HC Deb 09 February 1987 vol 110 cc81-100 7.45 pm
Mrs. Margaret Beckett (Derby, South)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 7, at end add 'and there shall be added at the end of section 32(2) of that Act the words "provided that the amounts prescribed under paragraph (a) of this subsection in respect of maternity expenses shall be sufficient, subject to prescribed deductions in respect of the resources of the claimant, to meet the cost of prescribed items".'. On Second Reading the Government sought to suggest that the proposals that the Bill embodies for the second time are logical and consistent. However, despite the small compass of the Bill, the Government have succeeded in putting forward proposals which are innately contradictory. The Government claim that their purpose is to target help—to use their phrase—at those in greatest need. So far they have leaned heavily on the fact that a wider group than those people who are now eligible for supplementary benefit and who in the future to be eligible for income support will, under these proposals, be eligible for assistance. That is not the same wide group as that which is eligible for assistance with funeral and maternity expenses. My first question to the Government is: why not?

For funeral expenses people drawing income support, family credit or housing benefit will be eligible if they meet the other criteria of limited capital. As the Government have explained on many occasions, they want to ensure that all people on low incomes are treated alike. Maternity expenses can be claimed only by those who receive income support or family credit, and not by those who receive housing benefit. I repeat my question: why not?

The unworthy suspicion arises, as it arose in Committee on a different Bill, that not even this Government think that they can discourage people from dying by reducing the amount available for funeral expenses. However, they hope that providing a wholly insufficient amount for maternity expenses might discourage low-income families from having children. If there is another logical reason for the distinction that the Government make we shall be more than happy to hear it.

The second way in which the proposals are contradictory is the different way in which the amounts are dealt with and assessed. For funeral costs a list of items without a specific check list of costs is included. In effect, that list is much the same as the one for the system of single payments. There is one minor exception about which I should like to probe the Government's intentions. In the new draft regulations there is specific mention of funds being allowed for one return journey either for arrangements to be made for a funeral or for a person to be able to attend a funeral. On the face of it, it is hard to see why someone who is charged with the arrangements for a funeral and, presumably, has difficulty in meeting the cost of such travel should be forced to choose between arrangement and attendance. That is one of the areas that we should like the Government to reconsider.

A list of items of maternity expenses also exists under single payment regulations. To put it mildly, they are not over-generous. The Government recognise that they are not over-generous, because until last summer the guidance given in regulation 7103 of the S manual which deals with these matters specifically says, "The following is not a comprehensive list". The paragraph goes on to say that these are the items which will most commonly need to be considered:— The same paragraph of the S manual says that an adjudication officer may Make a single payment for any other items necessary to meet the baby's needs. Before last summer the Government recognised that even this list might be inadequate to meet the needs of a newborn child.

In August, the Government issued fresh guidance in circular 20/86, presumably to tide them over during the run-up to the regulations, which may have been withdrawn but the basis of which we are considering in the debate on this paving Bill. The Government issued another list which was almost identical to the previous one. It covered essentially the same grounds but was somewhat more restrictive than the previous one. This time the list was said to be an "exhaustive" list of items for which a single payment might be made. In other words, anything outside the list would not even be considered. Paragraph 9.1 in the circular stated: no other item is now provided for by regulation 7". Some time between the issuing of the original single payment regulations and last August the Government decided that babies needed rather less provision than in the past. The provision which the Government thought as late as last August to be necessary for babies—it was not over-generous—was three sleeping suits, one pram suit, three pairs of plastic pants, one baby bath and three cot sheets. It has often been suggested that a determined baby can get through some of those items in a short period.

Not only are the items listed in number but the suggested cost per item is given, totaling£187.45. That ties in, to a degree, with the most recent figures last year from the Maternity Alliance for the average payment made under the existing single payment regulations—about £143. The Maternity Alliance pointed out that most mothers said that they had to buy additional items as well as the items which could be provided for from a single payment. Clearly, between £187 and £190 would cover, on a not very generous basis, the items which, until August 1986, the Government thought that a new baby might need.

But now it is February 1987 and we are told that the maximum grant for any mother will be the princely sum of £80. What has happened to new babies since last summer that suddenly they cost half as much as before? Have babies come furnished with new equipment which has not been revealed to us? Clearly, some magical transformation has taken place. Certainly the cost of the items in the original list has not halved.

The Minister said that the purpose of the maternity grant has always been to make "a reasonable contribution" to the cost of maternity. I shall not argue at the moment whether £80 is a reasonable sum. That comment may have been true of the original maternity grant which could be topped up for the poorest mothers by single payments, but the new grant which we are debating in the Bill and for which the regulations will be laid is not a reasonable contribution; it is the sole contribution available to meet the costs of maternity for low-income mothers. It is not just our opinion that that sum is inadequate. A number of organisations have made representations to the Government pointing out the inadequacy of this sum: the British Medical Association, the Conservative Women's National Committee—presumably, the hon. Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) who spoke the other evening is not in touch with that organization—the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Health Visitors Association, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Nursing, the Select Committee on Social Services and many others.

The Minister boasts that the Government's intention is to meet the "true" cost of funerals—the "full" cost. The hon. Gentleman spoke recently of the "realistic" help towards the cost of funerals. Why are not the same principles applied to maternity expenses?

Last year, when these proposals were first put forward in another Bill, we asked the Minister the same question. I shall not bore the Committee with the hon. Gentleman's answer, because it was fairly incomprehensible, but he appeared to say that perhaps the Government had decided that, because they were going to give a lump sum only to those on income support, they were going to apply the same principle of giving a lump sum only to those on family credit or family income supplement. That does not even deal with the argument why those on housing benefit are excluded in this case, let alone why the lump sum was thought to be the correct approach. It certainly does not deal with the question why, if a lump sum is appropriate, it should be half or less than half even of the average amount now paid to mothers in equally poor circumstances. The Minister has had six months to think of a better argument. If he is not able to do so, he should reconsider the way in which the regulations were drafted and accept our amendment.

Mr. Dave Nellist (Coventry, South-East)

I support the amendment. It is well worth remembering that the parent of the Bill was the Social Security Act 1986, which was described in a derogatory way—certainly in my area—as the result of the Fowler review. At the Labour party conference in 1986, a motion supporting the repeal of that Act was passed by a vote of 6.3 million to 173,000—a 37:1 majority, greatly exceeding the necessary 2:1 majority needed to ensure that when my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) takes up her position in Cabinet as the person responsible for the Ministry of women's rights she has the Labour movement's full support in putting this legislation and its parent in their justifiable place—the dustbin of history.

The Bill gives the Secretary of State the power to prescribe regulations to define limits on such items as maternity grants. The £80 for maternity grant, which has been cited in statements, and which, no doubt, will be mentioned later, is woefully inadequate to meet the needs arising from the birth of a child in Britain in 1987. The grant was woefully inadequate at £25 some 18 years ago when it was first introduced. If the amount had been increased to allow for inflation since 1969, the grant would be about £130 and it would still be inadequate.

The Bill and the Social Security Act which it amends do nothing to tackle the problems of the gradual reduction in maternity benefit over the past few years. Clause 1 would end the right to a statutory grant for about 500,000 women. It aims to prescribe the top limits of the payment. These changes are grafted on to a number of other reductions which have taken place under the Government. They include the 5 per cent. cut some seven years ago in the level of maternity allowance, which saved the Government about £8 million, and the ending of earnings-related supplement in 1982, which saved the Government £35 million. We are now talking about a means-tested substitute for a statutory grant on top of the loss of free milk, vitamins and other cuts in provision which working class women have had to put up with over the past seven years. Those who are in receipt of maternity grant have had their chances of returning to work reduced because the Government have removed the requirement that employers with fewer than 10 employees have to offer a job back to a woman who leaves to have a baby.

A particular group of women will be affected by the legislation—the 200,000 young women on YTS. They do not get the chance to build up the necessary contributions or service to qualify for maternity benefits in general. If I could broaden the debate—a possibility not usually open to me—I should add to the list of pressing restrictions imposed during the past seven years on working class women who are about to have babies. They face the problem of finding child care facilities as the children grow up. Apart from Liverpool council, few councils have had the money in the past seven years to extend child care provision, such as nurseries, creches and play groups. That is the general background.

8 pm

Good quality child care—including maternity and paternity rights, as well as levels of benefit—are essential if men and women are to share the joys and responsibilities of bringing up their children and not be restricted, which is what will happen if the Bill is passed. That is why we need a universal maternity grant that properly reflects the cost of bringing up a baby—£80 does not do that, either in terms of pregnancy and childbirth or in terms of the general cost of raising children.

We have the first woman Prime Minister in Britain, but she has shown, through sponsorship of the Bill and in previous Acts, that she is ruthless in reversing the gains made by working-class women in the past few decades. She might make a few headline comments about individual cases of child abuse, but the Bill represents mass child abuse in terms of the poverty and inadequacy of provision that working-class women and their children have to suffer.

The original amount of benefit was £25. The Bill gives the power to the Secretary of State to raise that to £80. My wife and I had a baby some 18 months ago and we received the £25 benefit. Jane was able to buy two maternity bras, a box of breast pads, some sanitary towels and enough wool to make the baby's first cardigan. That is all that the £25 bought. All the other essential items will not be covered even if the grant is increased to £80. One of the cheapest cribs these days is £50, one of the cheapest high chairs £48, one of the cheapest playpens £47, and the cheapest fire guard for an open fire is £20—a total cost of £170. My wife and I cannot afford to buy those things. But for the generosity of friends in Coventry who loaned us those four items, we would not have had them. I keep my standard of living at the average factory wage, which in Coventry is £170 or £180 a week gross. We are talking about working-class families for whom £170 or £180 a week would be a dream. If we cannot afford to buy those new things on average factory wages in Coventry, the hundreds of thousands of women who will be caught by the trap in the Bill will have no chance of buying them.

In addition to borrowing some items, we were lucky in that my wife had worked in a department store for 11 years, which entitled her to a 25 per cent. discount off certain items. That possibility is not open to most working-class families or to the unemployed single parents who are caught by the trap. A couple of days before Christmas we bought our daughter, Charlotte, her first pair of shoes. We paid £9.99 for a pair of child's shoes, which will last 10 to 12 weeks if we are lucky. I do not pay £9.99 for my shoes and I expect them to last at least two years. I hope that the next Labour Government—I trust that my two comrades on the Front Bench are taking note of this—will consider providing items such as children's shoes on the National Health. It is essential that a child has shoes that do not stunt the growth of its feet and lead to far worse problems in later life.

The Minister will no doubt tell us that he will generously make the maternity grant £80 if the Bill goes through and gives him the authority and power so to do. I was talking to my local citizens advice bureau a few days ago as part of the preparation for tonight's debates and I asked whether it had any information on the costs of the basic requirements necessary to bring a baby into the world and provide for its first few weeks or months of life. The CAB quoted to me, and I can quote to the Committee, figures for essential basic items for a new baby layette which were worked out by the Health Visitors Association. Even the Minister will recognise that most professionals, such as health visitors, whose daily job is to monitor the development of children, should have an idea of what is essential. The list was costed by the Durham and Derwentside citizens advice bureau after visiting the local Boots shop. The total for the basic kit recommended by the Health Visitors Association came to £241.23p last year—three times the £80 that the Minister intends to offer today.

Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead)

My hon. Friend has given us a number of examples of how people have costed the basic needs of looking after a child in its first few weeks of life. The Government always claim that taking away universal benefit and means testing it—or "targeting" it, as they like to call it—means that they can make that targeting generous enough for the people at the bottom of the pile. My hon. Friend's speech is helpful in showing how false that claim is.

Mr. Nellist

The Government say that the grant is supposed to cover necessary requisites. If the Bill goes through it will give the Government the authority to take the grant away from at least half a million women in Britain.

Mr. Field

Supposedly to provide an adequate benefit.

Mr. Nellist

Yes, supposedly to provide an adequate benefit to bring the child into the world.

The initial costs of bringing up a baby, worked out in March 1984 by the Daily Mirror, came to £444. In November 1985, a magazine called "Parents" estimated that the cost of a new born baby, including baby clothes and equipment, came to £702. It is worth comparing the situation here with what happens in other European countries. In Belgium, all mothers receive £395 for their first child. In France, all mothers receive £70 per month pregnancy allowance. In Luxembourg, all mothers receive a grant of £627. And what are we talking about in this country? A measly £80 from the Government.

Mr. Field

Will my hon. Friend remind the House that that analysis in the Daily Mirror was instigated by the current junior Minister for Transport, the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley), whose wife so enlivened our debates last week?

Mr. Nellist

I was not aware of that. It should not only be recorded in Hansard but shouted from the roof tops that the initiation of such an exercise produced a figure not far short of £500. However, it seems to have had no impact on the thinking of the Ministers who have proposed this ludicrously low figure of £80.

There are other problems attendant on accepting a figure of £80, because of the way in which the regulations intend that sum to replace the single payments available to mothers. A young woman, who was six months pregnant, came to see me on Saturday morning at my constituency surgery in Coventry. In the last few weeks she has moved into council accommodation, but the furniture regulations of August 1986, which were amended by the original Social Security Act, now preclude her from claiming for a cooker, a bed, sheets, a wardrobe or other necessities of setting up home. She will be able to get some help under the Bill for essential babywear costs, but she will be bringing a baby into an unfurnished, unheated flat with no basic requisites for bringing up a family. Not until she has been on benefit for six or seven months will she be entitled to one or two other additions. That fact was reflected in much of the evidence that the citizens advice bureau in Coventry supplied to me.

What figure ought we to be discussing? If my hon. Friend's amendment were accepted and there was a review of the prescribed items before the figure was finally set, what sort of figure would be come up with? Unfortunately, I have left the booklet that I wished to quote from at home, but on the telephone a few minutes ago I wrote down all the essential points, so I will paraphrase. The Health Education Council perhaps knows more than any other body what is needed to bring a child into the world and to provide for it during its first few weeks of life, and it gives every expectant mother a list of the items that she should get before her baby is born.

Mr. Field

Be careful or the Government will close it down.

Mr. Nellist

As my hon. Friend says, we may be on dangerous ground in quoting the Health Education Council. It may end up being abolished by the Government.

I looked through the list from the Health Education Council and I turned to what I hope the few Tory Members present will regard as an ideologically sound source of prices—the current Mothercare catalogue. That produced the following list: two dozen terry nappies—£21; six pins—56p; 50 nappy liners, which would not last one week, as I know to my cost—£1.10; four pairs of plastic pants—£3; 100g of cotton wool—78p; baby lotion—89p; a bucket to put nappies in, with a lid to keep the stink down—£5.99; sterilising powder—£1.49; a basic cot—£63; three sheets—£11; a duvet—£9.99; a baby bath—£6.99; one bar of soap—53p; a towel—though more than one is needed—£6.99; a pram—£173.50, including a rain hood; six bottles and teats and sterilising equipment—£14; a brush to clean out the bottles—£1.15; four stretch suits—£14; two woolen cardies—£7; four vests—£4.50; a shawl or a blanket for when the baby is taken out—£10.99; a woollen hat—£1.75; two socks—£1.85; two mittens—£1.05; nail scissors—89p; a hair brush—£2.99; a plastic changing mat—£3.99; a changing bag—£9.99. In my rush I have not been able to find the price for a cat net or for pram straps, a sun hat or other essential items in the Health Education Council list. I do not even mention toys, although in terms of stimulation from colour and sound the first few months of a baby's life are the most important in developing its potential. That list adds up to £376.46, yet we are talking about only £80 being given to meet the needs of working-class women.

I should like to spend more time making the essential points, but I am interested to know how the Minister will respond. From that Health Education Council list, from my personal experience over the past 15 months and from constituency cases as recently as last Saturday morning, I have no doubt that millions of families look forward to the implementation of the conference policy decided by the Labour party in October. I could take the Committee and the Minister through the statistics, but for now I simply stress that we need to pass the amendment so that the real costs of bringing a baby into the world can be identified and taken up by a Labour Secretary of State.

I hope that when my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) takes her place in a Labour Cabinet in the next few months she will make it a priority to redress the problems caused by this legislation. We know that she will have a fight on her hands to ensure that a Ministry for women's rights has the necessary finance to carry out improvements in the lives—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) thinks that the list of essential items that I have read out is a laughing matter, perhaps he would like to come to Coventry and join me in visiting the damp houses in my constituency where babies who do not have good, clean clothes soon start suffering from bronchitis and other bronchial problems.

8.15 pm
Mr. Eric Forth (Mid-Worcestershire)

The reason for my mirth was not the content of the list that the hon. Gentleman read out, but the concept of a Ministry for women's rights, which is so ludicrous as to be laughable.

Mr. Nellist

I will leave it to those who are present for the debate or will hear it on the radio or read about it in Hansard or in the press to judge which is the more laughable—the idea that a baby can be brought into the world and helped through the first weeks of its life on £80, when the realistic cost, according to estimates from the Health Education Council, the Health Visitors Association and magazines such as "Parents", ranges from £400 to £750, or the idea that a majority Labour Government will give my hon. Friend the Member for Barking the job of changing that position and ensuring that millions of working-class families can give their children a proper start.

I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Barking shares my view of the importance of that task and understands that there will be a battle against the vested interests, represented so well by the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire, who will say that the money cannot be afforded. If that is the answer of the City, the employers, the industrialists and the Tory party, the extension of a Labour Government's control over the means of finance and over industry to provide the necessary money for an expansion of public services will become increasingly urgent.

Mr. Charles Kennedy (Ross, Cromarty and Skye)

I support the amendment and I agree with much of the analysis, though not all the premises, of the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist).

I do not cast aspersions on the strength of feeling at the Labour party conference, but having left that party on the principle of one man, one vote, I always recall the sketch in, I think, "Not the Nine O'clock News" where a meeting had to decide whether to have tea or coffee. Five hands, representing 1.5 million votes, were raised for tea and one hand, representing 7 million votes, was raised for coffee. So coffee it was, and on the meeting democratically went.

I support the amendment because it is a good and sensible proposal. Some of the proposed amendments seem longer than the Bill. The alliance proposed an amendment about the rights of mothers under 16. That is germane to the Labour amendment and I hope that the Minister will respond to our suggestion, because it was not adequately dealt with on Second Reading.

I also underline what the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East said about the dramatic decline in the real value of the maternity grant. The Government's proposal of an £80 grant marks a slippage. In 1983, the average single payment made by the DHSS was £60, which, with the £25 maternity grant, gave a total of £85. Therefore, the Government's latest proposal is lower in cash terms and in real terms than what was made available to mothers on supplementary benefit in 1983.

The Government have not attempted to justify the suggested level. I hope that the Minister will explain why such a disgracefully low level has been set. How can the Government justify such a dramatic slippage in both cash and real terms?

The Under-Secretary said, here or elsewhere, that he would reconsider the position of pregnant girls under the age of 16 whose parents are not in receipt of supplementary benefit or family income supplement. There was no time at the end of the Second Reading debate to comment on that in detail, so I hope that he will comment tonight. I support the amendment because at least it would allow the House to conduct annually a debate about adequate maternity support.

From the detailed list supplied by the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East, from the comments by the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) and from the speech by the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson), it is clear that the proposed level bears no relation to the reality of the cost which women and families face when bringing up children. Does the Minister really believe, with his hand on his heart, that the level proposed is sufficient?

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

I support the amendment. It is right to emphasise the need to meet the cost of prescribed items. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) mentioned £170. There is no doubt that £80 is inadequate.

A few months ago I approached my local DHSS on behalf of two young girls who were seeking assistance with maternity payment. Both girls live in appalling poverty and received about £195. That is not a princely sum, given the appalling circumstances in which they live in Port Glasgow. Was that sum over-generous? In future it seems that girls in similar circumstances will be penalised. What will girls in the same circumstances receive in future? What will happen in constituencies such as mine where 43 per cent. or 44 per cent. of the population is in receipt of social welfare benefits? I presume that youngsters living in such poverty will have the right after six months to apply for a loan from the social fund. Will women in such circumstances be able to apply for a loan to buy the essentials for a baby's first few weeks of life?

I have often said that the legislation is squalid, especially for many of my constituents. The sum of £80 is disgracefully inadequate. If the Government had any honour or principles they would support the amendment. I look forward to the day when such matters, as they apply to Scotland. are decided in a Scottish Parliament.

The Minister for Social Security (Mr. John Major)

The hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett) moved the amendment in her usual beguiling fashion, but she hid the fact that the underlying effect, if not the intent, of the amendment is to reinvent the single payment system with all its complexities. From time to time, the hon. Lady pays lip service to simplicity, but she tends to take a hatchet when her heart becomes involved.

The hon. Members for Derby, South, for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist), for Ross, Cromarty and Skye (Mr. Kennedy) and for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) raised several issues with which I should like to deal before coming to the underlying argument involved in the proposed amendment. The hon. Member for Derby, South asked why housing benefit was used as a passport for funeral payments and not for maternity grant. She thought that the intention was to restrict the entitlement to maternity grant. Whether one decides that that is the intention depends upon the end of the telescope through which one looks, or upon whether one concludes that the Government want to widen the entitlement to help with funeral expenses for many of the reasons which hon. Members have put forward on a number of occasions.

I want to widen the entitlement to funeral payments for a series of self-evident reasons. With the cost of meeting funeral expenses comes an immediate large-scale cost at a time of distress, to which hon. Members have repeatedly drawn our attention in recent months. I want, therefore, to allow the widest possible entitlement to the funeral payment. I make no apology for that being my intention, although it is not possible to extend the passporting provision of housing benefit to maternity grant.

Family income supplement itself makes a fairly satisfactory passport to maternity payment for low income families. That is clearly not so for funeral payments since people on low incomes who tend to take responsibility for funeral payments do not usually have dependent children.

The hon. Member for Derby, South also queried whether £80 was the correct level. The hon. Member for Coventry, South-East spoke with some feeling. from his own recent experience of paternity, about the expenses involved in having a baby. I, too, have a family—a little beyond baby age—so I recall only too clearly the expense involved.

8.30 pm
Mr. Frank Field

I cannot remember the eligibility rules for FIS for those who are expecting their first child. The Minister told the House that FIS was a more convenient passport, but he failed to tell us for whom it was more convenient. Will he tell us at what point people would be eligible for FIS when expecting their first child? If they are eligible only after the birth of the child, they may be ineligible for FIS.

Mr. Major

We considered that matter, the hon. Gentleman may recall, in respect of family credit. It is in the depths of the Social Security Act, but it will take me a moment or two to recall what precise conclusion we reached. I hope that I shall recall that conclusion before I complete my remarks.

The hon. Member for Coventry, South-East also touched upon the particular expenses of having a baby. I make nothing other than an acknowledgment that having a baby means a significant degree of expense for the young couple involved. The hon. Gentleman, in what I thought was a compelling phrase with which I agree, made the point that parenthood brings with it both joys and responsibilities. One of the responsibilities—I certainly do not seek to present this in a hard-faced manner—is for the parents to make a contribution towards the welfare of their child. All we seek to do with the maternity grant—the hon. Member for Derby, South used slightly different words—is to make a reasonable contribution towards the expense of having a baby.

I should perhaps underline the word "contribution" as we do not see and never have seen the purpose of this payment as being to cover the entire expense of having a baby for precisely the underlying reason that the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East gave in his speech.

Mr. Nellist

While the Minister is dealing with this matter, may I ask how he arrived at the figure of £80? In the Mothercare catalogue, a basic layette, which consists of two of each item for the first few days or weeks of a baby's life, comes to £39.99. If, as is most likely with the sort of families we are talking about, the family did not have a washing machine and a tumble drier to air clothes properly—if people are living in a damp house they will need at least four or many of those items, such as vests and so on—those basic things will cost £80 before they start. I understand that the original grant in the 1960s covered the cost of a pram. Therefore, how did the DHSS work out this sum of £80?

Mr. Major

The hon. Gentleman assumes that some weird and odd mathematical equation has been used to arrive at the £80 figure. There is no such calculation. Within the social security budget there are always competing demands for what is not an unlimited amount of resources. Within those competing demands Ministers must decide where to direct the resources that are available. In making that decision we thought that£80 would represent a reasonable contribution towards the cost of having a baby when set against the present flat rate £25 maternity grant.

Mr. Nellist

Further to that, will the Minister confirm that the Department, in effect, said, "Here is the amount of money. Here are the number of women that it will cover. Divide the money by the number of women, and it comes to £80."? In other words, it bears absolutely no relation to the real cost of bringing up a baby.

Mr. Major

That was a good try by the hon. Gentleman, but that was not what I said and that is not the position. I shall repeat precisely what I said just a moment ago. There are competing demands, and that is so for whoever is the Minister. Within those competing demands there is a whole range of areas—the hon. Gentleman frequently draws other examples to my attention—where it is desirable to ensure that the benefits are uprated, perhaps increased, or whatever it may be. Social Security Ministers must make a judgment between those competing demands. Possibly other hon. Members would draw the line at a different level and make a different judgment, but that is the decision that any Minister must make. Upon that basis, we judged that £80 was right.

Mrs. Beckett

I was wondering whether the Minister would tell us whether the judgment that he made was influenced in any way by looking at the list of costs published by his Department last summer.

Mr. Major

Of course it was. I have just explained precisely how the judgment was reached. The hon. Lady may try as much as she wishes to put words in my mouth, but I am disinclined to leave them there and accept them.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Major

The hon. Member for Ross, Cromarty and Skye was first in the queue. For the purposes of convenience, I am also prepared to give way to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow should he wish to intervene.

Mr. Kennedy

We are talking about something that the Government, for their own purposes in this Bill, define as a sufficient level. How can £80 be sufficient when the £25 maternity allowance in 1983 was on average chalked up by a single payment of £60, bringing the total sum in Government support at that point to £85? How, in real as well as in cash terms, can £80 be justified three years later?

Mr. Major

It was not on average. The hon. Gentleman is wrong on that. It was on average for those who received single payments, but I remind him of something of which he may not be aware. It is by no means the case that all young ladies in those circumstances received single payments. About 20 per cent. of new mothers may have done, but certainly not much more than 25 per cent. received the top level. It is certainly not an average figure in the sense that the hon. Gentleman suggests.

Mr. Frank Field

The Minister has just told the House that the Department had to do that complicated sum and how much it should budget for that part of social security expenditure. Will he tell us what the estimate was for the first year of the new scheme's operation? When he has given us that figure, will he compare it with what would have been paid out if the £25 for each qualifying mother had still been in existence?

Mr. Major

The hon. Gentleman can be provided with those figures. I shall have them for the clause stand part debate or my hon. and learned Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security will.

We have made no secret of the fact that the abolition of the flat rate grant which was spread so widely will certainly have led to a saving. I do not have the precise figures, but I shall endeavour to obtain them in time for that debate.

The hon. Member for Derby, South also referred to a minor, although perhaps, important matter on funeral payments. She referred to the meanness of the proposition that one return journey to arrange or attend a funeral was adequate. That is a matter for regulations. The hon. Lady may well be right in what she says. We shall certainly consider whether it is one of the matters that we can change.

I have dealt with some of the underlying points made by the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East. I thought I recognised that compelling phrase that he used, "the dustbin of history." However, as my Parliamentary Private Secretary has been unable to find what I thought it referred to, I shall skip lightly over that point in the interests of avoiding controversy. The hon. Gentleman may have borne in mind in his remarks the fact that what is proposed after April 1988 in terms of free welfare foods is that income support families will continue to receive free milk tokens for children under 16 and that families on family credit, although they will not receive milk tokens on account of pregnancy, will receive cash compensation to be included in the child credit instead of milk tokens. That will apply only to a child born before the claim was made.

The Government's intention and the general aim is to provide help in cash rather than in kind. That is the underlying proposition of the new family credit which is wider and more generous than the present FIS scheme.

As regards the low income scheme to which the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East referred, I make no particularly derogatory remarks about that scheme. However, I simply observe that it has the rather derisory take-up of only about 7 per cent. at present. It is not as valuable as the hon. Gentleman appears to think.

It is true that vitamin tokens are to be abolished as a benefit, but the hon. Gentleman may not yet be aware that they will instead be available free from health clinics from a date still to be decided. He may not have been aware of that point.

The hon. Member for Coventry, South-East also referred to France and one or two other countries in Europe and to precisely what was provided there. There are five countries within the European Community that do not pay a universal maternity grant. The proposition that perhaps underlay the hon. Gentleman's remarks, that Britain was being uniquely ungenerous, although I put the matter more mildly than the hon. Gentleman, is perhaps not the case.

The hon. Member for Ross, Cromarty and Skye, with a notable disregard for precisely what the amendment is about, referred to maternity payments for mothers under 16. It is perfectly true, as he knows, that my hon. and learned Friend and I some time ago in a conversation with the One Parent Family Group agreed to consider that matter.

When we examined the matter in 1986, during the passage of the Social Security Bill as it then was, we were entirely unconvinced by the arguments for extending the provision to mothers under 16 years of age. I am not unsympathetic to the various arguments that have been advanced and I understand the concern that hon. Members feel. I am familiar with the forceful arguments that have been advanced on behalf of one-parent families, for example. There is, however, a genuine dilemma which is moral as well as administrative. Were we to extend the principle to those under 16 years of age, we would overturn a long-standing principle of supplementary benefit which we believe to be correct—the principle that a child under the age of 16, even if she has given birth to a child, remains the dependant of her parents or guardian. I understand the arguments for and against that principle and I can clearly see both sides of the coin, but I am not inclined to think that we shall be able to make the change that is advocated. In no sense am I ruling it out categorically, but it is not a matter for primary legislation. It is something that would be dealt with by regulation rather than by an Act of Parliament.

I do not wish to raise hopes that we shall be able to make the change that is being urged upon us, but I am prepared to say that I shall consider further any fresh arguments that may arise. I say that without any wish to give the Committee the impression that I shall be persuaded easily that the argument that is being urged upon me is the right way to proceed.

Mr. Kennedy

The hon. Gentleman has made a helpful statement and I appreciate that he is being indulgent in responding in such a way. He has spoken about the legal position—

The Chairman

Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will recognise that I have been indulgent, too, and that he should not push his luck.

Mr. Kennedy

I recognise your indulgence with gratitude, Mr. Walker.

I understand that under family law in England all mothers have full legal responsibility for the care and provision of their children. Under section 17 of the Supplementary Benefits Act 1976, a mother of any age is liable to maintain her child. I appreciate the Minister's concern for the principle that someone under the age of 16 is still in the ward, as it were, of her parents, but under existing social security legislation certain conditions are placed upon mothers.

Mr. Major

Having said that he would not push his luck, I rather fancy that the hon. Gentleman did. If your tolerance can be stretched slightly further, Mr. Walker, let me say that section 17 is ever present in my brain, as indeed is the ruling in Gillick v. West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Committee. However, I am not in the business of being pushed any further upon that proposition. I have sought to dampen down expectation that I shall be able to help, and that I would reiterate, but I am prepared to consider any fresh argument that may be advanced either in the Chamber this evening or subsequently.

Mr. Frank Field

I am grateful to the Minister for his statement that he will think again. The issues that are now before us have been discussed on a number of occasions since I have been a Member of the House of Commons. Perhaps we might have a more wide-ranging debate on a future occasion. As I understand it, it is unlawful for someone to have sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16 years. That factor, too, should be borne in mind in our discussions. Given that there are 1,400 pregnancies each year as a result of under-age sexual intercourse, we should as well as—

The Chairman

Order. We are getting a long way from the amendment and the Bill. I hope that my tolerance will not be stretched too much.

Mr. Field

Perhaps I might be allowed to complete my sentence, as it were, Mr. Walker. When we think about meeting the needs of young mothers under the age of 16 years, we should think at the same time about the other issues that the Minister has raised that come within the term "family responsibilities". These issues apply throughout the social scale.

The Chairman

I hope that the Minister will bear these matters in mind for the moment when we debate them.

8.45 pm
Mr. Major

Indeed I shall, Mr. Walker. I shall bear in mind also that you would prefer me to hear them in mind silently this evening.

Dr. Godman

May I relate what the Minister has said to the last sentence in the amendment, which reads: to meet the cost of prescribed items. There is an important point of principle. If a young girl chooses not to terminate a pregnancy, it is essential, surely, that she and her family, especially if they are living in poverty, be given all the assistance that they need.

Mr. Major

I do not dissent from that proposition. The hon. Gentleman has said that if the young girl and her family are living in poverty, they should be given the assistance that they need. In the circumstances that he envisages, the maternity grant will be paid. The issue is to whom it is paid—to the child mother's parents or the child mother herself. In the circumstances that the hon. Gentleman has outlined, there is no question of the payment not being made. The proposition upon which the Government rest currently is that, for many of the reasons that underlie what the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) has in mind, payment should be made to the child mother's parents rather than to the under-aged mother herself. That is the substantive point. When there is great poverty, I think that the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow and I are at one.

Our aims in abolishing the £25 universal maternity grant and the system of supplementary benefit single payment for maternity leave are twofold. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Birkenhead should contain himself. I think that I have shown that, if he wishes to intervene, I shall be prepared to allow him to do so. There is no need for him to chunter to me from a seated position.

The Chairman

The hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) has done well enough without any further encouragement.

Mr. Major

I am always prepared to accept wise advice, Mr. Walker, and I trust that the hon. Gentleman is as well. If both of us do so, we shall make some progress.

Our intention, first, is to provide a fairer system which makes a realistic contribution towards the costs of a new baby. I reiterate that we wish to have a fairer system that contributes realistically towards the costs of a new baby for all low-income groups, whether in work or not. It has not yet been said by anyone who has contributed to the debate that the proposition before the Committee will not extend help to many low-income groups in work. It should be made clear also that they would not receive help under the present system. That should be borne in mind by those who are concerned primarily with the level of income rather than the status—employed or unemployed—of the person receiving the income.

Our second aim is to simplify the existing system so that everyone is a good deal clearer about what he or she will receive than at present. I fear that the amendment would destroy both of the propositions that I have put before the Committee. I am not in a position to commend it to the Committee and I shall not do so.

To accept the amendment—

Dr. Godman

I am grateful to the Minister for allowing me to intervene. I do so to remind him of my question about the right to apply for a loan to meet the requisites that we are discussing. I thought that he would reply to that question.

Mr. Major

I think, Mr. Armstrong, that the hon. Gentleman's question goes a good deal wider than the proposition that is before us. I believe that I would be in even more trouble with you, Mr. Armstrong, than with your predecessor in the Chair if I were to deal with the issue now.

To accept the amendment would mean returning to a system under which it would be necessary to prescribe, as the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East said, the number of plastic pants, feeding bottles, nappies and other accoutrement that a mother is likely to need on the arrival of a new baby, whether it be the first child or not. Most hon. Members, but clearly not all—I make no critical point about this—are agreed that such a rigid system would not be an especially satisfactory way of dealing with needs that we all wish to see met. The amendment seems to support a rigid system for the future. The hon. Member for Derby, South is clearly an unrestructured supporter of a complex system.

We believe that our aims are best met by a flat rate payment, which has clear, qualifying rules to target it at those who are most in need. We think that is what we have. We also feel that it is in the best interests of the claimant to leave her with complete freedom as to what she buys with the money. Our proposals represent a significant improvement over the present arrangements. I hope that the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) will be disinclined to press the amendment to a Division, but if she does, I must advise my hon. Friends to resist it.

Ms. Jo Richardson (Barking)

I hope that I can stretch your tolerance, Mr. Armstrong, or rather the tolerance of Mr. Walker, who has just vacated the Chair, in referring to the under-16s. I intended to refer to them on Third Reading, and perhaps I will. The matter was raised by the hon. Member for Ross, Cromarty and Skye (Mr. Kennedy). The Minister says that, without any commitment, he might reconsider the whole matter of the under-16s if he can be presented with fresh arguments. I do not know what fresh arguments we can present to him. It seems to me that all the arguments that have been presented so far are good and valid. The plain fact is that the Minister seems to underestimate the number of young women under 16, who, for one reason or another—it is not for us to inquire necessarily into their family circumstances—would be better off, and whose child would be better off, if the money were paid directly to them, not via the parent, who may or may not pass the money over. We cannot always inquire into the delicacy of family circumstances.

I do not know why the Minister is so resistant to our argument. I do not know whether he thinks that, because one is under 16, one will simply go out and spend the money on a video tape. I have met young women of that age who, unfortunately in some cases, have become pregnant. They have taken the matter extremely seriously and have been frightened, and a little bit of money in their hand to cope with their difficult situation is badly needed.

The Minister said that it would be so much better to have a flat rate of £80 and not continue with the present complex system. He called my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett) an unreconstructed supporter of the present system, which she certainly is not. I know that she would agree that the system needs streamlining, but not in the way in which the Government have done it, which is simply to wipe out many of the benefits that women will have until the ruling is introduced.

Much mention was made last week of the £60 average that women got from various other benefits which, with the £25, brought the payment up to £85. My hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South reminded me a few moments ago that last year, when we debated the Social Security Bill, now an Act, the Maternity Alliance said that the average amount that was paid out in other benefits was not £60 but £143. I am not sure whether my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) referred to that point in a speech that he made in Committee about the additional benefits.

Dr. Godman

I am sure that the Minister and his officials will correct me if I am wrong on the matter, but I am fairly certain that in 1985 and perhaps 1986 the average payment to claimants in those circumstances was well over £143. It was closer to £200.

Ms. Richardson

Perhaps I was being conservative. I am sure that in many instances the payment was nearer to £200. That just shows the situation that women face.

At the end of a speech that I made on Thursday, I referred to what Finland provided for pregnant women, in the form of a basket of goods full of maternity and children's wear. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State£indeed, the Minister of State has just repeated it£said that most people would wish to choose and buy their own baby clothes. That is true, but even with the present bases upon which we give pregnant women money, most of us realise that many women do not have enough money to buy the clothes now.

There are an awful lot of hand-me-downs. Clothes are passed on not just in the family but from one woman to another. Many of the clothes are well worn. It is not a matter of handing on new things. That is happening because the woman who is newly pregnant cannot afford the clothes. The same applies to maternity clothes. Women pass on to one another two or three maternity outfits. That is not because they want to do it; it is because they cannot afford to buy new clothes for themselves, even with the present payments. The £80 that they will get will not enable them to buy new clothes, so the old system will continue, almost like a jumble sale.

It is clear to me that both the Ministers and the Government do not live in the real world, yet, as many hon. Members have said, in some senses the Department lives in the real world—because it produced the list of maternity items and their cost. The cost for a vest, a sleeping suit, a cardigan, a pram suit, a wrap or a shawl, plastic pants, 24 napkins—they will not go very far—feeding bottle and teat. a cot, a cot mattress, a pram or carry-cot, cot sheet, cot blanket and baby bath amounts to £187.45, on the Department's estimates. So how does the Minister think that £80 will go anywhere near that?

The figure that catches my eye most is 24 nappies. That is what the Department recommends as a sufficient quantity. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist), whose experience is perhaps the most recent in the House, will realise that 24 nappies go nowhere. As he said, if one lives in a damp council house or council flat and one does not have a tumble drier, one will need an awful lot more than that. I believe that it would he much better for parents to be encouraged to use disposable nappies.

Mr. Nellist

I want to make the point that 24 nappies in the first few weeks of a baby's life, at six a day, would last only four days. I must stress the point that if someone does not have a washing machine or tumble drier, more nappies will be required because of the frequency of the need to wash them. I agree also that disposables are more convenient. However, over the two or three years that a baby needs nappies, when it comes to choosing between either terrys or disposable nappies, disposables are a damn sight more expensive.

9 pm

Ms. Richardson

We have all been grateful to hear about the recent personal experiences of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East. I know that other hon. Members have—I was going to say "had babies", perhaps that is not entirely correct—had experience of babies, but perhaps my hon. Friend's more recent experience is more useful.

My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East also referred to European comparisons. The Minister's rejoinder simply contained details of other European comparisons, which were worse. Do we want to aim for the worst rather than the best? Surely the United Kingdom wants the best practices and not the worst. The Minister's rejoinder was unacceptable.

The hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) flitted in and flitted out and made one crack in passing. He was an opponent of mine during his first election campaign in 1974. I was quite sorry to see that he came to the House eventually. In his comments today he tried to rubbish the idea of a Ministry for Women to which my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East referred. When Labour is in power, we shall have a Ministry for Women—[Interruption.] I wish that Conservative Members would remember that their female constituents will read the report of this debate and will understand that, for the first time, a Labour Government will have a Ministry that will do its best to pull together the disadvantages and deprivation suffered by women in social security, in employment and other matters. The Ministry will monitor and ensure that benefits place women on a proper, equal footing and give them the level of support to which we believe that women, as more than half the population, are entitled. It ill-becomes Conservative Members continually to rubbish women.

We have had an interesting debate and I propose to end now—

Mr. Francis Maude (Warwickshire, North)

Hear, hear.

Ms. Richardson

The hon. Gentleman says "Hear, hear" no doubt because we are talking about women.

I propose to finish now by inviting my hon. Friends to vote for amendment No. 3 because we want to show the Government that we do not believe that they have treated pregnant women and women with babies in a decent fashion, but have treated them meanly.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 110, Noes 160.

Division No. 84] [9.02 pm
Alton, David Hardy, Peter
Anderson, Donald Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Haynes, Frank
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Hoyle, Douglas
Barron, Kevin Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Beckett, Mrs Margaret John, Brynmor
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Bidwell, Sydney Kennedy, Charles
Bray, Dr Jeremy Kirkwood, Archy
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Lamond, James
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Leadbitter, Ted
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Leighton, Ronald
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Litherland, Robert
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Livsey, Richard
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Clarke, Thomas Loyden, Edward
Clelland, David Gordon McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S) McNamara, Kevin
Coleman, Donald McWilliam, John
Conlan, Bernard Marek, Dr John
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Maxton, John
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Maynard, Miss Joan
Corbett, Robin Mikardo, Ian
Corbyn, Jeremy Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Crowther, Stan Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Dalyell, Tam Nellist, David
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) O'Brien, William
Dewar, Donald O'Neill, Martin
Dormand, Jack Park, George
Douglas, Dick Patchett, Terry
Dubs, Alfred Pavitt, Laurie
Eadie, Alex Pendry, Tom
Eastham, Ken Pike, Peter
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Raynsford, Nick
Fatchett, Derek Redmond, Martin
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Richardson, Ms Jo
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Fisher, Mark Rogers, Allan
Flannery, Martin Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Rowlands, Ted
Forrester, John Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Foster, Derek Silkin, Rt Hon J.
George, Bruce Skinner, Dennis
Godman, Dr Norman Snape, Peter
Golding, Mrs Llin Spearing, Nigel
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central) Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Hancock, Michael Tinn, James
Wainwright, R. Winnick, David
Wallace, James
Wardell, Gareth (Gower) Tellers for the Ayes:
Wareing, Robert Mr. Don Dixon and
Welsh, Michael Mr. Ray Powell.
Alexander, Richard Hayes, J.
Amess, David Hayward, Robert
Ancram, Michael Heddle, John
Ashby, David Hickmet, Richard
Aspinwall, Jack Hicks, Robert
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Hind, Kenneth
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Hirst, Michael
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Baldry, Tony Holt, Richard
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Howard, Michael
Bendall, Vivian Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Biffen, Rt Hon John Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Blackburn, John Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Jessel, Toby
Boscawen, Hon Robert Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Key, Robert
Brandon-Bravo, Martin King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Bright, Graham King, Rt Hon Tom
Brinton, Tim Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Browne, John Knowles, Michael
Bruinvels, Peter Knox, David
Bryan, Sir Paul Lawler, Geoffrey
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Lawrence, Ivan
Budgen, Nick Lee, John (Pendle)
Bulmer, Esmond Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Burt, Alistair Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Butterfill, John Lester, Jim
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Lightbown, David
Carttiss, Michael Lilley, Peter
Cash, William Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Chapman, Sydney Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Chope, Christopher Lord, Michael
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Lyell, Nicholas
Cockeram, Eric Macfarlane, Neil
Cope, John MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Couchman, James Maclean, David John
Crouch, David McLoughlin, Patrick
Dorrell, Stephen Madel, David
Dunn, Robert Major, John
Durant, Tony Malins, Humfrey
Evennett, David Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Eyre, Sir Reginald Mather, Sir Carol
Fallon, Michael Maude, Hon Francis
Farr, Sir John Meyer, Sir Anthony
Favell, Anthony Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Fenner, Dame Peggy Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Fletcher, Sir Alexander Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Fookes, Miss Janet Murphy, Christopher
Forman, Nigel Nelson, Anthony
Forth, Eric Newton, Tony
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Normanton, Tom
Fox, Sir Marcus Norris, Steven
Franks, Cecil Ottaway, Richard
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Gale, Roger Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Galley, Roy Pawsey, James
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Garel-Jones, Tristan Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Gower, Sir Raymond Pollock, Alexander
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Porter, Barry
Ground, Patrick Powell, William (Corby)
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Powley, John
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Price, Sir David
Hampson, Dr Keith Proctor, K. Harvey
Hannam, John Rattan, Keith
Hargreaves, Kenneth Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Harris, David Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Harvey, Robert Roe, Mrs Marion
Haselhurst, Alan Rowe, Andrew
Hawkins, C. (High Peak) Ryder, Richard
Hawksley, Warren Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Thurnham, Peter
Skeet, Sir Trevor Waller, Gary
Soames, Hon Nicholas Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood) Wiggin, Jerry
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Wood, Timothy
Sumberg, David
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Tellers for the Noes:
Thompson, Donald (Calder V) Mr. Michael Neubert and
Thorne, Neil (Ilford S) Mr. Michael Portillo.

Question accordingly negatived.

Clauses 1 and 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Back to
Forward to