HC Deb 18 May 1988 vol 133 cc1049-69
Mr. Speaker

We now come to the prayer on community charges in Scotland. I remind the House before we start that the debate must end at 11.30 pm, and there is great pressure to take part. May I ask for brief contributions from both the Back Benches and the Front Benches.

10.19 pm
Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Personal Community Charge (Students) (Scotland) Regulations 1988 (S.I., 1988, No. 632), dated 28th March 1988, a copy of which was laid before this House on 30th March, be annulled. These are deceptively simple regulations, which define the categories of students who will qualify for a poll tax rebate. They do, however, raise many questions and problems which I believe will haunt those collecting the tax for many a long year.

First, there is the problem of how to define students. The regulations set out to try. We are told that a student is someone who is studying at an educational establishment and attends it for 24 weeks or more during the year, or someone who is studying at a further education or teacher training college and working there for 21 hours in the week, again for a minimum period of 24 weeks.

The first general question that I must ask the Minister is whether he is satisfied that those definitions are precise and comprehensive. Perhaps, when he is addressing himself to that, he will tell us whether students on sandwich courses are likely to be treated differently. After all, many students on this kind of course meet the requisite number of weeks, but only if we include the practical placements which are an integral part of their qualification, and many of those are not within the normal academic year. That seems to raise substantial problems of definition.

Then is the problem of foundation courses. I have experience of this in my own family. People go for two years to an institution, but the only qualification that they obtain is the right to enter a degree course. They do not get any qualification per se. It is not clear to me, at least, that they will be entitled to the rebate.

There is also the problem of bridging courses. There may be a relatively short course when someone is converting from one discipline to another. When that is completed, there is an automatic right to proceed to the second course. It is not clear whether that is taken as a complete entity, and whether the person will be covered by the definition.

I should also like the Minister to say a word or two about non-degree courses. We are told very precisely in regulation 3(a)(iii) that those people will have to undertake a period of study averaging at least 21 hours a week. I stress the words "of study". I should like to know whether that includes placements which are part of, for example, a social work or teacher training course, or indeed a sandwich course. How is it compatible with 3(c), which seems to contradict and run counter to it?

Having looked at the schedule, I believe that there may be difficulties, particularly in regard to further education, for people following, for instance, hairdressing or secretarial courses. I am not entirely satisfied—perhaps the Minister can reassure me—that they are all covered. He might also deal with the question of nursery nurses and English courses for overseas students. Overseas students will have to pay the poll tax even if they are not on the present electoral register. There is a ragged fringe around the edge of the definitions which may well cause problems.

I also ask the Minister to calculate, or give an estimate of, how many students in Scotland are likely to qualify for a rebate. A parliamentary question some time ago suggested around 70,000.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang)

At this early stage in the debate it might be helpful to point out that we are not talking about rebates; we are talking about exemptions.

Mr. Dewar

That is a nice semantic point. As I understood it, we are talking about the 80 per cent.—

Mr. Jeff Rooker (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

It is automatic rebate.

Mr. Dewar

I called it a rebate. I take the point. I mean the reduction in the poll tax charge to 70 per cent. I am asking the Minister how many students in Scotland are likely to qualify. Is the figure 70,000—which I think was mentioned earlier—or 100,000, as the National Union of Students has suggested?

I also ask the Minister to say a word or two about the impact on local government. Obviously, if a local authority is losing 80 per cent. of the poll tax that would normally be paid by an adult, in the case of students there is a substantial loss.

As I understand it, it was originally intended that students would pay the full poll tax and a compensatory award would be made to them. I appreciate the benefits of the approach that has now been adopted, but what guarantees are there for local authorities? An amendment was tabled in Committee in the other place by Lord Ross of Marnock. The then Minister, Lord Glenarthur, said that the point would be taken into account in setting the rate support grant. That is the equivalent of, "Your cheque is in the post," and will inspire no confidence among Scottish local authorities. I calculate that the sum involved is likely to be about £25 million, or about 1 per cent. of RSG. The Minister should give an assurance that that will be properly covered when the calculations are made.

Mr. John Butterfill (Bournemouth, West)

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that this does not apply only to students? There are many other cases, such as holiday populations, that equally give rise to concern about the level of RSG and the factors that should be taken into account in assessing it.

Mr. Dewar

That is no doubt true, but we should keep to the subject of students.

When the category of students has been defined, the problem arises how to establish individuals' claims. Perhaps the Minister will take this convenient opportunity to comment on the vital matter of verification and on the state of the art and say how, when students are registered, they will establish their claim to the reduction to 20 per cent. which is at the heart of the scheme. For example, is it intended that universities and colleges will supply lists of those qualified to the registration officers in their areas? If so, a great deal of work is involved for the universities because the definition of a student for the purposes of the regulations cuts across many other definitions that are used at present in the universities. The category applicable in this case would have to be teased out from the general student body.

If universities are to have that duty, what sanction will there be if they fail to comply? After all, a responsible person has a legal duty placed upon him and faces a financial penalty if he does not carry it out. Would that sanction apply in respect of such institutions, if that approach were to be adopted? Have the views of vice-chancellors been sought on the matter? The Minister will be aware that many civil rights issues involving the denial of individual responsibilities would arise. Many of us take the view that such information should not be supplied by the university or college without the permission of the individual student concerned.

Another possibility is simply that the onus should be on the student to apply for the exemption and to prove his or her entitlement. Perhaps we could have a composite solution in which the onus should be on the student to apply and the registration officer then had the power to check with the university or college. The Minister must comment on that tonight and give an indication of the Government's thinking.

I very much want an assurance that we shall not go down the road taken by the Department of the Environment south of the border. I have here a letter from the hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) who, I understand, is the Minister for Local Government, to my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) which announces that the first step that will be taken in England to deal with the problem is a requirement that universities and colleges should issue certificates to full-time students confirming their status. These certificates will make it straightforward for students to claim the student discount". That looks unpleasantly and uncommonly like an identity card thinly disguised as a certificate to establish a student's status for poll tax purposes. That is totally unacceptable to Opposition Members. It should be ruled out now, and I invite the Minister to do exactly that.

It is clearly desirable that students should receive any possible remission from the burden of poll tax. I am in favour of that, as are my hon. Friends, but that does not mean that we must not be satisfied that there is confidence in the system and that it is workable and equitable. Even with the discount it is worth remarking that few, if any, students look forward in any sense to the arrival of the poll tax. They have many and manifold worries. Perhaps the Minister could do himself some good by giving assurances and addressing himself to some of the problems.

There is, for example, the matter of the rent levels paid by students. As the Minister knows, these are often set on the basis that the landlord will pay a substantial rates bill. The rates bill will disappear for the landlord, and students will shoulder perhaps £60 or £70 a year or more as their 20 per cent. of the normal poll tax in the area. Yet, so far as I am aware, there is no machinery for ensuring that the rents are adjusted to a lower level to compensate for this change. It is important that the Minister says a word or two about that during the debate. That is essential because students are hard pressed—no doubt in all parts of the United Kingdom, but I can speak from personal experience of Scotland only.

Students have suffered from the falling value and purchasing power of the grant over many years and from the failure to rate properly against inflation. They will suffer from changes in housing benefit, perhaps not so dramatically as some of my constituents, but nevertheless significantly and substantially. In the long term they will suffer from the Government's determination to end all support for students from the benefit system. In those circumstances it is absolutely vital that we have some assurance that efforts will be made to adjust those rents to ensure that students do not bear an additional burden which few of them can afford,.

We want the best possible protection for students, but we do not believe that these regulations are properly thought out. They are full of gaps, distortions and anomalies. It is a case of doubtful means being employed to achieve a thoroughly undesirable end. The House should reflect the anger and vehement opposition of students to the poll tax in every part of Scotland. We intend to vote against the regulations and the tax. The regulations are part and parcel of an unsound, unpopular scheme, which we believe is essentially unworkable.

10.32 pm
Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North)

I am happy to speak about the community charge regulations as they apply to students. I declare an interest because some members of my family are students and will obviously benefit from the 80 per cent. rebate.

I am worried about the way in which the community charge is being presented to the people of Scotland, including students. Only this week I received through my letter box The Tayside Digest—not one of my favourite pieces of reading material—which is issued by Tayside regional council. The digest advises us that an estimated £1,775,000 will be required for additional staff to operate the community charge, together with about £300,000 more for property costs, about £580,000 extra for administration costs, about £2 million for temporary office accommodation and about £4.5 million for permanent offices. The way Tayside is proceeding gives rise for anxiety. The council seems determined to spend money regardless. In those curcumstances students must he concerned about the 20 per cent. that they will be required to pay.

Kept at present levels and without escalating costs, the charge will be equivalent to a colour television licence fee. I should have thought that, for the value to students, certainly in my family, of libraries and other facilities, that is a small contribution towards the cost of local government. Non-students would pay substantially more for the recreational and other facilities that students use extensively. So is is good value, but it will remain good value only if my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary keeps a careful note of how much Tayside and other regions spend on collection. For instance, Tayside has opted for an NCR system, and I wonder whether it is paying extra for that equipment.

I am also worried about the misinformation which is being put out about the community charge, its likely cost and the way it will be administered. During the local government election recently the Scottish National party, true to form, put out its usual bunch of lies in my constituency. [Interruption.] It does that all the time in my constituency and I am sure it does the same in others, including Labour constituencies.

The community charge will be affected by the way in which local authorities deal with housing. One lie put out by the Scottish National party was: The Government is determined that local authority housing should be sold off to the highest bidder…Council housing as we know it today will disappear and the only beneficiaries will be faceless city investors. All that will affect the community charge and will worry students. I am worried about the downright lies that have been circulated to students and others by the Scottish National party in my constituency, and I welcome the opportunity to ask my hon. Friend the Minister to note that.

Because I have been asked to be brief, I will not deal with the other aspects of the regulations. I repeat that students will get marvellous value for what they pay. As I said, I have students in my family; they will enjoy the benefits, provided my hon. Friend keeps a close eye on the cost of administering the charge.

10.37 pm
Mr. Thomas Graham (Renfrew, West and Inverclyde)

Some time ago I asked a question to which the answer was one of the most sinister that I have heard in Britain for many a day. I asked whether the Minister was suggesting that petitions would be used for the purpose of gathering names and addresses for the register. He said yes. That is incredible in Britain, where we have a history and tradition of using petitions to petition the Queen or the Government. There has never before been any suggestion that a Government would use a petition as a source of information. Now the Government intend to use petitions as a source of information to complete the disastrous poll tax register.

It is a sinister move. Students who are on the threshold of life and who are trying to get an education will be frightened to put their names to anti-poll-tax campaigns because the Government may use the information to compile the register. What else could the Government use the information for? They could use it for many other purposes. The Minister must tell the House and the country how the Government will use petitions. [Interruption.]

I know that other hon. Members wish to speak, so I do not want to take up too much time. I believe that the 20 per cent. is a tax on education. It is a tax on young people who cannot affort to pay it. We have recently seen in the House the push for Scottish Homes. The Opposition know that that will cause rents to escalate. On top of that, young people will need to find 20 per cent. of the poll tax. Does the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) believe that £70 is chickenfeed? Seventy pounds buys £70-worth of books. The Government will punish young people who can ill afford their education. They will drive young people away from further education.

The Government are on the road to stifling free speech. They cannot be allowed to use petitions in this way. The Minister should make it clear to the House that the Government have no intention of changing the traditions and values of this country and that they will use petitions for their proper purpose. It is disgraceful that any Minister, especially a Scottish Minister, should take away from the Scottish people the right to sign a petition, and the petition they sign should be used only for its proper purpose. It should not be used for any sinister means thought up by the registration office.

10.41 pm
Mr. Alistair Darling (Edinburgh, Central)

We are discussing those lucky students who will be exempted from paying the full amount of the community charge and will only pay 20 per cent. of it. One of the objections to the regulations is that they exclude many people who, in any sense of the words, are students or trainees. However, they will not be exempted from paying the full amount, as are students of universities, colleges and so on.

It is worth noting that students who become liable to pay poll tax in their first year of education will have no allowance made in their student grants. That is because no adjustment will be made to the student grant until poll tax is payable throughout the whole of the United Kingdom. In other words, students attending Scottish universities and colleges will be disadvantaged.

Why is the group eligible for the allowance so narrow? Why does it not include part-time students, who attend universities and colleges for less than 21 hours a week? What about trainees? Are they not students? We constantly see advertisements that are paid for by the taxpayer and promoted by Lord Young, telling us that there will be more training and more students, yet those people are not to be included.

Student grants this year amount to £38 a week if one is living away from home, or £28 a week if one is living at home. If one compares those figures with the amount paid to YTS trainees— £29 a week in the first year and £35 a week in the second year—one sees that there is not much difference between the payments. Yet the students attending universities or colleges have to pay only 20 per cent. of the poll tax—I do not grudge them that—and trainees on, for example, YTS will pay the full amount if they do not come within the very restrictive benefit scheme. Although there is little difference, the Government are treating the YTS trainees differently. We suspect that that is because they are attempting to buy off the parents of the students attending colleges and universities.

One of the major anomalies involves student nurses. Why are they not included? What have the student nurses done to offend the Government so much? Why will they not be entitled to pay only 20 per cent. of the poll tax? What about the young unemployed?

Mr. Ian Bruce (Dorset, South)


Mr. Darling

I hope that hon. Members will forgive me, but I am reluctant to give way to hon. Members who have shown little interest in the poll tax legislation for Scotland. We see them only when they are brought in to filibuster on behalf of the Government.

Mr. Tim Devlin (Stockton, South)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Darling

No, I shall not give way.

The House must consider the double standards that are being applied—on the one hand, to students at colleges and universities, and on the other, to those who are on YTS and to student nurses.

For people on YTS, the poll tax may account for as much as £7 a week out of a weekly income of £29. On top of that, the unfortunate individual also has to pay for rent, food and rising electricity prices.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) said, who will guarantee that student rents will come down when rates are abolished? In too many cases, what is likely to happen is that rents will stay exactly the same and the landlords will pocket the difference and, on top of rent, the student will have to find the money for the poll tax.

If the Minister refers to the rebate system in his reply, let no one be fooled. We have already seen, in the benefit changes, students being hit time and again along with thousands of others. The rebate system has been restricted, which will result in many people who wish to improve themselves by undergoing further education losing out, together with those who want to train and those who want the advantages to which they are entitled.

The regulations are full of inconsistencies—that is typical of the legislation as a whole. The one thing that is certain is that the Minister will say nothing to justify it, because there is no justification. Once again, he will mumble his way through the brief. People in Scotland, and in the United Kingdom, have every right to be worried about what is coming their way. The Government will pay the penalty for that. The regulations typify the double standards and unjust nature of the poll tax and that is why we shall vote against them.

10.46 pm
Sir Hector Monro (Dumfries)

It seems strange that after a year the Opposition have still not got away from their yah-boo attitude to the House. They refuse to treat it as a debating Chamber, or to observe the normal courtesy of giving way. All they do is make a lot of noise without ever considering the issue at stake. The sooner they realise that they are the "feeble 50" and have a singularly incompetent year's work behind them, the better.

This is a good scheme to help whole-time students to deal with the community charge. The 80 per cent. reduction is significant and worth while and will be well received by the students concerned, bearing in mind that if everything is fair there will be a significant reduction in the rates that they are already paying.

Opposition Members have spent the past year giving out misinformation. They have totally ignored the rebate scheme for the community charge and have put the fear of God into people when that cannot be justified in any way. The misinformation in some of the documents that have been produced since the last election must make the consciences of Opposition Members turn even redder.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)


Sir Hector Monro

They have put in some— [HoN. MEMBERS: "Give way."] Of course I give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Dalyell

Why is it, then, that the vice-chancellors should have expressed so many anxieties on behalf of the students?

Sir Hector Monro

I am afraid that they have been misled by the Labour party. When the vice-chancellors read the Minister's reply, they will realise that they were ignorant of the facts. That is why they have put out more misinformation than the hon. Gentleman's party in recent months.

There is no doubt that the Labour party—the Scottish National party is even worse—and the social democrats have been putting the most fearful and totally incorrect information before the people of Scotland. All Opposition Members, especially those in the Scottish National party, should apologise to the people of Scotland for the way in which they have behaved during the past year over the community charge.

Mr. Bill Walker

Another interesting aspect of the position of the Scottish National party is that the Scottish National party provost in Perth and Kinross and nationalist councillors in Angus are telling people to live within the law and obey the law, which is contrary to the nonsense that we hear from Opposition Members.

Sir Hector Monro

Indeed. Those who follow the advice of the SNP will be remarkably few. The majority will realise that it is far better to keep within the law, which is what most citizens of Scotland have done for generations.

My hon. Friend the Minister has brought forward regulations that will help whole-time students and will be well received by them. I hope that the prayer is rejected.

10.50 pm
Mr. Menzies Campbell (Fife, North-East)

I doubt whether I can attain the lofty forensic heights of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro), but I shall do my modest best. In the houses of the vice-chancellors—we prefer to call them principals in the Scottish universities—it will be noted that it is the hon. Gentleman's view that the robust Scottish education tradition is so lacking in vigour that the principals have been deluded by Ministers of the Scottish Office. I have no doubt that that will ring loudly in their ears.

Sir Hector Monro

I should be grateful if the hon. and learned Gentleman would refer accurately to what I said. I said that the vice-chancellors have been misinformed by the Labour party, not by Ministers.

Mr. Campbell

That can be only because they have not accepted the alternative views of Ministers at the Scottish Office. It is unconvincing to suggest that the vice-chancellors are so unreceptive to good argument that they cannot distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. No doubt they will regard the hon. Gentleman's judgment of their inability to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong as a measure of the importance that the Government attach to higher education in the United Kingdom.

In the interests of brevity I do not propose to repeat many of the observations so pungently made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar). However, I invite the Minister to give some consideration to the position of overseas students. As a result of the Government's policies, the university of St. Andrew's, which lies within my constituency, has had to make the attraction of students from overseas an important part of its economy. Anything which operates as a disincentive to such students to come to St. Andrew's might have serious repercussions for the financial stability of that institution. I hope that the Minister will make clear precisely what the position is on overseas students.

We are concerned this evening not with the principle of the community charge but with its consequences. The regulations are offensive for what they contain and what they do not. The imposition upon students of even 20 per cent. of the community charge is deeply offensive because since 1981 the real value of student grants has fallen by about 21 per cent, and there is to be no increase in the grants in Scotland in the first year for which the community charge is payable. I know of students at St. Andrew's university who genuinely face hardship as a result of the low level of grants on which they are now forced to exist—[Interruption.] If they were present, they would give those who are interrupting from a sedentary position a clear account of their difficulties.

The imposition of even 20 per cent. of the community charge will add to the hardship of many students. It is nothing but an illustration of the lack of regard that the Government have for higher education and the opportunities that it offers for our young people that they should adopt such a policy.

I am interested that there are so many English Members present in the Chamber for the debate. I welcome their attendance, because the debate will give them an opportunity to prepare themselves for the onslaught in their constituency surgeries when constituents realise what the consequences are for their children when the community charge is imposed.

Mr. Devlin

English Members are already seeing their constituents in their surgeries on this issue. During my surgery at Stockton-on-Tees on Saturday I was met by half a dozen pensioners who wanted to know why the local council was organising a petition against the poll tax and I was not organising a petition in its favour. They told me that if I were to organise such a petition, they would be enthusiastic to sign it.

Mr. Campbell

I think, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that that intervention taxed your tolerance of what is relevant to a debate on regulations that determine the position of students.

The regulations are offensive for what they do not contain. They fail to recognise the position of student nurses and of apprentices and trainees, who are necessarily engaged in full-time training or education and are poorly rewarded for that, not having the opportunity to take vacation jobs—

Mr. Ian Bruce

The hon. and learned Gentleman cannot have looked at the regulations. He must surely know that all the people on low wages whom he has described could well be entitled to a full 80 per cent. rebate. Students automatically get it, and do not have to go through the paperwork to do so.

Mr. Campbell

That is correct. It may be a measure of the importance that the Conservative party attaches to nurses that it thinks it reasonable to pay them a level of remuneration that results in their receiving an 80 per cent. rebate.

Mr. Butterfill


Mr. Campbell

I shall not give way. I have done my best so far to bring knowledge to the ignorant, and do not propose to permit further interruptions.

The regulations are an illustration of the flawed principle upon which the community charge is based. They are therefore inherently flawed themselves, which is why the House should have no hesitation in wholly rejecting them.

10.57 pm
Mr. Harry Ewing (Falkirk, East)

I want to take up a point about student nurses that was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) and reinforced by the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell). Before doing so, however, I want to answer the point made by the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro), who accused the Labour party in Scotland of having successfully persuaded the people of Scotland to oppose the poll tax by generating misinformation about it. I take that as something of a compliment.

What has been done to advise people in Scotland about the poll tax? At great expense to the taxpayer, the Scottish Office produced a glossy book that was delivered to every household in Scotland by the much maligned Scottish Post Office. At great expense, the Scottish Conservative party employed a former information officer from the Scottish Office to generate what it considered to be correct information about the poll tax.

All these efforts have failed to convince the people of Scotland of the value of the poll tax. They have chosen instead to believe the explanation given by the Scottish Labour party. The hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) fairly described how, at his surgery on Saturday, he was confronted by six old-age pensioners, who chastised him for not organising a petition in favour of the poll tax.

There are 10 Tory MPs in Scotland. I challenge one or all of them, or the Scottish Conservative party, which does not amount to many more than 10 members, to organise a petition and see how many signatures they can get in Scotland in favour of the tax. My guess is that they could be contained on the two sides of an A4 sheet, with enough room left over on it to write the address of the House of Commons.

To return to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central about student nurses, I do not think that the Government—I notice that the debate has been graced with the presence of the Minister of State responsible for Scottish health—have fully appreciated the impact on nurse training in Scotland that the imposition of the poll tax will have, four years before it is applied in England and Wales.

At its annual conference in the Scottish exhibition centre in Glasgow last year, the Royal College of Nursing went on record as saying that it will advise student nurses not to train in colleges of nursing and midwifery in Scotland while the poll tax legislation is being implemented in Scotland and not implemented south of the border.

Mr. Butterfill


Mr. Ewing

The hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Mr. Butterfill) is desperate to make a point and I shall give way to him so that he may sleep peacefully.

Mr. Butterfill

Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that it is for the nurses' review body to decide what will be necessary to compensate nurses for the liability that the hon. Gentleman talks about? Does he not also agree that the Government have implemented the review body's recommendations in full?

Mr. Ewing

Nurses in Scotland will be worse off to the extent of the poll tax than their counterparts in England and Wales. We now have two views from Tory Members—the one expressed by the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West and the one expressed by the hon. Member for Dorset, South (Mr. Bruce). The hon. Member for Bournemouth, West says that it is for the review body to consider the remuneration of student nurses. The hon. Member for Dorset, South said that nurses received such low pay that they might well qualify for an 80 per cent. rebate.

Mr. Ian Bruce


Mr. Ewing

I propose to finish on this point and I hope that the Minister will take it on board. Whatever may be said about the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, he believes in what he says. I do not dispute that for a moment.

Mr. Ian Bruce

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) has misquoted me. I clearly said that the income of those classes of people would be looked at and that they could receive a rebate of 80 per cent.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

That is a matter for debate and not a point of order for the Chair.

Mr. Ewing

Sometimes I think that the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is a fair person. I have to be personal here and I hope that he does not take offence. I am sure that he sees the total unfairness and injustice in the fact that student nurses whom he represents in Stirling royal infirmary and in other Health Service establishments in his constituency are faced with the possibility of the imposition of the poll tax while he will save £1,200 a year. There is simply no justice in that and student nurses training in Scotland will suffer as a result. That will be on the shoulders of Conservative Members.

11.3 pm

Mr. Dick Douglas (Dunfermline, West)

I shall be extremely brief and have no intention of giving way.

What concerns me about the regulations is the way that they affect education and universities not only in Scotland but elsewhere. Universities are collegiate organisations and a family. I watched with some interest the smirks on the faces of Conservative Members when my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) suggested that part of the thrust of the regulations was to invite universities to issue to students what is tantamount to an identity card. Many Conservative Members said, "Why not?"

Most universities have some form of identification, for libraries and so on, because it bestows on the students some privilege. If the regulations bestow a privilege, they go against the thrust of the poll tax and accountability. Although it goes partly along the lines of ability to pay, the main thrust of the poll tax is to impose burdens on people so that those burdens will be reflected in their voting behaviour.

The Secretary of State and the proponents of the tax argued at first that the students should pay the whole tax and get rebates, remission or exemptions. That is a range of words, but the Minister used the word "exemptions" because the students get grants from the Scottish Office. I want an assurance from the Minister, because I predict that there will be enormous difficulties in determining who is a student. I suspect that when the Scottish Office is faced with that problem it will go to its central records of those who apply for student grants. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Why not? If that is not an infringement of civil liberties, I do not know what is. For the first time, we have an admission that if parents of students freely give information for one purpose, when the Secretary of State or those who desire to impose on young Scots a head tax with no real basis in ability to pay cannot get their way, they will use any device to hand.

If the Minister does not deny that, the suspicion will lie. People will not apply for student grants because they will not want to pay the poll tax. Students will not pay even the 20 per cent.; parents will. Tory Members are smirking. We want more children from working class backgrounds to go in for higher education, but their parents will not be able to pay the tax. It will be a further imposition and a further—

Mr. Devlin

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Douglas

I have made it plain that I shall not give way, and I shall certainly not give way to hon. Members who have scant regard for what is being proposed in Scotland.

The regulations have an extremely eclectic definition of students. We have had some debates about the future of Newbattle Abbey. Do students attending that college qualify under the regulations? As far as I know, they will have to pay the poll tax, although they will be in the college for periods of 24 hours or 21 hours. What will happen to Scottish students who go to organisations such as the college I went to—the co operative college at Loughborough—not necessarily to take degrees, but for some other educational qualification?

We have no information as to the cost of imposing these regulations. I have made it plain that this is a monstrous tax that the people of Scotland want nothing to do with. I have warned my colleagues and I shall warn the Government. The Prime Minister may be doing us a good turn by visiting Scotland—and I do not mean the electoral chances of the Tory party. The more she tries to thrust down the throats of Scottish people what she thinks is good for them, the more the Scottish people will reject it. Come 1 April 1989, the revulsion that will be displayed by the Scottish people towards the poll tax will rock the unity of the United Kingdom.

11.9 pm

Mr. Roy Beggs (Antrim, East)

The community charge, or poll tax, which comes into effect in Scotland in 1989 and in England and Wales from 1990 onwards, will affect students from Northern Ireland studying at mainland universities. Like other students, they will be required to pay 20 per cent. of the tax. They will be registered for collection at their term-time addresses in Great Britain.

Is the Minister aware that students from Northern Ireland studying at English, Welsh and Scottish universities—

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You will be well aware of the fact that Conservative Members who have been present throughout the debate have tried to get involved in the debate—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must not question the judgment of the Chair in calling hon. Members to speak. Mr. Beggs.

Mr. Marlow


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I have dealt with the hon. Gentleman's point of order and I ask him now to reflect upon what I said. Mr. Beggs.

Mr. Marlow

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I seek your advice— [Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am not taking another point of order from the hon. Gentleman. Mr. Beggs.

Mr. Beggs

This has gone a little too far. It is quite unnecessary.

Is the Minister aware that students from Northern Ireland at English, Welsh and Scottish universities—

Mr. Barry Porter (Wirral, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. This is a very short debate and the House must leave it to the discretion of the Chair as to who should be called to speak. I appeal to hon. Members, whose frustration I fully understand, not to rise on points of order which are questioning the discretion of the Chair.

Mr. Beggs

Is the Minister aware that students from Northern Ireland who study at mainland universities will be adversely affected by the poll tax? Their parents are already paying domestic rates—

Mr. Barry Porter

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As an English Member, I have listened with great interest to the debate, and to some extent I understand how you have exercised your honest discretion in calling Scottish Members. Equally, this is a matter for the United Kingdom, and it is difficult to understand why, after four Opposition Members have spoken consecutively, you have called an hon. Member from the Province, and my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) has not been called. We have a right to be heard.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Of course I understand the frustration of hon. Members on both sides of the House when they do not have the opportunity to be called in debates, but the whole House knows very well that that is one of the discretions—and it is a very difficult discretion—which the House has given to the Chair. I am exercising that discretion to the best of my judgment.

Mr. Beggs

Parents of students attending mainland universities are already paying domestic rates at the same level as is paid in Humberside. When the poll tax is introduced in Humberside, Northern Ireland ratepayers will pay domestic rates at the same level as the poll tax levied in Humberside. Those parents will then be required to provide additional financial assistance for their sons or daughters attending mainland universities. I understand that that could amount to as much as £70—[Interruption.]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths (Edinburgh, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Opposition Members are keen to listen to contributions to the debate, but we are unable to do so because of squabbling and speaking between Government Whips and Conservative Members. If the Government Whip cannot control the hon. Members, they should leave the Chamber and carry on—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. There is little time left in the debate and I ask the House to listen quietly to the hon. Member who has the Floor.

Mr. Beggs

I am sure that there is no intention to discriminate against me. I hope that there is no intention by the Government to discriminate against those Northern Ireland students who are attending universities on the mainland, who have taken the initiative to seek places and have been awarded courses appropriate to their needs.

Will the Minister undertake to discuss the problem with his colleagues in the Northern Ireland Office and request that consideration be given urgently to increasing student grants for Northern Ireland students at universities in Britain? Such students are already badly penalised by the high costs of travel to and from the mainland and we all know that travel assistance has been cut.

Will the Minister also bear in mind the fact—this is important and I hope that the Minister will understand and be sympathetic—that Northern Ireland is a low-wage economy? We have high unemployment. The future prosperity of Northern Ireland is dependent on our students getting the best education possible. We do not want anything that will dissuade them from seeking courses at mainland universities.

The additional burden of the poll tax puts at risk for many of those students the possibility of attending mainland universities. I hope that the Minister can inform us whether, taking account of the low incomes, such people will be entitled to a rebate of 80 per cent. of the 20 per cent. being levied or whether they will qualify for benefit to help pay the 20 per cent. that is expected from them.

It would appear that the cost of collecting that small amount of poll tax from our students may far outweigh the value of the money collected. It should be dropped altogether. Students should be exempted.

11.18 pm
The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang)

From the tone of this evening's debate one would not have thought that the proportion of gross domestic product going on student maintenance in this country is higher than in any other Western country, that student incomes overall have risen by 5.5 per cent. in real terms since 1982 and that there are more students than ever before.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Given the respect with which the Chair treats the rights of minority parties in the House, it cannot have escaped your notice that the Scottish National party has again not been allowed to make a contribution to this debate on an important issue facing Scotland. That is particularly surprising given that the SNP emerged as the second party in Scotland in terms—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I must say to the hon. Gentleman—as I have just said to Conservative Members—that this is a matter for the discretion of the Chair.

Mr. Lang

As the Scottish National party does not support the rule of law, I do not see why they should seek its protection in this House.

The regulations embody a generous and sensitive response to students' status in the application of the community charge. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) asked me whether I was satisfied that the definitions are precise and comprehensive, to which I answer yes, and I shall come to details of that in due course.

Mr. Salmond


Mr. Lang

No. I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman.

First, however, I should like to answer some points arising from the debate. The hon. Member for Garscadden asked me about the number of students. In 1986–87, 81,600 full-time and sandwich course students were engaged in higher education in Scotland, the great majority of whom would qualify for the 20 per cent. concession. In general, students on short courses and bridging courses leading to entry to higher courses but not producing qualifications in themselves would not be eligible for the 20 per cent. concession, although they will, of course, be eligible for rebate. The definition of term time at regulation 3(c) provides for sandwich course students to attend their courses at such place or places as the educational establishment may specify or approve. That covers sandwich courses. Provided that students undertaking sandwich courses or practical placements meet the requirements of the regulations, they will be liable only for the reduced rate of personal community charge throughout their course.

The hon. Member for Garscadden asked me about the financial implications for local authorities in the context—

Mr. Marlow


Mr. Lang

No, I am very sorry. If my hon. Friend will forgive me, I have very limited time. I apologise; on another occasion I would happily give way to my hon. Friend.

I assure the hon. Member for Garscadden that account will he taken of the number of students in each area in the distribution of the revenue support grant. The hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mr. Graham) estimated that the cost of the community charge to students in Scotland would be £70. The hon. Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde asked whether that was chickenfeed. I point out that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science has been conducting a survey of student expenditure, which discloses that 60 per cent. of students already pay something towards rates in their rent payment. The average payment is between £70 and £80. I hope that that puts the matter in context. [Interruption.]

The hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith) asks whether rent will go down. If they do not already have a registered rent, which is, of course, exclusive of rates, those who are already tenants will be able to apply to the rent officer for a rent to be registered if they are not satisfied that their landlord has reduced the amount that they pay to reflect the abolition of domestic rates. I acknowledge that that protection is not available to some students at present. 'The Rent Act has never sought to impose control on certain kinds of lettings, such as those where board is provided. In other cases—for example, where there is a resident landlord—the control is much less.

Any attempt to disentangle landlords' liability for rates from their other overheads would be impossible and would not necessarily lead to a reduction in what people pay. In that sector of the market, landlords charge what the market will bear rather than building up a charge based on the separate identification of rent and rates. In future, people in such accommodation may very well be offered short assured tenancies under the proposals of the Housing (Scotland) Bill. In those circumstances, they will be able to apply for the determination of a rent which would not include rates and therefore have the assurance that the total amount that they were called upon to pay was not excessive in the light of prevailing market conditions in the area. So Opposition Members' fears are not justified.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) and the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North East (Mr. Campbell) referred to student nurses. Students differ from student nurses and other trainees in two important respects. First, their financial situation is different. A student nurse's salary is considerably higher, for example, than even the highest student grant. The student grant outside London is under £2,000, whereas the starting salary for a first-year student nurse is £4,825 and for a third-year student nurse is £5,575. The average earnings of a student nurse in Scotland are about £5,500, which is about two and a half to three times what a student gets.

We shall take no lessons from members of the Labour and Liberal parties, as, under the last Labour Government, supported by the Liberals, nurses' pay fell by 40 per cent. whereas under this Government it has risen by an average of 44 per cent. in real terms. The crucial difference is that students will not be eligible ('or community charge rebates whereas trainees on low incomes will be eligible for rebates and other help through the social security system.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central asked about the young person with an income of £29 per week, suggesting that he would have to pay £7 per week community charge. That, as the hon. Gentleman must be aware, is totally misleading and inaccurate, as it takes no account of that person's entitlement to rebate.

The rebate details have not yet been published—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!".] However, on a rough calculation and based on present allowances, a single person having the income and of the age mentioned by the hon. Gentleman would enjoy a rebate of between £4.50 and £5.

Mr. Darling


Mr. Lang

No, I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman.

The hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) suggested that nurses in training in Scotland would suffer a four-year disadvantage. He must be aware that the English community charge will be introduced in 1990 and only in parts of London will there be transitional arrangements beyond 1990.

Mr. Dewar


Mr. Lang

I am sorry, but I must press on; I have a number of points still to answer.

We have always intended that there should be a special community charge registration regime for students, in the sense that they should be deemed to be mainly or solely resident at their term-time address. That is a matter of administrative practicality, as it will ensure that students having a term-time address different from their home address will not have to be deregistered and then re-registered up to six times a year, at the beginning and end of each vacation.

It was the Government's original intention that, as far as possible, payment of the personal community charge by students—

Mr. Dewar

What about identity cards?

Mr. Lang

I hope to deal with that point later.

As to the payment of the personal community charge, students—like all other adults—will be liable to pay the full charge, but assistance will be made available through the student awards system. During the passage of the Abolition of Domestic Rates, Etc. (Scotland) Bill through the House of Lords, it was agreed that a 20 per cent. proportion with an 80 per cent. reduction was a more appropriate system.

A number of Opposition Members raised questions about the registration process as it affects students. I am informed that the hon. Member for Garscadden held a press conference in Scotland today at which he characterised the registration process as going badly, simply because the Government have not claimed that it is going well. I assure him that we have, and it is. Registration for the community charge is proceeding smoothly and as planned. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish!"] We are still only one quarter of the way through the registration period provided for drawing up the first registers, but it is already clear from press reports that return rates of higher than 75 per cent. are being achieved generally in the initial canvass, approaching 90 per cent. in some areas.

That is substantially better than would be expected from the first stage of the traditional canvass process for electoral registration. It leaves those who have been trying to disrupt the registration process looking as ridiculous as they are contemptible.

The hon. Member for Garscadden asked about identity cards. We are considering the possibility of inviting the university authorities to co-operate in the matter of registration, as our English colleagues have already made plain that they are doing. We have had a consultation process and are considering the outcome. We shall make our announcement shortly.

The hon. Member for Garscadden claimed great success for the campaign to send forms back. People have been sending them back—completed. It is clear that registration officers throughout Scotland are finding no insuperable difficulties in completing the tasks given to them by statute. Those who decided to adopt a postal canvass have almost completed the first stage. Lothian and Strathclyde, the two most populous regions, are well on track to completing the canvass by the end of June, as they planned to do.

Not only is the Labour party failing in its campaign—and there is nothing new about failure where Labour is concerned—but it is also demeaning itself by lending support to a campaign that encourages people to disregard their civic obligations. I regard Labour Members' posture of nudging the people of Scotland towards disruption and law-breaking as a squalid and demeaning exercise. It is undemocratic and unprincipled, and hon. Gentlemen know that. But they underrate the Scottish people, who are obeying the law, returning the registration forms and rejecting the Labour party's cyhical blandishments. The result will be a fairer and more broadly based means of contributing to the cost of local government through the community charge. The regulations bring that system closer, and I commend them to the House.

Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame,North)


It being half-past Eleven o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 ( Prayers against statutory instrumunt, &c. ( negative procedure)):

The House divided: Ayes 190, Noes 304.

Division No. 313] [11.30
Abbott, Ms Diane Dewar, Donald
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Dixon, Don
Allen, Graham Dobson, Frank
Alton, David Doran, Frank
Anderson, Donald Douglas, Dick
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Dunnachie, Jimmy
Armstrong, Hilary Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Ashton, Joe Eadie, Alexander
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Eastham, Ken
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Barron, Kevin Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Battle, John Fatchett, Derek
Beckett, Margaret Faulds, Andrew
Beggs, Roy Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Bell, Stuart Fisher, Mark
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Flannery, Martin
Bermingham, Gerald Flynn, Paul
Blair, Tony Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Blunkett, David Foulkes, George
Boateng, Paul Fraser, John
Boyes, Roland Galbraith, Sam
Bradley, Keith Galloway, George
Bray, Dr Jeremy Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Buchan, Norman Golding, Mrs Llin
Buckley, George J. Gordon, Mildred
Caborn, Richard Graham, Thomas
Campbell, Menzies (File NE) Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Grocott, Bruce
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Hardy, Peter
Canavan, Dennis Haynes, Frank
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Heffer, Eric S.
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Henderson, Doug
Clay, Bob Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Clelland, David Holland, Stuart
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Home Robertson, John
Cohen, Harry Hood, Jimmy
Coleman, Donald Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hoyle, Doug
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cousins, Jim Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Cox, Tom Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Crowther, Stan Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cryer, Bob Illsley, Eric
Cummings, John Janner, Greville
Cunliffe, Lawrence John, Brynmor
Dalyell, Tarn Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Darling, Alistair Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Kennedy, Charles
Kirkwood, Archy Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Lambie, David Reid, Dr John
Lamond, James Richardson, Jo
Leadbitter, Ted Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Robinson, Geoffrey
Lewis, Terry Rogers, Allan
Lloyd, Tony (Stratford) Rooker, Jeff
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Ruddock, Joan
Loyden, Eddie Salmond, Alex
McAllion, John Sedgemore, Brian
McAvoy, Thomas Sheerman, Barry
McCartney, Ian Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McFall, John Short, Clare
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Skinner, Dennis
McKelvey, William Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
McLeish, Henry Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
McTaggart, Bob Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Madden, Max Soley, Clive
Marek, Dr John Spearing, Nigel
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Steel, Rt Hon David
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Steinberg, Gerry
Martlew, Eric Stott, Roger
Maxton, John Strang, Gavin
Meale, Alan Straw, Jack
Michael, Alun Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Moonie, Dr Lewis Vaz, Keith
Morgan, Rhodri Wall, Pat
Morley, Elliott Wallace, James
Mowlam, Marjorie Walley, Joan
Mullin, Chris Wareing, Robert N.
Murphy, Paul Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Nellist, Dave Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
O'Brien, William Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
O'Neill, Martin Wilson, Brian
Parry, Robert Winnick, David
Patchett, Terry Wray, Jimmy
Pendry, Tom Young, David (Bolton SE)
Pike, Peter L.
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Tellers for the Ayes:
Randall, Stuart Mr. Nigel Griffiths and
Redmond, Martin Mr. Adam Ingram
Aitken, Jonathan Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Alexander, Richard Brazier, Julian
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Bright, Graham
Allason, Rupert Brittan, Rt Hon Leon
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Amess, David Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)
Amos, Alan Browne, John (Winchester)
Arbuthnot, James Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Budgen, Nicholas
Ashby, David Burns, Simon
Atkins, Robert Burt, Alistair
Atkinson, David Butcher, John
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Butler, Chris
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Butterfill, John
Baldry, Tony Carlisle, John, (Luton N)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Batiste, Spencer Carrington, Matthew
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Carttiss, Michael
Bellingham, Henry Cash, William
Bendall, Vivian Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Bitfen, Rt Hon John Chapman, Sydney
Blackburn, Dr John G. Chope, Christopher
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Churchill, Mr
Body, Sir Richard Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Boswell, Tim Colvin, Michael
Bottomley, Peter Conway, Derek
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Cope, John
Bowis, John Couchman, James
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Cran, James
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Currie, Mrs Edwina
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Day, Stephen Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Devlin, Tim Key, Robert
Dickens, Geoffrey King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Dorrell, Stephen Kirkhope, Timothy
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Knapman, Roger
Dover, Den Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Dunn, Bob Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Durant, Tony Knowles, Michael
Dykes, Hugh Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Eggar, Tim Lang, Ian
Emery, Sir Peter Lawrence, Ivan
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Lee, John (Pendle)
Evennett, David Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Fallon, Michael Lightbown, David
Farr, Sir John Lilley, Peter
Favell, Tony Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lord, Michael
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Fookes, Miss Janet Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) McCrindle, Robert
Forth, Eric Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Fox, Sir Marcus MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Franks, Cecil Maclean, David
Freeman, Roger McLoughlin, Patrick
French, Douglas McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)
Gale, Roger McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Gardiner, George Madel, David
Goodlad, Alastair Major, Rt Hon John
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Malins, Humfrey
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Mans, Keith
Gorst, John Maples, John
Gow, Ian Marland, Paul
Gower, Sir Raymond Marlow, Tony
Greenway, Harry (Baling N) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Gregory, Conal Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E') Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Grist, Ian Miller, Hal
Ground, Patrick Mills, lain
Grylls, Michael Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Moate, Roger
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom) Monro, Sir Hector
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hampson, Dr Keith Moore, Rt Hon John
Hannam, John Morris, M (N'hampton S)
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Morrison, Hon P (Chester)
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Moss, Malcolm
Harris, David Moynihan, Hon Colin
Haselhurst, Alan Mudd, David
Hawkins, Christopher Neale, Gerrard
Hayes, Jerry Needham, Richard
Hayward, Robert Nelson, Anthony
Heathcoat-Amory, David Neubert, Michael
Heddle, John Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Nicholls, Patrick
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hill, James Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Holt, Richard Oppenheim, Phillip
Hordern, Sir Peter Page, Richard
Howard, Michael Paice, James
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Patnick, Irvine
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Patten, Chris (Bath)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Patten, John (Oxford W)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Hunter, Andrew Pawsey, James
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Irvine, Michael Porter, David (Waveney)
Jack, Michael Portillo, Michael
Jackson, Robert Powell, William (Corby)
Janman, Tim Price, Sir David
Jessel, Toby Raffan, Keith
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Rathbone, Tim
Redwood, John Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Renton, Tim Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Rhodes James, Robert Thorne, Neil
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Thornton, Malcolm
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Thurnham, Peter
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Townend, John (Bridlington)
Roe, Mrs Marion Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Rost, Peter Tracey, Richard
Rowe, Andrew Tredinnick, David
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Trippier, David
Ryder, Richard Trotter, Neville
Sackville, Hon Tom Twinn, Dr Ian
Sainsbury, Hon Tim Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Scott, Nicholas Waddington, Rt Hon David
Shaw, David (Dover) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Waldegrave, Hon William
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarf) Walden, George
Shelton, William (Streatham) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Walters, Dennis
Shersby, Michael Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Sims, Roger Warren, Kenneth
Skeet, Sir Trevor Watts, John
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Wheeler, John
Soames, Hon Nicholas Whitney, Ray
Speller, Tony Widdecombe, Ann
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Wiggin, Jerry
Stanbrook, Ivor Wilkinson, John
Stanley, Rt Hon John Wilshire, David
Steen, Anthony Winterton, Mrs Ann
Stern, Michael Wolfson, Mark
Stevens, Lewis Wood, Timothy
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood) Woodcock, Mike
Stokes, John Yeo, Tim
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Younger, Rt Hon George
Sumberg, David
Summerson, Hugo Tellers for the Noes:
Tapsell, Sir Peter Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.

Question accordingly negatived.