HC Deb 16 November 1982 vol 32 cc234-52 10.14 pm
Mr. Roger Stott (Westhoughton)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Devon Trial Area Order 1982 (S.I., 1982, No. 1243), dated 1st September 1982, a copy of which was laid before this house on 9th September, in the last Session of Parliament, be annulled.

I wish to deploy the arguments that my right hon. Friend the Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth) and others of my hon. Friends in the Shadow transport team have used for a number of years.

Not a week goes by without the Government attacking the fabric of our public transport system. The way that the Transport Bill was presented yesterday is a constitutional outrage. It seeks to impose Marsham Street views on local authorities. Metropolitan authorities in England will be forced substantially to increase bus fares. This evening we are discussing a statutory instrument to introduce a trial area in parts of Devon. Doubtless the Minister will say that the Devon county council applied to the Department of Transport for authority to introduce a trial area only in part of the county. That fact may be significant.

A hallmark of the Government is that they persistently try furtively to bring before the House controversial issues of varying importance. This matter is important and the Government have slipped it through in a statutory instrument. The order was originally made on 1 September and laid before Parliament on 9 September. It came into operation on 1 October. All the provisions came into operation before the House had had an opportunity to debate the statutory instrument. I am not an expert on procedure but I challenge the validity of the Government's putting into force the provisions of a statutory instrument before the House has had an opportunity to debate the issues.

The concept of a trial area may be attractive at first sight, but the proposal will be extremely damaging to the network of services operated by the National Bus Company and others.

Mr. Terence Higgins (Worthing)

The hon. Gentleman makes a serious accusation in saying that the order was brought before the House invalidly. Had that been so, the Chair would have objected.

Mr. Stott

I said nothing of the kind. I said that I was not an expert on procedure but I doubted the validity of the procedure. However, as the measure has been proceeded with, it must be valid.

The order was made on 1 September, laid before Parliament on 9 September and came into operation on 1 October when the House was not sitting, so we did not have an opportunity to debate the contents of the statutory instrument. It is yet another measure that has been slipped through the House furtively and put into operation without hon. Members having an opportunity to comment on it.

At face value, a trial area may seem attractive, but my hon. Friends and I disagree with the proposition because we believe that it could be very damaging. In the past, when transport operations wished to alter stage carriage routes or fares or to open new routes, they had to satisfy the local traffic commissioners that their plans were in the best interests of local public transport. The Transport Act 1981 circumvented that essential safeguard and curtailed the functions of the traffic commissioners by freeing from licensing requirements all journeys other than local services. It also eliminated fares control and the licensing of conductors.

The Secretary of State for Transport may be aware of the example of Yeowarts in Cumbria. During a debate on the Transport Bill in 1981 the then Secretary of State claimed that the measures would improve local transport by broadening the parameters. When Yeowarts applied to run stage carriage services on routes operated by the local authority and the National Bus Company, both the local authority and the traffic commissioners objected. However, the company appealed to the Secretary of State, who overturned the objections and granted a licence. The local transport undertaking is now losing much valuable revenue on those profitable routes and some provincial services, notably in inner Lakeland have been withdrawn.

In addition, because of the chaos that was created by granting that licence, the then Under-Secretary of State decided to repair the damage of the Bill by giving the local authority a further tranche of transport supplementary grant. So profitable local routes could be privatised and the damage would be repaired with taxpayers money. The same may happen in this trial area.

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)

Does my hon. Friend also recall that about two years ago I was given assurances as I was sitting here by the then Under-Secretary that routes would not be lost in my constituency, but which were subsequently lost? Is he also aware that this morning I received yet another letter from Cumberland Motor Services expressing concern about further decisions that have been taken by Yeowarts to press ahead in seeking additional routes, and that the likelihood is that even more routes will be lost in my constituency? Is it not a disgrace that the Government can get away with that?

Sir Frederick Burden (Gillingham)

Are we not going rather far from the provisions of the order?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

The hon. Gentleman pre-empts what I was going to say. It is perfectly legitimate to draw attention to that matter but not to deal with it in detail.

Mr. Stott

I was seeking to draw attention to the provisions in the Transport Act 1980 which allowed trial areas and delicensing and the consequences which flowed from them. The consequence of that legislation has been applications from several shire counties to introduce trial areas. It is not surprising that the applications so far received by the Department of Transport have come from shire county areas which have provided less than satisfactory services for their people. I know because I have spent the past three years examining shire county transportation policies and I stand here tonight unashamedly and say so.

This is the second trial area application to be debated by the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), in his speech on 21 October 1981, succinctly deployed our arguments against the introduction of the trial area in Hereford and Worcester. While I cannot debate the principle of trial areas tonight, I would be in order to record some of the views of those major operators who must contend with trial areas, such as, the National Bus Company.

Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch and Lymington)

The hon. Gentleman tells us that he has been studying these matters. Can he say how many times in the past three years he has been to any of the areas in Devon, Hereford and Worcester?

Mr. Stott

I went to Hereford and Worcester on two occasions and I have been to Norfolk once. I have not been to Devon, but I am in close contact with people there and I studied the situation carefully before making my remarks to the House this evening.

Mr. Peter Snape (West Bromwich, East)

Does my hon. Friend agree with me that if the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) had as much expertise on this as on all the matters on which he is quoted regularly in the daily newspapers, he would not have time to come to the House anyway?

Mr. Stott

My hon. Friend is continually sparring with the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley). Perhaps I may remain above that battle.

I was saying that it would be proper for me to deploy this evening some of the arguments that have been raised by the National Bus Company, whose subsidiary, Western National, submitted evidence to the Devon county council when it became apparent that it was seeking Government permission to carry out the experiment.

I have today secured a press release issued by the National Bus Company's subsidiary reported in the Exeter Express on 17 September. It says: Western National today warned that it will be forced to scrap vital Exeter bus services if a private operator gets the go-ahead. Routes affecting hospital and industrial services must be axed to make up for an expected loss of more than £27,000. The article ends: The bus company is already running a deficit in the city centre services of £53,000 a year.

It is difficult to see how those counties that apply for trial area status could any longer enter into satisfactory agreements for the provision of services under revenue support arrangements, as the supported services would be open to the competitive creaming off of traffic on parts of routes or at certain selected times of day. As a result, counties would face increasing and unquantifiable revenue support demands if services were to be maintained at times that were unattractive to competing operators.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to operate or sustain in trial areas the network of services that they are currently able to provide with the benefit of cross-subsidisation. By the threat of unregulated competition operators would be forced to concentrate on the more profitable operations, and the continuance of less profitable but socially necessary services—made possible by cross-subsidy—would have to cease to the detriment of the services and the passengers who depend on them.

That is the nub of our case. We have argued it consistently in all the transport debates of the past three years. The Government do not seem to understand that it is the value of network services that allows unprofitable routes to be maintained. The basis is that other, profitable, routes cross-subsidise the non-profitable routes, which can then remain in existence.

In evidence to Devon county council, one of the major operators of public transport in the area told the council's chief executive that The Road Servicing Licensing system has enabled and indeed required network bus operators working in co-operation with the local authorities concerned to provide services in areas and at times of varying demand. The licensing system provided a safeguard against an operator seeking simply to provide services at the times most attractive to him. Should this licensing system be removed it must be expected that operators will seek to exploit the services or journeys of maximum return without accepting an obligation to provide journeys which are less attractive financially. It is likely, therefore, that whilst in some places in the short term there may be apparent benefits, the implications for less populous areas and less popular days or times of day will be bleak unless services are supported from public funds. Services in the Trial Area would in all probability be without the benefit of cross-subsidy otherwise available on the network basis.

That reinforces the argument that we have consistently put forward about cross-subsidisation. Any interference, opening of the parameters or privatisation of those routes will affect the cross-subsidy and inevitably affect the loss-making routes of rural areas.

Mr. David Penhaligon (Truro)

I understand the hon. Gentleman's argument, but if an area applied for trial status although there were no profitable bus routes, would the Labour Party's objection to such experiments fall to one side?

Mr. Stott

We would prefer public transport and the transport supplementary grant to be used properly. That is where we differ from the Conservative Party, which wishes to restrain the transport supplementary grant and to shackle public transport. It wants to change the nature of public transport by increasing fares.

There should be public transport provision throughout the United Kingdom. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Labour Party's programme, which has been endorsed by the TUC and the National Executive of the Labour Party. We commit ourselves to the minimal service concept. It is a very good document. The hon. Gentleman comes from a rural area and he should read it, because it deals with the very point that he raised.

Simply because Devon county council has applied for a trial area experiment to come into operation does not mean that it has universal support. I am advised that on 24 September 1980 the transport policy committee of the said county council, comprising members who I imagine would specialise in transport interests, rejected the suggestion that a trial area should be introduced in that area on the basis that it would harm existing services and profitable routes. Unfortunately, the transport policy committee was over-ruled. Subsequently the full county council decided at its meeting to ask the Secretary of State for Transport to bring forward a statutory instrument to allow it to introduce a trial area.

Therefore, there must be at least some dubiety in the Tory ranks in Devon if the transport policy committee rejected the proposal, but the committee was over-ruled by the full county council. However, there is still opposition to the proposal from the people in the Devon area. I am advised that the Confederation of British Road Passenger Transport is opposed to the provision and that Exeter city council objects strongly to the proposal. It is not surprising that Exeter city council object because it would come off worst, and it knows that it would. That is why it is against it.

The Association of County Councils is opposed to the principle of trial areas. The National Bus Company's subsidiary, Western National, is opposed to the introduction of the trial area. The National Union of Railwaymen, contrary to common belief—I am advised by my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape)—organises in the bus industry. If my hon. Friend catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have no doubt that he will elucidate that issue.

What are the results of such competition? There is bound to be creaming off of the more lucrative routes, possibly with a reduction in fares, but at the expense of the rural network, the services of which might suffer. We keep coming back to that point.

The promoters of the trial area lost the battle in the transport policy committee of the Devon county council on 24 September 1980. The only change so far is the exclusion of the Exeter city council area from the provisions. However, 4 million passenger journeys each year are still subject to the order. The bus depots at Exmouth and Sidmouth and about 80 jobs in the whole east and mid-Devon area could easily be put at risk—for what? All the social benefits claimed by the trial area promoters are available under current legislation. A trial area puts too much at risk for benefits that are already achievable. We do not have to go down that road.

Some people may argue that the only way to prove the failings of the trial area is to try it out. I do not subscribe to that view as I think that if we do so the damage would be far reaching and irreconcilable. My hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East will allude to the points that were made by his union when it submitted its evidence to Devon county council. Some of its submissions should be taken seriously by the House. They were made in good faith and against a background of concern for the membership that works in the area.

I have some questions to ask the Minister. First, what guarantee has she received that, as a consequence of the introduction of the trial area, services in the rest of Devon will not suffer? Secondly, as there was a Dutch auction in Hereford and Worcester in respect of the transport supplementary grant, on what basis will she agree to allocate part of the county council's supplementary grant to private operators and private routes if they should submit applications?

The trial area concept may seem superficially attractive, but the Opposition believe that in practice it is the thin end of the wedge. It allows the shire counties to abrogate their responsibilities to run a proper public transport system in the way in which we believe that it should be run. It allows them to get away with network planning. Trial areas allow private operators to cream off profitable routes. The concept means in practice that private operators are no longer accountable to anyone, least of all to the traffic commissioners to which they were accountable hitherto. It is no substitute for a properly financed, well planned and soundly managed public transport policy. It is the principle of the trial area rather than the specific request that I shall be asking my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against this evening. We are implacably opposed to it because of the damage that we feel that it will do.

10.43 pm
Sir Peter Mills (Devon, West)

I welcome the opportunity to speak in this important debate. The argument advanced by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Stott) does not reflect his knowledge of the area with which we are dealing. It is strange that the Opposition should be praying against the order when to my knowledge there is not a Socialist Member representing a constituency in the South-West—

Mr. Snape

There are not many Tories in South Yorkshire.

Sir Peter Mills

—who knows the problems that we are experiencing in the transport system.

The hon. Member for Westhoughton talked about a "rural network of buses". That is a joke. He must learn a little more about the facts of life in the remote parts of Devon and Cornwall. He talked also about the concern of the National Union of Railwaymen. Did the NUR have any concern for my constituents in the rural areas when it was on strike, and, only recently, for those trying to get work on the few remaining railways in Devon? Of course it did not. It went on strike. And more than that, it damaged the future of the lines.

Mr. Stott

The NUR had a strike that lasted for two days. The industrial action that was taken on the railways was not taken primarily by the NUR. It was taken by another railway union. I was referring specifically to the NUR. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will remember that if he chooses to make similar accusations in future.

Sir Peter Mills

I accept that, but I am sure that the hon. Gentleman was referring to ASLEF as well as to the NUR, and the combined action of the two has had a devastating effect on the future of the railways in the South-West.

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop), whose area is involved, would have liked to be present at this debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] Unfortunately, he is away on an important trip with a Select Committee.

Mr. Snape

I bet it is not a bus trip.

Sir Peter Mills

As I am a constituent of my hon. Friend's, perhaps I may make a few pertinent remarks.

I welcome the trial proposal as a worthy way to try to help with the difficult problem of rural transport in remote areas. Many other ideas have been tried without much success. It is all very well for Labour Members to condemn the proposal, but what did they do? I have a long memory and I remember many years of Socialist rule. The problem was just as bad then. My hon. Friend the Minister has made a worthy effort in supporting Devon county council in this way, and it is certainly worth trying to get the experiment under way.

My only criticism is that the wrong area has been chosen. [Interruption.] I am trying to be frank, which is more than one can say of the Opposition at times. I must declare an interest, as West Devon is probably the remotest of all areas in Devon.

Mr. Tony Speller (Devon, North)

After North Devon.

Sir Peter Mills

With North Devon. Therefore, I believe that the trial area should have been in North or West Devon. The area that has been chosen has more railway lines than we have. It also has better bus services in some places, so there may be some danger there. That is why this needs to be an experiment, to see whether it works. There are also more and better roads than there are in the remoter areas of North and West Devon. That is why I believe that the wrong area has been chosen. Perhaps the Minister will comment on that. The area that I have the privilege of representing has virtually no railways, very difficult roads and smaller villages with, it seems, more retired people and others who need this type of transport. This is a real and growing problem, and it will continue to grow unless something is done, so the experiment is well worth trying.

Perhaps I may try to educate the Opposition on this. It is true that there are more cars in the remoter areas, but this leaves a hard core of people who cannot afford a car, retired people and so on, and who need bus transport into the towns and perhaps into the cities of Plymouth and Exeter. Many of the existing bus operators make their bread and butter living from school transport. I believe that they would be very suitable operators to provide a service for the village people. After the children have been taken to school, a service could be fitted in with the times at which the village people want a service into the towns or cities to do their shopping, and so on. At present, those operators cannot undertake such a service, so most of their services run at a loss. If they were given the freedom to run these additional services they could help to solve the problem and also win back many people who would prefer to go into the cities or the towns by bus rather than using their cars. If the times were fitted in correctly, such a service could be much more flexible than the present situation.

Mr. Albert Booth (Barrow-in-Furness)

Did the hon. Gentleman ask the Devon county council to include his constituency in the trial area order? If not, why not? If so, why did the council refuse his request?

Sir Peter Mills

The council did not refuse my request. It used the same area for the trial of Post Office vans. It has always been the experimental area. I hope that the trial will be a success and will move to my constituency.

Perhaps the Minister could pay attention to the types of buses used in the experiment. Usually, village buses that transport children to school are second-hand, rather large, and not suitable for the purpose. It is a great pity that there is not enough profitability in school bussing for operators to buy smaller buses of smaller capacity that are easy to operate in difficult conditions in remote areas.

The experiment can be criticised. It might not work, but at least it is a start. The Socialists did not even attempt an experiment. It is a bold experiment—let us try it and see if it works. It can then move to other areas, especially West and North Devon. I fully support it, even with its warts and possible problems.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Paul Dean)

Order. The debate must end at 11.30 pm. A number of hon. Members wish to speak, so I hope that speeches will be brief.

10.52 pm
Mr. Peter Snape (West Bromwich, East)

I shall bear your strictures in mind, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Before being challenged about the lack of Devon burr in my voice, I declare an interest as a member of the National Union of Railwaymen. Many of the bus services in Devon are operated by members of the National Union of Road Operatives, which is a subsidiary of my union.

The only two occasions since I was elected to the House when I have visited Devon were during two annual holidays some years ago. I do not profess to be an expert on its local traffic problems. The arguments that I shall deploy come exclusively from Devon, and the House will have to accept that I am merely the voice not only of members of the NUR but of others from that part of the world.

The concept of trial areas resulted from the Transport Act 1980. That Act had three main prongs—the concept of car-sharing, the increase in the number of those allowed to operate long-distance coach services and trial areas. It would be improper for me to refer to the first two prongs of the legislation, other than to say that it is widely accepted that both car sharing and the whole nonsense of competition from private long-distance coach hauliers have proved to be damp squibs.

The Devon county council was the first to plunge in with an application for a trial area, not long after the Act came into force. It then discovered to its horror that most of the district councils in the county opposed the concept of trial areas. My hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Stott) mentioned Exeter city council in his able speech. It is Tory-controlled, of course. One hates to see public brawls between members of the Conservative Party but they happen occasionally. It certainly happened on this occasion. Exeter city council felt that trial areas in that part of the county would have a strongly adverse effect on the services that it was operating.

The hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Penhaligon) intervened to say that there were no profitable bus services in Devon and Cornwall anyway. That statement was greeted with jeers from Conservative Members. Exeter city services operate under a remit to break even. That shows that some services in the city must make money to subsidise those that do not.

In early 1981, the Secretary of State for Social Services, then Secretary of State for Transport, visited Devon and Cornwall. One could argue that his knowledge of that part of the world is as sketchy as mine. Nevertheless, he visited the area to persuade Devon county council to take up the offer. Having made its initial application, it appeared to want to back away. He did more than attempt to persuade the council—he offered the not inconsiderable sum of £500,000 if it would participate in the scheme. Whether it was due to his visit or to his inducement—I hesitate to call it a bribe, because that would be improper—to Devon county council I do not know, but on the Minister's return to London, the council threw out the whole scheme and decided that it wanted nothing to do with it. It was only when that not-so-subtle arm-twisting took place in the hallowed portals of county hall in Devon that the transportation committee's decision was hurriedly reversed and the application that we are discussing was made.

The NUR will be accused of taking a dog in a manger attitude and of being interested only in protecting jobs, regardless of public need in the area. I hope to show that that is not so by reading from a letter written to all Devon county councillors this year by the divisional organiser of the NUR, Mr. Viv Taylor. His area covers division 10 in union parlance which is the Exeter area. He said that The employees of Western National are only too happy to participate in and assist with Experimental Areas. Those are the areas that the hon. Member for Devon, West (Sir P. Mills) referred to a moment ago, inadvertently or otherwise. Mr. Taylor continued: The new mini-bus proposals at Beer and Whimple and at Tiverton in the evenings are very worthwhile experiments and we hope they are successful. Social experiments like this are well worth trying out. We are also happy about other operators runningover routes and to places we do not currently serve. What may not be generally known is the fact that any operator can provide such services with a Section 34 licence without the need for court appearances and the like. Such operators come in and even use our bus station—and they are welcome to. That is hardly a dog in the manger attitude.

Moreover, Mr. Taylor refutes an argument that was advanced by the hon. Member for Devon, West when he writes: Some people argue that the only way to prove the failings of the 'Trial Area' is to try it out. That is virtually identical to what the hon. Gentleman said. The letter continues: The damage done to the service network will then be beyond repair. Surely, you"— the county councillors— will not allow this to happen. Sadly, it seems that the county councillors are prepared to let that happen. Why that area? Why allow a trial area when the services provided will compete with those provided by Exeter city council which was one of the bodies that objected to the concept?

Perhaps we should examine the glossy blurb that Devon county council has produced, no doubt at great cost to the taxpayers. I trust that not too many businesses have gone bust as a result of this exercise. The leaflet is entitled, "The Trial Area Explained". Under the heading, "Why does Devon want one?", the Tory-controlled county council says: Despite paying out large amounts of subsidy the County Council has had to accept cuts in service level as passengers steadily drift away, deterred by rising fares".

This is a Tory-controlled authority telling the Secretary of State that its services are declining because it is forced by the Government to put up fares. I wish that I had been in possession of this document for yesterday's debate on the Transport Bill. I would have been able to quote it, although, given the standard of the Government's opening and closing speeches, I doubt if it would have made much difference. What about the attitude to the hallowed Tory principle of competition?

Mr. Adley

Before the hon. Gentleman gives his sob story about attitudes, can he justify the action of his union, the National Union of Railwaymen, just up the road at the West Somerset railway where it has refused for 20 years to allow a private railway to run into Taunton and has thus prevented the legitimate transport aspirations of many people in that area from being fulfilled?

Mr. Snape

It is difficult to reply directly to the hon. Gentleman, who always speaks in the extravagant language in which he is quoted in the newspapers. The problems of the railway line to which he refers are not covered under the order. I might be ruled out of order if I took the trouble to answer the hon. Gentleman. The intention is to protect bus services, but I have no wish, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to arouse your ire by saying more.

On 17 September 1982, before the traffic commissioners for the Western traffic area, an application was made to run two bus services by an operator not a million miles away from Devon and close to the trial area designated under the order. The operator, Mr. R. M. Holladay, and his wife proposed a one-man-bus operation. Among the objectors was Mr. A. T. W. Davies who appeared on behalf of Devon county council. In his extremely relevant evidence, Mr. Davies said that there were a number of points that he wished to put to the commissioners in the hope that they would refuse the application. Mr. Davies said: We have a concern about the level of resources available to the applicant"— Mr. Holladay— to maintain the service if granted.

There is some difficulty, if the concept of trial areas is accepted, in knowing the sort of operators who will run the services. Will they be one-man-bus people? Worthy though his application may have been, Mr. Holladay did not wish to run the bus on a Wednesday afternoon because that was the day on which he maintained it. It seems a sketchy principle, to say the least, if this is the sort of applicant who comes forward.

Mr. Davies, on behalf of the Devon county council, added: It therefore appears that while some areas of the city"— Exeter— would enjoy a bus service they do not have at the moment, there is a serious danger that this marginal increase or improvement in service would be more than offset by a loss of benefit from the decrease in service which you have heard Western National"— another objector— are at least contemplating if the application is granted.

The myth of competition in Exeter has already been rejected by Devon county council as recently as September this year. It is opposed by my union not because of any dog in the manger attitude but because of the belief that it will have a serious impact on services in that part of the county. I hope that Conservative Members will accept that what I say is based on evidence from that part of the world. I have stated it because I believe it. I hope Conservative Members will join my hon. Friends and myself in the Lobby tonight to protect bus services in their constituencies.

11.5 pm

Mr. Tony Speller (Devon, North)

I start by paying what might be a surprising tribute. Members of the National Union of Railwaymen man most of the buses in my part of Devon. They work hard and well, and co-operate with their authority to try to provide the non-existent new network referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Devon, West (Sir P. Mills). It is pointless to pretend that there is an existing rural network in the West Country. There are towns with one bus a day and large villages with one bus a week. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Stott) confuses himself if he believes, in his urban fastness, that there is any form of public service transport in areas such as Devon.

Therefore, any trial area is worth a trial. We may be debating an order called the Devon Trial Area Order, but we are asking ourselves whether there is any future for public service buses in rural areas. I am sad at, and tired of, seeing a bus with one passenger and a driver. We must accept that a change must come. It is no good the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) talking of the excellence of his union workers, excellent as they are, when they are driving uneconomic services that, sooner or later, are bound to lose their subsidy.

Any trial that aims at keeping people on buses rather than forcing them into cars—we are talking about an area where there are no trains—must be sensible. It is not dog in the manger, but dead dog in the manger to suggest keeping the existing order and hope to keep it going for one, two or three years.

The redundancies accepted by the NUR over the years show that it realises the problem. I give every good wish to this trial area. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Devon, West, I should have liked it to come forward a little, as Chawleigh is in it, but Chulmleigh is out. I should have liked a bigger trial area. However, if we have no trial, we shall have no verdict, and if we have no verdict, sooner or later we shall have no bus service.

11.7 pm

Mr. David Penhaligon (Truro)

I agree with much that was said by the hon. Member for Devon, West (Sir P. Mills). This is the wrong trial area. I must confess to the cardinal sin of all time as a Cornishman commenting on the affairs of Devon. If I came from anywhere else in England, it would probably be all right, but for a Cornishman to talk about Devon is pushing his luck.

I wish to address myself to hon. Members on the Opposition Benches. I enjoy and appreciate their enthusiasm for providing some sort of social service in rural areas for the elderly, those who can no longer afford to drive, and children. I concur with their spirit and understand and appreciate it. However, things are so bad in some of the rural areas that they are worse than many hon. Members recognise and realise.

Looking at the map of this part of Devon, I can imagine that there is some sort of service operating around Tiverton, which is a substantial town. In the rural areas to the north of this trial area, the chances are that there are very few buses. Those that do run probably operate the same game that we play in Cornwall—spot the passenger. I have reluctantly reached the conclusion that we ought to be even more adventurous in our experiments than simply employing devices such as trial areas.

In parts of Cornwall, which I know rather better than this part of the country, there is a subsidised taxi service. It takes people from their homes to the shops where they want to go and, most important, takes them back with their shopping. It may be more credible financially and no more expensive than running a bus service, and it may provide a better service for the elderly.

The present position is not acceptable. All the trends are towards deterioration. I know that there is opposition to the trial area, but it is opposition based on desperation. The people can see that they have so very little going for them that they express the fear that the trial area will lead to no service at all. Often if one talks to the people concerned, one finds that they are convinced that what remnants of a service that they have run by the Western National bus company will disappear in the next four or five years, even if there is not a trial area, as the losses mount and mount.

The House could do itself a substantial service if it concentrated some of its time, abilities and energies on looking, in some depth into the often heart-rending transport difficulties that exist in some of the more remote rural areas.

The simple truth is that many people living in this part of the country now have a worse public transport system than any that has existed at any time in the last 100 years. As my dear grandmother used to say "At least in my young days we had the horse and cart. It was not very fast, but it was regular and reliable". Many areas no longer have even that. I am against the order because I believe that it has been applied to the wrong area. It should have been applied to one of the remoter areas of Devon so that we could properly judge its effect.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

If that is the case, why did the Liberal Party vote for the Hereford and Worcestershire order about 12 months ago?

Mr. Penhaligon

To my knowledge, Tiverton is not in Worcester. The hon. Gentleman can make party points if he wishes. It does not matter what points the Labour Party makes in my part of the country, because I know both of the remaining Labour Party Members in my constituency. He is fighting an uphill battle in that regard.

People of a radical political persuasion are only too well aware of just how bad the situation now is. If the Liberals in Hereford and Worcester concluded that an experiment such as this might improve things in their area, I am willing to abide by their judgment.

The south coast of the Devon trial area is not typical of the remoter, rural, and less densely populated areas with which I and Devon Members are familiar. Even if this trial is successful in the southern part of the area, it will not prove to be a solution for the difficulties facing the remoter parts of the country.

We must be far more adventurous than the Government. The Liberal Party supported much of the primary legislation on which the order is based. We must consider the possibility of applying the bus subsidy to taxis, because it would be interesting to see what emerged from such an arrangement.

11.12 pm
Mr. Colin Shepherd (Hereford)

I am grateful for this brief opportunity to inform the House of the consequences so far of the trial experiment in Hereford, which has now been going on for a year. It is only right that Devon should know what has happened in Hereford.

This is best summed up in a letter to the Hereford Times on 28 May from the general manager of Primrose Motors, a local bus company. I know that the Hereford Times is not top of the reading list of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Stott). Nevertheless he may be interested in the letter. It states: In your May 21 issue you reported that a local Transport Workers delegation stated that the 'free for all' on bus routes in Herefordshire was already causing problems for passengers and that 'all some of these private operators want to do is to take the cream off the top'. While agreeing that there may be possibly one or two operators who fit the description, I would like to reply that most independent operators have served the sparse population at a cost to themselves because of a sense of service to their local clientele. We at Primrose, have served the Leominster area over the last 60 years at a price and service frequency that I am sure no national subsidiary would attempt to maintain. Because of the `free for all' we at last have a chance to challenge the previous State monopoly on busier routes and bring the benefits of competition to the remaining long suffering passengers; on these busier routes if our fares are economically correct but not more than the public is prepared to pay, if our service is reliable, and if our drivers are pleasant in their attitude, then we deserve to make a small profit. If we get it wrong, we deserve to go out of business. If however, there are not enough potential passengers living on the route to maintain a profitable bus service, but there is a social need, then the Council is expected to pay for this social requirement. The ratepayers then deserve to get the most efficient service at the least cost to themselves. On rural routes this option is rarely provided by the nationalised transport concern with its artificially high cost partly caused by restrictive trade union agreement and excessive number of headquarters staff etc. Having worked sixteen years with London Transport both as driver—6 years—and in the office, I am convinced, like the Transport Workers delegation, that there is a need for a 'comprehensive public transport system', but this need can be met in rural areas such as we live in by a co-ordinated service of independent operators—it does not have to be a State monopoly. Specific benefits provided by Primrose Motors to public transport users in the Hereford-Leominster-Ludlow area since the 'free for all' have included lower fares and increased services, including the introduction of Sunday services linking Hereford with Leominster, Presteigne and the black and white villages of Pembridge and Eardisland, for no more than 50 pence single fare. We intend to restore the faith in local public transport that has been eroded by years of nationalised neglect. That was pretty fighting stuff and it was written in May. Today I asked the gentleman who wrote that if he had any wish to modify anything that he had written and he said "No, Sir" without reservation.

Mr. Les Huckfield (Nuneaton)

Touching his forelock.

Mr. Shepherd

He does not have to touch his forelock to me. After an experiment that has run for a year, Herefordshire has routes and services in town and country where Midland Red and Red and White were not able to operate before. We have routes in the country that did not exist before. We have restructured routes in the city of Hereford—I am disappointed that the city of Exeter is not taking up the idea—which are more in keeping with what people want. We have fare reductions and drivers and conductors in the nationalised industry being nice to people for the first time, and that is remarked upon in Hereford. That is important. Buses are attractive. When the experiment started I said that it needed watching, but it is well under way now and Devon need not be afraid.

11.16 pm
The Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)

There is nothing furtive about the order. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Stott) knows full well that every Government have brought forward orders, and prayers have then been tabled at the beginning of the new Session for the annulment of those orders and they have been debated as early as possible.

The prayer against the order for the Devon trial area tonight gives me an opportunity to put a number of facts before the House about the working of the trial area legislation and to answer the questions that have been asked.

The House will recall that the Transport Act 1980 was inspired by a desire to respond in a more flexible way to transport needs. What better identification could we have had than the speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Shepherd)?

During those debates Opposition Members expressed many fears. Some have been repeated tonight. The debate tonight is significantly different. We have now the actual experience of two trial areas on which to base our judgments—not assertions and hypotheses.

The Government's purpose in providing for the designation of trial areas was to give counties the option of seeing whether, in their areas, the 50-year-old system of road service licensing might have outlived its usefulness. Opposition Members, with the exception of the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Penhaligon), alleged that those areas would be overrun immediately by "cowboys" and that "pirates" would rush in to cream off revenue from the most lucrative routes. In that atmosphere of cut-throat competition, marginally profitable or non-profitable routes would be shed and services would decline abruptly. They said that there would be a transport desert. That is what they alleged.

What has actually happened? In Norfolk there has been no destruction of public transport by unscrupulous private operators, as was so gloomily prophesied, but there has been no dramatic upsurge of the new services that we hoped to see.

The opportunity remains for operators to begin or revise services where they see the need. I was asked about Cumbria. I should be out of order if I went into that in detail, but the accusation by the hon. Member for Westhoughton that a special transport supplementary grant was paid to Cumbria because of Yeowarts is nonsense. Cumbria was going to talk to my predecessor after the intervention by the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) but it never took up the offer, and went to court. That is where it is still. With that we leave Cumbria's experience this evening.

The position in Hereford and Worcester, about which my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford has so ably spoken, has been different from what was prophesied. As in Norfolk, there is no sign of the predicted collapse of public transport. What is different there is the county council's active approach to the trial area. It has taken the opportunity to revise the arrangements by which it pays revenue support to stage carriage operators.

Hereford and Worcester has instituted a system of tendering for contracts to run subsidised services. That arrangement was criticised by people who at that time feared unfettered competition. Now they have shifted their ground to protest at the greater control being exercised by the county council. They cannot have it both ways.

It was said that control contradicted the underlying concept of trial areas as zones of unrestricted entrepreneurial competition, but it was the Opposition, not the Government, who saw that as the inevitable outcome in trial areas. The Government simply said that we could give counties the opportunity to remove road service licensing where they thought it appropriate. There is nothing wrong with the way in which Hereford and Worcester has used the opportunity in an attempt to obtain cheaper and more efficient public transport.

The public sector operator declined to tender for subsidised services and withdrew from a number of services in the area. That was its decision. It had the freedom to tender. As a result of open tendering 19 services changed hands and nearly all the services abandoned by Midland Red were taken over by independent operators. The public sector operator did not try because it could not compete. The exceptions were three evening or Sunday services for which there was hardly any demand and which would probably have been discontinued in any case.

On many of the new services lower fares are being charged and the operator is in receipt of less revenue support. The net result has been a benefit to travellers and ratepayers. It is against that background that the debate takes place.

The hon. Member for Westhoughton asked about cross-subsidisation, which is at the root of all the arguments about licensing and trial areas. But for its traditional importance in sustaining the network, road service licensing would have been abolished in 1980. Cross-subsidisation has recently been blessed by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and by the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs, but it is not unchallenged. It means charging more to passengers on better used routes to help those on more lightly used routes. That may be socially regressive and against the operator's long-term best interests. We are not against the subsidy but we wish the best possible service to be offered. We shall use all the means at our disposal to bring transport to such areas as the hon. Member for Truro mentioned.

My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) very much wanted to be here, but he has advised me about his area of Devon. He is with the Select Committee on Industry and Trade in the Far East. I know that he will read the Official Report with great interest. I am also grateful to my hon. Friends the Members for Devon, West (Sir P. Mills) and for Devon, North (Mr. Speller) for welcoming the trial order.

We should give Devon a chance to operate the system. It is too early to report on experiences. The leaflets that the county council has issued publicising the trial area have been well received. I hope that operators in the area will respond to the opportunity by starting new services of benefit to the community. That will give us new insight into the role of road service licensing.

The county council has also made use of other powers in the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 under which taxis can be shared. Two schemes in Beer and Whimple have already been started. The hon. Member for Truro mentioned the need for similar services in other areas. We shall welcome suggestions from any county council for trial areas to bring transportation for the first time to people who have no other means to get about.

The hon. Members for Westhoughton and West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) both mentioned the Exeter private operator. Mr. Holladay's application is still before the traffic commissioners, but it is important to realise that he does not operate in the trial area and that an appeal is possible if the traffic commissioners decide against him.

It was said that the Association of County Councils opposes the provision for Devon. That is not true. The association is prepared to have trial areas, because it knows the benefits of new transportation in areas that, as my hon. Friends the Members for Devon, North and Devon, West said, have no other means of transport and that have been without transport for a long time.

The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East also commented upon the transport supplementary grant. He knows that bids can be entered, but that does not mean that they will be granted. No decisions have been made for this year. Councils are providing for unforeseen events. The past bids by Norfolk and by Hereford and Worcester tried to provide for future difficulties, and neither authority has had to use that provision.

The purpose of the trial areas is to allow counties the opportunity to see how public transport can be improved in the absence of road service licensing. They are trials, and we have learnt that, above all, we should not prejudge their outcome. We have seen different results from the two areas previously designated, with no sign of the dire consequences that some people forecast. I have no reason to believe that the forecasts made in the House tonight will be more true in Devon than they were in the other trial areas. Indeed, I am confident that the county council is not prepared to allow that to happen. I expect the third trial area to provide new and illuminating findings, to be of benefit to the local community and to contribute to our wider understanding of the role of road service licensing.

Devon county council has taken a long look forward. This is an innovatory approach to the improvement of passenger transport in that county. The council has been involved actively in Rutex experiments and has tested the operation of shared taxis in the experimental area. I am pleased that it has followed the trail that it blazed, which is why Devon is the third trial county. It is for Devon county council and not the Government to decide which operators it should support and for what period. The transport supplementary grant is the way in which the Exchequer's money may be channelled to the county councils, and the councils must ensure that it is spent in the best way. I am confident that Devon county council will do that.

Since the proposals for the Devon trial area were published, there have been only five objections and the county council has restricted the area to that which will be of benefit to the travelling public. The council has ensured that the areas to be served are those that are much in need of new services and where the existing services were reduced long ago. The council is in favour of a trial area so that improvements can be made.

The Government are anxious to promote innovation, and experiments in transport, whether they be urban or rural, can do that. We do not believe that the protection of the conventional bus services by licensing, appropriate perhaps before the war, is to be clung to slavishly now. We know from East Sussex that by supporting experiments in the co-ordination and brokerage of social services, education, health and public transport, a great improvement has come about. We want to see more experiments and more post buses and we welcome the National Bus Company's recent leaflet on community buses and its flexibus experiment in the Potteries. It is in the spirit of innovation and renewal that we are happy to support Devon county council in this venture.

In the light of what I have said tonight I hope that the Opposition will see fit to withdraw their prayer. If they do not, I have no hesitation in calling upon the House to reject it.

Question put:

The Houses divided: Ayes 185, Noes, 271.

Division No. 10] [11.30 pm
Abse, Leo Carter-Jones, Lewis
Allaun, Frank Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Anderson, Donald Clarke,Thomas(C'b'dge, A'rie)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)
Ashton, Joe Cohen, Stanley
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,) Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd) Conlan, Bernard
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Cook, Robin F.
Bennett, Andrew(St'kp't N) Craigen, J. M.(G'gow, M'hill)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Cryer, Bob
Bray, Dr Jeremy Cunliffe, Lawrence
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W) Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n)
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Dalyell, Tam
Buchan, Norman Davidson, Arthur
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)
Campbell, Ian Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Davis, Terry (B'ham, Stechf'd)
Canavan, Dennis Deakins, Eric
Cant, R. B. Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)
Dewar, Donald Maxton, John
Dixon, Donald Meacher, Michael
Dobson, Frank Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)
Dormand, Jack Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Douglas, Dick Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
Dubs, Alfred Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Duffy, A. E. P. Moyle, Rt Hon Roland
Dunnett, Jack Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Newens, Stanley
Eadie, Alex Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Eastham, Ken O'Neill, Martin
Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E) Park, George
Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're) Parry, Robert
English, Michael Pavitt, Laurie
Ennals, Rt Hon David Pendry, Tom
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Evans, John (Newton) Race, Reg
Ewing, Harry Radice, Giles
Faulds, Andrew Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)
Field, Frank Richardson, Jo
Flannery, Martin Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Ford, Ben Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Forrester, John Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Foulkes, George Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd) Robertson, George
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Rooker, J. W.
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Rowlands, Ted
Golding, John Ryman, John
Gourlay, Harry Sever, John
Graham, Ted Sheerman, Barry
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Hardy, Peter Short, Mrs Renée
Harman, Harriet (Peckham) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Skinner, Dennis
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Snape, Peter
Haynes, Frank Soley, Clive
Heffer, Eric S. Spearing, Nigel
Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire) Spellar, John Francis (B'ham)
Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll) Spriggs, Leslie
Home Robertson, John Stallard, A. W.
Homewood, William Stoddart, David
Hooley, Frank Stott, Roger
Howell, Rt Hon D. Strang, Gavin
Hoyle, Douglas Straw, Jack
Huckfield, Les Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Thomas, Dr R.(Carmarthen)
Janner, Hon Greville Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Tilley, John
Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh'dda) Tinn, James
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Torney, Tom
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Wainwright, E.(Dearne V)
Lambie, David Walker, Rt Hon H.(D'caster)
Lamond, James Wardell, Gareth
Leadbitter, Ted Welsh, Michael
Leighton, Ronald White, Frank R.
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) White, J. (G'gow Pollok)
Litherland, Robert Whitehead, Phillip
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Whitlock, William
Lyon, Alexander (York) Williams, Rt Hon A.(S'sea W)
McCartney, Hugh Wilson, William (C'try SE)
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Winnick, David
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Woodall, Alec
McKelvey, William Woolmer, Kenneth
McMahon, Andrew Wright, Sheila
McTaggart, Robert Young, David (Bolton E)
McWilliam, John
Marshall, D(G'gow S'ton) Tellers for the Ayes:
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Mr. George Morton and
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Mr. Allen McKay.
Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Adley, Robert Alexander, Richard
Aitken, Jonathan Alison, Rt Hon Michael
Alton, David Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Fox, Marcus
Ancram, Michael Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh
Arnold, Tom Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Aspinwall, Jack Freud, Clement
Atkinson, David (B'm'th,E) Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Baker, Kenneth(St.M'bone) Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Garel-Jones, Tristan
Banks, Robert Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Glyn, Dr Alan
Beith, A. J. Goodhart, Sir Philip
Bendall, Vivian Goodhew, Sir Victor
Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay) Goodlad, Alastair
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Gorst, John
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Gow, Ian
Berry, Hon Anthony Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Best, Keith Greenway, Harry
Bevan, David Gilroy Grieve, Percy
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Griffiths, E.(B'y St. Edm'ds)
Blackburn, John Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)
Blaker, Peter Grist, Ian
Body, Richard Grylls, Michael
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Gummer, John Selwyn
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Hamilton, Hon A.
Bowden, Andrew Hampson, Dr Keith
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Hannam, John
Braine, Sir Bernard Haselhurst, Alan
Bright, Graham Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Brinton, Tim Hawkins, Sir Paul
Brittan, Rt. Hon. Leon Hayhoe, Barney
Brooke, Hon Peter Heddle, John
Brotherton, Michael Henderson, Barry
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n) Hicks, Robert
Browne, John (Winchester) Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Bruce-Gardyne, John Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hooson, Tom
Buchanan-Smith, Rt. Hon. A. Hordern, Peter
Buck, Antony Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd)
Budgen, Nick Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Bulmer, Esmond Howells, Geraint
Burden, Sir Frederick Hunt, David (Wirral)
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n) Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Jessel, Toby
Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Chapman, Sydney Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) King, Rt Hon Tom
Clegg, Sir Walter Kitson, Sir Timothy
Colvin, Michael Knight, Mrs Jill
Cormack, Patrick Knox, David
Costain, Sir Albert Lamont, Norman
Cranborne, Viscount Lang, Ian
Critchley, Julian Latham, Michael
Crouch, David Lawrence, Ivan
Dickens, Geoffrey Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Dorrell, Stephen Lee, John
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Dover, Denshore Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Durant, Tony Loveridge, John
Dykes, Hugh Luce, Richard
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Lyell, Nicholas
Eggar, Tim McCrindle, Robert
Elliott, Sir William Macfarlane, Neil
Eyre, Reginald MacKay, John (Argyll)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Macmillan, Rt Hon M.
Faith, Mrs Sheila McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Farr, John McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Fell, Sir Anthony McQuarrie, Albert
Finsberg, Geoffrey Madel, David
Fisher, Sir Nigel Major, John
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles Marland, Paul
Fookes, Miss Janet Marlow, Antony
Forman, Nigel Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Mates, Michael Shepherd, Richard
Mather, Carol Silvester, Fred
Mawby, Ray Sims, Roger
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Skeet, T. H. H.
Mayhew, Patrick Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Mellor, David Smith, Dudley
Meyer, Sir Anthony Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Speller, Tony
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Spence, John
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Miscampbell, Norman Squire, Robin
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Stainton, Keith
Moate, Roger Stanbrook, Ivor
Monro, Sir Hector Stanley, John
Montgomery, Fergus Steen, Anthony
Moore, John Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Morris, M. (N'hampton S) Stokes, John
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Stradling Thomas, J.
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Tapsell, Peter
Murphy, Christopher Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Myles, David Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Neale, Gerrard Temple-Morris, Peter
Needham, Richard Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Nelson, Anthony Thompson, Donald
Neubert, Michael Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Newton, Tony Thornton, Malcolm
Onslow, Cranley Townend, John (Bridlington)
Page, John (Harrow, West) Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Page, Richard (SW Herts) Trippier, David
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Parris, Matthew Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Patten, Christopher (Bath) Viggers, Peter
Pawsey, James Waddington, David
Penhaligon, David Wakeham, John
Percival, Sir Ian Waldegrave, Hon William
Pink, R. Bonner Walker, B. (Perth )
Pollock, Alexander Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Waller, Gary
Price, Sir David (Eastleigh) Walters, Dennis
Proctor, K. Harvey Ward, John
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Warren, Kenneth
Rathbone, Tim Watson, John
Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal) Wells, Bowen
Rees-Davies, W. R. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Rhodes James, Robert Wheeler, John
Ridley, Hon Nicholas Whitney, Raymond
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Wiggin, Jerry
Rifkind, Malcolm Wilkinson, John
Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW) Williams, D.(Montgomery)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Winterton, Nicholas
Rossi, Hugh Wolfson, Mark
Rost, Peter Young, Sir George (Actor)
Royle, Sir Anthony Younger, Rt Hon George
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Tellers for the Noes:
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb) Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Shelton, William (Streatham) Mr. John Cope.
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)

Question accordingly negatived.

  1. PROCEDURE (FINANCE) 30 words
  2. c252
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