§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 7 Pm
§ Sir Anthony Grant (Cambridgeshire, South-West)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
§ Mr. Speaker
I should announce to the House that I have selected the instruction on the Order Paper:That it be an Instruction to any Committee to whom the Bill may be referred not to allow the Bill unless they are satisfied that no change in the pattern of trade union representation or in the terms of employment of staff in the banks affected by the Bill will occur as a result of the proposals of the Bill without the agreement of the staff and their trade union representatives.
§ Sir Anthony Grant
The Bill is designed to achieve three objects. The first is the transfer of Barclays Bank plc, which I shall refer to as Barclays, in the United Kingdom to Barclays Bank International, which for simplicity's sake I shall refer to as BBI, and to achieve the creation of a single bank, which will be the new Barclays. Secondly, the Bill is designed to re-register BBI as a public company under the Companies Act 1980 and to change the name of BBI and Barclays. Thirdly, it involves the adoption by BBI of a modern memorandum and articles and the repeal of existing BBI private Acts.
It might help the House if I gave a brief background to the measure. Barclays UK is a famous name in the banking world. It has 75,000 employees and 2,900 branches, and it controls assets in excess of £23 million. It was formed in 1896 by a merger of some 20 different banks, the history of some of which went back 200 years. In the meanwhile it acquired other banks, most notably Martins in 1968. Barclays has some 5 million customers in the United Kingdom. The whole group employs 135,000 people, operating in approximately 80 different countries. Barclays UK has more than 140,000 shareholders, none of whom holds more than a 2 per cent. holding.
BBI, the international bank, was created as a result of a merger in 1925 of the old Colonial Bank, set up by Royal Charter under William IV, which operated largely in the Caribbean, British Guyana and West Africa. It merged with banks in Egypt and Africa. The result was the creation of Barclays DCO. Today there are some 6,500,000 Barclaycard holders in this country. That is a new aspect of its business. Indeed, Barclays does substantial business in the United States where, of British banks, it has the largest presence. It has subsidiaries in over 35 states of the USA. Of course, Barclays is a household word in the United Kingdom. There are branches and customers in all our constituencies.
I shall give briefly the reasons for the merger. Barclays is primarily concerned as the United Kingdom clearing bank for clearing bank business in the United Kingdom. BBI deals with international and overseas business of the Barclays group. In recent years BBI has been expanding its business activities considerably, particularly in the United States, in Europe, in Asia and in the Pacific basin. With changing patterns of demand for banking services and changing constraints of fiscal and regulatory requirements, the time has been reached when banks can be more effectively and efficiently managed through a single corporate entity.
One of the most important developments in recent years has been the growth of large national and international companies, British and foreign, whose activities extend 308 over many countries and currencies, and who need banking facilities wherever they work. These companies are responsible for a very great deal of employment throughout Britain and many people depend on their success or failure. It is almost always easier for a company to deal with a bank at a single point, and the artificial separation between sterling banks and international banks is not helpful in providing a satisfactory service in a reasonable time, although when there was exchange control it had some merit.
International customers consist not just of large corporations; some are small companies and some are individuals. People deal overseas much more than they used to and they expect flexibility, one-stop banking and a quick response from a single source. The new Barclays is intended to give just that. It will have the ability to standardise operational systems, including a computer network. This will lead to higher standards of service and customers will have easier access to the information they need about their accounts.
I have been asked why it is necessary to have a Bill brought before Parliament. It has long been recognised by Parliament that the only way in which a banking business can be transferred from one company to another without an unacceptable level of disturbance is for the transfer to be achieved by means of an Act of Parliament. It is for this reason that the Bill is being put before the House.
At first sight it might also appear to be logical for the business of the subsidiary, BBI, to be transferred to the parent, Barclays. However, in this case the considerations which make it necessary for Parliament to be concerned would also have imposed the need for legislation in all the countries, approximately 80, in which BBI operates in its own name. That is why the other course has been adopted of BBI acquiring Barclays UK; only one Bill is necessary, although Barclays is also promoting legislation in the states of Jersey and Guernsey and in the Isle of Man.
The essence of the Bill is to create the new Barclays. Its management will have the responsibility for directing and operating one of 10 largest banking businesses in the world. It is important to point out that the Bill will not change in any fundamental way the relation between the parent company and overseas subsidiaries and branches.
At this stage I should deal with anxieties expressed in some quarters; notably, one petitioner against the Bill is Mr. John Butcher, who is known to some hon. Members. I should like to set his anxieties at rest as far as possible by saying that the overall financial situations of the Barclays group will be unchanged as a result of the reorganisation. The management and legal structures are being changed, but the actual management is not. Barclays Bank plc, the clearing bank, would under the present structure always support other members of the group bearing the Barclays name if they were in any difficulty. A group-wide view would be taken. The same situation will exist after the reorganisation. Therefore, the security of individuals' accounts with Barclays will be no less after the reorganisation has taken place. In fact, one could go further and say that Barclays would support its subsidiaries even beyond its legal obligations to do so. In such action it would be encouraged by the Bank of England, which has a supervisory responsibility for British banks operating anywhere in the world.
The objective of the Bill is to transfer to BBI from Barclays the rights and responsibilities under all contracts to which Barclays is a party on precisely the same basis. 309 There are precedents for this procedure in all the local Acts relating to the transfer of a banking business. The actual management of the Barclays group will remain unchanged following the merger, and Barclays managers are reasonable men. No customer of Barclays will find himself more at risk after the merger than he was before. I hope that that goes some way towards reassuring Mr. Butcher and any other customers who might have anxieties.
Since the clearing banks entered the home loans business they have competed among themselves in various ways, including interest rates. Competition between banks is keen. If one bank was significantly out of line with the others, it would quickly lose both new and existing business. Although Barclays does not have the power under home mortgage contracts arbitrarily to demand repayment if the borrower fails to fulfil the agreement, the borrower is at liberty at any time to repay the bank.
Another fear expressed was about whether the indebtedness of banks overseas, especially in Latin America, would be of any consequence. That is a misguided view. The overseas debts in Latin America have largely involved American banks. British banks are less involved, and Barclays is by no means the largest United Kingdom lender. No more than 2.7 per cent. of its assets have been loaned to those countries compared with 10.1 per cent. for some United States banks. Therefore, there is no need for anxiety.
I have described the customers' position and the benefits that may accrue to them. I now wish to say something about the staff who, quite naturally, are anxious about the consequences of the Bill. There will be an improved career structure and improved prospects because the merger will mean that interchangeability will be easier and more common between staff members. Currently, staff tend rigidly to work in this country or to work overseas. The merger will mean that it will be easier for United Kingdom staff to gain experience overseas and for staff overseas to gain experience here. That will assist the career prospects of staff and, I hope, make their work more interesting.
If the hon. Member for Motherwell, South (Dr. Bray) catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we shall debate the instruction that he has tabled. Two unions are involved in the Barclays group: the Barclays Group Staff Union—which I shall call BGSU — which has some 37,000 members, and the Banking Insurance and Finance Union—which I shall call BIFU—which has 13,000 members. BIFU is a responsible union, with which the bank has excellent relations. It has put in a petition against the Bill, and negotiations are continuing.
I do not believe that the Floor of the House is the proper forum for conducting trade union negotiations, nor am I in the slightest way qualified to do so. However, I shall make four brief points about how the bank views the position. First, it states clearly that the merger can and will be achieved on 1 January 1985 without any enforced redundancies. Secondly, negotiations are continuing to ensure that no member of staff will be worse off either immediately or in terms of his expectations in his existing grade.
Thirdly, other terms and conditions will be sustained as far as is possible, and negotiations are proceeding on what I believe to be fairly narrow and not insuperable problems. Finally, there is the question of union recognition. Currently, there is joint recognition of the two unions in the clearing bank, and BIFU has sole recognition in BBI. 310 After the merger, the bank proposes that there should be joint recognition in the new group. BGSU cannot be ignored, because it outnumbers BIFU by more than two to one. The bank considers that to be a reasonable proposal.
It is right broadly to express the bank's views during Second Reading. I emphasise that negotiations are continuing, and the bank is happy to continue those negotiations after the Bill receives its Second Reading and before it goes to Committee.
I wish briefly to explain the clauses of the Bill, although some are fairly obvious. Clause 2 deals with the transfer of property. In practical terms, all Barclays property will pass, with the exception of its investment in BBI. Under clause 3, subject to the Bill passing into law at a sufficient interval before the end of 1984, the appointed day should be 1 January 1985.
Clause 4 deals with the documentation procedure, all of which has been approved by the authorities and by the Department of Trade and Industry. Subsection (2)(b) is an unusual provision designed to save money by using the old stock of travellers cheques and international money orders. I was staggered to find that the bank had no fewer than 40,000 outlets in almost every country, with more than 70 million documents held in stock with a value in excess of £2,000 million. It would, therefore, be tiresome to have to destroy those and begin again.
§ Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)
I was wondering whether there was any discount on the old stock, as often happens in other circumstances.
§ Sir Anthony Grant
1 am sure that the bank will always look favourably on any suggestion from my hon. Friend. However, it is unlikely that in his affluent position he would need to take advantage of such an offer. No doubt the bank will note his remarks.
Clause 5 provides for the transfer and vesting of the business of Barclays to BBI and provides further for the consideration that will consist of the issue by BBI to Barclays of fully paid shares in BBI. The precise number cannot be determined until after the appointed day and after the audit has taken place.
Clause 7, which is important, ensures continuance of existing contracts in the name of Barclays, the rights and obligations under which pass to BBI. Clauses 8 and 9 deal with the continuance of contracts of employment and staff pension funds. Clauses 10, 11 and 12 deal with the technical legal matter of the Bankers' Books Evidence Act.
Those are the only points on the drafting of the B al to which I need draw the attention of the House.
I wish to refer to a matter of some controversy, which may or may not concern some hon. Members. I know that the question of South Africa has exercised the minds of some hon. Members. Barclays and its predecessors have been in South Africa for more than 100 years. Their employment practices are in advance of those recommended in the EC code of conduct. Barclays reports annually to the Department of Trade and Industry, and has done so under both Conservative and Labour Governments ever since the Labour President of the Board of Trade recommended that.
The reports have shown that Barclays maintains equal pay for equal work, regardless of colour, it encourages staff of all races to join trade unions, its trading is on a 311 multiracial basis and all facilities of the bank are available to all members of staff. Barclays lending policies in South Africa are concerned with the welfare of the whole community. Its interest in the South African bank is just over 50 per cent. It takes fully into account the interest and advancement of the black population. It is of interest to note that it has special training schemes for non-white staff so that they can be raised to managerial and executive levels.
Barclays is not one of the big lenders to South Africa; it is not in the first 10 in lending to that country. It is involved in projects concentrating on the needs of the black business sector. It has a team of specially trained black business development officers who give business education, training and advice to black business men in South Africa. Indeed, its policy is as stated by the right hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen) last year, when he said that it was topractise no apartheid whatsoever and will positively discriminate in favour of developing black managers and executivesto serve in the business.
BIFU did not, when it wrote its paper "Time to Choose," support demands for disinvestment by British banks or companies in South Africa until it was the policy of the British Government that that should happen; and that had not been the case under successive Governments.
§ Mr. John Heddle (Mid-Staffordshire)
I believe that in a previous incarnation my hon. Friend held office at one of the great Departments of State. He will no doubt be aware of the considerable trade between Great Britain and South Africa. Will he confirm that Barclays National Bank in South Africa aids, abets and assists Great Britain in its trading relationship with that country?
§ Sir Anthony Grant
That is certainly the case; it is the policy of the bank, and it has been the policy of successive Governments. When I took responsibility in that sphere in a previous Conservative Government I carried on the policies of the previous Labour Administration in that respect. There was no difference whatever, and Barclays was involved at that time.
§ Mr. John Carlisle (Luton, North)
Perhaps I have an advantage over other hon. Members, in that I had discussions with Barclays in Johannesburg recently. My hon. Friend might confirm that there are some misgivings among the white employees of the bank in Johannesburg, M that positive discrimination is now taking place in favour of black employees of the bank. In other words, Barclays is absolutely clean in this matter, and I fully support what my hon. Friend has been saying.
§ Sir Anthony Grant
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that observation. I am not as up to date as he is on that, but he endorses the point I make in that Barclays is making positive efforts to encourage its black employees to raise their qualifications and thereby take on more managerial and executive positions.
Barclays is known and renowned nationwide, indeed worldwide. It is one of the biggest United Kingdom banking institutions, and those institutions contributed net earnings of £1.7 billion to our balance of payments in 1982. They help British industry to expand, to win exports and — this is particularly important — to create much needed employment. 312 This modest and somewhat technical measure will allow Barclays to carry out its business more effectively. In the long run, many customers will benefit as a result, as will the country and the economy. The Bill deserves a Second Reading and I warmly commend it to the House.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Paul Dean)
It may be helpful if I remind the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the instruction. It will be appropriate for it to be debated with the Second Reading debate.
§ Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) on the clarity of his exposition. He took us through what he described as a modest and technical re-organisation with extreme skill and in a rational and cogent way, and he sought to allay a number of fears that had been expressed. He sought, of course, to look at the Bill—save for his final remarks on South Africa — within narrow parameters. I hope, together with a number of my hon. Friends, to look at it in a rather broader context and to develop some arguments as to why the Bill needs much closer scrutiny and should not proceed further.
At first sight it is a modest and technical Bill—a technical reorganisation with no wider implications—and we read in paragraph 1 of the statement put before the House by the promoters in support of the Second Reading thatThe purpose … is to merge the operations of the two banks in a single unified banking structure which can provide a better service to customers in the United Kingdom and overseas, make more efficient use of the resources of the two banks and combine in one undertaking the experience and specialist knowledge of staff engaged in domestic and international banking.Put in that way, who could be against it? It would be like being against peace or apple pie or motherhood or any of those great things that all hon. Members support. It is, in a sense, a rather puzzling reverse take-over where the larger is swallowed up by the smaller, and I do not know whether this is a precedent.
The motive, as the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West cogently explained, is to co-ordinate the accountancy systems and avoid the duty that is currently payable because of the separate personae of the banks.
The hon. Gentleman anticipated one area of concern that will be raised by Opposition Members, and that is the whole question of South Africa, the relationship of the bank with South Africa, and indeed with the system in that country. We believe that in the process of this reorganisation the opportunity should have been taken by the bank to divest itself of its South African interest, and particularly of its holding—currently of 55 per cent. but shortly to be reduced to 50 per cent. — in Barclays National bank of South Africa.
Hon. Members will be aware of the series of shadow reports that have been published by people in this country who have been monitoring the progress of the banking affiliate in South Africa, and I recommend hon. Members who are disposed to accept Barclays' protestations at their face value to glance through the allegations that are made in those documents and that are substantiated factually in the reports about the operations of the bank in South Africa.
Clearly the operations of Barclays in South Africa are second only to its operations in the United Kingdom. Barclays remains the largest bank in South Africa and 313 Namibia, with assets of over £8 billion. Its profits in 1983 rose by nearly one third over the previous year, to 200 million rand, about £107 million, or one seventh of the bank's world-wide profits. That represented a tripling of Barclays annual gains since 1980, when profits were only 75 million rand. Barclays has an extensive network of over 1,000 branches in the Republic and controls over one third of all banking deposits. It is also the largest bank in Namibia, but more of that later.
The work practices—the industrial relations questions that were dealt with by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West—need closer scrutiny than he gave them. I have with me the response of the bank to an EEC code of conduct questionnaire for companies with interests in South Africa and a report for the 12 months ended 30 June 1982, the latest available.
As to the point made by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West about the work force, I have from that date the following figures on the total work force and the proportion in it of the various races within South Africa. Among the several bank companies of Barclays in South Africa, the total work force was 23,193 persons. Of that figure 16,465 were classified as white and 3,369 were classified as black. In a country where the black population accounts for about 82 per cent. of the total population, 12 per cent. of the work force of the bank, just over 3,000 persons, is of black origin. That puts into perspective the points made by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West on positive discrimination and about shared facilities and opportunities for promotion.
§ Mr. Jerry Wiggin (Weston-super-Mare)
I understand the hon. Gentleman's point, but some local knowledge of the situation is required to persuade us of his arguments. Has he been to South Africa?
§ Mr. Anderson
Not only have I never been there, I would refuse to go, although I have some relatives there. I have met a number of people with extensive knowledge of South Africa, but although I have had opportunities to travel there I have refused them and shall continue to refuse them as long as apartheid exists there.
§ Sir Peter Blaker (Blackpool, South)
The hon. Gentleman has given us figures of the work force of Barclays, but these figures have no meaning to us, who perhaps have in our minds similar figures for British banks here. Can the hon. Gentleman give us figures for other banks operating in South Africa?
§ Mr. Anderson
I cannot give figures for other banks in South Africa because we are dealing with Barclays and the extent to which it projects the image of being a bank that is progressive in its working practices in a country of which 82 per cent. of the population is black. As to the point about whether I have personally been to South Africa, I am reminded of the argument, which perhaps I should not use as I am not a woman, that I have never been raped but I should certainly condemn it. If I can give a masculine equivalent of that, I shall raise that argument as well.
§ Sir Anthony Grant
I think that the misunderstanding arises because the hon. Gentleman is quoting the figures for 1982.
§ Sir Anthony Grant
I have the more up-to-date figures for 1983, which show that of the 25,000 staff, some 7,500 are non-white. There has been a substantial increase—I make it almost double—in the number of staff who are non-white, which shows that there is a progressive trend.
§ Mr. Anderson
It is always difficult to argue figures, but the answer is clear. The improvement that the hon. Gentleman suggests, if it be an improvement, is not as dramatic as he says because the figures that I gave are for black employees and the figures that he gave are for non-white employees. That is significant because the blacks account for 82 per cent. of the population and my figures show that 3,369 of the bank's employees are black. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to have the other figures, those for coloureds are 2,352 and for Asians 1,007. If one acids together those three categories of non-whites, that is well over 6,000 in any event, which is not very far from the figure that the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West has given and claims as a substantial improvement. If he has the current figures for black employees I should be ready to give way and let him give those figures.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am searching in vain in any of the remarks made by the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) for something that is of relevance to the Second Reading. If he pursues the argument, I suggest that we are straying a long way from the purpose of the Second Reading.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
On a Bill such as this it is in order to discuss on Second Reading the general conduct and the operation of the bank at home and abroad. As I understand him, the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) is doing that.
§ Mr. Anderson
I am delighted by that ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because when a bank seeks to reorganise in this way, I understand that we are in order in looking at the form and the extent of the organisation. My point is that the opportunity offered by reorganisation should have been taken by the bank, which should have divested itself of that part of its operations that sullies the bank's image elsewere.
§ Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham)
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) for giving way to yet another intervention. He referred to that part of the bank's activities that relates to his line of argument. Can he help us with some figures that show the extent of that and thereby enable the House to put it into perspective? Can he give figures to show what proportion of the profits of a new bank, as merged, would be derived from South Africa?
§ Mr. Anderson
I do not have the total proportion. However, the interests of the bank in South Africa are second only to those of the bank in the United Kingdom. Although I cannot give the exact figures, that is a sizeable proportion of the bank's operations and profits. I cannot go further than that, and it broadly answers the hon. Gentleman's point.
§ Mr. Heddle
Before the hon. Gentleman leaves this point about South Africa, can he confirm, from the information with which he has been provided, that the policy of Barclays National Bank is to give equal opportunity for borrowing to all members of the community in South Africa?
§ Mr. Anderson
Everyone has the right to dine and live at the Ritz hotel. There may or may not be discriminatory practice on the part of Barclays, but I should be surprised if there were a discriminatory practice of that nature. If, in that system, a black who somehow, almost by a freak of the system, had managed to train himself for a suitable business opportunity came to the bank and was considered sufficiently credit-worthy, I assume that he would be considered on the same credit-worthy criteria as other customers. I do not make claims about that. However, I do claim—this is substantiated by the shadow reports on the operations of the bank—that the bank is mightily involved in the apartheid system. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Before we have more noes, I shall go on to develop this point if I am invited to do so, although I am being as brief as I can.
§ Sir Paul Bryan (Boothferry)
Accepting that the racial policy of the bank in South Africa is open to criticism, which I do not, why is that an argument against the union of the two banks?
§ Mr. Anderson
I have explained the relevance of the points that I am making. I cannot look at this proposed merger simply in the technical and narrow way that the hon. Gentleman is suggesting. To take a reductio ad absurdum of the point—and I do not put a bank of Barclays' standing in this category—it it is rather like looking at proposals by construction companies of gas chambers in Nazi Germany purely on their technical and legal merits.
The apartheid system is an affront to the civilised world. This is a British bank, which has very extensive interests in South Africa and which draws substantial profits from that system. I believe that it would be morally wrong and remiss of the House if we were to allow ourselves to be "cabin'd and confined" to the clauses of the Bill, as the hon. Member suggests, and not lift our eyes to the other important considerations — important, certainly, to those who suffer under the apartheid system and to world opinion, which ranks Barclays' operations there as among the worst of the Western banks.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman is beginning to stray a little. It is not in order to discuss the apartheid system. It is in order to discuss the trading operations of the bank but debate must be restricted to that.
§ Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I do not understand how it is possible to discuss the activities of Barclays bank in South Africa without reference to its involvement with and support of the apartheid system, the loans that it makes to the Government and so forth. I suggest that it is perfectly in order to do so.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I think that I have made it clear that references to trading activities are in order in the confines of what is a fairly narrow Bill, but I must also make it clear to the House that it will not be in order to stray into the merits of apartheid or any other system.
§ Mr. Anderson
Any mention that I made of the apartheid system in itself was inferential from the points relating to the trading pattern and policies of the bank in South Africa, but you will understand very readily, Mr. Deputy Speaker, how difficult it is to speak of the 316 operations of any company in South Africa and divorce them from the apartheid context in which such a company operates.
For example, relating to the trading operations of the bank in the republic, in September 1979 SASOL, the South African Coal, Oil and Gas corporation, issued 263 million 2-rand shares in order to raise funds for the construction of the SASOL III plant. The share issue was handled and underwritten by five merchant banks, including Barclays National Merchant bank. Since Barclays is the largest bank in South Africa, it is likely that it handled a substantial proportion of the total share issue.
Barclays also purchased its own holding of 10 million SASOL shares worth 20 million rands — about £11 million sterling—at issue price. The bank, therefore, owns one of the largest single blocks of shares in SASOL.The SASOL oil-from-coal plants that are pioneering in this area are being built to enable the regime to resist international sanctions. This is an example of how difficult it is in that country to divorce what here would, like North sea oil, be totally commercial operations from the context of the apartheid system in which they operate.
Similarly, for example, in relation to its links with the system in South Africa, Barclays still operates in the independent bantustans, the artificial states created by South Africa for its own internal racial policies, despite the fact that these bantustans are not recognised by the British Government. Indeed the British Government have voted in favour of a United Nations resolution which requestsall states to take effective measures to prohibit all individuals, corporations and other institutions under their jurisdiction from having any dealings with the so-called independent Transkei or other Bantustans.The bank has a network of branches in Transkei and Bophuthatswana. When Venda became "independent" in September 1979 Barclays also continued to operate in that country. So much for that link with these fictional states that are not recognised on the world stage and that this country seeks to dissuade its own companies from operating in.
§ Mr. Ian Lloyd (Havant)
The hon. Member has raised very interesting points in relation both to SASOL and the supply of energy in South Africa and to the so-called independent states, whether or not we approve of them. I would like to ask whether he is arguing that if Barclays had closed down all the branches which it has had in these parts of South Africa, many going back 40 or 50 years, it would have improved the welfare of the African people in those areas. Is he also arguing that, if a major energy shortage was aggravated by the withdrawal of Barclays' support of the policy of development of an independent energy source, the welfare of the African people would be improved by a desperate shortage of gasoline?
§ Mr. Anderson
I hear the hon. Gentleman. I fear that if I were to answer him at any length, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I would be subjected to your criticism. His reasoning resembles the argument about sanctions against South African oranges and other produce, that it is the blacks who suffer first and most and that, therefore, we should do nothing about our trading relationships with that country. If I were to go down that path I would be stopped—and properly so—at a very early stage by you.
A well-documented feature of the South African regime is the increasing militarisation of politics in that country. Again one notes the relationship of Barclays with that 317 process. It is symbolised by the presence of one of its directors on the defence advisory board. In May 1980 Prime Minister P. W. Botha appointed a 13-man defence advisory board to advise the armed forces on best business methods and other matters, including arms manufacture. The Prime Minister said that he hoped that this initiative would unite the private sector and industrial leaders behind the country's defence effort. Again we have the problem of distinguishing between the normal trading, lending and commercial operations of a bank and its role as a pillar of a regime that is criticised by most people in the world.
Namibia is very much in the news at the present time. It is to be hoped that at long last the process of the withdrawal of South Africa from that area is under way. Barclays is operating in Namibia in contravention of rulings by the United Nations, the legal administrative body for the territory. The chairman of Barclays bank admitted at the bank's 1982 annual general meeting:we do conduct normal banking business there, and to that extent we possibly do support the administration there.Barclays remains the largest bank in Namibia with a network of 47 offices. The new Barclays chairman is, therefore, deeply involved in operations in Namibia, and indeed in mining, which is the most exploitative sector of the Namibian economy.
These are all examples of the bank's activity as a backer of the current political, administrative and financial structures in the republic. It is deeply involved in the whole of the apartheid system. I have seen the answers of bank spokesmen when the point has been made, as indeed I make it now, that they should seek to divest themselves of their interest, now 55 per cent. but shortly to be reduced to 50 per cent., in the South African affiliate.
For example, in August 1982, Barclays said that its policy was "constructive engagement". It gave the ritual statement that, of course, it deplored apartheid. It thought that the holding on to its South African investment—less than 1.5 per cent. of all British investment in South Africa—was preferable to disinvestment for two main reasons.
First, it was said that if Barclays were to sell that substantial stake in BarNat, it would probably be unable to remit the proceeds because of exchange control. The argument ran that Barclays would thereby be giving a big loan to the South African Government. The remittance and exchange control problems totally evaporated when exchange controls were removed for foreigners in South Africa in February last year. Barclays can now freely remit the proceeds of any sale, although it can expect a bill for capital gains tax. Therefore, there is no major problem in Barclays divesting itself of its share in that South African bank.
It was also claimed at the time that any new owner of BarNat might be less liberal than Barclays. As the bank will be a minority shareholder, its influence is likely to be marginal, and in any event there will be very little scope for Barclays to be constructively liberal.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
The hon. Gentleman must answer the question put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd). What message would he give to the 7,000 non-white employees of Barclays Bank in South Africa if Barclays divested itself of that interest virtually overnight, which is what the hon. Gentleman seems to be suggesting?
§ Mr. Anderson
There was no suggestion of doing it overnight, but the South African economy is such that it could absorb such employees. In any event, when a decision is made on moral or proper international grounds, some individuals may, for short or temporary reasons, be inconvenienced. We believe that the system in South Africa is such that this British bank should decide that it is wrong—for its own image and operations elsewhere—to operate in the way that it does now, because that clearly means that it is a major support of a system that is criticised by all right-thinking people.
One cannot say that what is right in economic terms must necessarily be wrong because 7,000 people may be inconvenienced.
§ Mr. Carlisle
Would the hon. Gentleman adopt that same policy with other banks with British interests in South Africa and extend it to the other 350 British companies in South Africa?
§ Mr. Anderson
Major questions remain about the extent of British commercial investment in South Africa. We are simply considering this one bank. I hope that I have shown that its so-called commercial operations involve close links with that regime in key sectors. I have referred to the military links and to the bank's policies in the bantustans. Therefore, it is a major support. If the same arguments applied to other companies, I would arrive at the same conclusion.
This bank is deeply involved in the apartheid system. We believe that it is wrong lo allow the Bill to proceed without making these key points. There are other objections to the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Dr. McDonald) will give a Treasury perspective of the points made by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West, and other of my hon. Friends wish to refer to the trade union matters which the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West touched on when seeking to allay the fears that had been expressed.
The arguments advanced by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West are not accepted by the trade unionists who are at the sharp end. It would have been far better had the trade union issues been settled before the Bill was brought before the House. However, that is not my brief and interest. I shall leave that to my colleagues, having introduced the vital foreign policy perspective of the debate.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)
I shall try to avoid saying anything much about the deplorable speech that the House has just had the misfortune to hear from the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) who, I take it, spoke as the representative of the Labour Front Bench. I am astonished by what he said.
The hon. Gentleman came very close to enunciating a doctrine of racial discrimination. He has virtually said that he wishes to go into the Lobby to protect—rightly—the jobs of the white employees of Barclays bank in this country, but does not care if the bank's black employees are sacked in South Africa. That is an extraordinary proposition for the hon. Gentleman to advance while criticising the apartheid system.
§ Mr. Anderson
I would take the hon. Gentleman's points a little more seriously if I ever heard escape from his lips any criticism of the South African regime.
§ Mr. Griffiths
The hon. Gentleman shall hear it now. Like Barclays bank, I abhor apartheid. I have said so frequently in South Africa.
I have visited South Africa in conjunction with many of the trade delegations sent there by Labour Governments, with the support of trade unionists in this country, who are anxious to promote trade with South Africa to safeguard their jobs. In South Africa I have seen the way in which many British companies, of which Barclays is an outstanding example, have moved as rapidly as the laws of that country permit towards the dismantling of apartheid in employment and social practices. I have seen that happening in South Africa.
The hon. Member for Swansea, East had the effrontery to say that not only had he never been to South Africa but that he had no intention of going there, yet he purports to be an expert on this matter.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I was unwise. I said that I would say very little about the hon. Gentleman's speech, and the sooner I close this chapter and get on to the Bill, the better.
§ Mr. Robert Hughes
In addition to his travels in South Africa, about which he has always been open, how many iron curtain countries has the hon. Gentleman visited, how often has he been there, and did his visits, such as they were, change one whit his view of the regimes of eastern Europe?
§ Mr. Griffiths
I might be straying a little from the Bill, but I think that I am entitled to answer that question. I have been to the Soviet Union nine times. I am chairman of the Anglo-Polish parliamentary group in the House and have visited Poland frequently. I was a prisoner of the Red Army in Hungary in 1956. I have visited Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia so I go behind the iron curtain frequently. I am influenced by what I see in the Soviet bloc, and judge it on that basis, as I do wherever I travel in the world.
It is important to move on to the Bill. I apologise to the House for being waylaid by some of the hon. Gentleman's fantasies, and for moving away from the point. The Bill should be given a Second Reading, and be sent to the appropriate Committee to be moved on its way quickly for two powerful reasons.
First, the British banking industry is vital to our economy and to the jobs of many of our people, and for our exports and invisible earnings. It is unnecessary for me to proclaim the virtues of the City of London, save to say that I have no personal interest in it, although I wish that I had, but I recognise the contribution to Britain of the City of London, and of Barclays bank to the City.
Secondly, as a layman, I am impressed by the performance of Barclays. With other United Kingdom clearing banks, it has been at the centre of the creation in London of the world's most efficient money transfer system, and as such it has greatly helped Britain's ability to earn her living.
Barclays bank has been innovatory, and, heaven knows, this country needs innovation. In recent years, Barclays has taken the lead in Britain in developing the credit card system. Not everyone is a fan of credit cards, but the system has been helpful to people. The bank pioneered the first automatic cash machine in this country 320 and masterminded the management buy-out of the National Freight Corporation, which has been a great success for economic democracy. The bank has wisely returned to Saturday opening. I was very critical of the bank cartel when it agreed to close on Saturday mornings, and I am glad that Barclays was the first bank to bring back Saturday opening, which has been of immense benefit to many of my constituents.
Barclays has also recognised and discharged its social obligations. During the recession, it kept many middle-sized, and some large, companies in business by lending them large sums of money. I like the bank's phrase, used in its recommendations to the House, that it lent that moneyat levels that go beyond the bounds of normal prudence in banking practice.That was done as a social and economic obligation in the recession. The bank deserves the recognition of the House for doing so.
Barclays bank has encouraged hundreds, perhaps thousands, of small businesses to get off the ground, and to benefit from the many Government schemes introduced for that purpose. As the bank says in its memorandum to the House, Barclays has seconded 50 of its senior staff to assist with job creation schemes, community projects and small business undertakings.
On a personal note, may I say that the manager of the Barclays bank branch in my constituency plays a very active part in all sorts of community projects, which help to make Bury St. Edmunds worth living in.
I am impressed by Barclays' policies overseas. I believe that the Bill will assist the bank most of all in international development. Having lived and worked in the United States for about 14 years, I have seen the British banking industry move into a prominent position in the past two decades in many American states, such as California, Texas and New York. Barclays has been in the van. Its biggest overseas investment, although one would never have thought so after listening to the hon. Member for Swansea, East, has been in the United States, where it has offices in 35 states.
It is also worth recording, from personal experience, that the Barclays sign, seen by British travellers on many billboards in California and elsewhere, gives them a sense of pride as Englishmen. They are able to see that our banking industry is making inroads into the American economy.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) mentioned the criticism levelled at the bank for becoming over-extended in some of the underdeveloped countries that have fallen into difficulty during the world recession. That is a difficult point to argue, because the Opposition will contend that our lending institutions should be doing more in the Third world. However, when those countries run into difficulty, our banks are instantly criticised because they have to face the consequential problems. The American banks were grossly over-extended, notably in Latin America, for broadly political reasons. The German banks were also grossly over-extended, notably in Poland and Turkey. By contrast, the British banks have mostly avoided such imprudent lending. Barclays, for example, has not exposed more than 1 per cent. of its assets in any country except Mexico, where the figure is slightly above 1 per 321 cent. So there is no ground for the criticism that Barclays bank, or any British bank, has become over-extended in its international lending during the world recession.
Barclays' note to the House shows that, at home, too, the bank is moving in a direction that should be welcomed throughout the country. The bank says that the merger will enable it to provide better customer service. I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House are in favour of that. The note also says that the Bill will enable the bank to make more efficient use of the reserves in the Barclays group. That, too, must be right for any part of British industry and commerce. It will also enable the group to compete more effectively against international banking competition.
I can think of no three objectives that make more sense in the context of British industry and commerce today. A Barclays customer will benefit from the Bill, because his requirements for sterling or foreign currency facilities will be efficiently accommodated within the unified banking structure brought about by the Bill. The same goes for multinational customers who expect flexibility front a bank—what is known as "one-stop banking" — and a quick response from a single source in relation to a wide range of services.
The merger will enable the bank greatly to improve its services to such customers, which will in turn greatly improve its ability to earn part of our country's living.
It is worth saying, too, that technological benefits will result from the merger, such as better co-ordination of computer operations and accounting systems. That will achieve savings in capital expenditure, and higher standards of customer care. All those matters are important, and well worth pursuing.
I conclude, as, in some ways regrettably, I began, with a final comment on the matter that the hon. Member for Swansea, East sought to bring to the attention of the House. Barclays bank is probably doing more good for black people in Africa than any other British institution. It is doing so in many black African countries, the best example of which is the great nation of Nigeria. It is a turbulent country, but Barclays bank is in the lead in procuring the necessary arrangements for refinancing Nigeria's extensive debts, notably to ECGD.
Moreover, in many other African countries, as I have seen for myself, Barclays bank and other British banks are helping to provide loans for African housing, for African small businesses, and for the transport structure that helps the African to improve his standard of living. All those things are as true in South Africa and Namibia as they are in other African countries. The hon. Member for Swansea, East has failed to recognise the changes that are taking place in the Union of South Africa, to some extent as a result of international pressure, and to some extent because of improving educational standards of South Africans of all colours and races. These changes are profound. Barclays bank is helping to implement them.
As the hon. Member for Swansea, East read out his cases, including SASOL and other investments that Barclays bank has made in South Africa, I was reminded of the other investments made by Barclays bank, and other banks—in black housing in Soweto and in the small firms that black people have been able to get off the ground in many parts of South Africa.
I conclude with a quotation from an African whom I hope the hon. Member for Swansea, East, although he will never go to South Africa, will one day meet in London. 322 Chief Buthelezi, the leader of the Zulu people, said that if a policy of ceasing to trade with and invest in South Africa were pursued by any British Government, the greatest losers would be Africans. That view, which the hon. Gentleman put to the House tonight, will, I hope, be rejected by the same vote that carries the Bill.
§ Dr. Jeremy Bray (Motherwell, South)
The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) introduced the Bill lucidly and explained its declared purpose. My hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) did the House a signal service by putting the Bill in a wider perspective which could not have been introduced without the sort of reaction that we had from Conservative Members. The Conservative Members present this evening are not the usual ones that one expects to see when the House is debating banking and financial matters. I do not see the right hon. Members for Worthing (Mr. Higgins), and for Taunton (Mr. du Cann), or the hon. Members for Winchester (Mr. Browne) and for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) The Conservative Members present this evening are more interested in the features of Barclays bank that were so eloquently dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East.
The main issue tonight is the effect of the Bill on those who live and work in Britain. I must declare an interest, in that I act as an adviser on parliamentary affairs to the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union. I hope that Conservative Members will be equally frank and inform the House of the extent to which they are financially involved in or have any interest in this area.
The House has debated several bank reorganisation Bills, the latest of which—the Standard Chartered Bank Bill—was discussed in Committee only this afternoon. No previous bank reorganisation Bill has been objected to by hon. Members. They have had a smooth and uninterrupted passage through the House. Therefore, we must ask why this Bill has been objected to, and I draw the attention of Conservative Members to the instruction on the Order Paper in the names of myself and my hon. Friends. For reasons best known to it, Barclays has not followed the action of other banks, which have brought similar Bills to the House, in, first settling matters with its staff.
The declared purpose of the Bill is to create the unified banking structure which the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West rightly said is appropriate in the world today. That unified structure is unexceptionable, and United Kingdom customers certainly need efficient overseas banking facilities and the best possible advice from people who are accustomed to trading in world markets. It is right to combine in one undertaking the experience and specialised knowledge of staff involved in domestic and foreign banking.
However, in a people-centred business — which is very much what banking is—it is all the more surprising that Barclays did not take the trouble to carry its staff with it. I refer especially to Barclays Bank International. I do not understand why the bank chose to go down the path that it did, and it is sowing dragon's teeth for future staff relations.
§ Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)
Is it not true that the Barclays Group Staff Union is satisfied with the 323 assurances given by the bank with regard to its members' future prosperity and security? Since that union represents 37,000 bank employees, compared with the 16,000 represented by BIFU, should not BIFU have followed its lead?
§ Dr. Bray
On the contrary, the staff association to which the hon. Gentleman refers, which is not a trade union, represents no one in Barclays Bank International and has no negotiating rights in that bank.
The Floor of the House is not the place to conduct industrial relations negotiations, and the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West was right to make that clear, but, by our consideration of the Bill, we are doing precisely that. Barclays bank has created a position in which the inevitable consequences of the passage of the Bill will interfere, in a heavy-handed way, with sensitive industrial relations matters that affect the pay, prospects, working conditions and conditions of representation of employees in Barclays bank as it will be after the merger.
The Barclays Group Staff Union has 40,000 members. However, there is some mystery about the numbers, because the total income of the BGSU is incompatible with its declared membership. There must have been some massaging of the figures. The Banking, Insurance and Finance Union has 15,000 members in Barclays Bank plc and 4,000 members—60 per cent. of the total staff—in Barclays Bank International.
The effect of the Bill will be to impose uniform conditions of employment across the two banks. The bank proposes to impose the inferior conditions with respect to the salary scales and conditions of employment in Barclays Bank plc. The higher pay scales of Barclays Bank International will not be preserved. Individual salaries will be preserved only so long as people remain in their present positions. If people move out of those positions, they will move on to the Barclays Bank plc scales. Their prospects are therefore blighted by the adoption of the new structure. This is not an issue for legislation by way of a private Bill. I am sure that when a fair-minded Standing Committee on private Bills sees the evidence and the arguments in detail, it will be bound to advise Barclays bank to reach agreement with its staff on a structure which is acceptable to them and to those who represent them.
There is also a specialised job evaluation scheme in BBI, introduced on the initiative of the management and with the close co-operation of BIFU. It is appropriate to the particular nature of international banking. It will be scrapped, and forced into the straitjacket of a staff structure designed for the existing clearing bank operation in this country. No attempt has been made to take account of changes in the occupational structure of banking or to ask whether there is a new pattern suitable to both banks, which could have been negotiated with the unions before the merger took place, so that an agreement could have been reached before Barclays bank decided to ask for the blessing of the House on an imposed solution.
There are substantial differences in pay between comparable jobs in the two banks. My examples are of comparable jobs selected by Barclays Bank International to put to an arbitrator in the latest wage negotiations. The comparisons were made by Barclays bank and not by BIFU. 324 First, there are the lowest technical grades — for example, trainees and people operating machines. On the BBI scale the minimum salary is £3,309. The Barclays bank salary is £3,207. That is £100 less. Grade eight includes clerical officers in charge of small departments. The maximum salary in BBI is £15,162. In a comparable job in Barclays bank the maximum is £13,807. That is a difference of some £1,300. The difference in maximum pay for a typical cashier job is in the range of £1,400 to £1,700.
The job of a shorthand typist is—heavens above—fairly standard. However, the minimum on the BBI scale is higher than the maximum on the Barclays bank scale by some £700. For computer operations staff, the difference between the salary quoted for comparable jobs is £1,900. Overtime provisions also differ. The salary level up to which overtime is applicable in BBI is £15,162. In Barclays bank it is £11,717—£3,000 less. Salary scales in the two banks cannot be compared. However, Parliament is being asked to intervene and impose scales in a totally improper way on the staff of BBI.
There is also the question of downgrading. It is estimated that one BBI job in five will be downgraded in the merged organisation. In the case of clerical jobs, 72 per cent. of BBI secretarial jobs will be downgraded.
The working week in BBI is 34 hours and 10 minutes. In Barclay bank it is 35 hours. There is a difference of 50 minutes a week.
§ Dr. Bray
On the contrary, the question of an hour a week has brought many industrial disputes to a head.
The action that Barclays bank has taken on the matter shows, I agree, that the bank attaches importance to it. It has negotiated with BIFU to the last minute. The bank met union representatives the day before yesterday, and yesterday too. However, the bank is clearly relying on the steamroller on the Government Benches to put through a totally improper Bill to impose industrial relations practices and structures which are contrary to the interests of those concerned.
§ Sir Anthony Grant
I should like the hon. Gentleman to agree with me on two points. First, on his latter point, does he appreciate that, as I have told the House, Barclays bank will still be open to negotiate as the Bill takes its course through the House?
Secondly, will the hon. Gentleman agree that, taking the figures he has quoted, no one in the clerical, computer or any other grades will be worse off by a penny in his existing grade as a result of the merger?
§ Dr. Bray
Yes — in his present job and grades. However, taking the industry as a whole, the average length of stay in any grade or job is perhaps four years. On average, people will now be halfway through that period. The guarantee will therefore hold for no more, on average, than two years. That is not a very substantial 325 commitment. Of far greater importance to the interests of the employees are the salary structures into which they will move.
It is sensible to ask what factors have led to the substantial differences in pay and conditions between the two organisations. There are two main factors. The first has already been referred to. In Barclays bank the majority of workers are represented by a token staff association which is not affiliated to the TUC and whose officers have a right to return to employment in Barclays bank. That staff association has not seen fit to act in support of BBI employees, whose conditions are being severely prejudiced by the Bill. A union such as that does not deserve to be called a union. It is a cypher.
§ Mr. Dicks
With great respect to the hon. Gentleman, that is a grave insult to the union. The union acts reasonably in negotiations. It is prepared to take into consideration the assurances given by the bank. It represents by far the majority of members of staff in Barclays bank. It is a disgrace for the hon. Gentleman to refer to the union in such a way.
§ Dr. Bray
The reward for such loyal service is the substantially lower salary scales that they enjoy. That is the obvious practical experience of every trade unionist and everyone who has negotiated with trade unions. On the contrary, it is found that the practical salary scale, the structure and the job evaluation scheme are modern and efficient in BBI. That results in co-operation between a trade union and a management and the proper conduct of industrial relations.
Why can that not be applied in the merged bank? The answer is that Barclays bank says that it would like to see it applied. It says that it would like there to be a single trade union. I do not think that even Conservative Members would expect such a single trade union not to be affiliated to the TUC and effectively to have staff seconded from the bank as its principal officers. They would expect it to operate as a proper trade union and to take an independent line in the representation of the interests of its members.
As compensation for the substantial loss of salary prospects, BBI initially offered no compensation at all to its staff in the merged bank. In successive concessions it has now moved up to offering a once-and-for-all payment of 7.5 per cent. of salary. On average that will be a miserable £465. A maximum has been set at £900, which can be achieved only on a salary of £12,000. That is compensation for people whose jobs are rated differently in the two banks to the extent of £1,700 in some cases. Not even that compensation is being offered to BBI managerial, senior clerical and non-clerical staff. It is only reasonable that, in such circumstances, BIFU should have sought a levelling up and Barclays bank should have pointed out the costs of levelling up. That is exactly the substance of industrial relations in collective bargaining. That is the matter that should have been, but has not been, dealt with before the Bill came to the House.
The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West has a great deal of influence with Barclays bank. I hope that he will point out to it that the feeling on, I believe, both sides of the House that we should not intervene in the detailed industrial relations and salary structures of banks is quite strong, and that it would be strongly in the interests of the bank to reach agreement with its employees and the 326 unions before the Bill comes back to the House. It will be difficult easily to complete the Bill's passage unless such an agreement is reached.
The changes that banking has been through will not stop with this merger. Many changes will face some people and some banks. It is an area in which trade unionism has a vital role to play. We have seen how much better BIFU has done than BGSU. BGSU is not independent and is not affiliated to the TUC. Its officers have the right to return to Barclays' employment and it has given no support to BBI employees in the deterioration of their employment conditions. It has loyalties to Barclays bank. All employees and their representatives have such loyalties. It is not an independent trade union.
Barclays bank has offered joint representation. The best solution would be an agreement to the merger of the unions as a free and independent union. I hope that Barclays bank will make more articulate its encouragement of that objective. Until that is achieved, it is a case of what joint representation means. Just as a phrase, it will not satisfy the House later in its proceedings on the Bill. It requires a practical agreement. When the House has dealt with mergers in the past—the biggest that it has dealt with have been the nationalisation statutes—the experience has been that the merger of managements has had a repercussion on the integration of union representation.
Back in 1940, in regard to the National Coal Board, integration on the union side took place quickly and enormously for the benefit of the industry and the people who worked in it. I was concerned with the Bill on the steel industry. We were not able to achieve integration on the union side during or before the passage of the Bill. I think that the steel industry and the people who work in it recognise that they paid a price for the lack of integration of trade union organisation institutions in the steel industry when the managements were merged. In banking, precisely that lesson applies. Having merged the management, to try to divide the trade unions is to store up big trouble for the future. A wise management in these circumstances would have sought the proper modern personnel policy that is appropriate to a big, powerful and important bank such as this, which faces the changes that will continue to take place. The employment issues should have been settled. They always have been in previous bank Bills. Barclays bank has made no real attempt to reach agreement. Agreement must be reached before the House can consider the Bill further.
§ Mr. Ian Wrigglesworth (Stockton, South)
Before the hon. Gentleman leaves his point about joint representation, will he tell us how he can justify the claim that BIFU is making? I have no antagonism towards it and have some sympathy with what the hon. Gentleman has said about conditions of service. Nevertheless, if 50 per cent. of staff at the Barclays group have decided to join the Barclays Group Staff Union, how can it be claimed that BIFU should have sole negotiating rights? Irrespective of whether the hon. Gentleman likes it, what he has claimed has not been accepted by 50 per cent. of the staff. If that is the case, they must surely have negotiating rights through BGSU.
§ Dr. Bray
There is great force in what the hon. Gentleman says. The reality is as I have outlined—there must be joint representation. It is in the nature of merged unions that the merged union which I hope will develop 327 will come about by agreement. I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that the product of that, merged union must be a genuine trade union which is independent of the employer. It cannot be a staff association. That is the hurdle which neither BGSU nor Barclays bank has faced. If they were to see the reality of that, the way would be open to a rationalisation of union representation which would be strongly in the interests of Barclays bank and its employees.
§ Mr. Dicks
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way to me yet again. Surely if the employees of Barclays bank decide that an organisation best represents their needs and wishes, that organisation should be seen as their proper representative. There is almost a case to be made for BIFU merging with the other union.
§ Dr. Bray
If the result was to merge BGSU with BIFU, I am sure that BIFU would be happy, as it has about 170,000 members and would be well able to absorb and improve on the service provided by BGSU. It would be within the wider trade union organisation for the banking and financial community that the future would lie.
I have been trying to conclude my speech for some time. The weight of the argument must lead the House to have grave misgivings about whether the Bill can proceed. I therefore hope that the House will oppose its Second Reading.
§ Mr. Neil Hamilton (Tatton)
The hon. Member for Motherwell, South (Dr. Bray) began his remarks in a manner that was most unfair and rather disparaging of Conservative Members. Few Members can have more of a constituency interest in relation to Barclays bank than I have. At Radbroke hall near Knutsford in my constituency there are between 1,300 and 1,400 Barclays bank workers and one of the petitioners against the Bill is a constituent of mine. Therefore, I entirely reject the hon. Gentleman's claim that we are not qualified to take an interest in the Bill.
To the extent that employees of the bank may be concerned about their future as a result of the Bill, I share the hon. Gentleman's concern. On consideration, however, I am not so concerned as to believe that the Bill should not be given a Second Reading. I am content to rely on the Committee that will be appointed to consider the Bill to take account of the objections raised by the hon. Gentleman, and I have no doubt that, if appropriate, the Bill will be amended.
If the shareholders of Barclays have resolved to promote a Bill to secure the reverse takeover of the bank by its subsidiary, I believe that, so long as the legislation does not override anyone's rights, the House should give the bank what it seeks. Nevertheless, there must be appropriate safeguards to protect the interests of those who may be affected. It is a great pity that the objections voiced by the Opposition today have been of a hysterical, party political nature and wholly irrelevant to the purposes of the Bill and to the bank's role in the world as that rather devalues the real arguments that fall to be; considered.
If the Bill goes through its Committee stage I believe that the concerns expressed by the Opposition today will be taken into account. I am worried, however, that, unless 328 there is some change, the concerns of my constituent who wishes to petition against the Bill will not be taken into account.
The role of the House in relation to private legislation is quasi-judicial in that the promoter and those petitioning against the legislation have to be heard in the same way as parties to litigation, so that both sides have a fair hearing in the Committee. The Standing Orders relating to private business provide that the promoter of the Bill may object to a petitioner's right to be heard on the ground that he has no locus standi—that is, no direct interest in the Bill. Such an objection must be heard by the Court of Referees. In the case of public Bills Members of Parliament can and do raise objections in the Chamber and in Committee. Private Bills, however, are delegated to a small Committee on which we must rely to ensure that the Bill is satisfactory both to the promoter and to any petitioners against it, if the latter are allowed to appear before the Committee. That is in accordance with the principles of fairness that are dear to all Members of the House.
For that reason, it is especially important that the Committee on a private Bill should ensure that the legislation contains proper safeguards to protect the interests of all persons whose rights may be affected. It follows that the Court of Referees should be careful not to allow a promoter's objection to a petitioner if the petitioner can show that his rights will be affected. In my view, any petitioner who can show that the Bill will directly affect his rights, regardless of whether the immediate effect would be adverse, should be granted the right to petition against it. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) has said, Mr. Butcher seeks to petition against the Bill but Barclays objects to his case. No doubt the Court of Referees will bear my comments in mind when it considers his right to be heard by the Committee.
The central purpose of the Bill is to transfer the whole of Barclays' undertaking to Barclays Bank International. This will involve the wholesale transfer of millions of accounts and other contracts held by customers. Without the legislation, that operation would entail an enormous burden for the bank. Thus, in addition to the other benefits that the Bill would confer on the Barclays group, it would save enormous expense and I certainly do not object to that.
It is not unreasonable to inquire about safeguards in the Bill to protect the interests of the millions of people who have contracts with Barclays bank. I regret to say that there are no such safeguards. Unlike the position with British Telecom, it is not intended to set up any organisation to protect customers' interests and no such organisation now exists. It may be argued that customers who feel that they may have suffered as a result of the changes can take their business to other banks and any customer who can do that easily and at no significant expense does not need safeguards. I am sure that many of my hon. Friends will agree that there is no better safeguard than genuine competition. In that context, I regret the lack of competition between the banks in certain areas of activity. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) has pointed out, however, Barclays has introduced a fair amount of competition by reopening on Saturday mornings, which I am sure that the whole House welcomes.
Nevertheless, at least one class of customer may find it difficult and expensive or even, in some cases, 329 impossible, to transfer their business if they believe that they are suffering as a result of the transfer provided for in the Bill. I refer to borrowers who cannot easily repay their loans or transfer them to other banks or lenders. One such class is the relatively new type of borrower from Barclays—the customer who has financed the purchase of a home under the Barclays home mortgage scheme. It is very difficult for a mortgagor to transfer the loan to another lender and such a transfer will in any event involve the expense of a new surveyor's valuation and significant legal costs.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West has said, the transfer of borrowings from Barclays to Barclays International will have no adverse effect on borrowers, and I am content to accept that assurance. As has also been pointed out, Barclays International has the good fortune to be less exposed than some other major banks in this country to the dubious loans that have been made to sovereign borrowers in the Third world. Nevertheless, it has loaned substantial sums to countries such as Nigeria and the Philippines and although the bank looks financially healthy today there is always the risk, however small, that the balance sheet may look less healthy in years to come. If that happens, the bank may find that it has to put pressure on borrowers to reduce their loans or to pay extra interest.
Even if such pressures do not arise, who is to say that Barclays International may not decide to withdraw from the home loans market in the future? As we all know, the banks have blown hot and cold about this in the last couple of years. If it withdrew from the home loans market it could charge interest above market rate to its remaining mortgagors. No doubt it would not be very much above market rate because if it were there would no doubt be a stampede to redeem existing mortgages and find lenders elsewhere. Nevertheless, the House may feel that such risks, however remote, should be taken into consideration. There is no reason why the Bill should not contain a modest provision to protect customers against any unreasonable changes in the terms and conditions of loans, the interest on borrowings, and so on.
Under the home mortgage scheme, Barclays may vary the rate of interest. That is commonplace and entirely right and proper as market rates change from time to time. But is it fair to customers that their mortgages should be transferred to another bank, which they may be less happy to trust not to impose rates above market level? Mr. Butcher has tried to deal with Barclays on this but in my view he has not so far been treated as fairly as he might have been. He tried to discuss the matter with an assistant general manager at Barclays and did so over the telephone but was told that a meeting was not considered appropriate as the assurances given over the telephone should be enough.
§ Sir Anthony Grant
I want to make it absolutely clear that the last thing that the bank wants to do is to be discourteous to Mr. Butcher. It was more than willing to speak to him and the telephone seemed to be the most convenient method to do so. The bank has assured me that it would always be prepared to see Mr. Butcher and discuss matters with him, but that does not necessarily mean that it would agree with him. I have spoken to Mr. Butcher on the telephone, and I would be prepared to see him, but that does not mean that I would necessarily agree with him.
§ Mr. Hamilton
I thank my hon. Friend for that information, and I am sure that Mr. Butcher, too, will be glad to hear it.
I do not oppose the Bill. I merely seek to put the views of my constituent, who is one of the few petitioners against it. I am sure that the assurances given by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West will make us rather more enthusiastic towards his proposals.
With that conciliatory approach, I end my speech on a happy note. I hope that it will be possible during the coming weeks for my constituent to petition against the Bill, if he desires to continue to do so. In any event, I hope that Barclays will be able to accommodate him. I shall not, therefore, oppose the Bill this evening.
§ Mr. Paddy Ashdown (Yeovil)
We have had a relatively wide-ranging debate — at least from the Labour Front Bench — on what seems to me to be a fairly specific subject.
May I first dispose of the issue of apartheid? I yield to no one — nor does my party — in detestation of the apartheid system of South Africa, but while it may be proper and appropriate to deal with the matters that were raised by the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson), we should not allow ourselves to become unbalanced in that direction. This debate is about a specific merger, which has consequences for the efficiency of one of our major institutions and the employment of a large number of people, and which seems to have little relevance to the more general questions.
§ Mr. Ashdown
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to finish what I am saying. One must look at the matter dispassionately and objectively, because in this House we sometimes have rather more knee-jerk politics than politics that involve thought. I take pride in attempting to make objective judgments.
§ Mr. Ashdown
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to develop the point.
There is much to be said for the fact that Barclays has done a great deal to improve its operations in South Africa. It may even be one of the best British companies operating in South Africa in terms of what it is attempting to achieve, but that does not mean that I necessarily agree with it.
Before I give way, I want to say that, although about 80 per cent. of the speech of the hon. Member for Swansea, East was on this subject, he was not very serious about those interventions. Indeed, his speech may have been more the instructions of his own party than his own beliefs, because although it was almost wholly dedicated to that subject, there is no evidence of it on the Order Paper. There is no instruction or amendment to include, for instance, the principle that we should not pass the Brill unless Barclays sold its 55 per cent. holding in South African banks. It seemed to me to be more rhetoric than action.
§ Mr. Hughes
I am always glad to hear members of the Liberal party—or whichever party the hon. Gentleman represents—talking about their own ideological security and casting doubts on the bona fides of others who take a different view. What view does the hon. Gentleman take of the possibility, if Barclays continues its current 331 involvement in South Africa and its current support for the South African Government, that the Barclays assets in this country may well be set at risk when the downfall comes of Barclays in South Africa? Is that not putting his constituents' money at risk?
§ Mr. Ashdown
If I thought that that was happening, I should be worried about the matter. I take the view that that is not what is happening, and that therefore those assets will not be placed in any risk.
I represent my party—the Liberals and the Social Democratic party—and I want to express my view on the subject that has been raised. [Interruption.] I have done a calculation, and, even with one hon. Member on these Benches, we still have nearly twice the percentage of our party present than does the Labour party, which seeks to oppose the Bill.
I come to the Bill itself. On Second Reading we deal with the principle of the Bill, and it is the principle of rationalisation. I shall not spend too long on this subject, because it has been dealt with by other hon. Gentlemen on both sides. We are talking about a curious anomaly—perhaps even an anachronism — in the structure of Barclays whereby it suffers a competitive disadvantage because of its current structure. It therefore wishes to change its structure. We should be in favour of such rationalisation, because it will create greater efficiency, a greater return on profits, greater job security for its work force, and so on.
Moreover, viewing the matter in a slightly wider context, as there is now a shift — which I do not necessarily welcome — away from manufactures into invisibles, we must take all necessary steps to ensure the efficiency of the banking sector as one of those vital and important invisibles. The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) said that Barclays had contributed towards that about £1.7 billion in the total of invisibles on which our country is coming to depend more and more. Therefore, in so far as this is a rationalisation—perhaps overdue—that will provide greater efficiency and flexibility, I greatly welcome the broad principle of the Bill, with some reservations to which I shall come in a moment.
§ Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)
Although I concede that the merger may create greater efficiency and so on, should that efficiency be at the expense of the terms and conditions of the employees? Does he agree that in any merger the position of employees should be protected and that the more favourable terms that currently exist in one banking system should be applied to the whole of the merged group?
§ Mr. Ashdown
I thank the hon. Member for raising that matter, because it introduces the next part of my speech, to which I shall come in a moment.
There is undoubtedly a considerable financial advantage for Barclays in carrying through this reorganisation. I spoke to Barclays today. It could not give me a quantification of the total amount of money that it might save, but the transfers between two of its branches alone cost Barclays £1,250,000. So there will be substantial savings for Barclays in the Bill. While that is a reason for welcoming the Bill, and why I and my party will vote for it this evening, it is nevertheless another 332 reason it can be viewed in another light: is it not therefore a reason for being more generous with its work force than Barclays has so far been?
There is a curious anomaly. If this were a straight takeover — the larger taking over the smaller — there would have been legislative safeguards to protect the terms and conditions of Barclays' employees. But because it is a reverse takeover, no such safeguards exist. In their absence one would have hoped that an organisation of the probity, standing and efficiency of Barclays would have been much more generous with its work force than it appears to have been, particularly as it stands to gain such large sums.
The terms and conditions of employment give me considerable cause for concern. As the hon. Member for Motherwell, South (Dr. Bray) said, some of the work force have been significantly disadvantaged by the reorganisation. The hours worked by employees of Barclays Bank International are reduced—perhaps by only an hour a week, but on the shop floor of British industry that is important. I do not know what the hon. Gentleman's profession was before he became a Member. Perhaps he was a self-employed business man to whom such things do not matter, but on the shop floor of British industry they rightly do.
The reorganisation will also mean a diminution in standards of pay with BBI' s scales being higher. The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West said that that did not affect current rates of pay, but he went a bit further when he said that it would not affect prospects. In reality, it will. He knows and I know that, although current rates of pay will remain the same, on promotion rates of pay will be lower. That will be a considerable diminution in the prospects — to use the hon. Gentleman's words — of some of the members of BBI on the transfer. Indeed, as was said to me today, it will probably result in some of the cheapest promotions in any part of the banking industry.
I understand that holidays within BBI are also better, as are overtime conditions. Although BBI has given an assurance that there will be no redundancies before 1 January 1985, it has nevertheless admitted that it has identified places where such redundancies would occur and has refused to give such an assurance beyond 1 January 1985.
I was greatly reassured when the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West said that those matters are still open for negotiation. I note that the brief that was received from the BIFU today said that on the merger Barclays proposed unilaterally to apply Barclays' conditions. I was reassured by the hon. Gentleman's comments on that.
In the light of the advantages and savings that Barclays bank could achieve as a result of the reorganisation, I should have hoped, as the hon. Member for Motherwell, South said, that, before bringing the matter to the Floor of the House, Barclays would have made a rather better fist of solving those essential problems relating to terms and conditions. I hope that those matters can now be put right.
On Second Reading we are dealing with the principle, not the detail, of the Bill. Other hon. Members have said that this is not an appropriate time to conduct such negotiations. It is sad that the Bill has been brought to the House under conditions where perforce such matters must be discussed, but we hope that they will be discussed in a slightly less public and difficult atmosphere. As the hon. Member for Motherwell, South conceded—his precise 333 words will appear in Hansard tomorrow—no reasonable Committee would allow the terms and conditions before us to pass without a strong recommendation to Barclays. I take the same view. Those matters can be properly resolved in Committee, and I hope that that will be done.
To put it bluntly, I have little or no sympathy with the case that the BIFU is putting forward on union representation. It is seeking to impose, suggest or recommend—the words can be as strong or as weak as one likes — that the representation enjoyed by the minority shall be imposed on the majority. It is that which stops me voting in favour of the amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Motherwell, South. He says that he wishes to seeno change in the pattern of trade union representation".If those words were omitted, or if he were talking about employment conditions before agreement with the work force, I should have agreed, butno change in the pattern of trade union representationseems to give the ultimate veto to BIFU—the smallest union. That would ensure that when the reorganisation came about it would either contain the current anomalies in a strange hybrid organisation where one union had sole rights in one area and part or joint rights in another, or alternatively it would place the smaller union in a position whereby it could effectively veto any further action. That would be bad in terms of common fairness, and in terms of what we are trying to achieve, which is a rational reorganisation.
§ Dr. Bray
The hon. Gentleman is correct in pointing to the absurdity of allowing the situation to develop that he described. In negotiations, a readiness must be shown to move from such a position, but Barclays bank has not yet offered the circumstances in which this could be done. I take the point made by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) that discussions can continue.
§ Mr. Ashdown
I am grateful to hear the hon. Gentleman's reassurance, but I shall have to vote according to the wording on the Order Paper. Although what the hon. Gentleman says may well be the intention, the wording on the Order Paper, in my judgment, gives a veto to the smallest of the unions to impose conditions of representation on the larger unions. I have to disagree with the hon. Gentleman on those grounds. If he had said that the terms of employment of staff in the bank should not be changed, and the merger should not go ahead until that had been agreed, I would have accepted that, but what is proposed opens up too wide a gap for obstruction in the future.
It is difficult to oppose the principle of the Bill, which is what the House is discussing on Second Reading. I believe that it could have a beneficial effect on the efficiency of Barclays bank and, as a result, on the efficiency of an important sector of our banking industry. I believe that the anomalies, difficulties and areas of concern to which I have referred can be tidied up in Committee. I am sad that Barclays bank has sought to bring the Bill to the House with those outstanding areas of concern unresolved. Nevertheless, I believe that, in general, the principle is worth supporting.
I place it on record, however, that, should the Bill return to the House with those areas of concern about 334 employment rights and conditions unresolved after the Committee stage, I and my party may take a different view.
§ 9.6 pm
§ Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham)
I am glad to support my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire. South-West (Sir A. Grant). We live in a free country, and I believe that, in a free country, people should be allowed broadly to do what they like, unless there is some compelling reason for not allowing them to do so. Barclays bank wants to carry out this merger. I see no strong reason to stop it doing so, and I believe that it should be allowed, in broad outline, to go ahead although there is ample opportunity for discussion and amendment on points of detail.
The hon. Member for Motherwell, South (Dr. Bray) said that hon. Members should declare their interests. I have no interest in Barclays bank, except as a customer. I have been a customer of Barclays bank for some 22 years at the Cheapside branch in the City. I have always been treated with efficiency, courtesy and patience, a quality that I am afraid has often been needed by the Cheapside branch.
Your predecessor in the Chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker, said an hour and a half ago that the House could debate the general conduct of the bank. I want to refer to the bank's support for the arts, because, in my capacity as chairman of the Conservative party's parliamentary arts and heritage committee, I know of the splendid record of Barclays bank, which is second to none in its sponsorship of the arts, and in its donations to arts causes. I made inquiries to obtain further details only this evening, although I know of much that it has done previously. It spends approximately £750,000 a year on sponsorship and support of the arts. Sponsorships total about half that amount, between £300,000 and £400,000 annually, and include a particular emphasis on tours by musical, operatic and ballet companies — tours by the London Festival ballet, the Glyndebourne Opera company, Opera North, the Kent Opera, the Bournemouth symphony orchestra all over the south-west of England, and performances not on tour by the Hallé orchestra. Barclays bank supports the national eisteddfod, concerts for children at the Royal Festival hall in London, and concerts of the Royal. Philharmonic society. It also supported a Shakespeare season last year at the Young Vic and has provided for overseas tours by the Royal Ballet company. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West is aware that Barclays bank also supports the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge with special exhibitions, and has supported the local theatre in Cambridge, just as it has in Guildford.
Barclays bank has also provided for a postgraduate award of £10,000 to enable a promising postgraduate student from one of the main art colleges in London, such as the royal college of art, the Chelsea college or the Slade, to paint abroad for a year and to display his works of art in a gallery on returning. For many decades Barclays bank sponsored the D'Oyly Carte Opera company and the Gilbert and Sullivan operas that it used to perform. which spread joy and happiness throughout Britain and the United States of America.
§ Mr. Bermingham
Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that, although such benevolence towards the arts is quite 335 worthy and acceptable and we would all praise that, it would be just as worthy if the bank, in its proposed merger Bill—which is very much in its interests—was equally fair to its employees in ensuring that their wages were not diminished and that their promotion prospects were not damaged? After all, employees will be on the lower scales of wages after promotion in the future.
§ Mr. Jessel
What the bank has done in support of the arts is far more than merely acceptable or commendable; it is highly praiseworthy, and deserves a full and heartfelt commendation by both the House and the country. I have not received any representations on the trade union side. That may be due to the fact that the man who I believe to be the general secretary of the trade union concerned is Mr. Leif Mills. He and I were undergraduates together at Balliol college, Oxford, 25 years ago doing the same course on economics for three years. We were two of the seven who, week after week, attended the same tutorials. I used to argue with him then and I suspect that he knows better than to send me his views now.
§ Dr. Oonagh McDonald (Thurrock)
Is the hon. Gentleman saying that the general secretary of BIFU knows that the hon. Gentleman is much too hard-hearted to be at all concerned about the employment conditions, promotion prospects, salaries and job structure that will result from the proposed merger, and so decided not to approach him? The hon. Gentleman referred to the bank's efficiency, but is not he aware that the negotiations have been going on since November 1982? Surely it is high time that Barclays bank managed to sort out a proper salary structure with its employees?
§ Mr. Jessel
I only know that I have not received any representations from the trade union side, and I can only speculate as to the reason for that. That is what I have done. I am sure that such matters can all be dealt with in detail in Committee. But, if it is necessary for the House to intervene, it will probably do so.
The most important event that Barclays bank has sponsored was the Everest expedition, which under British leadership was the first to climb the highest mountain in the world. I do not recall any complaint being made then by Sherpa Tensing, one of the two men to scale Everest, or by any of the brave company of Gurkhas who provided the expedition's back-up, about racial discrimination on the part of the bank. Opposition Members who have dwelt on the subject simply want to punish the bank in some way. That sort of attitude does not help. Of course there may be some people employed by the bank who have mixed feelings about that. It would not be surprising. The proposed merger will make no difference whereas the removal of the activities of the bank from South Africa would cause unemployment and suffering. To go back to D'Oyly Carte, as was said ofthe flowers that bloom in the springit has nothing to do with the case.
At local level in my constituency Barclays bank provided £1,500 at the time of the Queen's silver jubilee to landscape an area outside its training centre at Teddington.
§ Mr. Jessel
I am not giving way again. As I said, the bank provided £1,500, which is what I asked it to give, and I was grateful that it did so. That was all that was needed, and it was a satisfactory exercise.
I have only one complaint against Barclays bank. In Twickenham the principal town clock is on the wall of the bank's main office, which is in a prominent and obtrusive position in the town. The clock is often out of order; it seldom shows the correct time. People would like to be able to rely on it. If my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West, who I understand is in touch with Barclays bank, can tell me that he will attempt to persuade the bank to overhaul the clock and put it into proper working condition so that people can tell the time, I shall without restraint vote for the Bill.
§ Sir Anthony Grant
I am most grateful to my hon. Friend. He is so persuasive, as he always is, that, although I cannot undertake to repair the clock myself, I shall certainly use my best endeavours to ensure that the bank does so.
§ Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)
The hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) was very entertaining. May I disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) and say that the hon. Gentleman is worth £16,000 a year for that entertaining speech?
I apologise to the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant), because, as he will know, I was not present for the whole of his speech when he was introducing the Bill on behalf of the promoters. He will know from his long experience how difficult it is to be in two places at once. Constituency business called me away.
Let me begin in the time-honoured tradition of the House by declaring an interest, because I am a member of an organisation known as Barclays shadow board. I hasten to say that I receive no remuneration whatsoever for being a part of this purely voluntary body, nor do any of the shadow directors. The shadow board seeks to examine Barclays involvement in South Africa to see how it deals with its business there and to expose its involvement in the apartheid system. In the 1983 annual report of the shadow board, the chairman finished by saying:The shadow board is united in its belief that the bank does not have a liberalizing effect on the apartheid system. It actually helps to maintain minority rule.Once more I should like to stress that only by pulling out of South Africa can Barclays end its financial support for apartheid.
I can understand why Conservative Members and members of Barclays bank feel that it should be allowed to carry on its lawful business without let or hindrance, that it is nothing to do with Parliament how it behaves itself outside this country and that there is gross interference with its liberty to maximise its profits. The bank is entitled to take that point of view, but Parliament 337 has a right and a duty to examine the conduct of British companies in overseas territories, and especially in South Africa, because Parliament and Governments have been very concerned with events in South Africa over many years. It will be within the memory of most hon. Members, certainly Conservative Members, that it was found necessary to set up a code of conduct to regulate the way in which British companies operated in South Africa. I contend that the Bill should not be given a Second Reading unless and until Barclays agree to dispose of its 55 per cent. share in Barclays National of South Africa.
The hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) said that he did not think Opposition Members were serious about the issue because there was no relevant instruction on the Order Paper. I assure him that I am absolutely serious. There are many other things that I could be doing this evening rather than making a speech about Barclays.
I do not believe the instruction on the Order Paper to be good enough. We have had long arguments about the effect of instructions that are translated from the Order Paper into a Bill. I recall a long debate on the British Railways Bill. The British Railways Board was asked under instruction to give certain guarantees on how it intended to keep open a certain railway line. It had to admit that, while it would do its best to ensure that the undertaking written into the Bill would be fulfilled, there was no guarantee for all time.
I suspect that even if there were a relevant instruction on the Order Paper, and even if the eloquence of hon. Members persuaded the House to pass that instruction for inclusion in the Bill, there would be no way in which we could guarantee that Barclays would fulfil its undertaking.
It was argued earlier that Barclays' involvement in South Africa was such a minimal part of its business that it was not worth bothering about. The facts show that that is not the case. Barclays remains the largest bank in South Africa and Namibia, with assets of more than £8 million. Its profits in 1983 rose by almost one third over the previous year to 200 million rand—about £107 million. That is a considerable increase in its return and is one seventh of the bank's worldwide profit. It represents a tripling of Barclay' annual gains since 1980, when profits stood at only 75 million rand.
§ Mr. Nellist
Does my hon. Friend agree that not only does Barclays as an individual operation in South Africa have a considerable stake in apartheid, but is the main bank to Anglo-American, which, as one of the largest companies in South Africa, owns about 60 per cent. of all shares quoted on the Johanesburg stock exchange? Therefore, is not Barclays one of the main planks supporting the apartheid system, not only in finance, but across the whole range of manufacturing and industrial companies?
§ Mr. Hughes
I intend to deal with the way in which Barclays operates in the broader area outside simply the making of profits. It is clear that Barclays has invested heavily in loans especially to ESCOM.
One aspect of its operations especially concerns me, although I accept that the bank has changed its practice in that respect. In 1977 Barclays purchased £6 million worth of defence bonds specially raised by the South African Government to finance their war effort. Nothing was needed to persuade Barclays to invest in war bonds, except that at the time Barclays defended that decision by saying 338 that it was necessary for Barclays to play its part in developing South Africa. It is clear that that development of South Africa meant the development of its war machine.
Barclays does a lot of business in Namibia. I appreciate Barclays' problem to some extent on the wages front—I do not agree with it—and 1 concede that its defence of how it deals with trade unions and various people is that it must operate in South Africa within the law. That defence can perhaps stand up, depending on how closely one examines it but the international Court of Justice has ruled that South Africa's presence in Namibia is illegal, and United Nations resolutions ask business organisations not to take part in the business of running Namibia. Yet Barclays is happy to breach international law where it thinks that it can raise profits.
Barclays is happy to support the military, because that is where the money is. [Interruption.] I think that I heard the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Lloyd) say that Barclays was investing in a business interest in Afghanistan If that is what he said, albeit from a sedentary position, let him vote with me in the Lobby. If he wishes to make that point, I will gladly give way to him. As I think he referred to Afghanistan, let me say that the way in which the South African Government run their affairs in South Africa is no more and no less than an occupation of that country. It may be an internal occupation, but it is an occupation nevertheless.
§ Mr. Ian Lloyd
The hon. Gentleman suggests that it is an occupation of South Africa. He knows well that the European population have been in that country for nearly four centuries. There is no occupation. Nor is it a regime, because the Government there were set up by this Parliament. He should bear that in mind.
§ Mr. Hughes
I am only too well aware of the responsibility which this Parliament has for the present state of affairs in South Africa. If we had not allowed it to get its independence, on the basis that there was no proper representation for the non-whites of South Africa, it would be a different matter. However, the hon. Gentleman is right to say that this Parliament has absolute responsibility for the present state of affairs in South Africa.
As for the proposition of the hon. Member for Havant that the whites have been there for 400 years, is he suggesting that 400 years of presence entitles one totally to dominate a country and refuse any rights of citizenship and democracy to those who form the majority?
§ Mr. Ian Lloyd
It entitles them, most certainly and absolutely, to be there and to play a proportionate part in the Government of that country—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Ian Lloyd
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. From a sedentary position, the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) said, "He is well paid to say that." That is a disgraceful statement, is totally untrue and is a parliamentary slander. If the hon. Gentleman repeats it outside the House, he will pay for it.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I did not hear the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) make the 339 remark that the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Lloyd) claims he made. I hope that he did not make it. If he did, he must withdraw it.
§ Mr. Nellist
I did make it, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I do not withdraw it. I consider someone who accepts a sponsored visit to an apartheid machine such as South Africa to have been bought and paid for. All I said was that he was bought and paid for. Indeed, that is in a motion which is before the House, which has been signed by many hon. Members and which Mr. Speaker has allowed to go through.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
That remark is contrary to the customs of the House, where courtesy and restraint in language are characteristics of our parliamentary debates. I am sure that the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East is sufficiently experienced to be able to communicate his meaning in better language. Mr. Nellist.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I hope that the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East will not make life too difficult for the Chair and will think of other ways to express himself.
§ Mr. Nellist
The words that I used were, "He is well paid for that." That is clear, and without any swear words or unparliamentary language. There are many hon. Members who have directorships, some of whom do not declare them when they rise to speak. The hon. Member for Havant—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. If the hon. Gentleman is merely confirming that he used the words, I must ask him to withdraw them otherwise he is leaving me with no option but to ask him to withdraw from the debate.
§ Mr. Nellist
Perhaps, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you will explain why, "He is well paid for that," is unparliamentary.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. Unless the hon. Gentleman is prepared to withdraw the expression that has given offence to the House and to me, I must warn him that I must ask him to leave the Chamber for the rest of the day's sitting.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I warn the hon. Gentleman again that if he does not withdraw I must ask him to leave the Chamber for the remainder of this day's sitting.
§ The hon. Member, having used a grossly disorderly expression, was ordered by MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER to withdraw the same, but he declined to comply with that direction; whereupon MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER, pursuant to Standing Order No. 24 (Disorderly conduct), ordered him to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of this day's sitting, and he withdrew accordingly.
§ Mr. Hughes
I make it clear to the hon. Member for Havant, who raised the point about the rights of whites in 340 South Africa to live in South Africa, that I uphold that right. I do so, I suspect, with rather more vehemence than he does. People have a right to a place in society in proportion to the size of the population, if that is how he puts it. If the South African Government—the whites—would allow blacks the rights of citizenship and the right to vote, there would soon be some progress. That is what is wrong.
If Barclays bank continues to deal with its employees as it dealt with Bradley Potgieter, who was sacked after he was charged in the courts with wearing a T-shirt advertising a black movement because Barclays said that it did not want its personnel to be engaged in political activities, there will be trouble. What about white employees? Do not the white directors take part in political activities? The bank is still misusing its position and its funds. It is clear that it should be—
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly,
§ That the Bill be now read a Second time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 181, Noes 72.342
|Division No. 177]||[9.32 pm|
|Alexander, Richard||Evennett, David|
|Amess, David||Eyre, Sir Reginald|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Fairbairn, Nicholas|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Fallon, Michael|
|Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.||Farr, John|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Favell, Anthony|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Fletcher, Alexander|
|Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Baldry, Anthony||Forman, Nigel|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Forth, Eric|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Fox, Marcus|
|Beggs, Roy||Franks, Cecil|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay)||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Benyon, William||Grant, Sir Anthony|
|Berry, Sir Anthony||Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Ground, Patrick|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Bottomley, Peter||Harris, David|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Bright, Graham||Heddle, John|
|Brinton, Tim||Henderson, Barry|
|Bruce, Malcolm||Hickmet, Richard|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Hicks, Robert|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.||Hind, Kenneth|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Hirst, Michael|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)||Holt, Richard|
|Carlisle, John (N Luton)||Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)|
|Carttiss, Michael||Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Jackson, Robert|
|Chapman, Sydney||Johnson-Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Chope, Christopher||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Kershaw, Sir Anthony|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Key, Robert|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Knox, David|
|Conway, Derek||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Corrie, John||Lightbown, David|
|Couchman, James||Lilley, Peter|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lloyd, Ian (Havant)|
|Dicks, Terry||Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||Lord, Michael|
|Durant, Tony||McCurley, Mrs Anna|
|Emery, Sir Peter||MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)|
|MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)||Silvester, Fred|
|Maclean, David John.||Sims, Roger|
|Malins, Humfrey||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Marland, Paul||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Speller, Tony|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Spencer, D.|
|Meadowcroft, Michael||Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)|
|Miller, Hal (B'grove)||Spicer, Michael (S Wows)|
|Mills, lain (Meriden)||Stern, Michael|
|Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Mitchell, David (NW Hants)||Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)|
|Molyneaux, Rt Hon James||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Sumberg, David|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Taylor, John (Solihull)|
|Murphy, Christopher||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Neale, Gerrard||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Normanton, Tom||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Oppenheim, Philip||Thorne, Neil (Ilord S)|
|Page, John (Harrow W)||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Thurnham, Peter|
|Parris, Matthew||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Trotter, Neville|
|Penhaligon, David||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Pollock, Alexander||Waddington, David|
|Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)||Walden, George|
|Powley, John||Walker, Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Wallace, James|
|Proctor, K. Harvey||Ward, John|
|Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Watson, John|
|Raffan, Keith||Watts, John|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Weetch, Ken|
|Rathbone, Tim||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Renton, Tim||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Whitfield, John|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Whitney, Raymond|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Wood, Timothy|
|Rossi, Sir Hugh||Woodcock, Michael|
|Rowe, Andrew||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Ryder, Richard||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')||Mr. Jerry Wiggin and Mr. Toby Jessel.|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Anderson, Donald||Gould, Bryan|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Hamilton, James (M'well N)|
|Barnett, Guy||Haynes, Frank|
|Barron, Kevin||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Boyes, Roland||Hoyle, Douglas|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)||Lambie, David|
|Buchan, Norman||Lamond, James|
|Campbell, Ian||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Lewis, Terence (Worsley)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)||Loyden, Edward|
|Craigen, J. M.||McCartney, Hugh|
|Crowther, Stan||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Dalyell, Tam||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)||McKelvey, William|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'I)||McWilliam, John|
|Dixon, Donald||Madden, Max|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Marek, Dr John|
|Eadie, Alex||Martin, Michael|
|Eastham, Ken||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Maxton, John|
|Faulds, Andrew||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)|
|Fisher, Mark||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||O'Brien, William|
|George, Bruce||Patchett, Terry|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Pike, Peter|
|Golding, John||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Robertson, George||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Rogers, Allan||Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)|
|Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)|
|Rowlands, Ted||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Skinner, Dennis||Mr. Gerald Bermingham and Mr. Bob Clay.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read a Second time and referred to the Examiners of Petitioners for Private Bills.
Motion made—[Dr. Bray]—and Question put,
That it be an Instruction to any Committee to whom the Bill may be referred not to allow the Bill unless they are satisfied that no change in the pattern of trade union representation or in the terms of employment of staff in the banks affected by the Bill will occur as a result of the proposals of the Bill without the agreement of the staff and their trade union representatives.
§ The House divided: Ayes 77, Noes 196.344
|Division No. 178]||[9.44 pm|
|Anderson, Donald||Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Hoyle, Douglas|
|Barnett, Guy||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Barron, Kevin||John, Brynmor|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Boyes, Roland||Lambie, David|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Lewis, Terence (Worsley)|
|Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Buchan, Norman||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Campbell, Ian||Loyden, Edward|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Canavan, Dennis||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||McKelvey, William|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||McWilliam, John|
|Clarke, Thomas||Madden, Max|
|Clay, Robert||Marek, Dr John|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)||Martin, Michael|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton North)||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Craigen, J. M.||Maxton, John|
|Crowther, Stan||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)||O'Brien, William|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'I)||Patchett, Terry|
|Dixon, Donald||Pike, Peter|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Eadie, Alex||Robertson, George|
|Eastham, Ken||Rogers, Allan|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Rowlands, Ted|
|Fields, T. (L 'pool Broad Gn)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Fisher, Mark||Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)|
|Foulkes, George||Spearing, Nigel|
|Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|George, Bruce||Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Hamilton, James (M'well N)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Haynes, Frank||Mr. Andrew F. Bennett and Mr. Hugh McCartney.|
|Heffer, Eric S.|
|Alexander, Richard||Benyon, William|
|Amess, David||Berry, Sir Anthony|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Biffen, Rt Hon John|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter|
|Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.||Bonsor, Sir Nicholas|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Boscawen, Hon Robert|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)|
|Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)||Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)|
|Baldry, Anthony||Braine, Sir Bernard|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Brandon-Bravo, Martin|
|Batiste, Spencer||Bright, Graham|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Brinton, Tim|
|Beggs, Roy||Bruce, Malcolm|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay)||Bryan, Sir Paul|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.||Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Carlisle, John (N Luton)||Heddle, John|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Henderson, Barry|
|Carttiss, Michael||Hickmet, Richard|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Hicks, Robert|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hind, Kenneth|
|Chope, Christopher||Hirst, Michael|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Holt, Richard|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)|
|Conway, Derek||Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)|
|Cope, John||Hunt, David (Wirral)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Jackson, Robert|
|Corrie, John||Johnson-Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Couchman, James||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Kershaw, Sir Anthony|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Key, Robert|
|Dicks, Terry||Knox, David|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||Lang, Ian|
|Durant, Tony||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Evennett, David||Lightbown, David|
|Eyre, Sir Reginald||Lilley, Peter|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Lloyd, Ian (Havant)|
|Fallon, Michael||Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)|
|Farr, John||Lord, Michael|
|Favell, Anthony||McCurley, Mrs Anna|
|Fletcher, Alexander||MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)|
|Forman, Nigel||Maclean, David John.|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Major, John|
|Forth, Eric||Malins, Humfrey|
|Fox, Marcus||Marland, Paul|
|Franks, Cecil||Mates, Michael|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Glyn, Dr Alan||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Goodlad, Alastair||Meadowcroft, Michael|
|Grant, Sir Anthony||Miller, Hal (B'grove)|
|Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)||Mills, Iain (Meriden)|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)||Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)|
|Ground, Patrick||Mitchell, David (NW Hants)|
|Hamilton, Hon A, (Epsom)||Molyneaux, Rt Hon James|
|Harris, David||Monro, Sir Hector|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Stern, Michael|
|Murphy, Christopher||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Neale, Gerrard||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Neubert, Michael||Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)|
|Normanton, Tom||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|Page, John (Harrow W)||Sumberg, David|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Parris, Matthew||Taylor, John (Solihull)|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Penhaligon, David||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Pollock, Alexander||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Powley, John||Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Proctor, K. Harvey||Thurnham, Peter|
|Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Raffan, Keith||Trotter, Neville|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Rathbone, Tim||Waddington, David|
|Renton, Tim||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Walden, George|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Walker, Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)||Wallace, James|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Ward, John|
|Rossi, Sir Hugh||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Rowe, Andrew||Watson, John|
|Ryder, Richard||Watts, John|
|Sainsbury, Hon Timothy||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)||Whitfield, John|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')||Whitney, Raymond|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Wilkinson, John|
|Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Silvester, Fred||Wood, Timothy|
|Sims, Roger||Woodcock, Michael|
|Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Speller, Tony||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Spencer, D.||Mr. Jerry Wiggin and Mr. Toby Jessel.|
|Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)|
§ Question accordingly negatived