts of Scotland whether the emphasis on land use in a particular an area should be on agriculture, sheep farming or forestry. Yet, after weighing up all these matters, the Government have concluded that it is correct to divide agriculture and forestry in this way. The Minister has failed to put forward an argument that will make sense to those who work in forestry.

Has the Minister had any representations from anyone involved in forestry in favour of the devolution of forestry in this way? Has anyone involved in forestry said that it is a good idea? I think that the answer will be "No". Therefore, it is all the more surprising that he has gone against all the facts by making this proposal.

Forestry is a single industry that requires a single set of policies. If not, there will be differing methods of work, different levels of support and different prices eventually.

I ask the Secretary of State, in his capacity as Scotland's Minister with responsibility for the economy, to consider the attraction of setting up timber-using industries. If there are two separate policies north and south of the border—not to mention Wales—are there not likely to be two separate methods of attracting timber-using industries to the different countries? There will be nothing to prevent the English branch of the Forestry Commission—I nearly said English Forestry Commision, but it is to be the British Forestry Commission—dictated by the House of Commons, whose political control could make the decision, from introducing special incentives or inducements to attract timber-using industries to England. There will be nothing to prevent it from situating them in the north of England so that they can compete with and have an effect on the industry in Scotland. The only link between the two will be the people working in the Forestry Commission headquarters, and they will be torn this way and that by two bodies having different political control and pulling in different directions.

The debate has been more useful than I thought it would be. I thought that the Minister would have a perfectly calming and rational explanation of how he had thought the whole matter out, that he would be able to give us good reasons for developing forestry and that the Government had thought out a smooth method for administering this great industry that would lead to its future expansion and prosperity. We must remember that it is not only a question of having two different divisions—although we do not want to go into that because of the time—but there will be three different branches if it is proposed to devolve Welsh forestry, which is undesirable.

10.45 p.m.

The Secretary of State is Scotland's Economic Minister. What about regional policies? The Secretary of State has rightly retained most of the functions of regional development, and I personally support that. What sort of job will he have in trying to weld forestry development into his general regional development policies if he has to deal with two different policies? It will be very difficult.

My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Gilmour) made an excellent point in his speech and again a few moments ago when he asked what would be the position when there is an EEC forestry regime. We all know that the EEC does not have a forestry regime, but if it gets one, what wil happen about the devolved part of forestry?

Mr. Millan

Can the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) tell the Committee what the EEC forestry regime would be about?

Mr. Younger

My powers are admired widely, but it is not my job to devise an EEC forestry policy. I have been accused of having delusions of grandeur but I cannot claim to be able to do that.

Sir John Gilmour

We have already debated an EEC forestry policy in a Committee of the House. The EEC has a policy which would take land out of agriculture and put it into forestry.

Mr. Younger

The Secretary of State must know that there is talk of devising an EEC forestry policy. The Secretary of State must face the fact that the industry is likely to be the subject of an EEC policy. If he survives as Minister for that length of time he might be involved.

Let us suppose that such a policy is developed, that the Government of the day agree to it and that it is introduced into this country. What would be the position? We should have devolved forestry in Scotland and the Assembly would have complete authority for dealing with these matters. This is yet another matter which has not been thought through and the Minister has not given a sensible answer tonight. My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East asked that question and the Minister cannot answer it. I look forward to his reply.

Mr. Russell Johnston

Surely the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) is raising a bogy. There are likely to be common EEC regulations to deal with education and the health services, which are to be devolved. That would not be a problem.

Mr. Younger

The hon. Member may be right in that. The thought of a common EEC health policy, given all the difficulties we have experienced in trying to devise one just for this country in recent years is looking a bit too far ahead.

Mr. Smith

There are plans in the EEC to harmonise many health matters. The hon. Gentleman cannot dismiss them so lightly.

Mr. Younger

There are plans in the EEC to harmonise many things in all sorts of subjects. None of that prevents the Minister from having to face up to the fact that there may well be a forestry policy for which the Bill makes no allowance.

When I opened the debate I hoped that the Minister would explain simply what scheme the Government had worked out for the operation of forestry. I thought that he would assure me that he had taken account of the objections expressed by those in forestry to what was proposed in the Bill. I hoped, too, that he would assure me that he had listened to what was said today and would think again about what could be done later to improve matters. But none of that has happened.

The Minister has shown that the scheme the Government have come up with is muddled. They have not thought through its implications, and they have paid not the slightest attention to what anyone from forestry—people who want nothing to do with the Bill—have said. Unless the Minister's second speech is far more acceptable, I advise the Committee to vote for the amendment.

Mr. John Smith

I was under the impression that certain hon. Members wanted to move on to another topic, but it now seems that Opposition Front and Back Benchers want to keep this debate going until 11 o'clock. That may be an unworthy thought on my part, but it crossed my mind.

Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch and Lymington)

The Minister will know as well as anyone how anxious I am to debate tourism. But I have listened with great interest to the discussion on forestry and I would not for one moment wish to suggest that there had been even half a minute of filibustering.

The Secretary of State chastised me the other day for trying to discuss tourism. He suggested that I should wait until Clause 67 to do that. That clause was guillotined. It is nothing short of scandalous that in a perfectly proper debate the Minister has failed to give an adequate answer to my hon. Friend, and that, as a result, it is clear at eight minutes to eleven that there will be no time to discuss important issues surrounding the change in the constitution of the British Tourist Authority. That is quite wrong.

Mr. Smith

The hon. Member should reflect on the fact that long interventions such as his do not assist my efforts to reply to the debate.

The hon. Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Gilmour) asked about planting policy for forestry under the devolved Administration. It would be possible for the Scottish Administration to spend more money on the development of forestry and perhaps to devise a bigger programme than would have been devised by the United Kingdom Government. It would take funds from its block grant for the purpose.

The hon. Gentleman also asked me about the effect of the EEC on forestry. I am not aware of any well-developed EEC policy on forestry. The effect of such a policy would depend on what that policy was. It is therefore difficult to gauge the effect. I find difficulties arising from that.

Mr. Fairgrieve

I indicated in my earlier remarks on the question of forestry that, leaving aside devolution, there was ample evidence that forestry might be better devolved to the EEC, which has a successful record on forestry compared with that of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Smith

I do not think that the EEC has any direct responsibility for the development of forestry. As far as I am aware—I am open to correction on this—there is not a policy among the EEC countries on forestry development. I find it hard to see that there would be intervention by way of regulation or directive on forestry matters in the way that there is in agriculture. Agriculture is the one function in the EEC in which there is heavy intervention by the Commission and by the Council of Ministers. Some of the critics of the EEC say that it is the only part of the arrangement that works. Some say that it works badly. It depends on one's opinion. The hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) must have some very interesting discussions about that with his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor). There is that difference between agriculture and forestry to which I have drawn attention.

I have tried to answer the EEC point and the one concerning the responsibility that the Assembly would have for the development of forestry. [Interruption.] Hon. Members may not agree with what I have said but I cannot fairly be accused of not having answered these points.

Mr. Benyon

A planting grant is a subsidy. Could the Assembly change the planting grants, that is to say, a subsidy?

Mr. Smith

Yes, I think that could be done. That is a part of the devolution of forestry to the Scottish Assembly.

Sir John Gilmour

The initial amount of money for the planting grant will be provided in the block grant, but any increase will have to come by drawing it out of some other service.

Mr. Smith

The Assembly must arrive at its own decision. That is central to the whole thing. After having received the block grant from the United Kingdom Parliament, it will be for the Assembly to decide which priorities to follow. It may decide that forestry should be given a higher or a lower priority.

The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr Fairgrieve) takes the view that successive British Governments have failed to develop forestry properly. I understand and respect his sincerity, but it is not just the development of forestry that we are discussing tonight. It is whether, in making this important constitutional change, forestry should be retained with the United Kingdom Government and Parliament or be one of the subjects devolved to the Scottish Assembly.

I am aware that there has been a substantial argument put up from another part of the House that some of the other functions which are to be devolved, and which are highly pertinent to this matter, such as land use, agricultural management, the countryside, and tourism, have not been—[Interruption.] I have not heard the argument put outwith the House that these subjects should not be devolved—[Interruption.] It would have been quite possible for the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) within the context of his argument tonight, to submit that these subjects should not have been devolved.—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman, with great respect, has sufficient skill to keep within the rules of order. Indeed, it would have been entirely proper for him to discuss these matters as well, because there is a clear link between forestry and the responsibility for the countryside, tourism, land use and rural development.

Earlier in the debate, hon. Members were concerned with the Forestry Commission and its operations, and also with the private woodland owners. On the private side, especially relating to taxation, the hon. Member for Fife, East—

Mr. Adley

On a point of order, Sir Myer. May I, at 10.59 p.m., at the very last minute of the debate, seek your advice and guidance? How on earth, under these procedures, can there be any way in which to discuss the many important matters which have not been discussed, particularly the question of tourism—[Interruption.]—which has been—

The First Deputy Chairman

I can assure the hon. Gentleman and the Committee that I shall discharge my duties as the House has decided them on the question of the guillotine.

Mr. Smith

We have had a fairly long debate on this matter. The hon. Member for Ayr arrived almost with a certain amount of surprise to find that there was a debate on forestry tonight. Perhaps he was not alert enough to see the possibilities which this generous allocation of time allowed—

It being Eleven o'clock, The CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order [16th November] and the Resolution [22nd November], to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, That the amendment be made—

The Committee proceeded to a Division:—

Mr. Adley (seated and covered)

On a point of order, Sir Myer. I am sorry to return to this matter, which I raise as a Back Bencher. You may or may not have been in the Chair the other day when the Secretary of State for Scotland himself chastised me for, as he put it, wasting time and thus preventing us from reaching Clause 67, which totally changes the role and function of the British Tourist Authority. The Secretary of State was a party to the debate on that evening, the result of which was that we were not able to debate the matter then.

We have had exactly the same procedure tonight. What are Back Benchers to do when Ministers on one night ask them not to make speeches, so that they may later raise subjects which are subsequently guillotined, and then when we hope to have a final opportunity, the same thing happens? Is not this making a farce of democracy on an important subject?

The First Deputy Chairman

All I can say is that it is not a matter for the Chair. The Chair has no control over the length of speeches, although I have indicated on many occasions that I have often wished it had such a power. Therefore, there is nothing I can do with regard to the hon. Gentleman's point of order.

Mr. Adley (seated and covered)

Can you explain to me, Sir Myer, how it is possible to make people outside the House understand how the House cannot find time to debate such an important matter?

The First Deputy Chairman

I dare say that, with 635 Members, we should have 635 different explanations. It is for each individual hon. Member to explain the position.

The Committee having divided

Ayes 215, Noes 255.

Division No. 91] AYES [11.0 p.m.
Adley, Robert Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)
Alison, Michael Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Bradford, Rev Robert
Arnold, Tom Benyon, W. Braine, Sir Bernard
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Biffen, John Brittan, Leon
Atkinson, David (Bournemouth, East) Biggs-Davison, John Brocklebank-Fowler, C.
Awdry, Daniel Blaker, Peter Brooke, Peter
Baker, Kenneth Body, Richard Brotherton, Michael
Banks, Robert Boscawen, Hon Robert Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Bell, Ronald Bottomley, Peter Bryan, Sir Paul
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Higgins, Terence L. Peyton, Rt Hon John
Buck, Antony Hodgson, Robin Pink, R. Bonner
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Holland, Philip Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Carlisle, Mark Hordern, Peter Price, David (Eastleigh)
Carson, John Hunt, David (Wirral) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Raison, Timothy
Channon, Paul Hurd, Douglas Rathbone, Tim
Churchill, W. S. Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'df'd) Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Jopling, Michael Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Clegg, Walter Joseph, Rt Hon sir Keith Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Cockroft, John Kaberry, Sir Donald Ronton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Rhodes, James R.
Cope, John Kershaw, Anthony Ridsdale, Julian
Cormack, Patrick Kimball, Marcus Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Critchley, Julian King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Crouch, David Kitson, Sir Timothy Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Crowder, F. P. Knight, Mrs Jill Ross, William (Londonderry)
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Knox, David Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Lamont, Norman Sainsbury, Tim
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Langford-Holt, Sir John Scott, Nicholas
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lawrence, Ivan Shelton, William (Streatham)
Drayson, Burnaby Le Marchant, Spencer Shepherd, Colin
Durant, Tony Lester, Jim (Beeston) Shersby, Michael
Dykes, Hugh Loveridge, John Silvester, Fred
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Luce, Richard Sims, Roger
Emery, Peter McCrindle, Robert Sinclair, Sir George
Eyre, Reginald McCusker, H. Skeet, T. H. H.
Fairbairn, Nicholas Macfarlane, Neil Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Farr, John MacGregor, John Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield)
Fisher, Sir Nigel MacKay, Andrew (Stechford) Spence, John
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Fookes, Miss Janet Madel, David Sproat, Iain
Forman, Nigel Marten, Neil Stainton, Keith
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Mates, Michael Stanbrook, Ivor
Fox, Marcus Mather, Carol Stanley, John
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Fry, Peter Mawby, Ray Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Stokes, John
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Mayhew, Patrick Stradling Thomas, J.
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Meyer, Sir Anthony Tapsell, Peter
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Glyn, Dr Alan Mills, Peter Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Miscampbell, Norman Temple-Morris, Peter
Goodhart, Philip Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Goodhew, Victor Moate, Roger Townsend, Cyril D.
Goodlad, Alastair Molyneaux, James Trotter, Neville
Gorst, John Montgomery, Fergus van Straubenzee, W. R.
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Moore, John (Croydon C) Vaughan, Dr Gerald
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Viggers, Peter
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Grieve, Percy Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Grist, Ian Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Wall, Patrick
Grylls, Michael Mudd, David Warren, Kenneth
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Neave, Airey Weatherill, Bernard
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Nelson, Anthony Wells, John
Hannam, John Neubert, Michael Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Newton, Tony Wiggin, Jerry
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Onslow, Cranley Winterton, Nicholas
Haselhurst, Alan Page, John (Harrow West) Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Younger, Hon George
Hawkins, Paul Page, Richard (Workington)
Hayhoe, Barney Parkinson, Cecil TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Pattie, Geoffrey Sir George Young and
Heseltine, Michael Percival, Ian Mr Anthony Berry.
Allaun, Frank Bishop, Rt Hon Edward Coleman, Donald
Anderson, Donald Blenkinsop, Arthur Concannon, Rt Hon John
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Boardman, H. Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)
Armstrong, Ernest Booth, Rt Hon Albert Corbett, Robin
Ashley, Jack Boothroyd, Miss Betty Cox, Thomas (Tooting)
Ashton, Joe Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Craigen, Jim (Maryhill)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Bray, Dr Jeremy Crawford, Douglas
Atkinson, Norman Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Crawshaw, Richard
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Crowther, Stan (Rotherham)
Bain, Mrs Margaret Buchan, Norman Cryer, Bob
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Cunningham, G. (Islington S)
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Davidson, Arthur
Bates, Alf Canavan, Dennis Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)
Bean, R. E. Carter-Jones, Lewis Davies, Rt Hon Denzil
Beith, A. J. Cartwright, John Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Clemitson, Ivor Deakins, Eric
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Dell, Rt Hon Edmund
Bidwell, Sydney Cohen, Stanley Dempsey, James
Doig, Peter Kilroy-Silk, Robert Rose, Paul B.
Dormand, J. D. Lambie, David Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lamborn, Harry Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lamond, James Sandelson, Neville
Dunn, James A. Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Sedgemore, Brian
Dunnett, Jack Lever, Rt Hon Harold Sever, John
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Eadie, Alex Loyden, Eddie Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Luard, Evan Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
English, Michael Lyon, Alexander (York) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Ennals, Rt Hon David Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Skinner, Dennis
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) McCartney, Hugh Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Evans, John (Newton) MacCormick, Iain Snape, Peter
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) McDonald, Dr Oonagh Spearing, Nigel
Fairgrieve, Russell McElhone, Frank Spriggs, Leslie
Faulds, Andrew MacFarquhar, Roderick Stallard, A. W.
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. McGuire, Michael (Ince) Steel, Rt Hon David
Flannery, Martin MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Stewart, Rt Hon Donald
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mackintosh, John P. Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Maclennan, Robert Stoddart, David
Ford, Ben McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Stott, Roger
Forrester, John McNamara, Kevin Strang, Gavin
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Madden, Max Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Magee, Bryan Surmmerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Freud, Clement Mallalieu, J. P. W. Swain, Thomas
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Marks, Kenneth Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
George, Bruce Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Ginsburg, David Mason, Rt Hon Roy Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Golding, John Maynard, Miss Joan Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Gould, Bryan Meacher, Michael Thompson, George
Gourlay, Harry Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Graham, Ted Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Tierney, Sydney
Grant, George (Morpeth) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Tinn, James
Grant, John (Islington C) Mitchell, Austin Tomlinson, John
Grocott, Bruce Molloy, William Torney, Tom
Hardy, Peter Moonman, Eric Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Hart, Rt Hon Judith Morris, Rt Hon Charles R. Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Moyle, Roland Ward, Michael
Hayman, Mrs Helene Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Watkins, David
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Watkinson, John
Henderson, Douglas Newens, Stanley Watt, Hamish
Hooson, Emlyn Noble, Mike Weetch, Ken
Horam, John Oakes, Gordon Weitzman, David
Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) O'Halloran, Michael Wellbeloved, James
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Orbach, Maurice Welsh, Andrew
Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley White, James (Pollok)
Huckfield, Les Ovenden, John Whitehead, Phillip
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Park, George Whitlock, William
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Parry, Robert Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Hunter, Adam Pavitt, Laurie Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Pendry, Tom Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Penhaligon, David Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Perry, Ernest Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Janner, Greville Price, William (Rugby) Wilson Gordon (Dundee E)
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Radice, Giles Wilson. Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
John, Brynmor Reid, George Wise, Mrs Audrey
Johnson, James (Hull West) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Woodall, Alec
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Woof, Robert
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Robinson, Geoffrey Wrigglesworth, Ian
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Roderick, Caerwyn Young, David (Bolton E)
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Judd, Frank Rooker, J. W. Mr James Hamilton and
Kaufman, Gerald Roper, John Mr Joseph Harper
Kerr, Russell

Question accordingly negatived.

The CHAIRMAN then proceeded to put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the Business to be concluded at Eleven o'clock.

Schedule 16, as amended, agreed to.

Whereupon The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report the Bill, as amended to the House, pursuant to Order [16th November].

Bill reported, with amendments; as amended to be considered tomorrow and to be printed, [Bill 51].