HC Deb 04 June 1984 vol 61 cc32-63
Mr. Bruce Milan (Glasgow, Govan)

I beg to move amendment No. 3, in page 3, line, 26, at beginning insert '(1)'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments:

No. 4, in page 4, line 7, at end add— `(2) In section 1 of the Industrial Development Act 1982 for subsection (7) there shall be substituted the following subsection: (7) An order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument and shall not be made unless a draft of it has been approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.".'.

No. 5, in clause 5, page 4, line 18, after 'paragraph', insert `(a)'.

No. 6, in page 4, line 20, leave out from 'of to end of line 21 and insert `subsection (7) of that section'.

No. 53, in clause 7, page 5, line 10, after 'instrument', insert `such day not being earlier than one year after the date of the statutory instrument'.

No. 47, in schedule 1, page 13, line 14, leave out from beginning to 'the' in line 19.

Mr. Millan

Amendment No. 3 is a paving amendment for the other more substantive amendments, especially Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 47, which deal with the statutory instrument procedure. I act as the parliamentary adviser to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, which has expressed serious reservations and criticisms about the Bill and the White Paper. Some of the amendments reflect the views that it has expressed.

The purpose of the amendments is to substitute the positive procedure for statutory instruments for the negative procedure that is contained in various parts of the Bill. This is a familiar argument, and every Opposition try to change every example of the negative procedure into the positive procedure. However, there is a substantial case for doing so in this instance. The Bill is very much a framework of provisions, and the way in which regional aid develops over the next few years will be significantly affected by the orders that are produced by Ministers.

One of the purposes of the Bill is to reduce spending on regional aid by about £150 million to £200 million a year. We reckon that Scotland may lose about £70 million-worth of regional aid a year. Those of my hon. Friends who represent other parts of the United Kingdom are aware that the areas which they represent will suffer similar reductions. If the Government's policy is implemented to the extent that I have mentioned, it will have disastrous consequences for many development areas.

Much of the proposed saving will be achieved by parliamentary order and we shall not have a proper opportunity to debate the Government's proposals. We all know that the opportunities for debate are extremely limited when an order is laid. I strongly object—I think that my right hon. and hon. Friends share my objection—to the negative procedure being adopted in various parts of the Bill. I base my objection on the framework of the Bill and the fact that the Bill was introduced before the final consultation period on the White Paper had expired. There are other arguments which I could deploy, but I do not wish to do so while moving the amendment. We can take up some of the arguments when we discuss subsequent amendments.

Given the unsatisfactory framework of the Bill, I wish to introduce the maximum protection that is possible for development areas when subsequent Government actions take place. Amendment No. 4 substitutes the positive procedure for the negative procedure, which is provided for by section 1(7) of the Industrial Development Act 1982. That subsection allows changes in development areas to be made by statutory instrument, subject to the negative procedure. One of the ways in which the proposed massive saving will be made is by removing development area status from certain areas which now enjoy it. That can be done by means of an instrument which is subject to the negative procedure.

There is considerable apprehension in many areas of Scotland — I imagine that the same is true in development areas in England and Wales — that development area status will be removed from them. In July 1979, shortly after the Government took office, there was a significant reduction in development area status and many areas had aid status removed from them completely, while others had their status reduced to that of an intermediate area. That can be done by an announcement in the House and the use of the statutory instrument procedure, which means that we are not even guaranteed a debate.

The entire framework of the Bill is highly unsatisfactory, but we can improve matters slightly if we adopt the positive procedure in place of the negative procedure provided for by the 1982 Act.

Amendments Nos. 5, 6 and 7 have a similar objective in a slightly different context. Schedule 1, which is extremely complicated, is a rewrite of part II of the 1982 Act. The element of discretion that will be given to Ministers under the new scheme is frightening. Virtually everything will be within their determination by means of orders laid by the Secretary of State. The power which the schedule will give to Ministers is frightening.

Some of the measures which can be made, and which can have serious consequences for activities in particular areas, are subject to change at the whim of Ministers by means of a statutory instrument. To be fair, some of the statutory instruments will be subject to the positive procedure. If, for example, Ministers change the prescribed percentage of grant payable on capital expenditure, that measure will, I understand, be subject to the positive procedure. The same is true for the prescribed amount payable for jobs.

We must also consider changing the activities which will qualify for help under the schedule, which are subject only to the negative procedure. The major matter of qualifying activities has aroused a tremendous amount of interest. There is no reason why service industries as distinct from manufacturing industries should be dealt with by statutory instrument, subject only to the negative procedure. Amendments Nos. 5, 6 and 47 would bring any changes in the qualifying activity into the positive procedure of the House. That means that the Government would need to produce draft orders, which would be subject to approval by the House.

4.30 pm

In view of the anxiety about the development 'areas and also about many other regions which hope to be development areas, I hope that the Government will accept these changes.

Amendment No. 53, which stands in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) and others, has been grouped with amendment No. 3. I strongly agree with the purpose of amendment No. 53, which would write into the Bill a provision for a year's delay before any major change that is made by statutory instrument is implemented. It is a valuable amendment, and I hope that the House will accept it.

Mr. Williams

I endorse entirely the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan). This legislation will enable Ministers to implement changes that cart condemn some areas of the country to continuous rundown. Such changes will all be made under an order procedure. What is more, some parts of the legislation will be implemented without any guarantee that the House will have the minimal hour and a half debate that occurs with an affirmative resolution procedure. I am delighted that my right hon. Friend moved the amendment. We dealt with the matter in Committee. We intend to vote for amendments Nos. 4 and 53. These measures are of concern to some of my hon. Friends who have constituency problems. The debate on amendment No. 53 provides them with an opportunity to point in detail to the need for proper consultation after the Government have reached their decision.

We are at the stage at which the Government have undertaken their consultative process, have completed their consultations, and are deliberating on the basis of those consultations. Even under the affirmative procedure, the changes in the map, which are likely to be substantial, can in no way be properly considered in a mere hour and a half.

It is four years since the last change in the assisted area map, when we were promised that Ministers would take into account any modifications that occurred in the period after the initial proposals were put forward. On behalf of west Glamorgan — my part of south Wales — I took deputations to see the then Secretary of State. I was assured that, if any adverse changes occurred, he would reconsider the downgrading of west Glamorgan. I know that numerous hon. Members had the same experience. Yet, as closure followed closure, as hundreds of redundancies followed hundreds of redundancies and as one piece of bad news followed another, there was no reconsideration. Four years later we are at last seeing the possibility of change, but, because of the nature of the Government's objective in introducing the Bill, none of us looks to the changes that are likely to be implemented with any enthusiasm or hope.

We recognise that it is probable that there will be massive descheduling or downgrading into intermediate area status, if that status survives. The Minister made the point in Committee that there was no guarantee that intermediate area status will continue. I hope that the Government intend to sustain that status, although not if it is intended to be a slot into which the Government put everything simply because it costs next to nothing as a result of being excluded from the regional development grant system.

We could, in the autumn, be faced with changes in the map affecting between 100 and 200 hon. Members and their constituents. We may be offered, at best, one and a half hours to debate the changes, of which half an hour must be taken up by the Minister, effectively leaving one hour for other hon. Members. That means less than one minute per hon. Member to make representations against the changes affecting constituencies. That is nonsensical and unacceptable.

Hints have been made about certain changes. There is a possibility of scheduling the west midlands. We do not as yet know whether that will happen. I accept that Ministers probably do not know either, because they are still assessing the results of the consultation. That decision alone, the inclusions, exclusions and appropriate gradings, would merit more than a one and a half hour debate—before a debate on what is happening elsewhere in the country.

Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse (Pontefract and Castleford)


Mr. Williams

There are deep-seated problems in some areas including, as my hon. Friend said, on Merseyside and in the north, in Scotland and in Wales. Each of those areas has a substantial case to put forward. We shall have a debate of only one and a half hours in which to consider the effect of the Minister's consideration under the consultative procedures. That is utterly inadequate. We want assurances about the type of debating time to be made available to the House.

What would happen if the Minister decided to abandon intermediate area status? What would happen if intermediate area status were to become the dustbin into which the Government dumped nearly everything to avoid significant costs? We want an opportunity to discuss those matters in detail, as well as the rate of regional grant, qualifing activities and the level of job grant. Those technical aspects on their own merit a full day's debate before we discuss the map, which is probably a paramount matter in the minds of my hon. Friends who hope to participate in the debate today. We are assured only of a one and a half hour debate. We want a time lapse between the Goverment's announcement of their decision on the new map and its implementation. That is what amendment No. 53 is about and the matter on which we intend to vote. Hon. Members representing many of the areas that may be affected by downgrading or inadequate grading will want to visit the Department to have discussions before the decision is implemented and before the damage is done.

For those reasons, I urge my hon. Friends to support amendment No. 53. I have no doubt that many of my hon. Friends will take the opportunity to talk about the problems in their areas, which would be exacerbated if an incorrect decision were taken about the map.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. It might help the House if I say that amendment No. 53 is being discussed with the other amendments. I understand that the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) wishes to have a separate vote on amendment No. 53. He will be able to do that later when we reach that stage, when I shall ask him to move the amendment formally.

Mr. Lofthouse

I am grateful to have the opportunity to support amendment No. 53. I believe that it is essential to have a time lapse of about 12 months, as provided for in the amendment, to give the Government time to consider changes to the map, not just for those areas which retain their assisted area status, but for the ever-increasing number of areas where new industrial development is not keeping pace with job losses in their traditional industries.

The evidence shows that the disparity between employment in the south-east and in the development areas continues to increase. For similar reasons the differences in other areas, many of which were recognised as intermediate areas in 1981, continue to increase. In those areas the traditionaal industries continue to lose employment at a rate which was not envisaged when they were intermediate areas. They are now showing all the characteristics of economic decline, with its associated problems. There is a loss of the younger, more mobile population and a gradual rundown of the infrastructure and services. The five-towns area which covers the whole of my constituency and parts of the constituencies of my hon. Friends the Members for Normantion (Mr. O'Brien) and for Hemsworth (Mr. Woodall) has had a population loss of 2.6 per cent. over the 10 years 1971 to 1981. In Featherstone and Castleford it is 8 per cent. and 5.4 per cent. respectively.

It is believed that the bulk of that loss is the result of net migration. There was a small migrational movement between 1961 and 1971, despite a large inflow of miners and their families to Knottingley to mine the Kellingley mine, but the outward movement has increased over the past 10 years. Those problems were seen at the time of the Hunt committee, and regional policy at that time attempted to arrest that process in the early stages. Recently, national policies have accelerated the loss of employment from the older industries and removed the only tools which many areas had available to encourage compensating employment.

4.45 pm

In a recent submission to the Secretary of State for the Environment the Wakefield metropolitan district council showed that a large local authority, such as Wakefield, with a wide range of environmental, economic and social conditions within its boundaries, can contain substantial declining urban areas. They are problems which remain hidden when crude analyses are made. The district council claims, and I support its view, that such an area exists within Wakefield and is known as the five-towns area. It comprises the towns of Castleford, Normanton, Featherstone, Pontefract and Knottingley. In total the area has a population of almost 116,000. The report illustrates the problems the area bears and which, for a number of reasons, are often overlooked.

National analyses of deprivation are usually based upon statistics relating to complete local authorities. Such statistics were used by the Department of the Environment as background to the announcement by the Secretary of State that 11 new authorities were to be given status under the Inner Urban Areas Act 1978. The five towns form a self-contained area—a complete employment travel-to-work-area — of 116,000 people whose problems are masked by the remainder of the district. The statistics for the five towns compare favourably with those of local authorities recently given inner area status. One of those authorities is, in fact, smaller than the five towns.

My constituency lost its intermediate area status in 1981, when unemployment was just above the national average. It has since fought a losing battle against redundancies and closures in the mining, glass and chemical industries. Last year saw 1,000 jobs lost in the glass industry alone. The future continues to look bleak, with the recent decision to close Glasshoughton colliery and the expected reduction of manpower of about 400 jobs from further colliery reorganisations.

Those are the job losses already identified, but the future of the collieries in the constituency is at present unknown. The Selby coalfield will come on to full production in the near future and will mine 10 million tonnes of coal a year with a work force of 4,000. It will probably replace some of the production in the north Yorkshire area of the National Coal Board. It is possible that there will be many more redundancies. The present male unemployment rate is 15 per cent. That is rising and will increase rapidly.

Economic circumstances demand that a wider coverage of assisted areas be created. There should be at least one wide category, which would create eligibility for European regional development funds. The loss of access to those funds in 1981 was a blow to many areas.

In addition, there must be wider criteria for the selection of assisted areas, with greater emphasis on industrial and socio-economic structure and youth employment. All factors which assist in identifying areas of impending decline should be considered. It is not sufficient to wait until redundancies raise unemployment to unacceptable levels before action is taken. The Government must not be fooled by conditions in the southeast. They must realise that in most regions which are dependent upon traditional industries conditions will worsen before they improve. If regional policy is insensitive to what is happening in those areas, the spiral of decline may be unstoppable.

My constituency is one of the areas which I have just described. The assisted areas map excludes many areas where the problems are so serious that action is necessary. I should place the Castleford travel-to-work area within that category.

If decline is to be tackled at the outset, it is necessary to extend the assisted area levels to at least those which existed before the last changes. The Government should accept amendment No. 53 and allow the 12-month breathing space to cover circumstances which they probably cannot now envisage, because it would appear at least possible that many of the mining communities will be wiped out, with all the consequential job losses.

The Government have an obligation to channel work into such areas and give them the status required to do so. If the Government accept the amendment there will be some hope for those areas which otherwise will become industrial deserts.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

I support the amendments moved by the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan), who put a powerful case for introducing the positive procedure for such changes. I want also to add a few comments to the arguments in favour of the amendments.

None of those hon. Members who represent areas such as the north, Scotland, Wales, the north-west and other areas that have experienced the dreadful industrial decline of recent years will be unaware of the close interest taken by the House in these vital matters. Ministers of the Department which is at the receiving end of representations will also be aware of the views that are held. There must be some way of rating Government Departments according to the number of deputations that they receive and I would be surprised if the Department of the Environment and the Minister responsible for regional development were not high in the list for representations on these matters. In perhaps 90 per cent. of cases, local Members of Parliament will be involved.

Not only in the areas hardest hit by the recession but in the whole country unemployment, factory closures and the movement of new firms into constituencies are the meat of the work that Members of Parliament do. It is, therefore, surely right that when any changes are made in the level of grant or in the areas covered by the mar) of regional development aid, hon. Members should have an opportunity to debate the changes so that their input and the views of their constituents can be taken into account.

Hardly anything generates more anger and despair in our constituencies than the question of industrial development. The standing of hon. Members, and Parliament itself, will be considerably undermined if constituents are unable to see their Members adequately representing their views here when fundamental changes take place. Hon. Members understand the industries in their own constituencies and areas. They understand the implications for their constituents of the high levels of unemployment, the closures and the lack of growth of recent times. They, more than anyone else, can represent the feelings, views and interests of their constituents when such matters are under discussion.

I strongly support the amendments, both as a northerner and as the representative of a northern constituency, but I have another reason for supporting them. The alliance believes that there is a powerful case for a redistribution of resources from the better-off regions to the less well-off. We believe that that should be done openly and with full debate and discussion. It should not be done by sleight of hand. People should understand what is taking place, and that it is being done for the right reasons. I believe that people in the better-off regions genuinely wish aid and support to go to the areas ravaged by industrial dereliction in recent years. I believe that those in the relatively better off regions will support the case for helping new industries in towns that have been devastated in recent times. No one who has seen the closures in the northern region or the devastation in towns such as Liverpool could be uncaring about the consequences of such closures. In towns such as Consett and Hartlepool one can see the social and industrial devastation caused by the major closures of recent years, and it is right that resources should be redistributed to help such areas get back on to their feet and to help them at least to maintain the relative position that they enjoyed in times past. They should not be allowed constantly to fall behind the growth in other parts of the country.

For those reasons, I hope that the House will support the amendments and will ensure that we have a full opportunity to debate changes that will fundamentally affect not only the industrial prospects but the whole social fabric of the regions. Those are matters upon which hon. Members have deep feelings and clear views, which they should be allowed to express.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

When parliamentary colleagues of all parties have taken great trouble over, and spent much time on, the Committee stage of a Bill, I am in principle hesitant about other Members muscling in at a later stage, on the Floor of the House, for one purpose or another. That is the position that I am in, but my right hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) said that amendment No. 53 provided an opportunity for hon. Members to raise constituency problems, and I therefore ask hon. Members to forgive me for intervening. I shall be succinct.

The Minister will recall how courteously he treated my hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) and myself in relation to British Leyland, when we saw him at Victoria street. The Bathgate situation demonstrates why we should use the positive procedure rather than the negative procedure, or the hammer of debate, under Standing Order No. 10.

Partly because of the debate on Bathgate, the situation has changed somewhat in the past 10 days. There is a serious bidder—that is my opinion, and I have seen him for three and a quarter hours—for part at any rate of the biggest concentration of machine tools under a single roof in Europe. I do not mention this at the bidder's wish. I believe that he would have wished to keep the matter under wraps until after Thursday's meeting. However, for one reason or another, the decision of Mr. Charles Nickerson of Track Marshall to take an interest in that concentration of machine tools has become public.

I think that it is legitimate gently to ask the Department of Trade and Industry a question. Is it prepared to give all possible support to the Scottish Office, the Secretary of State himself, Dr. Gavin McCrone and others who—together with West Lothian district council, Lothian regional council, the trade unions and, I believe, the Scottish CBI—are trying to put together a constructive package?

This is a grey area. I suspect that, like me, officials have no clear idea of what powers exist when there is a willing seller, when that willing seller has certain obligations under the redundancy payments legislation and has already offered enhanced redundancy payments, and when a possible buyer may encounter problems in taking on the debt obligations involved in the enhanced redundancy payments.

I put it to the Department, as seriously and gently as I can, that in a situation in which the rules are less than clear we should at least be able to count on its good will and best endeavours within the law to help out so that a constructive package does not come to grief through being bound up with red tape and difficulties in interpreting the regulations.

5 pm

Any transition period is bound to be difficult, and if Charles Nickerson is to become involved he wants to do so fairly soon for the sake of morale and to prevent from arising problems associated with a wind-down in a great industrial undertaking. I do not believe that he is anyone's creature or stalking horse. I believe that a perfectly genuine interest has been shown by this young firm, which has had great success in Lincolnshire and is involved in the Bathgate operation as a customer. I hope, therefore, that all possible help will be provided.

I rather favour letting bygones be bygones, but I was somewhat distressed at the style of the Secretary of State's announcement. I thought that he went over the top. Nevertheless, we should put that behind us. I mentioned it only because it received such wide coverage in the Scottish press. Even the Sunday Post, which is scarcely a Labour newspaper, commented on the lack of good will on the part of the Secretary of State in making the announcement.

Normally, it would be superfluous to ask for the good will of the Department of Trade and Industry, but in a complex situation involving so many jobs, both directly and through the knock-on effect, I wish to check that there is the maximum good will from the Secretary of State and the Department. Some of us feel that we have done our bit in that, whatever our doctrinal reservations about taking over a publicly owned industry, and, despite criticism from some of our political friends in the trade unions and elsewhere, we have made it clear that we are prepared to back the Nickerson bid as a possible means of saving an extremely important part of British industry and doing something to hold back the deindustrialisation of Britain.

The Minister knows the background. I seek from him the assurance that in every possible way the new circumstances will be given a fair wind, not just by the Scottish Office, which has already promised it, but by the Department of Trade and Industry. Inevitably, in circumstances of this kind, every Member of Parliament will plead for his own. Nevertheless, I believe that there is now an overwhelming case for granting the special development status requested by both the Conservative-controlled Lothian regional council and the Labour-controlled West Lothian district council.

Mr. Don Dixon (Jarrow)

I support amendment No. 53, which provides for a delay of 12 months before any alteration in the map, because any alteration will not be to extend regional support but to redistribute a smaller cake. The hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Wrigglesworth) referred to the constant need for constituency Members to lead deputations to Ministers as a result of closures. Most of our constituency time is now taken up with such matters.

The north of England has a branch plant economy in that decisions about the future of 80 per cent. of the manufacturing industry in the area are taken elsewhere. The amendment would impose a delay if the Minister sought to alter the map and to deprive certain areas of development area status. Like the White Paper on regional development and the legislation of 1979, the Bill is merely a disguise for a cut in regional development grant.

My area of the northern region has the highest rate of unemployment on the mainland of Great Britain and the northern region has one of the highest unemployment rates in the EEC. In 1980, more than 90 EEC regions had lower unemployment rates and only 10 had higher unemployment rates. One sixth of the working population in the northern region is now on the dole—I am talking not about percentages, but about human beings with families to keep—and four out of 10 of them have been out of work for more than 12 months. That is one of the reasons why constituency Members get so emotional when new closures are announced. Women in my area are especially hard hit, many of them not even bothering to sign the register, and the number of young people out of work for more than 12 months increased by more than two thirds between October 1981 and October 1982. Nearly 60 per cent. of the unemployed in the northern region are unskilled or semi-skilled.

That is why we support the 12-month delay proposed in amendment No. 53 so that Members representing areas of that kind can make representations to Ministers on behalf of their constituents before any alteration in the map. It is a sensible amendment and there is no reason why the Minister should not accept it.

Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) referred to Merseyside. I mention it loudly and clearly because my constituency is a Merseyside constituency. Listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse), it occurred to me that his constituency and mine were almost identical, divided only by the Pennines, as both had a high content of coal and glass as traditional industries. About a third of the shrinking Lancashire coalfield is in my constituency and at one time the area contained the heart of the glass industry, although about 10,000 jobs have been lost in that sector since the late 1970s.

If amendment No. 53 is accepted, authorities such as the St. Helens metropolitan district council and the Merseyside county council — if, as we all hope, the latter continues in existence — will have more time to add to the detailed representations already made to the Government. I am sure that the Minister, like me, has received the lengthy and detailed documentation submitted by the county council setting out the complex problems of Merseyside, as well as the equally detailed submissions from St. Helens district council describing the problems and difficulties of the borough. Those representations need to be considered in detail, which is why I support amendment No 53. It will give time for us to support, and add to, the representations as and when the new map is published.

I accept that revisions to the map were needed. My metropolitan borough contains both special development and development status areas. However, there are also areas with no status, such as the Newton-le-Willows area, which lies in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans). Because they have no status, they have high unemployment. According to figures that I have just received from the district council, 19.6 per cent. of the active male population in my area is unemployed. That shows the problems that we face.

The only decent part of clause 4 is that which allows the map to pick out wards for special treatment. That is good because certain areas in the north-west have unemployment rates as high as 60, 70 and 80 per cent. However, those areas may lie within a large conurbation with an overall rate that is not so high. Aid needs to he brought to the pockets of high unemployment because once the rate rises above 20 per cent. it becomes intolerable. Indeed, at 18, 16 or 10 per cent. unemployment is still intolerable, but when it goes above 20 per cent. it is a national disgrace. In my constituency there are areas and streets where those going to work are the exception rather than the generality.

The north-west has ancient industries that are either changing through modern technology or are closing—often because of Government policy. That is happening in the coal industry now, as it has already happened in the steel-related products industry—there are no steelworks as such. St. Helens has seen the loss of its chemical industry and the glass industry has been shattered by Government policy. I make no apologies for so describing it. My hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford has also experienced the problems of the glass industry in his area because of the lack of any sensible energy conservation policy.

I have said on many occasions that it is quite ridiculous that we are encouraged to conserve energy, while the Budget then takes away the VAT advantages for energy conservation products. However, this afternoon is not the time to go down that avenue, other than to say that it creates unemployment in regions that already have grave unemployment.

If the clause remains as drafted there will be no time to debate the alterations to the map. There will be no opportunity for hon. Members to vote on the changes to be made. We shall not have the opportunity to discuss the damning effects of the alterations on the northern areas, and especially on Merseyside and St. Helens. Those areas need considerable help if they are to have the advantages of reinvestment and redevelopment that are currently being enjoyed by the south-east.

5.15 pm

Unemployment rates in the south-east are much lower than in the north-west. I would gladly swap my unemployment rate for that of the south-east tomorrow. My constituents would be absolutely delighted if my area had unemployment rates of 8, 9 or 10 per cent. rather than 19.6 per cent.

St. Helens originally held special development area status, but on 1 August 1980 it was reduced to development area status. What has happened since then? It is a simple and sorry tale. St. Helens has lost more and more factories, firms and jobs and has steadily gone downhill. I unreservedly support what the local authority has been doing to attract employment, but by whatever means it uses it can in no way match the general economic pattern that has destroyed jobs. That is the background against which we must live and operate.

Part II of the Bill will take between £150 million and £200 million out of the development economy. That may not be a large amount in the overall budget figure, but those who have to live and work in areas of high unemployment, in aging industries and with continual job losses, will be badly affected. Our youngsters are conditioned to the dole queue before they leave school. The chance of a youth leaving school this summer finding a job is as low as one in 20. The withdrawal of £150 million to £200 million means the difference between some hope and no hope at all. The Bill contains the seedcorn of the new map. It will lay the pattern that will affect the industrial areas. That is why so many Opposition Members feel strongly about the Bill.

I think that we all agree that some tidying up was necessary — but it should be done against a forward-looking not a backward-looking policy. It is backward-looking to reduce the employment opportunities in the industrial areas of the north, the north-west and the north-east; yet that is what the Bill does. I hope that, even at this late hour, the Government will accept the amendments. They must do so if we are to give hope to the youths who will be leaving school this summer. We must show them that we are prepared to go out and attract industry. The only way to do that is by giving special development area status to encourage industry to move to those areas.

Clause 4 will remove yet another vestige of hope for the future. I urge the Government to think again and to accept the amendments. When the Government have finally prepared and produced the map, they should have the courage to give us the time to make representations. When those representations have been made, they should have the courage to debate the issue on the Floor of the House. They should listen to what hon. Members on both sides of the Chamber have to say about a plan which, at the end of the day, will take away even that small glimmer of hope that is all that we have left. If they do not, the Government will condemn many more youngsters, middle-aged people and women to a life without the opportunity for work. I ask the Government to give us back our £150 million to £200 million and reverse their policy. If they do, I shall be a very happy man.

Mr. Michael Fallon (Darlington)

I rise to speak, partly because I should not want my hon. Friend the Minister to think that silence on the Conservative Benches shows a weakening of support for the Bill, and partly because I can see one powerful reason why amendment No. 53 might not be acceptable to the Government and should not be acceptable to the House. The reason was alluded to in Committee—it is the considerable delay and uncertainty which would result if the amendment were accepted.

Several matters remain to be decided after the Bill is on the statute book, through the various statutory instruments for which it provides. Among those matters are the cost-per-job limit and the number and range of service industries that will be qualifying activities. It is wrong to ask the House to take decisions on some of those matters and then to allow at least one year of delay and uncertainty on the major matter—the scope of the map—which worries Opposition Members. Any study of the academic literature on the effects and inducements of regional policy reveals that an industrialist wants to know whether a grant or incentive is certain and predictable. Such delay would extend uncertainty and, with regard to overseas investment, might leave Britain and the regions which we hope to assist at a disadvantage compared with our principal European competitors.

Mr. Alton

We began the debate on this group of amendments at 4.23 pm. That shows how much time it has taken, even though there are relatively few hon. Members here. If the proposed changes are made, I am sure that many more hon. Members will argue their constituencies' cause. It is understandable that they would want to ensure that their areas were not neglected and subjected to further reductions in funding, whether through regional development grant assisted area status or industrial development grant. It is inevitable, therefore, that 90 minutes will prove too short a time for us to debate these important issues. That is my principal reason for supporting the official Opposition on this group of amendments.

In Committee the alliance accepted the need to reexamine the role of regional development grants and to reconsider assisted areas. We accept that regional development grant should be aimed more closely at providing jobs. That is why I supported the Government's suggestion of getting down to local government wards. There can be enormous discrepancies in the level of unemployment within one parliamentary constituency. Unemployment in one ward in nine is well over 50 per cent., whereas unemployment in another ward at the other end of the constituency is estimated to be less than 10 per cent. That is in a city in which 92,000 people, or one-fifth of the population, are out of' work. If the disparities are so great in one constituency, the disparities between the south-east of England and parts of Merseyside are even greater. It is no coincidence that the 100 constituencies with the highest unemployment are in northern England, the north-west, parts of Wales and Scotland and that the 100 constituencies with the lowest unemployment are almost entirely in the south-east and are almost exclusively represented by Conservative Members. That is one of the symptoms of divided Britain which regional development grant should attempt to rectify.

The 90-minute knockabout which the House will have when new regulations or orders are issued will not satisfy the anger which many right hon. and hon. Members will feel. The Minister must accept that many of us are deeply suspicious about the motives of part II. Although I supported the Bill as regards the Development Agency, the money that is being provided and some of the Government's rationalisation, I must point out that there is a deep-rooted suspicion that part II is a cut dressed up as a rationalisation, as £200 million is likely to disappear. The Dutch auction that we are likely to experience later in the year is highly undesirable. Therefore, if the Minister can do nothing else today, I hope that he will assure us that when proposals for the assisted area map are presented there will be a full debate rather than a 90-minute knockabout. I hope that the Minister will do all that is within his power to ensure, through the usual channels, that right hon. and hon. Members are given an opportunity to express their constituents' views.

Many of us feel that it is insulting and gratuitous to our constituents to be told that 90 minutes is all that will be provided when the patronage of the pork barrel is used to determine which areas will receive reduced regional development grant. It is not good enough that some hon. Member will be told after the 90-minutes knockabout that their areas have been excluded. There is a lingering suspicion that allocation of regional grant has more to do with political considerations that with the needs of the communities to which they are awarded. In local government, and since becoming a Member of Parliament, I have witnessed rate support grant being used, especially in shire counties, to benefit areas which do not need the funding, and metropolitan districts which need them far more being excluded purely because of their political control.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Mr. Norman Lamont)

Would the hon. Gentleman care to tell us which assisted areas he thinks have been given such status unnecessarily and ought now to have it taken away?

Mr. Alton

I did not say that areas had been given grant unnecessarily, but that areas which should be given it have not. I am sure the Minister agrees that parts of the midlands which are now suffering the deindustrialisation which Merseyside has suffered for the last 20 years are not covered, as are parts of my constituency. Rather than a contraction of regional development grant, right hon and hon. Members on both sides of the House want an extension.

Mr. Kenneth Hind (Lancashire, West)

If the hon. Gentleman considers the map of assisted areas carefully, he will find that the suggestion that the Government have favoured Conservative-controlled areas scurrilous and without basis.

5.30 pm
Mr. Alton

The hon. Gentleman will be as aware as I am that there are areas within the north-west of England which have clearly benefited from public funds being pumped into them, whereas other areas have been neglected and public funds have not been made available to them. To take the opposite argument, areas in the north-west have been included in the past which should not be included in the future. I should be prepared to look at the map of our region with the hon. Gentleman, to study the way in which the grants have been given and to look objectively at how we can readjust that map to take into account the rundown of the high stack industries and the need to encourage high technology industries. In Committee I gave some examples of how public money had been wasted in the past and how we should redeploy resources in the future.

We should also take into account the performance of private enterprise within a region before determining how we complement the funds being provided by private enterprise with those from the public sector. One has only to look at the city of Liverpool to see how firms have discriminated on a purely regional basis. Firms such as Tate and Lyle and United Biscuits, when faced with deciding which factory to close, have invariably chosen one in an area of high unemployment. That is the kind of occasion on which Governments should intervene. They should not just let free market forces reign and the pressures of the market place apply. Governments should intervene and say that they are prepared to provide additional resources as an incentive to keep companies in areas where there is massive unemployment.

United Biscuits is in an area where 16,000 people are registered as unemployed at the local Old Swan unemployment office. They have no hope of obtaining alternative employment and will shortly be joined by 2,000 people who are presently employed by United Biscuits. The job prospects for those 2,000 will be negligible. They will have little chance of obtaining alternative work. Yet here is a company which is relatively successful. This year it has made a profit of £80 million. This particular factory has never had a strike and has existed since the turn of the century. Productivity is as good as anywhere else, yet the company has decided to close down this one of its five factories in an area where unemployment is raging at 45 per cent. That is socially utterly irresponsible and reprehensible. It pays no regard whatever to the devastating social consequences in the area.

Part of a regional grants policy should be to intervene on such occasions and to provide massive incentives to companies in such areas to stay there. If they do not, the consequences are pretty appalling. For example, the crime wave becomes massive. In the area about which I am talking, someone's house is broken into every four minutes. The number of young people on heroin is growing to epidemic proportions. The problems associated with massive unemployment in such areas are phenomenal. If private companies such as United Biscuits show no sense of social or moral responsibility, Governments must be prepared to intervene to compensate.

The proposal to allow only a 90-minute debate on such important issues is insufficient. It does not take into account the arguments which I and other hon. Members have been putting forward. It does not take into account the genuine anger and desperation of hon. Members on both sides of the House who are concerned about the rundown of their communities, the devastation there and the calamities facing so many people. Therefore, I hope that the Minister will reconsider the matter. It is not necessary to use such an order. It is possible to accept that, even if it cannot be done tonight, the opportunity for a full-scale debate on these important issues can be built into the legislation in the other place. As my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Wrigglesworth) said, this is the meat and drink of what being in Parliament should be about. It is about providing jobs and opportunities and some hope in the lives of constituents who are becoming extraordinarily disillusioned and cynical about the democratic process.

If the Government do not provide opportunities to debate the issues and to provide adequate resources, they should be prepared to accept that they will create a breeding ground for the kind of militancy that we are seeing on the streets of Liverpool.

Mr. Douglas

At the kernel of the remarks by Labour Members is our concern about comprehensive changes in regional policy. We have had long debates on the Government's views both on Second Reading and in Committee. The Government have published their White Paper and the submissions should now all be in. I hope that the House will bear with me as I draw attention to one or two submissions that have come into my hands. The Scottish Council Development and Industry said: In the case of Scotland, incentive spending should not be less than the historical level of regional development grants and selective assistance combined. At 1982 prices, the average spending over the five years to 1982–83 was £190 million per annum. That shows that there is no support anywhere in Scotland — indeed, anywhere in the United Kingdom — for the Bill. Unfortunately, when the Bill comes to the House on Report we do not have the explanatory and financial memoranda. Therefore, it may be that some hon. Members who have not been in Committee do not have the benefit of the view that expenditure on RDG might be reduced by some £150 to £200 million in a full year. There is a caveat in relation to changes in selective assistance, but that is the kernel of our concern. While we and others in the country want more regional aid, the Government's policy is to reduce it.

We can all speak of our constituencies. The House will know that I represent a Fife constituency. Fife has put in a submission on the White Paper, Cmnd. 9111. It said: It is the view of the Regional Council —Fife regional council— that current grant levels—and Assisted Area designations in Fife — have not been adequate to encourage sufficient worthwhile projects to create/protect jobs to proceed and a reduction in financial allocation for Regional Aid can only worsen the situation particularly in terms of the realisation of projects developed by existing companies which would assist in ensuring their continued competitiveness and resulting maintenance of job opportunities. We are dealing with the narrow issue of how we debate matters in the House and whether there is a delay in implementation in the terms of amendment No. 53. But the important thing is that we are concerned about alterations in the Government's strategy and the amount of aid given to the regions. I have mentioned Fife and other hon. Members have mentioned the position prevailing in their constituencies. Let me put on record that in the study of peripheral areas in the United Kingdom the existing Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy travel-to-work areas were ranked 296 and 302 respectively out of the 380 travel-to-work areas in the United Kingdom. Male unemployment in some parts of those areas is over 25 per cent.

In Fife there has been an impact from the previous industrial location policy and regional policy. The uniqueness of the Fife situation was highlighted in the Scottish Office economic bulletin of December 1983 in respect of manufacturing employment. It stated: between 1964 and 1970 Fife had a particularly high rate of incomer openings; between 1970 and 1975 incomer openings fell away but other openings were at a higher level; lastly since 1975 Fife manufacturing employment has fallen by 12 per cent. This must be seen against the current industrial location and regional policy. If there are to be changes, they should be properly debated and analysed by all those concerned, and particularly by the House.

I speak against a background in which other jobs in Fife are being threatened. The coal industry is threatened. Last week my hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O' Neill) and I had a meeting with Mr. Ian MacGregor, Mr. Cowan and Mr. Wheeler, all of the NCB, about the cessation of production at the Bogside mine, where 700 to 800 jobs were threatened. I know that other pits in the area, including Comrie and possibly Castlehill, together with pits in the constituencies of other Fife Members, may be under threat. While I do not apportion blame in terms of the current industrial dispute, we zeroed in on Bogside where millions of pounds worth of public assets were put at risk for reasons that are hard to establish. I hope to pursue this matter with the Secretary of State for Energy to ascertain whether a clear indication can be given of why these assets were put at risk.

The important ingredient is that other jobs in the area are being threatened. I refer here to a total of 90 redundancies in a firm in the defence high technology area that it was thought would have stability in the Fife region. The firm's name is MEL. We hope that certain procedures will be followed by which it will be possible to fortify and sustain employment in that firm. This is not a case for diminution of regional aid or contraction of assisted areas, but rather a massive case for more assistance to be given.

The Government may make play of what is happening to the market economy. One of the aspects for consideration in the White Paper is wage differentials. I quote again from the response of the Scottish Council Development and Industry: Any policy response that attempts to treat local unemployment by depressing local wage rates is likely to fail. That view is not, "Get on your bike", but rather that one should not try to depress local wage rates. The council continued: For what they are worth in the present context, the Council has examined official figures on earnings and has concluded that, if anything, high wage rates lead to low unemployment. Earnings are greatest in the South East, where the working week is the shortest and unemployment is the lowest of all the United Kingdom regions. At this point we get back to a retreat, and several hon. Members referred to a retreat from the Stockton outpost of Harold Macmillan. Here we get back to a retreat from that position and the view of the Barlow committee as expressed in the 1940s that the metropolis was growing in the south-east, and ought to be contained. I have nothing against the people who live and work in the south-east, and some of its areas, of course, are depressed. Anybody who has participated in the London marathon and come through the east end of London as I have knows that. I pay a public tribute to those people, because I would not have finished if I had not had their encouragement. These people have particular problems.

The Government have a responsibility in response to our overtures to say that the place to debate these issues is the House of Commons. They ought therefore to accept the spirit and the intention of the amendments. If there are to be alterations in the designated areas, there should be a proper debate, and time should be allocated to delay the implementation of the provisions in the Bill. I ask the Government to reflect that the point I make is not a cheap one, but one of deep concern.

The Minister often comments that he is a Shetlander, and therefore knows something about the divisions in the United Kingdom. If he is capable of taking that comprehensive view, I am sure that he will accept the spirit and intention underlying the amendments.

5.45 pm
Mr. Hind

I wish to express my concern, which was echoed by the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Fallon), that the substantial matter of the reorganisation of the development map for the entire country should be considered for longer than one and half hours. I represent a special development area and can tell the sort of sad story that has been told by many Opposition Members. We owe it to our constituents to debate at length, and to consider in detail, the alterations that may be made to the map as a whole.

In my constituency there are 5,000 unemployed in a town of 43,000, which means 30 per cent. unemployment. Although I support the Bill and believe it to be the seed corn of a more prosperous future, I think that the matter should be debated more fully to make the general public aware that we are at least progressing in our thoughts and offering some hope to people on the important question of regional development.

I shall support the Government, but I recommend to the Minister that he should consider, if not here then in the other place, an extension of the amount of time to be made available for consideration of this matter, so that we may express our views and so that those hon. Members who have, unfortunately, trivialised the effects of the Bill upon their constituencies may have an opportunity to express their feelings forcefully in favour of or against this important measure.

Mr. Martin J. O'Neill (Clackmannan)

I welcome the opportunity to address the House, in the knowledge that there will not be many more opportunities to speak on the subject if the Bill is passed unamended.

Many hon. Members who served on the Committee argued that the changes to the map and the criteria to be applied were being rushed through. We were conscious of the fact that the local authorities had only a limited amount of time in which to make their representations. My constituency straddles four local authorities — Falkirk district council, Stirling district council, Clackmannan district council and central region. Falkirk district and central region took great pains to make thorough and effective representations, but did so under great stress. They were hoping that, whatever form the Bill took, their cases could be argued on the Floor of the House as a last resort if the Government did their worst.

We believe that we should have an opportunity to consider the matter further and to debate the orders for more than one and a half hours if the Bill is passed. We also believe that the process should be delayed for 12 months so that further representations can be made. I think of the central region. In Scotland we do not have metropolitan authorities, but we do have upper-tier authorities which assume responsibility for strategic economic planning. Those authorities have so far survived the Secretary of State for Scotland's axe. Perhaps I tempt fate, but such authorities are still alive and well and the bulk of Scotland is still under Labour control.

Central region has been exercised by the problems which a change in regional policy would create. The problems are of a special nature in Scotland, because of its industrial base. Central region depends upon heavy, capital-intensive industries. That means that a change in the map will make that capital-intensive industry more difficult to maintain. A change will create problems for firms looking for long-term investment programmes. They may not have the confidence to invest which they had in the past. I realise that I am in danger of straying into detailed matters, but having only a short time for consultation and responses will make the problem even greater.

We need a clearer idea of the Government's criteria. We know roughly what the criteria are. We know that changes in status could be based upon percentage unemployment. The central region of Scotland, with about 16 per cent. unemployment, has the third highest unemployment level among the Scottish regions. The Falkirk travel-to-work-area is about 10th in the local unemployment league in Scotland, with 17.8 per cent. unemployment. Among the intermediate areas, the Stirling travel-to-work-area is the third highest, with about 15 per cent. unemployment. We do not know whether percentage unemployment will be taken into account.

The Minister might try to do justice to the problems of each area in a 90-minute speech. The Minister may make a 90-minute speech to try to justify why assistance is given to one area and not to another. Perhaps I am being unduly pessimistic, but areas such as mine, which will he denied assistance, will be anxious for a detailed statement from the Dispatch Box to which we can respond. We will want to pitch in and seek to change the Government's mind, even at that late stage.

If the criteria take account of youth unemployment, the central region of Scotland must be considered because it has the highest number of school leavers in Scotland. In October 1983, 8.5 per cent. of school leavers in the central region were unemployed.

The Government might use other criteria, such as the length of time people are out of work, or the nature of redundancies. All that will take time to explain. One must remember that since 1982–83 redundancies in the central region have numbered 1,234, compared with Strathclyde, which contains half of Scotland's population, which numbered only 1,904. Taken in proportion, those figures are extremely serious.

Whatever benchmarks the Government use problems will arise, so the circumstances of each area will require special pleading. Percentage long-term unemployment or industrial structure may be used. We want to know the weighting for each criterion.

Mr. Norman Lamont

I cannot tell the hon. Gentleman what the criteria will be because, as he knows from long hours in Committee, we have asked people to give their advice and opinions on the criteria. That is one of the matters about which we are consulting.

Mr. O'Neill

The Minister has become no more forthcoming since we met in Committee. We want to know what the Government think. They must have opinions. We want to know the extent to which they will move and whether the consultation process means anything. Is it to be a White Paper, followed by a whitewash? We think that most likely. We believe that the Government have made up their mind in a way which is so unacceptable that they are hiding behind procedures which give them only 10 minutes or 15 minutes in a 90-minute debate at 10 o'clock on a Thursday night when hon. Members from the north traditionally try to get back to their constituencies.

Perhaps I am being cynical, but that is understandable because of the way in which the Government and the Secretary of State approach the problems of what they probably call the peripheral regions. I remember two weeks ago the disgusting way in which the Government dismissed the anxieties expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) when they made their shameful announcement about the Bathgate closure. The Government have a dislike for serious debate in the House on the "peripheral regions". We need to debate matters more fully and be given the chance to put the case for each of our areas.

I represent one of the areas with a declining industrial base. Our people, unfortunately, are employed in industries which are in serious decline and which receive little assistance. In the last 18 months the central region of Scotland has received one great plum from the Government—the Wang corporation. We are extremely grateful for it. So far it has produced 80 jobs and we are led to believe that eventually it will produce about 800 jobs. At the time of its establishment it was trailed by the Scottish Office and the Secretary of State at press conferences as a great prize. It is certainly unique, because it is the first microelectronic, computer-related investment in the central region.

Some of us who take an interest in these matters had discussions with the management of the Wang corporation, and we were impressed. We are grateful for the fact that it has arrived in Scotland but I am distressed to learn that the firm will be engaged in the area only in assembly and that development and research will take place elsewhere.

We were told that other industries were coming along. We hope that our work force is such that it will be an attraction to other firms. We have heard that the Wang corporation is not keen on having suppliers too close to it in case anything goes wrong with the firm so as to cause a multiplier effect on unmployment, which would be very great if difficulties arose. That view is estimable in many respects, but it is somewhat different from the impression that was conveyed to us 18 months ago when the great prize of Wang was presented to the people in central region as the beacon and the vanguard of the new technology coming to our area.

6 pm

We are somewhat cynical about the prospects for our area. We recognise that we are getting more than our share of redundancies and that our young people are not getting jobs. We need to debate that in the House. Scottish Members are at a disadvantage. We sometimes do not have the opportunity to get into debates in quite the same way as our English colleagues. Hon. Members from the north of England will immediately shake their heads at that, saying that Scottish Members are given a disproportionate amount of time. We say that we would probably not get much change from the Government, even if we were given more time for debates.

We recognise that the Government have turned their back on Scotland and that the only credit that they can claim for industrial development was probably used up in the 1979 general election campaign. At that time the Conservatives put out a leaflet saying that a Conservative Government had brought Corpach to Scotland, as well as works at Invergordon, Linwood and Bathgate. Those were the headlines in the Tory election literature in 1979 when they were arguing the case for regional development in a slightly different way from their approach now.

All the sites that I have mentioned have closed or are likely to close, although there is a glimmer of hope for the plant at Bathgate. I know that that hope is being sustained and supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow, and I wish him well in his efforts to that end.

Until such time as the Government can be more forthcoming and clear in their intentions for regional policy—they will not be so tonight, as the Minister has said that he is not prepared to spell out his views on the criteria—it is essential that the House should be given further opportunities to debate the matter at length. A 90-minute debate is totally inadequate, and hon. Members would not accept that. If the consultation process is used, there should be further opportunities for local authorities and interested parties to make appropriate representations. That is why the amendment that extends the process for a further 12 months would be acceptable.

Those authorities in receipt of regional development grants are not unhappy with the present arrangements. They are sure that there are ways to improve the position, but at present they seem happy to continue for another 12 months in order to get it right. If the Government seek to carry through the policies which our worst fears suggest they will, there will be an unholy row in the House if it is treated with the effrontery which we suspect and an announcement is made denying regional assistance to substantial areas of the country.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) said that if the criteria for aid were applied we would be able to work out which areas of the country would receive regional assistance. Those areas will not be those needing it on the basis of long-term unemployment, declining industrial structure, changing occupational structure or peripherality, which is a concept close to the Secretary of State's heart. He seems to regard peripherality as an inverted concept. In other words, areas far away from London do not need assistance, but areas near to the south-east do.

With those thoughts in mind, I ask the House to support the amendments and ensure that we are given the opportunity to debate and discuss these matters. The people whom we represent can make representations later at great length, which their indignation will force them to do if the opportunity or need arises. We suspect strongly that that need and opportunity will arise all too soon.

Mr. Norman Lamont

We have had a very wide-ranging debate, which has raised the procedures by which the orders might be introduced into the House and which has gone to the heart of the argument about regional policy. Understandably, many hon. Members have referred to the problems in their constituencies.

There was no need for the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) to apologise, as it was understandable for him to raise once again the Bathgate closure in the terms that he used. I can give him an undertaking that the Department of Trade and Industry will look sympathetically for ways in which it can help colleagues at the Scottish Office to consider a positive outcome from the approaches and declarations of interest that have already become public knowledge. The hon. Gentleman will understand that I cannot guarantee in the circumstances that help will be forthcoming, but we shall consider the matter constructively with help in mind.

Mr. Dalyell

All that I am asking for is goodwill. Does Bathgate have it?

Mr. Lamont

I hope that I have given the hon. Gentleman that assurance. He also raised the matter of the status of Bathgate travel-to-work area. Many would agree with him that there appears to be a good case on the evidence for reconsidering the DA status and upgrading the area to an SDA. But the hon. Gentleman will understand that the decisions on the whole map are about to be taken and as announcements are a few months away it would be right for us to consider status together with the map. That does not mean that we are unsympathetic to his case.

The hon. Members for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse) and for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) referred to problems in their constituencies. The hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford made the plea, "Do not be fooled by the position in the south-east." I have been accused by the hon. Member for Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas) of trotting out the fact that I come from the Shetland islands. Perhaps I can trot out now that I represent a constituency in the south-east, at the other end of the regional spectrum. I constantly tell my constituents how fortunate they are to have an unemployment rate that is half the national average and that our situation is completely different from that in Scotland, the north-east or the north-west.

The Government are very mindful that the situation that appertains in areas in the south-east, including my constituency, is completely different from that in the constituencies of the hon. Members for Pontefract and Castleford and for Jarrow. That is why we are committed to maintaining an effective regional policy geared more to employment than to the subsidisation of capital intensive projects. We have said that we want to maintain an effective regional policy. We mean by "effective" that we should use the money, rather than pouring it into the regions, to bring about a more equal distribution of employment opportunities throughout the country.

The hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford made an interesting point when he said that he felt that there was an argument for at least one tier of assisted area status in order to qualify for the European regional development fund money. I note what he said, and that point has also been made to us by several people.

Incidentally, that relates to a point made by the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams), which I should like to contradict. I have never said that there was a case for getting rid of the intermediate area tier. What I have mentioned, and what is reflected in the White Paper, is whether there should be two or three tiers. To some extent, we discussed that in Committee, but I have never suggested that we should get rid of intermediate area status, under which an area qualifies for discretionary and not automatic assistance. That is why I was extremely interested in the point made by the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford.

Mr. Williams

I have no wish to misrepresent the Minister's views. Special development areas and development areas are written into the Bill, so when the hon. Gentleman said that it might be two areas rather than three it was not unreasonable for us to conclude that intermediate area status was at risk.

Mr. Lamont

The Bill concerns regional development grants and that is why we have not talked very much about intermediate areas.

I very much agreed with the hon. Member for Jarrow. He mentioned that in the north and north-east there was a branch plant economy, and that the area suffered greatly from decisions being made by companies with headquarters outside the region. We would very much like to see more services, more company headquarters and more research and development in that area. That is one of the arguments for extending the regional development grant scheme to the service sectors. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Fallon) will agree that the economy of the north and the north-east in particular could benefit enormously from diversifying away from the purely manufacturing industries to include more of the service industries.

The hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Wrigglesworth) repeated some of the points made about his area. I am a little surprised that SDP Members are not slightly more critical or questioning about regional policy, especially given the extent to which they have been prepared to reconsider some of the ideas that they used to support when in office. I am surprised that they have not been concerned about value for money, or about whether regional policy has produced the results claimed for it after all these years. Why are SDP Members not concerned about the effects of regional policy on the non-assisted areas?

However, I certainly agree that the Department of Trade and Industry is top when it comes to the number of Departments that have received representations or held consultations on this matter and certain others. The consultation period went on for five and a half months, which is a long time. Incidentally, I was astonished that the hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) should have made that point from the Back Benches a few moments ago, and I congratulate him on his resurrection on the Opposition Front Bench. Perhaps it was not the same person who spoke from the Back Benches. Perhaps he was not being entirely serious when he said that he wanted to hear the Government's views on the criteria for regional policy, and that it was all very well the Government saying that they were consulting, but that they should declare their views, and Ministers should he more forthcoming. I am aware that the hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the consultation period ended only last Thursday. People could make representations as recently as then. If the hon. Gentleman saw the volume of literature that we have received, he would not expect me to have come to a conclusion by today.

6.15 pm
Mr. Douglas

I know that it is difficult for the Minister to undertake that a debate will be held, but will he tell the Leader of the House that hon. Members would benefit from a substantial debate and discussion being held on those submissions? May we at least have a promise from the Minister that a precis of the evidence submitted will be placed in the Vote Office?

Mr. Lamont

On that latter point, I shall certainly see what can be done. However, we have already published quite a lot of material relating to the academic studies carried out on regional policy. I shall come to the hon. Gentleman's first point in a moment, but I shall certainly impress on my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House the points that have been made and the strong feelings that have been expressed about the need for a proper debate and to take all these decisions together.

The right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) spoke about the form in which the orders might be presented to the House and en passant he complained about the Government introducing legislation while at the same time purporting to be consulting. The Government always made it clear that they had formed a view on certain aspects of regional policy, such as the need to make it more job-related and to look for some savings in the capital intensive support through regional development grants, but that we wanted to consult on all the matters laid out in the White Paper. There has never been any secret about that. Indeed, that is why the legislation has been introduced. We want to obtain the benefits of it at an early date. Nevertheless, our consultation is genuine and we pay serious attention to the views put to us by hon. Members, different trade associations, local councils and all the other bodies.

Many Opposition Members assumed that there would be massive cuts in the map. The figures for savings of £150 million to £200 million that are given in the explanatory memorandum are based on the existing map. We have always said that we want to look for savings, but they will come from the adjustments to regional development grants, including such items as the cost per job limit, taking out non-job-creating modernisation, taking out replacement investment and so on. The savings are based on the existing map, and the right hon. Member for Govan should not necessarily assume the worst, and that there will be a massive carve-up of the map.

Mr. Millan

That means that the savings will be even greater than is provided for in the explanatory memorandum. Paragraph 34 of the Government's White Paper talks about a substantial reduction in expenditure and says that the extent of it will depend primarily on the scheme's geographical coverage and on the rates of grant. If the Minister is saying that the savings of £150 million to £200 million are only being made on the new scheme provided in the Bill, and have nothing to do with geographical coverage, we can expect even greater savings and thus even more damage to the assisted areas.

Mr. Lamont

The right hon. Gentleman is not justified in such an assumption. In addition to the savings based on the existing map, which are detailed in the explanatory memorandum, there is the question of whether we might make offsetting selective financial assistance available to compensate for some of the savings referred to in the memorandum, which take no account of any offsetting expenditure that might be incurred through increased selective financial assistance. That point has been made again and again. I have made it simply to emphasise that we have not as yet made any decisions about the map.

Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 would introduce the affirmative resolution procedure for changes in the map, whereas we have always had the negative procedure. We are now consulting on the map; indeed, the period of consultation will have lasted for five and a half months. It is better that we should have that period of consultation now, before decisions are made.

We must remember that we are dealing with a cluster of orders. I have noted what has been said about hon. Members regarding it as unsatisfactory if there were only a one-and-a-half hour debate, and I shall make that view clear to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. I made that point in Standing Committee.

Mr. Millan

What did the Minister mean by there being a clutch of orders relating to the map? The map could be dealt with by one order.

Mr. Lamont

I referred to a cluster of orders. They relate to the rates of grant, the qualifying activities and the map. There will be a series of decisons relating to regional policy affecting the constituencies of many hon. Members. I will draw to the attention of the Leader of the House the feeling that there should be a full debate on these issues, as we had when changes were made in 1982.

It is argued in relation to amendments Nos. 5, 6 and 47 that the affirmative procedure should be adopted for qualifying activities. Although this may not be an overwhelming argument for what is proposed, it must be borne in mind that in the past qualifying activities have been amended in the way that is now proposed.

The Opposition might argue that in the past the qualifying activities were defined in the legislation. We have undertaken that all the activities that now qualify will qualify again; it will be a question of addition, and that will apply in the service areas because we have wanted to extend RDG in that way. In those circumstances, I could not agree that the affirmative procedure should be adopted.

I listened carefully to what was said on amendment No. 53, but Opposition Members will not expect me even to flirt with the idea that the changes should be postponed for a year. The hon. Member for St Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) spoke about the problems of his constituency and agreed that the map needed to be changed. There is an overwhelming case for doing that and for adjusting to the changed circumstances.

Underlying what has been said on this series of amendments has been not just concern about the way in which the individual orders will be dealt with by the House. It has been more a debate about the fundamentals of regional policy, and on that there is disagreement between the two sides of the House. We argue that, while in the past we have spent massive sums on regional policy, the effects in terms of ironing out the differences in the various regions have not been dramatically successful.

The hon. Member for Dunfermline, West spoke of the decline in manufacturing industry in some assisted areas. That should lead us to question whether the money has been spent effectively in the past. We must pause and reflect that many present assisted areas were assisted areas in the 1930s. Each new job—there have not been that many of them—created in the assisted areas by regional policy has cost about £35,000. There is also the argument about the effect of regional policy on non-assisted areas. They are all factors that we must take into account in our review of regional policy.

Opposition Members constantly complain that it is wrong to look for any savings in regional policy. Does it matter to them whether the money is spent sensibly? The answer is no. Their attitude is simply that the money so spent should remain high in total. That is all that worries them, not whether it is spent effectively. That is why I urge the House to oppose the amendment.

Mr. Geoffrey Robinson

For sheer hypocrisy and irrelevance, the Minister's closing remarks take the biscuit. I hasten to assure him, as we did in Committee, that we are as anxious as he is to achieve the most cost-effective spending in the regions. We have failed to convince him, however, that he cannot have an effective regional policy when he is already committed to cutting, as savagely as the Government propose, the RDG by £150 million to £200 million. The hon. Gentleman adds insult to injury by telling us that none of this is required by the EEC—we shall come to that when we debate a later amendment — but simply because it meets the Government's industrial and regional criteria.

My hon. Friends have made moving speeches on this issue and their remarks have reflected opinion in many parts of the country. If they did not convince the Minister of the need for at least a two-day debate, comprising two one and a half hour debates, together with the adoption of the affirmative resolution procedure for orders dealing with the map, he should at least take note of what was said in an EEC regional directive on the subject as recently as March of this year.

Referring to areas in the Community with the greatest problems relating to economic structure regionally, with unemployment problems and disequilibrium in the labour market, it listed Ireland, Northern Ireland, southern Italy, — the Mezzogiorno — most regions in Greece, and Corsica in France. However, that EEC body, which studies these matters with impartiality, depth of knowledge and tremendous commitment to achieving effective regional spending — Mr. Giolitti cannot be bettered, even by the commitment of the Minister of State, in getting value for money — concluded in its latest report in March that to those regions with the most serious problems had to be added the regions of Merseyside, Dumfries and Galloway, Strathclyde, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Cleveland, Durham, Gwent, mid, south and west Glamorgan, Cornwall, Devon and the west midlands, all of them in the United Kingdom.

That is the way in which the EEC sees our regional problems and that is how, when the new map and other statutory instruments are placed before the House, hon. Members will view the situation. Something better might have been expected from the Minister today, after the hours of debate in Committee devoted to the subject. Even this afternoon's debate has lasted for more than two hours, longer than the Minister envisages the House having to debate the major decisions, when we receive them.

In what he no doubt thought would be a telling intervention, the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Fallon) said that our proposals would create uncertainty. If so, there would be no difficulty in amending amendment No. 53. To eliminate uncertainty, the procedure for having a consultation period of one year could be adopted, but only for those areas to be downgraded or in some way adversely affected.

Mr. Fallon

Presumably there would still be uncertainty because for a year the political lobbying of the sort that the hon. Gentleman wants to encourage would be allowed to take place.

6.30 pm
Mr. Robinson

That is precisely what was done in 1980 and I presume that it was then considered to be the most effective course. For example, anyone convicted of murder would be grateful for one year's reprieve before his sentence took effect. Uncertainty would not be created in the areas that were being upgraded or benefiting from regional policy. Therefore, there could be no deterrent effect on overseas investment.

My hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse) made a moving contribution. He has great experience in the mining industry and is only too well aware of the result of contraction. My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) talked about Bathgate. We can only fear for the worst when we reflect on the disgracefully abrasive dismissal of the Bathgate work force and all that it has achieved by the Secretary of State for Scotland. My hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) talked about an area that has suffered more than most areas and reminded us that the suffering is likely to become worse. He drew attention to the dangers of the branch economy which has been established.

My hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) represents a Merseyside seat and he made a telling contribution to the debate. My hon. Friends the Members for Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas) and for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) also made telling contributions. My hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan made many informed speeches in Committee.

This has been a compressed debate. I do not think that anyone has spoken for more than 10 minutes. The views of hon. Members have been expressed clearly, but it seems that we have been unable to convince the Minister of the need to accept amendment No. 4. I ask him to reflect on what the Commission has said about the severity of the spread of the regional problem in the United Kingdom. Coventry, part of which I represent, has already made an application to discuss with the Secretary of State its request for assisted area status. Such requests are inevitable. As in 1980, they will come especially from areas that are to be downgraded in status. If the Government fail to provide for these requests, they will pre-empt a meaningful pattern of discussion and consultation for those who will be adversely affected.

We have heard the Minister's protestations on the keenness and sincerity of the Government's wish for consultation. He stressed that there has been a long period of consultation and it seemed that the tonnes of paper representations were weighing heavily on his conscience, as well they might. Those words were nothing more than impertinent hypocrisy.

Was there any consultation on the cut of £150 million to £200 million in regional development grant? Who 'was consulted about that? That cut came forward in the Bill and we have not succeeded in changing it. There were no consultations on that score. Were we consulted on the elimination of non-job-creating modernisation? That proposal will have, when implemented, a terrible effect on all the regions because it is based on a factor that is built into all their cost structures. These are pre-announced Government decisions.

What about the famous EC limits? Were we consulted on making regional policy so explicitly conditional to EC limits? Who was consulted on the prescribed limit, the job-capping limit? Was anyone consulted? The House will know that consultation is not required by the EC legislation. The Minister's words are sheer cant and I know that my right hon. and hon. Friends will not be taken in by his emollient comments on the constituency problems about which they have spoken. He is not interested in those matters. The Minister would not have adopted the same tone if the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) had been in his place. If the hon. Gentleman had been present, he would have intervened in the Minister's speech to ask him not to resile from the key plank in the Government's regional policy, which is to cut expenditure. As I have said, all the rest is sheer cant.

We are asking for a two-day debate and for the map to be subjected to the affirmative resolution procedure. That procedure was not adopted when the Labour Government introduced their legislation but that Government were intent on providing more aid for the regions and expanding the map. A different set of circumstances applied at that time. This Government are committed to doing down the regions. They intend to introduce a prescribed limit that will eat into the capital regional development grant which is available to companies investing in the regions. In my opinion, a smaller amount of money will be spread over a much wider area.

The Minister is saying that we must secure the EC grants and that a wide spread of areas will be designated as qualifying for various levels of assistance. On the other hand, he has told his hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West time after time that it is the Government's policy to reduce regional expenditure. How can the Government reduce expenditure and expand the area that receives development aid? He then tells us that areas that have been sustained by regional aid will not be very much worse off when the Government's proposals are implemented. He knows that there is no logic in that as well as we know it. As I have said, we are asking for a two-day debate and for the affirmative resolution procedure to be adopted. We should like to ask for much more, but we know that we should not get it. If the Minister refuses to accede to our request, he will be insulting the House and abusing its procedures.

I agree with the Minister that the lack of transitional arrangements for the map will not have a great effect upon the country and that the main changes will be felt by the special development areas within the wider area. If the map is not greatly changed and areas continue to qualify, it must follow that total expenditure will be reduced by the three limits that the Government are introducing—the prescribed amount, the prescribed percentage and the prescribed limit. If that happens, companies will need time to adjust. Local authorities will need time to consider the problems that are posed for companies in their areas. Against that background amendment No. 53 is a mild, moderate and acceptable proposition. However, the Minister refuses to accept amendments Nos. 4 and 53, and that gives the lie to his protestations on regional policy, to his concern about unemployment in the regions and to the Government's commitment to ensure that the regions are sustained as they were under Labour Governments.

The Minister argued that unemployment increased in the regions despite the large sums that were provided in regional aid. He contended that regional policy cannot be said to have had an immense impact. That is not a real argument. Heaven knows what unemployment would be like now if we had not had the regional policy that was implemented by Labour Governments. I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to support amendments Nos. 4 and 53.

Mr. Millan

When I introduced these rather modest amendments I did not appreciate that such a wide-ranging debate would ensue. The debate has shown the depth of feeling that exists in the House, especially on the Opposition Benches, and the depth of apprehension about what might happen if the Bill is implemented and the new assisted area map is presented.

I do not intend to repeat the arguments that have been advanced so effectively by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North-West (Mr. Robinson). I wish to return again to the issue of savings. It must be true that the savings of £150 million to £200 million which were written into the financial memorandum to the original Bill were based on the present assisted areas map. If that is so, the total savings being sought by the Government are almost certainly considerably greater than those sums. It is not much of an excuse to say that there may be more in the way of selective financial assistance, for that assistance is not covered by the Bill. The Government have not explained in the White Paper or elsewhere how they might supplement the reduced level of regional assistance that will flow from the Bill by an increased emphasis on selective assistance. I hope that I shall be able to take up that issue when we discuss later amendments.

Mr. Norman Lamont

If the right hon. Gentleman had been a member of the Standing Committee he would know that I said that the Government intend that there should be an increase in selective financial assistance specifically to deal with modernisation projects and the safeguarding of employment. That has to be set against the savings that are referred to in the explanatory memorandum.

Mr. Millan

We might attach some importance to that point if the Minister put a figure on it. He has given a figure for the savings that will result from the Bill. Will he provide a figure for the additional money that he might spend under selective financial assistance? The hon. Gentleman shakes his head. Until we have that figure and can ascertain how the measure works in practice, we must treat the Minister's statements on the matter with considerable scepticism. If the assisted area map is greatly reduced, there will be savings in addition to the £150 million and £200 million that are cited in the financial memorandum.

Opposition Members have expressed much concern about the map. Amendment No. 4 is important because the map could be changed even if this Bill did not reach the statute book. The map could be changed under existing legislation with the use of the negative procedure. The Opposition have made it clear that, if the Government were to make substantial changes in the assisted area map, there would be a widespread demand in the House for the fullest possible debate. We cannot even make amendments to orders and that is highly unsatisfactory. Even under the affirmative procedure provided for in my amendment, the debate could be truncated.

The reason for pressing the amendment is that, with an affirmative procedure, we are guaranteed some type of debate; we are not guaranteed even that with the negative procedure. Even in pressing for the affirmative procedure we point out that there should be a more substantial debate on it than is possible in one and a half hours. I hope that the Minister has taken that point on board and will convey those representations to the Leader of the House. We shall press the amendment. I hope that the Minister understands that we want a substantial debate.

The Government's supplement to the White Paper demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, in terms of the proportion of total population covered by assisted areas Great Britain is at the bottom end of the range compared with other countries in the EEC. That point is brought out on page 130 of the Government document. Some of us would like the proportion to be considerably increased. We therefore trust that, whatever changes are made, there will be no reductions that will take us even further down the range in comparison with other European countries when, in real terms, we have about 4 million unemployed. Unemployment figures show that, in five of the past six months, the underlying unemployment rate has continued to increase. An appalling position is faced in many parts of the country, including my constituency.

The Minister said that in the past we have dealt with qualifying activities by negative procedure. Those activities were defined in the legislation by reference to the standard industrial classification. More important, we are talking now about extending the range of qualifying activities with respect to services. There must be a significant debate in the House when the Government make their conclusions on those activities. There will be much non-party agreement on certain service activities that should be included, and which we are not guaranteed the Government will include. The new position will be entirely different from the circumstances covered by the Industry Act 1972 and the Industrial Development Act 1982. I hope that the Minister will take that point on board.

Amendment No. 53 has been dealt with comprehensively by Opposition Members. I hope that there will be support for amendment No. 4, including from Conservative Members who are worried about their areas. Judging by their past performance, I do not say that with a great deal of optimism.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, No. 4, in page 4, line 7, at end add— `(2) In section 1 of the Industrial Development Act 1982 for subsection (7) there shall be substituted the following subsection: (7) An order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument and shall not be made unless a draft of it has been approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.".'.—[Mr. Milton.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 100, Noes 169.

Division No. 339] [6.44 pm
Alton, David Gourlay, Harry
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Hamilton, James (M'well N)
Barnett, Guy Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Beith, A. J. Hardy, Peter
Bermingham, Gerald Harman, Ms Harriet
Bidwell, Sydney Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Boyes, Roland Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Home Robertson, John
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Bruce, Malcolm Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Leighton, Ronald
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Clarke, Thomas Litherland, Robert
Clwyd, Ms Ann Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) McCartney, Hugh
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Corbett, Robin McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Corbyn, Jeremy McKelvey, William
Cowans, Harry Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Crowther, Stan McNamara, Kevin
Dalyell, Tam McTaggart, Robert
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Madden, Max
Dormand, Jack Marek, Dr John
Douglas, Dick Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Eadie, Alex Maxton, John
Eastham, Ken Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE) Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Nellist, David
Fatchett, Derek Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) O'Neill, Martin
Flannery, Martin Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Pendry, Tom
Foulkes, George Pike, Peter
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Freud, Clement Prescott, John
George, Bruce Randall, Stuart
Gould, Bryan Redmond, M.
Richardson, Ms Jo Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Robinson, G. (Coventry NW) Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Rogers, Allan Tinn, James
Rooker, J. W. Wareing, Robert
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Welsh, Michael
Rowlands, Ted Williams, Rt Hon A.
Sheerman, Barry Winnick, David
Sheldon, Rt Hon R. Wrigglesworth, Ian
Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Skinner, Dennis Tellers for the Ayes:
Snape, Peter Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. Don Dixon.
Spearing, Nigel
Adley, Robert Hargreaves, Kenneth
Amess, David Harris, David
Ancram, Michael Harvey, Robert
Arnold, Tom Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Ashby, David Hawksley, Warren
Aspinwall, Jack Hayes, J.
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Hayward, Robert
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Heathcoat-Amory, David
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Hickmet, Richard
Baldry, Anthony Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Hind, Kenneth
Bellingham, Henry Hirst, Michael
Berry, Sir Anthony Holt, Richard
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Hooson, Tom
Bottomley, Peter Hordern, Peter
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Howard, Michael
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Bright, Graham Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)
Brinton, Tim Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Brooke, Hon Peter Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Hunt, David (Wirral)
Bruinvels, Peter Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hunter, Andrew
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Jessel, Toby
Buck, Sir Antony Johnson-Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Budgen, Nick Key, Robert
Burt, Alistair King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Butcher, John Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
Carlisle, John (N Luton) Knowles, Michael
Carttiss, Michael Lamont, Norman
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Lang, Ian
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Lawrence, Ivan
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Lee, John (Pendle)
Cockeram, Eric Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Colvin, Michael Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Conway, Derek Lightbown, David
Coombs, Simon Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Cope, John Luce, Richard
Dicks, Terry Lyell, Nicholas
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. McCrindle, Robert
Durant, Tony McCurley, Mrs Anna
Eggar, Tim Macfarlane, Neil
Evennett, David MacGregor, John
Fairbairn, Nicholas MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
Fallon, Michael Maclean, David John
Favell, Anthony Major, John
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Malins, Humfrey
Fookes, Miss Janet Malone, Gerald
Forman, Nigel Mather, Carol
Forth, Eric Maude, Hon Francis
Fox, Marcus Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Franks, Cecil Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Freeman, Roger Mellor, David
Fry, Peter Merchant, Piers
Gale, Roger Meyer, Sir Anthony
Goodhart, Sir Philip Mills, lain (Meriden)
Goodlad, Alastair Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Gower, Sir Raymond Moate, Roger
Gregory, Conal Montgomery, Fergus
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Moynihan, Hon C.
Ground, Patrick Mudd, David
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Murphy, Christopher
Hampson, Dr Keith Neale, Gerrard
Hanley, Jeremy Needham, Richard
Nelson, Anthony Steen, Anthony
Neubert, Michael Stern, Michael
Nicholls, Patrick Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Norris, Steven Terlezki, Stefan
Onslow, Cranley Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Oppenheim, Philip Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Trippier, David
Porter, Barry Viggers, Peter
Powell, William (Corby) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Powley, John Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Warren, Kenneth
Price, Sir David Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Proctor, K. Harvey Wheeler, John
Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover) Wilkinson, John
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Wood, Timothy
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Young, Sir George (Acton)
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Shersby, Michael Tellers for the Noes:
Skeet, T. H. H. Mr. Douglas Hogg and Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Spencer, Derek

Question accordingly negatived.

Back to
Forward to