§ The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang)
I beg to move,That the Rate Reduction (City of Edinburgh District) 1987–88 Report, a copy of which was laid before this House on 10th July, be approved.The House will not expect me to go over all the general background to the powers under which my right hon. and learned Friend has laid this report before the House, nor the economic Circumstances against which Edinburgh district council's spending policy needs to be judged. It may be helpful, however, if I briefly set out the main points again.
The Secretary of State has power to propose a reduction in an authority's rate if he is satisfied that the authority's total estimated expenses are "excessive and unreasonable". The power has been used several times in the past and in particular against Edinburgh district council in each of the last two years. Local authority current expenditure forms an important part of any Government's economic policies as was discussed in the previous debate, and it is therefore necessary to control that expenditure. There are two reasons for this—first, the effect of the spending on the total of public expenditure in the country as a whole and, secondly, the effect upon the local economy of the high rates that go with high spending. Opposition Members have made much recently of the allegedly high levels of community charge in certain areas once the new system of local government finance is in operation. If they showed even half that concern for the level of rate increases imposed by authorities such as Edinburgh perhaps reports such as the one that we are now debating would never need to he put to the House in the first place.
Turning to the details of the report on Edinburgh, the figures tell their own story every bit as eloquently as they did in the case of Lothian, which we halve just been discussing. The council's budget for 1987–88 is £52.26 million, against a provisional outturn for last year of £41.77 million — a planned increase in expenditure of over 25 per cent. Its budget is £10.354 million, or 24.7 per
cent. over guideline, and £11.83 million or 29.3 per cent. over assessed need. The volume growth in planned expenditure over 1986–87 is 15.5 per cent. The rate increase is 29.3 per cent. The excess over guideline of 24.7 per cent. compares with an average for districts other than Edinburgh and Clackmannan of 3.3 per cent The House will recall that my right hon. and learned Friend also initiated action against Clackmannan, as I explained in the previous debate.
Comparison with other authorities of increases in planned expenditure per head shows a similar picture: since 1978–79, the average increase for all district authorities is 11.6 per cent., but for Edinburgh 47.7 per cent. Between last year and this, the comparable figures are 3.5 per cent. for all district authorities and 14.5 per cent. for Edinburgh. Edinburgh's rate of growth in planned expenditure from 1986–87 to 1987–88, at 14.5 per cent. is three times the average for all district councils and more than four times the average for all Scottish local authorities. Once again, the figures speak for themselves. Edinburgh was given a full opportunity to make representations. Its written representations, and the record 163 of a meeting that I held with them are included in the report. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and I have considered the representations carefully but have not been persuaded by them to change our view. The comparator authorities which were used in assessing Edinburgh's budget included all the other Scottish cities and were chosen on the basis of relevant factors. This was an objective statistical exercise. The method of assessing relative expenditure need is developed and operated in full consultation with COSLA, and takes due account of the special factors to which the district refers in its representations, such as the city's role as a tourist centre. One point to emerge from Edinburgh's representations is that the expenditure reductions implied by my right hon. and learned Friend's proposed rate cut will bite particularly hard because there are no financial reserves to cushion the blow, as in previous years. I find this reminiscent of the condemned prisoner asking for other offences to be taken into account. The clear conclusion is that Edinburgh has been living beyond its means for years, hoping, like Mr. Micawber, that something would turn up.
Edinburgh district has to bear in mind that the creation of wealth, jobs and opportunities in its area is being frustrated by expenditure policies that cause personal difficulties for large numbers of people and threaten or destroy business and commercial enterprises. This problem becomes especially worrying when both authorities in an area are pursuing the same high-spending policies. We have already discussed and approved a report which will bring relief to ratepayers in Lothian generally. I now urge the House to finish the job and bring further help to the especially hard-pressed ratepayers of Edinburgh. I seek the House's approval for the report.
§ Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)
I pay tribute to my hon. Friends the Members for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Griffiths), for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) and for East Kilbride (Mr. Ingram) for their excellent maiden speeches. All of them showed a great knowledge of their subject and delivered their speeches fluently. It was a good thing that those three speeches, at least, displayed a knowledge of local government, and a recent knowledge at that.
The Conservative Benches boast no such recent knowledge of local government — in fact, they boast practically no knowledge of local government. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) has never served in local government. It is one of the few things that he does not claim to have done; there are not many. I assume that the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) is the statutory Scottish Conservative Back Bencher in this debate on Edinburgh. They have obviously been allocated one order each. I know that the hon. Gentleman was a member of the London borough of Bromley, which of course gives him an extensive working knowledge of local government in Scotland. I accept that the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) was a long-serving member of a council, although his experience ceased 20 years ago, which may impair his knowledge slightly.
Of course, the two Conservative Members who have some knowledge of Edinburgh district council, and Edinburgh corporation, as it used to be, have sat silent on the Front Benches. One might have thought that one of 164 the two Conservative members who at one time served as local councillors in Edinburgh would have introduced the report. It would have made some sense. I accept that the Edinburgh report is perhaps rather lowly for the Secretary of State; it may be beneath him to take on such a minor task. Furthermore, it is right that he should not have introduced the debate. He would have had to declare an interest because his rates will be cut as a result of the order and he will be better off financially. Perhaps it would have been better, therefore, had the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton) made his debut as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on this report.
§ Mr. Maxton
I am interested to hear that, because it means that the hon. Gentleman has two homes. My hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) always boasts about the fact that the hon. Gentleman is one of his constituents.
§ Mr. Maxton
Yes, one of his flock.
Instead, we had the hon. Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Lang) reading from a brief. If he is going to read from badly written brief, he would do better to leave out the rhetorical flourishes, or ask his advisers to do so, and to stick to facts. It would be better to deliver the brief in some style, but the hon. Gentleman failed dismally to do that.
We come to the third of the motions. I want to make the point which has been made on the others. We have come from considering Scotland as a whole, to the region and now to the district, but the argument is true of all three. The Government have no mandate and no democratic right to impose these measures on Scotland, Lothian region and Edinburgh district.
§ Mr. Maxton
The hon. Gentleman has made his speech. Perhaps he will make another explaining why — [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] My hon. Friends are right, we do not want another. I am sure that the Secretary of State in particular does not want yet another attack on him for the way in which he has handled Scottish business. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Where is Teddy?"]—That is right. Bring back my predecessor, whom the hon. Member for Tayside, North praised so much in his recent article in the Glasgow Herald. The only seat he lost was his own. That was the great success story. I remember him saying to me that the Scottish Tories would get the result they wanted—they would win seats in 1979 and lose Cathcart.
The Government have no mandate in Edinburgh to carry out these provisions. Let us look at the facts on the elections in Edinburgh. The citizens voted for a majority Labour-controlled authority in 1984, for the first time in Edinburgh's history. In 1986, in the regional elections, they again voted overwhelmingly for the Labour party. Despite the fact that all these measures were laid earlier than if we had been continuing without the general election and the fact that the previous Minister with responsibility for local government in Scotland, Michael Ancram, made it clear that, if the rates were cut in Edinburgh and Lothian, the people of those areas would 165 vote for the Tory party in the 1987 general election, the Edinburgh people voted overwhelmingly yet again for the Labour party. Michael Ancram, who is again calling himself Michael Kerr, Earl of Ancram, laid his political career on the line of his local government ministry and, of course, on the poll tax. Despite the Scottish measures, he lost his seat to my hon. Friend the new Member for Edinburgh, South. That is the way in which the people of Edinburgh, Lothian and Scotland have talked to the Government.
I say to the hon. Member for Tayside, North, yes, in terms of what is a Scottish Office, there is a Scottish mandate. We are dealing with Scottish legislation. If the hon. Gentleman seriously believes that there is no Scottish mandate and no separate Scottish identity within the House of Commons, why is he here tonight talking about Scottish affairs and why does he not argue convincingly, as I am sure he would like to do, that the Scottish Office should be abolished, that all separate Scottish legislation should be abolished and that we should have single United Kingdom Departments? The hon. Gentleman does not argue that because he knows that every Scottish Conservative Member would be wiped out in the next general election. That may well happen anyway, but it would certainly happen in those Circumstances.
Edinburgh has got a good case. It is different, and that should be taken into account when we look at the report. It is the capital city. Despite the Borrell collection, it has more tourist attractions within its boundaries than any other part of Scotland. People flock to it. It is right that we expect the district council of a capital city that is a major tourist attraction to ensure that the streets are clean, that it is properly looked after and that if tourists go into restaurants, cafes and shops they can expect environment and health departments to do their jobs properly and to have inspected such premises. Tourists expect that—all of us expect that.
Conservative Members made great play of the fact that Edinburgh is a major financial sector, yet they will make cuts and ensure that Edinburgh becomes a less attractive place for people to visit, whether they be business men or tourists. That is what they are doing. Yet the Minister, in that badly-read brief, failed to answer the question that my hon. Friends the Members for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) and for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) made in earlier speeches; if Conservative Members genuinely believe that there is a need to cut the level of money in Edinburgh, what is it that they want Edinburgh district council to cut? Which services or areas have to go? Will it be in the constituency of Pentlands that there will be cuts? If the Minister is to force through measures such as this, he has to take responsibility for the services that will go as a result. I know that the Secretary of State for Scotland and the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West know that once services are cut and are declining, they will be the first to go whingeing to their constituents saying that it is all the fault of the Edinburgh district council and of Lothian region and that it has nothing to do with them. They are totally and utterly irresponsible in the way in which they handle local government in Scotland.
The time has come when we should no longer have a Conservative Government handling local government in Scotland. The time has come when that responsibility, as with everything else relating to Scotland, should be transferred to a Scottish assembly. Tonight shows yet 166 again the need for that Scottish assembly. I ask my hon. Friends to vote against this report, as they have against the order and the other report tonight.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart (Eastwood)
I agree with the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) about one thing, and one thing only, and that is about congratulating the three Labour Members who made their maiden speeches.
Tonight's debate was widely advertised as a massive labour onslaught on the Government. But what happened in the last Division? The Government's majority went up from 35 to 81. The Labour Members were persuasive in the last debate — they persuaded about 40 of their friends to go home to bed. That is the level of this great assault on the Government.
§ Mr. Stewart
No, not yet. The hon. Member for Cathcart has just made an interesting speech about the mandate. It will be a speech that will live to haunt the Labour party because he has now committed the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Cabinet to every word that he said. There is only one mandate, and that is the mandate of the Government of the United Kingdom to win a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. if the hon. Members for Cathcart and for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) do not believe that, they should be honest about their convictions and join the Scottish National party.
§ Mr. Stewart
The mandate comes from the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. I am glad to see that the hon. Member is wearing his St. Andrew's university tie. I am not criticising his position on the mandate, and never have. The Labour party's position in regard to the mandate is at issue.
I represent a constituency that has two district councils; the district council of Eastwood and that of Renfrew. When I mentioned earlier that I represented Eastwood, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) accused me of being parochial. It is not parochial to represent one's constituency. It is the first right and duty of hon. Members. Of course, I live in the Glasgow district council area. Many questions may be raised about aspects of the policies that are pursued by the Glasgow district council. I live close to my constituency.
§ Mr. Stewart
That is interesting. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman persuades his spokesman of that theory. The hon. Member for Cathcart does not live in Glasgow.
There is a clear difference between the policies of Glasgow district council, which is a Labour council, and Edinburgh district council. There is no doubt that Edinburgh has pursued a deliberate policy of confrontation. That is clearly shown by the planned expenditure of 29.3 per cent. above relative expenditure, and, indeed, by the fact that the council is planning for a real growth in expenditure of 14.5 per cent. The Conservative opposition group in our district has proposed a budget that is within the guidelines. It is a budget that would not mean 167 widespread job losses, although in a mood of profound common sense, it has recommended that what is called the women's committee be disbanded. There is no doubt also, if ones looks from the west of Scotland to the policies that are pursued by Edinburgh district, that not only in terms of overall figures, but from individual example after example, one can see justification for the report. It contains some large items of expenditure and some small ones.
My hon. Friends will be interested to know that, among the other jobs for the boys that have been put forward by Edinburgh district and some residents, is a job for a writer in residence. There are also proposals to employ a bannermaker in residence in Edinburgh. We all know what the banners will say.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
The hon. Gentleman referred to jobs for the boys. Will he be specific about the matter to which he is referring?
§ Mr. Stewart
I have specifically referred to the creation of individual appointments, and I shall go on. [AN HON. MEMBER: "List them."] I shall give some other examples. The Labour administration has allocated ratepayers' money in support of what is called the local authority period of action against apartheid. What does that have to do with local government in Scotland? The council's financial commitment has included the production of posters, a photographic exhibition, the costs associated with having an African National Congress speaker at a council meeting, showing a free film for three days, and a guarantee against loss for a concert in the Usher hall. There are proposals for a museum of trade union and Labour history, and the shambles about the canopy in Princes street gardens. It cost £5,000 to take it down, and another £5,000 to put it up again.
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Gentleman has already spoken twice tonight. I am anxious to hear arguments from some other Opposition Members. Edinburgh has the ultimate symbol of the Socialist world of nonsense—a women's committee which wastes ratepayers' money sending out a glossy brochure explaining its work and its so-called achievements. Since the Labour administration took control, the direct labour organisation in Edinburgh has had a rise which can be described as meteoric.
Those are individual examples, but the Labour administration has pressed on with its budget proposals in Edinburgh, having been warned by the council officers that they were likely to be regarded as excessive and unreasonable and could lead to the council being unable to meet contractual commitments following action by the Secretary of State. The council officers further warned that the act of deliberately entering into further obligations in the knowledge of the fact might amount to an act of fraud on the part of councillors and council officers. The source of that information is the Glasgow Herald of 6 March.
That is the background to Edinburgh district council. I am proud to represent a sensible and prudent district council in Eastwood. It is in the interests of local government in Scotland that the House should support this report.
§ Mr. Ron Brown (Leith)
This is a very important night for all of us, and when we see the Secretary of State and his minions here we know that we are speaking about the colonial service when we discuss Scotland. We talk about two nations, about the haves and have-nots and obviously about politics. It is a question of them and us. That is certainly true of Edinburgh.
Apart from the silly nonsense that it talked by Conservative Members, if we consider the real issues we realise that Edinburgh is not a high spender. It is a very important and bourgeois city, not just in Scottish terms but worldwide. Edinburgh's councillors have issued a statement which even Conservative Members will have read. They will have met the councillors.
The statement reads:As the Capital City of Scotland and an international centre, the Council's services have to be provided in a wider context. Much has been made recently of the City's failure to grasp the opportunities which arc now being so actively pursued elsewhere. It is essential that the Council should provide and maintain the highest standards of environment and facilities for the City in its role as the capital of Scotland; as a domestic and business community; as an international cultural venue; as a financial centre and tourist attraction and as the urban centre of East Central Scotland.The council believes that the Secretary of State has not paid sufficient attention to those factors. Similarly, not enough account has been taken of the policy of the previous Administration of applying insufficient resources to service provision despite a prosperous exterior in Edinburgh. The councillors state their case, but it is clear that the ratepayers and taxpayers have a case to make. They feel strongly about what is happening in Scotland and in Edinburgh. If anyone was wondering about it, Leith is part of Edinburgh. The people of Edinburgh deserve better services and a better deal. They deserve value for money.
Conservative Members should visit Edinburgh, and not regard it simply as somewhere beyond Watford. They should visit it and speak to the people there. We have heard a lot tonight about value for money and about Joe Public. It is clear that tonight the Government are arguing the case for taking back the gains of the past. Labour Governments have at least made the case for creating a social wage and accept that workers cannot simply be labelled as workers. Labour Governments have sought to improve the standard of living and to move forward. It is right to impress on our people the fact that their values are important.
Of course, Conservative Members will say differently. They will say that that is entirely alien to their ideas. Conservative Members will resuscitate the ideas of the past and say, as they have repeatedly said, that we should have guns before butter and missiles before health. Indeed, the Government are themselves a reactionary regime. They want to spend much more on arms. There will be Trident, but there will not be democracy because the Government are clearly not interested in democracy or in providing services. They are interested only in themselves and in their own class interests.
Democracy is elastic, not to be run on a shoestring. It is there to be exploited and to be taken advantage of. I know that the commandants, or Gauletiers, will smile, laugh and joke and say that they have a mandate in Lothian, Edinburgh and Scotland. They will say that they have strength. Indeed, they have tremendous strength 169 because they can fix the Select Committees and the Grand Committees. They can do many things, including the ritual dance. Perhaps we shall perform it and dance down the stairs and vote with them. The Government can do many things but we shall lose the vote although we have 50 Scottish Members to reflect Scottish opinion.
The system here is unfair, corrupt, inefficient and dangerous. It is unfair because wealth is concentrated in decreasingly few hands. It is corrupt and I think of the Guinness family, all sorts of insider trading and the inefficiency of so-called British enterprise which produces fewer and fewer goods. An almighty deficit is looming towards the Government. Obviously, that is dangerous. The Government's only investment is not in local or national government, but in the arms race. That is certainly true. Bit by bit it is true. The Government can go to war to win all sorts of elections and they may have won the Falklands war, but they have not won an election in Scotland. They have not conned the people of Scotland. They may decide to regenerate the class war and, naturally, it will continue. Clearly, it is important to recognise that. When we discuss these matters in this bourgeois place we must not just listen to one point or another, but ask ourselves, "What is to be done?" My comrades and I will say, "Yes, the Government are wrong", but then we must say to ourselves "Dinna greet in yer beer." Many hon. Members will leave the Chamber, go downstairs and greet in their beer. We must say, "This Government must be challenged, but not by a Social Democratic party, mark 2", although that may unfortunately happen. All the trendies will come in to prove their point. But that will not change matters or convince people. Indeed, it will make matters worse. If we are to win the next election we must get back to basics. The Labour party must base its organisation on class politics. We can banter, but it is a question of getting back to basics. It is a question of taking politics back to street corners, factory gates, shipyards, shops, offices and hospitals. That is what we must do.
Clearly. if this is the den of thieves, as Lenin said—the Scottish TUC made this point—the triple alliance of the unions, COSLA and the Labour party can challenge the system and the Government. We are a tremendous force, but we must be organised. It is a question of bringing people together. [Laughter.] Such talk in this place is a laugh, a big joke, but if there is a will, we can organise people in the various towns, villages and hamlets in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.
Is that possible in the Labour party? I always contend that the Labour party thinks about resolutions, phraseology and words. I always believe in backing words with action. Repeatedly we have the opportunity to organise and fight back. That is the important thing. The Opposition may laugh, but that is their worry.
Is the Conservative party the opposition? Some people would say different.
In Scotland we will argue for an assembly. However that means nothing without Socialist policies. At the end of the day we need Socialist policies to take over the commanding heights of the economy. What is local government without organisation and without Socialist policies? We may have a banana republic, but that will not 170 solve the problems. We need Socialist policies in Scotland, England or where ever. That is why we need Scottish. Irish, Welsh and English workers to join together. We need to organise.
We can laugh and joke and it is a great night for that. It is the end of term at the English public school. However, back home, in the real world, people will not accept the phrase "Class dismissed". We must organise and fight back. That will happen. People should not be fooled.
Consider the history of the Scottish working class and especially the role of John Maclean. Maclean made it clear that Parliament is, in many respects irrelevant. Whatever our jokes and fun, it is a question of organisation and fighting back. The working class must challenge this and other Governments. The unemployed and employed will fight together. Democracy will prevail, but good democracy cannot prevail unless the people outside fight hack. We shall encourage that fight.
§ 2.7 am
§ Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North)
The speech by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown) was thought-provoking. On the Conservative Benches it certainly provoked the thought that the only chap who understood what was being said was the hon. Member for Leith. Looking at the hon. Gentleman's colleagues it is clear that even they, try as hard as they might, could not find it in themselves to support much of his speech. That lack of support might possibly be due to the fact that, in common with my hon. Friends, the Opposition could not follow the hon. Gentleman's rambles.
§ Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)
Some of us listened to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown). That speech may not have been remarkable for its clarity, but it was remarkable for its care and concern about the real issues.
§ Mr. Walker
If the hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) believes that the only people who care about Scotland are those who ramble, he does a great disservice to his Front Bench.
§ Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)
Here he is—the president of the Ramblers Association.
§ Mr. Fairbairn
Does my hon. Friend appreciate that one reason why the actor who just intervened was capable of appreciating the speech of the hon. M ember for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown) was that he walked in four fifths of the way through?
§ Mr. Faulds
We do not expect the hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross (Mr. Fairbairn) always to be terribly clear about what is going on. He has moments of temporary—sometimes near permanent—amnesia. He is wrong. I was here at the beginning of the speech. I went out for reasons that I shall not explain. We all hive the call of nature—even the hon. Gentleman. He perhaps, more often than most. I came back and listened to the rest of the speech. I heard most of it. I wish the hon. aid learned Gentleman would occasionally get things right.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)
Order. Hon. Members have enjoyed the pleasant interlude, but let us return to the debate.
§ Mr. Walker
I am at a loss to understand the intervention by the hon. Member for Warley, East. Anyone who had listened to all of the speech by the hon. Member for Leith would realise that it is not unreasonable for me to say that he rambled a bit. I never suggested that Opposition Members do not care. However, sometimes they care about the wrong things in the wrong way and sometimes they do not understand that to Government Members, caring means doing that which is right for all of the people. The hon. Member for Leith has had his opportunity to ramble——
§ Mr. Ron Brown
What I object to is the class interest of Conservative Members which destroys living standards, makes people unemployed and has many other unfortunate features. In a humorous way, the hon. Member suggests that what I say should be challenged. If he would understand reality and try to do something about it, I would listen. But he is such a Thatcherite that there is no question of his accepting humanity. Humanity is for our side, not his.
§ Mr. Walker
The hon. Gentleman made a lengthy interjection. When he reads what he said in Hansard he will realise how wrong he is. Does he not realise that we have representatives from all walks of life? We represent every sector in the community. We represent every walk of life; we represent every socio-economic group. We find it offensive that the hon. Member for Leith thinks that he is the only one who understands the aspirations of ordinary working people. That is bunkum and nonsense. To suggest that because we want to do things differently, we do not care or do not understand, is to bring debate in the Chamber to the lowest level.
I now refer to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton). I have been trying hard to get to him, because again he came up with the business of the mandate. If he ever aspires to be a member of a Government and sit on the Government Benches, he must think carefully about what he is saying. If he is saying that if any part of the United Kingdom, whether it be Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland, returns a preponderance of hon. Members of one party it can somehow declare that there is no mandate, he must recognise that he is denying the right of himself and his party ever to sit on the Government Benches.
I know that that is not the aspiration of most of those who want to sit on the Government Front Bench. They would like to form the Government. When they do so and introduce orders of the type that they judge are necessary to operate their policies, they will expect support from all the members of their party so that they can get their measures through. We in the Conservative party understand that. It is time that the hon. Member for Cathcart realised that he must be sure of exactly what he is doing on behalf of his party and of the commitments that he is entering into, because he speaks from the Front Bench on behalf of his party——
§ Mr. Geoffrey Dickens (Littleborough and Saddleworth)
Does my hon. Friend accept that so many English, Scottish and Welsh Members are present in the House of Commons as we approach 3 am because we care 172 about Edinburgh? We care that the taxpayers of the United Kingdom are having to pick up the bill. We care that the ratepayers of Edinburgh are having to pick up the bill. That is why we are prepared to stay here at Westminster into the small hours of the morning, to fight against the Left-wing council in Edinburgh.
§ Mr. Walker
I thank my hon. Friend for that helpful intervention. There is no doubt that it is because we care that we are all here. It may be that the reasons for caring are different—often they are—but no one can deny that we are here because we care. Perhaps some of us are here because Government or Labour Whips may not take kindly to our absence. Others, such as myself, are here because we feel that we must make a contribution to this important debate and say what we believe to be essential. Much of our debate tonight has concentrated——
§ Mr. Canavan
The hon. Gentleman is making great play of the United Kingdom mandate. I suppose that the Tory definition of the United Kingdom is a voluntary union between what was originally four nations, but that is nonsense, because the people of Scotland were never democratically consulted about the union in the first place. At the general election, 76 per cent. of the people of Scotland voted for parties that were committed to set up a Scottish assembly or parliament of one form or another. Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the people of Scotland, like those of any of the nations of the world, are entitled to as much self determination as they want, and even to disunite this Parliament if it comes to the crunch?
§ Mr. Walker
I understand that the hon. Gentleman used to be a mathematics teacher. If he had been a history teacher he could not have told his pupils about modern history; otherwise he would have had great difficulty explaining to them how Labour Governments have governed the country since 1945 without a majority in England. Whatever the hon. Gentleman thinks, every hon. Member who stood for election—including members of the Scottish National party— did so to the unitary Parliament. The difference between Scottish National party members and Labour party members is that the former have never made any secret of their desire; at least, that is honest. The hon. Gentleman wants to have his cake and eat it. He cannot come to the House when a Labour Government have a majority in the United Kingdom Parliament and say that they will govern on Labour party lines——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. There has been a number of incidental references to these matters in nearly every speech, but the hon. Gentleman is now straying well away from the report. He must address his remarks to the report concerning Edinburgh.
§ Mr. Walker
I had no intention of going into that area; I was replying directly to an intervention. If you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, read the debate tomorrow, you will see that the suggestion was that the Government had no mandate to introduce the report tonight. I was merely drawing attention to the fact that many reports passed through Parliament in the past. Labour Governments that 173 put through reports relating to England were in exactly the same position with regard to a mandate as the Government are tonight. There is no way in which——
§ Mr. Fairbairn
It is suggested that there was no mandate for the Act of Union. Were the Canavans about in Scotland at the time of the Act of Union to take part in such a matter?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
We are not discussing the Act of Union. We arc discussing a report that concerns Edinburgh, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will address himself to that.
§ Mr. Walker
We all hope that the report relating to Edinburgh district council will be the last of its kind that we shall ever have to face in this Parliament, because this is the third successive time that this has occurred with Edinburgh district council. That cannot be good for it or for this Parliament. We hope that the community charge will make people think carefully and clearly, knowing as they do, that they will have to pay for the expenditure for which they vote.
One of the reasons for the noises that we hear from the Opposition against what will happen in the future—as against what is happening tonight—is that they know that the community charge will be a wholly different ball game at local government level. No more will Edinburgh district council spend, and propose to spend—had not the report been brought in—ratepayers' and taxpayers' money on a basis that is judged by central Government to be wholly unacceptable. We must recognise that the laws of this country are made in this House and in another place. We are a United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Walker
If the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that the House does not pass legislation for a country of which we are both proud to he members, we will just have to disagree, as we so often do. It is in this House and the other place that legislation which affects Edinburgh and Scotland is passed. It is not made in Edinburgh.
§ Mrs. Maria Fyfe (Glasgow, Maryhill)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. When will the hon. Gentleman start to talk about Edinburgh's rate cut?
§ Mr. Walker
I have tried to talk about Edinburgh, but I have had to respond to Opposition Members' interventions. The hon. Lady will learn that this is a Chamber for debate, and the essence of debate is response to what the other side of the House says.
Edinburgh council has complained that it has no reserves on which to draw and that it is unable to borrow to finance its planned expenditure. It claims that those factors have contributed to its planned rate increase. Anyone who studies the matter knows that Edinburgh's creative accounting and its choice to live now and pay later has caught up with it.
No Government would allow what has been going on in Edinburgh to continue. This is the third time that a problem has arisen. Nor is it as though the council's additional expenditure is on services. It has indulged in what one might call odd activities. It decided, as my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) said, to have an artist in residence.
§ Mr. Walker
There we are; I am asked what is wrong with that. It is claimed that priority areas of housing are starved of resources.
§ Mr. Walker
Nor do I know what the writer in residence will do. I am sure that the people of Edinburgh who have dampness in their houses will find it difficult to understand what a writer in residence, at a salary of about £8,000, will do for them. My hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood mentioned the action against apartheid. Why should a council that is allegedly strapped for cash spend £7,000 on that, especially when it has been warned by its own legal officers that that is likely to he regarded as excessive and unreasonable expenditure, thus leading to confrontation with the Secretary of State.
Council officers also warned that entering into other obligations might be construed as an act of fraud by councillors. That is serious. It was reported in the Glasgow Herald, to which the hon. Member for Cathcart referred, so it must be important, although it is not the most widely read paper in my constituency — [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Warley, East who, I gather, treads the boards, seems to be feeling like treading them again. I can hear his loud voice from the back.
There can be no doubt that any Parliament sitting at 2.30 am to debate whether it is wise to take action against Edinburgh district council would realise that there is something seriously wrong with the way in which we finance and support local authorities. I am happy to support the Government, because I know that when we have the community charge and people consider how to vote in local elections, we shall never again he faced with such a motion.
§ Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)
As a new Member, I think that the events of the past hour have been a disgrace, an embarrassment and a pathetic farce in the name of democracy.
If the Tories on the Government Front Bench think that they will be able to run the affairs of Scotland with the aid of the motley crew of unemployables that we have listened to tonight, they have another think coming. The hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) said that there is only one mandate. There is the voice of the obscurantist and the reactionary. If the hon. Gentleman believes that what we have been hearing is the one mandate that matters in Scotland, he also has another think coming.
§ Mr. Wilson
No. I will not give way. We have listened to quite enough nonsense already.
We are not talking about the idiotic debating points made by halfwits from Perth over the past hour and a half; we are talking about the living standards of the people of Edinburgh. We are talking about poor people, about housing conditions and about the fundamentals of democracy. When I hear this alleged democratic debating Chamber reduced to the trivia and idiocies of Conservative Members, I object, not just as a Scot and a Socialist, but as a democrat.
We are talking about democracy and about the Conservative party which has the grossest and utmost contempt for the ballot box — unless it gives an 175 acceptable answer. Tories despise the democratic outcome, yet prate about democracy in debates such as this. We are talking about the centralisation of decision-making and the taking of power from local authorities. I do not believe that that centralisation is even in the Tory tradition. It is in an anti-democratic tradition in which the bollot bax becomes the tool of authoritarianism rather than the master of those who temporarily hold power.
I do not believe for a moment that there is any mandate for what has been done to Lothian and Edinburgh. If anyone in this United Kingdom believes that there is only one mandate—the mandate of the House of Commons —and ignores every other mandate at every other level of government and ignores the different dimensions of the United Kingdom, he is playing with fire.
When clowns such as the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) and drunks such as the hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross (Mr. Fairbairn) ——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)
Order. That is unparliamentary language and I must ask the hon. Member to withdraw that word.
§ Mr. Wilson
I withdraw the word.
The contempt with which the affairs of Edinburgh and Lothian have been treated tonight by Conservative Members is beyond forgiveness. I hope that Hansard will be read more widely than usual in Scotland over the next few days, because the speeches of Tory Members have been a disgrace and an affront to democracy.
Some people believe that the only mandate in Britain comes from the election of a central Government and that every other dimension of democracy can be ignored. The devastation that the Conservatives leave behind will remain long after they have been consigned to the ash pit of political life. They will leave behind them devastation if they undo the work of 280 years; if they undo the idea of the United Kingdom as a progressive force. If they are blind and obscurantist and refuse to accept the verdict of 11 June and refuse even to accept that there are different dimensions to the verdict of 11 June they will commit terrible acts of ignorance and stupidity. The glib lawyers on the Government Front Bench may laugh and sneer and enjoy the passing moment, but that has a legacy and it will be paid.
I think I know why Edinburgh is chosen for these motions and this treatment. It is chosen because the Scottish Tories believe that Edinburgh and Lothian should be theirs. They think that this is a precinct within which they should have divine rule. They despise the fact that the electorate through the ballot box, which the Opposition respect, have given another verdict. The people who voted for Labour councils in these areas are to be punished.
There is an odd relationship between the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) and the Mekon of Edinburgh politics, Mr. Brian Meek. I should like to quote from an article in the Glasgow Herald. Mr. Meek deals in hagiography of a very unusual kind which, by comparison, makes Uriah Heep seem like an ascerbic critic. Writing about the right hon. and learned Gentleman's election campaign, he says:It starts to go horribly wrong at about 3 pm sitting in the car in Braidburn, MR is using the portable telephone … Outside, a child stares in wonder as he recognises the man making the call.176The third message comes from Logan Cotter, the party's press officer and it gives details of a System Three poll in South Edinburgh to be published in the Glasgow Herald, Rifkind is stunned, knocked back in a way I have never seen before.'Let's go back to the office,' he says. For half an hour we sit trying to make some sense of it all. Is it an isolated instance, is there some trend, what the hell is happening?What has this got to do with the report? Wait for the next paragraph.'"Poor Michael, (Ancram)' says Malcolm, genuinely concerned. 'This is a cruel business.' I have the feeling it is going to become even harder.There is slightly slightly better news the next day. The article says: "Saturday, May 30NO LACK of enthusiasm at the Balerno fete …Where does Mr. Meek come into it? Mr. Meek has duties to perform. Mrs. Rifkind enters the scene. The article says:At 9.15 pm she has had no supper but stops the car when she sees a tiny Rifkind sticker in a top flat window. 'They should have a bigger poster.' 'Go home.' I told her. 'I'll do it.'The Secretary of State for Scotland then spends the next two hours on his knees stapling his name onto sheets of cardboard.Mr. Meek, Tory leader of Lothian regional council says:I organise people to put them on lampposts.Then comes the denouement, the eve of poll meeting at Colinton. Mr. Meek reports that Mr. Rifkind:gives a brilliant impromptu performance, turning hostile questions into own goals.Apparently in the Conservative party turning hostile questions into own goals is a virtue. Now we come to the crunch, and this is very relevant to the report.Not for the first timewrites Mr. Meek,I am genuinely proud of this young man whom I encouraged to come into politics.I suggest that in the vendetta that is being conducted against Lothian and Edinburgh on behalf of the Conservative party, debts are being repaid. The Edinburgh Tories are being shored up in this place in an undemocratic manner by MR, the man on the portable telephone who is lauded in the article. At the expense of poor people, decent people and democratic people in Edinburgh and Lothian, a vicious political campaign is being waged without any regard for their best interests.
An apology for democracy is before the House, and the interests of our people can be swept aside with sneers, gibes and laughter, along with all the clowning and buffoonery that we have seen over the past few hours. At least Mr. Meek had the honesty to acknowledge the outcome of the general election in Scotland. After the Secretary of State's great victory has been proclaimed, Mr. Meek writes :But other heads are rolling all over Scotland. Micky, Anna, Gerry, Alex, Albert"—my opponent, poor old John, is not even mentioned—all gone, and Alex and Michael disappearing before our very eyes. I have to tell him that there is a recount at Ayr.That was the lesson of 11 June.
The Government have introduced punitive measures against Edinburgh and Lothian. They did so on the eve of the election with a view to gaining political capital through the ballot box. Despite the mockery of democracy that we see in this place, the ballot box is still the instrument of democracy. The people of Edinburgh and of Lothian still have the right to elect local authorities, reject electoral bribes and dismiss what the Government are now doing as part of a political package. If there were decency and democracy in this place, the measure that is before us 177 would be rejected. If the Government continue to treat the people of Edinburgh, Lothian and Scotland generally—indeed, everywhere that did not vote Tory—with the contempt, disdain and idiocy that we have witnessed tonight, the worm will turn, and in a big way. I shall not seek to defend the Mother of Parliament when there are imbeciles on the Government Back Benches reducing the serious issues that have been under discussion to the lowest of levels.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
Does the Minister agree with Edinburgh district council that the expenditure per head of population in Edinburgh that is proposed for 1987–88 is substantially less than that proposed for Glasgow? Edinburgh's 1987–88 expenditure per head will be £110.83, which will be less than the £117.30 that Glasgow was spending per head in 1978–79. Is that true or is it not?
Two of the five comparators, Glasgow and Dundee, have rate poundages that are substantially greater than Edinburgh's declared rate. Edinburgh is 19p, and after selective action that comes to 16.2p. Glasgow is 27.5p and Dundee is 22p. I ask the Minister to check with those who occupy the Box, who are experts in these matters, whether those figures are true or false.
Edinburgh is criticised for increasing staff levels, but the number of staff per head of population is less than in any of the comparators. The figures are as follows: Edinburgh, 11.1; Dundee, 16.4; Aberdeen, 14.2; Falkirk, 12.6; Glasgow, 17.5; and Carrick, 12.3. I represent south Queensferry, which is part of the Edinburgh district. The manner in which Edinburgh district council and its officials have dealt with difficult matters such as housing and what has happened over VAT 69 and the reconstruction work has impressed me greatly. I do not say that in a partisan spirit.
It is claimed in addition that Edinburgh's 1984 rate was at an artificially low base—a product of years of low spending on services. Even in 1986–87, Edinburgh's rate was lower than that of 24 other district councils in Scotland. Do the Government accept that figure? With a low base rate poundage, any increase is bound to sound exaggerated in percentage terms. However, the average ratepayer will pay an extra 62p per week as a result of the 4.3p increase. Seventy-five per cent. of households will face an average weekly increase of less than 75p and only 11 per cent. of households—those with rateable values ofover £1,200—will pay more than £1 a week extra to the district council. Some 40.6 per cent. of the Scottish population will this year face a district rate poundage greater than or equal to that of Edinburgh.
I keep my speeches short. As on the previous motion, we are dealing with facts here. I have given the statistics that Edinburgh district council and its officials have produced. I ask the same question: are they true or false? If they are wrong, the Government should say so. If they are true, what on earth are the Government doing introducing a motion such as this?
§ Mr. Calum A. Macdonald (Western Isles)
The Government argue that the motion is necessary to punish and discipline spendthrift Labour councils. I represent a constituency governed by a council that is neither spendthrift nor Labour. It is not a Labour council because 178 it is formally non-political, and it is not spendthrift because it has kept within the guidelines imposed by the Government ever since they were introduced. In fact, it is just the kind of local authority that the Government would like Edinburgh to be.
What has been the council's reward for its double virtue? What has been the result for the Western Isles? It has been declining services, lost jobs, roads falling into disrepair, schools squeezed by lack of resources, a chronic lack of home helps and other social services and council rents which have been among the highest in Scotland for the past seven or eight years.
Things have not got better as a result of my council's following the guidelines. Every year they have got worse. The route recommended by the Government for Edinburgh district council and for Lothian regional council leads not to nirvana but to a crisis of services such as we are suffering in my constituency. That is why my constituency and the Western Isles council are standing four square with Edinburgh district council and Lothian regional council against the Government.
Lost jobs, declining services, attacks on local democracy, are all fine phrases, but what do they mean in practice for the people whom they affect? Let me give one example drawn from my constituency. I know of a brother and sister in my constituency who live together in the same house and suffer from a crippling and incurable illness. They want to live at home. They have a lively and bright interest in the croft on which they live and which they own. Much of the work is done for them by neighbours. To stay at home, they need a great deal of help and attention. During the day, they need help to look after the house and to cook meals. At night, they need help getting to bed. In the morning, they need help to get up. They need more help than even the best-meaning neighbours can provide. In short, they need social services.
There is a will and desire in the Western Isles to help this couple and couples like them. But we cannot help them because of the cuts in the social services budget, enforced by the Secretary of State for Scotland. The cuts mean that these two people are likely to have to leave the home in which they want to remain and go into institutional care. This shows that the Government's statement about community care is the humbug it is. We are talking about exactly the same principles in the motion.
If my people in the Western Isles want to help this couple and provide this service and are willing to dig into their pockets to pay for that service with their rates, how dare the Secretary of State tell them that they cannot provide it? That is not a rhetorical question. I hope that I will get an answer from the Government. I have a letter from this couple. They want to know why they cannot get the support that would allow them to stay in their home and not be forced into institutional care. The people of the Western Isles, Edinburgh district and Lothian region believe in these services because they believe in being good neighbours. It is a disgrace that the Secretary of State and the Government should interfere with their will to be good neighbours to each other.
§ Mr. Lang
With permission, Madam Deputy Speaker, I should like to reply to this interesting debate.
The issues are clear, Edinburgh is planning spending well above its guideline, its assessed need and its 179 comparators, and well above previous years. Edinburgh's rates have gone up by nearly 30 per cent. Against that background, should my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State use his power to propose a rate reduction, or should he simply stand by? Put in those terms, I believe that the question answers itself. No responsible Government could ignore overspending of this kind. It runs against the Government's overall economic policy and it has severe effects on local ratepayers. This is particularly true when one bears in mind that Edinburgh's ratepayers are blessed with a regional council which has also increased its rates by 30 per cent.
The House may be interested to hear the benefits to Edinburgh ratepayers of the reduction which we have already approved for Lothian and will, I hope, shortly approve for Edinburgh. The average domestic rate bill will fall by nearly £51, and many householders will benefit by more than that. I should have thought that the Opposition with their professed concern for local taxpayers — at least under the new system—would welcome that.
§ Mr. Lang
For commercial and industrial ratepayers the savings will be significant. A department store in Princes street will save over £60,000 and a manufacturer in the north of the city nearly £17,000. I should have thought that the Opposition with their professed concern for jobs, would welcome that.
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) referred in his opening speech to the fact that Edinburgh is unique. Certainly, it is. It is a remarkable place, but it is made unique in the context of this debate by the fact that its budget for 1987–88 is 24.7 per cent. over guideline compared with an average for districts other than Edinburgh and Clackmannan of 3.3 per cent.
§ Mr. Lang
I am trying to reply to the points raised by the hon. Member for Cathcart in his opening speech. Edinburgh's budget for 1987–88 is 29.3 per cent. over assessed need compared with an average of 6.9 per cent. for districts other than Edinburgh and Clackmannan. The hon. Gentleman made much of the mandate. That argument was developed later in the debate, but I sense that the feeling of the House is that the issue has been fairly well discussed and is not strictly relevant to the subject before us, so I will not dwell on that.
The hon. Member for Cathcart asked us which services need to be cut. I point out to him that, after the action proposed by my right hon. and learned Friend, Edinburgh 180 district will still be 3.3 per cent. above its guideline and 7.1 per cent. above its assessed need. I draw his attention to the plans that the district council has. It is not planning cuts so much as increases. It is planning an increase of £ 1.6 million, or 15.9 per cent., on leisure and recreation; 5.5 per cent. on cleansing; 11.6 per cent. on museums, libraries and galleries; and 7.1 per cent. on central administration —increases overall of 14.5 per cent. in volume terms. So we are not talking about cuts, we are talking about proposed increases that may not be able to go so fully ahead.
My hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) gave a number of examples of expenditure which, by no stretch of the imagination, could the House regard as essential. The hon. Member for Cathcart also referred to the special needs of Edinburgh that arise from tourism. Of course, that does create special needs, but the assessment of relative expenditure needs takes account of tourism where appropriate — for instance, assessments for refuse disposal, street cleaning, environmental health, and leisure and recreation. Despite this, Edinburgh is budgeting to spend nearly 30 per cent. over its assessed need.
§ It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted Business).
§ The House divided: Ayes 173, Noes 83.182
|Division No. 22]||[2.56 am|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Allason, Rupert||Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)|
|Amess, David||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Amos, Alan||Day, Stephen|
|Arbuthnot, James||Devlin, Tim|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Dickens, Geoffrey|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Dicks, Terry|
|Ashby, David||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Dover, Den|
|Atkins, Robert||Dunn, Bob|
|Atkinson, David||Durant, Tony|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)|
|Baldry, Tony||Fairbairn, Nicholas|
|Batiste, Spencer||Fallon, Michael|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Favell, Tony|
|Benyon, W.||Fenner, Dame Peggy|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Forth, Eric|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Freeman, Roger|
|Boswell, Tim||French, Douglas|
|Bottomley, Peter||Gale, Roger|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Bowis, John||Gill, Christopher|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Brazier, Julian||Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles|
|Bright, Graham||Gow, Ian|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Greenway, John (Rydale)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick||Gregory, Conal|
|Burns, Simon||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)|
|Burt, Alistair||Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn|
|Butterfill, John||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Carrington, Matthew||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Carttiss, Michael||Hannam, John|
|Cash, William||Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')|
|Chope, Christopher||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Harris, David|
|Conway, Derek||Hayes, Jerry|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Hayward, Robert|
|Cran, James||Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)|
|Hind, Kenneth||Rost, Peter|
|Holt, Richard||Ryder, Richard|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)||Sackville, Hon Tom|
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)|
|Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Irvine, Michael||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Jack, Michael||Sims, Roger|
|Janman, Timothy||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Jessel, Toby||Speed, Keith|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Speller, Tony|
|Jones, Robert B (Herts W)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine||Stern, Michael|
|Knight, Greg (Derby North)||Stevens, Lewis|
|Lang, Ian||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|Lightbown, David||Summerson, Hugo|
|Lilley, Peter||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Lord, Michael||Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)|
|Mans, Keith||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)||Thorne, Neil|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Thurnham, Peter|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Tracey, Richard|
|Neale, Gerrard||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Neubert, Michael||Viggers, Peter|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Nicholson, David (Taunton)||Walden, George|
|Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W)||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Page, Richard||Waller, Gary|
|Paice, James||Warren, Kenneth|
|Patnick, Irvine||Watts, John|
|Patten, John (Oxford W)||Wells, Bowen|
|Pawsey, James||Wheeler, John|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Widdecombe, Miss Ann|
|Porter, David (Waveney)||Wilkinson, John|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Wilshire, David|
|Raffan, Keith||Wood, Timothy|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Yeo, Tim|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Riddick. Graham||Mr. David Maclean and Mr. Stephen Dorrell.|
|Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)|
|Armstrong, Ms Hilary||Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Battle, John|
|Beith, A. J.||Lewis, Terry|
|Blunkett, David||Livingstone, Ken|
|Boateng, Paul||McAllion, John|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||McAvoy, Tom|
|Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)||McCartney, Ian|
|Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)||Macdonald, Calum|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)||McFall, John|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Canavan, Dennis||McKelvey, William|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||McLeish, Henry|
|Cook, Robin (Livingston)||McTaggart, Bob|
|Dalyell, Tam||McWilliam, John|
|Darling, Alastair||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)||Martin, Michael (Springburn)|
|Dewar, Donald||Maxton, John|
|Doran, Frank||Michael, Alun|
|Dunnachie, James||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Eadie, Alexander||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)||Mowlam, Mrs Marjorie|
|Faulds, Andrew||Nellist, Dave|
|Foster, Derek||O'Neill, Martin|
|Foulkes, George||Patchett, Terry|
|Fyfe, Mrs Maria||Pike, Peter|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Prescott, John|
|Galloway, George||Reid, John|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Robertson, George|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Graham, Thomas||Salmond, Alex|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||Strang, Gavin|
|Grocott, Bruce||Vaz, Keith|
|Henderson, Douglas||Wall, Pat|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)|
|Home Robertson, John||Wilson, Brian|
|Hood, James||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)||Worthington, Anthony|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Wray, James|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Kennedy, Charles||Mr. Allen Adams and Mr. Dick Douglas.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That the Rate Reduction (City of Edinburgh District) 1987–88 Report, a copy of which was laid before this House on 10th July, be approved.