HC Deb 25 March 1981 vol 1 cc969-87

Amendment made: No. 44, in page 25, line 14, at end insert—

'The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1947 (c. 43)

O. In section 238(1) (fixing of dates for lodging and hearing appeals against rates), at the end there shall be added the following proviso— : Provided that, if and in so far as required by virtue of a determination under section 108A(1) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, new such dates shall be so fixed.".'.—[Mr. Rifkind.]

Mr. Rifkind

I beg to move amendment No. 45, in page 27, line 43 at end insert—

'The Post Office Act 1969 (c. 48)

11A. In paragraph 93(1) (xxxiv) of Schedule 4 (Post Office deemed to be statutory undertakers and its undertaking a statutory undertaking for the purposes of certain provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972), after the words "205,", there shall be inserted the words "205A,",'.

This is a technical amendment, consequential upon paragraph 14 of the schedule, which introduces a new section 205A to the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972. The amendment provides that the Post Office is a statutory undertaker for the purposes of that section, thus ensuring that permission for Post Office development requiring the authorisation of a Government Department can be sought concurrently with setting in motion the procedure for making stopping-up or diversion orders for highways in connection with the proposed development.

I commend the amendment to the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Norman Hogg (Dunbartonshire, East)

I beg to move amendment No. 46, in page 27, line 43, at end insert:

"New Towns (Scotland) Act 1968 (c.I6)

11A. In Schedule 2 (Constitution and proceedings of development corporations), at end of paragraph 9 insert— '9A. For the purpose of securing the admission, so far as is practicable, of the public including the press, to all meetings of Development Corporations themselves, the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 shall have effect.'.".

I refer to the speech of the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind), in Committee on 24 February, when I moved a similar amendment. At that time the Government appeared to be enthusiastic in their support for the idea. Indeed, the Under-Secretary of State said: We see the force of what the hon. Gentleman has said and the desirability of seeking some change in this direction.

He continued: I can tell the hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend will indicate to the chairmen of the new town development corporations the strength of feeling of this Committee and that the Government see no objection in principle to opening up these matters of obvious public interest that in the case of a local authority would clearly lead to access to the public and to the press. We can at this stage see no objection in principle to a similar right being provided for similar types of issue if they are being discussed by a new town development corporation.

He concluded: If the hon. Gentleman will seek to withdraw his amendment at this stage, my right hon. Friend is meeting the chairmen of the new towns on 13 March, and it will be his intention to discuss this issue at that meeting."—[Official Report, First Scottish Standing Committee, 24 February 1981; c. 634–35.]

6.15 pm

In the light of what was clearly an assurance, I did not press the matter on that occasion, although it is a matter of immense importance to those who live in new towns and to my constituents in Cumbernauld in particular.

I put down a parliamentary question to ask what progress had been made at that meeting with the chairmen of the new town corporations. I was told that the right hon. Gentleman had had a useful meeting with the chairmen on 13 March, that he was considering the matter further in the light of the views expressed, and that I would receive a letter in due course.

I sincerely hope that the Government will take the opportunity today to accept the amendment, in view of the assurances that were given. There is no doubt that the citizens of a new town should have the opportunity to hear at first hand what is said at meetings of the development corporations. The corporations spend money. They make decisions about rents. They also make very important decisions about the environment and the attraction and location of industry within the town. For all those important reasons, the press and the public should have the opportunity to hear what is said and what is determined.

I hope, therefore, that the Minister will tell the House that he has been able to secure the agreement of the chairmen of the new towns to make this perfectly reasonable arrangement. The amendment would do no more than bring the development corporation into line with Scottish local authorities, which, of course, admit the press and the public to their meetings. I look forward to hearing the Minister's reply.

Mr. Lambie

I intervene very briefly to support what has been said by my hon. Friend. I represent Irvine new town, which is unique among new towns in Scotland in that it was developed on existing communities. The Royal burgh of Irvine had a charter going back more than 600 years, while in the burgh of Kilwinning there is the long religious tradition of Kilwinning Abbey, and the centre for masonic lodges throughout the world, with masonic lodge No. 0. We therefore have two towns of great historical interest.

Superimposed on them is an undemocratic body, the Irvine development corporation. Under local government reorganisation, local councils were abolished. Cunninghame district council and Strathclyde regional council are now the two local authorities involved, so that all local council meetings, including all sub-committee meetings both at district and regional level, are open to the public. Yet the new town corporation, which has overall control over people in the new town, and complete control in the areas in which the new town has developed outside the existing communities, holds its meetings in private. We do not know what goes on at those meetings. The unemployment rate is 21 per cent., yet we do not know what the corporation is doing about it, or whether it even discusses the matter. I have come to the conclusion that the board does not want its meetings to be open to the public because it does nothing.

I point this out to the Minister responsible for the new towns. The board meets once a month. I believe that its members spend half an hour on pleasantries and then have a good drink and a good lunch. That disposes of the business for the month. If minutes were taken of those meetings—I know that this would appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, with your traditions against drinking, and so on—and if the meetings were open to the public, it would be seen that the board members have no say at all in what happens. It is the managing director and the officials of Irvine development corporation who run the corporation.

When I read the Under-Secretary's assurance in Committee that the Government agreed in principle that meetings should be open to the public, I thought that that was a breakthrough, but according to today's Irvine Times the managing director of Irvine development corporation has put out a statement of the meeting held between himself, the chairman and the Secretary of State on 13 March, saying that the Secretary of State listened to their point of view and to the arguments put forward and intends to reconsider the whole matter.

The Minister should stick to the principle of opening these meetings to the public. He should make the new town development corporations democratic. He should not listen to the undemocratic arguments that have been put forward by both the chairman and the managing director of Irvine development corporation.

Mr. Gregor MacKenzie (Rutherglen)

I support the amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Hogg). However, I do not agree in every particular with the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie). Along with my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan), I was responsible for many of the appointments to these boards. I have seen them in operation. I do not believe that the meetings last for half an hour or that the members have a nice lunch. These boards do a substantial job, for which we should be grateful.

Mr. Norman Hogg

Does my right hon. Friend not accept that if we were to open the meetings and lunches to the press we should be able to confirm, or otherwise, the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie)?

Mr. MacKenzie

I should not go that far. However, I believe that the meetings should be open to the public. For a long time there has been great fear about the number of people who have been appointed to these bodies. We appoint people to the boards of commercial organisations—such as the electricity boards—but they have watch dog committees, such as the electricity consultative committee and the gas consultative committee. That does not apply to the new town development corporations, and what my hon. Friend has suggested would be helpful.

There are times when it may not be appropriate for such a board to admit the public—for example, discussions might take place with a group of companies—but my hon. Friend's amendment takes care of such matters. It says that so far as is practicable this right should apply. It would be good for both the towns people and the boards if there were better communication, and there is no better means of communicating than by the means suggested in my hon. Friend's amendment.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Alexander Fletcher)

I appreciate the points that have been made, as well as the strong feelings of hon. Members about the proceedings of new town development corporation. In particular, I appreciate the feelings of the hon. Members for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie) and of Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Hogg) who have new towns in their constituencies. Nevertheless, I am sure that they will be the first to accept that there is a difference between an elected authority—such as a district or regional council—and a new town development corporation. The former consists of elected representatives who attend under a direct mandate from the electors, whereas members of the latter are nominated by the Secretary of State for Scotland. That is the major difference between the two types of organisation.

As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State promised in Committee, my right hon. Friend and I have held discussions with the chairmen of the five new towns in Scotland about the admission of press and public to new town development corporation meetings. The new town chairmen are well aware of the principle of openness in government that underlies the amendment.

Equally, it was clear from our discussions that there would be difficulties in making a change of the sort proposed. We have undertaken carefully to study the Government's response to the various conflicting considerations. As I indicated in my reply earlier this week to the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East, my right hon. Friend will make his views known as soon as he has reached a decision. We shall not be tardy. My right hon. Friend will do that before the Bill is considered in another place, but I am unable to accept the amendment this evening.

Amendment negatived.

Amendments made: No. 47, in Page 30, line 34, at end insert— '19A. In section 273—

  1. (a) in subsection (4) (power to make orders under certain sections to be exercisable by statutory instrument), after the words "21,", there shall be inserted the words "26 (4B),"; and
  2. (b) in subsection (5) (statutory instruments containing orders made under certain sections to be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament)—
    1. (i) after the words "1 (3),", there shall be inserted the words "26 (4B),"; and
    2. (ii) for the words "18 (4) (a)" there shall be substituted the words "181 (4) (a)",'.

No. 48, in page 31, line 3 at end insert— '21A. In section 108(1) (determination and levy of regional district and general rates), after the words "district rate; and" there shall be inserted the words ", subject to subsection 108A of this Act,". 21B. In section 109(2) (intimation of district rate to rating authority), for the words "the district rate" there shall be substituted the words "such district rate as is". 21C. In section 111(1) (regulations with respect to rates), at the end there shall be added the following paragraph— ; (f) providing, as regards a rate determined under section 108A(1) of this Act by a local authority—

  1. (i) for the repayment of sums paid in respect of a rate determined by them under section 108 thereof; and
  2. (ii) for the cost of levying and collecting to be borne by them.".'.

No. 49, in page 31, line 26 at end insert— '26A. In section 8(3) (times at which instalments of rates are payable), for the word "the" where it occurs for the second time there shall be substituted the word "a".'.

No. 50, in page 31, line 33, at end insert— '27A. In section 16 (which gives effect to a schedule relating to borrowing and lending by local authorities etc.), after the word "shall" there shall be inserted the words ", subject to section (Prohibition of using sums from loans fund to offset reduction of rate support grant or diminution in amount of resources element) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1981,". 27B. In Schedule 3 (the schedule mentioned in paragraph 27A, above)—

  1. (a) in paragraph 15(1), after the word "below" there shall be inserted the words "and to sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 1 above"; and
  2. (b) in paragraph 31, in the definition of "fixed period" after the words "case or" there shall be inserted the words ", from time to time, for any class of cases or".'.'—[Mr. Rifkindi]

Mr. Rifkind

I beg to move amendment No. 51, in page 32, line 34, leave out 'out'.

Mr. Speaker

With this we may take Government amendment No. 52.

Mr. Rifkind

These are technical, drafting amendments to section 2(10) of the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act, which provides that where a tenant chooses not to exercise his right to purchase he shall be deprived of the right to re-apply for 12 months starting from the last date on which he would have been entitled to serve a notice of acceptance.

Some local authorities have expressed difficulty in understanding the provision as it is drafted, especially in identifying the starting date of the 12-month period. Any ambiguity in the original provision may have been exacerbated in the new proviso to be added to section 2(8) of the Act by paragraph 31(b) of schedule 3.

In the circumstances, an amendment to clarify the meaning of the subsection is essential. The opportunity has been taken to recast subsection (10) more generally in the interests of the ease of interpretation. That substantive change is made in amendment No. 52. Amendment No. 51 is purely consequential. I commend both amendments to the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 52, in page 32, line 46 at end insert '; and (c) for subsection (10) (restriction on tenant's reapplication to purchase dwellinghouse) there shall be substituted the following subsection— (10) Where an offer to sell has been served on the tenant, he shall not be intitled to make an application to purchase under this this Part of the Act again until 12 months after the last date on which he has, under either of subsections (6) and (8) above, any entitlement to serve a relative notice of acceptance,".

No. 53, in page 33, line 33 at beginning insert '—(a).

No. 54, in page 33, line 33 leave out 'forthwith —(a)', and insert—(i)'.

No. 55, in page 33, line 35 leave out `(b)' and insert'(ii)'.

No. 56, in page 33, line 37 leave out from `tenancies' to second `any' in line 38 and insert ; and

  1. (b) to publish in accordance with subsections (2) and (2A) below,
within 6 months of the coming into force of paragraph 36 of Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1981 and within 6 months of any alteration of the rules'.

No. 57, in page 33, line 40 leave out from 'above' to end of line 43.

No. 58, in page 33, line 45 at end insert '; '(c) in subsection (2)—

  1. (i) after the word "times" there shall be inserted the words "—
    1. (i) in a case where the body is an islands or district council or a Development Corporation,"; and
  2. (ii) at the end there shall be added the words"; and
    1. (ii) in any other case, at its principal and other offices."; and
(d) after subsection (2) there shall be added the following subsection— (2A) Rules sent to a council in accordance with subsection (1A)(a)(ii) above shall be available for perusal at all reasonable times at its principal offices.".

37. The following Schedule shall be inserted before Schedule 1—



The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972 (c. 52)

1. Paragraphs 1(2), 6 to 13 and 16 to 39 of Schedule 24 only shall apply and in them any reference to a general vesting declaration shall be treated as a referecnce to an order under section 1A of this Act.

2. The references, in paragraphs 6, 7 and 37 of that Schedule, to the end of the period specified in a general vesting declaration shall be treated as references to the date on which such an order comes into force and the reference in paragraph 9 thereof to the acquiring authority having made a general vesting declaration shall be treated as a reference to such order having come into force.

3. In paragraph 6 of that Schedule—

  1. (a) the reference to every person on whom, under section 17 of the Lands Clauses Consolidation (Scotland) Act 1845, the acquiring authority could have served a notice to treat, shall be treated as a reference to every person whose interest in the land to which such order relates is vested by the order in the landlord; and
  2. (b) sub-paragraph (a) shall be omitted.

4. The reference in paragraph 20(2) of that Schedule to the date on which the notice requred by paragraph 4 thereof is served on any person shall be treated as a reference to the date on which such order comes into force.

5. In paragraph 29 of that Schedule—

  1. (a) sub-paragraph (1)(a) shall be omitted; and
  2. (b) the reference in sub-paragraph (1)(b) to the date on which a person first had knowledge of the execution of the general vesting declaration shall be treated as a reference to the date on which such order came into force

The Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1963 (c. 51)

6. Any reference to the date of service of a notice to treat shall be treated as a reference to the date on which an order under section 1A of this Act comes into force.

7. Section 25(2) shall be treated as if for the words 'the authority proposing to acquire it have served a notice to treat in respect thereof, or an agreement has been made for the sake thereof to that authority' there were substituted the words 'an order under section 1A of the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980 vesting the land in which the interest subsists in the landlord has come into force, or an agreement has been made for the sale of the interest to the landlord'.

8. In section 30—

  1. (a) subsection (2) shall be treated as if at the end of paragraph (c) there were added the words; or
    1. (d) where an order has been made under section 1A of the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980 vesting the land in which the interest subsists in the landlord.'; and
  2. (b) subsection (3) shall be treated as if in paragraph (a) the words 'or (d)' were inserted after the words 'subsection (2)(b)'.

9. Any reference to a notice to treat in section 45(2) shall be treated as a reference to an order under the said section 1A.

10. In Schedule 2, paragraph 1(2)(a) shall be treated as if the words 'or the coming into force of an order under section 1A of the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980 for the vesting of the land in the landlord' were inserted after the word 'land'.".'.—[Mr. Rifkind.]

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Bruce Millan.

Mr. Millan


Mr. Rifkind


Mr. Speaker

Mr. Malcolm Rifkind.

6.26 pm
Mr. Rifkind

I beg to move, that the Bill be now read the Third time.

I would have been happy to give way to the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) had I been satisfied that he would have moved a similar motion. I suspect that that might have been an unrealistic expectation.

This is a Bill which covers a substantial number of policy matters. However, the House has rightly been interested in the provisions relating to local government expenditure and to the powers available to the Secretary of State to withdraw rate support grant if a local authority proposes unreasonable and excessive expenditure in its budget.

From the beginning my right hon. Friend has made it clear that he hopes to use these powers either never or, at the very most, rarely. It is our belief that in practice only one or two authorities at most will have to be proceeded against under the powers in the Bill. It has been suggested that the procedure which will be applied contains no safeguard for the local authorities. However, the procedure which was approved by Parliament in 1966 is similar to the procedure contained in the Bill.

The new clause which was accepted on Monday is of considerable importance. It means that a local authority, faced with a prospective loss in rate support grant will, at its own initiative, be able to avoid such a loss if, as an alternative, it agrees to reduce its proposed spending and makes a reduction in its rate poundage, with a consequent benefit to the local community and ratepayers. Faced with that choice, it is likely that most local authorities will find that to be a preferable alternative because, if the House were to approve a reduction in rate support grant, a local authority would, in any event, be required to reduce its expenditure. If it finds that necessary, it is more sensible and appropriate from everyone's point of view that the local community should benefit as a consequence rather than the Treasury. In effect, that will be the alternative available to a local authority if the House approves an order under clause 13.

I am sure that all hon. Members will accept that this is a major improvement in our law. For the first time in history, Scottish local authorities, having fixed their rates, will have an opportunity to reconsider their decisions in order to reduce the rate burden and benefit the local community as a consequence. I accept that if a local authority is required to reduce its spending it will have to reduce certain services. That is an inescapable consequence. But I am equally clear that given the circumstances in which these powers will be used, it will not affect any of that local authority's vital services. We are dealing only with expenditure that the Secretary of State believes and the House of Commons accepts to have been excessive and unreasonable.

These powers represent a sensible and desirable improvement to our legislative framework. It is in everyone's interests that they are not used on other than infrequent occasions. However, I make it clear that my right hon. Friend has every intention of using them if he judges that an authority's expenditure is excessive and unreasonable, and if the House accepts his judgment. Both in respect of these powers and the other clauses, I have no hesitation in commending the Bill to the House.

6.30 pm
Mr. Millan

I shall ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the Bill. We are utterly opposed to it. Unfortunately, there is time for only a short Third Reading debate, because yesterday I promised that we would try to finish Third Reading by 7 o'clock. I wish to keep that promise. I shall speak for only a few minutes, although the Bill deserves much more than that.

I pay tribute to my hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) and for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. O'Neill) and to those of my hon. Friends who served in Committee. They put in a considerable amount of work. I also pay tribute to the work that my hon. Friends did on Report. If the Bill has not been improved it is not because of lack of effort by my hon. Friends, but because of the Government's doctrinaire obsession for cutting local authority expenditure in Scotland. The Government have made no attempt to meet the reasonable objections that have been made.

In the past few years the Government have been on a collision course with Scottish local authorities. It has inevitably produced confrontation, which is bad for both local government and ratepayers. I note that the Secretary of State is not in the Chamber. However, the Minister has had to bear the burden of the work. Despite all the efforts and despite the right hon. Gentleman's blustering, in the current year 1980–81 local rates in Scotland have been increased, on average, by 32 per cent. In 1981–82 there will be an average increase of no less than 34 per cent. If rates continue to increase in that way and if the Government do not come to their senses about the level of rate support grant and housing support grant the rating system in Scotland may collapse. The system cannot sustain such increases.

If a Conservative Member were to believe that the Bill allowed for more than a very marginal reduction in overall rate increases in Scotland he would be mistaken. There may be no reduction. Indeed, even in the areas that the Government will try to tackle under the powers contained in clause 13 there will probably not be a reduction.

It is typical of the Government's disingenuousness in dealing with clause 13 that, although they know which local authorities will be affected and have some idea about how the clause will be used, they have resolutely refused to give us any information. Indeed, less than an hour ago the Minister was given an opportunity to tell us. The provisions are not workable for 1981–82, and the position will be little altered, if at all.

In principle, we are opposed to the Government's intentions. The Government have had to introduce more and more new clauses. Apart from clause 13 there is a provision that is meant to give local authorities a second chance, and a new clause that will prevent borrowing from the loans fund. Where the Government can use clause 13, they will determine local expenditure. But central Government are not competent to do the job. Once they begin to determine the expenditure of any local authority it will be the end of local government and of local democracy. Despite all the warnings that the Government have received from Opposition Members and local authorities, the Government chose to set out on that road.

I am apprehensive about my next suggestion, because the Government may take me up on it. However, we might just as well have a clause that states that every local authority should do everything that the Secretary of State says without question. That is what the Secretary of State wants. In some respects that is the effect of many of the Bill's provisions.

If the Bill had contained amendments to the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act—as we attempted to secure yesterday—there might have been something to be said for it. Nevertheless, we violently object to such disagreeable and wicked clauses as clause 13. Nothing in the Bill can be commended. That is why I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against it in the Lobby. It is a wretched Bill. The sooner we see an end to the attempt by Government and the Secretary of State in particular to dictate to Scottish local authorities, the better.

6.37 pm
Mr. Alex Pollock (Moray and Nairn)

Before we vote on Third Reading I wish to raise two points that concern schedule 2. The first concerns paragaph 22 and tree preservation orders. It is proposed to withdraw the need for the Secretary of State to confirm any such order. Instead, the planning authority is to take the final decision and there will be no appeal. Private forestry interests, particularly in the Highland region, are worried because even the whiff of suspicion that such a tree preservation order might be applied by the local authority could have an adverse effect on contracts with timber merchants. In turn, that could have a major effect on timber sales programmes and could involve loss of revenue.

I ask the Government to ensure that that is given consideration in the other place. I ask them to consider that it would be better to retain the Secretary of State's right. If that is not acceptable, perhaps firm guidelines could be issued to local authorities in order to minimise the risks.

The other matter concerns the amendments to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, which is covered in paragraphs 31 and 32 of the schedule. They involve the structure of community councils. If the Bill is accepted without amendment those councils will, in effect, come under the direct control of district councils. Of course, there are certain safeguards. There is a right to make representations. Nevertheless, the final decision lies in the hands of district councils, whom, on occasion, community councils are charged to criticise. What consultation took place before that part of the Bill was drafted? The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities was consulted. It has an obvious interest in providing the best that it can for district councils. However, the Scottish Council of Social Service—

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it not an abuse of the House to raise detailed Committee points on Third Reading? The hon. Gentleman has had every opportunity to raise such points.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)

I have been listening very carefully. If the hon. Gentleman is addressing his remarks to provisions in the Bill, he may continue.

Mr. Pollock

The provisions are contained in the Bill. My attention was drawn to these matters only at the weekend. I am concerned about the lack of consultation between the Government and the community councils. Again I would ask for a rethink by the Government before consideration of the Bill in another place is finished.

6.40 pm
Mr. Robert Hughes

This is a thoroughly bad Bill. Indeed, the Government have not even got the title right. The Bill is called the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill. It should be called the Local Government (Prevention of) (Scotland) Bill, because that is precisely what the Government are doing—preventing local government from carrying out its responsibilities. The Bill introduces for the first time into legislation the language of George Orwell's 1984—the Newspeak language. The title of section 22 is Relaxation of controls over local authorities". What absolute nonsense. The whole purpose of the Bill is to tighten the control by central Government over local authorities and to maintain a stranglehold on everything that they do. It is a wholly negative Bill. There is nothing in it that gives any encouragement to local authorities to use their initiative or good sense, or to have consultations with the people who live in the area on the provision of local government services.

I confess that the impression is sometimes given that local government is about providing work for local government employees. I accept that that criticism is sometimes justified. The whole purpose of having local government is to provide local services that are locally determined. Local councillors, duly elected, should be able to decide for themselves, first, what priority they wish to give to different services and, secondly, how far they themselves are willing to top up over and above the Government grant.

Because of the shortage of time I shall say nothing more except that the Government will rue the day that they centralised local government in this form. I think that they will find that even their own supporters in local government will rebel against it. They are building up resentment among local authorities and among local authority staff. Sometimes we do not give sufficient credit to the staff for the work that they do. I know that many people in local authorities do tremendous work because they are dedicated to the service. They are not in it just for the money. The Bill destroys the initiative of councillors and of local authority staff. At the end of the day it will lead to the destruction of local government. I shall go into the Lobby with my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the Bill and express my disapproval.

6.43 pm
Mr. John Mackay (Argyll)

I should like to make two points. I am sure that the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie) would make one of them if he were called, namely, that having taken the power to delay the 1983 revaluation my right hon. Friend will exercise that power and delay indefinitely and perhaps for ever that revaluation.

My right hon. Friend might also look at the tactics that assessors are employing even at the moment, in that, without the legislation, revaluation is going on. A certain class of subjects, namely, self-catering subjects, are being quietly reclassified by the assessor. They are receiving thumping great assessments, which place their whole economic position in doubt. The assessor is attempting to relate their gross annual value to a percentage of their turnover. This is very serious. The assessor started off at 30–40 per cent., and that figure has been reduced on appeal to something like 20–25 per cent. The Highlands and Islands Development Board and the Scottish Tourist Board, having encouraged self-catering, are now going to have to watch the whole thing being destroyed by the actions of the assessor.

The second power that I welcome is that given to the Secretary of State to do something about local authorities who take no account of the economic damage that they do not only to their domestic ratepayers but to their commercial and industrial ratepayers. A lot has been said and written about the damage that they do to their domestic ratepayers. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Ancram) has spoken much on this, but I should like to draw the attention of the House to the damage that they do to the commercial ratepayers.

I have here a letter that has been sent to all local authorities in Scotland which have in their area a quarry or a plant run by Tilcon, the quarrying group. Every local authority should give a copy of this letter to all their members and they should look at it every time they decide to spend another penny of public money. The letter encapsulates the problem that has been caused in industry and therefore in employment by local authorities increasing their rates beyond anything that is fair and just. The letter states: In the present economic climate, with the private sector under enormous pressure, it is totally unacceptable that local authorities should seek to levy rates which are not only in excess of the current level of wage awards, but in many cases grossly in excess of the Retail Price Index itself. In industry we have to live within our income. When our income decreases, then we have to cut our expenditure. Public bodies, including all the nationalised industries, react in a completely different way. They raise their income to meet whatever increase in expenditure they deem appropriate. Their accountability, in the case of local authorities, to the providers of a massive proportion of their income—namely industry, is precisely nil. During 1980, Tilcon has paid in total, rates amounting to over £1 million which is an increase of over 20 per cent. on the 1979 figure. The present parlous state of the economy is related in no small measure to the profligate spending of ratepayers' money without the salutary discipline of having to earn that money or to justify the amount of expense. We see no evidence whatever of any serious attempt to really cut expenditure in the town halls as we have to in private industry. Tilcon were not able to increase their income in 1980 to the tune of 20 per cent. by which our rates increased. Against a background of ever increasing costs, of which by far the largest increase was in relation to rates and charges by nationalised industries, coupled with a sharp decline in demand for our products, Tilcon had to take the very regrettable decision during 1980 alone to make over 10 per cent. of our total workforce redundant. We would like some demonstration of the positive steps you have taken to reduce your expenditure on labour by cutting the numbers. The next sentence is very serious. It says: We give you notice that during 1981, Tilcon will give serious consideration to its position in each community in which we operate. Those areas which show little or no restraint in their demand for rate increases will find that as a first step there will be plant closures or withdrawals and inevitably a total and permanent loss of rate income adding a further spiral of increase to the rate poundage. I have read that letter because it illustrates why it is essential for commerce and for employment that my right hon. Friend should take these powers to stop local authorities ignoring absolutely the economic damage that they do to their own areas and the way that they ride roughshod over all those problems. They pay scant regard—nay, no regard at all—to the position of commerce and industry.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will not have to use the powers. I hope that some sense will prevail in those local authorities that seem to think that money grows on trees and that basically the trees all grow on the properties of the commercial and industrial sector.

6.48 pm
Mr. Gordon Wilson

I wish to make it clear that I regard this as an objectionable measure. When the hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. MacKay) was attacking local authorities for overspending he may have had a point in terms of authorities like the Dundee authority, on which the loony Left seems to have gone out of control. Even set against that, what the Bill strives to do is to cut the throat of local government itself. The essential feature of local government is that democraatic decisions are taken at local level. It is the electors who have elected the councillors to serve and take those decisions. The electors will have the chance, every four years or so, to record a different choice.

What is important when we pass measures like this in order to cut down the Chancellor's public service borrowing requirement in any one year is that we have required him to hack the feel from under the whole system of democratic control at local level. I am shocked particularly by the hypocrisy of the Government, who strive to pretend that they have no part to play in the high rate increases that are taking place. Of course, one can criticise a specific decision taken by a local authority. Every hon. Member knows that the Government are acting in pursuit of overall economic objectives which I regard as misjudged and harmful, but these objectives have caused savage reductions in the level of housing support grant and in the level of rate support grant.

It is appalling that the Secretary of State for Scotland has not been able to point out to the Treasury that Scotland should have been exempted from the increased cuts in public expenditure for the simple reason that this year Scotland is producing £4,000 million by way of oil revenue. The Shetland Isles this year are proposing to pay to their old folk something like £100, whereas in Strathclyde the charges for meals on wheels service will go up by 50 per cent. It is disgraceful that the Secretary of State for Scotland has not been willing to tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Scotland deserves a better deal and a fairer share. He must take the blame not only for the cuts that are taking place but for the savage assault on the inherent democracy of our local government system.

6.50 pm
Mr. Russell Johnston

The Liberal position is that the Bill is an unacceptable piece of legislation. It extends still further the powers of the Secretary of State, and in ways that prevent his decisions being challenged. This is the wrong direction in which to proceed. It is the first time that Parliament has proceeded in this direction for at least a decade. It breaches the spirit that underlay the reform of local government, which was to strengthen the power of local authorities as against the Government and to enable local authorities to have greater discretion in determining its expenditure priorities within the parameters of national legislation. The Bill has been introduced and supported by a Conservative Government and Conservative Members who in their own areas stress continually the importance of local independence and repeatedly condemn centralisation. We now know how much weight to give such declarations in future.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Ancram) is the Conservative Party's chairman in Scotland. I tell him that the god Janus, who had two faces, would seem a much more appropriate symbol for the Conservative Party than the wee arrow that it pinched from British European Airways.

The Bill is two-faced in a real way. It claims to remove restrictions on local authorities when in reality it removes minor restrictions while imposing substantial new central control. The tone of the Bill suggests a profound lack of confidence in local government. It has aroused great hostility among local authorities and deserves the opposition of the House.

6.52 pm
Mr. Dewar

I say briefly to the hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. McKay)—

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

On a point of order Mr. Deputy Speaker. Am I to take it that we are now terminating the debate? I have been in my place for hours and I have been trying to catch your eye so that I might speak for about five minutes on clause 11, but I have failed to do so. Will I be in order in trying to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, after my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) has made his speech?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I did not see the hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) rising in his place. If he wants to participate, he can do so now.

Mr. Dempsey

Clause 11 removes the right of creditors to confiscate goods that might be on hire to a debtor to whom a warrant for sales and possession is being applied. I welcome the action that the clause will take. It prevents television sets or any other goods, on hire from being acquired by the creditor. In the past that could apply even to someone who was looking after his grandfather's clock.

I welcome the clause, but it is rather half-hearted. Surely we can dispense with warrant sales in general. It is an iniquitous method of recovering debt. There should be some control over the prices that the sheriff's officer sets. The officer can poind, seize, secure and sell at bargain basement prices. That is an unfair way of treating the debtor.

I know of a small business that was supposed to owe £300 worth of rates. The value of all the goods in this little shop was totalled. Figures were put on different items that were disgracefully low. That seemed not to matter as long as the total came to £300. The same items were valued by an auctioneer, a man of experience, and the total real value was over £3,000. Will the Secretary of State consider adding a few words to clause 11 in another place to provide that when goods are being sold they should be sold at market value? I urge him to consider that suggestion sympathetically.

6.54 pm
Mr. Dewar

The 1979 Conservative Party manifesto laid great emphasis on local government and its freedoms. It was claimed that they were means of bringing government closer to the people. The Conservative councillors who canvassed for the return of the Secretary of State for Scotland—the right hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger)—and his hon. Friends must be aghast at the consequences of that action. We have seen an assault on the essential freedoms of local government on a scale that is almost unprecedented.

As a result of the Bill—this is only one feature of a wide-ranging series of infringements and encroachments on local government initiative—the powers of local government to determine the level of services and the level of rates will now be exercised only by the grace and favour of the Secretary of State for Scotland. Borrowing consent in the revenue account will now have to be obtained from the Secretary of State. If consent under section 94 of the 1973 Act is given, that cannot be relied upon. It can now be varied and withdrawn at the whim of the Secretary of State.

The right hon. Gentleman has become a dictator in local government activity. Local authorities may propose a course, but the right hon. Gentleman will do the disposing. I fear that that strikes at the essence of a healthy local government structure. We have created an unnecessary and unpleasant dilemma for local authorities in Scotland. They will be told on the arbitrary opinion of the Secretary of State that they are excessive and unreasonable in their expectations and expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman has threatened a slashing reduction in the rate support grant this year.

Late in the day, on Report, the Government produced a hurriedly cobbled-together series of clauses to allow at least some relief for hard-pressed ratepayers. The Government will try to represent those provisions as a triumph for the ratepayer, but they are not. The ratepayers will see school closures, nursery school closures, reduced facilities for the disabled and the physically handicapped and an incomplete programme of maintenance of the housing stock. The gamut of local authority services will be under attack in a higgledy-piggledy fashion by the force majeure of the Secretary of State's policies. We shall pay the price in deteriorating circumstances and higher unemployment as the knock-on and knock-off effects are seen throughout the economy.

Outside the Chamber the Bill is totally friendless. The right hon. Gentleman has succeeded in uniting the entire Scottish local government world. That includes Conservative councillors throughout the length and breadth of Scotland. It is clear that COSLA is unanimous. The Bill is friendless because it is wrong-headed, misconceived and misguided.

Ministers are creating conditions that will lead to confrontation. They are causing a serious crisis in local government, of a sort that we have never seen before. It is a bad day for the system when good responsible councillors on both sides of the political divide are saying after years of service "We are prepared no longer to be ciphers. We shall not be captives of policies that we deeply abhor and that we have no chance of influencing." It is a tragedy that that is being said, and said increasingly.

I put on record our deep distress at the measures that are being introduced by means of the Bill and our deep opposition to the unfair and restrictive straitjacket to which local authorities and local democracy are being confined by the Government. The Bill is essentially undemocratic and, to add insult to injury, it is in many parts unworkable. I know that it is difficult for the right hon. Gentleman to retreat and to admit that he is wrong. I can only recommend, if he has the interests of local government at heart, that he should think again and retreat from the brink before it is too late.

7 pm

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. George Younger)

In finally commending the Bill to the House I compliment and thank my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of Sate for Scotland, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind), for the magnificent job he has done in piloting through this long measure. I think the whole House will appreciate that.

I suppose it is inevitable that the speeches should have been dominated by the default powers contained in the Bill. I do not regret that, but I must confess that the farrago of nonsense put forward by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) made me wonder whether he was referring to the Bill that is before us. As for his claim to speak for Conservative councillors, I can say that the Bill is warmly commended by all Conservative councillors, particularly those who are responsible for looking after the ratepayers' money.

To suggest that the Bill represents an attack on local authority independence is to ignore that the only people affected by the default powers are local authorities who have been declared by the House to have been guilty of excessive and unreasonable expenditure. No other local authority, council or part of a council has anything to fear from the default powers.

To talk about an attack on local authority independence is absurd and leads me to doubt what the hon. Member for Garscadden said about other aspects. That is not surprising, because Labour Members have not faced the fact that there is a large body of people who warmly applaud the Bill and expect it to be passed by the House tonight—the Scottish ratepayers.

People living in some areas are feeling more beleaguered than they have felt for many years. If we ask by whom they are feeling beleaguered we can perhaps get a clue why the hon. Member for Garscadden spoke as he did. The facts are clear. The rate increases announced by Labour-controlled councils in Scotland average 38 per cent., whereas those announced by non-Labour-controlled authorities average only 23 per cent. The Labour-controlled districts are averaging increases of 40 per cent.—a truly terrifying figure—whereas non-Labour-controlled districts are averaging increases of 11 per cent.

It is against that background that we must regard the hon. Member for Garscadden and his hon. Friends who are bemoaning the fate of the poor ratepayers. The only people the Scottish ratepayers have to fear are the over spenders on Labour-controlled authorities in Scotland—not even all the Labour-controlled authorities. The majority are being perfectly responsible and trying to keep expenditure under control in the national good. Only a small proportion of authorities have decided to overspend and they are threatening the peace of mind of ratepayers and threatening the national strategy. The right hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) is extremely lucky that the Conservative-controlled authorities in 1976, 1977 and 1978 did not take that view when he was asking them to make economies in their expenditure. I am sure that he will not deny that they loyally helped him to do that although they did not agree with his political philosophy.

The default powers in the Bill are essential if the ratepayers living in the areas of a small number of Scottish authorities are to be protected from the depredations of Labour-controlled councils that have no regard to the ability of their ratepayers to pay. The ratepayers of Scotland will warmly welcome the Bill, and I hope the House will pass it.

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

The House divided: Ayes 292, Noes 229.

Division No. 123] [7.03 pm
Adley, Robert Dickens, Geoffrey
Aitken, Jonathan Dorrell, Stephen
Alexander, Richard Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Dover, Denshore
Ancram, Michael du Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Arnold, Tom Dunn, Robert (Dartford)
Aspinwall, Jack Durant, Tony
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (S'thorne) Dykes, Hugh
Atkins, Robert (PrestonN,) Eden, Rt Hon Sir John
Atkinson, David (B'm'th, E) Eggar, Tim
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Elliott, SirWilliam
Banks, Robert Emery, Peter
Beaumont-Dark, Anthon y Eyre, Reginald
Bell, Sir Ronald Fairbairn, Nicholas
Bendall, Vivian Fairgrieve, Russell
Benyon, Thomas(A'don) Farr, John
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Fell, Anthon y
Best, Keith Fenner, Mrs Peggy
Bevan, David Gilroy Finsberg, Geoffrey
Biggs-Davison, John Fisher, Sir Nigel
Blackburn, John Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N)
Blaker, Peter Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles
Body, Richard Fookes, Miss Janet
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Forman, Nigel
Boscawen, Hon Robert Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Fox, Marcus
Bowden, Andrew Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Braine, Sir Bernard Fry, Peter
Bright, Graham Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Brinton, Tim Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Brittan, Leon Garel-Jones, Tristan
Brooke, Hon Peter Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Brotherton, Michael Glyn, Dr Alan
Brown, Michael (Brigg&Sc'n) Goodhart, Philip
Browne, John (Winchester) Goodlad, Alastair
Bruce-Gardyne, John Gorst, John
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Gow, Ian
Buck, Antony Gower, Sir Raymond
Budgen, Nick Gray, Hamish
Bulmer, Esmond Greenway, Harry
Burden, Sir Frederick Grieve, Percy
Butcher, John Griffiths, E, (B'ySt. Edm'ds)
Cadbury, Jocelyn Griffiths, Peter Portsm'thN)
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Grist, Ian
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Grylls, Michael
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n) Gummer, John Selwyn
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Hamilton, Hon A.
Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Chapman, Sydney Hampson, Dr Keith
Churchill, W, S. Hannam, John
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Haselhurst, Alan
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hastings, Stephen
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hawksley, Warren
Clegg, Sir Walter Hayhoe, Barney
Cockeram, Eric Heddle, John
Colvin, Michael Henderson, Barry
Cope, John Hicks, Robert
Cormack, Patrick Hill, James
Corrie, John Hogg, Hon Douglas(Gr'th'm)
Costain, Sir Albert Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Cranborne, Viscount Hooson, Tom
Critchley, Julian Hordern, Peter
Crouch, David Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Dean, Paul (North Somerset) Howell, Rt Hon D. (G' ldf' d)
Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk) Prior, Rt Hon James
Hunt, David (Wirral) Proctor, K, Harvey
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Raison, Timothy
Hurd, Hon Douglas Rathbone, Tim
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Rees-Davies, W. R.
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Renton, Tim
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Rhodes James, Robert
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Kaberry, SirDonald Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Kimball, Marcus Ridsdale, Sir Julian
King, Rt Hon Tom Rifkind, Malcolm
Knight, Mrs Jill Robert s, M. (Cardiff NW)
Knox, David Robert s, Wyn (Conway)
Lamont, Norman Rossi, Hugh
Lang, Ian Rost, Peter
Latham, Michael Royle, Sir Anthony
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Lee, John St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Scott, Nicholas
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Shelton, William(Streatham)
Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo) Shepherd, Colin(Hereford)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Shepherd, Richard
Loveridge, John Silvester, Fred
Luce, Richard Sims, Roger
Lyell, Nicholas Skeet, T. H. H.
McCrindle, Robert Smith, Dudley
Macfarlane, Neil Speed, Keith
MacKay, John (Argyll) Speller, Tony
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. Spence, John
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury) Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
McQuarrie, Albert Sproat, Iain
Madel, David Squire, Robin
Major, John Stainton, Keith
Marland, Paul Stanbrook, Ivor
Marlow, Tony Stanley, John
Marshall, Michael(Arundel) Steen, Anthony
Marten, Neil (Banbury) Stevens, Martin
Mather, Carol Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Mawby, Ray Stewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Stokes, John
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Stradling Thomas, J.
Mayhew, Patrick Tapsell, Peter
Meyer, Sir Anthony Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Tebbit, Norman
Mills, Peter (West Devon) Temple-Morris, Peter
Miscampbell, Norman Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Moate, Roger Thompson, Donald
Monro, Hector Thorne, Neil (IlfordSouth)
Montgomery, Fergus Thornton, Malcolm
Moore, John Townend, John (Bridlington)
Morgan, Geraint Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Morris, M. (N'hampton S) Trippier, David
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Trotter, Neville
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Mudd, David Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Murphy, Christopher Viggers, Peter
Myles, David Waddington, David
Neale, Gerrard Wakeham, John
Needham, Richard Waldegrave, Hon William
Nelson, Anthony Walker, Rt Hon P. (W' cester)
Neubert, Michael Walker, B. (Perth)
Newton, Tony Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S. Waller, Gary
Page, John (Harrow, West) Walters, Dennis
Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby) Ward, John
Page, Richard (SW Herts) Warren, Kenneth
Patten, Christopher(Bath) Watson, John
Pattie, Geoffrey Wells, John (Maidstone)
Pawsey, James Wells, Bowen
Percival, Sir Ian Wheeler, John
Peyton, Rt Hon John Whitney, Raymond
Pink, R, Bonner Wickenden, Keith
Pollock, Alexander Wiggin, Jerry
Porter, Barry Williams, D. (Montgomery)
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Winterton, Nicholas
Price, Sir David(Eastleigh) Wolfson, Mark
Young, Sir George (Acton) Tellers for the Ayes:
Younger, Rt Hon George Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and Mr. Anthon y Berry.
Abse, Leo Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)
Adams, Allen Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Allaun, Frank Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Alton, David Anderson, Donald Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Ginsburg, David
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Golding, John
Ashton, Joe Graham, Ted
Atkinson, N, (H'gey,) Grant, George(Morpeth)
Bagier, Gordon A.T. Grant, John (IslingtonC)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd) Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Beith, A, J. Hamilton, W. W. (C' tral Fife)
Bennett, Andrew (St' kp'tN) Hardy, Peter
Bidwell, Sydney Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Bottomley, Rt Hon A (M'b'ro) Haynes, Frank
Bray, Dr Jeremy Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Heffer, Eric S.
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W) Hogg, U. (E Dunb't' nshire)
B rown, Ro n (E'burgh, Leith) Holland, S, (L'b'th Vauxh'll)
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S) Home Robert son, John
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) Homewood, William
Campbell, Ian Hooley, Frank
Campbell-Savours, Dale Horam, John
Canavan, Dennis Huckfield, Les
Cant, R. B. Hudson Davies, Gwilym E.
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Mark(Durham)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Janner, Hon Greville
Cohen, Stanley Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Coleman, Donald John, Brynmor
Concannon, Rt Hon J, D. Johnson, James (Hull West)
Cook, Robin F. Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Cowans, Harry Johnston, Russell(Inverness)
Craigen, J. M. Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Crawshaw, Richard Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Crowther, J, S. Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Cryer, Bob Kerr, Russell
Cunliffe, Lawrence Kilfedder, James A.
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Lambie, David
Dalyell, Tam Lamond, James
Davidson, Arthur Lead bitter, Ted
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Leighton, Ronald
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Lestor, Miss Joan
Davis, T. (B' ham, Stechf'd) Lewis, Hon (Carlisle)
Deakins, Eric Litherland, Robert
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Dempsey, James Lyons, Edward (Bradf' d W)
Dewar, Donald Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson
Dixon, Donald McCartney, Hugh
Dormand, Jack McDonald, DrOonagh
Douglas, Dick McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce McKelvey, William
Dubs, Alfred MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Duffy, A. E. P. Maclennan, Robert
Dunn, James A. McMahon, Andrew
Dunnett, Jack McNamara, Kevin
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. McTaggart, Robert
Eadie, Alex McWilliam, John
Eastham, Ken Magee, Bryan
Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh 're) Marshall, D (G'gowS'ton)
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Marshall, DrEdmund (Goole)
English, Michael Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Ennals, Rt Hon David Mart 'M (G'gowS'burn)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Field, Frank Maxton, John
Fitch, Alan Maynard, Miss Joan
Flannery, Martin Meacher, Michael
Fletcher, Ted (Dartlington,) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Ford, Ben Mikardo, Ian
Forrester, John Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Foster, Derek Mitchell, R, C. (Soton Itchen)
Foulkes, George Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw) Spearing, Nigel
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Spriggs, Leslie
Mort on, George Stallard, A, W.
Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Steel, Rt Hon David
Newens, Stanley Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Stoddart, David
Ogden, Eric Stott, Roger
O'Halloran, Michael Strang, Gavin
O'Neill, Martin Straw, Jack
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Palmer, Arthur Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Parker, John Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Pendry, Tom Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Prescott, John Tilley, John
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Torney, Tom
Race, Reg Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Radice, Giles Wainwright, E. (Dearne V)
Richardson, Jo Wainwright, R. (Colne V)
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Walker, Rt Hon H. (D'caster)
Robert s, Ernest (Hackney N) Watkins, David
Robert s, Gwilym (Cannock,) Weetch, Ken
Robert son, George Wellbeloved, James
Rooker, J. W. Welsh, Michael
Roper, John White, J. (G' gow Pollok)
Ross, Ernest (Dundee West) Whitehead, Phillip
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Whitlock, William
Rowlands, Ted Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Ryman, John Williams, Rt Hon A, (S'sea W)
Sandelson, Neville Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Sever, John Wilson, Rt Hon Sir H, (H'ton)
Sheerman, Barry Winnick, David
Sheldon, Rt Hon R. Woodall, Alec
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Woolmer, Kenneth
Short, Mrs Renée Wrigglesworth, Ian
Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford) Young, David (Bolton E)
Silverman, Julius
Skinner, Dennis Tellers for the Noes:
Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark) Mr. Allen McKay and Mr. James Tinn.
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time and passed.