HC Deb 05 April 1984 vol 57 cc1133-65

'(1) It shall be the duty of London Regional Transport in each accounting year to prepare, and cause to be published in such manner as they think fit, a plan containing their proposals with respect to the conduct of their undertaking and the businesses of their subsidiaries during the period to which the plan relates.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) below, the plan shall give such information relevant to their proposals, and deal with such other matters, as London Regional Transport consider appropriate for presenting their proposals in the context of the past and current performance and policies of themselves and their subsidiaries.

(3) In preparing the plan London Regional Transport shall have regard to any guidance given by the Secretary of State as to the form and content of the plan and the period to which it is to relate.'.—[Mrs. Chalker.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

4.35 pm
The Minister of State, Department of Transport (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment (a) to the proposed new clause, in subsection (1), leave out from 'proposals' to end and insert 'for the next three years ("the relevant period") with respect to——

  1. (a) the general level of transport services and facilities to be provided by them, or by agreement with them, by other persons; and
  2. (b) the general level and structure of fares to be charged for those services, and the general level of charges to be made for those facilities, so far as they are to be charged, made or otherwise determined by London Regional Transport.'.

Amendment (b) to the proposed new clause, in subsection (2), at end insert— '(2A) The plan shall be accompanied by estimates of—

  1. (a) the cost to London Regional Transport of providing, or arranging the provision of, the services and facilities described in the proposals;
  2. (b) the benefits to potential users of those services and facilities.'.

Amendment (c) to the proposed new clause, in subsection (3), at end insert 'and shall consult about such proposals contained in the plan with——

  1. (a) the local authorities of greater London; and
  2. (b) the Passengers Committee.'.

Mrs. Chalker

Hon. Members who were involved in the Committee will recall that we had extensive discussions about planning for London Regional Transport, and what information should be available. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) played a part in this, as did the spokesman for the Opposition, the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape). They will recall that I gave an undertaking on 14 February to look carefully at the idea that they had suggested for an annual business plan so that in discussing the future of the LRT for a forthcoming year, there would be more information than hon. Members feared might otherwise be available.

New clause 10 fulfils that undertaking because it imposes a requirement to produce an annual business plan. The clause is fairly self-explanatory. It requires London Regional Transport to produce this annual plan covering its activities and those of its subsidiaries in the context of their current and past performance and in the light of any guidance on the plan given by the Secretary of State. I shall go into this in a little more detail because some hon. Members will, in reading our proceedings, want to understand a little more as to why this was thought necessary.

The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East knows that I readily accepted this suggestion from the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey. However, the Opposition's amendments, on which no doubt the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East will be speaking later, show that they are never satisfied, however far one seeks to meet their points. They want plans specifically to be required to cover the general level of transport services and facilities that the LRT is providing. They want the general level and structure of fares and charges to be included, and somehow they want the annual plan to cover the three-year period, let alone the fact that we have a strategic statement, as provided by clause 7, which will cover the longer period anyway.

The Opposition also want the annual plan to include estimates of costs related to provisions of the plan and benefits to potential users. Doubtless, we shall learn more from the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East when he speaks. However, in a word, the Opposition want to superimpose on the planning regime of London Regional Transport nothing less than the detailed planning requirements of the Transport Act 1983 without there being the same need for them.

I shall explain why the amendments are misguided before discussing our intentions in more detail. Hon. Members must realise that we require LRT to publish an annual business plan in addition to undertaking the many other actions demanded of it. That will mean that LRT will be subject to the most rigorous statutory regime for planning, consultation and information of any nationalised industry. Although I have always said that there may be room for improvement in some of the planning of nationalised industries, the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East seeks to push me to make measures far in excess of what it is reasonable to require of LRT. We have already built into the Bill unprecedented opportunities for involving in LRT's affairs Londoners and those hon. Members who represent them.

I shall detail those opportunities. Provision is made for a strategy statement to be made at least every three years as outlined in clause 7. It will involve full consultation. As hon. Members who served in Committee know, my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) tabled amendments requiring that statement to be published at least every three years, and we gladly accepted that measure. In addition, there is to be the new improved passengers' committee with new powers—for the first time combining British Rail passengers' interests with those of LRT. As stated in clause 33, an annual report will be presented to Parliament. Parliament will conduct an annual debate on the ratepayers levy order. There is also a statutory requirement for LRT to publish information on fares and services. On top of all that, we have agreed that there should be an annual business plan.

It is ridiculous for the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East to suggest that we are not prepared to have proper discussion or, as he described it in Committee, accountability. We are in danger of making LRT what could be described as eggbound, because we are requiring it to produce a far greater amount of information than normally required of a nationalised industry. Sometimes I think that the hon. Gentleman will never be satisfied unless he has a referendum on every matter. That is not my view of how we should run a business.

Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Mrs. Chalker

It is a little early, but I shall give way.

Mr. Cohen

If the Minister feels that LRT will be eggbound by being forced to produce all those plans, why did the Government require the GLC to produce all those plans and requirements?

Mrs. Chalker

As usual the hon. Gentleman is a little anticipatory. I shall be coming to that point in a few minutes, and I ask the hon. Gentleman to be patient.

It is not right that any Minister in any Government, let alone any chairman of any company, acting responsibly should say that there will never be a change. That is not consistent with some of the changes business must make. We have sought to make as clear as has ever been made in any nationalised industry the nature of the consultation process and the meaning of the strategy document, annual plan and annual report. The passengers' committee will be involved in a wider range of responsibilities than its two predecessors.

I shall discuss the position that underlines the thoughts of the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East and some of his friends across the water.

Mr. Peter Snape (West Bromwich, East)

I have not said anything yet.

Mrs. Chalker

The hon. Gentleman is muttering that he has not said anything yet. In more than 100 hours in Committee he filled a good many Hansard columns.

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Nicholas Ridley)

He did not say anything then.

Mrs. Chalker

My right hon. Friend's comment may be the view of some hon. Members. I give the hon. Gentleman a crumb of comfort—occasionally, he was trying to be helpful, although I doubt that he is being helpful this afternoon.

The hon. Gentleman and his colleagues across the water seem to believe that there cannot be and should not be any change. They appear to be bound up with the view that everything must continue as it has before—there should never be any change of services, even when better services can be provided to meet Londoners' needs. The backdrop to all the discussions on this subject has been a consideration of the services to be provided in the future.

4.45 pm

There must be changes in any dynamic business, which is what LRT should be. The hon. Gentleman and his friends must become used to the idea that no business can serve its customers unless it is prepared to face change. The way in which the hon. Gentleman would dictate the detailed content of the strategic statements, annual plans and reports is not a matter for Ministers to decide. Ministers should give clear guidance, set out the objectives clearly and agree the overall financial plans, but LRT's management must work out the details.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way, because it is better to ask this question now. She made accusations about people across the water and change. In my constituency I have had the privilege of opening a brand new railway station at West Ham; two more stations on the north London line have been installed; and a new crosstown link has been opened and is to be electrified. All those measures were instigated and financed by the GLC. With such examples, about which the hon. Lady should know, how can she make such accusations?

Mrs. Chalker

I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman is aware of the clauses designed to enable the London boroughs to contribute to the improvement of stations, thereby taking over the role which the hon. Gentleman described as having been carried out by the GLC, with British Rail. Those friends across the water in the GLC have always wanted changes for extra provision, but they have never been prepared to accept that, from time to time, some services may change and new demands might force a change on the pattern of services provided for Londoners' transport.

Mr. Spearing


Mrs. Chalker

The hon. Gentleman intervened earlier and is now beginning to chide me. I said that it would not be right for Ministers to dictate the day-to-day running or planning of LRT. It is not for the Secretary of State or me to dictate precisely the contents of the annual plan, which is what the amendments proposed by the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East seek to do.

I have noticed what the hon. Gentleman wanted in the past. We have listened to a number of interesting assertions in Committee and, perhaps more worryingly, outside the Committee. One statement I wish to make to Londoners today needs repeating, because the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East has not accepted what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said several weeks ago on this issue. Although I believe that it is wrong for me to try to forecast precisely the contents of LRT's business plan, I can give Londoners an assurance about what it will not contain. That plan will not contain a list of 33 tube stations and 32 bus routes that Londoners have been told will close when the Government assume responsibility. That is no part of the plan for LRT. We have no plans to close any stations or any routes. We have no hit list and we have never had such a list. The claims that have emanated from the GLC have been without foundation. They have worried people, just as the GLC's other campaigns have done.

There is no hit list and there will not be, and the financial provision that the Government have approved gives no support to the GLC's allegations about the future of LT. For 1984–85 the Government have approved £300 million of subsidy to LT, which is close to LT's budget figure in its three-year plan. There never was and never has been any truth in the scurrilous rumours put about by Capital, the GLC-financed campaign wagon with Les Huckfield, a former Labour Member for Parliament, at its head.

We are saying to London that there is no hit list and that there is £300 million of subsidy for LT to use wisely. It is up to LT, and LRT in the future, to plan its way on the basis of that £300 million subsidy.

I told the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East that I wanted to get some facts on the record. I have told him exactly what we are doing with this new clause and that I do not believe that his amendment is necessary or desirable. I wish to emphasise what we are doing in the Bill because it is easy to get Londoners' involvement out of perspective. The main strategic planning document for LRT is the clause 7 statement. Plainly, the annual plan will fit in with it. The strategic statement will undergo full consultation and provide a long-term planning framework. It is because we believe and agree that there is merit in ensuring an annual flow of information about LRT's plans, particularly about the annual debate on the ratepayers' levy, that we have decided that there should be an annual plan. It can focus on the year ahead. I expect it to cover a slightly longer period and to look further forward while giving detail of the year ahead. It will clearly be concerned with LRT's performance and its forecast of its business performance for the year ahead. We do not want the rigid requirements that the hon. Gentleman is seeking to impose. They are not necessary for LRT.

I emphasised more than once in Committee that the 1983 requirements, to which the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) referred in his intervention, were drawn up in a completely different context. It was one where the local authorities had to make an annual determination of revenue subsidy in the light of guidance given to them by the Secretary of State. If the Secretary of State's guidance was to be given consistently across LTE and the PTEs there had to be some reasonably well formulated basis on which decisions could be taken. That was the context for the requirement for the three-year rolling plan by LTE and the PTEs in other areas of the country together with the stipulation that there would be some assessment of the benefits resulting from their plans. It was not in the context of the Government setting the level of available subsidy for LRT. That is why I say that that detail is not required in the same way in the future for LRT.

LRT will be a nationalised industry. As I said at the beginning, in the Bill we are going much further in requiring a specific planning regime and the publication of various documents relating to the business than for any other nationalised industry. Clearly, LRT will provide financial projections in the light of its policies. The annual plan will be consistent with the clause 7 statement and will fit in with the corporate plans. I shall not commit the detail of LRT's three-year plan. That is for LRT's management, just as LT has done it in the past. I do not believe that it is necessary to specify that the annual plan should contain information on services and fares, when there is a similar requirement for the year ahead provided in clause 29.

If the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East takes clause 29 together with the new clause, he will see that he has all that he requires in his amendment. He seeks to overdo it again with his second amendment when he says that the plan should contain information about costs. I do not know where the hon. Gentleman has been. Perhaps he has never had to draw up one of these plans. It would be impossible to put forward a viable plan, or for it to be in any way complete, unless it contained that information in the first place. It is therefore superfluous and unnecessary to require it in legislation. The hon. Gentleman also wants wording about benefits included. It may well be that LRT will include information resulting from cost-benefit analyses, but it is only one of the many techniques that can be deployed. It happens to be one used by LT and the PTEs at present, but it is not necessarily the best or the only way to assess the value of services. I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would be prepared to look wider than to insist on that inclusion.

If that amendment were carried, it would make it difficult to make comparisons with BR's performance because there is no direct comparability with the way in which it does its planning and that currently done by LT. As the hon. Gentleman knows from our previous debate, we wish to achieve better integration, so common assessment may be part of that. Despite his current thinking, it may not be the wisest thing to do to cut out that possibility by insisting on a specific inclusion in the new clause.

The hon. Gentleman's third amendment deals with consultation. There is full scope for consultation in the strategy statements. There will be the usual continual exchange of views and information with interested parties on the other documents that LRT will produce.

There is no time for a useful or meaningful process of consultation with the public on the annual business cycle. I shall explain to the hon. Gentleman what that cycle is, because I do not believe that he has understood what happens throughout the annual process. February will see a debate in the House on the ratepayers' levy order. Between March and June we shall have LRT in consultation on the strategy statements in those years where there is to be such a statement. In June LRT will publish its annual report and accounts. LRT will also publish a strategy statement in the years when there is to be one. In September we shall have approval of LRT's corporate plan. In October-November LRT's annual business plan will be published. In November there will be the announcement of the external financing limit for LRT, and it will then begin to finalise its budget for the following year. In December LRT will receive its investment allocation and the Secretary of State will publish the ratepayers' levy order for debate in the following February.

That is an extensive and thorough programme of consultation. We should not seek to tie the hands of LRT's management and restrict it further by detailing some completely unnecessary and superfluous parts of the annual business plan. To require LRT to publish that annual business plan will mean that it will be subject to the most rigorous statutory regime for planning, consultation and information of any of the nationalised industries. The plan will be published every autumn in good time for the annual parliamentary debate on the ratepayers' levy. No one can claim that the public will not have the information that they need and no one can claim that LRT will be unaccountable. Our proposals mean that LRT will be more accountable to London travellers than ever before and that the information will be more readily available.

I hope that the Opposition will withdraw their amendment to new clause 10 and accept that the new clause answers the point that they made in Committee and is a major and generous provision in its own right.

Mr. Snape

The speech that we have just heard from the Minister of State is in many respects a typical one from the Government — that if it is necessary to make concessions it is also necessary to conceal the concessions by any amount of bluff and bluster from the Dispatch Box. It is all too sadly typical of Ministers that the speech that we have just heard showed more concern with scoring imaginary political points, even before I had contributed a word to the debate on behalf of the Opposition, than with attempting to explain why it was felt necessary to bring forward the new clause.

5 pm

The Minister of State asked Opposition Members to consider new clause 10 carefully. She said that I was never satisfied and that whatever proposals she made I would denounce and reject them as unsatisfactory. After Christmas I spent many hours with the hon. Lady discussing the Bill. We sat late into the evening on many occasions. I confess, to echo the right hon. Lady's words, that I usually went home unsatisfied. But surely the role of an Opposition is to be dissatisfied; a role to which the hon. Lady will become accustomed on the happy day when we can remove this bunch of frauds from Government offices throughout London. [Interruption.]

Perhaps the Secretary of State for Transport is concerned at being described as one of a bunch of frauds. I shall come round to him in a moment. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman is concerned at being left out, in which case I shall certainly see to him. I am sure that if I had used unparliamentary language, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you would have called me to order.

I believe that the Government were elected on a fraudulent prospectus. The Bill before us is fraudulent. The Minister of State's speech was fraudulent. I am eminently justified in saying that of anyone responsible for that triple act of fraudulence.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)

Order. I shall anticipate the hon. Gentleman and say that he is steering very near the wind.

Mr. Spearing


Mr. Snape

I give way to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Spearing

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way. Has not the hon. Lady—I am sure of her integrity—been deluded? A moment ago she said that London Regional Transport would be more accountable to users than ever before. Has she not been defrauded into thinking that that is so? How can London Members of Parliament ever substitute for the scrutiny and activity by elected Greater London councillors of London Regional Transport'?

Mr. Snape

To answer my hon. Friend, perhaps it is a case of self-delusion rather than fraud in relation to the Minister of State, although not the Secretary of State. I am always careful in our debates to separate the motivation that spurs on the two of them.

To talk of LRT being a dynamic organisation stretches the Opposition's credulity. During his long career in the House the Secretary of State for Transport has had much to say about the nationalised industries. He has not used the word "dynamic" in relation to them, yet we are expected to believe that that description will apply to LRT.

In dealing with an earlier point made by my hon. Friend the member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) about the facilities provided by the GLC, and in reply to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) about the extra services that it provides, the Minister of State said that the London boroughs would take care of those facilities. I do not wish to sail too close to the wind which you have warned me is gathering offshore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but does the Minister of State really expect us to believe that when the Government are engaged in reducing the money available to local authorities?

The Government are engaged in a rate-capping exercise against local authorities which engage in such expense. Is the Minister really saying that the clause will enable London boroughs to subsidise bus and rail services that cross borough boundaries? If so, she had better write another new clause into the Bill. It is news to the Opposition.

We know what the Bill does not contain, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I may be trading on your habitual tolerance to say that the hon. Lady was moving a little wide of the new clause when she said that the Government did not have a hit list of stations to be closed or bus routes to be withdrawn. She implied that the list—I have seen it—was a figment of someone's fertile imagination across the river, as she put it. But none of us has ever said in the House or, so far as I am aware, outside it, that the hit list is in an office in Marsham street.

All hon. Members know, although some Conservative Members would be unwilling to confess it, that it is not necessary to provide a long hit list of threatened services when one controls the purse strings of a nationalised industry. What will happen to LRT happens now to nationalised industries such as British Rail, for which the Secretary of State also has responsibility. The right hon. Gentleman does not have to say that a railway line should close.

We discussed the Settle to Carlisle line a few weeks ago —I hope that that is not too far away from the Greater London area, Mr. Deputy Speaker. No one is saying that the Government are detailing the lines, services and bus routes to be withdrawn. They will merely ensure, by reducing the amount of finance available to London Regional Transport, that the nasty and squalid decisions to close the lines and withdraw the services will be taken by someone else. That is the usual cowardly way out that the Government adopt when dealing with nationalised industries.

The Minister of State also talked about how ready she was to consider the points raised by the Opposition in Committee in relation to the publication of the plans. Those hon. Members who, like me, spent much time in Committee will remember the discussion on whether the word "plans" should be in the Bill. It was thought initially that the word "statement" would be sufficient, and there was some banter across the Floor about when a statement could be a plan, and vice versa.

I intervened briefly in Committee on a group of amendments, the principal one of which was moved by the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross). I said: I am looking to the Minister of State for some reasons why the provisions of the 1983 Act"— that is, the Transport Act 1983which required annual plans from the GLC, have been torn up? The Minister of State replied: It is not necessary to write that into the legislation when we are forming a system with the clear intention that the annual business planning cycle will be carried out as it is for all other nationalised industries." — [Official Report, Standing Committee B, 14 February 1984; c. 416.] That is not quite what she said today, when she fairly admitted that the new clause was a concession and a movement away from the Government's original position.

The Minister, however, took exception to our amendments (a), (b) and (c), which merely seek to widen the Government's belated concession a little. On many occasions in Committee, and again in the Chamber, the hon. Lady said that the matters outlined in the amendments were better dealt with by management and that such detail should not be dealt with here. I hope that Conservative Members will agree that it is entirely legitimate in relation to LRT to inquire, as amendment (b) provides, about the general level of transport services and facilities to be provided by them, or by agreement with them, by other persons". I do not think that that is delving too deeply into day-to-day management details.

Similarly, amendment (b) provides: The plan shall be accompanied by estimates of … the cost to London Regional Transport of providing, or arranging the provision of, the services and facilities described in the proposals". I do not think that that could be regarded as interfering unduly in the day-to-day management functions of LRT.

On fares and services, the Minister of State rightly says that there is provision in clause 29 for such matters to be detailed. I gently remind her—I always try to be gentle on these occasions—that the clause merely requires that the local authorities and other bodies be informed annually of the future level of fares. We all know what that means. It will be the kind of consultation undertaken by other nationalised industries such as British Rail. A fare increase will be announced once a year. That is the only consultation that generally takes place now and I believe that that will be the situation under clause 29. That is why we seek to amend the new clause.

I should not have thought that the Minister of State or even her boss could take exception to any of the provisions in the amendments. We were careful not to try to push the Minister of State too far, as she accused me earlier of doing. We were extremely careful in drafting amendments (a) and (b). In fact, the wording is not ours at all. It is lifted entirely from the 1983 Act, for which the Minister herself voted, so there is nothing particularly revolutionary about the amendments. I am therefore somewhat at a loss to understand why the Minister of State was so indignant about the amendments before any Opposition Members had even spoken to them. If the Secretary of State intends to explain that when he winds up the debate I shall be 'delighted to hear his comments. It is always interesting to hear him explain legislation for which he is responsible, so I can hug myself with anticipatory glee in the knowledge that he will enlighten the House later in the proceedings.

5.15 pm

We believe that the new clause is unsatisfactory as it stands. That does not mean that the situation would be satisfactory even if the Government accepted all three amendments. Amendment (c), for which we are entirely guilty, also does not place any particularly onerous burdens on LRT. It merely provides that the authority shall consult about such proposals contained in the plan with

  1. (a) the local authorities of greater London; and
  2. (b) the Passengers Committee."
I did not think that the Conservative party would take exception to that, but I must have been wrong, judging from the Minister's earlier diatribe, which was vitriolic by her standards.

Mr. John Maples (Lewisham, West)

As the hon. Gentleman will know, one of the present board's reservations about the new proposals is on the amount of consultation required. If the provisions for the statement under the Bill require the authority to consult 33 local authorities every year as well, I should have thought that there would be a serious danger of the board having nothing to do but consult.

Mr. Snape

That is a reasonable point. It is always more comfortable for the management of any industry, public or private, not to have to consult anyone. The more people who have to be consulted, the more work is involved. Most nationalised industry management is as reluctant as private industry management to consult the people who work for it or the customers who use its services. It is thus natural that the board would be somewhat reluctant to embrace a wider consultative procedure.

As we made clear many times in Committee, however, the difference here is that there will be no elected tier of government between the Secretary of State and the professional managers of LRT. The consultation envisaged in amendment (c) is therefore all the more necessary.

Mr. Maples


Mr. Snape

The hon. Gentleman has had one bite at this already. I wish to conclude my remarks shortly, as I hope that the debate will be over in an hour and a half.

The new clause is certainly a concession and I understand the Minister's feelings about having to make it. The Government have had a bad couple of days. There was the concession for pensioners yesterday and the ILEA concession earlier today, so it is understandable that the Minister should feel a little cross at having to make another concession now.

Mrs. Chalker

I am not cross.

Mr. Snape

I know that the Minister is not cross now, but she went through an impressive display of synthetic indignation earlier on. Three goals against the Government in a matter of hours must be a little upsetting. It was clear from the start that the legislation was appalling, but in our habitual desire to be placatory and to improve the legislation we tentatively suggested the three amendments, two of which are drawn from the 1983 Act.

In the 1983 Act the Government laid down that the metropolitan councils and London Transport had to produce three-year plans containing information about the level of transport services and the level and structure of fares and charges. Perhaps the Secretary of State will tell us why things are so different for LRT. If such plans were required of democratically elected authorities in London and elsewhere by the Government's own legislation, what is so special about the management of LRT that it should be outside those provisions?

If the Bill becomes law, the only democratic body that will have any say in London's transport facilities will be this place. I do not wish to go over our previous debates on this point, but if there was any agreement between both sides of the Committee it was on the fact that the provisions for debating such matters in this House are palpably inadequate. I realise that that measure of agreement did not go so far as voting for an Opposition amendment, but there was at least some agreement about the unsatisfactory nature of debating these detailed matters.

The Minister is now saying that, given that there will be professional management, democratic accountability is no longer necessary or needed——

Mrs. Chalker


Mr. Snape

The hon. Lady says that that is not the case. Whether or not she knows it, that will be the effect of resisting these amendments. I admit that the impact has been somewhat ameliorated by new clause 10. I do not wish to be too rude about the Minister, but she was not as helpful in Committee as she implies. I do not complain about that. The proper standard of debate is what we have come to expect from the hon. Lady. Nevertheless, the concession in new clause 10, though welcome, regrettably does not go far enough.

I have not mentioned the fares question in any detail, nor do I wish to do so. The Minister has said that fares under LRT will not have to rise beyond the rate of inflation. If so, LRT should be required to produce fairly detailed plans setting out how it intends to maintain fare increases at or about the level of inflation. Is that an unreasonable demand to place on professional management? The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) probably thinks that it is — [Interruption.] Perhaps he does not. Will the hon. Gentleman nod if he agrees and shake his head if he disagrees, rather than doing it the other way round, because he knows from our debates in Committee how easy it is to confuse me?

If, as the Opposition believe, the main reason for the Bill is to cut the amount of public support for London Transport by raising fares and cutting services, Parliament has a right to know the basis on which those decisions are made. It is not unreasonable to ask that the amendments be accepted so that that basis can be known.

It is a welcome relief that at last this supposedly free market Government have admitted that some planning is necessary and that occasional statements will not do. But, even with the benefit of that dawn of common sense, the plans could be drawn up in a way that is virtually meaningless. Unless there is a specific requirement on LRT to produce meaningful plans—in the same way as the 1983 Act requires the metropolitian counties to produce their plans—which contain the things envisaged in our amendments, its annual business plan will be no more than a budget. It will therefore be impossible for hon. Members who take an interest in these matters to have any detailed discussion in the short time available.

We look forward to the Secretary of State's return so that he can reply to the debate. We hope that the quality of his reply will have improved somewhat since the end of our Committee proceedings. We still believe that these three eminently reasonable amemdments, two of which are extracted from the Transport Act 1983, are well worth supporting.

Mr. Peter Fry (Wellingborough)

I listened with great interest to the comments of the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape), especially his opening diatribe when the words "fraud" and "fraudulent" were much used. It lies ill in the hon. Gentleman's mouth to talk of fraudulent behaviour when the GLC, while pretending to do its best for London, was increasing the rates of many businesses that could ill afford them—costing jobs and increasing the rates of many people who never used public transport. I therefore hope that such language is not necessary.

The hon. Gentleman is one of those Opposition spokesmen who continually demand concessions, but when they get them see them as a form of weakness. That is not a constructive way in which to oppose any piece of legislation.

I was a member of the former Select Committee which investigated in considerable detail the problems of London's transport and compared it with many other cities. Both sides of the Committee quoted continually from the report. There is a weakness in the Bill, which is outlined in the amendments. I genuinely believe that in their attempt to control the amount of money to subsidise London's public transport, and because they have set their face against any form of local government representation, the Government have led themselves into a highly complicated system of strategies and plans. There will be a certain amount of consultation, but they have had to refuse other consultation. As a result, they are depending far too much on Members of this House to deal with matters which in all other parts of the country are properly the concern of local government representatives.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State knows that to be my view. I therefore have some sympathy with those who make that charge. Far from continually adding to the plans and statements that London Regional Transport must draw up, we ought to be allowing it to get on with the job of running London's public transport. If the people concerned must continually ask everybody else what they think and are forced to look over their shoulders, I sincerely believe that they will not use their time for the purposes for which they are employed.

This arises from the fact that we have established a kind of administration that will be unique in the United Kingdom. When the Select Committee looked at this, it recommended that there should be some kind of local government input. We did not say that it had to be controlled by the London boroughs—in fact, we looked at a somewhat wider area than the GLC boundary—but we felt that a body should be established to which certain plans should be referred—perhaps even budgets — so that there was a clear distinction between the input from those who represented the people of London and those who run London Transport.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State may say that LRT is at one stage removed from those who are running the tubes and buses, but neither of those organisations has the kind of input about which I and, to be fair, Opposition Members have been talking. We do not always disagree on transport matters, although we may disagree on most other things.

5.30 pm

Therefore, although I shall of course support new clause 10, I am afraid that we are going to find, as this Bill passes into law, that we shall continually be bedevilled by having made the fundamental error in the first place of not allowing in the control and discussion of London's public transport, a rightful place for locally elected representatives. I say that as one who supported the Government on the Rates Bill. I was not one of the rebels.

Furthermore, I believe that, if we continually set up in this country all kinds of public bodies, to some of which local councillors can belong and to some of which they cannot, we shall not have any consistent form of administration. We have not yet said how on earth we are going to deal with the metropolitan counties when they come to be abolished. We should perhaps have taken a little more time thinking about the way in which this Bill should be framed and the kind of new institutions that we were going to set up.

I am entirely in favour of the three-year strategy, but it must be an effective policy, a rolling programme. This is desperately needed in London; it is in many other parts of the country, but particularly in London. When we were examining this matter we found that London was suffering from years of neglect, that the swing of the political pendulum meant that there was a start in one direction, then a new administration came into the place over the river and the policy went in a totally different direction. It was because the Select Committee, which was an all-party Committee, felt very strongly indeed that it was necessary to take party politics out of London's transport that we made the recommendations which I think are still the basis of much of this Bill.

I think that I have made it clear where I differ from the Government over the way in which they have interpreted our Select Committee report. It is perhaps too late in the proceedings to move further amendments, but I felt it right to put my views on record, and I believe that they are shared by all the members of the Select Committee who signed that particular report.

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

It must obviously be welcome that, from the position which the Government held when we started debating this Bill both on Second Reading and in Committee, when there was a long debate as to whether we should not have more planning for transport in London than was provided by a scheme which only allowed for a statement, an outline, a very vague idea of general proposals as to what should be in the planning intentions of the new transport authority — the Secretary of State and his managers, London Regional Transport—we should now have a plan.

The hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) was one who supported the amendment first moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross), which said—it was the London Transport Executive which first made the point to us as members of the Committee—that what is needed is the ability to plan in detail and present a plan that can be discussed from year to year. We started by saying that this must be at least every three years.

Then we accepted — the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) was quite right to say that that was the direction which the all-party Committee said should be followed — that there needed to be annual statements which were the subject first of consultation and thereafter of implementation, so that at all times the planning of transport in London would not be bedevilled by the two things that had bedevilled it for many years.

One was the lack of strategic direction. It is a fact that a criticism that the Government could rightfully make of a local authority planning function was that it was subject to changes of direction with every major change of political control. That will inevitably be the case if local authorities are allowed to retain control of public transport.

The other major problem was that increasingly in recent years, every time a plan was embarked upon, there came an intervention from on high which said, "Stop," or, "You cannot have that amount of money," or, "You are going to have to adjust the amount of the travel supplementary grant," for example. All that the planners, the people managing London Transport, might be able to do was liable to be thrown aside by an intervention, which made planning impossible. Quite clearly, that was a totally illogical and clearly unsatisfactory way in which to organise the planning of transport in London.

It is clear to all of those who have followed this debate that the Liberal party, like the Labour party, resists entirely the idea that London should suddenly become the one place in Britain which, because of its capital city significance, has a nationalised industry as opposed to a local authority as the planning authority. We resist, and shall continue to resist, the idea that the Secretary of State or his successors, supported by their own appointees, should make the decisions. We resist this particularly because it means that in the direction, in planning terms, of London Transport, the necessary account need not be taken of other plans that are formulated for the area which we are talking about.

We debated many amendments in Committee. There were amendments designed to oblige the Secretary of State, as transport authority and the London Regional Transport board, to look at documents such as the Greater London development plan, and to fit the planning of London's transport into the other statutory plans which circumscribe what is going to go on in this capital city —where the people are going to be living, where the houses are, where the green belt may or may not begin and end. It is no good divorcing transport and its planning from the planning of the other services.

One of our fundamental criticisms concerns the problem when a nationalised industry suddenly replaces a local authority. As the hon. Member for Wellingborough said, very validly, when one starts creating a different authority for each different service the danger is that each body planning a service gets autonomy and authenticity of its own, and sets out upon its own course without taking account of the other things going on around it.

When we started off with no indication other than a strategy statement, with information given separately about the plans in relation to fares, with no opportunity for consultation on a year-to-year rolling plan, we were rightly highly critical. That is why the concession that has been made, the pulling back from the brink, is so welcome. Obviously, it is the second major concession of this sort —which, happily, will result in a better Bill—made by the Government since the Bill started its passage through the House. But it does not, of course, go far enough; that is why we support amendments to this clause in the names of Labour Members.

The thing that matters to people who use the transport, in whose interest the transport is being planned, is the way in which fares and the structure of fares are to be decided. They are the things which the consultative bodies —there are at the moment two for transport in London, but they will become one — want to be consulted about. They ought to be part of that planning process.

One of the thrusts of the attack from the Opposition on this Bill is that the traditional forum for the passenger, the user, to be consulted and to have his or her say has been reduced in effectiveness. There is to be no passenger representative on the board of London Regional Transport, no representative with specific accountability on any particular issue—although the Minister conceded that she would make sure, if she could, that one of the people on the board had a particular interest in the concerns of the disabled; that, obviously, is welcome. There will be nobody whose specific interest it is to ensure that the consumer voice — the voice of the fare-paying passenger, normally the London resident—is represented in the planning process, and the fares structure matters greatly in that process.

There have been changes of great relevance in recent years in transport matters, many of them determined by where one lives. I have previously said that, depending on whether one lives 200 yards south or north of the Elephant and Castle, one pays a different fare within the whole of the central London area. Obviously there must be divisions between zones; unless we adopt the Paris system, which provides for a much larger central area, and, under which, only if one strays to the far edges of it does one pay a supplement. Using a single ticket, that system is much easier to operate, and perhaps—although such a system is not to be adopted—there can be consultation about that.

It is obvious that we cannot seek to lay down here and now every jot and tittle of every line of every paragraph of every page of every plan, but it is essential that any plan makes clear the obligations on the transport managers. Why is it necessary for the plan to be in considerable detail and for there to be a proper consultation process involving local authorities and a passengers committee, with the details of fares and structures all being clearly defined? The answer is that it will be impossible for anybody, on behalf of the consumer, the passenger, to challenge a failure by LRT to do something that it should be doing; that possibility is ruled out by another provision in the Bill.

That power will not reside in the consumer. Nobody — be it Bromley council, a passenger consultative group, a group of ratepayers or a body of transport users — will be able to challenge the matter in court by saying, "LRT is failing in its duty." The Government are taking the major constitutional step of depriving the public, in transport terms, of that right.

This has never previously been a nationalised industry; buses and tubes have represented a local authority service. It is all the more important that the plans should involve people and should go into considerable detail. That is the major reason why the planning system should be as provided for in the amendment.

Mr. Maples

The hon. Gentleman says that never before have the buses and tubes been organised in this way. I believe that for many years prior to 1969 they were organised as an authority appointed by the Secretary of State and responsible to him. The hon. Gentleman's memory may be longer than mine, but I cannot recollect whether there were many complaints at that time of any lack of democratic control or that proper public services were not being provided because of a lack of accountability. Does he have evidence to show that there were such criticisms at that time?

Mr. Hughes

The Select Committee pointed out that there was enormous advantage in having on the transport authority representatives of the user, because that prevented problems arising because of decisions being made without the user's participation. The hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Maples) will recall that the structure proposed in the Select Committee report would have included the Secretary of State and his nominees, local authority nominees, consumer nominees and others.

The hon. Gentleman is right to say that there was a time when, under LRT's predecessor, certain services had a direct line of command from the Minister of the day. But that system was thought to be unsatisfactory. There followed a change of system — which the hon. Gentleman argues resulted in too many political swings —and today the consensus is that a substantial part of the management of public transport should be in the hands of those who use it. They are the people who suffer when things go wrong. They pay for the service, so they have an interest in making sure that it meets their needs.

In terms of hours per year, we in this House are already the most overworked democracy of any. That means that we will not do justice to the 7 million people who live in London, to those who come in from outside Greater London and to the many who visit the capital city. We will not be able to do justice to them in the short time available for this subject.

The Minister set out the annual cycle of consultation. While it is a sensible cycle, in that it is important to know when the various stages of the process occur, we need to have added to it the opportunity for a continuing debate about London transport so that it benefits from clearly laid out plans in which people can participate. The public must have a say. The more we can plan and the more the public can have a say in the plan, the better London transport will be.

5.45 pm
Sir Nicholas Bonsor (Upminster)

I have pleasure in taking part in this sparkling and electrifying debate——

Mr. Snape

The hon. Gentleman will change all that.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

—which has been enlivened through 120 hours or so of discussion by the magnificent contributions of the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape), who told the Committee ad nauseam of the views and prejudices of the Labour party in approaching anything that has a remote connection with business interests and efficiency.

It was slightly sad, perhaps, as we listened to the hon. Gentleman this afternoon, that we had to hear yet again a speech which one could probably take word for word from what he said on every clause in Standing Committee. However, having got used to it, we could settle down and enjoy it yet again.

The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East can for once take substantial credit, because it is in response to what he wanted that the Government have introduced this clause. It is to meet his desires and wishes that the commitments have been laid out in clause 10 in a way which, to some of us, was not entirely necessary.

The clause is a supplement to clause 7, and everything that the hon. Gentleman said in criticism of clause 10—for example, that it does not include consultation, that the process happens annually and that the plans are not given in sufficient detail—must be read in the context of the fact that, every three years, LRT will have to set out, in accordance with the terms of clause 7, precisely those details and to go through precisely those consultation processes which the hon. Gentleman is complaining it does not have to do under clause 10.

As a matter of business reality, it is not sensible to ask the board of any business — be it a nationalised or private industry or something that is or is not directly responsible to an elected body, whether that body be the GLC or this House—to go through a lengthy annual period of consultation in setting out its plans for the following year within the overall strategic bounds of a plan which it has already provided. That is a three-yearly plan, and is already written, as an obligation, into the statute. I fail to understand the enormous heat, vigour and determination with which the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East managed to drive his speech.

Likewise, the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), speaking on behalf of the Liberal party, did not seem to have the business realism that is necessary when dealing with what is essentially a nationalised industry. That is where Opposition Members have failed to grasp the reality behind the clause, which is that the Government are setting up a business administration to run the business of administering London transport.

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North)

That is what we object to.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

Of course it is. That is what Socialism objects to. It does not like businesses in the private or the public sector. It does not like businesses independent of Government. It does not like businesses which the Labour party cannot run. The Labour party is looking for power. It wants to interfere in every detail of life in Britain. It is trying to take overall control of everything that happens to every British citizen. Labour Members do not like business. They do not like people to run business or to have the opportunity to take their own initiative in business. They do not like anything about business.

Mr. Corbyn

It occurs to me that higher fares would mean higher costs for businesses within London which use the transport system. It also occurs to me that if a system is being run on business lines, the motive that is driving it along is profit rather than efficiency in the provision of a service for all the people in London. The hon. Gentleman is not addressing himself to how many services will be destroyed by this new motive behind the administration of London's transport system.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

That is typical of Labour Members' attitude throughout. I understand the reasons behind what the hon. Gentleman says but I heartily disapprove of and cordially dislike it because it stands for all that I am against.

The hon. Gentleman made one point which has some merit—I give it that—when he said that higher transport costs would increase the cost to businesses and individuals. Of course they will. Higher travel costs will do precisely that. Against that must be balanced the costs that businesses have to bear if they are the ratepayers who are providing the money which the hon. Gentleman's friends across the river are lavishly spreading across Greater London. They are being ruined by the current policy.

Mr. Corbyn


Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I shall give way in a moment.

The hon. Gentleman is saying that to take away that burden from people who do not use the transport and to put it on to people who do is somehow wrong.

Mr. Corbyn


Sir Nicholas Bonsor

Let me finish my point and I shall give the hon. Gentleman the opportunity to put both feet more firmly into the bog in which he is already standing. [Interruption.] Lest anyone misunderstandsme, I mean the mire into which he is sinking. The hon. Gentleman is again misrepresenting every word I say.

Mr. Corbyn


Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I shall give way in a moment.

The hon. Gentleman talked about higher travel costs as though they were an inevitable consequence. They are not. I do not generally like to give credit to Mr. Livingstone and his friends but it is a perfectly legitimate business proposition to have lower fares to increase the volume of fare-paying travellers and thereby to increase both the revenue within the system and the advantages to those who are using it. It by no means follows that a proper business decision to run London transport efficiently will lead to higher costs. It will do so only if the present volume of travel can take an additional cost and thereby reduce the losses which are otherwise being made. That is a business decision and should be treated as such, not on the basis of Socialist or other dogma irrespective of the realities.

Mr. Corbyn

I can understand the hon. Gentleman's dislike of anyone having to pay higher rates in London. To be fair to the GLC and others he should perhaps give the Government some credit for increasing rates in London by taking £500 million away from London's local authorities in rate support and block grant. It would be much fairer if he approached the matter in an even-handed way.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I knew that the hon. Gentleman would do it. His nose is hardly above the mud. Every time he speaks he sinks lower. We are now talking about the Government cutting the rate support grant. May I have your indulgence for a second, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because I would have some difficulty replying to that intervention within the terms of the new clause that we are discussing?

The rate support grant has to be cut because of gross overspending in many Labour-controlled councils, which was destroying whole areas of this great city of ours. Businesses can no longer afford to operate here and the life style of people who live here has been destroyed because they can no longer afford the rates which subsidise the unbelievable collection of people whom the GLC has decided to subsidise with ratepayers' money. There is the association of lesbian women in Haringey—or whatever it is. That is an incredible burden on taxpayers—not the hon. Gentleman any more than anybody else.

Mr. Corbyn

I pay my rates.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

So do I. It is not coming from me or the hon. Gentleman any more than anybody else. I pay rates in and outside Greater London, so I have a perfectly good balance of experience, as does the hon. Gentleman. The burden is being spread across the country, particularly Greater London, and that is completely inexcusable. If they were asked, I am sure that 99 per cent. of Londoners would say that they did not want to subsidise lesbian groups.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. We have perhaps had enough of lesbian ladies for the moment and should return to the new clause.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I am afraid, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that I was led astray by the hon. Gentleman's extraordinary logic.

The new clause is largely in response to the demands of Labour Members. It is a useful addition, because, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State comes to make his annual report on London Regional Transport, it will help us all to have an annual plan prepared by the LRT board which will enable us better to assess the progress or otherwise — if it goes the way of some nationalised industries—of that organisation. Therefore, I welcome the new clause and I congratulate my right hon. Friend on being sufficiently big-hearted to introduce it, particularly as the suggestion did not come entirely from Conservative Members. I wish that that magnanimity and generous-heartedness could be shown by Labour Members and that we might have less carping criticism when everything that was requested is done. However, that is not to be the case.

The Opposition have tabled two amendments to the new clause. One requires the consultation that I have briefly mentioned. It is difficult to articulate the astonishment that I feel that anybody could seriously suggest that when an annual plan is being considered within a three-year strategic overall plan, there can be consultation with all the people whom the Labour party would like to see the London Regional Transport committee consulting. There would not be a moment left to run the business or time to consider and make decisions that any board of any business ought to make if it were to spend 11½ months consulting the people whom Labour Members wish to see involved.

Consultation under new clause 10 is neither relevant nor desirable and is part of the usual Socialist approach. The Labour party is interested only in maintaining the cosmetic front of democratic consultation and involvement when the reality is neither democratic nor true consultation and is nothing but a chaotic anarchy. As usual where Labour Members are concerned, the matter ends up with everybody taking no notice of what is said in consultation and plugging on under the GLC with their own particular political philosophy.

Amendment (b) deals not with consultation but with something which is probably less desirable. The amendment requires such detail that there would be no scope for variation or for meeting the needs that might arise in the following year. I know that there is sound sense behind the front that the hon. Member for Islington (Mr. Corbyn) likes to put on when making his eloquent and long-winded speeches. I am sure that he will acknowledge that it is highly undesirable that a committee should be pinned down to stating every decision that it will make within the next twelve months.

We are trying to create a regional transport board which will run transport in London in the best interests of Londoners and in a way that is not too expensive for the taxpayer. There will be a fine balance to be struck between providing a public service and doing so in a cost-efficient and effective way. That cannot be done if we pin the board down annually to a series of detailed decisions, some of which should not be taken months in advance.

I applaud my right hon. Friend for his new clause, which adds another excellent facet to a basically excellent Bill. I trust that the new clause will be warmly supported and the Opposition amendments defeated.

6 pm

Mr. Spearing

The speech by the hon. Member for Upminster, (Sir N. Bonsor) illustrates a paradox which is often found in the speeches of Conservative Members and is one of the reasons why they are ruining the country. It is clear that the hon. Member for Upminster does not often use what he calls "the transport".

Sir Nicholas Bonsor


Mr. Spearing

I am glad to hear that, but the hon. Gentleman's constituents will not be glad to hear that he does not consider that they should be consulted on transport plans.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor


Mr. Spearing

The hon. Gentleman has just said so.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I do not believe that my constituents should not or will not be consulted at all. But I believe that they are much too sensible to wish to be consulted on every decision which LRT has to take in running the business in their interests.

Mr. Spearing

I hope the hon. Gentleman does not run his business on those lines. My hon. Friend's amendment does not suggest that people should be consulted on every decision. However, for instance, if London Regional Transport decided that it did not make good business sense to run the District line to Upminster and that it would turn the trains round at Barking—I do not suggest that it will do so—I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's constituents would want to have a word about that, and quite right too.

The hon. Gentleman is hopelessly adrift about the difference between a public service and a legitimate private business. The private business offers commodities or services for sale, as it so wishes, and the customers may make themselves available. A public service has to make available services that may not be profitable. That is the basis of the Bill. There are to be Exchequer grants and ratepayers' subsidies to London Regional Transport. I suggest that two thirds of the bus routes, or more, lose money. Many of the railway routes lose money too, especially towards the end of the line. If they were run on business lines, they would cease to exist at all.

However, the hon. Gentleman is right that it makes good business sense, as he would say, to have as many people as possible travelling at a reasonably low fare so that the greatest possible public service is provided and the maximum return is made on the capital. That is good business in the interests of the public. It is public business, not private business. The hon. Gentleman should keep that distinction clear. I believe that I am the first speaker in this debate who was not a member of the Committee club. [Interruption.] I beg the pardon of the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry). He is a guest too. Not being on the Committee, I have only just realised that new clause 10 is a concession. I will now make some of the comments that occurred to me before I realised that that was so.

The new clause is not particularly helpful. It does not go nearly far enough. The Minister of State described it as an annual business plan. That is all very well. However, the new clause refers to guidance given by the Secretary of State as to the form and content of the plan". In other words, it will not be the plan of London Regional Transport; it will be the Secretary of State's plan. Those words would not appear at the end of the clause if centralised bureaucracy did not intend to exercise its powers. If that is no so, no doubt the Ministers will tell us why those words were included.

My second point is fundamental. This annual business plan—the word "business" can be interpreted in widely differing ways, as I have just illustrated—will not be operating within the existing structure. There is now a Greater London development plan, which is the responsibility of the GLC. If the Government get their way, there will be no GLC and no Greater London development plan. The only dynamic organisation with influence upon planning in London will probably be London Regional Transport.

For most people, it is the existence, reliability and cost of public transport that determines the accessibility of an area. Accessibility to some extent determines the activity and economic life of a zone or area. The public input by way of transport has the power to change land values. At the moment, land values are determined by planning consents. Without a strategic plan—if the Government get their way there will be planning only at borough level —it will not be easy to plan for London as a whole and to make sure that we get the best out of existing plant and equipment.

That is bad enough within the present transport structure but the future structure of London Regional Transport will not necessarily—indeed, under the Bill it will not—be the same as the structure that we know today. There will be private enclaves. There will be what I referred to yesterday as the ice-cream concessions. Parts of the system will be let off to private business. There may be investment from the City. People may make arrangements with LRT to operate certain areas or zones. There will be a patchwork effect. There may be coordination, but the pattern will be different from that of today. There will be subsidiary undertakings. Someone might make an arrangement with London Regional Transport to run all the routes out of Bromley garage or Upminster garage—if there is one. The Bill encourages LRT to make such arrangements. The investor would make use of the plant and equipment.

Under the Bill there will also be disposal of assets. It may be thought that some garages are not required, and they may be sold off. Buses or engineering facilities may be sold off or leased out on conditions which make it difficult to discern who is making a profit.

More important, LRT might decide that certain routes should be closed or attenuated. The frequency of services might be reduced, or late night services stopped. Reducing the quality of transport in an area would have a profound effect upon land values, just as, if LRT decided to start a new route, an express service or late night service, land values in the affected area would rise.

The history of public transport in London has been closely involved behind the scenes with the question of land values. The first tubes in London were built not with British but with American capital by Charles Tyson Yerkes, who was drummed out of Chicago for fiddling the tramways and real estate. The value of land in and around Chicago depended substantially on access by the new electric trams. He came to London and the London electric railway companies' lines — not the District and Metropolitan lines—were built with American capital. There is a story, which might be apocryphal but is still a good illustration, of a visitor being taken by an American manager out to Golders Green. They were building a brand new tube station and depot but all around them were green fields and trees. The visitor said, "Gee, why are you building a station here? There are no people." The answer was, "Come back in 10 years' time." We all know what happened to land values when the tubes and bus services were extended to the new suburbs in the 1930s.

The history of the great suburban lines to the north of London is similar. I am afraid that I am not dissuaded that the Bill has something to do with land and land values. It will be only too easy for London Regional Transport, for ostensibly good reasons, to reduce services in one area and increase them in another, whereupon land values and prospects for development will be enhanced for people in the City who might not be directly connected with LRT or a party that is represented in the House. Nevertheless, changes could occur and some people might make profits which would not otherwise have been available.

New clause 10 is relevant to those matters because, although it is not especially comprehensive, it requires some publication of such plans. I assume that the plans will also deal with fares. I hope that the Secretary of State will confirm that when he replies. The level of fares is not the only issue—are we to retain the excellent travel cards that we now have? Will they be encouraged so that we return to the proper business principles that the hon. Member for Upminster mentioned? Those proper business principles, the precepts of the London Passenger Transport Board set-up in 1933 and the GLC, aim to carry as many people as possible at the lowest possible cost. That is the only way in which public transport can serve London properly.

I have my doubts about the Government's motives in the Bill and have made them clear. New clause 10 might go some way to being a safeguard but I am still uneasy because the Government are resisting our amendments. If their views were fully in line with what I believe to be the proper principles of running public transport and what the Minister calls open government and accountability to the users, the Government would have accepted the amendments. They have not; that is why I am anxious about their motives. I believe that they intend to provide private enterprise opportunities which I regard as opportunities for private profit at public expense.

If I am wrong, I am sure that the Secretary of State will correct me, but the proof will be how London Regional Transport operates. We shall have to see. If and when we have debates on the matter in the House we, like the people of Upminster, Leyton and Newham, will be watching the performance of the new organisation. Most unhappily of all, those people will be writing to and visiting their Members of Parliament because we shall be the only safeguard between users and the new bureaucracy in Whitehall.

6.15 pm
Mr. Jeremy Hanley (Richmond and Barnes)

I thank my hon. Friend the Minister for what happened in Committee, when she and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State allowed the three-year period for the main strategy statement to be implemented. There was an exciting and exhaustive debate on the matter and, as was so often the case, the hon. Members for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) and for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) spoke about the plans. The Committee accepted that if the strategy statement could be improved, it would include this plan somewhere in the middle. I am glad that consultations have taken place and that wisdom has shone through. That is wholly consistent with the way in which the Bill has proceeded. I have enjoyed the debates on the Bill, especially because every clause was discussed. Wisdom has won over normal politics. I can remember the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East speaking at great length on new clause 10. He reminds me of the £1 coin which, on the side, says "Decus et tutamen" which means a thing of beauty and a store of value. It is wearing a bit thin now in my pocket.

The Bill provides for consultation and I believe that the requirements on London Regional Transport to report are wholly satisfactory and in the interests of the people of London. Clause 6 deals with tendering requirements. Clause 23 deals with accounts and the auditors' report, which can be as long as the auditors make it. Clause 34 concerns contract carriage business and clause 33 concerns the annual report. All of those requirements must be put in the context of clause 31, which enables the Secretary of State to demand any statement from LRT if he thinks fit, especially if it requires its annual grant.

New clause 10, by requiring a plan, will give just that little extra which the main strategy statement does not provide. There is no point in trying to shackle LRT about the content of the plan. Such a nationalised industry with a fully professional management cannot be committed to what its report should contain. The flexibility afforded by new clause 10 is exactly right.

I hope that people who have anything to complain about with regard to LRT will get in touch with their Members of Parliament, as the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) suggested. I also hope that we shall keep the Secretary of State on his toes. Armed with the annual report, the three-year strategy statement and the annual plan, hon. Members and consumers will have plenty of details on the basis of which to question the Secretary of State. I welcome new clause 10 and thank my hon. Friend the Minister.

Mr. Corbyn

New clause 10 begins: It shall be the duty of London Regional Transport in each accounting year to prepare …a plan". It is a sad day when right hon. and hon. Members are told that such a new clause is a great advance, when we are doing away with an elected authority which can decide about the future of London Transport—we are able to put pressure op elected members of the GLC with regard to that policy—and replace it with the Secretary of State appearing before the House annually to announce his plan for London Regional Transport. The new level of consultation will amount to a debate on the Secretary of State's announcement the same day or a couple of days later, and a vote. I do not know about the Secretary of State, but I do not feel able to consult everyone in my constituency in a short time to ascertain all the details about the future of London Transport that I should pursue to forward in their interests.

The concept of a plan for London Transport is being introduced, but more significant is what the Minister and the Secretary of State said earlier about LRT being run on "business lines". In a fascinating speech, the hon. Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor), who is no longer here, told us that the best insurance for Londoners' travel in future is that it will be run on business lines.

I would just ask the hon. Gentleman to consider for a moment, as we asked him to consider when he was speaking, whether running a transport system on business lines does not mean that the motives of profit, of disposal of assets and of reductions in service in order to balance the books would be the primary motives, rather than what I believe should be the primary motives of good planning for London and the provision of a good public transport system. These must be the basis of the way in which transport should be run in London.

In only the last few days it has become apparent exactly how serious the cuts in London Transport could be if the Government were to gain control of it in the way that they hope. From a GLC level of £214 million in support, we could go down as low as £90 million in support, with all the cuts and closures and the loss of millions of bus miles that would result.

Mr. Maples

Would the hon. Gentleman say on what evidence he bases his suggestion that the Government would do that?

Mr. Corbyn

I base it on an assessment prepared, it is true, by GLC officers. I am not hiding the fact and I do not seek to hide it in arguments anywhere else. All I am pointing out is the level of service cuts implicit in the Government's taking control of London Transport and in the reduction of its grant from the level at which the GLC wished to pay it, which allowed for expansion of services, to what the Government envisage, which will result in very high fares, a vastly reduced service or a combination of both.

It has recently become apparent which tube lines, which bus routes and which stations would be at some risk. I ask the Minister to tell us this. It has become apparent that Arsenal tube station in my constituency would be faced with closure under the plan that the Government are seeking to impose on the people of London. There has immediately been local opposition to this and a number of letters have been sent to me and, no doubt, to the Minister and others, asking why Arsenal tube station is to be closed. It is a very inadequate system, when people who are defending a local tube station should have to have the matter raised in Parliament, when they ought to be able to raise it with the relevant local authority, in this case the GLC.

When the Secretary of State answers the debate on this clause, could we be told how it is an advance for the people of London if, once a year, he will come here and announce the plan for London for the whole year? On the argument of his hon. Friend the Member for Upminster, there would not even by any consultation during that year because these business experts, these smart city gents, would be so busy trying to balance books and ignoring the legitimate demands of pensioners' groups and of the majority of people in London who do not have a car that they would be merely slicing services apart.

This is part of the process of making London unique in western Europe as the only capital without a transport system that is designed to be integrated, that links road planning with public transport planning and that tries to provide a service rather than running a public service as a business. It is impossible to do that without destroying London through building roads, implementing cuts in services and ruining the lives and livelihoods of many London Transport employees.

Will the Minister also tell us how, in 1984 of all years, any of this clause can be considered remotely democratic?

Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)

I am rather concerned about the views of the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) on the details that he wants to see in the clause. Common sense should tell him that, by its very nature, a plan will contain details of services and facilities and of the levels and structure of fares. By its very nature, such a plan must be supported by estimates because that is how future expenditure is displayed. To suggest that such details are necessary demonstrates on the part of the hon. Member a misunderstanding or a lack of understanding of the nature of the plan itself.

One thing that he did not seek to be displayed by the plan is the balance between farepayers, taxpayers and ratepayers. Opposition Members are always very concerned about farepayers. We rarely hear them talk about taxpayers and ratepayers and the burdens placed upon them. There must be a balance between the three, and it is very unfair of Opposition Members to concern themselves, as did the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) solely with the level of fares and the impact on the farepayers.

There has always been a form of consultation —perhaps of dictation—between the GLC and the London Transport Executive, which in itself has led to a great deal of interference — by the Conservative-controlled GLC because it was dissatisfied with the financial aspects of many of the London Transport proposals, and by the Labour-controlled GLC because it never considers the financial aspects of anything under its authority, unless to ensure that money is spent and then only if it comes not from its own pocket.

I support the clause. The amendments are wholly unnecessary. Consultation must always be considered, but not consultation of the kind that Opposition Members want.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) really is a most ungrateful wretch to speak in unkind terms about his former employer, the GLC.

Mr. Dicks

On a point of information, Mr. Speaker. It is my current employer.

Mr. Banks

The Government clause represents a concession to the loss of democratic control over London Transport currently exercised by the GLC. I want to emphasise how difficult it is to make transport plans without paying attention to a wider strategy that takes into account the needs and problems of a particular area. Many sources could be prayed in aid for that particular contention. I shall choose just one for the record this evening, a letter from the right hon. Member who is now Secretary of State for the Environment, written in 1977 and giving his evidence to the Marshall inquiry set up by Sir Horace Cutler, the then Conservative leader of the GLC, to look at the role of the GLC in London. The Secretary of State was at the time a member of the Opposition. He said: I would be grateful if you would put this letter before Sir Frank Marshall … Local planning was often frustrated because we had to operate under a regional plan for which no authority was really suitable. There was a great need for proper strategic planning which existed only on paper. The right hon. Gentleman was talking about his battle against the then Ministry of Transport's proposal to take a lorry route through Highgate, a proposal that he was successful in defeating. He went on to say: It was essential to bring strategic planning and transport under the same control. The lorry route episode showed the appalling dangers of allowing an authority with transport responsibilities power to override all environmental considerations. He went on to say: I therefore believe we have got progressively to return to the concept that the GLC is a strategic authority. He continued: The GLC should remain responsible for London Transport and its transport planning should be progressively integrated with its strategic land use planning. Now, of course, the Secretary of State for the Environment is turning the advice that he gave to the Marshall inquiry in 1977 on its head. His Government are putting forward legislation which refutes everything that he said in 1977. The right hon. Member who is now the Secretary of State for the Environment was right in 1977 and is now very wrong.

Mr. Maples

If the hon. Gentleman prays in aid the Marshall report, is he aware that the current leader of the GLC, in debate in the council on the Marshall report, quoted in an earlier debate in the House, said: I feel a degree of regret that Marshall did not push on and say 'Abolish the GLC' because I think it would have been a major saving…I do not believe you need two tiers of local government and I very much regret that Horace Cutler has not been the really ruthless Tory he likes to project and come forward with the biggest axe of all, and axed the whole appalling show." —[Official Report, 24 February 1984; Vol. 54, c. 1094.]

Mr. Banks

I am not praying in aid the results of the Marshall inquiry. I am merely praying in aid the letter that was written by the present Secretary of State for the Environment. It is interesting that some of those who took part in the discussions over the future of the GLC in 1977 delivered a number of hostages to fortune.

6.30 pm
Mr. Snape

With the leave of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I should like to reply to the debate on behalf of the Opposition.

The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) said, rather courageously, that he thought there should be an elected body to which transport plans should be submitted. The events that took place earlier this afternoon show that that is the direction from which pressure will come. There is to be an elected education authority for inner London. Why can there not be an elected transport authority for London? I am sure that the Secretary of State will have to resist pressure for the introduction of such an authority, and it is possible that some of the pressure will come from his hon. Friends. The principle could be extended further to include an elected health body for London. The obvious result would be an overall elected body for London. I hope that the development of an elected ILEA will be the forerunner of an overall pattern of directly elected local government in London.

As the hon. Member for Wellingborough said, the only place in which hon. Members will be able to make any representations about the future operation of transport and its planning within the Greater London area will be this place. One or two Conservative Members seem positively to welcome that, including the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley). The Secretary of State, who is known not to be one of the most tolerant of Ministers, will not he any too happy about being bombarded with questions from London Members who are demanding to know why a bus stop, for example, has or has not been moved in their constituencies.

The right hon. Gentleman must remember that if the Bill is enacted as it stands, the Chamber will be the only place where such debates can take place. I am not so sure whether the right hon. Gentleman will feel qualified to answer such questions. I am sure that my personal opinion will not bother him very much, but I feel that the moving of a bus stop is the only issue which he is qualified adequately to answer. I doubt whether he will be any too tolerant if he receives a non-stop bombardment of questions of that sort from hon. Members on both sides of the House.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) has supported the amendments which the Opposition have tabled to the new clause. It is difficult to convince Conservative Members of the origin of the amendments. Amendments in the same terms were thought necessary when the House of Commons was considering the measure which became the 1983 Act. Indeed, Conservative Members voted for them on that occasion. Why have the amendments become intolerable less than a year after the 1983 measure became law? The logic of Conservative Members' thinking escapes me. If democratically elected authorities must live with the conditions outlined in the amendments, I see no reason why LRT should not do so.

I enjoyed the contribution of the hon. Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor), who, regrettably, is no longer in his place. He sometimes gives the impression that his personal time clock stopped at about 1912. That is understandable, because I know from my own interest in these matters that it was about 1912 when the chairman of the London, Brighton and South Coast railway was none other than Sir Nicholas Cosmo Bonsor. I hazard a guess that the hon. Gentleman is likely to be related to that gentleman. His relative, however close the hon. Gentleman might be to him, would have been proud of the speech that he delivered this afternoon. When the hon. Gentleman takes his annual holiday—no doubt it will be in the Hapsburg empire during the summer—I hope that he will take a copy of Hansard which contains a report of this debate.

As the hon. Member for Upminster said, he is obsessed with "business reality". I am always impressed when Conservative Members talk about that. I confess that on some occasions they know more about such matters than Opposition Members. After all, their Government have bankrupted more businesses in the five years since 1979 than any Labour Government in the lifetime of any Member of this place. There is some justification for them to be so worried about "business reality", but it is a pity that that worry does not extend to the consumers of public transport in London, who will be denied any voice in transport matters unless the amendments are accepted.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) drew the attention of the House to the likely difficulties that will ensue in securing any adequate debate in this place on London's transport. His plea was that the amendments should be accepted. The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) had a few words to say about taxpayers and ratepayers. He accused Labour Members of showing no interest in the welfare of taxpayers and ratepayers. Like many other Members of this place, I am both a taxpayer and a ratepayer in the London area. I do not know whether that is a necessary declaration of interest. Labour Members are concerned about those who are unfortunate enough to have to use London's public transport once LRT comes into being. That has been the main thrust of the debate and that is the main thrust of the amendments.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) correctly drew attention to the dramatic turnabout of the Secretary of State for the Environment. I think that that is the fourth U-turn in 24 hours. The Government appear to be having a couple of bad days. As for the Secretary of State, it could not happen to a nicer guy.

The new clause, welcome though it is, does not even mention the present responsibilities of the GLC and the issues that caused the Secretary of State for the Environment to write his letter as long ago as 1977. Every Member of this place should know that there is a great interdependence between planning and the reality of operating a transport system in any city. The Minister of State shakes her head, but that is true in Liverpool and Merseyside generally, and it is true in every other capital city throughout the world. The only purpose of the amendments — they were extracted from a measure which the Government introduced less than a year ago — is to give London's citizens the same rights and benefits within their transport system as are enjoyed by the citizens of every other developing country.

Mr. Ridley

The House was treated this afternoon to the rare and delightful spectacle of the hon. Members for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) and for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) colliding with each other as they sought to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker. They should co-ordinate and integrate their operations so that that does not happen again. Further, they should coordinate their point of view. Unfortunately, one of them was absent from the Chamber while the other was speaking. One said that the object behind the Bill was to push up property values for Tory speculators. The other hotly denied that and said that the Government had failed to connect the Bill with the need for land use planning. That gives me the cue to agree with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment that land use planning is important in relation to London's transport.

I remind the hon. Members for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) and for Newham, North-West that it was said in Committee that the Government would accept amendments designed to co-ordinate transport activities with the strategic land use plan for London which is in existence at any time. I undertook to table such an amendment and I have not moved away from that undertaking. I fear that, due to legal difficulties, the amendment has not yet been drafted. However, it will be introduced into the Bill in another place.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) brought us back to the central point by reminding us that the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott)—and where is he?—said at the beginning of the Committee stage that we should seek to strike a balance between the interests of ratepayers and travellers. Three months later we have not heard a single mention by Labour Members of ratepayers. I must put that first in answering my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry), whose point of view I appreciate and understand, and whose work on the Select Committee on Transport was valuable. He gets his answer from the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey, who said that transport policies in the past have been most annoyingly and maddeningly interrupted by lack of cash. This is the point. We are talking about £370 million-worth of public expenditure annually and one cannot remove from politics such a great sum.

The Government, who are responsible for the economy and the proper distribution of resources, have seen the GLC wasting resources by profligate expenditure on all sorts of things, but particularly on London Transport. There is no other example of a nationalised industry, which this is, being run by an elected body with a political majority different from that of central Government. That is all right for matters such as education, but no one could say that education is a nationalised industry. A nationalised industry, which has to be run efficiently, should not be under two different political masters. In theory it seems to be a mistake, but even if it were acceptable in theory, in practice it has proved to be a mistake. The experiment of the GLC running London Transport has not been a success.

Mr. Fry

If that is the case, why is it the Government's current policy to keep local involvement in the passenger transport executives when the metropolitan counties are abolished? There is a local government input to those bodies.

Mr. Ridley

London is the capital; the PTEs are not in the capital. The House must await the Government's proposals on that matter. When my hon. Friend sees them, he will get the answer.

The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) has been busy as usual hugging himself with self-congratulatory glee——

Mr. Snape

Anticipatory glee.

Mr. Ridley

I shall go quickly through the opportunities for accountability and consultation. Under clause 7 a strategic statement, which will be the subject of consultation, is to be published at least every three years; that is a fairly major measure of accountability. The annual ratepayers' levy will be debated in the House with my report and will be backed up by all the necessary information. Under clause 29, the details of the level of services and fares are to be given to the London Regional Transport passengers' committee and the local authorities and is to be the subject of consultation with them; an annual report of LRT and its accounts are to be laid before the House. Under the proposed clause an annual business plan is to be made public and is to be available for all to comment upon.

The Opposition say that they want a second annual consultation process on the levels of services and fares; they want two consultations with the same bodies in one year. What does the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East think? Does he want to be able on Monday to consult under clause 29 and then on Tuesday to require the authority to produce a business plan which will need further consultation? Does he want a statutory obligation for consultation with the same body on two separate documents on the same subject? The Opposition must be absolutely mad.

6.45 pm

I repudiate the suggestion of the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) that closures are being planned. The GLC told him that we would spend only £90 million on London Transport, so he worked out a list of closures. The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East referred to "squalid and nasty" decisions to close stations which I would get someone else to take. All those matters would be subject to the long process of consultation which I have set out.

I shall repeat what I said. There is no plan to close any tube station, stop any bus service or do any of the things that are constantly being alleged by the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East. He did not even hear my hon. Friend when she denied it at the Dispatch Box this afternoon. He walked in late in the day and repeated these allegations in which he knows there is no truth. It is high time he listened, instead of continually trying to spread alarm and despondency. He is the master of the people who have been described throughout the debate as those who live over the water; he is the king over the water, the old pretender who has been pretending that 34 bus services are to be withdrawn, 33 tube stations are to be closed, bus passes are to be ended and only £90 million is to be spent on LRT next year. All this is simply scare tactics designed to cause anxiety and confusion. There is no need for any of it. There is a need for the clause and I hope the House will agree that it should not be amended.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause accordingly read a Second time.

Amendment (a) proposed: In line 3, leave out from `proposals' to end of line 4 and insert `for the next three years ("the relevant period") with respect to—

  1. (a) the general level of transport services and facilities to be provided by them, or by agreement with them, by other persons; and
  2. (b) the general level and structure of fares to be charged for those services, and the general level of charges to be made for those facilities, so far as they are to be charged, made or otherwise determined by London Regional Transport.'. —[Mr. Snape.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 167, Noes 260.

Division No. 232] [6.50 pm
Abse, Leo Ashton, Joe
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)
Anderson, Donald Bagier, Gordon A. T.
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Banks, Tony (Newham NW)
Barnett, Guy Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Barron, Kevin Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Bell, Stuart Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Benn, Tony Janner, Hon Greville
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) John, Brynmor
Bermingham, Gerald Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Bidwell, Sydney Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Blair, Anthony Kennedy, Charles
Boyes, Roland Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Bray, Dr Jeremy Leadbitter, Ted
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Leighton, Ronald
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Bruce, Malcolm Loyden, Edward
Buchan, Norman McCartney, Hugh
Caborn, Richard McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Campbell-Savours, Dale McNamara, Kevin
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) McTaggart, Robert
Carter-Jones, Lewis McWilliam, John
Cartwright, John Madden, Max
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Marek, Dr John
Clarke, Thomas Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Clay, Robert Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Maxton, John
Cohen, Harry Meacher, Michael
Coleman, Donald Michie, William
Conlan, Bernard Mikardo, Ian
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Corbett, Robin Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Corbyn, Jeremy Nellist, David
Cowans, Harry Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) O'Brien, William
Crowther, Stan O'Neill, Martin
Cunningham, Dr John Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Dalyell, Tam Parry, Robert
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Patchett, Terry
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Pavitt, Laurie
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Pendry, Tom
Deakins, Eric Penhaligon, David
Dobson, Frank Pike, Peter
Dormand, Jack Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Douglas, Dick Randall, Stuart
Dubs, Alfred Redmond, M.
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Eadie, Alex Richardson, Ms Jo
Eastham, Ken Robertson, George
Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE) Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Ellis, Raymond Rogers, Allan
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Rooker, J. W.
Fatchett, Derek Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Faulds, Andrew Rowlands, Ted
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Ryman, John
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Sedgemore, Brian
Flannery, Martin Sheerman, Barry
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Foster, Derek Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Foulkes, George Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Fraser, J. (Norwood) Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Skinner, Dennis
George, Bruce Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Gould, Bryan Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Snape, Peter
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Spearing, Nigel
Hardy, Peter Stott, Roger
Harman, Ms Harriet Straw, Jack
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Tinn, James
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Torney, Tom
Heffer, Eric S. Wareing, Robert
Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall) Weetch, Ken
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Welsh, Michael
Hoyle, Douglas Williams, Rt Hon A.
Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham) Winnick, David
Young, David (Bolton SE) Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. Don Dixon.
Tellers for the Ayes:
Aitken, Jonathan Fox, Marcus
Alexander, Richard Fraser, Peter (Angus East)
Amess, David Freeman, Roger
Ancram, Michael Fry, Peter
Arnold, Tom Galley, Roy
Ashby, David Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)
Aspinwall, Jack Garel-Jones, Tristan
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Glyn, Dr Alan
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Goodhart, Sir Philip
Batiste, Spencer Goodlad, Alastair
Beggs, Roy Gow, Ian
Bellingham, Henry Gower, Sir Raymond
Bendall, Vivian Grant, Sir Anthony
Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay) Greenway, Harry
Benyon, William Gregory, Conal
Berry, Sir Anthony Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)
Bevan, David Gilroy Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Grist, Ian
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Ground, Patrick
Body, Richard Grylls, Michael
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Gummer, John Selwyn
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Bottomley, Peter Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n) Hampson, Dr Keith
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hanley, Jeremy
Braine, Sir Bernard Hannam, John
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Harris, David
Bright, Graham Harvey, Robert
Brinton, Tim Haselhurst, Alan
Brooke, Hon Peter Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Bruinvels, Peter Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hawksley, Warren
Buck, Sir Antony Hayward, Robert
Budgen, Nick Heathcoat-Amory, David
Burt, Alistair Heddle, John
Butcher, John Henderson, Barry
Butler, Hon Adam Hickmet, Richard
Carlisle, John (N Luton) Hill, James
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hind, Kenneth
Carttiss, Michael Hirst, Michael
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Chapman, Sydney Holt, Richard
Chope, Christopher Hooson, Tom
Churchill, W. S. Hordern, Peter
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Howard, Michael
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Cockeram, Eric Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)
Colvin, Michael Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Conway, Derek Hunt, David (Wirral)
Coombs, Simon Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Cope, John Hunter, Andrew
Couchman, James Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Critchley, Julian Jackson, Robert
Crouch, David Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Dicks, Terry Jessel, Toby
Dorrell, Stephen Jones, Robert (W Herts)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Dover, Den Kershaw, Sir Anthony
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Key, Robert
Dykes, Hugh Kilfedder, James A.
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Eggar, Tim King, Rt Hon Tom
Emery, Sir Peter Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
Evennett, David Lamont, Norman
Fallon, Michael Lang, Ian
Farr, John Lawler, Geoffrey
Favell, Anthony Lawrence, Ivan
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Lee, John (Pendle)
Fookes, Miss Janet Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Forman, Nigel Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Forth, Eric Lester, Jim
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Lightbown, David Price, Sir David
Lilley, Peter Proctor, K. Harvey
Lloyd, Ian (Havant) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham) Raffan, Keith
Lord, Michael Rathbone, Tim
Luce, Richard Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Lyell, Nicholas Rhodes James, Robert
McCrea, Rev William Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Macfarlane, Neil Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire) Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Robinson, P. (Belfast E)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st) Rossi, Sir Hugh
McQuarrie, Albert Rost, Peter
Madel, David Rowe, Andrew
Maginnis, Ken Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Major, John Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Malins, Humfrey Scott, Nicholas
Malone, Gerald Shersby, Michael
Maples, John Silvester, Fred
Marlow, Antony Sims, Roger
Maude, Hon Francis Skeet, T. H. H.
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Soames, Hon Nicholas
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Speed, Keith
Merchant, Piers Speller, Tony
Meyer, Sir Anthony Spencer, Derek
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Squire, Robin
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Miscampbell, Norman Stokes, John
Moate, Roger Stradling Thomas, J.
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Montgomery, Fergus Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Moore, John Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Morris, M. (N'hampton, S) Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Murphy, Christopher Tracey, Richard
Needham, Richard Twinn, Dr Ian
Nelson, Anthony Waddington, David
Newton, Tony Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Nicholls, Patrick Walden, George
Nicholson, J. Walker, Cecil (Belfast N)
Normanton, Tom Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Norris, Steven Waller, Gary
Oppenheim, Philip Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Parris, Matthew Wells, John (Maidstone)
Patten, John (Oxford) Wheeler, John
Pawsey, James Wiggin, Jerry
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Wood, Timothy
Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian Young, Sir George (Acton)
Pink, R. Bonner
Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down) Tellers for the Noes:
Powell, William (Corby) Mr. Douglas Hogg and Mr. Michael Neubert.
Powley, John

Question accordingly negatived.

Clause added to the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Sainsbury.] Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered tomorrow.