HC Deb 22 May 1980 vol 985 cc769-95

1. Schedule 11 to the 1977 Act (applications for registration of rent) is amended as follows.

2. For paragraphs 2 and 3 there are inserted the following paragraphs— 2.—(1) Where the application is made jointly by the landlord and the tenant and it appears to the rent officer, after making such inquiry, if any, as he thinks fit and considering any information supplied to him in pursuance of paragraph 1 above, that the rent specified in the application is a fair rent, he may register that rent without further proceedings. (2) Where the rent officer registers a rent under this paragraph he shall notify the landlord and tenant accordingly. 3. In the case of an application which does not fall within paragraph 2 above, the officer shall serve on the landlord and on the tenant a notice—

  1. (a) stating the rent specified in the application; and
  2. (b) inviting the person on whom the notice is served to state, within a period of not less than seven days after the service of the notice, whether he wishes the rent officer to consider, in consulta-tation with the landlord and the tenant, what rent ought to be registered for the dwelling-house.
3A. If, after service of a notice by the rent officer under paragraph 3 above, no request is made within the period specified in the notice for the rent to be considered as mentioned in paragraph 3(b) above, the rent officer after considering what rent ought to be registered, or as the case my be, whether a different rent ought to be registered, may—
  1. (a) determine a fair rent and register it as the rent for the dwelling-house; or
  2. (b) confirm the rent for the time being registered and not the confirmation in the register; or
  3. (c) serve a notice under paragraph 4(2) below."
3. For sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 4 there is substituted the folowing sub-paragraph— (1) Where, in response to a notice served by the rent officer under paragraph 3 above, the landlord or the tenant asks for the rent to be considered as mentioned in paragraph 3(b), the rent officer shall serve a notice under this paragraph.". 4. After sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 4 there is inserted the following sub-paragraph— (4) The rent officer may, where he considers it appropriate, arrange for consultations in respect of one dwelling-house to be held together with consultations in respect of one or more other dwelling-houses. 5. In paragraph 5, for the words "and shall", immediately after sub-paragraph (b), there is substituted— 5A. Where a rent has been registered or confirmed by the rent officer under paragraph 3A or 5 above, he shall ". 6. In paragraph 6(1) for "5" there is substituted "5A".'.—[Mr. Stanley.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

Order for Third Reading read.—[Queen's Consent, on behalf of the Crown, and Prince of Wales's Consent, on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall, signified.]

Motion made, and question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.—[Mr. Stanley.]

6.3 pm

Mr. Selwyn Gummer (Eye)

The Bill has been hard fought and has become almost a badge of courage on one side to attack a number of its key provisions on behalf, it seemed, of the homeless in London.

Many of us welcome the Bill because it will, for the first time, provide a chink in the urban monopoly which has been a feature of our housing legislation for a long time. It seems to be an essential change of attitude that we see in the Bill in that localities which differ one from another—areas which have different problems—are now able to have a wider range of choices. District councils, in particular, are able to apply the Bill in ways which benefit their communities instead of constantly being within the straitjacket dictated by the demands of urban Members. I unashamedly emphasise the welcome which certain provisions will be accorded in rural areas.

The only reason for any sadness is that the crucial change on shorthold has been opposed root and branch by the Labour Party. The statement by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) was the most severe blow that has been dealt to the homeless on party political grounds and for sordid and unpleasant reasons for many years. I shall tell every homeless person who comes to my surgery that one of the major reasons why I cannot find him a home is the party political ambition of the Labour Party, and I shall mention the right hon. Member for Ardwick on every occasion.

It is sad that the first major change which could give families in the countryside the opportunity to live in homes which are at the moment vacant should have been turned down for what can only be called dogmatic reasons. Not one real answer was given to the simple question: is it better to have a short tenancy than no tenancy at all?

The right hon. Member for Ardwick, in dismissing that part of the Bill, suggested that he would prefer to deprive tenants of the chance of having a roof over their heads to giving them the opportunity of a shorthold tenancy. That is so grave and grievous and disgraceful a position that I am making it the kind of personal statement that I would rarely make in the House. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman—who again, when anything uncomfortable is mentioned, talks to his neighbour—realises his personal responsibility towards those who will now continue to be homeless.

In my constituency, it will mean that homes which would willingly have been opened to constituents will go on being let as summer lets or to Americans. I hope that most people will realise that the chance of the Labour Party gaining power is now remote, because of its assiduous concern with internal politics, that they need not be afraid of the threat to landlords and tenants contained in the speech by the right hon. Member for Ardwick. I hope that is so. I have no doubt that it would have been better had this been a mutually agreed Bill.

We shall not get the changes in our housing legislation that we desperately need to be as effective as they ought to be unless both sides of the House put the needs of people first and historic party political differences last. I had hoped that the Bill would be the beginning of that process. I believe that shorthold could and will to a large extent—although not to the extent I had hoped—be the beginning of an attitude towards housing in which many of the historic concerns about wicked landlords or unpleasant tenants can be put aside and we can seek to meet the real needs of our time.

Too much of our legislation is based upon the experience only of urban and suburban Members. The Bill gives a wide range of opportunity and, therefore, begins to right the balance for those parts of the country, such as the one that I represent, where problems are different and where people want more local action and choice. I ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to take an early opportunity to use to the full the powers that he has taken to give localities the chance to make radical experiments in rent control and in the control of tenancies.

In my constituency there is no housing shortage, but there is a shortage of houses to let—even though the houses are there to let. I hope that we can try to give district councils the opportunity to be radical about the way in which they implement rent and tenancy control in this area and deal with these problems. Therefore, I ask the Secretary of State to take the opportunity of the passing of the Bill to give that choice to rural communities who have been corralled and trammelled by urban decisions for too long.

Mr. Speaker

The House can see how many hon. Members wish to catch my eye. This debate must end at 7 o'clock. I have no authority to request five-minute speeches, but if speeches were kept to five minutes it would be a great help.

6.10 pm
Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn)

I shall set my stopwatch and watch it with care.

The hon. Member for Eye (Mr. Gummer) said that we should put the needs of people first and set aside party political dogma. I agree with his first sentiments. But if he is concerned about why the Labour Party has been so united in its opposition to the shorthold provisions, he should consider not only the speech on this matter by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) on Tuesday but also the speeches of his hon. Friends later that evening on the matter of service charges. If he and his colleagues wish to know why we are so suspicious about what will happen when the shorthold provisions come into force, he should read with care the speeches made by his hon. Friends the Members for Chelsea (Mr. Scott) and for Paddington (Mr. Wheeler). The hon. Member for Chelsea said: There are some landlords, both in the rented and the leasehold sector, who are behaving illegally and are fiddling service charges. He continued: Blocks in my constituency elsewhere in central London are being sold off to companies which have their basis in Liechtenstein, Monte Carlo, Saudi Arabia and so on, and are able to avoid their responsibility for fulfilling the landlord's side of the covenant between landlord and tenant… I know that there are difficult tenants. But there is also an increasing number of difficult landlords in central London who exploit these situations. He also said: Anyone who knows what is happening in central London at present will know that the balance should be redressed in favour of the tenant. That sentiment—that the balance should be redressed in favour of the tenants—was echoed by his hon. Friend the Member for Paddington, who said: It is no exaggeration to say that many tenants, especially the elderly, in inner London are in a state of fear."—[Official Report, 20 May 1980; Vol. 985, col. 423–34.] We utterly oppose the provisions for shorthold tenancies, because many tenants in central London and elsewhere are in a state of fear, and we believe passionately—our view is shared by many Conservative Members—that the balance should be redressed in favour of the tenants.

The idea of shorthold may be unexceptionable. When the hon. Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams) put forward that idea in his original Bills between 1976 and 1979, he went out of his way to provide a series of safeguards to ensure that that form of tenure would not be open to abuse. When his proposals were opposed by Labour Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun), we pointed out that we were disputing not the intention of the hon. Gentleman but merely the effect of his proposals. We were concerned about the efficiency of the safeguards.

However, these proposals do not represent in any sense what was suggested by the hon. Member for Kensington in Opposition. They are shorn of all the safeguards, and they amount to a new form of tenure which, in the words of the Law Society, will render the existing forms of regulated and protected tenure obsolete. Far from redressing the balance in favour of the tenant, they push the balance very much in favour of the landlord. Labour Members cannot look on that with equanimity.

Although we may lose the battle on Third Reading tonight, in many ways this is a war which has only just begun. When we prepare our explanations in the country as to why we feel so strongly, we shall quote the speeches of Conservative Members who have explained so often about the abuses of landlords. We shall also quote from an article in The Observer, headed: Top Tory tenants fight housing Bill ". A Mr. Hugh Redfern, described by The Observer as a retired business man and lifelong Tory, was said to be In the forefront of a campaign to persuade Britain's three million private tenants to vote Labour at the next General Election unless the Government changes its Housing Bill. Mr. Redfern continued: London's homes have not been in such peril since the Nazis. But the spirit which sustained us then will see us through now. That is the view not of some wild members of the militant tendency but of a respectable Conservative business man in central London. Because of the iniquities in the Bill, millions of tenants will fight it—with Labour support—and will show their concern during the elections that lie ahead.

6.16 pm
Mr. K. Harvey Proctor (Basildon)

The hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) talks of wars, battles and Nazis. He should be aware that the main battle on the Bill was fought and won in May last year. It is refreshing that we have a Government who are honouring their election pledges so rapidly.

I support the Bill because it marks the beginning of the withdrawal of Government interference—both local and national—from the sphere of housing. Government interference has bedevilled the housing market since the Second World War.

The Bill gives a statutory right to council and development corporation tenants to buy and own their homes. That is important in my constituency and in many other parts of the country. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Minister are well aware, many of my constituents are already buying their homes. The Conservative resident-controlled Basildon district council, which took office last May, has already received over 1,000 inquiries from people who are interested in buying their own home—out of a housing stock of 6,000. Following the ministerial consent of last May, the Basildon development corporation has received over 6,000 inquiries, out of a total housing stock of 18,000—one-third of the housing stock. To date, the total number of sales is over 1,300. I expect that figure to increase soon to between 2,500 and 3,000 sales in the first round. Basildon was in the fore front—

Mr. Alton

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Proctor

No, I shall not give way, because I have very little time.

Basildon was in the forefront under previous sales policies of a Conservative Government. It sold 5,000 houses then. I believe that, after the first round of sales, the rate will continue at about 500 or 750 a year.

That demonstrates the popularity of sales and the fact that what we are doing is right. However, the Bill is vital to a number of my constituents. They cannot buy their homes, despite the election of a Conservative Government, despite a Conservative resident-controlled local authority and despite a Conservative Member of Parliament who was elected—if I may say so—on one of the largest swings to the Conservatives in the country last May. They are the tenants of the London borough of Waltham Forest, who live in my constituency on the Barn Hall estate in Wickford and the Out-wood Common estate in Billericay. There is a total of 599 dwellings. This Labour-controlled council has consistently refused to allow tenants to buy their own homes.

These tenants, my constituents, see their neighbours in Billericay and Wick-ford, tenants of the district council, buying their own homes. They see the tenants of the Basildon development corporation buying their own homes in the new town. All that they see is the market value of their home increasing while Waltham Forest vacillates. These Waltham Forest tenants living in my constituency look on with great frustration. They cannot even register their opposition to Labour councillors in local elections. They cannot vote for the Waltham Forest council. That is not right. It is not fair. The Bill is their only hope of buying their homes. I am sure that many will wish to do so.

Finally, I urge the Minister to indicate the timetable for the exercise of the right-to-buy legislation and what action my constituents should take now or in the near future so that their dream of home ownership can be realised at the earliest opportunity.

I also urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to give the fullest publicity to the right-to-buy provisions of the Bill. We should spell them out clearly and very loudly.

The Bill's provisions to establish a tenants' charter are excellent. Not to have added the right for tenants to buy their own homes would have been like setting up a public house and then not selling beer inside it.

The Bill has the overwhelming support of my constituents—tenants, home owners, home seekers, ratepayers and taxpayers. It will benefit all of them.

6.21 pm
Mr. Allan Roberts (Bootle)

The hon. Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor) said that the battle was fought and won in May of last year. In Standing Committee. F, on 30 April this year, on the eve of a battle which took place this May, my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) said: We on this side were anxious to complete our proceedings tonight so that we could go to our constituencies tomorrow and be active in the local elections on that day. We are going from this Committee Room to take our case to the people, and we shall return for Report stage, buttressed in our arguments by the support of the people."—[Official Report, Standing Committee F, 30 April 1980; c. 2638.] Conservative Members forget that there has been another battle since the general election and that the mandate is now with the Opposition Benches against the sale of council houses, as the local election results this month proved.

I move from the question of the right-to-buy provisions, which will be repealed by the next Labour Government, to comment on the Bill's intention to legalise once again the building of back-to-back houses. How any Government can contemplate allowing such houses to be built once again, with only one outside wall, beggars description. When that measure was defended in the legislation, one thought that the Government would not be successful in persuading private builders or Councils to build back-to-back houses, to take the country back to the 1930s and the conditions that were described in Engel's "Conditions of the Working Class ". But then we see in the Bill a provision to allow assured tenancies to be created where any new house or any new unit of accommodation is built. After the Bill becomes an Act, the owner will be able to let that accommodation to a tenant without any rent restrictions or rent controls.

Taken together, allowing the building of cheap back-to-back houses, with only one outside wall—to standards that have not been contemplated since the Industrial Revolution—and permitting them to be let on assured tenancies without any rent control under the Rent Acts, epitomises the Conservative Government's attitude to housing.

The Government's refusal to include in the Bill statutory mobility schemes, which were included in Labour's Bill before the general election caused that Bill to fall, also shows that the present Government are concerned not about mobility but about selling council houses, not to create more mobility but to attack the public rented sector. The beginning of the voluntary national mobility scheme announced by the Minister in Committee has been ignominious. As I understand it, if this scheme works, it should enable local authority tenants and applicants for local authority housing from one local authority to transfer to another more easily. That is the idea. But this scheme is under continuing negotiation and at present it consists of no more than two sides of a piece of paper circulated by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. Only two out of 43 counties have submitted any plans for county schemes. This voluntary scheme will obviously fail. The Government should reconsider introducing in another place the legislation to give statutory backing for the scheme.

Finally, how can any Conservative Member suggest that the Labour Party's policy and statements from the Opposition Benches would, if implemented under the next Labour Government, make the housing situation worse? Under the present Government, we have witnessed the most unprecedented cut in the finance available for council house building and for every other aspect of house building. In November, £5,078 million was allowed by the present Government for housing in 1980–81—nearly £300 million less than for the previous year. However, by March the Government had cut the allocation again to £4,700 million. The cut was then £672 million.

That was calamitous, but what is planned to follow in the expenditure White Paper beggars description. In the next three years the totals will be £3,840 million, £3,250 million and £2,790 million—bringing virtually to an end any local authority activity in housing except on the margins, and sacrificing those in housing need to the whims of the free market and the private landlord.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I am obliged to hon. Members for co-operating. I can tell hon. Members now that it is hoped that the winding-up speeches will begin at 6.40 pm.

6.27 pm
Mr. Nicholas Scott (Chelsea)

The hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) has been a Member of the House only during this Parliament I wonder what sort of speech he would have made had he been sitting on the Government Back Benches when the Labour Government presided over the reductions in the rate of council house building from the level that they inherited down to that which existed when they left office. [Interruption.] I shall not give way to the right hon. Gentleman. He is always self-indulgent in his speeches.

Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Ardwick)

The hon. Gentleman is mis-misleading the House.

Mr. Scott

The right hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Freeson) was the worst Minister for Housing and Construction that this country has ever had.

I was flattered that the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) devoted some of his speech to quoting remarks that I and my colleagues in inner London had made about the Bill and the present housing situation. In a sentence or two, I want to pick up a remark made by my hon. Friend the Member for Eye (Mr. Gummer). Over the 15 years during which I have been a Member of the House, I have wished that we could have a housing policy based on some sort of consensus. I have regretted it when my own party has broken that consensus. I have regretted it when the Labour Party has broken that consensus. As regards council house sales, I believe that at present the Labour Party is breaking the consensus in a reckless and irresponsible way.

I regret the fact that in introducing the concept of shortholds my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench have not built into their system the sort of protections that were proposed in the Private Member's Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams), because I think that that would have brought empty properties on to the market without wrecking the whole system of rent controls.

I wish that there were some way in which we could get together and form a policy under which councils, private landlords and tenants would know for a term of years—five or 10 years ahead—exactly what the rules would be. As long as people are doubtful and feel that the rules are being queried or are likely to be threatened, there will not be a development of housing policy, whether for the public or the private sector, which all of us who want to see our people better housed wish to see.

I wish the Bill well. I wish that I could vote for it. However, I shall not do so as it ignores the interests of a substantial number of my constituents. I wish it well because I think that the provisions for council house sales are right. I wish it had been possible to have them on the basis that local authorities should have discretion about the properties that they wanted to sell. I accept the point made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Had there been any discretion, it would have been sabotaged by the irresponsible attitude of Opposition Front Bench members and Labour councils. The Government had to give the absolute right to buy. I regret the fact that it was necessary, but the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Opposition.

I wish that I could look forward to shortholds becoming an important part of privately rented acommodation in the immediate future, but again that concept was sabotaged by the Opposition.

Despite my good wishes for the Bill, I cannot vote for it. I respect the efforts made by my right hon. and hon. Friends to meet the requirements that we put forward on behalf of our constituents in central London. Still, in terms of service charges, we still have to see the amendments that the Government will produce in another place. I hope that when the amendments come to the House of Commons they will meet our requirements.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kensington was unable to move his amendments because of the guillotine. Ultimately, we shall solve the problem in central London only if those tenants who live in flats are able to buy, and to manage in their own interests, the blocks in which they live. Therefore, I shall not be able to vote for the Bill on Third Reading.

6.32 pm
Mr. Alton

I echo the sentiments which have just been expressed.

I start by reiterating the Liberal Party's great regret that its members were excluded from the Committee when the Bill was discussed. If people want a bipartisan approach and genuine co-operation on these matters, the Liberal Party should not be treated in this contemptuous and arrogant way. Liberal Members of Parliament have tried during the debates to make constructive criticisms. One Liberal amendment was accepted.

I also regret that time is too limited this evening to go into the important points of the Bill, because of the guillotine placed on it by the Government. That is the hallmark of the arrogance shown by the Secretary of State in dealing with the entire proceedings on the Bill.

I am sorry to say this, but that arrogance is contained in the Bill. For instance, the Bill deals with the question of how council house sales will be enforced by injunction, not by the special use of court procedures to ensure that where sales are not carried out the clerk of the court might make them but by injunction. That will take the Government and local government into a head-on confrontation. There will be more Clay Crosses and martyrs. That again arises from the arrogance of the Secretary of State in his belief that there are blanket solutions to our housing problems. I reject that. He will turn housing into a battleground or cockpit where central and local government will be locked in a remorseless battle of confrontation.

I refer the Secretary of State to the views of local authorities. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities alleges that there are significant differences between this Bill and the provisions for Scotland. At its recent meeting it said: The…English Bill says ' Where the dwelling house was first let…after 31 March 1974…the discount shall not reduce the price below the cost…of providing the house.' On the other hand the Scottish Bill is worded differently. It reads: ' Where the dwelling house was first let…after 15 May 1975 the price…shall not be less than (a) the outstanding debt incurred in providing the dwelling house, or (b) the market value of the dwelling house whichever is the lesser.' The key words are ' whichever is the lesser.' COSLA argues that the conservative valuations put on council houses by the district valuer can mean that prices fall below the cost of provision. Thus a local authority may well find that it is forced by the tenant to sell a relatively new house at less than it cost them to build it. I do not believe that that argument has been properly explored in the discussions on the Bill. I echo the sentiments of the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts), who was worried about back-to-back housing. That is a good idea. It is worth trying on an experimental and limited basis to see how it works, but we should not allow it to happen all over the country without knowing what the implications may be.

The same is true of shorthold. The Government justify the creation of short-hold tenancies by reference to the need to reverse the decline in the private rented sector, which they blame largely on the level of security which private tenants presently enjoy. In a letter to the Campaign for Single Homeless People, dated 30 July 1979, the Minister for Housing and Construction wrote: The Government is confident that, by restoring a fairer balance between landlord and tenant, shorthold will encourage landlords to keep on letting and to bring back rented accommodation onto the market. Shorthold should be of particular benefit to young single people and others whose need is for relatively short term accommodation. Leaving aside the issue of whether the Government's analysis of the causes of decline of the private sector is accurate and whether their prescription will revive it, shorthold tenancies can do nothing to increase the supply of secure, good standard, low-cost housing which single people need. On the contrary, shorthold tenancies will provide only temporary accommodation and will increase involuntary mobility and homelessness. I am not against the principles of shorthold, but I should like to see them experimented with on a sensitive basis and not see the undermining of all the safeguards that are contained in the present Rent Acts.

I refer the Secretary of State to a letter which I wrote to his hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction yesterday on the question of housing association rents under clause 58(6) and (7). I should like him to give an assurance before we vote on the Bill that he will introduce a maximum limit on annual increases in weekly rents to housing association tenants. I suggest a limit of £3.

The Bill will accelerate the decline of British housing. The provision in the Bill for house improvements and repairs is thoroughly inadequate. Even the Secretary of State within his own firm—Haymarket Press—accepted the principle of reinvestment. Of the £3.7 million profits made by his firm in 1978, only £230,000 was distributed to shareholders. Nearly £1.5 million was ploughed back into the business. I advise him that he should do the same for private and public sector housing. Otherwise, we shall be left with houses that will rot and go into decline and which will be fit for nothing but the bulldozer which his predecessor pensioned off.

6.38 pm
Sir Brandon Rhys Williams (Kensington)

The Bill contains many provisions that are urgently needed and right. I congratulate my right hon. and hon. Friends on hastening forward to complete so many of their electoral promises.

Naturally, I welcome the inclusion of the shorthold provisions in the Bill. However, I regret that the proposal has given rise to so much controversy. I understand the attitude of the Labour Party in thinking it necessary to include safeguards. However, I am disappointed that its leadership did not seek to compromise with the Government spokesmen. The Labour Party's attitude over shorthold will be an electoral millstone, because it will have done so much damage to people who need precisely this type of accommodation.

We hope that when the Bill comes back from the other place it will include significantly better safeguards for service charges. Clause 125 is not sufficient. We must give tenants the right of challenge.

The problem I have about the Bill is a Kensington issue. It creates a class of second-rate citizens in our property-owning democracy, namely, those who live in mansion blocks which are in private ownership. This is a problem to which the Government must return. I hope that they will do so soon. For the present, however, I must express the anxiety and deep disappointment of my own electors who live in privately owned flats. I shall abstain from voting on Third Reading.

6.39 pm
Mr. Kaufman

Afte nearly 170 hours of debate, we shall in a few minutes take our leave of the Bill. The Government have made clear that the Bill is a cornerstone of their housing policy. It is, therefore, right that we should examine how the Bill, as the House will pass it, will advance the Government's housing policy.

So that the Opposition may be seen to be absolutely fair, I ask the House to judge the Government's housing policy and the Bill according to the tests laid down by the Secretary of State himself and to consider how his achievement measures up to that.

I start with the sale of council houses, regarded by many as the main measure in the Bill. The Secretary of State's test is: One of the most important social ' revolutions ' of this century is now being achieved by this Conservative Government. This is the sale of council houses. This ' revolution ' is typically Conservative ". Indeed, it is typically Conservative. Let us look at the achievement. In the first two full quarters of the Government's period in office, the latest period for which figures are available, no more council houses—and probably fewer—were sold than in the final two full quarters of the Labour Government.

In 11 new towns, including Basildon, where discounts of up to 50 per cent., as in the Bill, have been available since May, only about 2 per cent. of the houses have been sold; 98 per cent. of tenants have contracted out of the Secretary of State's "social revolution ".

The second test is the alleged benefits to the community of the Bill's compulsory council house sales policy. The Secretary of State said: the sale of council houses should bring appreciable benefits, not only to council tenants, but to the community as a whole. Today, the Comptroller and Auditor General has issued a memorandum commenting on the document on the financial effects of council house sales which was published by the Department of the Environment in January and which led the Secretary of State to claim that council house sales were financially beneficial to public funds. Among the comments made in the memorandum are the following: In particular, the faster that council rents are expected to rise in the future, the less advantageous it is to sell ". That is less advantageous to the public purse. The Department's document on which the Comptroller and Auditor General comments assumed rent rises of between 3 per cent. and 11 per cent. This year, rents are due to rise, on the Government's own orders, by 28 per cent. The Comptroller and Auditor General says: In my view, some of the assumptions most favourable to public funds are clearly less probable than those least favourable…and the assumptions do not take account of all the considerations which could have an adverse effect on the overall balance…If the ranges shown for the 50 year assessment were adjusted to take account of these points, the possible net gain to public funds would be somewhat reduced and the possible net loss somewhat increased. So much for the document that the Secretary of State boasted about. In the gentlest possible way, the Comptroller and Auditor General has torpedoed the right hon. Gentleman's claims.

Those claims are further undermined by some recently published official Government figures. Estimates show that for every 200 council houses sold this year, at an average price after discount of £9,000, councils would be permitted under the Bill to spend £270,000 in building replacement houses.

The cost of building an average new council house is £19,250, which means that £270,000 would build 14 new houses. For every 200 council houses lost to the community—which paid for them through its rates and taxes—because of the policy of compulsory sales, only 14 houses would be replaced. There would be a net loss of 186 houses—93 per cent.—to the community's housing stock.

What about the rest of the council house building programme? The Secretary of State's test, in his own words, is: Our…objective is…enough new house building…to meet essential needs in the public sector and: We must build new council houses. But the Bill massively slashes subsidies for building council houses. The latest official figures, published two days ago by the Secretary of State's own Department, show that in the first quarter of this year new orders for council house building were down, compared with a year ago, by a catastrophic 31 per cent.

The Secretary of State will say that local authorities are not the only public sector house builders and that there are also housing associations, which feature prominently in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken eloquently of their activities. He told a housing association audience: I certainly see a major role for the housing association movement…I shall foster and support the contribution that you are making to opportunity and choice in housing. How has the Secretary of State kept that promise? How does the Bill help? The right hon. Gentleman has imposed vicious cuts in this year's housing associations' activities—the contribution that he promised to foster and support. He has slashed their house-building programme by more than one-third.

The chairman of the Housing Corporation described the Secretary of State's action as a "painful operation" and added: Even more unfortunate is the effect of a reduction in the voluntary endeavour so painstakingly nurtured and sustained over the years. If Government policy, as embodied in the Bill, is preventing the public sector from building sufficient dwellings to meet housing needs, home ownership becomes more important than ever. The Secretary of State said of that: For the vast majority of people there is a desire to own their own homes, their own property. Our party has long recognised and encouraged this desire because it leads to the most economic provision of housing. How has the right hon. Gentleman's stewardship helped, and how will the Bill help, to encourage that desire? In the first four months of last year—the final four months of the Labour Government—the building societies made 246,000 home loans. In the first four months of this year, they made 203,000 home loans—a reduction of 17 per cent. The Building Societies Association tells us that in the past three months the number of builders reporting that potential buyers could not afford mortgage repayments has risen from 21 per cent. to 69 per cent. and the number of buyers complaining of difficulties in accumulating a deposit has also risen.

What about first-time buyers? The Secretary of State has offered them warm words of sympathy: To help young couples, we must find imaginative schemes to get them on to the first rung of the ladder of home ownership. How is that sympathy translated into action? The BSA says that, in terms of numbers of loans granted, lending to new buyers is down from just under 400,000 in the boom years of 1971–72 to 324,000 during 1979. In percentage terms, that means that 51 per cent. of all loans granted in 1973 were to first-time buyers, compared with 45 per cent. in 1979. The clauses in the Bill that push up local authority mortgage rates will make that plight even worse.

What effect have all those developments had, and what effect will the Bill have, on the building industry? The Secretary of State is firm on the industry's importance. He has said: The…necessary requirement is that builders should have the confidence to build."—[Official Report, 26 November 1976; Vol. 921, c. 366–70.] What is the state of confidence in the industry? Sir Peter Trench, chairman of the National House Building Council, says that the slump in new house building this year is expected to be the worst for more than half a century. This year, the number of housing starts in the private sector is unlikely to be more than 105,000, compared with 140,000 last year. Total housing production could be the lowest, war years apart, for more than 50 years.

I shall let the Secretary of State sum up our case. When the Labour Party was in office, it built more houses than the Bill will provide. At that time, the Secretary of State said: housing is the most important of the social services…A nation well housed will be happier, healthier, better educated and more orderly than one that is not. It is not possible to overestimate, therefore, the tragedy of the collapse of the house building programme."—[Official Report, 26 November 1976; Vol. 921, c. 365.] That indictment devastatingly condemns the Secretary of State's policy and the Bill. That is why we shall vote against it.

6.51 pm
The Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr. John Stanley)

With the leave of the House, I shall reply. The right hon. Member for Manchester, Ard-wick (Mr. Kaufman) quoted from the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General. I quote from the conclusions of that report: It provides a valuable and basically sound analysis of the assumptions which have to be made in order to calculate the financial consequences of a typical council house sale. The Housing Bill 1980 is the most far-reaching and fundamental piece of housing legislation of the post-war period. It would not have been possible to produce such a major piece of legislation so early in the lifetime of this Parliament if it had not been for the highly demanding and dedicated work over many months of parliamentary counsel and of the Department's officials. Most of the attention has focused on the Bill's controversial parts. Far too little attention has been directed towards those parts that are non-contentious yet highly significant and desirable.

For example, the tenants' charter, the steps that we are taking to establish a national mobility scheme, the widening of the rent rebate and rent allowance scheme, the comprehensive reform of the existing improvement legislation and the fact that we have enabled housing associations to provide low-cost homes for sale for the first time represent profoundly important provisions for the future. Inevitably, the controversies have tended to focus on shorthold and on the right to buy. As my hon. Friend the Member for Eye (Mr. Gummer) rightly said, Conservative Members who heard last Tuesday's statement by the right hon. Member for Ardwick thought that it was as irresponsible a statement on housing as they had ever heard.

I very much regret that instead of waiting to see how the shorthold provisions would work out in practice—as my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams) implored—and instead of waiting to see what contribution it could make to meeting housing needs, the Labour Party rushed out a commitment to repeal the provisions before the Bill had left the Committee. That repeal commitment was profoundly misguided. I regard it as totally reprehensible that the right hon. Member for Ardwick should go well beyond a repeal commitment. He has not merely said that a Labour Government would repeal the shorthold provisions. He has gone further than that. He has made the repeal commitment retrospective. In a completely irresponsible manner, he has threatened to tear up all existing short-hold contracts. I presume that that is what he meant when he said: Those landlords who consider using shorthold tenancies should bear in mind that the next Labour Government will give all shorthold tenants and shorthold successor tenants full security of tenure and protection under the Rent Act."—[Official Report, 20 May 1980; Vol. 985, c. 379.] As the right hon. Gentleman knows, that utterly irresponsible statement will have one certain and totally predictable result. As this Parliament draws to a close, not a single shorthtold tenancy is likely to be renewed. Every shorthold tenant is likely to be evicted. The responsibility for those evictions will lie solely with the Labour Party.

The right hon. Gentleman made an extraordinary statement in Committee. We thought it extraordinary at the time. He said that he would rather see dwellings left empty than let on shorthold. That speaks volumes for the Labour Party. Its official spokesman on housing would rather see dwellings left empty than let on shorthold. I am afraid that he will have his way. Every shorthold dwelling will be empty by the end of this Parliament. The right hon. Member for Ardwick will have emptied them.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is in no doubt about the consequences of that statement for individuals and of their families. I hope that he is in no doubt that there will be real losers. Those losers will be the overcrowded, the sharers, those on waiting lists and those wanting short-term accommodation, for whatever reason. It is they who will have to pay the price for the right hon. Gentleman's statement.

In recent months, we have heard a great deal from the Labour Party on the subject of housing cuts, insufficient HIP allocations, the shortage of rented accommodation and the problems of the homeless. Everything that the Labour Party has said on those subjects and everything that it may say in future will look mighty sick alongside its deliberate and calculated decision to wreck shorthold.

I turn now to the right to buy. I appreciate that the right to buy may be controversial among the serried ranks of home owners on the Opposition Benches. However, among the would-be home owners on council estates in Labour areas, the only point of controversy about the right to buy concerns why on earth they have not got that right already.

I noticed the recent comments of Mr. Rose, a 60-year-old Labour supporter, who has been prevented from buying his council house in Birmingham. He has lived in that house since 1944. I thought that he echoed the feelings of a great many people when he said: I have supported Labour since I was old enough to vote but now I am disgusted with the party. I feel totally let down…There is nothing wrong with a working man owning his own house. Mr. Rose is absolutely right. There is nothing wrong with a working man owning his house. What is wrong is the Labour Party's policy of denying people the opportunity to do so. Nothing demonstrates more clearly the case for the right to buy than the rate at which tenants have been buying houses in the areas in which they have been allowed to do so since we came into office.

I am glad to have the opportunity to correct the statistics given earlier by the right hon. Member for Ardwick. He expressed a great deal of interest in the statistics on new towns. No doubt he hoped that no new town houses would be sold. As my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor) pointed out, he must be pretty disappointed with the results. Since we came into office, the number of new town tenants who have either bought their homes or who are negotiating to do so is some 7,000. That represents one in 12 of all new town tenants.

A few weeks ago, I noticed the Leader of the, Opposition—like the right hon. Member for Ardwick—proudly proclaiming that under his Government more sales had taken place than under the Government of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. I thought that that was a fascinating boast from the leader of a party which is committed to repealing the right to buy. I have a deep disappointment for the Leader of the Opposition and for the right hon. Member for Ardwick. According to the latest estimate available, in the first year of this Government the number of council tenants who will have bought their homes will be some 50,000. That is far more than in any year under the previous Labour Government.

The case for the right to buy has never been put more succinctly or cogently than in a pamphlet published a few years ago. It stated: There seem to me to be three immensely important advantages. In the first place it would be a massive redistribution of wealth in our community. Secondly, it would extend the new dimensions of individual freedom to a large number of people: freedom from the petty rules and restrictions imposed by bureaucracy, and also freedom in the ability to move around the country. Thirdly … this approach would be a direct attack on the cycle of poverty in that we would for the first time be giving many poor people that crucial thing they lack—and that is access to wealth. That was not said by a Conservative Member. It was written by a Member of the Labour Party, namely, the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field). In those few words, he spoke more sense on the sale of council houses than we have heard from the Labour Party throughout our proceedings.

The Bill is indeed a historic measure. It provides the springboard for the biggest single extension of home ownership the country has ever seen. It will bring home ownership within reach of thousands of tenants for whom at the moment it is only a dream. It will provide them with a new security and a new mobility. It will open up entirely new opportunities for thousands of parents and their children.

The right to buy and the tenants' charter are among the most important social advances that have been made this century. On this side of the House, we are proud that these profoundly important

rights are being placed on the statute book by a Conservative Government.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 286, Noes 238.

Division No. 326] AYES [7 pm
Aitken, Jonathan Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke) Loveridge, John
Alexander, Richard Eggar, Timothy Luce, Richard
Allson, Michael Fairgrieve, Russell Lyell, Nicholas
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Faith, Mrs Sheila McCrindle, Robert
Ancram, Michael Farr, John Macfarlane, Neil
Arnold, Tom Fell, Anthony MacGregor, John
Aspinwall, Jack Fenner, Mrs Peggy MacKay, John (Argyll)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Finsberg, Geoffrey Macmillan Rt Hon M. (Farnham)
Atkins, Robert (Preston North) Fisher, Sir Nigel McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)
Atkinson, David (B'moulh, East) Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McQuarrie, Albert
Banks, Robert Forman, Nigel Madel, David
Bell, Sir Ronald Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Major, John
Bendall, Vivian Fox, Marcus Marlow, Tony
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon) Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Best, Keith Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Marten, Neil (Banbury)
Bevan, David Gilroy Fry, Peter Mates, Michael
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gardner, Edward (South Fylde) Mather, Carol
Biggs-Davison, John Garel-Jones, Tristan Maude, Rt Hon Angus
Blackburn, John Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Mawby, Ray
Blaker, Peter Glyn, Dr Alan Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Body, Richard Goodhew, Victor Mayhew, Patrick
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Goodlad, Alastair Mellor, David
Boscawen, Hon Robert Gorst, John Meyer, Sir Anthony
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West) Gower, Sir Raymond Miller, Hal (Bromsgroye & Redditch)
Bowden, Andrew Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Greenway, Harry Miscampbell, Norman
Braine, Sir Bernard Grieve, Percy Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Bright, Graham Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Moate, Roger
Brinton, Tim Grist, Ian Monro, Hector
Brittan, Leon Grylls, Michael Montgomery, Fergus
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Gummer, John Selwyn Moore, John
Brooke, Hon Peter Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll) Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)
Brotherton, Michael Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) Hampson, Dr Keith Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)
Bruce-Gardyne, John Hannam, John Mudd, David
Bryan, Sir Paul Haselhurst, Alan Murphy, Christopher
Buchanan-Smith, Hon Alick Hastings, Stephen Myles, David
Buck, Antony Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Needham, Richard
Budgen, Nick Hawkins, Paul Nelson, Anthony
Bulmer, Esmond Hawksley, Warren Neubert, Michael
Burden, F. A. Heddle, John Newton, Tony
Butcher, John Henderson, Barry Normanton, Tom
Butler, Hon Adam Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Nott, Rt Hon John
Cadbury, Jocelyn Hicks, Robert Onslow, Cranley
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham) Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Holland, Philip (Carlton) Osborn, John
Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn) Hooson, Tom Page, John (Harrow, West)
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Hordern, Peter Page, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham
Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire)
Channon, Paul Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Parris, Matthew
Chapman, Sydney Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Churchill, W. S. Hunt, David (Wirral) Patton, John (Oxford)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Hurd, Hon Douglas Pattie, Geoffrey
Clark, Sir William (Croydon South) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Pawsey, James
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Percival, Sir Ian
Clegg, Sir Walter Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pink, R, Bonner
Cockeram, Eric
Colvin, Michael Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Pollock, Alexander
Cope, John Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Porter, George
Cormack, Patrick Kitson, Sir Timothy Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Corrle, John Knox, David Price, David (Eastleigh)
Costaln, A. P. Lamont, Norman Prior, Rt Hon James
Critchley, Julian Lang, Ian Proctor, K. Harvey
Crouch, David Langford-Holt, Sir John Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Dickens, Geoffrey Latham, Michael Raison, Timothy
Dorrell, Stephen Lawrence, Ivan Rathbone, Tim
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lawson, Nigel Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Dover, Denshore Lee, John Rees-Davies, W. R.
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Renton, Tim
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Lester, Jim (Beeston) Rhodes James, Robert
Durant, Tony Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Dykes, Hugh Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo) Ridsdale, Julian
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Rifkind, Malcolm
Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Stainton, Keith Waldegrave, Hon William
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW) Stanbrook, Ivor Walker, Rt Hon Peter (Worcester)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Stanley, John Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
Rossi, Hugh Steen, Anthony Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Rost, Peter Stewart, Ian (Hitchin) Waller, Gary
Royle, Sir Anthony Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire) Walters, Dennis
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Stokes, John Ward, John
St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman Stradling Thomas, J. Warren, Kenneth
Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Tapsell, Peter Watson, John
Shelton, William (Streatham) Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Taylor, Teddy (Southend East) Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills) Temple-Morris, Peter Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Shersby, Michael Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S) Whitney, Raymond
Silvester, Fred Thompson, Donald Wickenden, Keith
Sims, Roger Thorne, Neil (llford South) Wiggin, Jerry
Skeet, T. H. H. Thornton, Malcolm Wilkinson, John
Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton) Townend, John (Bridlington) Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Speed, Keith Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath) Winterton, Nicholas
Speller, Tony Trippier, David Wolfson, Mark
Spence, John van Straubenzee, W. R. Young, Sir George (Acton)
Spicer, Jim (West Dorset) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire) Viggers, Peter TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Sproat, lain Waddington, David Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Squire, Robin Wakeham, John Mr. Anthony Berry.
Abse, Leo Douglas, Dick Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Adams, Allen Douglas-Mann, Bruce Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Allaun, Frank Dubs, Alfred Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Alton, David Duffy, A. E. P. Kilfedder, James A.
Anderson, Donald Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale) Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Dunnett, Jack Kinnock, Neil
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Lambie, David
Ashton, Joe Eastham, Ken Lamborn, Harry
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire) Lamond, James
Bagier, Gordon A. T. English, Michael Leadbitter, Ted
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Ennals, Rt Hon David Leighton, Ronald
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Evans, loan (Aberdare) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Beith, A. J. Ewing, Harry Lewis, Arthur (Newham North West)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Faulds, Andrew Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Field, Frank Litherland, Robert
Bidwell, Sydney Fitch, Alan Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Flannery, Martin Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur (M'brough) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McCartney, Hugh
Bradley, Tom Foot, Rt Hon Michael McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Ford, Ben McEthone, Frank
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Forrester, John McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S) Foster, Derek McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith) Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood) McKelvey, William
Buchan, Norman Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Garrett, John (Norwich S) Maclennan, Robert
Campbell, Ian Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) McNally, Thomas
Campbell-Savours, Dale George, Bruce McNamara, Kevin
Canavan, Dennis Gourlay, Harry McWilliam, John
Cant, R. B. Grant, George (Morpeth) Magee, Bryan
Carmichael, Neil Grant, John (Islington C) Marks, Kenneth
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)
Cartwright, John Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Hardy, Peter Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Cohen, Stanley Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Maxton, John
Coleman, Donald Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Maynard, Miss Joan
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Haynes, Frank Meacher, Michael
Conlan, Bernard Healey, Rt Hon Denis Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Cook, Robin F. Heffer, Eric S. Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Cowans, Harry Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire) Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)
Craigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill) Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall) Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)
Cryer, Bob Home Robertson, John Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Homewood, William Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Cunningham, George (Islington S) Hooley, Frank Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)
Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven) Horam, John Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Dalyell, Tam Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Morton, George
Davidson, Arthur Howells, Geraint Moyle, Rt Hon Roland
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llaneill) Huckfield, Les Newens, Stanley
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Ogden, Eric
Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North) O'Halloran, Michael
Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford) Hughes, Roy (Newport) O'Neill, Martin
Deakins, Eric
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Janner, Hon Greville Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Dempsey, James Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Dewar, Donald John, Brynmor Palmer, Arthur
Dixon, Donald Johnson, James (Hull West) Park, George
Dobson, Frank Johnson, Walter (Derby South) Parker, John
Dormand, Jack Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda) Pendry, Tom
Penhaligon, David Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Watkins, David
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich) Weetch, Ken
Prescott, John Silverman, Julius Wellbeloved, James
Price, Chrstopher (Lewisham West) Skinner, Dennis Welsh, Michael
Race, Reg Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire) White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Radice, Giles Soley, Clive Whitehead, Phillip
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Spearing, Nigel Whitlock, William
Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Spriggs, Leslie Wigley, Dafydd
Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North) Stallard, A. W. Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Stoddard, David Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Robertson, George Strang, Gavin Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW) Straw, Jack Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Rodgers, Rt Hon William Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Rooker, J. W. Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West) Winnick, David
Ross, Ernest (Dundee West) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth) Woodall, Alec
Rowlands, Ted Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Woolmer, Kenneth
Ryman, John Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen) Wrigglesworth, lan
Sandelson, Neville Tilley, John Wright, Sheila
Sever, John Torney, Tom Young, David (Bolton East)
Sheerman, Barry Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L) Varley, Rt Hon Eric G. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley) Mr. James Tinn and
Short, Mrs. Renée Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley) Mr. Ted Graham.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time and passed.