§ Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Non-Domestic Rates and Community Charges (Timetable) (Scotland) Regulations 1987 (S.I., 1987, No. 2167), dated 15th December 1987, a copy of which was laid before this House on 17th December, be annulled.With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I understand that it will be convenient for the House to deal with the second motion:That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Abolition of Domestic Rates (Domestic and Part Residential Subjects) (Scotland) Regulations 1987 (S.I., 1987, No. 2179), dated 16th December 1987, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18th December, be annulled.The first statutory instrument deals with the timetable for the implementation of the poll tax and the second deals with domestic and part residential subjects. Because the abolition of the rating system does not extend to non-domestic rates, the valuation roll will have to be maintained for non-domestic premises. The regulations dealing with residential and part residential subjects address that problem.
The regulations are technical and fairly detailed. I confess that I had some difficulty making sense of the regulations on domestic and part residential subjects. It is perverse of the parliamentary draftsmen to produce regulations of this complexity. It is difficult to make sense of them. I am sure it must have been possible to use plainer English to explain what the regulations were setting out to do. The regulations are the first of their kind to be discussed on the Floor of the House, and it is in the interests of all hon. Members that the regulations to implement the community charge provisions are fully discussed, because, although they are detailed and technical, they are very important. There are no fewer than 70 matters in the primary legislation to be discussed and dealt with by way of regulations, and these are the first two sets—dealing with domestic and part residential subjects and the timetable dates for the enactment provisions.
There are a number of major regulations still outstanding. We have not yet even seen them in draft form. They include statutory instruments to deal with the question of how students are to be provided for under the community charge, registration and appeals, although we have seen a draft regulation on that, the collection procedures, the revenue support grant and the vital matter of the rebate system.
With regard to what we have been able to see and the extent of the preparations that the Government have made for the regulations and draft regulations, there is a fear that the Government will not be able legally to collect the charge on 1 April 1989.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Even if they are able to collect the charge, they may simply be pushing the hassle, confusion and chaos further down the line into the hands of local authorities, because, although the regulations may be in place, the Government are still unable to give local authorities and registration officers and those organizing 918 the appeal systems that must be put behind the primary and secondary legislation a proper chance to implement the system in a sensible and thought-out manner.
The reality of the background to these first regulations is that the Government are not at this stage properly organised to implement the charge sensibly.
As I have already said, the abolition of the rating system does not extend to non-domestic rates, so the valuation roll will have to be maintained for non-domestic or commercial premises. Paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Abolition of Domestic Rates (Domestic and Part Residential Subjects) (Scotland) Regulations define exactly what will stay on the valuation roll, and is therefore liable for non-domestic rates, and what, on the other hand, will be deleted from it, and its residents, therefore, liable for the poll tax.
In the main, the purpose of the domestic and part residential subjects regulations is fairly straightforward. They remove from the roll private car ports, garages, sheds and ancillary buildings to sheltered accommodation. On a non-domestic basis, caravans and huts that are not used as primary residences for the whole year are being left on the valuation roll.
There are four or five questions to which I should like the Minister to address his mind. First—I am sure that he is familiar with this point, because it was raised by the Scottish Council for Single Homeless—is the question of definitions. The view that is taken by those who follow these matters closely north of the border is that an opportunity has been missed to revise comprehensively a host of definitions included in the regulations, which flow from the primary legislation on the community charge.
It is important to recognise that these regulations provided an opportunity to update definitions in line with current thinking and practice. For example, in the regulations definitions of the words "hostel" and "residential care home" serve to reinforce the idea that an individual should be treated differently just because he or she happens to live in a certain category of accommodation by choice or necessity. The logic behind the poll tax legislation is that when exemptions and exceptions are being considered, the decision should be based on an individual's present circumstances rather than the type of property in which he or she lives.
It is surprising to hear the Department's view, that if new definitions had been adopted and this opportunity had been taken to clarify these matters and bring the thinking up to date, it would have served to confuse matters. The evidence is to the contrary. The Scottish Development Department, the Housing Corporation and other authorities have begun to move away from traditional, old-fashioned definitions in their dealings with and guidance to local authorities and housing associations.
Let me give the Minister an example of the possible results. Under the definitions in the regulations, most of the best-supported accommodation provided by housing associations would be defined as "hostels". We know that many hostels are well run and do a good job. However, that definition links accommodation schemes provided by housing associations with the image of the very worst type of hostel. Similarly, community homes, satellite, supported, core and cluster housing could be classed as hostels. I am not sure whether that is a sensible way to proceed, and I believe that an important opportunity has actually been missed.
919 The Minister will also be aware that a "residential care home" as defined in the regulations could be so small as to provide home for only two people. Indeed, I have had examples of this kind in my constituency. Such residents would be exempt from the poll tax under the existing regulations. I believe that that makes a mockery of the care in the community concept, because those residents will be treated differently, despite the fact that they are encouraged to be full, ordinary members of the community.
I seek an assurance from the Minister that we will have a proper and correct assessment of properties. The Minister should give us the commitment that guidance instructions will be given to registration officers to examine the individual circumstances of premises and residents to ensure that the recorded valuation will in fact be "non-domestic". Indeed, the officers should not necessarily assume that the existing recorded valuation is always correct. Blanket decisions about categories of properties should not be made given the variation in valuation and rating practices. The Minister will be aware that there is a widely different and inconsistent approach to discretionary rates relief taken in Scotland within the different regional areas. It is not good enough if the registration officers simply accept the definitions and classifications that have served the rating system in the past.
There is also much concern regarding communal areas in sheltered housing. I am sure that the Minister is aware of that concern because the Scottish Council for Single Homeless has also raised the matter with the Scottish Office. We recognise that the regulations have been changed from the earlier draft to ensure that common rooms in sheltered housing developments for the elderly are excluded from rates, and that is welcome. However, regulation 31(c) specifies that the provision applies only to sheltered housing for the elderly.
It is not clear whether all other types of sheltered homes and schemes, for example for the mentally handicapped, are covered by legislation such as the Rating (Disabled Persons) Act 1978. I believe that the whole question of shared facilities and other concepts related to sheltered housing should not simply refer to physical design features. I believe that the facilities could include a shared support worker. I believe that those matters should be clarified. Where communal areas are rated separately, residents would have to pay both the poll tax and the rates for that area.
Another concern that merits consideration is the question of live-in staff in residential accommodation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I am not surprised that this matter was anticipated, because the Labour party has followed it carefully. If the Oppostion start teasing me about what I may or may not be doing this evening, I may start teasing them about what they did or did not do to get this debate. —[Interruption.] I expected the frisson of antipathy that is coming from the Labour Front Bench.
§ Mr. Home Robertson
Is the hon. Gentleman going to speak to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan)?
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Do not tempt me.
The live-in staff in residential accommodation will be expected to pay the personal community charge. In certain 920 circumstances that would be fairly simple to administer. Many buildings have a separate warden's flat or house and that flat or house would not be included in the rateable value of the residential establishment. However, matters will be much more complicated in cases where one or two staff share a house with two or three people with special needs. Assessors should use objective criteria in determining what proportion of the rateable value should be deducted from the total when certain facilities are shared. It would help if the Minister would clarify that matter.
There is a real worry about the impact of the regulations on voluntary organisations and charities, which have enjoyed relief under the rating system. The new provisions will have a serious effect on them. Some voluntary or charitable institutions that benefit from exemptions under the rating system will get clobbered under the poll tax because they will be expected to pay the community charge for each of their workers. That will significantly increase the costs of some charities that run charitable homes to look after people who are mentally handicapped or mentally ill. That runs counter to the Government's stated policy of trying to switch from the state to the voluntary sector and from tax to charitable donations, which is part of the Government's political ambition. Many small charities doing very valuable work may be forced out of business by the extra on-cost of paying the community charge for members of staff.
On the timetable provisions, the Minister owes the House and local authorities an assurance that, if he is to bring forward the timetable for the setting of the dates by which they must achieve targets—for example, the date by which they must issue bills to enable people to pay the community charge in 12 monthly instalments — his Department will meet its own targets in time to allow them to meet those deadlines. The local authorities and rating authorities that collect and enforce the charge depend on many decisions and announcements made by the Minister's Department. Therefore, it is essential that he assures us that, if the process is to be brought forward by five weeks, he will ensure that his Department's work is done in time to allow local authorities to make the necessary decisions in proper order.
These are technical matters and it takes a lot of reading and careful study to understand them. I have tried to simplify them as much as I can. I think that the Minister will accept that the regulations are important. They are the first of many, and it is right for the House to spend an hour making sure that the Government understand the fears and apprehensions of those north of the border who are involved in these matters before the Minister gives the Government's view on the operation of the regulations.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart (Eastwood)
I agree with the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) that these are important regulations, and I have no doubt that my hon. Friend the Minister will answer the hon. Gentleman's detailed questions. The hon. Gentleman has undoubtedly done a considerable amount of research.
The prayer carries the names of a number of hon. Members, headed by the right hon. Member for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale (Mr. Steel), the leader of the Liberal party, and the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), who were both present 921 for the last vote. It is a disgrace and an insult to the people of Scotland that hon. Members should put their names at the top of a prayer on a matter of importance to the people of Scotland and, having been present for our proceedings before this debate, should not even have the courtesy to stay for a few minutes to listen to the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire.
It would have been of assistance for the House to know whether this was one subject on which the Social Democratic party and the Liberal party agreed. I hope that this short debate will also enable the Scottish National party and the Labour party—in addition to answering detailed questions about the regulations—to make their policies clear on the implementation of the community charge.
The House may have been puzzled to see early-day motion 503, in the names of several Opposition Members, which states:That this House condemns the Scottish National Party for calling for a campaign of non-registration for, and nonpayment of, the poll tax".That has been amended by the hon. Members for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) and for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond). I think that is the first time that two thirds of the parliamentary representatives of that party have condemned that party on the Order Paper.
As I understood it, that was the policy of the Labour party, or at least of a substantial number of people who are leading spokesmen of that party, such as Mr. Michael Conochie, and others. However, I appreciate that that might not necessarily be the policy of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar). This debate therefore gives him an opportunity to clarify his position.
Turning in detail to the regulations, I should like to ask the Minister a question about regulation 4 of statutory instrument No. 145, which specifies the date by which district councils must give certain information to regional councils. What will happen if, regrettably, they do not? My hon. Friend will be aware that several Labour-controlled district councils have intimated that they will not cooperate with the community charge legislation. One hopes that common sense will eventually prevail in those district councils, but that may not be the case. What happens if they do not co-operate with these and other regulations? I put forward the fairly simple suggestion that my hon. Friend should ensure that they do not receive revenue from the community charge unless they co-operate. The revenue could be held by the regional councils until they do co-operate. That seems a fairly simple financial incentive, which would doubtless be effective.
Finally, I welcome the regulations for another reason. They show that, despite some disinformation to the contrary, the programme for the implementation of the community charge in Scotland is on target. There is no doubt that many people are trying to confuse the people of Scotland by suggesting that in some way or another the community charge will not replace domestic rates on the timetable as laid down in the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987. As the House knows, it is of considerable importance to the Eastwood constituency that the domestic rating system is abolished and replaced by the community charge. I congratulate my hon. Friend on sticking to the timetable.
§ Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)
We are considering two instruments tonight which relate to the poll tax. That gives them a certain importance and reflected notoriety. They are highly technical, but relate to matters of substance.
The first is the timetable for implementation. It is perhaps a reminder of the complexity of the organisation that lies behind what the Government always represent as a simple concept—a flat-rate personal tax. They ask us to forget the joys of the water rate, the non-domestic sewage rate—the collective standard and personal poll tax — all of which will remain to plague, fester and create administrative difficulties. When the Minister of State is dead and gone — I am talking only of his political death — few will shower blessings on his memory.
It is a difficult first year for local government. If the timetable is to be held to, a great deal of activity must be crammed into a very short space of time. Canvassing—that famous exercise that takes us from door to door, daily and relentlessly, through the streets of Scotland—is, I understand, due to start on 1 April, and to be concluded by 1 October. It is a bit difficult to know how this will work, because we have not the necessary regulations in which the details are laid out — which is remarkable, coming from a Government who are always talking about the need to make haste. What we do know, however, is that ratepayers and taxpayers are being asked to take on considerable additional burdens as they hire staff, buy computers and organise all the paraphernalia of collection. Oppression, I fear, is built into the very system.
The order lays down that poll tax bills must be out by 31 March in any year. That will start a massive paper chase the like of which we have seldom seen in Scotland. It was, I believe, the report by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy that suggested that, if payment was organised by the normal instalment method, it could mean some 47 million bills anually being spewed out—if that is not too inelegant a phrase—by the administrative machine.
I recognise that there will be a lengthened timetable if this ridiculous tax is forced through. People will pay by 12 instalments, rather than the 10 that are normally paid under the rating system. There seems little leeway in the dates that have been set out. If mishaps or difficulties occur, or, indeed, if it is not possible to get it all ready in time, the whole system will be in real difficulties.
I am a little curious about one point. We are being told that bills must be out by 31 March: there are deadlines here and deadlines there for unfortunate local government. There are, however, few signs of deadlines for the Secretary of State. I gather, for example, that he has declined a pressing invitation to set a deadline for the time by which he must produce the rate support grant settlement—which, after all, is an essential starting point for those who must calculate the poll tax. As always, the Secretary of State seems to be taking a somewhat "Prussian corporal" approach to the administrative activities of local government, while remaining fancy-free himself. That, I fear, is all too typical.
The second instrument is, perhaps, more interesting. It is certainly more recherché. A fine example of administrative nit-picking, it will delight any one of the substantial number of barrack-room lawyers who can 923 usually be found in parliamentary or other company. Indeed, when I come to think of it, not just barrack-room lawyers, but professional lawyers as well will obtain considerable entertainment from the prospects.
I thought that the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) handled the complexities remarkably smoothly; however, it may be that in recent days he has had plenty of experience of obscure and Delphic documents, and I have some sympathy with him. My fear is that people will be invited to plunge into a jungle — a jungle in which many an administrator will disappear without trace.
Let me say in passing that I see with a certain sadness that all the work about which we heard — all the arguments about the definitions of a bicycle, and whether four wheels were good but two wheels were better—has come to naught. There has been a masterly compromise: we need not decide on the number of wheels, because in the regulations the bicycle has become a cycle. I suppose that that shows a certain amount of mental agility. Indeed, it is probably the most useful thing that the Minister of State has done in the past three months.
In any event, I predict that the regulations will be an outing for the vexatious litigant. Some points have already been raised by the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire. He was using, as I have used, some very useful briefing material that came from COSLA and from the Scottish Council for Single Homeless. It points to many of the difficulties. They are marginal difficulties. Many people may not bother to chase up these points; they will shrug their shoulders and accept the broad brush approach. But if I remember the obsessive interest in rating law that has always been shown by the most unlikely people, I suspect that that is an unsafe assumption.
It is perfectly straightforward that a garage which is detached from a domestic property, a lock-up perhaps some distance away, may still be treated as domestic and therefore outside the rating system when it is merely used to house the family car or the legendary cycle. But without expending much ingenuity, one can think of many difficult halfway—I was about to say "houses" but I suppose a better word would be "garages". Let us say that it is used, for example, for a taxi or to garage a delivery van. I know many people who have a vehicle which they use at their work to deliver goods; then they take it home and run it into the family garage at the end of the working day. Let us assume that a driving instructor uses the family car on a part-time basis for his trade and garages it in a detached lock-up garage. Is that part of the domestic hereditament, or is it commercial, in which case it would remain in the rating system and ought to be rated? I do not know whether there will be a great deal of litigation on such questions, but the possibilities are almost endless.
Then we have the whole question of the huts, the bothies and the doocots which the House will remember remain commercial properties, which are not considered to be domestic and which are therefore rated. In paragraph 4 (c) of the abolition regulations, caravans are not to be classed as domestic and within the ambit of the poll tax if they arenot allowed to be used for human habitation throughout the whole year".I am not sure what "throughout the whole year" means. What happens if the caravan is used throughout the whole year even if it is not technically allowed to be so used? At 924 that point, does the caravan become domestic and subject to poll tax? Perhaps the Minister could say a word about whether caravans will be rateable properties.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Dickens (Littleborough and Saddleworth)
I understood that the local authority would have control over the rating of caravans in its area anti that if a caravan was used only for holidays, weekends and so on, it could be charged up to two whole community charges. The likelihood is that it would be half a community charge. Clearly, if somebody is living the whole year in a caravan, that is his home and it is proper for the community charge to be levied. That seems sensible to me.
§ Mr. Dewar
I have every sympathy with the hon. Member. His confusion on this occasion is more understandable than it is on others. If he reads paragraph 4 of the abolition regulations he will see that caravans are not treated as a homogeneous mass but that there are subspecies of caravan in the world of the poll tax. It is difficult sometimes to know what one is looking at. One may see a box upon wheels. Would the hon. Gentleman know the difference between caravans which are on a fixed site and on which the dwellers will helve to pay a poll tax and caravans accepted under regulation 4, whichin accordance with any licence or planning permission … are not allowed to be used for human habitation throughout the whole year"?If a person lives in one of those, he is not subject to the poll tax, but presumably the caravan is liable for rating.
So the song goes on endlessly. It will become a nightmare from which you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I would run away and pass by on the other side, but if we lived in such a caravan we would have problems. This tiny matter illustrates the problems which will be coming shortly to the constituency of the hon. Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens) if he does not do something about it in the course of the current legislation.
I also draw the attention of the House to the problem of communal dwellings, which are rated and which are within the domestic sector and not rated. The hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire very fairly drew attention to some problems, and I have much sympathy with the points that were made originally by the Scottish Council for Single Homeless about hostels, lodging houses and refuges. They will be liable to the community charge. There is also a plethora of other types of residential facility that will be classed for rating purposes.
§ Mr. Alistair Darling (Edinburgh, Central)
I wonder whether, in considering this dog's breakfast of an order, my hon. Friend will speculate on what are substantially different facilities when considering sheltered housing premises? Will he not agree with me that this dog's breakfast legislation will benefit only lawyers? Perhaps the right hon. and learned Secretary of State for Scotland and the hon. and perhaps not quite so learned Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton) are anticipating a return to practice in 1990 or 1991, when they will have to get to grips with this legislation.
§ Mr. Dewar
In the presence of learned counsel, I would not disagree with arty of those propositions. It is a fair point that there are great problems with definition, and the position will be confused and ambiguous at times.
925 I shall remind the House of what was said by the Scottish Council for Single Homeless, which has much experience. In its view, the regulationswill lead to distress for individual payees, more appeals to the courts, greater difficulty in implementing the legislation and inevitable amendments to the regulations, and possibly the Act in the very near future, at considerable expense and bureaucratic hassle for all concerned.That is an excellent phrase that we might take into the parliamentary vocabulary — "bureaucratic hassle". The case has been well made out.
Regulation 3(1)(c) deals with communal sheltered houses, and lists a series of sheltered houses with communal facilities such as a lounge or dining facility used in common; they will not be rated, but the occupants will pay a poll tax on the dwelling house part of the complex. That is sensible and is welcomed by everyone. But the point has been made, and I want to stress it—the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire mentioned it in passing—that the concession is tied, or appears to be tied, to sheltered housing premises for the elderly.
There is also sheltered housing for the mentally handicapped. In my constituency, there is a special complex of scatter flats for the young single homeless. It is a series of individual dwellings with communal lounges and social facilities attached. If one takes the restriction to sheltered housing to refer to the elderly, one might well envisage a situation where other groups pay poll tax individually as occupants of the properties and are also responsible on some basis for the rates levied on the common parts.
Paragraph 3(1)(d) provides that staff houses attached to residential accommodation are to be treated as domestic premises, and the inmate will pay a poll tax. The staff house will not be rated in the same way as the rest of the premises. That is simple enough in relation to a warden's flat where the warden will pay poll tax in the way that I have described. It is self-evidently complicated, and perhaps on the margins of the debate, but it might become important.
What happens when a group of, say, handicapped people is living communally with staff who are helping them and giving them support—living in a room but sharing their communal facilities? There might be a kitchen that clearly has to be rated because it is part of a residential home that is regarded as being outwith the poll tax system. The warden, who is paying a poll tax, uses that kitchen. Will the kitchen's rateable value be reduced to take account of the use of that kitchen by the warden? How will that apportionment be made, and what criteria will be applied? No doubt the Minister will be glad to comment on that kind of important point when he sums up.
I have been dealing with some detailed points, but sometimes principles of importance lurk behind even detailed points. We are talking about homes for the elderly—nursing homes—and the fact that these are going to be rated under the new system. What has come out of that is the much commented on, and rightly commented on, extraordinary distortion whereby, if an elderly person is living at home, he or she will pay the poll tax, while if he or she is living in a nursing home or a home for the elderly, he or she will not have to pay the poll tax.
The present system is neutral. There is no penalty for offering shelter and succour. But now we are building a 926 disincentive into the system. I would not insult anyone by suggesting that that disincentive is likely to stop someone who has a feeling of duty towards an elderly relative doing that duty, but it means that the relative will have a financial reason for hesitating. The family unit will have to bear an additional financial burden that it does not have to pay under the rating system. That is an unhappy consequence that cannot be easily shrugged off.
I am aware that there has been correspondence on the issue. I have here a letter from the Scottish Office dated 18 December 1987, from a Mr. Muir Russell, addressed to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. Dealing with exemptions, he says that any other approach than the present flat-rate approachwould weaken the concept of the community charge as a personal tax levied on all adults over the age 18 … The justification for exempting residents of nursing homes, residential care homes, and hostels providing an equivalent level of care is that they are by reason of their physical or mental frailty unable to take an active part in the local community, to the extent that the argument for imposing the personal community charge as a means of increasing local accountability does not apply.But exactly the same sort of people who have not had to go into a residential home but are being maintained at home, with exactly the same degree of frailty, exactly the same mental and physical difficulties, are going to be asked to pay the poll tax. It does seem to me that this is a quite miserable anomaly, and one of which the House should not be proud.
We have built into the system, as the Secretary of State knows, for example, a method of certification for the severely mentally handicapped. I do not think that very many of us like it, but at least there is there an exemption when a doctor is prepared to certify that a certain situation exists in regard to his patient. I would not have thought that it would be beyond the bounds of possibility to extend that to those who are frail, who have physical problems, and are being maintained, often at enormous cost and sacrifice, by their families. [Interruption.]
My hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) says that that is not a good road to go along. I am perfectly prepared to have a debate, but I think that he would agree with me that, whether or not that is the right road, a road ought to be found. On that I think there would be total unanimity. The present anomaly, whereby people are asked to pay because they remain with their families, although they may be physically in the same situation as those who are in a home and have been exempted, is totally unsatisfactory.
I will leave it there, because one or two other hon. Members will obviously wish to speak. I believe that this is an unpleasant series of regulations. I believe that it is unjust and unacceptable. It is part of the fabric of the implementation of the poll tax, which will be a low-yield, high-cost, totally unwanted tax. In the last day or two, the Secretary of State has been saying a great deal about the virtues of listening to public opinion. He has told us that in education he listened to the almost universal condemnation and rightly—he makes a virtue of it—abandoned most of the plans that he had put on the table for discussion.
I am prepared to give the right hon. and learned Gentleman credit for that, if he promises that it will be a precedent. I suggest to him that there is no area where condemnation is more universal or opposition more widespread than that of the poll tax. We oppose it root and 927 branch. We believe that he is becoming increasingly isolated and alienated. In debates such as this, we will continue our attempt at least to make contact with the beleaguered garrison in the Scottish Office. I believe, and I think that I speak for most people in Scotland, that the whole miserable and misguided exercise should be abandoned.
§ 11.9 pm
§ Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)
The statutory instruments should be rejected, not because they are technically incorrect but because they are democratically indefensible.
The debate takes place against the backcloth of the complete rejection of the poll tax by the Scottish population. In the last Parliament the vast majority of Scottish Members of Parliament voted against the legislation. If these statutory instruments are voted on tonight, an even larger majority of Scottish Members of Parliament will vote for their annulment. The issue has been tested in Scotland at the general election and the Conservative party's case in favour of the poll tax was found wanting.
It is possible to implement the poll tax. It is clumsy, convoluted and expensive. It will cost about an additional £25 million, twice the extra resources given to the Scottish Health Service at the end of last year. It is possible to implement the poll tax, but that does not make it right, nor does it make it certain.
There will be a large measure of support for a campaign of non-payment against the poll tax. I was interested in a BBC television programme on Friday night, where, despite the joint efforts of the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth) and the right hon. and learned Member for Monklands, East (Mr. Smith) in arguing for payment of the poll tax, some 50 per cent. of the audience said that they were prepared to consider non-payment.
There will be a campaign of non-payment against the poll tax. The only question is whether it will be organised and effective or isolated and then suppressed.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)
Order. The hon. Gentleman is taking the debate very wide of the regulations before the House. We cannot have a general debate about the community charge. I hope that he will address his remarks to the regulations.
§ Mr. Salmond
I was arguing that the statutory instruments should be annulled because democratically they are in question.
§ Mr. Salmond
I shall extend to the hon. Gentleman the courtesy that he did not extend to me last week in the debate on the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs.
§ Mr. Ewing
I did not do too badly last week. I extended the courtesy to two or three Members, and that is not bad going on any terms.
The hon. Gentleman is arguing that there should be a campaign of non-payment of the community charge. If that is the advice that he is giving to the people of Scotland, is he committing Gordon Wilson, the chairman of the Scottish National party and a lawyer, and any other lawyer in the SNP, to give their services free of charge to any person in Scotland who accepts the advice to break the law and then finds himself in court?
§ Mr. Salmond
If the hon. Gentleman scrutinises the legislation, he will find that one of the great problems with it is that there is no defence. The SNP is committed to providing a spearhead and leadership.
The question is not whether there will be a campaign of non-payment; it is whether it will be organised.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. That may well be the question, but not for our proceedings at this time of night. The hon. Gentleman should address his remarks more: closely to the regulations.
§ Mr. Salmond
It is legitimate to argue against the statutory instruments because they are democratically in question.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. It is in order to argue against the statutory instruments as long as the hon. Gentleman confines his arguments to their content. That is what he is not doing, and I hope that he will.
§ Mr. Salmond
I am arguing reasonably that the statutory instruments should be annulled because they are democratically in question. I am seeking to build the case to show why they are democratically in question in Scotland.
To answer the hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing), the Scottish National party has argued that a campaign must be waged against the poll tax. We offered the leadership of such a campaign to COSLA and the STUC. The response that we received from those organisations was less than favourable, although I understand that the STUC's position is now changing.
There are two requirements for such a campaign to be successful. First, it must be organised. There is no reason to believe—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman is paying no regard to the advice that I have offered him. Either he must return to the substance of the regulations, or I must ask him to resume his seat.
§ Mr. Salmond
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
I close my remarks by saying that the campaign must be organised effectively. Secondly, there must be—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman is clearly completely disregarding my advice. I must therefore advise him to resume his seat. I call the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker.)
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman must not challenge my ruling. I have instructed him to resume his seat, and that he must now do.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I ordered the hon. Gentleman to resume his seat when I was on my feet. If he does not respond to the instruction that I have given him, I shall have no alternative but to exercise my disciplinary powers.
§ Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North)
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) properly drew the House's attention to the fact that barrack-room lawyers might well emerge. What has already happened twice today shows that in Scottish affairs we have not only barrack-room lawyers but people who are determined to destroy any sort of objective debate—whatever the risks.
929 The speech by the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) was fascinating. The House will certainly feel that we were fortunate that the Liberals were not responsible for drawing up the regulations. The hon. Gentleman said that definitions give them problems. We know that the Liberals and their SDP colleagues—they are noticeable by their absence this evening, and they were absent for yesterday's debate, too—find difficulty in reaching any kind of agreement. The hon. Gentleman's speech clearly showed that if they were ever given the opportunity to bring forward regulations, in the House or anywhere else, they would spend all their time talking about their disagreements and get nowhere.
The regulations are essential. They are part of the programme that we need if we are to move towards getting the community charge into operation by the given date. The hon. Member for Garscadden rightly drew attention to areas that he believed needed to be clarified, which is what the debate should be about.
The hon. Member for Garscadden was right, too, to draw attention to the problems of caravans. Their position must be clarified. But the hon. Gentleman knows only too well that, in the past two Parliaments, we have had to deal with and amend caravan legislation brought in by the Labour Government. Caravans have always caused problems of clear definition in matters of rating.
I welcome the timetable, which clearly shows by what date and by whom things must be done. It will make it possible for local authorities to plan properly and meet the deadlines. No one has ever suggested that the transition from the rates to the community charge would be easy. Substantial changes such as this are never easy. Therefore, it is right to include the timetable in the regulations.
I welcome the regulations, because the community charge will give the country a real opportunity, based on the regulations and the timetable, to introduce a measure that will be seen to be fair, just and preferable for Scotland.
§ The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang)
We are all in the debt of the Liberal party for initiating the debate. It is appropriate that Liberal Members should take such a close interest in praying at a time such as this. Of course, I had hoped that they might favour us by revealing a policy. I recall that, throughout the consideration of the Bill in Committee — the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) will remember this vividly—in 125 hours the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), who is not in his place, utterly failed to deliver even the tiniest nuance of what his policies would be. He said that he could do business with me. That was a greater compliment than I knew at the time. He has now revealed that he can do business with almost nobody else.
It has been an interesting debate, if only to reveal the fact that the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), who wants the people of Scotland to break the law on the community charge, is not prepared to contemplate breaking the laws of the House.
The regulations are an important although essentially technical part of the process of implementing the community charge in Scotland. As the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) said, they are complicated. I shall try to simplify them.
930 It was indeed a pleasure to hear the subtlety of mind that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) deployed on this occasion. It gave us a tantalising glimpse of what we might have enjoyed in those 125 hours in Committee had he joined us. He mentioned a certain obsession with doocots. I hope that he is not contemplating paying his community charge in pieces of eight. If time permits, I shall try to cover some of the other points that he raised.
It may be helpful if I explain the policy background to the two sets of regulations. In doing so, I shall try to deal with the technical measures that have been raised. In regard to the domestic and part residential subject regulations, from 1 April next year the valuation roll will not include domestic subjects, and rates will no longer be paid on them. The basic definition of domestic subjects, which is set out in section 2 of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987, is dwelling houses. There is provision in that section for additions and exceptions to the definition, and the main purpose of the domestic subjects regulations is to set out such additions and exceptions in detail.
A particularly important effect of the regulations is to provide exemption from liability to pay a personal community charge for residents — other than resident members of staff—of private hospitals, nursing homes, residential care homes, and certain hostels providing an equivalent level of care. That is achieved by ensuring that the subjects, other than the accommodation used by resident staff, remain within the rating system so that, under section 8 of the 1987 Act, personal community charge liability does not arise. The regulations ensure that certain properties, such as beach chalets and holiday caravans, remain within the rating system to avoid liability to the standard community charge.
Many changes were made to the draft regulations in the light of responses to the consultation exercise, which involved bodies such has the Scottish Assessors Association, COSLA, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Law Society of Scotland, and many others. Most of the changes were of a technical nature. I draw the attention of the House to one substantive addition. The regulations, as made, provide for the removal from rating of the communal parts of sheltered housing developments. That point was raised by the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire. He inquired whether that change would apply only to sheltered housing for the elderly. That is what the representations sought.
That removal was in response to a representation from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations. Its argument was that, if individual sheltered housing units were to be removed from rating because they fell within the category of dwellinghouses, it would be inconsistent to leave within rating the communal areas — typically comprising laundries, common rooms, and guest rooms — since, for all practical purposes, such ancillary accommodation forms an integral part of the everyday living space available to residents for their exclusive use. That argument seemed to us to be entirely reasonable, and the regulations now give effect to the point in paragraph 1(c) of regulation 3.
Any comparison between the draft of the regulations and the regulations in the form as now made provides ample evidence that the consultation process was entirely genuine.
931 The regulations are also consistent with the explanations that we gave during the passage of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Bill last year of the intentions underlying the powers of prescription in clause 2 of the Bill, and also with the commitment that the Government gave that residents of nursing homes, residential care homes and similar establishments were to be exempted from having to pay the personal community charge through the mechanism of leaving such property subject to non-domestic rates.
The provisions of the timetable regulations are also essentially technical.
§ Mr. Dick Douglas (Dunfermline, West)
How can the Minister possibly justify the fact that if somebody is severely mentally handicapped and is in hospital he will be exempt from the personal community charge but that if a similar individual lives in the family home within the community he will have to go through the paraphernalia of vexatious and disturbing information-gathering in order to gain a similar exemption?
§ Mr. Lang
The hon. Gentleman attempts to clothe his point with an emotional coating by referring to the severely mentally handicapped. That is outwith the regulations. If somebody leaves hospital and returns home, he will be liable to rating.
As I have already said, the provisions of the timetable regulations are essentially technical. Their main importance lies in defining for local authorities the capability which needs to be built into the computer systems they are designing in terms of handling the information necessary for the setting of non-domestic rates and community charges, the issue of demand notices and so on.
The timetable contained in these regulations differs in detail from the corresponding requirements under the rating system. The main reason for this is that the normal method of payment of community charge will be 12 monthly instalments beginning in April each year, rather than the 10 monthly instalments beginning in May by which rates are payable. This means that decisions have to he taken and demand notices issued before the start of the financial year, so the process has to start somewhat earlier.
Our proposals were issued for consultation in mid-September last year. A number of detailed comments were made about relatively minor parts of the timetable, and account has been taken of these in the final version of the regulations.
§ Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)
I understand what the Minister is saying about the timetable and the programme, but how can local authorities or anybody else decide the billing processes and the computer systems when they have no idea about the particular rebate scheme that will govern the collection system? Does the Minister intend to make an announcement about that in the near future?
§ Mr. Lang
I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are in no way departing from the critical path for implementation of the regulations and provisions in the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987. The programme allows plenty of time to deal with all those matters. The hon. Gentleman should bear in mind that the broad thrust of the system will not be so different from the broad thrust of the administration of domestic rates.
The only significant concern expressed related to the proposal in the consultation draft that there should be a 932 cut-off date in March for the issue of demand notices. Some of those consulted were concerned that this requirement would leave insufficient time for the work to be done, bearing in mind that there will be twice as many community charge payers as domestic ratepayers—hence the explanation of the increase in cost to which the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan referred.
In the final version of the regulations, the deadline was put back to 31 March, so that there are now two clear months to issue demand notices after the determination of the non-domestic rate and the community charges. I cannot believe that this provides insufficient time for local authorities to get the job done. We have, as I have already made clear, provided substantial additional resources for local authorities to acquire and install the necessary equipment to handle community charge registration, billing and collection and it is up to authorities to design systems which can meet the requirements of the new system in this as in other respects.
Last night the House debated the Rate Support Grant (Scotland) (No. 3) Order and approved the generous grant settlement for local authorities for 1988–89. During that debate there were calls for the abolition of guidelines and for the abolition of grant penalty—both inventions of previous Labour Governments. The introduction of the community charge will achieve both those objectives. It will introduce a system that will be fairer and that will create greater accountability between local authorities and the residents in their areas. It will force local authorities into the open and make them justify their spending levels to the electors who will have to pay them. That will create a new realism and responsibility, and that cannot come too soon.
We are well down the path, through the process of consultation, towards the smooth, orderly implementation of the community charge, on target and on time. The local authorities are quietly and competently getting on with the job of preparation. These two sets of regulations are two more milestones along that road, and I commend them to the House.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
I judge that the House would like to vote on this issue. I move therefore that the two instruments that we have been discussing be annulled, and I invite hon. Members to vote accordingly.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The House can vote on only one, and that is the first one on the Order Paper.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 218, Noes 271.935
|Division No. 146]||[11.30 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Bermingham, Gerald|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Bidwell, Sydney|
|Allen, Graham||Blair, Tony|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Blunkett, David|
|Armstrong, Ms Hilary||Boyes, Roland|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Bradley, Keith|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Bray, Dr Jeremy|
|Ashton, Joe||Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)|
|Barron, Kevin||Buchan, Norman|
|Battle, John||Buckley, George|
|Beckett, Margaret||Caborn, Richard|
|Beith, A. J.||Callaghan, Jim|
|Bell, Stuart||Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Campbell-Savours, D. N.|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)||Canavan, Dennis|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||John, Brynmor|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Johnston, Sir Russell|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Clay, Bob||Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)|
|Clelland, David||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Kennedy, Charles|
|Cohen, Harry||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Coleman, Donald||Lambie, David|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Lamond, James|
|Cook, Robin (Livingston)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Corbett, Robin||Leighton, Ron|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Lestor, Miss Joan (Eccles)|
|Cousins, Jim||Lewis, Terry|
|Cox, Tom||Litherland, Robert|
|Crowther, Stan||Livingstone, Ken|
|Cryer, Bob||Livsey, Richard|
|Cummings, J.||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Dalyell, Tam||Loyden, Eddie|
|Darling, Alastair||McAllion, John|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||McAvoy, Tom|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||McCartney, Ian|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)||Macdonald, Calum|
|Dewar, Donald||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Dixon, Don||McKelvey, William|
|Dobson, Frank||McLeish, Henry|
|Doran, Frank||McNamara, Kevin|
|Douglas, Dick||McTaggart, Bob|
|Dunnachie, James||McWilliam, John|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth||Madden, Max|
|Eadie, Alexander||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Eastham, Ken||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Evans, John (St Helens N)||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)||Martin, Michael (Springburn)|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)||Martlew, Eric|
|Fatchett, Derek||Maxton, John|
|Faulds, Andrew||Meacher, Michael|
|Fearn, Ronald||Michael, Alun|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Fisher, Mark||Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)|
|Flannery, Martin||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Morley, Elliott|
|Foster, Derek||Morris, Rt Hon A (W'shawe)|
|Foulkes, George||Morris, Rt Hon J (Aberavon)|
|Fraser, John||Mowlam, Marjorie|
|Fyfe, Mrs Maria||Mullin, Chris|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Nellist, Dave|
|Galloway, George||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Garrett, John (Norwich South)||O'Brien, William|
|Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|George, Bruce||Patchett, Terry|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Pendry, Tom|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Pike, Peter|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Gordon, Ms Mildred||Primarolo, Ms Dawn|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||Radice, Giles|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Randall, Stuart|
|Grocott, Bruce||Redmond, Martin|
|Hardy, Peter||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Reid, John|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Haynes, Frank||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Robertson, George|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Robinson, Geoffrey|
|Hinchliffe, David||Rooker, Jeff|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Holland, Stuart||Rowlands, Ted|
|Home Robertson, John||Ruddock, Ms Joan|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||Salmond, Alex|
|Howells, Geraint||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Hoyle, Doug||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)||Short, Clare|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport E)||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)|
|Illsley, Eric||Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)|
|Ingram, Adam||Snape, Peter|
|Janner, Greville||Soley, Clive|
|Spearing, Nigel||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Steinberg, Gerald||Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)|
|Stott, Roger||Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)|
|Strang, Gavin||Williams, Rt Hon A. J.|
|Straw, Jack||Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)|
|Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)||Wilson, Brian|
|Taylor, Matthew (Truro)||Winnick, David|
|Thomas, Dafydd Elis||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)||Worthington, Anthony|
|Turner, Dennis||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Wall, Pat||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Walley, Ms Joan||Mr. James Wallace and|
|Warden, Gareth (Gower)||Mr. Malcolm Bruce.|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Curry, David|
|Alexander, Richard||Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Allason, Rupert||Day, Stephen|
|Amos, Alan||Devlin, Tim|
|Arbuthnot, James||Dickens, Geoffrey|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Dicks, Terry|
|Ashby, David||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Atkins, Robert||Dover, Den|
|Atkinson, David||Dunn, Bob|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Durant, Tony|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Eggar, Tim|
|Baldry, Tony||Emery, Sir Peter|
|Batiste, Spencer||Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Evennett, David|
|Bellingham, Henry||Fallon, Michael|
|Bendall, Vivian||Favell, Tony|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Fenner, Dame Peggy|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Forman, Nigel|
|Body, Sir Richard||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Forth, Eric|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Boswell, Tim||Franks, Cecil|
|Bottomley, Peter||Freeman, Roger|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||French, Douglas|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Fry, Peter|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Gale, Roger|
|Bowis, John||Gardiner, George|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Gill, Christopher|
|Brazier, Julian||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Bright, Graham||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Brittan, Rt Hon Leon||Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Gorman, Mrs Teresa|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Gorst, John|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Gow, Ian|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick||Greenway, Harry (Eating N)|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Greenway, John (Rydale)|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Gregory, Conal|
|Burns, Simon||Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')|
|Burt, Alistair||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)|
|Butcher, John||Ground, Patrick|
|Butterfill, John||Grylls, Michael|
|Carlisle, John, (Luton N)||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Carrington, Matthew||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Carttiss, Michael||Hannam, John|
|Cash, William||Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Harris, David|
|Chope, Christopher||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Hawkins, Christopher|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Hayes, Jerry|
|Colvin, Michael||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney|
|Conway, Derek||Hayward, Robert|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Heddle, John|
|Cope, John||Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael|
|Couchman, James||Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)|
|Cran, James||Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Page, Richard|
|Hill, James||Paice, James|
|Hind, Kenneth||Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Patnick, Irvine|
|Holt, Richard||Patten, Chris (Bath)|
|Hordern, Sir Peter||Patten, John (Oxford W)|
|Howard, Michael||Pawsey, James|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Portillo, Michael|
|Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Price, Sir David|
|Hunter, Andrew||Raffan, Keith|
|Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas||Raison, Rt Hon Timothy|
|Irvine, Michael||Rathbone, Tim|
|Jack, Michael||Redwood, John|
|Jackson, Robert||Renton, Tim|
|Janman, Timothy||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Jessel, Toby||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Riddick, Graham|
|Jones. Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Jones, Robert B (Herts W)||Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine||Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)|
|Key, Robert||Roe, Mrs Marion|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)||Rossi, Sir Hugh|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Rost, Peter|
|Knapman, Roger||Rowe, Andrew|
|Knight, Greg (Derby North)||Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)||Ryder, Richard|
|Knowles, Michael||Sackville, Hon Tom|
|Knox, David||Sainsbury, Hon Tim|
|Lamont, Rt Hon Norman||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Lang, Ian||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Latham, Michael||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)||Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Lilley, Peter||Shersby, Michael|
|Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)||Sims, Roger|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Lord, Michael||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Luce, Rt Hon Richard||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Lyell, Sir Nicholas||Speed, Keith|
|Macfarlane, Sir Neil||Speller, Tony|
|MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)||Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)||Steen, Anthony|
|McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)||Stern, Michael|
|Madel, David||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Mans, Keith||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|Maples, John||Summerson, Hugo|
|Marland, Paul||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)||Thorne, Neil|
|Mates, Michael||Thurnham, Peter|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Tracey, Richard|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Trippier, David|
|Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick||Trotter, Neville|
|Miller, Hal||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Mills, lain||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Mitchell, David (Hants NW)||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Moate, Roger||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Waller, Gary|
|Morris, M (N'hampton S)||Wells, Bowen|
|Moss, Malcolm||Wheeler, John|
|Neale, Gerrard||Widdecombe, Miss Ann|
|Nelson, Anthony||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Neubert, Michael||Wolfson, Mark|
|Newton, Rt Hon Tony|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Nicholson, David (Taunton)||Mr. David Lightbown and|
|Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W)||Mr. David Maclean.|
|Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
§ Question accordingly negatived.