HC Deb 27 March 1985 vol 76 cc530-45

  1. '(1) A scheme for the making of grants to eligible voluntary organisations may be made for Greater London or a metropolitan county by the constituent councils, that is to say—
    1. (a) in relation to Greater London, the London borough councils and the Common Council; and
    2. (b) in relation to a metropolitan county, the councils of the metropolitan districts comprised in the county.
  2. (2) Any such scheme shall provide—
    1. (a) for the grants to be made by one of the constituent councils designated for that purpose by the scheme; and
    2. (b) for the other constituent councils to contribute as provided by subsection (3) below to the expenditure incurred by the designated council in making the grants or otherwise in discharging its functions under the scheme.
  3. (3) The constituent councils shall be required to contribute to any expenditure of the designated council which has been incurred with the approval of at least two-thirds of the constituent councils; and the amounts of the contributions shall be determined so that the expenditure in respect of which they are payable is borne by the constituent councils in proportion to the populations of their respective areas.
  4. (4) For the purposes of subsection (3) above the population of any area shall be taken to be the number estimated by the 531 Registrar General and certified by him to the Secretary of State by reference to such date as the Secretary of State may from time to time determine.
  5. (5) The total expenditure incurred under a scheme by a designated council in Greater London or a metropolitan county in any financial year (including the amounts recoverable under the scheme from other councils) shall not exceed such amount as is for the time being prescribed for that area by an order made by the Secretary of State.
  6. (6) A scheme shall not provide for the making of grants before the beginning of the financial year after that in which the scheme is made and shall continue in force until the end of at least two financial years after that in which it is made.
  7. (7) A scheme may, in the absence of agreement between all the constituent councils, be made by a majority of those councils so as to be binding on all of them; but a council shall not be designated by a scheme except with its consent.
  8. (8) A scheme may contain such supplementary provisions as the councils making the scheme think necessary or expedient and, subject to subsection (6) above, may be revoked by those councils (or, in the absence of agreement between all of them, by a majority of those councils) with effect from the end of any financial year after that in which the decisions to revoke the scheme is made.
  9. (9) The council designated by a scheme may by giving not less than twelve months notice to the other constituent councils withdraw its consent to act as designated council with effect from the end of any financial year not earlier than the second financial year after that in which the scheme was made; and in that event the scheme shall terminate when the withdrawal takes effect.
  10. (10) In this section "voluntary organisation" means a body the activities of which are carried on otherwise than for profit but does not include any public or local authority and "eligible voluntary organisation" means, in relation to Greater London or a metropolitan county, a voluntary organisation whose activities will directly or indirectly benefit either the whole of Greater London or that county or any part of it extending beyond the area of any particular constituent council.
  11. (11) The powers conferred by this section shall not be regarded as restricting those conferred by section 137 of the principal Act (power to incur expenditure for purposes not authorised by any other enactment) and accordingly the reference to any other enactment in subsection (1) of that section shall not include a reference to this section.
  12. (12) As respect expenditure incurred before the abolition date subsection (3) shall have effect with the substitution for the reference to two-thirds of the constituent councils of a reference to a majority of those councils.'.

Brought up, and read the First time.—[Sir George Young.]

The Parliamntary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Sir George Young)

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

Mr. Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments to the proposed new clause: (a), in subsection (1), after 'by', insert 'the regional economic and social councils established by sub-sections (2A) and (2B) below, and'. (b), in subsection (1)(a), after first 'London', insert 'the Greater London Regional Economic and Social Council'. (c), in subsection (1)(b), after 'county', insert 'each metropolitan county regional social and economic council'. (d), at end of subsection (1)(b), insert— '(1A) (a) There shall be established for Greater London and for each metropolitan county a body corporate which shall be known in the case of each body corporate for Greater London as the Greater London Regional Economic and Social Council and in the case of a metropolitan county by the name of that county with the addition of the words "Regional Economic and Social Council. (b) The Regional Economic and Social Council shall consist of members elected by the local government electors of Greater London, or as the case may be, of the appropriate metropolitan county, in accordance with this Act and of Representation of the People Act 1983. (1B) In addition to the function mentioned in subsection (1) above a Regional Economic and Social Council shall have the powers and duties set out in Schedule () (Functions of Regional economic and Social Councils) and in carrying out its functions under subsection (1) above a Regional Economic and Social Council shall have regard to its duties under that Schedule. (e), after '(2)', insert 'as respects constituent councils,'.

(f), in subsection (6), after 'scheme', insert 'made by a constituent council'. (g), leave out subsection (7).

(h), in subsection (8), after 'scheme', insert 'made by a constituent council'. (i), leave out subsection (12).

New clause 1—Support for voluntary organisations'The Government shall provide transitional support under the London Government (Social Needs) Act 1969 for expenditure by London boroughs or metropolitan district councils, acting under the powers conferred by section 46 above or under any other of their powers, on revenue support to voluntary organisations benefiting their areas which are funded in the year before the abolition date wholly or partly by the Greater London Council or a metropolitan county council; and such transitional support shall be provided annually for the four years after the abolition date up to an amount comparable in real terms to spending by the Greater London Council and the metropolitan county councils on grants to voluntary organisations in the year before the abolition date.'. Government amendment 18.

Amendment No. 107, new schedule—'Functions of Regional Economic and Social Councils1. Each Regional Economic and Social Council shall

  1. (a) develop, coordinate and annually review a regional strategy to improve the welfare of their area and its inhabitants which shall cover and take account of the social, economic, environmental, recreational and cultural, and, where appropriate, the housing needs of the area and that strategy shall include measures to combat the problems of homelessness, drug abuse, and alcoholism and action to combat racial disadvantage, to promote equal opportunities and the needs of black and ethnic minority communities, services for ex-offenders, people with disabilities, disadvantaged families and children and elderly people, services for women, advice and counselling services, community transport and leisure services.
  2. (b) have the power to make grants to voluntary organisations.
  3. (c) highlight new and emerging needs, develop programmes to inform public opinion and attitudes and promote innovative and experimental projects and services.
2.—(1) Each Regional Economic and Social Council shall publish an annual statement of its intentions with regard to policy development and grant aid, giving details of the criteria and policy proposed to be adopted by that council, and make that statement widely available to members of the public, and to voluntary and community organisations and other interested and relevant bodies. (2) In preparing the statement mentioned in 2(1) above, each Regional Economic and Social Council shall consult with voluntary and community organisations, the councils of London boroughs and metropolitan districts (as the case may be) and other interested and relevant bodies and members of the public. 3. Each Regional Economic and Social Council shall—
  1. (a) conduct or assist in the conducting of investigations into, and the collection of information relating to any matter concerning the social, economic, environmental, cultural, recreational and welfare of the inhabitants of its area;
  2. (b) make, or assist in making arrangements whereby any such information and the results of any such investigation are made available to any other local authority concerned with local government in its area, any Government department, any voluntary or community organisation or the public.
4. The powers conferred by this Schedule and Section 47 above shall not be regarded as restricting in any way the powers and duties of the councils of London boroughs or districts in metropolitan counties.'.

Sir George Young

New clause 8 would replace clause 47 which is deleted by amendment 18. It deals with the arrangement for collective funding of voluntary bodies which provide a countywide or Londonwide service. The Government have always been determined to provide districts and boroughs with the means to work together to fund these bodies. However, there was a feeling at the Committee stage, voiced most persuasively by my hon. Friend the Member for Batley and Spen (Mrs. Peacock), but also by other hon. Members, that the proposals in the original Bill could be improved. My hon. Friend pointed out that there was a need to strengthen the arrangements by providing for a lead borough or district to run an agreed scheme of grant funding. Our new proposal will make more stable collective funding for London and countywide organisations and will also provide a single point to which they can apply for grants. It will also allow a proper grants unit to be set up to consider needs across the whole area and to advise local councillors on a coherent approach to grant giving.

From the many letters which I have received from voluntary bodies in London, it appears that they were concerned that there should be one single focal point to which they could apply, a focal point which in turn could provide a coherent policy for voluntary giving in London. I was also able to respond at that time to the view of many voluntary bodies that the limits which we had originally proposed to set on funding under the scheme — £10 million in London and £3 million for the metropolitan counties—were too low. As I said in Committee, those figures have been withdrawn for reconsideration.

We have consulted the voluntary organisations at all stages and we continue to do so. Last week I met representatives of the metropolitan councils for voluntary service with my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt) and next week I shall be seeing the London voluntary bodies. Taken together, the two developments which I have just mentioned have been welcomed by the voluntary sector. The chairman of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations wrote to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State saying this: I am glad that George Young was able to announce some improvements on 26 February and warmly welcome his repeated assurances that the Government's mind is open and that the representations made in Committee and elsewhere about the level of transitional finance and other matters will be listened to with care. I would not pretend that we have convinced all of the organisations that all their anxieties will be relieved. On this subject, may I quote what the chairman of the London Voluntary Service Council has said in a letter that he has written to me: I and colleagues in the voluntary sector in London welcome these proposals as an indication of your concern for the problems we shall face, but must stress that they fall short of allaying the deep anxieties that exist among voluntary organisations in a number of respects. Of course I understand those anxieties and I take the point, but I cannot accept that it is entirely within the power of central Government to provide a complete answer. The only full assurance which can be given for the future funding of local groups has to come from the local authorities themselves. If one believes in devolving decisions to local government that must be right. Whatever Parliament provides, it is for the district and borough councils to decide at the end of the day the support that is to go to their local voluntary organisations.

This makes it especially welcome that the London boroughs, under the leadership of David Cobbold, have already made good progress in preparing for grant-giving in 1986. At a local level, I noticed in last week's edition of the Ealing Gazette that the London borough of Ealing has already advertised, asking local organisations currently funded by the GLC to get in touch with it by the end of May. But there has been promising progress on the boroughs' collective grant scheme. I understand that the boroughs will be advertising the post of head of the grants unit very shortly. They have already interviewed management consultants who will advise quickly on the best way of constituting the unit and its terms of reference. Progress has been particularly good on housing grants where the London Boroughs Association has decided that 61 organisations providing for the single homeless should be invited to apply for a grant and that this will apply to a number of co-ordinating bodies, organisations providing day centres for the single homeless and all women's aid hostels in London. In short, a scheme in London is already well under way.

Recently the director of SHAC wrote to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. He said: We have received a copy of the London Boroughs Association report on the funding of housing organisations under the London-wide arrangements. The report, and indeed its approval by the LBA, is most heartening, as for the first time we have been given an indication that we may expect continuing financial support at a level which will allow us broadly to maintain our current level of services. Obviously there are still hurdles to be crossed before this is translated into a firm decision, supported by the necessary majority of London boroughs, but it is nevertheless a considerable advance on the position prior to our discussion early in December. Therefore the arrangements in London are encouraging. However, I was disappointed to see that the Association of Labour Authorities in London has apparently boycotted the new measures that are being introduced to ensure continuity of funding for London's voluntary bodies. I very much hope that it will review the rather negative posture that it appears to have adopted. The picture in the metropolitan councils is not at this stage quite so good. As yet, the district councils have been slow to respond to the request of voluntary bodies to make preparations for 1986. I shall do all I can to get things going. Indeed, I am about to write to all the metropolitan districts to ask them what arrangements they are making and to encourage them to prepare in good time. Some districts may be reluctant at the moment to acknowledge publicly that the county councils will be abolished, but I think that once the political principle is settled they will fund worthwhile voluntary bodies. When they do so they will find the powers in this clause are ready to be used.

7 pm

Briefly, the new clause provides that a simple majority of boroughs or districts may set up a scheme of collective grant-giving and appoint one of their number as the lead borough or district to run it. The provision of a 51 per cent. majority for setting up a scheme is to simplify and expedite the task of getting these arrangements going both in London and in the metropolitan counties, given the very tight timetable if new grant schemes are to be fully operational by 1 April 1986. It is part of the package of changes which we provided in response to the wish of voluntary bodies to make collective grant-giving more stable and workable.

Mr. Colin Moynihan (Lewisham, East)

I welcome the idea that lead boroughs should be appointed to run the schemes, but many voluntary organisations in Lewisham, which have made representations to me to pass on to the Government, are worried about the transitional arrangements and the amount of money available under those arrangements. Can the Minister offer some ray of hope to such voluntary organisations?

Sir George Young

I understand my hon. Friend's anxiety. I shall deal with transitional funding later.

Mr. Tim Yeo (Suffolk, South)

I would stress that we should not be put off by the small number of lunatic voluntary organisations to which well-publicised, but relatively small, grants have been made. The many legitimate voluntrary organisations which are doing valuable work are worried about the level of funding during the transitional period.

Sir George Young

The Government have said that the majority of grants which the GLC gives are to worth while voluntary organisations which will be supported by Londoners and hon. Members of all parties representing London constituencies. I understand the anxieties and I shall deal shortly with the arrangements for transitional funding.

Under the new clause it will be for the local authorities to decide the details of the scheme, but certain elements are provided in the clause itself. Expenditure on grants must receive two thirds support from the districts or boroughs. The same majority is needed to pay for any other expenditure incurred, including administrative expenses. Once two thirds agree, all the councils will be required to contribute a share calculated in relation to the size of their population.

Having a statutory scheme and a lead borough will make collective grant-giving more workable. To provide greater stability we are also requiring a period of notice before a scheme can be ended, or a lead borough can resign or be removed. This will protect both the financial position of the lead borough and its staff and give reasonable assurance to the bodies relying on local authority grants and to the other boroughs and districts.

Again, as a protection to those councils which do not approve grants, but are nevertheless required to pay, we are retaining the power for the Secretary of State to set a ceiling on collective grant-giving. We have withdrawn the original figure we floated, but the need for a power remains.

As with clause 47, the whole of the scheme involves a new grant-giving power outside section 137 expenditure, the restrictions of which cause concern to the hon. Member for Tyne Bridge (Mr. Cowans). But the new arrangements differ from clause 47 in recognising through subsection (12) of the new clause that the administrative expenses incurred before abolition day should require only a simple majority for approval. The Opposition have sought to remove this provision, but I hope that they will not press their amendment when I assure them that this is another change directed to getting the arrangements off the ground as quickly as possible. This must be in the interests of those voluntary bodies which are concerned about whether the schemes will be worked up in time for April 1986. I should like it to be clear that this does not permit grants to be given on a simple majority. Only the setting up costs, the processing of applications, and so on, before 1 April 1986 will be covered by this provision. It is sensible for the majority to be 51 per cent. because these financial decisions stem directly from the agreement to set up a scheme and to get it going in the first year—which will also need only 51 per cent. agreement.

Mr. Moynihan

May I urge my hon. Friend to answer my question about the transitional arrangements and the money that will be available to voluntary organisations?

Sir George Young

I shall now deal with the transitional support arrangements and with new clause 1. Our original proposals for the future funding of voluntary bodies, published in September 1984, suggested that the Government would pay 75 per cent. grant on up to £5 million worth of voluntary projects. That was to help the local groups, working within a single district or borough, such as Lewisham, which would not be eligible for support under the collective scheme that I have described. Since the proposals were published we have been holding meetings with voluntary bodies and listening to their views. Anxieties have been expressed today by some of my hon. Friends.

I have always made it clear that most of the grants after abolition will come from existing resources released by the abolition of the upper tier council and its precepts. We offered £5 million of extra money to ease transitional problems, but it was never our intention that only £5 million worth of projects should continue.

In the light of the further evidence now available and of the anxieties expressed by voluntary organisations and by some of my hon. Friends, I am happy to say that we have decided to give grant on up to £10 million worth of projects for four years after abolition rather than the £5 million originally proposed. That is double the amount proposed before and it will enable more projects to be supported. It will make the transition after abolition smoother.

Representations from the voluntary organisations make it clear that the concern and uncertainty is greatest about what will happen in the first year after the GLC and the metropolitan counties are abolished. To meet that concern, in 1986–87 central Government will provide 75 per cent. of the support—that is £7.5 million instead of £3.75 million—twice that which was originally proposed. That will make it easier for local authorities to continue supporting worthwhile schemes in the crucial first year after abolition.

In each of the subsequent three years the £10 million worth of schemes will continue to be grant-aided, but the proportion of grant coming from central Government will be tapered to 50 per cent. in the second and third years and to 75 per cent. in the fourth. In the fifth year the transition will be complete and responsibility for grant aid will rest with the local authorities.

Mr. Fred Silvester (Manchester, Withington)

My hon. Friend said that the earlier scheme was devised to support voluntary bodies within one district. Will the new enlarged scheme cover bodies operating in more than one district?

Sir George Young

The schemes which cover more than one district come under the collective scheme set out in new clause 8. The transitional funding is for schemes which operate within one borough but which are funded at present either by the GLC or the metropolitan councils. The increase from £5 million to £10 million worth of projects applies to borough-based or district-based schemes.

We need detailed information about GLC grant-giving to help plan for grants to voluntary bodies after abolition. When the LBA asked, it was told that GLC officers were too busy to provide the information. It is several weeks since the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) suggested that the GLC grant print-out should be tabled. It is four weeks since we issued a section 5 notice requesting the information. We still do not have that information, although I know that an up-to-date and comprehensive print-out exists at county hall.

All that the GLC has done so far is to give us polite excuses. The GLC is being less helpful than it should be. Perhaps it would rather voluntary organisations suffered than recognise that abolition will come and that sensible preparations must be made. I ask the GLC to come off its high horse and to look, as we have, to positive arrangements to safeguard the future of voluntary organisations, and to prove, by co-operating fully with us, that it puts the interests of voluntary groups first.

The arrangements that I have outlined provide additional assurances for the voluntary sector. The essence of new clause 8 is that it meets our commitment to provide for stable and equitable funding arrangements for bodies serving a wide area of London or the metropolitan counties. The increase in transitional grants that I have announced will reassure the more local groups. We have built on clause 46 as it was presented to the Standing Committee and we have taken account of the misgivings expressed there. I believe that we now have a proposal that will work well. I commend it to the House.

Mr. Harry Cowans (Tyne Bridge)

If the Minister is saying what the new clause would do, several people would welcome it. He quoted in his favour a letter—I do not know who it was from—which said that the Government had listened with care. It was hardly wildly enthusiastic about the new proposals.

I congratulate the Government on recognising, after much prompting in Committee, that there is a problem. Unfortunately the remedy, if anything, makes the matter slightly worse. The Minister is on record as saying that he wants a grant unit, but the new clause does not provide for it. Local authorities might set up a lead authority, but there is nothing in the legislation that suggests how voluntary organisations will be protected if the local authorities decide not to set up a lead authority. There will be no common unit. Our amendment (d) takes care of that because it grasps the nettle that the Government are not prepared to grasp. They go halfway there by saying that there should be an overall body to look after the voluntary service; then they step back from the action by saying, "We shall do that if a local authority supplies a lead authority." We believe that one cannot step back from the problem. We accept that there should be one unit. We go forward into the battle and appoint that unit in amendment (d). The Minister steps back and opts out.

There is nothing to protect a voluntary body if a lead authority is not set up. That may or may not happen. The Minister cannot tell whether a lead authority will be set up. He says that in London the scheme is well under way. I remind every hon. Member in the House that much of the debate today has been about the GLC, but there are also six metropolitan districts in which there are numerous voluntary bodies. It is not good enough for the Minister for Local Government and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary to refer only to the GLC. The legislation covers the metropolitan counties. The quicker Ministers recognise that, the better. Every time they quote anything in aid—there is little that they can quote in aid—they refer to the GLC. On the Tory Benches there has been little mention of the metropolitan counties. Everything that has been quoted has been about the GLC, and people in metropolitan districts are getting very tired of that. We are all involved in the legislation, for which the Government are responsible.

Sir George Young

I must make it clear that new clause 8 applies to the metropolitan districts as well as to the GLC.

Mr. Cowans

The point that I am making is that the whole legislation applies to the metropolitan districts, yet Tory Members refer only to the GLC. That cannot be denied, and Hansard will show that fact.

The £10 million for the voluntary organisations is far too little, and the Minister knows it. It is nowhere near what is required. It is not as much as is being spent now, so it is completely wrong to say that the new clause will protect the voluntary organisations. Patently it will do nothing of the sort, and, what is more, the voluntary organisations know it.

It is a fact that £14 million is currently being spent. The Minister goes further in the urban programme and talks about an extra amount of money for that programme. Again, it falls far short of what is required just to maintain voluntary organisations at their present level. The Minister understands that, and he should be open enough to say that, while he has done something, he can give no assurance to the voluntary organisations that this new clause or any other, without our amendment, will do anything for them.

The Minister accepts, under pressure, that the two thirds majority is a bad thing, but he accepts it only because he knows that the Government are making a hotchpotch of trying to operate the transitional period. If it is good enough for the open scheme to have a simple majority, that should be good enough overall. In that way, the local voluntary organisations would not spend all that time lobbying five or six districts to try to get the two thirds majority. It is an absolute nonsense. The Minister has looked at, but certainly has not grasped, the nettle.

I hope that the Minister will take back the new clause and think about what will happen if there is no lead authority. Is the Minister prepared to put the matter to one of the new bodies? Alternatively, is he prepared to do nothing and to wash his hands of it? If there is no lead authority, voluntary organisations may go to the wall. Is the Minister prepared to look at the amount of money that is currently being spent and at least try to match it over a period? Is he also prepared not to spend so much time telling people how to withdraw after two years? Will he go back to the drawing board and reconsider the transitional arrangements, because the nonsense in the new clause will not cover them?

7.15 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes

I shall be brief because we have such a ludicrously short time to deal with the matter. As the hon. Member for Tyne Bridge (Mr. Cowans) said, to set out a two thirds criterion for deciding which bodies get money and then decide that a scheme can be set up with a simple majority of 50 per cent. plus one is ludicrous, biased and weighted. The Government are doing it only because they know that they will be able to retain more political control through it. That is one of the points of our objection, and it is one reason why we have tabled new clause 1.

The voluntary sector is the vital third element in our national support for a whole range of activities. At the moment it is funded by a multiplicity of agencies. Elsewhere the Government have undertaken that no one will be worse off as a result of abolition. They should apply the same rule to the voluntary sector. It is not good enough to give as little as they think they can get away with, to make an announcement in Committee that they will give £5 million, then realise that many of their own right hon. and hon. Friends as well as Opposition Members think that that is not enough, and come to the House with a second compromise saying that they will give £10 million. The Government should accept what is in new clause 1, whereby the voluntary sector has the same amount of funds as before abolition. That is vital. People across a range of services depend on the voluntary sector.

I should like to add two other simple and straightforward points. First, one of the reasons why we must continue supporting the voluntary sector to this extent is that in many places local authorities, such as the borough of Southwark, are spending up to their limit. Southwark is one of the places where an authority is spending within a few percentage points of what it can raise by other means. It is therefore ludicrous to say that, just because in some cases spending up to the limit of what can be raised by the 2p rate does not happen, there will be no other money. That money is vital, and rate capping makes the matter worse.

Secondly, the voluntary sector is all about bringing more people into participating in decisions, activities and power. The voluntary sector, whether concerning pensioners, ethnic minorities, the handicapped, or others, is all about helping people to help themselves. The Government have declared that they are in favour of that. What they are trying to do falls lamentably short. I sincerely hope that the other place—if this place cannot force the Government to do it—will make sure that it does not let the Government get away with their niggardly compromise, which is unacceptable to me and all my alliance colleagues.

Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)

By common consent among those who concern themselves with the facts, many worthwhile voluntary organisations will face ruin if the six metropolitan councils and the GLC disappear. These seven important councils now fund voluntary effort to the tune of £60 million a year. Without their help, many successful voluntary bodies would have already collapsed under the weight of the heavy new VAT burden imposed upon them by the Government.

Voluntary organisations, large and small, are in danger, and there is now an urgent need for the House as a whole to recognise what is at stake in terms of reducing help for the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable groups if this Bill, even as amended, becomes law.

While the councils now threatened with extinction by the Government have been giving enormous help to voluntary organisations, the Government have been filching millions of pounds from the voluntary sector in VAT. That is the background to any judgment we make about the Government and their new clause.

The Spastics Society lost no less than £507,000 in tax to the Chancellor in the year 1983–84 alone. Dr. Barnardo's had to pay even more, and both the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf were heavy losers. Instead of mugging the good Samaritans in this way, the Government must now be made to face up to the consequences of abolition for the voluntary sector in this country.

I wish to quote a letter sent to me this week by Sir John Cox, the director of the Spastics Society, who rightly enjoys the respect of both sides of this House. He said: The Budget has hit us hard. There were no concessions on VAT and in fact we shall now have to find £30,000 more to cover VAT for advertising. As you know, most of our advertising is educational to help the transition of handicapped people back into the community. We will either have to find that sum of money or cut back … We particularly asked that VAT on bringing fire requirements up to date should be exempt. I think it is obscene that we should pay £30,000 in 1984–85 to bring the standard up to Government regulations. Newspaper advertising is vital to charities. They are not allowed to advertise on television for fund-raising purposes, and they rely on advertising in newspapers not only to raise money but also to increase public awareness of the important work that they do.

One voluntary organisation after another has been in touch with me to insist that the resources now made available to them from the six metropolitan counties and the GLC should be protected by this House. I have been contacted by the Greater Manchester Council for Voluntary Service, which feels strongly that the very existence of some important voluntary organisations is at stake. I hope that the House will take the message and that right hon. and hon. Members on both sides will recognise how deeply important this debate is for the future of voluntaryism in this country.

Mr. Lawler

I welcome the changes that my hon. Friend the Minister has announced today, and I believe that they will be welcomed by the vast majority of voluntary organisations in the GLC and metropolitan county areas. It is highly appropriate that the needs of charity and voluntary organisations should be decided at local level because it is at that level that people best know the needs and are best able to value the work done by those organisations. It is nonsense to claim that the county knows best when most of the work is carried out at district level.

I am especially concerned about youth voluntary organisations. In 1982–83, 78 out of 96 local authorities did not spend their grant-related expenditure assessment on youth service. Therefore, £22 million which should have been spent on the needs of young people and the youth service was not spent.

Certain councils—predominantly Socialist—spend the vast proportion of their funds on the statutory youth service and only a minimal amount on the voluntary organisations. For example, Doncaster spent as little as 0.7 per cent. on youth service voluntary organisations. I hope that Ministers will do what they can to correct that and that local councillors and voluntary organisations will press the councils to honour their obligations towards the voluntary sector.

I am also concerned about ethnic minorities. A great deal of misplaced lobbying has suggested that ethnic minority organisations will go without grant. It is at the local level that councils recognise the needs of those groups, not at county level. Across a county or across the GLC there are many different types of ethnic minority groups. For example, in the city of Bradford £720,000 is being spent on 32 ethnic minority related projects. West Yorkshire spends £64,000 on its community programme, none of which goes to projects directly related to the needs of ethnic minorities. That proves that the needs of the ethnic minority organisations can be best met at district level.

Another area of concern is the funding of the regional headquarters of youth organisations. I hope that Ministers will ensure that responsible districts will take up the funding of regional headquarters to ensure their continued development across counties.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time.

Amendment proposed, (d) in line 6 at end insert'(1A) (a) There shall be established for Greater London and for each metropolitan county a body corporate which shall be known in the case of each body corporate for Greater London as the Greater London Regional Economic and Social Council and in the case of a metropolitan county by the name of that county with the addition of the words "Regional Economic and Social Council. (b) The Regional Economic and Social Councils shall consist of members elected by the local government electors of Greater London, or as the case may be, of the appropriate metropolitan county, in accordance with this Act and of Representation of the People Act 1983. (1B) In addition to the function mentioned in subsection (1) above a Regional Economic and Social Council shall have the powers and duties set out in Schedule () (Functions of Regional Economic and Social Councils) and in carrying out its functions under subsection (1) above a Regional Economic and Social Council shall have regard to its duties under that Schedule.— [Mr. Straw.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:

The House divided: Ayes 184, Noes 325.

Division No. 168] [7.30 pm
Alton, David Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)
Anderson, Donald Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)
Ashdown, Paddy Bruce, Malcolm
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Buchan, Norman
Ashton, Joe Caborn, Richard
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Campbell, Ian
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Campbell-Savours, Dale
Barnett, Guy Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)
Barron, Kevin Carter-Jones, Lewis
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Clay, Robert
Beith, A. J. Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Bell, Stuart Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)
Benn, Tony Cohen, Harry
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Coleman, Donald
Bermingham, Gerald Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.
Bidwell, Sydney Conlan, Bernard
Blair, Anthony Cook, Frank (Stockton North)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Corbett, Robin
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Corbyn, Jeremy
Cowans, Harry McNamara, Kevin
Craigen, J. M. McTaggart, Robert
Crowther, Stan Madden, Max
Cunliffe, Lawrence Marek, Dr John
Cunningham, Dr John Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Martin, Michael
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Maxton, John
Deakins, Eric Maynard, Miss Joan
Dewar, Donald Meacher, Michael
Dixon, Donald Meadowcroft, Michael
Dobson, Frank Michie, William
Dormand, Jack Mikardo, Ian
Dubs, Alfred Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Duffy, A. E. P. Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Eastham, Ken Nellist, David
Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE) Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Ellis, Raymond O'Brien, William
Evans, John (St. Helens N) O'Neill, Martin
Ewing, Harry Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Fatchett, Derek Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Park, George
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Pendry, Tom
Fisher, Mark Penhaligon, David
Flannery, Martin Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Prescott, John
Forrester, John Radice, Giles
Fraser, J. (Norwood) Redmond, M.
Freud, Clement Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Garrett, W. E. Richardson, Ms Jo
Godman, Dr Norman Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Golding, John Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Gould, Bryan Robertson, George
Gourlay, Harry Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Rowlands, Ted
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Ryman, John
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Sedgemore, Brian
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Sheerman, Barry
Haynes, Frank Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Heffer, Eric S. Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall) Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Home Robertson, John Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Skinner, Dennis
Hoyle, Douglas Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham) Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Snape, Peter
Hughes, Roy (Newport East) Soley, Clive
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S) Spearing, Nigel
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Stott, Roger
Janner, Hon Greville Straw, Jack
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd) Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
John, Brynmor Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Tinn, James
Kennedy, Charles Torney, Tom
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Wainwright, R.
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Wallace, James
Kirkwood, Archy Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Lamond, James Wareing, Robert
Leighton, Ronald Weetch, Ken
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) White, James
Lewis, Terence (Worsley) Williams, Rt Hon A.
Litherland, Robert Winnick, David
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Woodall, Alec
Loyden, Edward Wrigglesworth, Ian
McCartney, Hugh Young, David (Bolton SE)
McDonald, Dr Oonagh
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Tellers for the Ayes:
McKelvey, William Mr. John Cartwright and
Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Mr. John McWilliam.
Adley, Robert Ashby, David
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Aspinwall, Jack
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)
Amess, David Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)
Ancram, Michael Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)
Arnold, Tom Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)
Baldry, Tony Franks, Cecil
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Fraser, Peter (Angus East)
Batiste, Spencer Freeman, Roger
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Fry, Peter
Beggs, Roy Gale, Roger
Bellingham, Henry Galley, Roy
Bendall, Vivian Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Benyon, William Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)
Best, Keith Garel-Jones, Tristan
Bevan, David Gilroy Gow, Ian
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gower, Sir Raymond
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Grant, Sir Anthony
Blackburn, John Greenway, Harry
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)
Body, Richard Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Grist, Ian
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n) Ground, Patrick
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Grylls, Michael
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Gummer, John Selwyn
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Bright, Graham Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Brinton, Tim Hampson, Dr Keith
Brooke, Hon Peter Hanley, Jeremy
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Hannam, John
Browne, John Hargreaves, Kenneth
Bruinvels, Peter Harris, David
Bryan, Sir Paul Haselhurst, Alan
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Buck, Sir Antony Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Budgen, Nick Hawksley, Warren
Burt, Alistair Hayes, J.
Butler, Hon Adam Hayhoe, Barney
Butterfill, John Hayward, Robert
Carlisle, John (TV Luton) Heath, Rt Hon Edward
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S) Heathcoat-Amory, David
Carttiss, Michael Heddle, John
Cash, William Henderson, Barry
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hickmet, Richard
Chapman, Sydney Hill, James
Chope, Christopher Hirst, Michael
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Holt, Richard
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hordern, Peter
Clegg, Sir Walter Howard, Michael
Cockeram, Eric Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Colvin, Michael Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Coombs, Simon Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)
Cope, John Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Couchman, James Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Cranborne, Viscount Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Crouch, David Hunter, Andrew
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jackson, Robert
Dickens, Geoffrey Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Dicks, Terry Jessel, Toby
Dorrell, Stephen Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Dover, Den Jones, Robert (W Herts)
du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Dunn, Robert Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Durant, Tony Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Emery, Sir Peter Key, Robert
Evennett, David King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Eyre, Sir Reginald King, Rt Hon Tom
Fairbairn, Nicholas Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
Fallon, Michael Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston)
Farr, Sir John Knowles, Michael
Favell, Anthony Lamont, Norman
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Lang, Ian
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Latham, Michael
Fletcher, Alexander Lawler, Geoffrey
Fookes, Miss Janet Lawrence, Ivan
Forman, Nigel Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Lee, John (Pendle)
Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Forth, Eric Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Lilley, Peter
Fox, Marcus Lloyd, Ian (Havant)
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham) Sackville, Hon Thomas
Lord, Michael Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Luce, Richard St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Lyell, Nicholas Sayeed, Jonathan
McCrindle, Robert Scott, Nicholas
McCurley, Mrs Anna Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
McCusker, Harold Shelton, William (Streatham)
Macfarlane, Neil Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
MacGregor, John Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire) Silvester, Fred
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Sims, Roger
Maclean, David John Skeet, T. H. H.
McQuarrie, Albert Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Madel, David Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Major, John Smyth, Rev W. M. (Belfast S)
Malins, Humfrey Soames, Hon Nicholas
Malone, Gerald Speller, Tony
Maples, John Spence, John
Marland, Paul Spencer, Derek
Marlow, Antony Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Maude, Hon Francis Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Squire, Robin
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Stanbrook, Ivor
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Steel, Rt Hon David
Mellor, David Steen, Anthony
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Stern, Michael
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Mitchell, David (NW Hants) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Monro, Sir Hector Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Stokes, John
Moore, John Stradling Thomas, J.
Morris, M. (N'hampton, S) Sumberg, David
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Taylor, Rt Hon John David
Moynihan, Hon C. Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Murphy, Christopher Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Neale, Gerrard Temple-Morris, Peter
Needham, Richard Terlezki, Stefan
Nelson, Anthony Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Neubert, Michael Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Newton, Tony Thornton, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick Thurnham, Peter
Nicholson, J. Townend, John (Bridlington)
Norris, Steven Tracey, Richard
Onslow, Cranley Trippier, David
Oppenheim, Phillip Trotter, Neville
Osborn, Sir John Twinn, Dr Ian
Ottaway, Richard van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Parris, Matthew Viggers, Peter
Patten, Christopher (Bath) Waddington, David
Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Pattie, Geoffrey Waldegrave, Hon William
Pawsey, James Walden, George
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Walker, Cecil (Belfast N)
Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Pollock, Alexander Waller, Gary
Portillo, Michael Ward, John
Powell, William (Corby) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Powley, John Warren, Kenneth
Proctor, K. Harvey Watson, John
Raffan, Keith Watts, John
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Rathbone, Tim Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover) Wheeler, John
Renton, Tim Whitney, Raymond
Rhodes James, Robert Winterton, Mrs Ann
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Winterton, Nicholas
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Wolfson, Mark
Rifkind, Malcolm Wood, Timothy
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Yeo, Tim
Robinson, Mark (N'port W) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Roe, Mrs Marion Younger, Rt Hon George
Rossi, Sir Hugh
Rost, Peter Tellers for the Noes:
Rowe, Andrew Mr. Carol Mather and
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Mr. Robert Boscawen.
Ryder, Richard

Question accordingly negatived.

Clause added to the Bill.

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