HC Deb 23 January 1985 vol 71 cc1073-95

Question again proposed.

Mr. Adams

In Scotland, council housing amounts to some 70 per cent. of the housing stock. Conservative Members represent what is in Scotland only a minority view. It would be interesting to see what the result would be if only Scottish Members were allowed to vote tonight.

Not only on this issue but on many others, the Secretary of State for Scotland is looking more and more like a puppet of an English Government — not a United Kingdom Government—who are trying to impose their will on a people who are unwilling to be imposed upon.

What the Conservatives believe is that the council tenant in Scotland has paid far too little for too much for too long, and that their buddies have paid for it. Conservatives have a pathological hatred of council tenants. They believe that those who have a little more than most people have paid too much to subsidise the council tenant. That is the underlying attitude apparent in speech after speech.

I am an unrepentant dogmatist. If it was up to me, those people would pay a damn sight more. We hear the proprietors of superstores in the centres of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Paisley bleating about the terrible burden of rates. We should look at their profits. Lonrho and the House of Fraser could pay much more in rates. Furthermore, the very people who complain about their rates will turn up at my surgery the next week and complain that they cannot get grannie into an old folks' home. If they paid more in rates, we could build more old people's homes. They are hypocrites to a man.

Council housing has many faults. The Labour party has not done everything correctly. There is too much bureaucracy, and many council tenants are still dictated to as they should not be. When I served on the council, we were told that it was council policy that people must not paint their front doors in certain colours. They were not allowed to fix a light swithch to the wall. With the Scottish Special Housing Association, the situation became ludicrous. One had to make an application before one could bang a nail in the wall. Those faults have been admitted.

No one suggests that everything is perfect. None the less, council housing in Scotland achieved the termination of the single end and the outside toilet, the end of rickets, dysentery and — in my own constituency — of tuberculosis. The slums and warrens built by mill owners in my constituency towards the end of the 19th century were still in existence in my lifetime, and they were appalling. They cost many lives and much misery. They were not conducive to nice or comfortable living. The Labour party did away with them and made life much better for many people.

It might be argued that things could have been done differently and that we might have built houses for sale 60 or 70 years ago, but none of us can rewrite history. We made housing better and it is perhaps best left alone, for we are now merely selling off the best of the stock. Houses in the worst areas of my constituency such as Furgusly Park and Shortway, which are known to same Conservative Members, will never be sold. All we are doing is denying the people who live there the right to move to a better house because the better stock has been sold.

My local council has asked me to make some comments about grants. It suggests that most councils in Scotland are trying to channel money into specific areas such as the adaptation of houses for the elderly and the disabled. As the former chairman of Strathclyde social services committee, I know that much money is needed to adapt houses for the disabled and the chronically sick.

Many councils in Scotland are now saying that they would like to preserve their town centres to keep the character of Scottish towns and cities. That involves money to bring the buildings up to standard. Such money has not been made available in sufficient quantities until now. If we do not make more money available, we shall lose much of our heritage. I am worried about that because it is possible to walk through high streets from Elgin to Lands End and see a sameness creeping into our towns and cities. I should like money to be made available to stop that.

Ultimately, it comes down to spending £1 now to save having to spend £2 in 10 years. Not spending money now is a false economy. As Harry Truman said, "Save a buck and sacrifice the people." No doubt the Minister will come out with facts and figures when he winds up, so I should like to mention a few now. When the housing support grant was initiated, it gave Renfrew district council £6.5 million. Renfrew now receives nothing. In anybody's language that is a drop of £6.5 million. Housing support grant in Scotland for 1979–80 was £228 million—it has dropped to £48 million in 1985–86. In plain language, that is a substantial drop. I calculate it to be a decrease of 79 per cent. and yet, over the same period, the retail price index rose by 75 per cent. The housing stock of 38,000 homes in my area will deteriorate rapidly as a result. Indeed, it already has. I ask the Government to reconsider and to make more money available.

10.8 pm

Mr. Charles Kennedy (Ross, Cromarty and Skye)

It will come as no great surprise to the House, least of all to the hon. Member for Paisley, North (Mr. Adams), if I say that my principal raison d'être for being in politics is to oppose completely the type of dogmatism of which he spoke. Nevertheless, I go along with much of what the hon. Gentleman said.

It is fair to argue that the policy of selling council houses, which I support, leaves local authorities with an increasing residue of houses, especially in urban areas but also in rural areas, that are less likely ever to be disposed of, and certainly not without vast sums of public money being spent on them first. It is therefore ridiculous that the Government should cut public investment when there is rising unemployment in Scotland and when the construction industry could put many people back to work quickly.

Despite the contributions from Conservative Members and despite the Minister's attempt at an ebullient speech, we need only look at a report in The Scotsman of 12 December for proof that difficulties exist. In a report entitled, "Housing hopes undermined", Mr. Donald MacLennan, director of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, is quoted as saying that the associations' initiatives are being "stifled completely" by the Government's present decision. It involves a cut of more than 40 per cent. on the figure which the associations were awarded for 1983–84. Mr. MacLennan is reported as saying: The plan we put to the Minister and which is being looked at by the Housing Corporation is now almost stillborn. Among other things, the plan focuses on the expansion of housing association programmes in Scotland to at least 7,000 units per year. Given the waiting list figures and the social service figures, of which the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for health will be aware, and the problems which both those sets of figures highlight, it is extremely surprising that the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for housing should turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the housing associations' genuine arguments. That underlines what many hon. Members see at constituency level, which is, a continuing erosion of housing stock and its quality, and of local government responsibility, local power and democracy.

I find it a little difficult to agree with all the comments made by the Labour party spokesman, especially when he defends to the end the role of COSLA. I do not criticise COSLA, but it seemed from his speech that the Labour party had never attempted to restrain local spending, which more recent political experience shows not to be the case. Some of the criticisms from the Labour Front Bench do not stand up to full, vigorous, political scrutiny.

I wish to address myself to the anomalies in the system of housing support. That is a cautionary expression to use for such support from the Government to Scottish local authorities. Local democracy is highlighted by the confrontation which both Front Benches predicted. It is a shame that both Front Benches are willing to make such a great issue of, and to score points from each other about, that. I subscribe to the type of approach described by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Brown). He said that there was more merit in making sensible points based on the merits of a case than in making blanket statements, which do not ease the position.

It is like the teachers' dispute. It may be easy for the Scottish Office to attack the Opposition, and for the Labour party to strike back, but at the end of the day it is children's education that will suffer. The Secretary of State nods in agreement. In exactly the same way, the confrontation which his policies are leading to, and to which the Labour party, although apparently not the Labour party spokesman, tonight is willing to give measured support will do no one any good, least of all the tenants. It would be only sensible for the Government to have the common sense and, indeed, the political humility once in a while to modify and improve their policies so as to reduce the possibility of local authorities breaking the law or entering into activities which the Scottish Office and perhaps the bulk of Scottish opinion would find unacceptable. The fact that the Minister was apparently unwilling to do so tonight will not make it easy for the Secretary of State, if the legal confrontations build up in the months ahead, to lay all the blame at the feet of local authorities. He should remember that the legislation which gives rise to the problem was initiated by him, or at least in his name by St. Andrew's house in Edinburgh.

Once again, those at the lowest end of the income scale, be that state income or remunerative income through employment, must bear the brunt of the Government's policies. The Minister said that housing benefit should not be overlooked, but he must acknowledge, as did the former Minister of Social Security—the hon. Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson)—especially in relation to England and Wales but also to Scotland, that the housing benefits system is a complete shambles. During the past eight to 12 months especially, all hon. Members will have heard of elderly constituents—people who have never been in debt and who consider it utterly unacceptable to be in debt — being placed in a position of apparent indebtedness to local authorities because of foul-ups in the housing benefit system. The Minister cannot rely on what has been shown, and admitted by the DHSS, to be a deficient system to try to justify the increases in rent which council house tenants must face.

There are still many anomalies in the system. My hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) intervened in the Minister's speech to mention such anomalies in Shetland and Orkney? That example typifies a problem that is common to other parts of Scotland. The local authority in Shetland has had much-needed capital expenditure of £3.4 million consented to this year and about £4 million next year, which will lead to an increase in debt charges of £650,000. That is the equivalent of an increase of £4.80 a week in rents. The Government cannot have taken that into account when they fixed the housing support grant for the area, despite what is claimed in the order, for it appears to drive a horse and cart through the regulations that they are setting up elsewhere.

We have discovered exactly the same problem on Skye. I appreciate that Skye and Lochalsh district council is one of the few in Scotland whose budget this year is increasing in real terms. The problem there is that if the authority levied the assumed rate fund contribution, which was estimated by the Minister, it would be open to penalty under the other provisions of the regulations.

Obvious difficulties remain. Like the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro), I have a specific inquiry about the variation order which I hope that the Minister will answer. It results from representations that I have received from the Skye and Lochalsh district council about some distinct problems that it is facing. It has done comparatively well with capital allocation and with improvement and repair grants, but the increased level of capital allocation—an increase from £1.06 million to £1.5 million—means that the council faces a greater burden in loan charges. The recent increase in interest rates is bound to complicate and add to the problems.

The increase is liable to be about £22,000 a year, and for Skye and Lochalsh district council, that is the equivalent of a rents increase of 50p a week. Will the Minister say whether the variation order will take account of that, and will specifically make up for that differential? If that is not the case, the maintenance and repair budget will have to be further cut to meet the additional demands that the £22,000 will put on the council. That £22,000 must seem a ridiculously low figure to many hon. Members in comparison with their local authorities, but for Skye and Lochalsh, which already meets the low stock rating of having under 3,000 local authority houses, it is a significant figure. The council is still grappling with the cuts to which it was subjected last year. I should appreciate any answer that the Minister can give on this.

This problem highlights the difficulties of time lag and updating in the system of regulations. As the chief executive of the district council said to me in a recent letter before the debate about loan charges: it seems surprising that SDD did not take the trouble to check their own information on Capital Allocations being issued when preparing the grant distribution calculations. There is an of administrative difficulty, which has been causing my local authority, and I suspect, others, some difficulties.

The Minister's package is not satisfactory. He must know, from his own constituency as much from the pleas that he hears from every part of Scotland, that this is not a realistic policy to pursue at a time of rising unemployment, particularly in the construction industry, and of increasing waiting lists for council houses. The right to buy may be a great system to argue for, and may be a laudable system for which to aim, but it cannot be pursued at the expense of the majority who will continue to be dependent on local authority housing.

It is insufficient and inadequate to say that the better end of housing stock should be sold off, as it will be snapped up into the private sector first. That will leave diminished and depleted resources with which the council has to grapple with increasing problems as a result of Government policy leading to higher unemployment and greater levels of deprivation. Increasing problems confront local authorities, particularly in housing programmes. I have asked the Minister some specific constituency questions. My right hon. and hon. Friends and I do not support these orders, and the Government will not have our vote for these thoroughly discriminatory measures.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I understand that the Opposition Front Bench speaker wishes to speak at 11 o'clock. I hope that it will be possible to call all of those hon. Members who wish to speak in the time that is available before 11 o'clock.

10.25 pm
Mrs. Anna McCurley (Renfrew, West and Inverclyde)

As a former history teacher I was absolutely fascinated by the history lesson that was given to the House this evening by the hon. Member for Paisley, North (Mr. Adams). If we had to follow his dogma, it would mean that we should have to vote either for the Greens party or the Blues party from ancient Rome, because we should be grateful to the Romans for giving us central heating. It is that kind of belief that pervades the attitude of the Labour party towards council house tenants in Scotland: that they should be eternally grateful to the Labour party for what it has done for them.

What amazes me in any debate on Scottish housing is that a certain amount of amnesia overtakes the Opposition. If the Opposition had reliable memories, they would be more inclined to congratulate the Government upon their housing policy rather than to castigate them. We should compare the position in Scotland before the Conservative party introduced enhanced housing improvement grants with the dramatic change for the better by the improvement of tens of thousands of properties since then. The problem is that success does not always bring its own reward. The Opposition, whose record on housing is still an ugly legacy in Scotland, is urging the Government to do more of what the Opposition never did or, indeed, could do.

Mr. Lambie

The Minister said that at the beginning of our debate.

Mrs. McCurley

I shall deal with the point made by the hon. Member if he cares in a minute or two to make an intervention from a standing position.

Mr. Lambie

I have been listening to the debate since it began. The hon. Member has just come into the House to speak.

Mrs. McCurley

I have been listening to the debate for a substantial amount of time. I feel that had I not removed myself for but a few minutes in order to partake of a meal — [Laughter] — I should not be in such fine and aggressive fettle as I am in now. Part of the reason for the Opposition's failure lies in their rigid determination to keep council house rents at an uneconomic level and, through rates and taxes, to make others pay for what in the end amounts to a guaranteed share of the vote at any election.

Many council tenants are in the lower income bracket. Because we fully understand this, the Government, through housing benefits, are continuing to provide reasonable accommodation at a price those tenants can afford. We have discussed many times how few people, particularly in parts of the west of Scotland, contribute at all to the cost of living in local authority accommodation.

Mr. Kennedy


Mrs. McCurley

I shall give way in a moment. Equally, there are those living on the financial margins in the private sector, either in private rented accommodation or in owner-occupation, who find the burden of high rents, taxation and rates well-nigh intolerable and who are supporting those in local authority households with higher incomes or multiple incomes that are much higher than those they command. They also have fewer outgoings and enjoy the security that comes from knowing that repairs are not necessarily going to cost them anything.

At a time when we are faced with the choice either of soaring inflation, as in the 1970s, under a Labour Government or of the prudent management of finance in the public sector to keep inflation down to the minimum, it is only right that the Government should exercise a restraining influence upon local authorities who over-spend. If there is likely to be a rent increase that is more dramatic than the expected average, the reason is generally because rents were calculated to be too low in the first place.

In all the increases that are proposed—and they are minimal—Scottish tenants will still have a better deal than their English and Welsh counterparts. Average rents in England and Wales have consistently been higher than those in Scotland; as well, the average weekly wage in Scotland is slightly higher than the figure for England and Wales. Thus, for the current year the £1 increase will bring average rents in Scotland to about £11.50 compared with an average of £14 south of the border. In percentage terms this means that rents will represent roughly 7 per cent. of average earnings in Scotland compared with 10 per cent. in England and Wales.

However, as my right hon. and hon. Friends know, it is never my policy when I speak in the House only to give bouquets but occasionally to throw a few brickbats. I wish to take up two points with the Minister. As he is well aware, one of the major problems is the maintenance of local authority properties. Although I have a great desire to see additional sales of local authority housing and still think that some Scottish local authorities are obstructive and have been dragging their heels on assisting people to buy their own houses, I do not wish to penalise householders who choose to remain in the public sector. I do not think that anything in the Government's housing policy would support that, but I do not want local authority housing stock to be regarded as second rate or the tenants to be regarded as second rate citizens.

While I applaud the Government's specific increase of £43 million for the current year for construction, modernisation and repair—and I hope that construction will be not just in the regular housing sector but in the specialist sector—the additional £16 million set aside specifically to deal with dampness is disappointing. This may be the time to tackle dampness on a greater scale, especially when there is a recession in the trades that would be involved. The figure of £500 million that is quoted frequently is not realistic and cannot be justified as a total for curing the problem of dampness in council houses in Scotland.

Simple and cheap remedies which have been mentioned by the hon. Member for Ross, Cromarty and Skye (Mr. Kennedy) in the Scottish Grand Committee might be used by a local authority which, with flair and imagination, could identify cases where more radical treatment was necessary. A total of £16 million represents less than £750,000 to authorities such as mine in Inverclyde where a massive effort is required to deal with the problems of dampness. Proper maintenance of the housing stock is as much in the Government's interest as it is in the interest of local authorities.

Can the Minister tell us why for the second year running Inverclyde district has been hit so badly in relation to comparable authorities such as Dumbarton, Stirling and Dundee? We have been told that the average rent increase in Scotland will be £1.22 or 12 per cent. on 1984–85. According to calculations Inverclyde tenants will be asked to pay an increase approximating to £3.04p or 33 per cent. This seems to be a dramatic increase in comparison with comparable local authorities and it requires some public explanation. I have no doubt, that the Minister will give a proper justification for the increase. But whether it satisfies Inverclyde is another matter.

10.35 pm
Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)

It is always interesting to speak after the hon. Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mrs. McCurley), when she has made one of her speeches about Inverclyde. I am sure that she will agree that there are many more housing problems in Greenock and Port Glasgow than in Kilmacolm and Gourock. However, I agree with her that we need a proper explanation from the Minister about what she termed a dramatic increase in council house rents in Inverclyde.

The Minister's speech was smothered with figures, but he did not detail the extent of housing need in Scotland. I should like him to give some of those facts tonight. For example, how many people are on the waiting lists in Scotland? How many elderly people are waiting for sheltered housing in Scotland? How many people are living in overcrowded conditions, or in damp houses? I derive no satisfaction from the debate, because it will not improve by one jot the lot of council house tenants in my constituency. Many of them live in difficult and miserable conditions. Many of them also live in badly designed houses that are submerged in large and ugly schemes. Many of them too have had to suffer for decades because their houses were designed by architects who lacked both imagination and ingenuity, and apparently sympathy and compassion as well. Those architects regard the local authorities rather than the council house tenants as their clients.

Today thousands of citizens live in houses that are barely adequate. Often others live in houses that are grossly inadequate and hence make life a misery.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Dr. Godman

No. It is much too serious an occasion for that. However, I would have given way if the hon. Gentleman had been in the Chamber for as long as I have.

Nowhere is this dismal state of affairs more evident than in Inverclyde. I have to add that I am primarily talking about council houses in Greenock and Port Glasgow, rather than those in Gourock and Kilmacolm. In Inverclyde 6,000 houses are infected with dampness. That figure shows a slight reduction over the past few years, due to the remedial work undertaken by the Inverclyde district council. But the Government and that council must do much more.

The scale of the problem and its attendant misery cannot be radically reduced in the near future without more help from the Scottish Office. It is amidst those dismal circumstances that council house tenants in Inverclyde have been advised that they may well have to pay a good deal more in rent. It seems that Inverclyde is being singled out for severe treatment by the Secretary of State. Why are we witnessing such apparent vindictive treatment? I have been told by his hon. Friends that vindictiveness is not part of his personality. Is he angry with the Inverclyde administration? I can assure him that I believe that that august and austere publication Militant would affix the label "moderate" to the present Labour administration of Inverclyde.

Inverclyde district council has been instructed to reduce its present deficit per house from £220.20 to £125. Other district councils, while suffering, are not suffering to that extent. Inverclyde council tenants face a much higher rent increase than tenants elsewhere. In addition, the Inverclyde district council faces the withdrawal of housing support grant amounting to £51.36, giving a total increase of £148, that is, and increase of approximately £3 per week. Therefore, the circumstances in Inverclyde will be much worse than elsewhere in that tenants will face rent increases of about £3 per week more than the tenants of other authorities.

I believe that the Secretary of State received a letter earlier this week from the chief executive of the district council, Mr. Ian Wilson. In an earlier letter to the Secretary of State, the chief executive pointed out—and I am sure that he will not mind my quoting from the letter: Now that the details of the Housing Support Grant for 1985/86 are known, it is confirmed that our tenants face an average increase in excess of £3 per week. The Council views those level of increase as quite unreasonable and in view of the fact that it does not in any way affect central financing of our expenditure asks the Secretary of State most urgently to reconsider this matter. I ask the Secretary of State on behalf of the Inverclyde council house tenants to exercise his discretion so that the rent increase that those tenants will have to pay will not be nearly as high as now envisaged. I believe that he has discretion vis-à-vis the rate fund contribution limitation figure. I ask him to do this in the interests of the tenants of Inverclyde district council.

10.47 pm
Mr. Willie W. Hamilton (Fife, Central)

At this late hour there is not much point in going into detailed arguments even on a constituency basis, so I will satisfy myself with one or two generalities.

The first generality is the undeniable fact that in the last five years public expenditure on housing, which is the most important social service that we have, has been slashed by the Government more than any other single service.

The second generality is that any Scottish Member of Parliament who met the representatives of the local housing authorities yesterday of all political persuasions will agree with me from my long experience in the House that never has there been a bigger deputation and never has there been a more unanimous one. The representatives were unanimous in their condemnation of the Government's refusal to face the realities of the housing problems in Scotland.

There is a yawning gulf of understanding between the local authorities at the sharp end of the problem and the Government in their ivory towers, whether they are in Whitehall or in St. Andrew's house. It is a staggering gulf that has to be bridged. It could be, but the Government obviously have no intention of bridging it. Their philosophy is a simple one that has been expressed by other hon. Members. They simply do not believe that it is any part of the Government's responsibility to finance in any way the housing requirements of any single family in the country. The result is that the subsidy in the form of tax concessions to the private owner-occupier goes into hundreds of millions of pounds a year while year by year the subsidy to the generally poorer people in council houses has diminished to nil in many local authorities in Scotland. The present situation is that the local housing authorities simply cannot cope with the problems.

The Under-Secretary will recall that in the recent debate on acid rain, I said that people in houses, hospitals or schools with lead piping were being poisoned day by day. I asked what the Minister was doing about it. The hon. Gentleman said that he would write to me. I am still waiting for the reply. What progress is being made on lead, on condensation and on asbestos? Every local authority knows about those problems. The Government must know about them, but they are doing damn all about them.

Virtually everyone who took part in yesterday's lobby—Tories, Liberals, ratepayers and all the others—said that there would be a great temptation for them to defy the law, because they could not obey the law and carry out the mandates given to them by their electors.

The Under-Secretary made great play of the rule of law. It is an important matter, but we need no lessons from Conservatives about the importance of obeying the law. That highly respectable organ of the press, The Sunday Times, said in a recent article: Financial fraud has taken place on a staggering scale in the London insurance market. But the Director of Public Prosecutions has yet to bring a single case before court. White collar criminals are laughing at the law. While the DP dithers, the financial fraudsters are sunning themselves on the Marbella beaches"— wherever they are— Investors have been cheated of up to $500 million. The Government know that; the Law Officers know that, but they are more interested in chasing humble, democratically elected Labour councillors, and Tories, throughout Scotland.

Hundreds of thousands of companies—I guess that Conservative Members are directors or great shareholders in them — are defying the law. Two of every five companies in Britain are disobeying the law by not presenting their annual reports or accounts according to the law. What are the Government doing about that? Precisely nothing. Even the Prime Minister's son was caught at that. It was only when the Sunday press got hold of him that he quickly sorted himself out. God knows where he is now.

The Government have a different approach to council house tenants. Lady Tweedsmuir and Tom Galbraith called them second-class citizens and shiftless council tenants. Conservatives regard council tenants as worthless and believe that they should stand on their own feet. When we say that rents will go up by more than £1 a week, Ministers say that 60 to 70 per cent. of council tenants receive rent rebates or housing benefits. But those benefits are paid for out of the public purse, so that what the Government save in one area goes out in another.

All this is part of a redistribution of the national wealth. We shall see it again in the Budget. The exercise is designed to take from people who have too little to give handouts in the Budget to those who already have too much. That is what it is all about. I agree with those who take the view that there is a fundamental cleavage in philosophy on these matters. The Opposition regard housing as something of fundamental importance to so many that it cannot be left exclusively to the laws of the market. There must be Government intervention and public financing. I venture to prophesy that by the end of the Parliament there will not be one local housing authority in Scotland that will be receiving one penny piece of public money for its housing programme.

I am aware that my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) might want to participate in the debate, but I shall mention the Kirkcaldy find. The Under-Secretary of State spoke to me in the Corridor the other day. He said, "Willie, I am doing awfully well. I have found a few pennies in the kitty for the Kirkcaldy district council." That money will not give the council's houses a coat of paint. Let me thank the Minister for nothing. The council will have its representatives running around to find a few houses on which to spend the small amount that has been found in the kitty. The council wants tens of millions of pounds and its problems are small compared with those of other local authorities in Scotland.

Mr. Ancram


Mr. Hamilton

No, I shall not give way. I am just getting into my stride. If the local authorities break the law, I hope that they will do so together without exception. If the Government continue to behave in such a dictatorial manner and continue to show such lack of understanding, there will come a time when the authorities will have no alternative but to do so. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) says that the answer lies with the Government and that they must face the problems more realistically. He argued that if they do so there will be no confrontation. The responsibility is theirs.

A White Paper was published yesterday setting out public expenditure over the next two or three years. It sets out a wonderful prospect. After five years of "successful" Tory Government rents, rates, gas prices, electricity prices, coal prices and school meal charges are increasing. Every price that can be mentioned is increasing as a direct consequence of the Government's policies. This is what the press is saying, and it has analysed the White Paper. At the same time, unemployment is increasing remorselessly and is exceeding 4 million. How can the unemployed attempt to meet the problems of housing and education, for example, with their increasingly worthless incomes? I hope that the Minister will see reality.

The Government can find more cash. I think of the 1,200 folks on the Falkland Islands who are about 8,000 miles away. We are to spend £2,000 million on them in the next three years, but to what end? There are 5 million folks in Scotland. If we shifted them out to the Falklands, we would get their problems solved. Prefabs are being built on the Falklands at a cost of £30,000 each. The money' and resources are available and only the will is lacking to direct them to the right areas.

10.54 pm
Mr. Albert McQuarrie (Banff and Buchan)

In view of Mr. Speaker's request, I shall endeavour to keep my remarks short.

Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West)

Get off your knees.

Mr. McQuarrie

I shall ignore that comment.

I take issue with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) for whom I have the greatest respect. He said that the Conservatives were forcing up council house rents to compel tenants to purchase their council house. That is a lot of rubbish. Hansard of 22 November 1984, c. 273–5, clearly shows that the percentage of council houses sold between 1 April 1975 and 30 September 1984 is less than one would have expected. For example, Strathclyde with 460,000 public sector houses in stock at 30 September 1979 sold only about 11,000 houses — 2.5 per cent. Sales of public sector houses have seldom reached double figures in local authority areas generally.

Hon. Members have referred to the state of council houses and their period of disrepair. The hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman), who is not in the Chamber—

Mr. Wallace

He has been here all night.

Mr. McQuarrie

I am merely commenting. If the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow had examined council house construction under successive Governments, he would have found that the houses were approved by the central Government of the day according to the Parker Morris standard. The houses are now defective because they were not properly constructed in the first place by the architects. The houses became defective because the Parker Morris standard did not reach the building standard suitable for Scotland's climatic conditions.

We can see the shamble of houses in Glasgow which for many years did not receive proper attention. That happened under Labour Administrations even when councils received housing support grant. Councils did not use that grant properly. We should remember the houses that were demolished.

Dr. M. S. Miller (East Kilbride)

What would the hon. Gentleman know about it?

Mr. McQuarrie

I remember this well enough to know all about it. Houses were demolished by a Labour department. The cost of building those houses was three times what it would have cost for the private sector to do the job. The standard of workmanship was such that some of the management had to be dispensed with. That is why many of the houses in Scotland are in a state of disrepair. The first of these public houses were constructed in 1945 after the second world war. They were constructed badly and were never maintained. I conjoin management and maintenance. Most of the council estates—whatever the political colour of the local authority—are overmanaged and undermaintained. That is one of the greatest problems. No one at the top will take the decision to remove the unnecessary people. There are far too many top brass and not enough workers doing the job. That is why so many construction workers are unemployed.

To Glasgow's credit, during the past two or three years scaffolding has been put up. An excellent job is being done to refurbish many of the tenements. Glasgow is effectively and efficiently using the money the Government have given through housing support grant. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan), who is laughing, has probably never set foot in the parts of Glasgow that are being refurbished. The Glasgow council is doing an excellent job, but Glasgow city council and other local authorities should continue to do that job.

I agree entirely that the Government should take action to alleviate dampness. It is nonsense to say that £60 million is sufficient even to start curing the dampness problem. I go so far as to say that my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mrs. McCurley) was wrong to say that it would not take £500 million. Having been in the business for many years and as a member of the relevant Select Committee I believe that for the whole of Scotland it will certainly take £500 million to cure the dampness problem.

I commend the orders to the House.

11 pm

Mr. Jim Craigen (Glasgow, Maryhill)

I am glad to know that the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. McQuarrie) is something of a firebrand when it comes to curing dampness in Scotland, because the Government are doing precious little about the problems facing local authorities and the suffering of their tenants.

I thought that one reason why the Secretary of State did not open the debate might be that the provost of Kyle and Carrick had suggested that he should not, but my hon. Friend the Member for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie) has pointed out that since he erred in his election campaign for the provostship he is no longer chairman of the Ayr Conservative association and has indeed been expelled from the party because of his concern about rents and local services.

These three orders amount to an abysmal prospect for Scottish tenants in 1985. The housing support grant of £48.2 million is a mere one sixth of that available in 1980–81. That means that two thirds of local authority housing stock is now outwith Government financial aid and the majority of Scottish authorities now receive no direct Government aid towards housing problems compared with the situation five years ago when all 56 Scottish authorities qualified for housing support grant.

The variation order for 1984–85 has already been overtaken by events. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has imposed a minimum lending rate of 12 per cent. That means that for the remainder of the current financial year those local authorities that still receive housing support grant could be out of pocket to the tune of about £16 million. Edinburgh district council pointed out today that since the rate fund contribution limit was fixed interest rates have risen to the extent that its housing account costs may increase by about £2.1 million. The variation order reflects the increase in interest rates last summer, but there have been two substantial increases in recent weeks.

The final straw is the new rate fund contribution order limiting to £90 million the general rate fund contribution to those authorities that choose to have one. As the contribution was running at about £120 million in 1984–85, that means a real cut of about £30 million in housing resources.

The Secretary of State is taking all the power that he needs effectively to fix rent levels in Scotland, and behind the skirts of the local authorities because he refuses to introduce a national rent level. He is manipulating HSG, the rate fund contribution and all his other powers in order to make the local authorities do what St. Andrew's house wants.

The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) referred to the complexity of the orders. I believe that the complexity is largely deliberate. It is hoped that we will find it difficult to understand how little the authorities are to receive. Only in algebra and in the twisted minds of Tory Scottish Ministers does a combination of minuses result in a plus.

The three orders present decay and disaster for Scottish housing in the foreseeable future. The housing support grant is mean-minded, the variation order is already inadequate and the rate fund contribution limitation order can only be described as vindictive. Decay and deterioration lie ahead for more housing in Scotland as a result of the orders.

The orders also show the disdain with which Tory Scottish Ministers view Scotland's 850,000 council tenants. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) talked about the possibility of the ghetto. The Government seem determined to pincer the local authority housing sector into a ghetto, and the council tenants with it. At a time when the Scottish building industry is in despair about the lack of work, and thousands of building workers are idle, it seems shortsighted in the extreme that the Government do not do more to generate employment and business opportunities within Scotland's construction industry.

Last Friday I met the Scottish construction industry group. I discussed with representatives of both sides of the building industry some of their anxieties about the prospects for the next 12 months. We are not yet seeing the full effects of the changes made in October 1983 reducing grants for home improvements from 90 per cent. to 50 per cent. There is a lead time before the effects of such changes are seen.

We have heard about capital allocations and the £16 million for dealing with dampness. That money is not being handed out to the local authorities. They are being given permission to borrow it, and are expected to earmark £16 million for the eradication of dampness.

Ministers at the Scottish Office do not last long in housing. In March 1983 the Minister's predecessor with that responsibility, the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart), said in a press release: Glasgow…gets an extra £5 million in the next financial year…This should enable the District Council to cover in full the cost of carrying through its entire programme for the eradication of dampness and condensation in one year if it so chooses. That was said before the Select Committee chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Cunninghame, South reported and certainly before the Scottish Development Department produced its own memorandum to that Committee, which admitted that about £150 million would be required in Scotland in the foreseeable future. It is an interesting introduction of hypothecation from a Minister who constantly told us, during discussions on clause 8 of the Rating and Valuation (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 1984, that he did not want hypothecation and that no one else wanted it. He now thinks it worth while to introduce it.

I listened with rapt attention to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton) talking about the Housing Defects Act. It seems that the Scottish Office wants to earmark £3 million. Edinburgh district council says that the full potential cost of buy-back or repair to be met through an authority's responsibilities under the Housing Defects Act 1984 to those who bought their homes will amount to £3 million, but that it will cost £17 million to repair the remaining homes in the public sector. As the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West said, numerous council tenants live cheek by jowl with those who have bought their homes. It is difficult, if not impossible, to isolate work that must be done for those who have rights under the Housing Defects Act 1984 from those who were excluded and lack parity.

The Government are determined to raise rents to an extent that I can only regard as excessive and unreasonable. The hon. Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mrs. McCurley) might well be satisfied that her local authority is one of six that will have to raise rents by £3 per week, but my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) made it clear that he does not share her view. There might be a larger proportion of their Lordships in Scotland than in England and it is difficult to draw comparisons on wage levels between England and Wales and Scotland. I suspect that there are sharper divides in incomes in Scotland and that the average is blunted because of the way in which averages are calculated.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. George Younger)

Come on!

Mr. Craigen

The Secretary of State asks me to come on—if only he would come on for Scotland's tenants. That is what we are asking for. We want him to look after the interests of tenants in Scotland. He must have handed out a few briefs to his Back Bench colleagues. I exclude the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan because I know that he would tear up any ministerial brief. The trouble is that some of the Secretary of State's colleagues read only the good bits in the brief. They ignored the bits that will sting the tenants whom they represent.

The hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Malone) said that it is all a matter of balance and talked about housing finance. I do not think that he knows that many local authorities, and the money they spend, help the private sector as well as council house tenants. If he wants Scotland to be on all fours with England and Wales, he should consider why we need a Scottish Minister with responsibility for housing. Come to think of it, we could do better without this one. Public expenditure on interest relief is a form of negative public expenditure. Now that it is running at £2.75 billion in the United Kingdom I suggest that we have an open-ended subsidy irrespective of a person's income. The more he borrows, the more interest relief and tax that he does not have to pay. It is time for a reappraisal of the top end of the income scale.

We had representations this week from the Scottish Council for the Single Homeless. Some of the things going on up and down the country are a moral outrage. Young people are being driven from their homes. The orders make provision for hostel and lodging accommodation. It would be interesting if the Minister would comment on that aspect, because it tends to be ignored.

The hon. Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Henderson) thinks that everything would be hunky-dory if we were all on housing benefit. Forty-five per cent. of households in Scotland are on housing benefit, compared with 35 per cent. in England and Wales. There is a disparity there. It should not be overlooked that housing benefit relates to individuals and is not a subsidy to a housing authority.

The orders represent higher rents, reduced maintenance and repair of Scotland's housing stock, longer waiting lists and greater homelessness. They also mean more joblessness in the construction industry and more bankruptcies among wee builders. These orders paint a prospect for 1985 of despair, decay and disaster in many sections of Scotland's housing stock.

11.16 pm
Mr. Ancram

I have listened to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) on many occasions, but his speech tonight gave me the impression that his heart was not in it. Until the end of his speech, when he mentioned the percentage of people in council houses in Scotland receiving housing benefit, it bore so little relation to reality that there was little on it for me to answer. I am not surprised about that. When he compares the Labour Government's record on housing with this Government's achievements since 1979, it is not surprising that he lacks the confidence to make a stronger case.

I remind the House that between December 1975 and March 1979, when the Labour party was in Government, the reduction in the number of below tolerable standard houses was 24 per cent. Between March 1979 and March 1984, when the Conservative party was in office, it was 44 per cent. We are proud of that record.

Unlike the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar), the hon. Member for Maryhill mentioned the number of people on housing benefit. He knows, even if his hon. Friend does not, that money spent on housing benefit goes into housing, as much as any other money for housing does. Since 1979–80, that figure has increased from £32.4 million to £70.4 million in the current year.

Mr. Robert Hughes

That is disgraceful. The Minister should be black affronted by what he has just said. The sum spent on housing benefit since the Tory Government have been in power is a shame and a disaster, and shows the poverty that he has inflicted on the Scottish people.

Mr. Ancram

The hon. Gentleman has shown precisely what the difference is between the Labour party's policy and ours. We believe in subsidising people in need, not in subsidising every council house and tenant. That is precisely what the orders are about.

In the short time remaining to me, I shall try to deal with some of the specific points raised in the debate. The speech of the hon. Member for Garscadden was, understandably, general, and I covered many of his points during my opening speech. He mentioned the action being taken by Glasgow district council against my right hon. Friend. Although I do not wish to say too much about it now—he will understand that it would not be proper for me to do so—I must tell him that I am surprised by the terms of Glasgow's court action. Needless to say, my right hon. Friend rejects completely the suggestion that his actions were ultra vires. My right hon. Friend made a full and careful consideration of all the factors mentioned in Glasgow district council's letters of 21 and 30 November and 28 December when reaching his decision not to increase the rate fund contribution limit for Glasgow district council—

Mr. Norman Buchan (Paisley, South)

On a point of order. Mr. Deputy Speaker. We have listened to a long extract from a letter from the Secretary of State for Scotland, who happens to be in the Chamber. Can he not stand up and speak for himself?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Gentleman knows that that is not a point of order.

Mr. Ancram

The hon. Gentleman did not attend the whole debate, and he may not wish to hear the answers to some of the relevant questions that were asked.

The hon. Member for Garscadden also mentioned Glasgow's rent increase. In considering the rent increase that Glasgow proposes, one must take account of the fact, as we did—the hon. Gentleman obviously did not—that Glasgow imposed a rent freeze for the current year, and is planning to increase expenditure on management and maintenance by considerably more than the rate of inflation. This explains the disparity in our views.

I was a little disappointed by what the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Brown) said about housing associations, and I was amazed to hear the allegation made by the hon. Member for Ross, Cromarty and Skye (Mr. Kennedy), because within the total allocation this year my right hon. Friend has preserved, and increased marginally, the proportion to the housing associations in recognition of the value that we place on their work. For the hon. Member for Ross, Cromarty and Skye to say that their allocations had been cut by 40 per cent. defies explanation, because for the third year running, housing associations will have more than £100 million to spend. That is a considerable sum.

The hon. Member for Provan asked me whether I would consider sympathetically par value co-operative proposals in Glasgow. I am sympathetic to those imaginative proposals, provided that they are likely to lead to a real and lasting transfer of ownership and control from the district council to the tenants. Several problems remain to be considered, but in general I am sympathetic.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) asked about interest rates. I said that we shall consider bringing forward a variation order for an increase or decrease in housing support grant as appropriate in due course. He asked about timing. He must appreciate that the variation orders are not there to react to every movement in interest rates. They are there to correct the position once it becomes apparent that the original estimates are wrong. My hon. Friend also asked whether the rate fund contribution limits were set arbitrarily. The formula of asking authorities to reduce rate fund contributions by 10 per cent. from last year's limits, or to hold to their budgeted figure, if that is lower, was discussed in principle with COSLA, which was unable to suggest an alternative approach. In fairness, I should say that it did not like the outcome of this formula. The fairness of the formula is manifested by the fact that the rent increase assumed within it is on a par with that assumed in this housing support grant order.

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South—[Interruption.] I was always very proud of my ability to play my own trumpet, but on that occasion it was not deliberate. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Malone) asked whether, in setting allocations for authorities, we take account of the varying enthusiasms for council house sales. The answer is yes, because we assume that authorities will generate receipts from sales within an average of seven months, and those that complete within that time have stronger allocations than those who do not.

The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) made a number of points, and I was rather suprised to hear him of all people talk about cash for the HRAs, because we have given Dundee district council a provisional gross allocation on the HRAs for this year of £7.8 million. This represents a 19 per cent. increase in the council's allocation for the current year, and meets 82 per cent. of Dundee's bids for HRA resources on that block. I would have hoped, in the light of constraint on expenditure, that he would at least be prepared to accept that that was a major allocation.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) made a number of points about the situation in Edinburgh, but, as I spoke earlier about Edinburgh, I do not want to say too much about it now. There are a number of things in what he and the council have said that we find puzzling. It is clear from Edinburgh's capital programme, which has been made available to us, that it plans to spread expenditure evenly. Planned expenditure on condensation and dampness in 1985 totals only £1.93 million in the plan. Our earmarked allocation of £4.7 million should enable Edinburgh to accelerate measures to tackle this problem over and above what it had already decided to do.

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton) asked a number of questions, in particular whether I could give him the figures of rent and wage comparisons between England and Scotland. The average Scottish local authority rent is £10.46 a week, and the average Scottish earnings for a full-time manual male worker aged 21 and over is £156.20. In England, the equivalent figures are £14.71 and £152.40.

Mr. Canavan


Mr. Ancram

I am not giving way.

Mr. Canavan


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)

Order. The hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) can see that the Minister is not giving way.

Mr. Ancram

My hon. Friend also asked some questions about the Housing Defects Act. We have advised councils that in setting provisional capital allocations, we have taken no account of expenditure that will be incurred through this Act, but we have made provision at a later stage, when the council is better able to assess the need, to make supplementary allocations should that need arise.

My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Henderson) put his finger on the nub of the debate. When we examine what the Opposition's case has been, it becomes clear that their policy does not hold together. Many of the speeches that have been made tonight were saying that we should subsidise house rents whether the tenants need that subsidy or not, at the expense of dealing with problems such as dampness and condensation.

The Opposition's first argument is that subsidy should be paid regardless. That is why they oppose the HSG order, which is based on the calculation of need. Subsidy for everyone, whatever the cost is their policy, and it can be justified only by short-term political expediency. Who should pay for these subsidies, according to the Labour speeches that we have heard? In opposing the rate fund contribution limits, it is clear that they believe that the ratepayers should pay to these general subsidies to council housing. In our debate tomorrow I believe that we should remember well who it was who tonight tried to protect the interests of ratepayers and who it was who tried—

Mr. Canavan


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The Minister is obviously not giving way.

Mr. Ancram

The question remains as to how they will achieve it. We have had no answer tonight from the Opposition about breaches of the law. The effects of these orders together, alongside the announcements we have made on provisional allocations, bring a balance to Scottish housing that is needed. They ensure that within the available resources money is being spent where it is most needed. Those who need help are getting it and ratepayers are not being asked to bear an undue burden. With confidence I commend these orders to the House.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 317, Noes 190.

Division No. 76] [11.30 pm
Adley, Robert Corrie, John
Aitken, Jonathan Couchman, James
Alexander, Richard Cranborne, Viscount
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Critchley, Julian
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Crouch, David
Amess, David Currie, Mrs Edwina
Ancram, Michael Dorrell, Stephen
Arnold, Tom Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Ashby, David Dover, Den
Aspinwall, Jack du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Durant, Tony
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Dykes, Hugh
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Eggar, Tim
Baldry, Tony Emery, Sir Peter
Batiste, Spencer Evennett, David
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Eyre, Sir Reginald
Bellingham, Henry Fairbairn, Nicholas
Bendall, Vivian Fallon, Michael
Bennett, Rt Hon Sir Frederic Farr, Sir John
Benyon, William Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Bevan, David Gilroy Fletcher, Alexander
Biffen, Rt Hon John Fookes, Miss Janet
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Forman, Nigel
Blackburn, John Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Forth, Eric
Body, Richard Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Fox, Marcus
.Bottomley, Peter Franks, Cecil
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Fraser, Peter (Angus East)
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n) Freeman, Roger
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Fry, Peter
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Gale, Roger
Bright, Graham Galley, Roy
Brinton, Tim Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Brooke, Hon Peter Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)
Browne, John Garel-Jones, Tristan
Bruinvels, Peter Glyn, Dr Alan
Bryan, Sir Paul Goodlad, Alastair
Bulmer, Esmond Gorst, John
Butcher, John Gow, Ian
Butler, Hon Adam Gower, Sir Raymond
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Grant, Sir Anthony
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S) Greenway, Harry
Carttiss, Michael Gregory, Conal
Cash, William Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Chapman, Sydney Grist, Ian
Chope, Christopher Ground, Patrick
Churchill, W. S. Grylls, Michael
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Gummer, John Selwyn
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Cockeram, Eric Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Colvin, Michael Hampson, Dr Keith
Conway, Derek Hanley, Jeremy
Coombs, Simon Hannam, John
Cope, John Hargreaves, Kenneth
Harris, David Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Harvey, Robert Mellor, David
Haselhurst, Alan Merchant, Piers
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Meyer, Sir Anthony
Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk) Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Hawksley, Warren Mills, lain (Meriden)
Hayes. J. Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Hayhoe, Barney Miscampbell, Norman
Hayward, Robert Moate, Roger
Heathcoat-Amory, David Monro, Sir Hector
Heddle, John Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Henderson, Barry Moore, John
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)
Hickmet, Richard Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Hill, James Mudd, David
Hind, Kenneth Murphy, Christopher
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Neale, Gerrard
Hordern, Peter Needham, Richard
Howard, Michael Nelson, Anthony
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A) Neubert, Michael
Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford) Newton, Tony
Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk) Nicholls, Patrick
Hubbard-Miles, Peter Norris, Steven
Hunt, David (Wirral) Onslow, Cranley
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Oppenheim, Phillip
Hunter, Andrew Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Ottaway, Richard
Irving, Charles Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Jessel, Toby Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Parris, Matthew
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Jones, Robert (W Herts) Patten, John (Oxford)
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Pattie, Geoffrey
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Pawsey, James
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Key, Robert Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
King, Rt Hon Tom Pollock, Alexander
Knight, Gregory (Derby N) Porter, Barry
Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston) Portillo, Michael
Knowles, Michael Powell, William (Corby)
Knox, David Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Lamont, Norman Price, Sir David
Latham, Michael Prior, Rt Hon James
Lawrence, Ivan Raffan, Keith
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Lee, John (Pendle) Rathbone, Tim
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Renton, Tim
Lester, Jim Rhodes James, Robert
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Lightbown, David Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lilley, Peter Rifkind, Malcolm
Lloyd, Ian (Havant) Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham) Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Lord, Michael Rost, Peter
Luce, Richard Rowe, Andrew
Lyell, Nicholas Rumbold, Mrs Angela
McCrindle, Robert Ryder, Richard
McCurley, Mrs Anna Sackville, Hon Thomas
Macfarlane, Neil Sayeed, Jonathan
MacGregor, John Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Shelton, William (Streatham)
Maclean, David John Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st) Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
McQuarrie, Albert Shersby, Michael
Madel, David Sims, Roger
Major, John Skeet, T. H. H.
Malins, Humfrey Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Malone, Gerald Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Maples, John Soames, Hon Nicholas
Marland, Paul Speed, Keith
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Spence, John
Mates, Michael Spencer, Derek
Mather, Carol Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Maude, Hon Francis Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Stanbrook, Ivor
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Stanley, John
Steen, Anthony Waddington, David
Stern, Michael Waldegrave, Hon William
Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton) Walden, George
Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood) Ward, John
Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Stokes, John Watson, John
Stradling Thomas, J. Watts, John
Taylor, John (Solihull) Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Terlezki, Stefan Wheeler, John
Thomas, Rt Hon Peter Whitfield, John
Thompson, Donald (Calder V) Whitney, Raymond
Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N) Wiggin, Jerry
Thorne, Neil (Ilford S) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Thornton, Malcolm Wolfson, Mark
Thurnham, Peter Wood, Timothy
Townend, John (Bridlington) Woodcock, Michael
Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath) Yeo, Tim
Tracey, Richard Younger, Rt Hon George
Trippier, David
Trotter, Neville Tellers for the Ayes:
Twinn, Dr Ian Mr. Robert Boscawen and
van Straubenzee, Sir W. Mr. Ian Lang.
Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Deakins, Eric
Alton, David Dewar, Donald
Anderson, Donald Dixon, Donald
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Dobson, Frank
Ashdown, Paddy Dormand, Jack
Ashton, Joe Douglas, Dick
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Dubs, Alfred
Barnett, Guy Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
Barron, Kevin Eastham, Ken
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Evans, John (St. Helens N)
Beith, A. J. Ewing, Harry
Bell, Stuart Fatchett, Derek
Benn, Tony Faulds, Andrew
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Bermingham, Gerald Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)
Bidwell, Sydney Fisher, Mark
Blair, Anthony Flannery, Martin
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Boyes, Roland Forrester, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Foster, Derek
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Foulkes, George
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Fraser, J. (Norwood)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N) Freud, Clement
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Garrett, W. E.
Bruce, Malcolm George, Bruce
Buchan, Norman Godman, Dr Norman
Caborn, Richard Golding, John
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Gould, Bryan
Campbell, Ian Gourlay, Harry
Campbell-Savours, Dale Hamilton, James (M'well N)
Canavan, Dennis Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Hardy, Peter
Carter-Jones, Lewis Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Cartwright, John Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Clarke, Thomas Haynes, Frank
Clay, Robert Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)
Cohen, Harry Home Robertson, John
Coleman, Donald Hoyle, Douglas
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Janner, Hon Greville
Corbett, Robin John, Brynmor
Cowans, Harry Johnston, Russell
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Craigen, J. M. Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Crowther, Stan Kennedy, Charles
Dalyell, Tarn Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Kirkwood, Archy
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Lambie, David
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Lamond, James
Leadbitter, Ted Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Leighton, Ronald Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Lewis, Terence (Worsley) Robertson, George
Litherland, Robert Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Rowlands, Ted
Loyden, Edward Ryman, John
McCartney, Hugh Sedgemore, Brian
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Sheerman, Barry
McGuire, Michael Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
McKelvey, William Shore, Rt Hon Peter
McNamara, Kevin Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Madden, Max Short, Mrs R. (W'hampt'n NE)
Marek, Dr John Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Skinner, Dennis
Maynard, Miss Joan Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Meacher, Michael Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
Meadowcroft, Michael Soley, Clive
Michie, William Spearing, Nigel
Mikardo, Ian Steel, Rt Hon David
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Strang, Gavin
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Tinn, James
Nellist, David Torney, Tom
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Wainwright, R.
O'Brien, William Wallace, James
O'Neill, Martin Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wareing, Robert
Park, George White, James
Parry, Robert Wigley, Dafydd
Patchett, Terry Williams, Rt Hon A.
Pavitt, Laurie Wilson, Gordon
Pendry, Tom Winnick, David
Penhaligon, David Woodall, Alec
Pike, Peter Wrigglesworth, Ian
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Prescott, John
Radice, Giles Tellers for the Noes:
Randall, Stuart Mr. John Maxton and
Redmond, M. Mr. John McWilliam.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Housing Support Grant (Scotland) Order 1985, which was laid before this House on 11th January, be approved.