HC Deb 13 November 1984 vol 67 cc635-57 10.43 pm
The Minister of State, Department of Transport (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)

I beg to move, That the Local Government (Supplementary Grants for Transport Purposes Specified Descriptions) Order 1984, dated 18th October 1984, a copy of which was laid before this House on 22nd October, in the last Session of Parliament, be approved. This is a joint order by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales. It is made under section 51 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. I shall concentrate my remarks tonight mainly on the points concerning England. The changes proposed for Wales are minimal, but my hon. Friend the Minister of State is here to deal with any questions on the Welsh aspects of the order.

The order will bring into effect the proposals announced by my right hon. Friend last month to confine transport supplementary grant to capital expenditure on roads. First, a few remarks about TSG. It has been in existence for 10 years. The aim of the system devised then was to encourage county councils and the Greater London council to pursue suitable transport policies for their areas and to compensate them for costs that were high in relation to their populations.

TSG was intended also to enable central Government to provide support for large, local capital transport schemes without the drawbacks of the system of specified grants which it replaced. In other words, it helped to smooth out the uneven expenditure patterns that most road building has. TSG also enabled support to be given to public transport at a time when no adequate means existed to bring expenditure on public transport subsidies within the rate support grant system.

However, in recent years the TSG system has not been able to reconcile the need to constrain local authority expenditure with some authorities' policies for extravagant public transport subsidies. Nor has this form of TSG met the vital need for a sustained level of investment in major roads.

In 1983–84, in the expenditure which the Secretary of State accepted for TSG, excluding London, 28 per cent. was for capital investment, but less than 10 per cent. of the grant was spent in this way. The tendency for councils to use TSG to support current spending rather than capital investment has been increasing. In 1980–81 councils used about 63 per cent. of TSG to support current spending. In 1984–85 they budget to use 71.6 per cent. while 25 councils propose to use 100 per cent. of their grant to support current spending and use none of it on capital investment.

The planned level of road construction has often not been achieved. For example, local capital spending on roads fell short of the Government's plans by almost £32 million in 1981–82 and by £11 million in 1982–83. This fall in spending has had most noticeable effects on the larger schemes needed to further the main objectives for local roads set out in the White Paper "Policy for Roads in England: 1983". Cmnd. 9059, the primary route network, bypasses and urban roads. The extra support from the taxpayer nationally represented by TSG should be used to benefit the population at large who produce the money and not only those who live in a single local authority's area.

Although the system was intended to favour authorities with high expenditure needs in relation to their resources, it has been criticised for producing an unfair distribution between different parts of the country. For example. in 1984–85 London and the metropolitan county councils received 62 per cent. of the grant available, when they account for only 38 per cent. of the country's population. The present system has also been criticised for being unpredictable in its outcome from year to year.

The possibilities of a change to the system have been around for a couple of years. TSG was increasingly difficult to reconcile with the developing system of expenditure targets and rate support grant penalties. The establishment of London Regional Transport earlier this year meant that it would not be possible to make a sensible settlement for London under the present system. It became apparent that the changes would be needed for 1985–86.

We consider that the first priority for TSG is to focus grants more closely on roads-capital expenditure, so we encourage investment in road building; to give a greater incentive than under the threshold system which has been extremely complicated, and to give some guarantee of continued support for schemes as well as to achieve a fairer distribution of the money available; and to give priority to our objectives for local roads as set out in the White Paper. We also have to try to stop the leakage of grant given for capital expenditure going into current expenditure as I described.

My right hon. Friend outlined his ideas formally to the local authority associations in May this year. In July we wrote consulting them on a capital-only TSG limited to expenditure on highways and traffic regulation. The proposed grant will be paid at a flat rate of about 50 per cent. We propose to consider to what extent the roads and routes affected would be of more than local importance. We propose also to take into account whether people living or working in an authority's area would be relieved of the effects of heavy through traffic. We also said that we would specify the schemes in the programme. Provided progress is satisfactorily maintained we shall continue to support them in future years.

Current expenditure on roads and public transport will continue to be supported through the RSG block grant. It already is to a large extent. We shall devise new formalae for grant-related expenditure s for public transport revenue support and for road maintenance with the local authority associations.

We have been concerned that the shift from TSG to RSG should produce a grant distribution which will, as far as possible, reflect councils' spending needs for public transport and road maintenance. The proposals will not result in changes in the resources available to local authorities nor any reduction in the total amount of exchequer grant available to them.

Investment in facilities for local public transport such as bus stations, bus depots and rail electrification schemes will no longer under this order be eligible for TSG but we will pay specific grants under section 56 of the Transport Act 1968, towards large worthwhile projects to provide new facilities. Some hon. Members may recall that we have used section 56 to support the Tyne and Wear metro. That is the type of scheme for which it should be used.

My right hon. Friend and I have discussed these proposals with elected representatives, and officials have discussed the financial implications at a number of meetings with the associations. Having considered the outcome of the consultation, my right hon. Friend decided to seek the approval of Parliament to the necessary legislative changes.

The purpose of the order is to restrict payment of supplementary grant for transport in England to capital expenditure on highways and the regulation of traffic. In Wales, TSG will no longer be payable on parking. Financial support for parking will be provided from the RSG.

The Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 provides for different TSG systems in England and Wales. In 1981 the threshold system for Wales was ended and the eligibility for grant was restricted to capital expenditure on public transport, highways, the regulation of traffic, the provision of freight handling facilities and parking. This has been granted only for projects of high value. The order merely removes parking from eligibility. Thus, it makes no fundamental change to the arrangements already operating for Wales.

The legislative changes sought in the order will enable my right hon. Friend to operate the TSG system in the way that I have outlined. Article 4 confines TSG to expenditure in England in connection with highways and the regulation of traffic. Article 6 provides for the consequential amendments of section 6 of the Local Government Act 1974. It describes highways and the regulation of traffic as the transport matters qualifying for grant in England and changes the method of apportioning the grant from the threshold system.

The acceptance of expenditure for TSG has always been a matter for the Secretary of State's discretion. It is customary for him to say in circulars how he intends to use it in relation to authorities' transport programmes. The consultation paper and the circular issued on 22 October explained the criterion of more than local significance and how consideration would be given to such areas as the primary route network, urban roads and bypasses. These aspects can be dealt with under the discretion already available to my right hon. Friend. They do not, therefore, form part of the order.

The present TSG system has proved inadequate in a number of ways. It has not been able to prevent the use of the grant for extravagant public transport subsidies. It has not met the overriding need for investment in major road schemes. It has produced settlements which have been increasingly criticised as unfair and unpredictable.

The Government's proposals for changing the system which I have outlined will put an end to these inadequacies. They will enable Government support provided through TSG to be concentrated on roads which are of more than local significance. Day-to-day current expenditure on local roads or for general public transport subsidies are essentially local matters. Local authorities can best decide their own priorities for spending on these within the Government's targets for their overall expenditure and from the resources available to them, through the rates and RSG. Overall, local authorities will not be worse off as a result of these changes. Approval of this order will enable us to prepare a TSG settlement for 1985–86 on the new basis, which will enhance investment in new roads by local authorities. I commend the order to the House.

10.55 pm
Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich)

We should be clear about the background to the order. It is not only an important order but a mean little order. It was spawned in spite and nurtured in complete ignorance of the wishes and interests of the truly elected members of the local authorities, and it has been brought before the House with indecent haste. The motion to approve the order should have been moved by the Secretary of State, because its effects will be felt well beyond any of the extraordinarily unimaginative phrases that have been used by the Minister of State to give the impression that the measure was demanded by all and welcomed throughout the country.

Let us be clear about what is happening in this order. By changing from the transport supplementary grant to the rate support grant system, the Government have in effect said, "In future, we shall be singularly uninterested in the views of anyone in any particular locality about his transport system. We believe that we should have control from the centre exercised so that local authorities find it extremely difficult to set priorities that are acceptable to their electorate." Let us understand that in future parking, rail freight and public transport revenue support will go into the rate support grant system. The percentage of spending to be paid centrally will fall from 55 per cent. in 1984–85 to 50 per cent. from April next year.

How do the Government justify that spurious argument? They say that there are two reasons for the change. They say that local authorities have been underspending their allocation for capital road projects, and that they intend to change that. Their claim is based on an estimate for 1982–83 that only £330 million of the allocated £469 million was spent. Those figures were later discovered to be inaccurate. In fact, the council spent £442 million, which is only a 6 per cent. underspend. Central Government have already allowed trunk road underspending of 5 per cent. to be carried over. That 1 per cent. extra is so important that we have to carry through a major change.

The Select Committee on Transport expressed its surprise at the Government's inaccuracy. The Committee called for more encouragement to use capital money, but said: we would not wish to endorse such a change until we were satisfied that adequate provision could be made through Rate Support Grant for the support of current transport expenditures". We are told by the Minister of State that the order is intended to curb extravagant public transport schemes. In future, large worthwhile projects — presumably those decided upon by the Secretary of State — will be supported and others will not. We are told that the Secretary of State consulted the local authorities, although the speed with which this statutory instrument has been brought forward makes one wonder how much consultation has taken place. On top of that, the Secretary of State has obviously ignored the views of the local authorities themselves because they understand only too well that in future they will find it virtually impossible to provide from the rate support grant system for the absolutely necessary items of expenditure outside road spending.

Let us return to spending on roads. Apart from the fact that the Government's fears of low expenditure on road capital are entirely false, one will not encourage road capital if the percentage support is cut even further to 50 per cent. instead of 55 per cent. this year. There has been a 70 per cent. cut since the Government took power. The Government have already undermined all sections of transport through TSG cuts. The TSG for England was £499.1 million at today's prices in 1979–80, but this year it is £400 million. For Wales the capital-only scheme first appeared in 1982–83. Then TSG on roads capital alone was £30 million. In the next two financial years it rose to £31 million. That is a 5.5 per cent. cut in the allocation for roads capital, despite implementing a new system.

However, the real damage of this nasty little change can be seen only too clearly when one considers the effect that it will have on public transport, particularly British Rail. The passenger transport executives of the metropolitan counties have expressed strong concern that moving their grant into RSG can cause only direct cuts. Manchester passenger transport executive says that British Rail cuts will cause 25 per cent. reductions in train services. West midlands has predicted serious consequences.

While the PTEs are directly affected, British Rail is hit because section 20 of the Transport Act 1968 gives local authorities a duty to subsidise non-profitable services of British Rail. Without TSG, virtually all the rail lines within the metropolitan counties, excluding the inter-city services, will close if the cash cannot be found from elsewhere. British Rail stands to lose £80 million, or 10 per cent. of all its subsidies.

However, the Government say that they intend to reconsider any capital projects, even if they are allowed and accepted, that have not been scheduled for commencement before 1 April 1985. Therefore, many plans for capital road building are under threat from the measures, and all to try to solve a capital road building problem.

The extent of the chaos of the Government's thinking on transport is demonstrated only too clearly by a little incident that we witnessed today. The Prime Minister, standing at the Dispatch Box earlier on, was exceedingly scathing about a headline in a certain evening newspaper — which will get no extra publicity from me. The headline is: 90,000 golden handshake for Left-wingers sacked by LT"— that is, London Transport. The Prime Minister said that she found that totally unacceptable. But what do we find when we study the article closely? It says: News of the pay-off with taxpayers' money will raise a storm of protest. Notice that it is not local authority money, but taxpayers' money. What is the reason for that? It is made clear by the reporter. He states that the Left-wingers concerned were removed from office by Transport Secretary Nicholas Ridley almost before the ink was dry on the White Paper creating the new London Regional Transport Authority and separating it from GLC control. The Secretary of State is responsible for that bizarre golden handshake. His deep contempt for locally elected people is such that he will not allow them to appoint to their own London Transport executive those who represent their views. The right hon. Gentleman is prepared to carry it so such lengths that he would rather that they went away with large golden handshakes than that they be allowed to play a part in deciding the future of London's transport system.

Mr. Roger King (Birmingham, Northfield)

Did not the bandits at county hall appoint members of the Labour party to the London Transport executive only weeks before it was due to be abolished? Was not that an affront to common sense?

Mrs. Dunwoody

The hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand that, even with this Government, measures must be brought before the House before major changes can be introduced. The Secretary of State may ignore the views of the London electorate, but the Labour party is aware of its responsibility to the electorate at every level.

Let us be clear what this is all about. We are not talking about a more efficient system or saving money for the taxpayer. Roads are virtually the only part of the Department of Transport's work that has not been but by the Government since 1979. Motorway spending is up by £400 million—37.8 per cent. faster than prices. Even local authority road-related spending has risen 7 per cent. in real terms or £387 million in cash terms. Yet the Government's justification for this tatty little measure and for taking away local authorities' rights to spend money on revenue support is based on the claim of underspending, on roads by local authorities.

At the same time, central funding for local bus, underground and ferry services has fallen by 37 per cent., which is the equivalent of £143 million being taken away from those services since April 1984. The Minister of State ought not to present us with wholly spurious arguments. She does not believe them and we do not believe them. We shall vote against the order to show the electorate the mean and petty attitude of the Government towards local transport.

11.7 pm

Mr. Peter Fry (Wellingborough)

As one who has advocated for several years the change that we are discussing, I naturally welcome the order.

I should have thought that Opposition Members who represent Welsh constituencies would reflect on the excellent road building programme that has been started in many parts of Wales since the changes introduced by the Welsh Office. I have been to the Principality to see the excellent schemes underway there, particularly in Cardiff where there is a scheme to help with the new port facility and industrial development in the city. Much money that would otherwise not have been available has been spent in Wales.

Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)

Will the hon. Gentleman accept that the new schemes in Wales have been implemented at the expense of schemes that have been in the plans for years? Areas have been blighted because of uncertainty about whether schemes would go ahead and many towns and villages that needed bypasses have lost them. It has been an absolute mess and it needs to be sorted out.

Mr. Fry

The hon. Member is merely saying that more money should be spent on roads in Wales. I agree, but expenditure is a matter of priorities and we all wish that we had more money for our own constituencies.

Contrary to the impression given by the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), whom I welcome to her new responsibilities, the Select Committee on Transport made it clear that it was sympathetic to the proposed changes. I am a member of the Select Committee, and I think that the hon. Lady's quotations from our report were selective and gave a wrong flavour to the report.

Surely the Opposition cannot accept that local authorities should be allowed to put in bids for TSG based on fictitious figures. They often put in amounts for road building and maintenance without having any intention of spending the money for that purpose. They wished to divert it to other purposes. Before hon. Members descend upon me with rods, they should recall that when there was a Labour Secretary of State for Transport, he complained bitterly about the activities of some Labour-controlled authorities, such as South Yorkshire, which pursued policies which were at variance with the bids that they put in. It is unacceptable for bids to be put in on a spurious basis, and it therefore makes sense that the suggested change should take place.

However, I wish to make two reservations. When the Select Committee made its report upon road maintenance, we were somewhat concerned about the amount of money being spent, particularly on urban local roads. It seemed to us that there was a danger that insufficient moneys would be forthcoming for the renewal and repair of those roads which in many towns were falling into a serious state. I want therefore to utter a word of caution. Enough money must be put into the rate support grant to ensure that there is no danger of continued deterioration.

Secondly, I feel that this measure may be the first of a number of measures which may affect local transport during this Parliament. My views on the matter are well known. My hon. Friend the Minister of State and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State must be aware of the charge that is likely to be made that the changes that they are trying to effect—the sum total of changes this year—are likely to mean that many local authorities will be forced to make difficult decisions, particularly about the level of revenue support. If the Government are determined that there shall be no deterioration in public transport, the support that will be offered to local authorities, once all the legislation has been passed, must be spelt out more clearly.

It is because I believe that the present measure cannot be considered purely on its own that I have those reservations. When we discuss legislation on buses, Opposition Members may be surprised by the way in which I shall vote; but we are not doing so now. We should give the Government the benefit of the doubt, and support the measure. If, later on, it appears that the measure has been used simply to make it more difficult for local authorities to support public transport, I may find myself casting my vote differently when we vote on some larger measure. I have not been afraid to do so in the past and I shall not be afraid to do so again.

I hope that the House will approve the order, but I also hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends have taken note of my words of caution.

11.12 pm
Mr. Stephen Ross (Isle of Wight)

I apologise for not having been present when the Minister of State began her speech. I must say that I have grave doubts about the order. While on the whole I accept that it makes sense, when one changes the rate support grant to a block system, to do away with transport supplementary grant, the uncertainty about what is to happen will mean that local authorities will feel worried about what is in store for them.

The hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) drew our attention to the problem of the passenger transport executives. They do not know what the situation will be in the west midlands or the north-east or on Merseyside. Will enough money be forthcoming to enable them to support British Rail under Section 20 of the 1968 Transport Act? We do not know. The measure has been introduced far too early. It should have been introduced after some definite statement from the Secretary of State for the Environment.

The Minister of State visited my constituency earlier this year. She must already know that doing away with transport supplementary grant will place us in considerable difficulty.

One of the criteria laid down in the order is whether expenditure is on a primary route network. We have no such network, as the Minister well knows. The second is whether the road is a major urban road of more than local significance. It could be argued that all capital highway expenditure on the island is of local significance only. The third is whether the expenditure is for a bypass which would relieve local communities of the effects of heavy lorries. I openly admit that that is not as great a problem in my constituency as elsewhere. We are therefore worried whether, after abolition of TSG, we shall be treated as fairly as when it was in operation.

During the past few years our transport policy plan has met with a fair response from the Government. We have had a good allocation, but can the Minister say in all sincerity that having done away with TSG she can guarantee that, under the block grant system, we shall do so well? I gravely doubt whether she can. Therefore, with reluctance, I cannot support the order. I say that although I supported the change in the grant system introduced by the former Secretary of State for the Environment. It was right to change the block grant system and it is only sensible to do away with TSG now and to put it in the block grant. However, the change is premature and the Government should have given us some guarantee before introducing the order. We and passenger transport executives have great difficulties accepting that we shall be as well served by the new system as by the old one.

11.16 pm
Sir Paul Hawkins (Norfolk, South-West)

I greatly welcome the change because I lost a bypass around my home town. It badly needs that bypass but lost it because the county council spent the money on other things. This order is a move in the right direction for my constituency and other parts of Norfolk, if not for the Isle of Wight. Many other hon. Members lost grant to build bypasses and to carry out major improvements on major roads between the midlands and the north and the East Anglian ports. We badly need more trunk and county council roads and I am convinced that many schemes have been lost because county councils have used transport supplementary grant intended for bypasses around small market towns that are almost shattered by huge vehicles for other purposes. For that reason, I wholly support the order.

11.17 pm
Dr. John Marek (Wrexham)

I agreed with much of what the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) said, except towards the end of his speech when he said that he would support the order. I shall certainly not do that. Transport supplementary grant has been hijacked and bids for capital have not been spent on capital. Policies that have been bid for should be carried out. However, keeping capital spending on its own and shoving revenue spending in with the rest of the block grant would be all right if we had a real democracy. Unfortunately, we do not. Local government has no chance of acting independently. It is constrained by holdback and the rest. It is shackled hand and foot by the Government. If that were not so I should have every confidence in revenue spending being left in with block grant as councils could then make their own choices about priorities. Under present conditions we shall have little revenue spending.

In regard to the railways, local authorities are likely not to take a strategic view of rail implications. The chances are that revenue spending under section 20 of the Transport Act 1968 will decline. The same will be true for passenger transport executives. My hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) made that point. It is likely that the type of integrated transport system which we have in the metropolitan councils will disappear because of the limitations and restrictions placed on local authorities.

British Rail will be worried about the order. According to my figures, section 20 grants amount to about 5 per cent. of its revenue income. That will decrease. It will have more difficulty in meeting the objectives which the Secretary of State set last year.

I am worried about the implications of the order for the maintenance of roads. If a council is pressed for cash, it will not resurface roads, but postpone the work for a year. Hon. Members must understand that that is what will happen. If restrictions on a local authority are not lifted, it will postpone the work for a further year. That will increase the dangerous state of the roads, and make it difficult for us to move goods. Most of our goods are moved by road. It will make life difficult for motorists and especially for motor cyclists.

What assurances can the Minister give the House about maintenance programmes for roads? Even if she can assure us, I shall vote against the order because it is wrong for the railways, because strategic decisions will not be taken in district areas and because there will not be an integrated transport policy in metropolitan areas. Can the Minister assure the House that road maintenance programmes will be maintained?

11.22 pm
Mr. Matthew Parris (Derbyshire, West)

I also welcome the hon. Lady the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) to her new responsibilities. She launched into her first speech with the bland understatement now characteristic of her style. I look forward to a continuation of that moderation which is her hallmark.

If the Secretary of State for Social Services had come to the House this evening with a proposal that a social services supplementary grant should be set up and the Government should earmark moneys for social services and restrict local authorities to spending those funds, Opposition Members would, quite rightly, have said that it represented an infringement of local democracy and that the ideal for local government spending was to give local government an overall sum to spend as it determined.

There is an argument for abolishing transport supplementary grant altogether, but my hon. Friend the Minister has not gone as far as that. She simply seeks to restrict the area controlled by the Government to capital spending. Has the case for maintaining Government purchase over capital spending been well made? I believe that it has. In too many areas transport spending has been twisted into social policy, and funds allocated for transport purposes have been used to redistribute wealth.

I am not against the redistribution of wealth—both parties spend most of their time redistributing wealth in one way or another—but I do not believe that taking money away from people and giving them free or cheap bus tickets in return is a sensible way of redistributing wealth. For that reason, I do not believe that moneys allocated for transport purposes are being properly used when they are used simply to subsidise public transport.

I was specially encouraged by my hon. Friend the Minister's comments about section 56 grant. Not all capital spending on transport will be spending on public works. All kinds of useful investments can be made in our public transport system—in roads, in railways and in buses—which do not involve public works. We should remember that there is capital investment in public transport just as much as in roads and that in both cases it is not the same as subsidising fares.

For all those reasons, I believe that the proposed changes are sensible and I shall certainly support them.

11.26 pm
Mr. Peter Pike (Burnley)

Many local authorities are worried about passenger revenue support in view of the problems involved in the present system of grant-related expenditure assessment. For instance, there is the anomaly that the grant for museums and art galleries is based on the square footage of the area's central shopping facility. The transfer to the grant system of revenue support for public transport, a bigger and more important aspect of local government, therefore worries many authorities a great deal. A large number of authorities run systems beyond their own areas, providing services for neighbouring authorities which do not have undertakings of their own, while others rely on the National Bus Company and other undertakings.

I believe that the proposed system is ill thought out and has been too hastily introduced. If it has to go through, local authorities and others responsible for running public transport will need to be assured that the same level of revenue support will be available so that services can be maintained, especially in rural areas and other areas of difficulty. If the level of support is not maintained, the public transport system will be endangered throughout the country.

11.27 pm
Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough and Horncastle)

I am surprised at the Opposition's strong resistance to these proposals. I thought that there was a consensus in the House on the need for more capital spending on roads—for environmental reasons, especially spending on bypasses for heavy lorries, for reasons of investment for industry and, above all, for employment reasons. The hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) disagreed with the figures produced by my hon. Friend the Minister, but I think that both sides agree that local authorities have underspent in terms of capital spending.

Areas such as my constituency in rural Lincolnshire have suffered from the emphasis that larger authorities, especially in south Yorkshire, have placed on what my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Parris) described as using transport policy as a means of social policy and thus misusing the transport supplementary grant. When I was a member of the GLC, the Conservative administration were thinking in terms of using the grant for the Jubilee line, capital investment in the east end, and so on, but the grant has been misused by the current GLC administration.

My area has suffered from the lack of capital investment. Although Lincolnshire has more miles of road per head of population than any other county, we still have severe environmental problems in the Trentside villages and with the A46. The village of Dunholme has waited 40 years for a bypass. As my hon. Friend the Minister said, although London has 38 per cent. of the population, it gets 62 per cent. of the grant. Rural areas such as the one that I represent will welcome this order, and for that reason I shall vote for it tonight.

11.30 pm
Mr. Ted Leadbitter (Hartlepool)

The problem with a measure such as this is that it comes in the context of proposals affecting local government. In rapid succession, there have been increasing penalties and restrictions on local government expenditure. The Government have had many objections to local government expenditure proposals in the past few months. There have been problems in the negotiations on the formula for grant related expenditure, and penalties have been applied there. The Government have become increasingly persistent in interfering with local government, which is an elected part of our constitution, and which has the right to a say in the determination of its own affairs.

For Wales, there is a modification of the transport-related grant. For England, there is a wholesale transfer from transport-related grant to rate support grant, leaving, for the determination next year and each succeeding year, only the highways and the regulation of transport operations in the local authority areas.

The amount of money involved nationally is relatively small, but at local level it is of increasing importance. There is not sufficient evidence—although I have read some of the Select Committee reports, and have gone into the matter carefully—to suggest that local authorities are misusing their bids for transport supplementary grant. There may be some cases of this, but there is no perfection, either here or in any part of local government. We have to deal with our responsibilities by making shrewd judgments. A local authority should be allowed some flexibility of judgment in the overall finances available to it.

In this order, the Government are being rather petulant. A local authority may decide, after making a bid, and succeeding in getting it, that there is a need in that period for some other priority — a practice that has been acceptable hitherto. Why the sudden discovery that it is wrong? Here is another instance of promises made in the 1979 and 1983 election manifestos of non-intervention going out of the window. The Government have become the biggest interferers that I have known since I entered political life. They are here making a dishonest prospectus for the country.

The issue of transport in London has to be related to the future of the GLC. All that the Government wanted to do from the outset was to get rid of the GLC. They knew that if they did that alone, they would be charged with political nepotism and so they decided to include the metropolitan counties in their abolition plans. They are interfering with the PTAs, and are forcing through this order.

It is not fair to either side of the House to have an order such as this, which is incomprehensible on first reading. The short explanatory note does not deal with the whole problem that we are facing. We shall have a vote tonight, yet hon. Members cannot honestly say that we have had an in-depth debate on matters of great importance to local authorities.

With approximately 20 Bills to come before the House this Session we are becoming so legislatively constipated that' we shall not make much sense of the real affairs of Britain. I hope that the Government will understand that some people are saying that enough is enough and that, when elected, local authorities have a right to determine their own affairs without forever going cap in hand to a Secretary of State, and this Secretary of State in particular, because his only hallmark is his persistence to outdo his own Prime Minister.

11.35 pm
Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

In the short time available to me, I want to say that if the Department of Transport intends to take out of the hands of local authorities decisions about priorities, for heaven's sake let us make sensible decisions in each individual case rather than laying down grandiose rules.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State, whose attention I hope to attract for just two minutes, will know that for some time I have taken the view that, instead of building a trunk road from Fairmile to Exeter, that bypasses nothing, the same amount of money in the same constituency could be spent on bypassing Crediton. No danger points are removed by spending a huge amount of money on a trunk road diversion which does nothing except go through good land and ruin a number of businesses. On my hon. Friend's criteria the same money would be much better spent — if my hon. Friend is taking away the power to make decisions on those criteria from local authorities—on bypassing a town which, for a mile and a quarter, is utterly ruined by through traffic.

I know that it is difficult for the Minister to sort through her papers before she replies, but if she is taking away from local authorities the choice of priorities, she really must listen to her colleagues if decisions are to be made by Government instead. That is my message to her which I hope that she has time to hear.

11.37 pm
Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

It is a great pity that the Secretary of State cannot find the time to stay with us for an hour and a half. Perhaps he has nipped off to plug himself into his life support machine for a while.

Conservative Members seem to think that the order will somehow be good for transport in Britain. It has nothing to do with the efficient ordering of the transport system in Britain. We saw that in the London Regional Transport Bill. It is all to do with the further centralisation of Government powers and with assisting the roads lobby.

The Labour party's criticisms of the order can be put simply and straightforwardly. First, it undermines the original intention and purpose of the transport supplementary grant system. Secondly, it has been rushed through in undue haste.

The Minister said that the Secretary of State consulted local authorities. Yes, indeed he did. But the local authorities were not consulted until July. What was their reaction? Of course, we all know the answer. They were very much opposed.

Thirdly, there is the financial impact on the local authorities. Before the Secretary of State left to go elsewhere, he accused my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) of not doing her homework. The Minister might like to comment when she replies on some figures that I have. The allocation of transport supplementary grant under the new system looks as though it will take about £45 million away from the shire counties, which is a 30 per cent. reduction. There will be £29 million taken away from the metropolitan counties and £23.7 million taken away from the GLC—a 50 per cent. reduction overall. It is impossible to see how that is geared to assisting those authorities to meet their transport needs. Of course, the Minister is really saying —and will no doubt claim further—that overall the councils will not be worse off, because the aggregate Exchequer grant is determined independently of the total of TSG. Although the TSG will be reduced, the amount of RSG block grant will be correspondingly greater But we know just how easy it is for the Secretary of State to manipulate the block grant system.

Dr. Marek

There is possibly one good point about the changes being made, and that is that as capital will remain under the TSG the Government could put money in, and then increase construction thus reducing unemployment. However, that is sadly probably not the Government's intention.

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Grantham)

Wait and see.

Mr. Banks

There is too much of a wait-and-see attitude towards capital allocations for local authorities. One difficulty about underspends on capital outlays, which has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh), lies in the one year basis of the programme. It is difficult for local authorities to know exactly what to do when dealing with a one-year programme that can be changed at will by Ministers. That is what is making local government so difficult to run. There is an increasing amount of intervention by central Government.

Perhaps the Minister will tell us how local authorities can be sure that they will get additional moneys through the block grant system. We should all be extremely grateful for that knowledge. We know how that block grant system has been, and is being, manipulated by Ministers. Indeed, it will continue to be manipulated by them. In effect, on the revenue side, the TSG system is being replaced by the block grant system. We do not believe that that will be good for transport, because the Government are manipulating the block grant system to suit their short and long-term political objectives.

Whilst on the subject of political objectives, I should add that I saw the story in The Standard tonight about the golden handshakes being given to the so-called Left-wingers sacked from the London Transport board. The article makes no mention of the fact that the Secretary of State then packed the London Regional Transport board with his own appointees who are no doubt totally non-political and not in any way interested in the right hon. Gentleman's policies.

Perhaps the Minister will tell us the difference between the salaries of Mr. John Telford Beasley, who has just been appointed as the new managing director of buses, and his predecessor. I notice that he is to receive a £41,000 salary. I also notice that he has many transport connections. He was an international business man with an American pharmaceutical company based in the Mediterranean before he joined London Transport. I do not quite see how that is relevant to running London Transport.

I also notice that Mr. Telford Beasley is coming up to Waterloo by train. He says that he will take a bus from Waterloo to Victoria. What a breadth of experience of LT he will gain from that trip. He says: I don't see any point in having a limousine waiting for me every day at the station, when there is a very efficient bus service. I will use it every day, and I can get talking to the passengers and find out what they think of the service at first hand. Mr. Telford Beasley will not have much chance of doing that while riding from Waterloo to Victoria—a distance that any other person would try to walk. No doubt we shall all be hearing a lot more of Mr. John Telford Beasley. How much bigger is his salary than his predecessor's? Is it true that he is a personal friend of Dr. Bright, the chairman of London Regional Transport and that that was why he was appointed? I believe that Dr. Bright was very knowledgeable about making Dad's Cookies before he was translated into the chairman of LRT. Where are all these people coming from? From where did they gain their knowledge and experience of the transport needs of London?

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

My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) was rather scathing about the appointment of the new manager for London Transport bus services, Mr. John Telford Beasley. My hon. Friend referred to him as an American business man with no experience of London Transport. My hon. Friend was being a little unfair, because the Tory party has a weakness for American business men and appoints them to its nationalised industries with no great record of success. I hope that the new appointment will be more successful than that other well-known and well-paid American business man that they appointed to run the mining industry.

The hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Sir P. Hawkins) expressed concern about the number of bypasses that have been cancelled because of the subsidy to public transport in Norfolk. He sat down before we had a chance to intervene, but I should be delighted to give way to the hon. Gentleman if he could tell me one bypass that has been cancelled in his county because of the concentration by the Norfolk county council on public transport, bearing in mind that Norfolk is one of the much—heralded trial areas for the proposed bus legislation.

Sir Paul Hawkins

Bypasses were not built in Downham Market where I live. Fakenham was mentioned in the list of places which could have had money spent on it by the Ministry of Transport. I never mentioned anything about expenditure on public transport. I said that the money which should have been spent on capital grants was spent elsewhere, not necessarily on public transport

Mr. Snape

That will not do. It is all very well for the hon. Gentleman to say that money could have been spent in a particular way, but did the county council pay for support for the Downham Market bypass — a place which I know, but not as well as the hon. Gentleman? Is there a reason why a much-needed bypass has not been built and why money is being spent on bus services? The hon. Gentleman fails to prove his case. If that is the reason for the way in which he casts his vote tonight, I hope that in future he will consider proposed legislation more carefully.

I hope that the Minister will concentrate on the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody). What on earth will happen to rail services protected by section 20 grants? The House deserves a reply. I hope that the hon. Lady will not accuse local authorities of scaremongering. I hope that she will accept that they are genuinely worried about their future. I hope that she will allay our anxieties.

I listened intently to the contributions by the hon. Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) during the passage of the London Regional Transport Bill. I tried to like him a little more in Committee, but I had some difficulty doing so. I do not wish to be personal, but I liked him slightly less after hearing his contribution tonight, because he appears to understand less and less about public transport the more he speaks about it.

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

That makes two of you.

Mr. Snape

I am delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to his place. What he says might be true, but I should not be so rude about him because he well knows the affection with which I hold his performance at the Dispatch Box. I notice that he sent his Minister of State to do the dirty work this evening. It will probably embarrass her if I say that she did the job better than he could have done it. Her role in the Department of Transport is to go round the country tapping her head significantly when asked about the Secretary of State's plans.

The hon. Member for Gainsborough talked about how essential expenditure on road works was. He talked about its value in terms of employment. He was right. Substantial employment is involved in road works. He obviously fails to understand what the Conservative party fails to understand — that there is a great deal of employment involved not only in the operation of public transport but in the production of public transport vehicles, such as the building of new buses.

I have to tell the hon. Lady, in her role of purveyor of excuses for the Secretary of State, that the bus industry is not exactly—to use a footballing phrase—over the moon about the Government's proposals—

Mrs. Chalker

That is a romantic phrase.

Mr. Snape

It is a bit late for romance for me. However, if the hon. Lady can tear herself away from the Adjournment debate, she never knows.

It is not good enough for the hon. Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle and others to ignore the fact that many private firms despair because of the Government's attitude towards the public transport industry. Does not the hon. Gentleman stop to consider that firms such as Leyland and Metro Cammell have enormous concern about the employment prejudiced by the barmy proposals of the Government? The public transport industry is surely not only about building roads.

The key to the legislation before us is that the Government are determined to prevent local authorities from making decisions about how money should be spent. They believe that Whitehall knows best. I understand that sort of attitude from the Secretary of State—he had a deprived upbringing. He went to a school where pupils were told from an early age that they knew best. The hon. Lady was not exactly a product of the state system either. The right hon. Gentleman believes that he is entitled to make decisions that will apply throughout the country. It is not only Labour members of local authorities who express concern about the Government's direction on transport policy. A great many members of the Tory party disagree with the legislation. Not too many of them are behind the right hon. Gentleman, which I understand, as many of the young Turks of the Conservative party found themselves, to their amazement, in the House in 1983. At least they can honestly claim that ignorance is bliss. The right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Lady have no such excuse.

I wish to refer—

Mr. Robin Corbett (Birmingham, Erdington)

Where are the SDP members?

Mr. Snape

We must not expect the SDP members to be around at this time of night—it is far to late for them to be out and about. They have all caught the bus home, presuming that the buses still exist.

I refer to the newspaper report—

Mr. Christopher Chope (Southampton, Itchen)

What is the beef?

Mr. Snape

Does the hon. Gentleman really want to provoke me into that sort of argument?

I refer to the report in The Standard today. My hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich said that she would not name the newspaper. I do not understand that. I make no bones about my attitude towards it—it is the worst newspaper in this country. It dropped below its usual depths today. Under the headline "Thank you Comrades!" it attempts to mislead — perhaps this was done inadvertently—many Londoners. It refers to "Left-wing Labour politicians" having been sacked from the London 'Transport Board and says that London ratepayers will be faced with a heavy bill.

The Prime Minister referred to the report and a later edition of the same dreadful newspaper reported that "Maggie"—of course, I would not refer to the Prime Minister in that way, I merely quote from The Standard—considered that the payments to the three who have been sacked were another reason to scrap the GLC. We all know that the Conservative party and Conservative Members hang on every word that the Prime Minister says—well, some of them do so with more enthusiasm than others. The blame for £90,000 being paid out in what are described as "golden handshakes" rests with the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Transport.

Mr. Leigh

No—with Ken Livingstone.

Mr. Snape

That shows how much attention the hon. Gentleman was paying to the debate that took place when the London Regional Transport Bill, as it then was, was being considered in Committee. He should be aware that the Bill as drafted originally provided that compensation for such sackings or redundancies, call them what we will, should be met by the Greater London council.

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Gentleman knows that he is wrong.

Mr. Snape

No, I am not wrong. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to intervene, I shall gladly allow him to do so. Apparently he does not wish to intervene. The story about the sackings appears in The Standard in a slanted form because the right hon. Gentleman, with his customary incompetence—well, perhaps he was swayed by the persuasive powers of my hon. Friends and myself—accepted an Opposition amendment in Committee that made the Department of Transport responsible for agreeing the terms of compensation if any members of the then board were fired by the Secretary of State. That is what happened, and if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to disagree with my version of events, I shall gladly allow him to intervene.

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Gentleman is not talking about the order, but he should get other matters straight. The original draft of the then Bill provided that the GLC, among others, could be asked to pay compensatory payments. The Government responded to the hon. Gentleman's amendment by removing that provision. That left the possibility — it was always there — that LRT should pay. The hon. Gentleman is exuberant tonight, but he should get these matters straight.

Mr. Snape

I have never been one to rub it in, and I shall not rub anything into the right hon. Gentleman's intervention. I think that he has conceded my argument, despite his initial indignation. He has accepted, in effect, that it is entirely his fault—this is the effect of his arbitrary decision to remove three members from the board — that taxpayers, and eventually London ratepayers, will have to foot the bill. As I understand the legislation, LRT will have to compensate the Department of Transport.

Mr. Ridley

Wrong again.

Mr. Snape

It is reported in The Standard that ultimately LRT will have to pay the compensation from its own funds, and that the amount will be decided by the Secretary of State for Transport. The right hon. Gentleman's incompetence is there for all to see.

Mr. John Butterfill (Bournemouth, West)


Mr. Snape

No, I shall not give way. If the hon. Gentleman turned up more regularly to transport debates I might consider allowing him to intervene. The right hon. Gentleman has condemned himself from his own mouth. He has arranged for the compensation to be paid, and if it is another reason to scrap the GLC, as "Maggie" says, it is an even better reason to scrap the right hon. Gentleman, who is obviously unaware of the effects of his legislation, including the amendment that he accepted.

Once more we are seeing an attempt to undermine the principles of local government democracy. We are told that these decisions are rightly to be taken by central Government. What sort of Conservative party do we have these days when it believes that the bowler hats in Whitehall know the best way to spend local government funds?

I said earlier that I felt that some Conservative Members were motivated only by ignorance. The Government have no such excuse. They are motivated by malice. That is why we shall vote against the order.

12 midnight

Mrs. Chalker

With the leave of the House, I seek to reply to the debate.

The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) is his highly amusing self. Not much of what he said had the least bit to do with the order, but we have come to expect that from him. He said that he was over the moon, or something. I should rather say that he was still in orbit and has not yet been rescued by the new transport satellite, the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody). I can only conclude that he had little to say about the order. I think that I know why, because I have, as is customary at this stage of the year, been around many of the roads annual consultative councils. I know that the shire and metropolitan county councils wish to get their bypasses and roads built. The TSG settlement will be roads capital only to assist them to do that, subject to the agreement of the House tonight and the agreement of another place.

I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) that the settlement will be based on the transport policies and programmes submitted by the county councils this summer. They decide their priorities, what they put forward in their programme and when they are ready to proceed. Provided that the programme meets with the criteria that we have laid down, which go far wider than the primary road network, they will receive the settlement. I assure the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross) that if they are suitable for roads capital only TSG, within sensible limits his bypasses will get it just as much as those of anyone else.

Mr. Snape

Will get what?

Mrs. Chalker

Transport supplementary grant. I realise that the hon. Gentleman does not understand the system and I was trying to help him.

The capital allocations will also provide for additional expenditure over and above that supported by grant. Despite the comments and questions of some hon. Members, I cannot anticipate the settlement that will be announced in December by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, but provided that the order is given the support of the House tonight we shall be able to proceed to a much more sensible and less variable TSG than has been possible in previous years.

Mr. Tony Banks

Much smaller as well.

Mrs. Chalker

The hon. Gentleman is not right, but I shall come to him in a few moments if I have the time.

A couple of hon. Members have said that the change has been rushed through. Although formal consultation began at the beginning of July, local authority associations have been aware of the likely changes for some time. Capital only TSG has been around for some two years, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport had a good discussion at the national advisory council meeting with local authority representatives in May this year.

As I said a few moments ago, in that discussion the shire and metropolitan county councils said that they wished to get on with their road building, and they want a sensible scheme.

I am well aware that the metropolitan county councils do not wish to lose the excessive revenue support that they have been spending on public transport, but this TSG designed to promote the proper provision of local roads by county councils must be brought forward in this way now if we are to avoid what would otherwise be an unreal settlement in the future.

I accept that the mechanics of the TSG system have been difficult to understand. That is why when the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich commented about the change in the grant rate she ignored the difficulty of the threshold system based on population which has often made it difficult for hon. Members to understand why their bypasses in a sparsely populated county did not receive grant in the same way as they saw bypasses in more heavily populated areas receiving TSG. Those mechanics are simplified considerably by the proposal in the order. This is not a move to curb spending. We are removing the distortions that exist in current spending by using grant for the taxpayers' share of the costs of roads—those roads with more than local benefit. The amount of transport supplementary grant will differ from the previous amount, but the RSG block grant will be larger than it otherwise would have been to take account of road maintenance and other responsibilities.

The hon. Members for Wrexham (Dr. Marek) and for Hartlepool (Mr. Leadbitter) mentioned parking and other schemes. Since the system in Wales changed, only capital schemes in excess of £5 million have attracted grant. There is, therefore, effectively no change in Wales because of the order.

A number of hon. Members commented on the support for public transport. I have been surprised by the volume of support from the Opposition for the present system and their dire warnings about the new system. That only confirms my view that the current form of TSG is seen by Labour authorities as a means of financing excessive public transport subsidies. Unlike the Opposition, I do not believe that excessive subsidies mean healthy public transport or that they should be underwritten by the taxpayer. The discipline of financing public transport subsidies on an equal footing with other claims on the general resources available to councils will be beneficial to them. The councils may compare the value of the money provided by subsidies with the other means of keeping fares down, such as improvements in efficiency, competitive tendering to the private sector and the like. The Government are no longer prepared to support excessive subsidy for local public transport from central funds. The Government can no longer justify the payment of special central government grant to what are essentially local trading services.

I was asked about revenue for buses and rail services. In removing revenue support from TSG, we are not cutting the resources available to local authorities, as the Opposition have been suggesting. We shall maintain in real terms the provision for local authority current expenditure on transport at the planned 1984–85 level. This provides a sensible level of revenue support for bus services, which we shall continue to support through block grant. We shall be introducing a new GRE formula to reflect the need of authorities to spend on bus subsidies.

We already have a separate GRE indicator for revenue subsidies for local rail services in the passenger transport executive areas. Councils will be able to decide whether to maintain that support for local services within the resources available to them. It is up to them to decide their priorities in the provision of local services. The TSG will not be paid for them, but they will be receiving block grant. [Interruption.] As is to be expected, the Opposition are making a lot of noise in this debate.

An examination of what has happened in recent years — shire counties had just 38 per cent. of the grant available with more than 61 per cent. of the population while London and the metropolitan counties had 62 per cent. of the grant—shows why there has been so much disquiet about TSG and why demand has arisen for a more equitable system. We shall ensure that road maintenance will not suffer. The provision will continue to be steadily increased in real terms, and RSG will reflect that in full, according to the GRE formula contained in RSG for it.

I was also asked about why the changes are coming forward now. They would have come forward even if the abolition of the metropolitan counties and the Greater London council had not been envisaged. They facilitate the payment of the transport supplementary grant to metropolitan districts and London boroughs, as set out in the consultation papers. The metropolitan districts and the London boroughs will get the TSG. They will also receive the block grant for the financing costs of the capital. With the support from RSG and TSG, they will be able to continue contracts inherited and carry out necessary programmes. If anything is different, the proposed changes mean a fairer deal for the metropolitan areas over the abolition period with regard to their road programmes.

I promised to return to the matter raised by the hon. Member for Isle of Wight. I understand it, having toured round the island on a delightful weekend in the summer, when I met him and discussed with his county councillors the problems that they face. He and his county council may rely on the assurance that we have given that we shall continue to support schemes to which we are already committed, for example the new Yar bridge. For the future, I can tell the hon. Gentleman that I am well aware of the special circumstances of several of the roads on the island. The terms of the order are sufficiently widely drawn to allow us to take the circumstances particular to the island into account when drawing up TSG for the future.

The local authorities will still continue to put their transport policies and programmes to the Department. They will decide the priority of their road spending. They will decide the way in which they wish to order their different schemes. That is certainly in no way a central decision about their programmes. They will also be able, as the new system develops, to consider schemes such as the regeneration of certain areas, which will have a national benefit. They can put forward many ideas, which I am sure we shall be able to accept in future.

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business).

The House divided: Ayes 253, Noes 169.

Division No. 7] [12.12 am
Adley, Robert Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Alexander, Richard Forth, Eric
Amess, David Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Ancram, Michael Franks, Cecil
Arnold, Tom Fraser, Peter (Angus East)
Ashby, David Freeman, Roger
Aspinwall, Jack Fry, Peter
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Gale, Roger
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Galley, Roy
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Baldry, Tony Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)
Batiste, Spencer Garel-Jones, Tristan
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Goodlad, Alastair
Bellingham, Henry Gorst, John
Best, Keith Gow, Ian
Bevan, David Gilroy Grant, Sir Anthony
Biffen, Rt Hon John Greenway, Harry
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Gregory, Conal
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Bottomley, Peter Grist, Ian
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Ground, Patrick
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n) Gummer, John Selwyn
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Braine, Sir Bernard Hampson, Dr Keith
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Hanley, Jeremy
Bright, Graham Hannam, John
Brinton, Tim Hargreaves, Kenneth
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Harris, David
Brooke, Hon Peter Harvey, Robert
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Haselhurst, Alan
Browne, John Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Bruinvels, Peter Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hawksley, Warren
Budgen, Nick Hayes, J.
Bulmer, Esmond Hayhoe, Barney
Burt, Alistair Heathcoat-Amory, David
Butcher, John Henderson, Barry
Butterfill, John Hickmet, Richard
Carlisle, John (N Luton) Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hirst, Michael
Carttiss, Michael Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Cash, William Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Holt, Richard
Chapman, Sydney Hooson, Tom
Chope, Christopher Hordern, Peter
Churchill, W. S. Howard, Michael
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)
Colvin, Michael Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Conway, Derek Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Coombs, Simon Hunt, David (Wirral)
Cope, John Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Couchman, James Hunter, Andrew
Crouch, David Jackson, Robert
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jessel, Toby
Dickens, Geoffrey Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Dicks, Terry Jones, Robert (W Herts)
Dorrell, Stephen Key, Robert
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Dover, Den Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston)
Dunn, Robert Knowles, Michael
Durant, Tony Knox, David
Dykes, Hugh Lamont, Norman
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Lang, Ian
Eggar, Tim Latham, Michael
Evennett, David Lawler, Geoffrey
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lawrence, Ivan
Fallon, Michael Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Farr, Sir John Lester, Jim
Favell, Anthony Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Lightbown, David
Fletcher, Alexander Lilley, Peter
Fookes, Miss Janet Lloyd, Ian (Havant)
Forman, Nigel Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Lord, Michael Powell, William (Corby)
Lyell, Nicholas Powley, John
McCurley, Mrs Anna Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
McCusker, Harold Price, Sir David
Macfarlane, Neil Raffan, Keith
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire) Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Rathbone, Tim
Maclean, David John Renton, Tim
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st) Rhodes James, Robert
Madel, David Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Major, John Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Malins, Humfrey Rossi, Sir Hugh
Malone, Gerald Sackville, Hon Thomas
Maples, John Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Marlow, Antony St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Scott, Nicholas
Mates, Michael Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Mather, Carol Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Maude, Hon Francis Shersby, Michael
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Silvester, Fred
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Skeet, T. H. H.
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Mellor, David Speller, Tony
Merchant, Piers Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Squire, Robin
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Stanbrook, Ivor
Miscampbell, Norman Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Mitchell, David (NW Hants) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Moate, Roger Stokes, John
Monro, Sir Hector Stradling Thomas, J.
Montgomery, Fergus Sumberg, David
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Taylor, John (Solihull)
Moynihan, Hon C. Terlezki, Stefan
Murphy, Christopher Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Neale, Gerrard Townend, John (Bridlington)
Needham, Richard Trippier, David
Nelson, Anthony van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Newton, Tony Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Nicholls, Patrick Ward, John
Nicholson, J. Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Norris, Steven Warren, Kenneth
Onslow, Cranley Watson, John
Oppenheim, Phillip Wilkinson, John
Ottaway, Richard Wolfson, Mark
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Wood, Timothy
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Yeo, Tim
Parris, Matthew
Patten, John (Oxford) Tellers for the Ayes:
Pawsey, James Mr. Michael Neubert and
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd.
Pollock, Alexander
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Campbell, Ian
Anderson, Donald Canavan, Dennis
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)
Ashdown, Paddy Clarke, Thomas
Ashton, Joe Clay, Robert
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Cohen, Harry
Barnett, Guy Coleman, Donald
Barron, Kevin Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Conlan, Bernard
Beith, A. J. Cook, Frank (Stockton North)
Bell, Stuart Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Corbett, Robin
Bermingham, Gerald Corbyn, Jeremy
Bidwell, Sydney Cowans, Harry
Blair, Anthony Craigen, J. M.
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Crowther, Stan
Boyes, Roland Cunliffe, Lawrence
Bray, Dr Jeremy Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Deakins, Eric
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Dewar, Donald
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N) Dormand, Jack
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Dubs, Alfred
Caborn, Richard Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Eadie, Alex
Eastham, Ken Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Ellis, Raymond O'Brien, William
Evans, John (St. Helens N) O'Neill, Martin
Ewing, Harry Park, George
Faulds, Andrew Parry, Robert
Fisher, Mark Patchett, Terry
Foster, Derek Pavitt, Laurie
Foulkes, George Pendry, Tom
Fraser, J. (Norwood) Penhaligon, David
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Pike, Peter
Garrett, W. E. Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Prescott, John
Godman, Dr Norman Radice, Giles
Golding, John Randall, Stuart
Gould, Bryan Redmond, M.
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Hardy, Peter Richardson, Ms Jo
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Robertson, George
Haynes, Frank Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Rogers, Allan
Home Robertson, John Rooker, J. W.
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Howells, Geraint Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Rowlands, Ted
Hughes, Roy (Newport East) Sedgemore, Brian
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S) Sheerman, Barry
John, Brynmor Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Kirkwood, Archy Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Lamond, James Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Leadbitter, Ted Skinner, Dennis
Leighton, Ronald Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
Lewis, Terence (Worsley) Snape, Peter
Litherland, Robert Soley, Clive
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Spearing, Nigel
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Stott, Roger
Loyden, Edward Strang, Gavin
McCartney, Hugh Straw, Jack
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
McGuire, Michael Thorne, Stan (Preston)
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Tinn, James
McKelvey, William Wallace, James
McTaggart, Robert Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
McWilliam, John Wareing, Robert
Madden, Max Weetch, Ken
Marek, Dr John Welsh, Michael
Martin, Michael White, James
Maxton, John Wigley, Dafydd
Maynard, Miss Joan Williams, Rt Hon A.
Meadowcroft, Michael Winnick, David
Michie, William Wrigglesworth, Ian
Mikardo, Ian Young, David (Bolton SE)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Tellers for the Noes:
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Mr. Don Dixon and
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Dr. Roger Thomas.
Nellist, David

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the Local Government (Supplementary Grants for Transport Purposes Specified Descriptions) Order 1984, dated 18th October 1984, a copy of which was laid before this House on 22nd October, in the last Session of Parliament, be approved.