HC Deb 27 October 1982 vol 29 cc1075-86 5.37 pm
Mr. Martin J. O'Neill (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Education (Assisted Places) (Scotland) Regulations 1982 (S .I., 1982, No. 949), dated 9th July 1982, a copy of which was laid before this House on 20th July, be annulled. We welcome the opportunity to debate these regulations, but we are mindful of the fact that time is not on our side and that a considerable amount of business has already been transacted this afternoon. Perhaps I might observe that, had we a Scottish Assembly, this matter would have been the legitimate concern of that body. Certainly the interest shown by certain sections of the House in this legislation suggests that they do not have much faith in it, although I should add that if we had a Scottish Assembly it would be Labour-controlled, and we should not need to deal with legislation of this kind. We expressed our opposition to the assisted places scheme as soon as the Education (Scotland) Bill 1980 was published, and we pursued that opposition without success in the Committee, where we were in a minority.

These regulations replace the regulations that went through the House last year. They are not radically different in content from those of the previous year. They are none the less unacceptable. I hope that the Minister, in winding up will touch on some of the differences.

First, I shall deal with part II of the regulations dealing with eligibility for assisted places. In article 6, dealing with the conditions about age and education, the age of 12 has now been reduced to 11, and in certain circumstances it could be 10. I am not sure why the figure was reduced, because in Scotland the age of transfer from primary to secondary schools is normally 12-plus, as distinct from 11-plus south of the border. It may well be that there has been a transplanting of the regulations from England to Scotland. If that is so, we should have a detailed explanation. Furthermore, it appears that the maximum age at which a student can receive remission of fees will be 20. Therefore, there is the prospect of almost 10 years of secondary education under an assisted places scheme.

We appreciate that the Minister has seen fit to uprate some of the figures in the regulations regarding the remission of fees to take account of inflation. However, it seems that varying criteria have been used. Why is the deduction from a dependant's relevant income now £800 under part III, article 10(3), whereas last year it was £600? Where is there evidence for an increase of 33⅓ per cent? Few social security entitlements have been increased so radically.

I return to a point made last year about false information, which is dealt with in article 11(3). This year the withdrawal of remission is at the Secretary of State's discretion. Last year, only the amount that was fiddled by the parents could be withheld. The Secretary of State now has greater powers. If false information is provided and the fees remitted, the Secretary of State has power to withhold the total amount of the fee, which he could not do last year. In addition, he has the discretion to withhold the remission of fees for anyone else in the family.

We welcome the extension, but we are concerned that that power should still be at the Secretary of State's discretion. On how many occasions has he used that power in the past 12 months? How many cases of false information have been provided? If there is to be a right of appeal, as is evidenced in article 11(3), will lie formalise that?

Article 13 deals with the calculation of remission in the event of a parent's death and a change in financial circumstances in the course of a year. How was the figure of 85 per cent. arrived at? While that is more precise than previously, it would be useful to have the reasoning behind that figure on record.

Article 14 concerns the scale of remission. The relevant income level is now set at £5,275 as against £4,766 last year. Upon what basis has that calculation been made? Es it on the basis of wage or price inflation?

Part IV concerns the making of grants and remission of charges. Has the Minister given any thought to extending the scheme to those who are denied a chance merely by an accident of geography? Much as we disapprove of the scheme, it is ridiculous for the Minister to pretend that there is any widening of opportunity if large tracts of Scotland are to be denied the opportunity to participate in the scheme.

There seems to be a difficulty about eligibility for travel grants. Various income thresholds are applied. The figure of £5,275 is used for remission of fees, while the figure of £5,100 is used for travel grants. It would be interesting to know why the Minister has chosen that figure rather than £5,275. We see that the threshold figure for clothing grants is £5,100 for a maximum grant of £90, and £5,800 for the minimum award of £2:3. In the third year the award based on the threshold of £5,100 is £45 and on £5,350 the minimum award is £23. What is the rationale behind that? As far as I can see the Minister is simply plucking figures out of the air.

It is unfair to expect local authorities, which have to raise money from the rates to help people in financial difficulties, to provide assistance for school clothing, when those people who are participating in the scheme get assistance with school clothing and meals in an exceedingly generous way by comparison with local authorities which overate under constraints.

One notes that the relevant income threshold for the remission of meal charges has been raised from £4,000 to £4,400. That is an increase in the base line of 10 per cent. Again, on what is that based?

In the last debate we sought undertakings from the Minister on a variety of points which he was incapable of answering. From the manner in which the regulations have been presented and the refusal of requests for legitimate information, it would appear that there are many areas in which he is still not prepared to come clean. An obvious example concerns entrance examinations. Several participating schools now have entrance examinations and we should like to know if the Department of Education and Science is making any attempt to monitor the number of schools involved. Is the inspectorate of schools concerned as to the contents of the exams and whether or not they distort the education in those institutions where preparation for such exams takes place? In some instances it is obvious that primary schools and primary departments of participating schools are preparing children for examinations on the understanding that they will go straight from the primary to the secondary department at a reduced rate.

At a time of greater cutbacks in local authority education it is becoming increasingly clear that the local authority sector is incapable of providing the specialist tuition that many youngsters and parents expect, while participants in the assisted places scheme have it as of right.

That, and many other anomalies which we should have liked to raise, should be the legitimate concern of the House and we hope that in future years more time will be made available. The Minister and the Scottish Education Department have fallen down in the preparation of the regulations. There is insufficient information about the schools. There is no clear evidence on the take-up and the cost of the scheme. There has been a refusal to provide information about the income of participating parents. There is a great deal of work still to be done before the scheme can be anything other than a bribe to the lower middle classes to support the discredited Government in Scotland.

For those reasons we oppose the regulations. We take grave offence that the matter is crammed in at the end of the Session and that there is inadequate time to deal with a subject of this importance and significance to Scottish parents and students.

5.48 pm
Mr. George Foulkes (South Ayrshire)

I underline what my hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. O'Neill) has just said. It is intolerable that two major items affecting many people in Scotland are crammed in at the fag end of the Session, at the fag end of the day and at the fag end of the debates that have taken place. Proper consideration is not being given to items that are of great concern to Scottish people.

As my hon. Friend said, if the Government had done as Lord Home of the Hirsel said and had given meaningful devolution instead of tricking the Scottish people at the time of the referendum, matters such as this would have been dealt with in a Scottish Assembly. Instead of supporting and bouying up the private education system we would be in the process of abolishing it because it is alien to the wishes of the Scottish people.

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

Mr. Foulkes

I think that the Minister will have an opportunity to reply later.

Mr. Fletcher rose

Mr. Foulkes

There is not much time. I have been told that I have only a few minutes in which to speak.

Mr. Fletcher

We have got until 11.30 pm.

Mr. Foulkes

The Under-Secretary of State says that from a sedentary position. I shall be here until 11.30 pm and I look forward to discussing the issue with him at that late hour.

I underline what my hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire has said, because it needs repeating as often as possible. After the next election, when the Labour Party is returned to office, we shall at an early opportunity repeal the Education (Scotland) Act 1981 and take steps to abolish private schools in Scotland. Scottish private schools benefit far too much from the public purse. They are already picking the public pocket through rate relief and exemption from VAT for school fees, and through help with corporation, capital transfer, capital gains and development land taxes. Now, more taxpayers' money is being poured into private schools for the privileged.

My hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire mentioned clothing grants. It is appalling that public money should be given to children in private schools when the Government have taken money away from the DHSS that should have gone to poor children in local authority schools. We are providing blazers for privileged children attending Fettes when we are withdrawing the right to shoes from children attending Firrhill, Craigroyston or any other such school. That appalling situation is typical of the Government.

Teachers' salary awards are also part of the new mechanism introduced under the 1981 Act. The Government have double-crossed the local authorities and have agreed to a 6 per cent. salary award for teachers. Under the new negotiating arrangements the Secretary of State's representatives were involved.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

What is the relevance of that?

Mr. Foulkes

I shall come to its relevance if the Under-Secretary of State is patient. The Government are paying only their part of 4 per cent. and that means that they are paying nothing towards 2 per cent. of the award. The local authorities are having to bear the burden of an extra £5.45 million. Instead of giving money to the private schools, it would be much better if the Government were to play fair with the local authorities by making the money available to them instead. The local authorities are sore and rightly annoyed that the Government should have double-crossed them over salaries.

The subsidisation of private schools is a matter of great concern to the people of Scotland. It is totally alien to them. They do not want private schools to be subsidised and they did not vote for that. The situation is particularly galling for those who represent constituencies like mine. Private schools are unevenly distributed and the vast majority are in Edinburgh. As a result, my constituents are subsidising, through their taxes, privileged educations for the sons and daughters of the Edinburgh bourgeoisie. That is causing great concern to my constituents.

Mr. Michael Ancram (Edinburgh, South) rose

Mr. Foulkes

I shall not give way. The last person to whom I would give way is one of the titled aristocracy of the Tory Party.

Mr. Bill Walker (Perth and East Perthshire) rose

Mr. Foulkes

I am sorry, I have just remembered that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Ancram) is the second to last person to whom I would give way.

Those like me, who send their children to local authority schools will fight, and fight again, against the regulations. They are wholly alien to all the traditions of Scottish education.

5.55 pm
Mr. George Robertson (Hamilton)

I am glad to have the opportunity to speak in the debate, because the regulations demonstrate only too well the way in which the Government are determined to perpetuate class distinctions in Scotland by propping up the private schools. As my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes) said, that system is wholly alien to traditions in Scotland. It is being imported and supported by Government-invented schemes that have no public support.

The obsession with private schooling is clearly illustrated in Hamilton. Behind the scenes there have been secret negotiations between the Minister's representatives and representatives of some so-called non-profit-making evangelical Christian foundation based in Ormskirk, Lancashire. It wishes to purchase the buildings of the former college of education in Hamilton that was closed as a result of the Minister's educational vandalism. The regulations seek to prop up this "difficult to support" sector of education. In addition, the Government are almost giving away a valuable public resource to a sector of education that has no public support in the Lanarkshire area.

The silence and secrecy that shroud the deals remind me of the shady, dirty-coated salesman of dirty photographs in a back street. The Minister is trying to dispose, for ever-decreasing sums, of a valuable public resource that could have many other uses that would be to the advantage of the local people. He is almost giving them away to such questionable organisations. I have made some calculations about the accounts that the projected new college might submit to the Secretary of State under article 32 of the regulations if it is propped up by the assisted places scheme. They are likely to be quaint accounts even for this monetarism-obsessed Government.

Mr. Charles Oxley, the principal of the company concerned and chairman of Mrs. Whitehouse's National Viewers and Listeners Association, tells the public through the newspapers—although the Minister tells us nothing—that they will charge each pupil £200 per term. That will raise him £480,000 each year. However, to run Hamilton College buildings, the heating, lighting and rates—with the 50 per cent. mandatory reductions—accounts for £170,000. Assuming that he pays an appropriate number of teachers the average salary paid to teachers in other schools he will have to pay a further £291,000. Therefore, he is not running an evangelical non-profit making organisation. Under article 32 of the regulations he will be running a loss-making evangelical Christian foundation, despite the ludicrously generous subsidy to be given to the college—it will apparently be charged a reduced price for the buildings. It is a mystery how a private school in Lanarkshire can be run on that financial basis.

I hope that the Minister will illustrate the type of accounts that he would expect to be supplied to him under article 32 by explaining the economic arguments that have presumably been put to him by officials as to how Mr. Oxley, whatever price he charges, will be able to take these buildings off the Minister's hands and not have to hand them back in bankruptcy only a few months after they are sold on the open market.

The parcelling off and sale of these college buildings, which are valuable resources provided for and in the interests of the community, to a questionable venture in the private sector is a bad joke. The sooner there is an investigation into this scandal, the better, before the Secretary of State has to offer his own accountants to the school under article 32, if and when this measure reaches the statute book.

6 pm

Mr. Bill Walker (Perth and East Perthshire)

The regulations are important because if we really intend to invest in people, as we constantly hear, we must make the maximum use of whatever assets are available. If people are fortunate enough to live in an area in which there are good private schools able to take some children from the local authority sector with assistance from the Government, that s an investment in each child who is fortunate enough—I use that phrase advisedly—to be a.ble to attend such a school. It is most disturbing to hear hon. Members who have themselves enjoyed a privileged private education seeking to deny it to less fortunate children whose parents, unlike those of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes), cannot afford to send their children to such schools.

Mr. Foulkes

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Walker

I shall not give way as the hon. Gentleman would not give way to us.

Mr. Foulkes

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for me to point out to the hon. Gentleman that my parents paid nothing towards my education?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Paul Dean)

That is a point of information, but it is not a point of order.

Mr. Ancram

He must have had an assisted place.

Mr. Walker

I leave others to make their own judgments on that. The attitude of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire today seems to be, "It was all right for me when I went, but it is not all right for other people today''. I believe that the regulations will help many less fortunate children to take advantage of such an education and that this is a real investment in people for the future.

6.3 pm

Mr. Gordon Wilson (Dundee, East)

I welcome the new-found enthusiasm shown by some hon. Members for the Scottish Assembly. It is gratifying to note that a change of opinion is occurring within the House. I should point out, however, that those hon. Members will have to decide whether they are British or Scottish. If the electorate returns a Tory Government at the next general election, will those hon. Members be British and accept the decision of the British electorate or will they be Scottish and repudiate it? I leave them to think that over during the rest of this short debate .

I wish to deal with article 18. It is disgraceful that the Government should introduce special provisions of this kind to provide clothing grants for certain children in the private sector when they refuse to provide the same or even a lesser sum for children attending local authority schools. It is appalling that the DHSS strangled the regulations that allowed it to provide special needs grants for children's clothing. It was pointed out to me at the time that under the new regulation even shoes could not be construed as a necessity, as there was no danger to the health or safety of the child if it had no shoes. That is a dreadful way to treat children who are in need. It is the more appalling in that provision is now being made to help less disadvantaged children.

I therefore ask the Minister to think again about these provisions if he intends to go ahead with the scheme, as he probably does because this is the second set of regulations that has been put forward in relation to it. He should at least make the conditions a little fairer than they are. It is disgraceful that he has managed to continue such unfairness in our society. It is very difficult for parents with children starting secondary school to obtain assistance from the DHSS or the local authority. It is even harder for them to have the door slammed in their face when other children can obtain money voted by the House under these regulations. The Minister should take that on board next time the regulations come before us. If we do not succeed in voting them down today. I hope that there will at least be a change in the regulations to remove these objectionable provisions.

6.5 pm

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker—[Interruption.] I am conforming with arrangements made between the Front Benches—

Mr. Dennis Canavan (West Stirlingshire)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is there a time limit to the debate?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The debate will be interrupted at 7 o'clock for private business. It will be resumed at 10 o'clock and can then continue until 11.30.

Mr. Canavan

Will I be called after the Minister?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I have called the Minister because it is the normal convention to call the Front Bench spokesman if he rises.

Mr. Fletcher

I am quite prepared to allow the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) to make his contribution now if that is in order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I call Mr. Dennis Canavan.

6.6 pm

Mr. Dennis Canavan (West Stirlingshire)

I shall be brief. I wish to place on record the utter disgust that most Opposition Members feel at the Government wasting the educational opportunities of the children of Scotland as well as the time of the House in bringing forward these regulations which have nothing whatever to do with improving the educational opportunities of the vast majority of children and young people in Scotland at this time.

Since the Minister came to office he has devastated the Scottish education system by massive cuts in public investment in the sector of education for which he has direct statutory responsibility. Moreover, at the same time as he is withdrawing public funds from the public sector, which caters for 97 per cent. of the children of Scotland, he now seeks through these regulations to provide more public money for the minority of children who attend these private fee-paying schools.

I draw attention to a written answer that I received from the Minister yesterday. Like so many written answers, because it lies concealed in the Official Report, some people may not have noticed it. Nevertheless, it is very important. I asked the Minister: what has been the cost to date of the assisted places scheme; and what has been the amount of other public funds given to private fee-paying schools over the same period. The Minister replied: Expenditure on the assisted places scheme in Scotland amounts to £822,000 since the scheme started in August 1981. No doubt the chairman of the Tory Party in Scotland, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Ancram), and his lackey behind him, the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker), will try to make out that that is a piddling sum of public money because it is less than £1 million, which does not matter here or there when one considers the global expenditure on education in Scotland. But let them hear the rest of the story. The reply continues: Over the same period to October 1982, maintenance grants to the grant-aided secondary schools amounted to £3,298,000 and grants to grant-aided special schools amounted to £3,847,000. Moreover, the reply then states: Details of grants or fees paid to the schools by local authorities are not available. In other words, even the three sums that I have mentioned—amounting to nearly £8 million—do not give the whole story about the amount of public money being spent on the overprivileged private sector of education in Scotland.

My hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes) has carried out a great deal of research into the amount of rate and tax relief. That, too, is public subsidy to a private sector which caters for an overprivileged minority. My hon. Friend's estimate for tax and rate relief for the whole of the United Kingdom amounts to £280 million a year—for Scotland the amount would probably be about £30 million a year. That is obscene and it is disgraceful for a Minister, especially a Minister representing a Scottish constituency, to try to justify such priorities in public expenditure.

Hon. Members on the Government Benches represent only a tiny minority of the interests in Scottish education—indeed, they represent a dwinding minority of the people of Scotland. Therefore, instead of wasting parliamentary time debating such rubbish, we should have a vote immediately, throw out the regulations and move on to item No. 42 of the Orders of the Day, which is the Second Reading of my Scottish Parliamentary Bill. I should like to move, formally, for the second time today, the Second Reading of that Bill so that we can debate the real priorities of Scottish education instead of the rubbish priorities of an overprivileged crowd of politicians who are misrepresenting the people of Scotland and spending the people's money in order to line the pockets of their rich friends.

6.11 pm
Mr. Ernie Ross (Dundee, West)

There has been a serious lack of information about the regulations. The Opposition made their concern known during the debates on the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. We have repeatedly asked the Minister to give us information about the assisted places scheme. We will then know how many places were awarded to fee-paying pupils in 1982–83. In a number of written answers, the Minister has failed to provide that information. We are being asked today to consider the regulations in the absence of that vital information.

When will the information be available? Why has it taken the schools so long to inform the Scottish education department and provide the information? will the information, as it did last year, prove embarrassing to the Government? Shall we find once again, when the figures are revealed, perhaps during the brief recess, that the schools are spending the majority of the money on subsidies for their own pupils.

Last year 564 out of the 765 assisted places available—72 per cent.—went to fee-paying pupils who were already at the fee-paying schools. At Dundee high school 48 out of the 63 places—that is 76 per cent.—went to children who were already at the school. I am willing to wager that yet again a scheme that was meant to widen the range of opportunity for children in Scotland will be found to be open only to a hand-picked minority, the majority of whom already attend fee-paying schools.

A few pupils from the comprehensive sector, which the majority of pupils in Scotland attend, were allowed through to glimpse what is available in the fee-paying sector. Those children saw a land filled with charitable status, rates relief, tax relief, access to cheap food from the Common Market and teachers trained in the colleges of education. The greatest insult is that not only are the fee-paying schools taking our teachers who are trained in our colleges, but once the Minister has closed down the colleges, he will sell them to the fee-paying schools. That will perpetuate the inequalities.

The only good thing that can be said about the regulations is that, as an election looms on the horizon, the scheme will not remain much longer on the statute book. I am sure that the first thing that my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Milian) will do when he becomes Secretary of State for Scotland is to put the regulations in the bucket where they belong.

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

The objections expressed to the regulations by Opposition Members have been mainly objections to the scheme rather than to the details in the regulations. In the limited time that Opposition Members wish me to take to reply to the debate, I shall try to cover some of their points.

I should like to remind the Opposition of the object of the scheme. It is to make it possible for parents who would not otherwise be able to afford to do so to obtain places for their children in fee-paying schools. The scheme is financed out of resources saved from what, under many previous Administrations, was an indiscriminate subsidy available to rich and poor alike.

Under the assisted places scheme the subsidy is income linked so that it is used as it should be, to pay the whole of school fees for the least well off and to moderate them proportionately as family income increases. Experience of the scheme so far shows that the great majority of places are being taken up by children from families in the lower income ranges and families where the main wage-earner has an ordinary occupation—from bus drivers, plumbers and electricians to schoolteachers.

Mr. Ernie Ross

What about the unemployed?

Mr. Fletcher

Most of the parents taking advantage of the scheme are from working-class families with working-class incomes and working-class occupations. That is the fact of the matter, whether or not the hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Ross) likes it. It may be unpalatable to the hon. Gentleman and to other hon. Members that many of their constituents seek places in these schools, but that is just a measure of the extent to which Opposition Members neglect the real wishes and desires of their constituents.

Several hon. Members referred to expenditure. The hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) referred to the approximate figure of £800,000 spent on the assisted places scheme in 1981–82 when the total expenditure on school education in Scotland was almost £1 billion, when the pupil-teacher ratios in State schools in Scotland were better than they have ever been before and at a time when expenditure per pupil in State education in Scotland, both primary and secondary, was higher in real terms than ever before. Those figures reject the false accusations and arguments presented by Opposition Members who are taking up time in an education debate when we could be discussing matters of greater importance.

Mr. Canavan

That is the best thing the Minister has said today.

Mr. Fletcher

I am glad that the hon. Gentlernan agrees with me because the debate this evening is taking place in official Opposition time, not in Government time.

I should like to turn now to the clothing allowance which was referred to by several hon. Members. It is wrong to say that the system in Scotland denies clothing to children in our State schools where the teacher or the school is of the opinion that the child is unable to recieve proper education because of the state of his clothing. Scottish education authorities can provide clothing for pupils who they believe cannot attend school because of clothing problems.

When the Education (Scotland) (No. 2) Bill was in Committee the Opposition asked whether a clothing allowance was necessary for children on the assisted places scheme. When the Bill was in the other place, the former Secretary of State said that the allowance was insufficient to cover the needs of pupils on the assisted places scheme. That shows how the standards of Opposition Members improve as they become more elevated.

The hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) has for some time been excited about the proposed sale of Hamilton college. No educational organisation, public or private, other than the party to which he referred, has made a bid to use the college for educational purposes. The party involved has not stated an intention to join the assisted places scheme. The hon. Gentleman is premature on both counts. No contract has been concluded. I believe also that I have read that he puts a value of at least £12 million on the college. I should be delighted if his moneyed friends could produce an offer of even one quarter of that sum. 1 hope that he will suggest to his friends in education that they should make an offer of £2 million, £3 million or £4 million, instead of merely protesting in the newspapers.

I am happy to take time to answer the other points raised, but the Opposition might prefer me to refer them to the answers already given. They have asked questions to which they know the answers. The issues were earnestly considered when the Bill was in Committee.

Mr. O'Neill

Many of the questions have not been answered either in written parliamentary replies or in previous debates. Will the Minister publish, either in a letter or in parliamentary answers, statistics on the take-up of the assisted places scheme? Hitherto the Department has not been prepared to do that.

Mr. Fletcher

We have collected more information as the scheme has progressed, and it is still in its early stages, but I shall be delighted to give the hon. Gentleman the statistics in a letter.

The scheme is providing invaluable satisfaction to many families with modest incomes. Places in denominational or other schools previously barred to low income families are now accessible to them. My hon. Friends know of many families who are happy to take advantage of the scheme for good personal reasons. The Opposition may be ignoring such instances. The scheme widens educational choice, particularly for less well-off families, whom we at least wish to help.

Question put:

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Education (Assisted Places) (Scotland) Regulations 1982 (S.I., 1982, No. 949), dated 9th July 1982, a copy of which was laid before this House on 20th July, be annulled.

The House divided: Ayes 96, Noes 133.

Division No. 332] [6.24 pm

Alton, David Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,) John, Brynmor
Beith, A. J. Leighton, Ronald
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W)
Bennett, Andrew(St'kp't N) McCartney, Hugh
Booth, Rt Hon Albert McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Bottomley, Rt Hon A.(M'b'ro) McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Bradley, Tom MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) McNally, Thomas
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S) McTaggart, Robert
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Marshall, D(G'gow S'ton)
Buchan, Norman Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Martin, M(G'gow S'burn)
Canavan, Dennis Maxton, John
Carmichael, Neil Maynard, Miss Joan
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Meacher, Michael
Cook, Robin F. Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Craigen, J. M.(G'gow, M'hill) Miller, Dr M. S.(E Kilbride)
Cryer, Bob Mitchell, R. C.(Soton ltchen)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Newens, Stanley
Deakins, Eric O'Neill, Martin
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Palmer, Arthur
Dixon, Donald Parry, Robert
Dormand, Jack Pavitt, Laurie
Douglas, Dick Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Dubs, Alfred Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Robertson, George
Eadie, Alex Roper, John
Eastham, Ken Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Evans, loan (Aberdare) Sheerman, Barry
Foulkes, George Skinner, Dennis
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Snape, Peter
Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife) Spearing, Nigel
Hardy, Peter Spriggs, Leslie
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Haynes, Frank Strang, Gavin
Heffer, Eric S. Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Home Robertson, John Tinn, James
Howells, Geraint Wainwright, E.(Dearne V)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Wainwright, R.(Colne V)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Welsh, Michael
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas White, J. (G'gow Pollok)
Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E) Tellers for the Ayes:
Winnick, David Mr. George Morton and
Woodall, Alec Mr. Derek Foster.
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Luce, Richard
Ancram, Michael Lyell, Nicholas
Atkins, Rt Hon H.(S'thorne) Macfarlane, Neil
Atkinson, David (B'm'th,E) MacGregor, John
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) MacKay, John (Argyll)
Berry, Hon Anthony McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Bevan, David Gilroy McQuarrie, Albert
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Major, John
Boscawen, Hon Robert Marlow, Antony
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Mather, Carol
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus
Brinton, Tim Mawby, Ray
Brooke, Hon Peter Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Brotherton, Michael Mellor, David
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n) Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Bruce-Gardyne, John Moate, Roger
Bulmer, Esmond Morgan, Geraint
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Murphy, Christopher
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Myles, David
Cockeram, Eric Neale, Gerrard
Cope, John Neubert, Michael
Corrie, John Newton, Tony
Costain, Sir Albert Page, John (Harrow, West)
Cranborne, Viscount Page, Richard (SW Herts)
Critchley, Julian Pattie, Geoffrey
Crouch, David Pollock, Alexander
Dorrell, Stephen Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)
Dover, Denshore Proctor, K. Harvey
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Rathbone, Tim
Durant, Tony Renton, Tim
Dykes, Hugh Rhodes James, Robert
Fairbairn, Nicholas Rifkind, Malcolm
Fairgrieve, Sir Russell Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Faith, Mrs Sheila Rossi, Hugh
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Rost, Peter
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N) Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fox, Marcus Shelton, William (Streatham)
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Garel-Jones, Tristan Sims, Roger
Goodhew, Sir Victor Smith, Tim(Beaconsfield)
Goodlad, Alastair Speed, Keith
Gorst, John Speller, Tony
Gow, Ian Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Gray, Hamish Stainton, Keith
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N) Stanbrook, Ivor
Grist, Ian Stradling Thomas, J.
Gummer, John Selwyn Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Hamilton, Hon A. Temple-Morris, Peter
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Hannam, John Thompson, Donald
Hawkins, Sir Paul Thornton, Malcolm
Hawksley, Warren Trippier, David
Heddle, John Waddington, David
Henderson, Barry Walker, B. (Perth )
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Waller, Gary
Irvine, Rt Hon Bryant Godman Warren, Kenneth
Jessel, Toby Watson, John
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Wells, Bowen
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wheeler, John
Kershaw, Sir Anthony Wolfson, Mark
Latham, Michael Young, Sir George (Acton)
Lawrence, Ivan
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Tellers for the Noes:
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Mr. Ian Lang and
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Mr. David Hunt.
Loveridge, John

Question accordingly negatived.