HC Deb 05 April 1989 vol 150 cc240-60

`There shall be a depute director general of electricity supply who shall carry out the functions of the Director an Scotland. He shall have his office in Scotland and shall be responsible to the Secretary of State of Scotland.'.—[Mr. Dewar.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Dewar

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

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: New clause 15—Director General of Electricity Supply`There shall be appointed an. Officer, to be known as the Scottish Director General of Electricity Supply, who shall be responsible to the Secretary of State for Scotland and shall assume all of the functions of the Director as they relate to Scotland and to the activities of the Scottish electricity companies.'.

Amendment No. 153, in clause 62, page 46, line 13, at end add— `(c) one which shall be designated as the Scottish export company which shall be wholly owned by the two Scottish electricity companies in (a) above and which shall have responsibility for selling any surplus electricity generated in Scotland.'.

Amendment No. 150, in clause 62, page 46, line 30, at end add— `(6) The two Scottish Companies shall establish a Scottish Electricity Research Trust. They shall provide funds of not less than 5 per cent. on net profits. The Secretary of State in consultation with the Director shall appoint 10 Trustees who shall have the responsibility of administering the Trust. The Trust shall carry out or commission research into the environmental effects of supplying electricity in Scotland, alternative sources of electricity suitable to the terrain and climate of Scotland and the most economical use of electricity generated.'.

Mr. Dewar

I am aware of the fact that there is a lot of business to be done tonight. Therefore, I shall be extremely brief and I hope that the House will forgive me if I confine my remarks to new clause 2. Some of my hon. Friends may wish to refer to other matters that are dealt with in this group.

I shall deal with the comparatively simple proposition that Scotland should appoint a depute director general of electricity supply whose remit would be to look after Scottish interests. The new clause takes its form from our first preference—exhaustively debated in Committee, thanks to the efforts of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton)—that Scotland should have a regulator. That was not accepted by the Government. As the matter was exhaustively debated, there is little point in returning to it. However, we invite the House to write into the Bill a safeguard that has been verbally given. It is common ground between me and the Minister that a Scottish official should work within the Director General of Electricity Supply's organisation, that he should be charged with responsibility for Scotland and that he should be based in Scotland. As that has been conceded, a provision ought to be included in the Bill to take account of that point. It is very much in that spirit that the new clause has been tabled.

The protection of the consumer and the proper regulation of the industry are matters of enormous sensitivity and importance. I hardly need to remind the Minister of that fact. We are handing over an industry in which, as Ministers have hurried to tell us, the competition will never be classic. A public utility is to be replaced by a private monopoly. In those circumstances, it is important that adequate protection for consumers should be provided and that the different structure of the Scottish industry should be taken fully into account.

That need has been dramatically highlighted during the last few weeks with the announcement of an 8 per cent. increase in Scottish electricity prices for the next financial year. That has already been heavily criticised. Mr. John Banham, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, has referred to the Budget strategy being wrecked by the Government scoring inflationary own goals. He went on to say: It is all the more irritating to business when the rises are seen to be totally unnecessary. He linked that reference particularly to the news about the price rises in Scotland. The case for strong regulation of the public interest is made by these events. I hope that the Minister will comment on the reasons for the increase. Such a comment is relevant since we are considering the kind of regulation that is needed and the need for the new clause.

I remind the Minister that Scotland has always been told that it has low-cost, competitive power, that it has made a big investment in nuclear power, that it is in a strong competitive position and that privatisation is good news for the consumer. There was no question about a non-fossil fuel obligation. That was an academic point in Scotland's case. It could look forward to a very much happier future, by implication, than that to which those south of the border could look forward because of the pressures there.

There is genuine puzzlement on this side of the House and in Scotland generally about that statement. The Minister made a big virtue of the fact that the return on capital expected of the electricity boards in Scotland would be 2.7 per cent., rising in 1988–89 to 2.8 per cent., while in England the return on assets, valued on the current cost basis, would be 4.75 per cent. Given that tremendous gap, it is extraordinary that Scotland should face a far more substantial increase than that which will be imposed south of the border.

It is a sad comment on this Government's bona fides that, during the last year, the electricity consultative councils have protested in the strongest possible terms about a wage settlement—which, in their view, is both inflationary and unnecessary—that is being inflicted on the Scottish people.

6.45 pm

The electricity consultative council for the north of Scotland has expressed "deep disappointment" over the rise. It said: Members have valiantly tried to persuade the board"— that is the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board— to limit any increase on the standard domestic tariff. However, they were unable to do so. I have in my hand the press release by the electricity consultative council for the south of Scotland. It refers to its disappointment about the continuing deterioration in comparative electricity prices in the area of the SSEB compared with those in England and Wales where the proposed increases average 6.5 per cent. It goes on to say: The council was concerned about the possible effect of privatisation on SSEB costs and their impact on tariffs. There is continuing worry about interest charges associated with Torness and with the very substantial nuclear generating capacity in Scotland and concern about future nuclear charges in terms of fuel reprocessing and decommissioning. The general pattern emerges of a substantial increase in charges—much higher than those in England—at a time when the preliminary advertisements for privatisation suggested the very opposite. It has been carried through in the teeth of strong opposition from the Government's own appointed consumer watchdogs. That makes the case for the new clause.

The Minister referred to the fact that, with the chairmen of the two boards, he took part in a little ceremony on 31 March when he commended the progress towards privatisation and witnessed the endorsement of certain operational agreements by the two boards. As I look through the pious expressions of satisfaction that the Minister published in his Scottish Office press release, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that on 30 March—the day before—the 8 per cent. price increase had been announced. The Minister did not see fit to comment on or to explain why Scotland had to face such an increase. On the evidence that is available to us, we believe that the increase is unjustified. It is part of the price that we are being asked to pay for privatisation.

The Minister's performance has been completely unsatisfactory. He has let down his own consumer bodies—as they have made very clear. In those circumstances, consumer protection must be placed at the top of our agenda. We ought to insist on the new clause. It is not what we wanted originally, but it would provide some protection. The need for such a clause has been made doubly relevant by the sad news about prices during the past few weeks and also by the clearly perceived danger that standards will be allowed to slip and that vigilance will be dropped, given the potential for abuse that privatisation will provide.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce

Although I support new clause 2, I prefer new clause 15. The character of the Scottish industry is such that there ought to be a separate director for Scotland. However, the thrust of both new clauses suggests that. Scotland's distinctive character should be recognised within the new arrangements.

As for the 8.5 per cent. price increase, I believe that Scotland has fallen down the crack as between the responsibility of a nationalised industry and an about-to-be-privatised industry. Any Minister who was doing his job properly by defending consumer interests—he is the only person with the power to do so—would have refused to allow an increase of that kind in advance of privatisation. The economic criteria do not justify it.

He should have been so embarrassed by it as to recognise that he must either resist the increase or explain it. He has done neither. We are worse served with no Scottish director and with such a Minister than we might have been had the situation been reversed. I cannot believe that if a Scottish director had been in place he would have allowed the increase to go through. He would certainly have investigated the matter thoroughly and, unless there was a legitimate reason for the increase, he would have told the electricity companies to think again.

The Minister knows perfectly well that I am not opposed to privatisation in principle. The structure of the industry as it stands is both uncompetitive and unresponsive to the consumer—these increases prove it—but all this reinforces my belief that we should restructure the industry in the public sector and prove that we can open it up to effective competition before we move it out of the public sector. The Minister has completely failed either to accept his responsibility to defend the consumers' interest or to ensure that, in privatisation, we are creating a structure in which the distinctive and different character of the Scottish industry is taken fully into account.

I know that other hon. Members wish to speak and I do not want to delay the House. I feel that the clauses are both appropriate and relevant, and I shall certainly support them.

Mr. Hood

In my speech on Second Reading I forecast that this Bill, along with the poll tax and the privatization of health care and the water industry, would be one of the large nails in the Government's coffin at the next general election. I am pleased to say tonight, having sat through almost all the 156 hours of the Committee, that experience confirms my view that this is indeed the case. I am particularly pleased to see the Secretary of State in his place today.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) counted the number of hours that the Secretary of State managed to put into the Committee; I am sure that the Secretary of State knows this but, in case he does not, he was there for 23 of the 156 hours. Never once, however, when he was there, or when the Under-Secretary of State—who looked so unconvincing throughout the whole of the Committee stage—was there, did he justify in any way the privatisation of the electricity supply industry.

The whole case is based on myths—the myths of the market, the choice of the consumer and, the one that takes the biscuit, the fact that electricity will be cheaper. At all these three hurdles the Government's argument fell flat on its face. When it came to Scotland, not only did the Government not have a case, not only were they weak, but they were pathetic.

In Committee we had five Scottish hon. Members, my hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) and for Glasgow, Rutherglen (Mr. McAvoy) and myself, representing Labour, and two from the Liberal Democrats, the hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) and the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith). Some of us were interested to note that the Scottish National party was not represented on the Committee. We are informed that its members were offered a position on the Committee and refused it. That says a lot about their so-called rhetoric on the matter of their interest in the Scottish coal industry.

Mr. Salmond

The hon. Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) has trailed his coat, but he does me less than justice. He must be aware that I spent a year on this matter in the Select Committee on Energy. After reading his speeches, and those by his hon. Friends in the Standing Committee, and seeing all the ammunition with which they were provided, I just wish that they had utilised the time a little better.

Mr. Hood

I am as little impressed by the absence of the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) from the Committee as by the comments that he has just made. His party is coming to be known as the "walk out, throw out or abstention" party.

The fear of hon. Members on the Opposition Benches is that privatisation of the electricity supply industry will spell the death of the Scottish coal industry, a fear which has not been dissipated by the news that we have heard tonight, when last week we were under the impression that an agreement had been made with the South of Scotland electricity board. That so-called agreement seems flimsier than ever. I am sorry that the Secretary of State for Scotland is not here. Certainly, the Secretary of State for Energy is here. The Minister took some of the credit—if that is the word for it—for getting the parties round the table. I do not believe that for one moment. I do not believe that the Secretary of State for Scotland did anything to get the parties round the table.

Far be it from me to cast any praise in the direction of the Secretary of State for Energy, but some of us on the Opposition Benches firmly believe that the impetus came from the Secretary of State for Energy and not from the Secretary of State for Scotland. When the latter was criticised for his lack of action in Scotland, it was even worse than that—he should be criticised for his collaboration, because some of us believe that he was collaborating with the SSEB from day one of the dispute. This is no credit to him at all. He is becoming known as an enemy of Scotland and as a traitor to Scotland. Our history has seen many of those but the Secretary of State seems to be competing for the mantle of arch traitor to Scotland.

He is not on his own in competing for that mantle. I had occasion to intervene during a speech in Committee by his hon. Friend the Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker), who unfortunately is not with us tonight.

Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)

He is in Australia.

Mr. Hood

I do not know where he is. He was nick-named "Bill from Brazil" earlier, but he is not here tonight.

In Committee the hon. Member for Tayside, North said: It is essential that the United Kingdom takes advantage of all its natural resources, including the supply of energy. It is therefore in the best interests of the whole of the United Kingdom that Scotland's ability to pass its surplus energy resources to England where there is a demand, is an essential part of our future energy policy. Energy policy has to be United Kingdom policy, and—this is the point that I have been trying to make—as a Scot I find it disturbing when we hear language that is wrapping tartan round the Scots and asking for special privileges. The hon. Member then went on to say: England has an unsatisfied demand. It is therefore in the best interests of the whole of the United Kingdom to have an adequate ability to transfer. At this stage I intervened to point out to him: I am tempted to be impressed by the hon. Gentleman's desire to look after the interests of the United Kingdom. But is he aware that the Secretary of State has been negotiating with the French Government to import French energy into this country and that it will work against a United Kingdom country—Scotland? To this the hon. Gentleman responded: We have been negotiating with the French and anyone else who wants to buy our electricity. I am a believer in the market place. It makes sense to be able to transfer electricity both ways. We had to remind the hon. Gentleman that the French were interested not in buying electricity but in selling it.

I am sorry to bore the House with these quotations but this will be the last. The hon. Member for Tayside, North went on to say: Opposition Members should study carefully what I have said"— I can assure the House that we have done that— and they will see that my view is we must have a flat playing field so that throughout the United Kingdom there is an opportunity for all consumers to share in the strengths or weaknesses of the whole."—[Official Report, Standing Committee E, 23 February 1989; c. 1227.] There we have it: the hon. Member from the Flat Earth Society, the hon. Member for Tayside, North.

Following on an albeit modest contribution from myself, the hon. Member later accused me of special pleading for the Scottish coal industry. He even accused me of using intemperate language, believe it or not. Hon. Members here, with perhaps one exception, would certainly not agree with such an accusation.

I certainly make a plea for common sense and not dogma, for compassion and not hostility, and for consensus not dictatorship. This Bill is all about the dogma of extremism, hostility to miners in mining communities and dictatorship over the Scottish people who do not want and will never want Toryism.

The case for the Scottish coal industry is set in concrete; it is sound on all grounds. We hear much about the problems of the environment. Scottish coal is low in sulphur—far lower than the coal that we are importing from South Africa, Columbia and China. We have vast untapped reserves. Scottish coal is cost-effective when compared with the high cost of power generated by nuclear energy.

7 pm

I have a particular interest in opencast mining because in my constituency I have the largest opencast development in the whole of Europe. Opencast has to be seen in Scotland for what it is and not as it is seen in England. Opencast and deep mining are under the same management in Scotland—British Coal (Scotland). Opencast must not be seen as a replacement for deep-mined coal, as the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, North (Sir T. Skeet) suggested in Committee, but as complementary to it.

May I anticipate the hostility to deep-mined coal by those who favour the expansion of opencast mining? The prices of deep-mined coal and opencast coal are aggregated. There is cross-subsidy, which I accept. One important ingredient is forgotten by the people who are hostile to deep-mined coal and who favour the expansion of opencast mining—the co-operation of local authorities in giving permission to develop opencast mines in areas where there would normally be hostility to it. There is a strong relationship between mining communities and local authorities which leads to support for opencast mining.

We have 400 years of coal reserves in Scotland. We prefer to develop those coal reserves rather than rely on importing coal or highly expensive nuclear power. We do not want privatisation of electricity in Scotland. It is obscene, nonsense and irrelevant to our power generation requirements. Amendment No. 153, tabled by myself and hon. Friends, would ensure an export market for Scottish-generated power. That is necessary for the future of Scotland as a country and an energy producer. We sat for almost 156 hours in Committee addressing that and many other issues.

On Second Reading I referred to the disgraceful spectacle of the Prime Minister tripping through the Lobbies in support of private ports Bills with what I termed as the "Botha boot boys" behind her. I forecast then the demise of Tory Members in constituencies including mining communities, especially in places like Nottingham. The Government are going down the spout with the privatisation of water. Electricity privatisation is another nail in their coffin. That is one funeral that I look forward to attending.

Mr. Salmond

I support new clause 15, which would lead to the establishment of a specific Scottish director general of electricity supply. I am disappointed at the retreat of the Labour party from the position that was established by the Select Committee on Energy in favour of a Scottish director general which it supported in Committee. I do not think that a depute director general is adequate to serve the real needs of Scotland.

Mr. Maxton

In some way the hon. Gentleman is remarkably naive in the workings of the House. If the Labour party had put down exactly that new clause, I think I can give him the assurance, even if you would not, Madam Deputy Speaker, that it would not have been called.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. I give an assurance to all hon. Members that there is no new clause or amendment on the Amendment Paper that is not perfectly proper.

Mr. Salmond

I think that you have answered the point for me, Madam Deputy Speaker. May I point out to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) that new clause 15, which proposes exactly that, is on the Amendment Paper. In the absence of new clause 2, it would have been possible to vote on it. If the hon. Gentleman's argument is that we should propose only amendments or new clauses that are acceptable to the Government, that would limit substantially the ability of the Opposition to put forward amendments.

The argument against a deputy director general and against new clause 2 was made in Committee by the hon. Member for Cathcart. He said: I do not see how a dispute between a Scottish board and an English generating board or an area board or company about supply, generation and price will be settled. Will a deputy in Edinburgh, who is responsible to the Secretary of State for Scotland, he more responsible to the Secretary of State for Scotland than to his immediate boss, the director general sitting in London, whose primary responsibility will be to the licences that he has granted to the various English companies? To which one will he be responsible? Nothing in the Bill explains this."—[Official Report, Standing Committee E, 12 January 1989; c. 72.] That is right. Nothing in the Bill explains it; of course, nothing in new clause 2 explains it either. I much prefer the position established in the Select Committee on Energy.

Mr. Thomas McAvoy (Glasgow, Rutherglen)

Will the hon. Gentleman make it clear to the House whether the Scottish National party was offered a place on the Electricity Bill Committee and whether it refused to take that place—yes or no?

Mr. Salmond

As I have already pointed out in reply to the hon. Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) a few moments ago, I spent a year on the Select Committee on Energy considering these very issues. I was surprised at the suggestion that the SNP was not interested in deep coal mining in Scotland. Yesterday I received a letter from the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in Scotland thanking me for my efforts on its behalf in the Select Committee. The fact that there is no Scottish Labour Member on the Select Committee on Energy does not lead me to the conclusion that Scottish Labour Members are not interested in the coal mining industry or in energy issues in general.

I was making the point that I much prefer the position established by the Select Committee on Energy on the need for a Scottish director general of electricity supply. I am the only Scottish Member on the Select Committee on Energy. The majority of members are English Conservative Members, yet we reached a unanimous conclusion after a good deal of debate. In the report we said: we believe that Scotland's interests will best be served by the establishment of a separate Scottish Regulator, working closely with his English and Welsh counterpart, with regular interchanges of information and staff. The relationship between the Scottish Office and London Departments is an analogy. In this way the distinctive structure of the ESI in Scotland will be mirrored by a distinctive regulatory structure. It is a remarkable feature of the position of the Scottish Office on the issue that it is not even willing to propose, for the benefit of the Scottish consumer, a level of protection that was insisted upon by English Conservatives on the Select Committee on Energy. It is remarkable that Scottish Office Ministers were not willing to make that point.

The arguments that the Select Committee considered in coming to our conclusion in favour of a separate Scottish director general were, first, that we recognised that within the Scottish structure of the proposed privatisation of electricity there would be no effective competition. Indeed, many would argue that within the English and Welsh structure there will be no effective competition. Certainly, with the duopoly that is proposed for Scotland—with territorial monopolies at any rate for tariff customers—there will be no genuine competition.

Hence the need for protection for Scottish consumers, who otherwise will be exploited by the private electricity companies which will succeed the SSEB and the Hydro Board. Our first point was to recognise the distinctive nature of the Scottish privatisation and of the Scottish electricity system, and the need for special protection for the Scottish consumer.

Secondly, we concluded that there would be occasions when the Scottish exporters of electricity would be in conflict with their English customers. Early on in the Select Committee deliberations, we received evidence from Mr. Harris of the east midlands board. He said that his board would prefer that the grid bought electricity collectively from the Scottish electricity companies because that would lower the price at which electricity would be bought. When we took evidence from Mr. Miller of the SSEB, he argued that tens of millions of pounds could be involved in that issue alone. Indeed, the Secretary of State for Scotland agreed, when giving evidence to the Select Committee that this was an important pricing issue.

If there is a conflict of interest between the Scottish producers of electricity and the English supply companies—the consumers of that electricity—how will a single director general divide his loyalties? Will he be in favour of Scottish producers or English consumers? Hence the importance of having, for the protection of Scottish consumers and Scottish producers of electricity, someone who will not owe his loyalty to a Director General of Electricity Supply located in London.

The third argument which impressed the Select Committee was in relation to the needs of the north of Scotland. We argued strongly in our report that it was not just a matter of a common tariff throughout the Hydro Board area; we had to consider also the need for subsidies for future connections. I see the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) in his place. A pensioner couple in his constituency proved to be an excellent example of the need for protection in terms of connection charges for consumers in remote areas. That pensioner couple, on Lewis, were 35 yards from an electricity connection, yet the Hydro Board told them that it would cost them over £3,000, and that, I understand, was the second, revised—and hence lower—price that they were quoted. When the Secretary of State for Scotland appeared before the Select Committee, he seemed to take the view that that pensioner couple had situated their house in the wrong place. He appeared to say that it was their fault for not being nearer than 35 yards to the nearest power connection.

I accept that the legislation guarantees a price for anyone whose home is situated within 50 yards of a power connection. But that is a theoretical right for most consumers, certainly if we are to have charges of £3,000 or more for a 35-yard connection. The Select Committee took the view that, the needs of remote areas of Scotland were not satisfied by existing connection arrangements alone and we said that the development of such areas, with new houses and more people, would occur only if new connection charges were reasonable. That would be a key responsibility of a Scottish director general.

7.15 pm

In Standing Committee, the Minister of State argued that a single director general at United Kingdom level having a dual responsibility would not be a problem, even though he would be responsible both to the Secretary of State for Scotland and to the Secretary of State for Energy. The Minister of State argued that the Government spoke with one voice, claiming that both Secretaries of State spoke on behalf of the Government.

It was an interesting concept. Can we expect the two Secretaries of State to speak with one voice on these matters? That question was put to the test a few weeks later when, on 25 January, I questioned the Secretary of State for Energy about whether it was likely that the main office of the United Kingdom Director General of Electricity Supply would be located in Scotland. After conceding that he had not given the matter a great deal of thought, the right hon. Gentleman decided—off the cuff and in front of the Select Committee—that his answer should be no. I asked him why not, and he replied: Because we believe that he"— the Director General of Electricity Supply— will have a duty to Scotland, but he will also have a duty to England and Wales, and that is far and away the biggest part of his job. The right hon. Gentleman went on to use a phrase that he may now regret using. When I argued that the Select Committee might take a different view, he said that that was unlikely, and he described as "an eccentric notion" my argument that the director general's main office should be in Scotland.

The Secretary of State for Scotland appeared before the Select Committee a few weeks later, on 22 February. I thought that, as the two Ministers were said to speak with one voice on Government policy, it would be interesting to ask him similar questions. The Secretary of State for Scotland did not seem to believe that it was "an eccentric notion". He said that, on the contrary, it was not an issue on which the Government had reached a conclusion, and he added: It is not a word that I would have chosen when asked if my argument was an eccentric notion. The right hon. Gentleman seemed sympathetic to the idea of having the office located in Scotland, and I have subsequently been in correspondence with the Minister of State, who has assured me that the Government have an open mind on the issue.

We can see the fallacy of the contention that there is no problem in having dual responsibility, the belief that the director general can report, on the one hand, to the Secretary of State for Energy and, on the other, to the Secretary of State for Scotland. The Government argue that there is no difference between the views of the two Secretaries of State, but even on that issue, when questioned before the Select Committee, we saw a substantial difference of view.

In those circumstances and with the conflicts of interest that might arise in the electricity supply industry, all Members representing Scottish constituencies must wonder whose view will prevail. I have no doubt that it will be the view of the Secretary of State for Energy, and the Scottish Office will tag along behind and try to reconcile the position at a later date.

It was said earlier that the recent price increase of 8 per cent. announced for the Scottish electricity industry represents an outstanding example of why we need a Scottish director general with responsibility, power and authority to intervene on behalf of the interests of Scottish consumers. That is particularly important in view of the suggestion that somehow the deal that has been arrived at between British Coal and the SSEB might have been the cause of these price increases. I heard the Minister of State suggest on the radio a few days ago that that deal might have been responsible for such sharp price increases.

The figures show that his view is nonsense. In the last three years, there has been a 28 per cent. decline in the real price charged for coal supplies to the SSEB. Indeed, the price charged for coal is only a fraction of the SSEB's overall costs. In the same three years, according to evidence given to the Select Committee by the SSEB, there has been an unexpected increase, costing the SSEB £240 million, in the nuclear costs of fuel reprocessing, waste treatment and decommissioning.

If we had a Scottish director general in Scotland, nobody—not the Minister or the SSEB—would be allowed to get away with misleading explanations for an over-the-odds increase in electricity charges, such as giving the impression that a minor and declining part of the SSEB's costs can be held responsible for such an exceptional increase in charges. A Scottish director general is necessary so that Scottish consumers can be told the truth about their electricity bills and protected from unreasonable increases in future.

Everything about the legislation—the lack of competition and the vulnerability of Scottish consumers surely leads us to the conclusion that Scottish consumers need the maximum protection in the privatised structure. That protection should be provided by a Scottish director general with the full authority and prestige of that position. He should be nobody's deputy, nobody's office boy, but a Scottish director general reporting to the Secretary of State for Scotland. I very much hope that we shall be able to vote on new clause 15.

Mr. McAvoy

I am well aware of the constraints of time. I only wish that previous contributors had paid some attention to them. I have no intention of dealing with any of the points raised by members of the Scottish National party. The comments of the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) were counter-productive. When we agree about so much, his pejorative and speculative attacks invite response, and I am certainly not prepared to listen to his remarks without replying. The hon. Gentleman and other Members of his party make great play of trying to get on to Committees and interfering with the processes of the House, yet when they were offered a place on the Standing Committee considering the Electricity Bill they refused that opportunity. Having refused an opportunity to participate in the processes of the House, they have no credibility whatever when they try to disrupt those processes.

Opposition Members who took the opportunity to work on behalf of the people of Scotland repeatedly made the point that all logic and fairness pointed to the need for a separate Scottish director general. The Minister of State, Scottish Office, made great play about the unionist and separatist arguments, but every move that the Government make reinforces the sentiment that Scotland will not have a fair deal from England within the British structure. Paradoxically, the so-called Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is the main driving force in encouraging resentment against the union which the majority of Opposition Members favour.

The integrated monopoly status of the electricity industry in Scotland and the fact that the public monopoly is to become a private monopoly demonstrate the need for a separate Scottish director general. Within the set-up envisaged by the Government, there is no clear responsibility for the privatised Scottish industry. The Select Committee on Energy observed that Scotland is different and there should have been a separate Bill. New clause 2 would at least ensure that there would be a director general for Scotland answerable to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The pricing impact requires a strictly Scottish approach. Scottish consumers will pay a price based on United Kingdom average generating costs, not on Scottish generating costs which are lower. Because of the weather and climatic conditions, Scottish consumers already incur higher costs than elsewhere in the United Kingdom. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) said in Committee that Mr. Donald Miller, the chairman of the SSEB, was supporting a single United Kingdom director general. My hon. Friend rightly suggested that Mr. Miller's support was at least partly based on the hope that privatisation would be a vehicle for maximising profits for his privatised company, which presumably would result in extra payment to him personally.

There is a desperate need for a director general concerned directly with Scotland, especially when we consider what has happened before privatisation. The SSEB increased prices by 8 per cent.—a greater increase than in England and Wales, and more than was necessary to keep in line with inflation. That is what has happened under the direction of Mr. Miller without the benefits, as he would see them, of a privatised structure.

A further demonstration of the need for a Scottish director general is the ludicrous situation between SSEB and British Coal. A great deal has been said about that and some important points have been raised. If Mr. Miller seeks to minimise costs for the SSEB, perhaps he should reduce the legal costs incurred in such disputes. Conservative Members may say that the situation between the SSEB and British Coal shows that there is no need for a Scottish director general because two Scottish institutions are in dispute and the presence of the Secretary of State for Scotland did not prevent the development of such a damaging dispute. That is absolutely right. The Secretary of State's presence had no effect and the political world could not have an impact on the dispute because, disgracefully, the Secretary of State for Scotland did not see fit to intervene in a matter which was causing damage to Scotland. If we had a truly independent Scottish director general, it is inconceivable that he or she would not have intervened on behalf of the Scottish people.

The philosophy of privatisation is the free market and the survival of the fittest. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan rightly mentioned that if there are commercial disputes between the Scottish producers and the English and Welsh consumers, according to the free market philosophy on which the privatisation is based, it is inevitable that England and Wales will have greater influence. According to the Government's philosophy, might is right, so England and Wales will have more voice and that will count against Scotland. That is the clear logic of the Government's privatisation policies. New clause 2 tries to protect Scottish interests from a Tory Government who have no support in Scotland for their Bill.

Mr. Calum Macdonald (Western Isles)

In speaking in favour of new clause 2 I shall endeavour to keep my remarks as brief as possible by focusing on one part of Scotland and on one specific problem. I wish to focus on the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, covered by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, and the problem of ensuring the supply of electricity to remote areas of the Highlands and Islands at a reasonable cost.

The hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) said that it might seem odd that the Highlands and Islands had a very high percentage of connections compared with other parts of the United Kingdom. Despite the remote locations of many of the properties, a great number of them have been connected over the years. That is due to the unique ethos that has governed the hydro-electric board since its inception and given it a determination to provide electricity to remote areas at a reasonable cost and to spread the costs, which would otherwise fall very hard upon particular individuals in remote areas, among consumers and taxpayers in the locality.

In recent years there has been a second factor to explain the wide extent of electricity connection in the Highlands and Islands—the availability of finance from the EEC through the European regional development fund, which has been channelled into the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to enable it to connect people living in remote rural areas.

The Bill will do away with both factors which enable those living in remote areas to be connected to the electricity supply, because privatisation will do away with the private status of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and make it a privatised company. The board will thus lose access to the EEC money that it has had until now. I deeply regret that the Government have chosen to go ahead with the privatisation and did not take the step that they took in regard to the privatisation of Caledonian MacBrayne, which had a similar EEC financial status. When they realised that that finance would be lost, they abandoned their privatisation plans. I wish that the Government had taken the same route with the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.

I wish to put the case for my constituents. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) has already mentioned the problems that they face, although he did not cite the worst examples to be found in my constituency of individuals requiring electricity and having to pay extraordinary and impossible sums to obtain it. In one community in my constituency, a household has been asked to pay £63,000 to receive an electricity supply—a sum that is clearly way beyond the means of the couple who occupy the house. In case the Minister thinks that a nouveau riche couple have moved into the Highlands and Islands, I will tell him that the couple lived there long before the hydro board was established. They have been bypassed by the age of electricity.

7.30 pm

Another significant case is that of Mr. MacDonald living in the village of Balallan. He did not choose to build a new house in an impossibly remote and inaccessible area. In fact, the new house is only 35 yards from the mains electricity supply at the edge of one of the largest villages in my constituency. Yet he is being asked to pay more than £3,000 for the privilege of receiving electricity. In Committee that case was put to the Minister very ably by my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney). The Minister's reply was that if Mr. MacDonald waited two or three years there might be a reduction in the price to £1,500 or so. As my constituent is 78 years old, that was not the most gracious of suggestions.

The publicity given to the case by various newspapers and by my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield has stung the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. It has actually produced a booklet relating to the case, which has been sent to every Scottish Member of Parliament and to every newspaper in Scotland, because it is so fearful of the adverse publicity that it has been receiving. That seems to suggest that the board at least has a guilty conscience.

The first thing that one sees in the booklet is a "Summary of Activity" which stretches over a year and a half, but it is clear that nothing was done by the board in that year and a half to help my constituents to receive their electricity. All that happened was that a series of letters were sent explaining why my constituents could not receive electricity. In letters to me, the chairman of the board has made it clear that after privatisation consumers in remote areas cannot expect to receive any help from the general body of consumers in relation to connection and supply. That statement shows the future facing remote areas after privatisation. The ability to receive electricity will depend how remote one is from the mains electricity supply and it will come down simply to ability to pay.

I have mentioned only a minority of cases in the Highlands and Islands, but hundreds of properties in the area face such obstacles. That is why I, my constituents and others fear the effects of the Bill.

Mr. Lang

The House would have had more sympathy with the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) if he had acknowledged that under the arrangements that we are introducing the successor company to the hydro board will be required to set a common tariff precisely to benefit his constituents. He might also have acknowledged the virtual completion by the industry, with Government and European assistance, of the supply network. He might have acknowledged the existence of the uneconomic rural development programme which the board has operated.

The hon. Member referred to the Balallan case. Although the sum of £3,100 may seem large, it is already £600 lower as a result of the negotiations with the board. Someone proposing to build a new house in such an area —we are not talking about an existing house—would take such a figure into account. Indeed, the applicants were told when they sought planning permission what the cost of supplying electricty would be. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman might have been more forthcoming on some of the details of the circumstances affecting the Western Isles and the consumption of electricity there.

The wording of proposed new clause 2 suggests that a deputy director general of electricity supply should be directly responsible to the Secretary of State for the regulation of the industry in Scotland. This would remove from the director general the duties which the Bill lays upon him in relation to Scotland and would effectively result in a separate regulator. New clause 15, proposed by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) goes one step further and prescribes the appointment of a scottish director.

It is quite clear to us that neither case would be beneficial, since both new clauses ignore the fact that the Scottish companies will be competing in a British market. We are clear that two separate regulators would be inefficient; would fail adequately to monitor common carriage arrangements and fair trading practices across the border; and would lose the opportunity for yardstick comparisons across the whole British industry to bring out best practices and provide leverage for increased efficiency. Our proposal for a deputy director general in Scotland reporting direct to the director general, who in turn reports to the Secretary of State, ensures that the Scottish industry has the best of both worlds: a representative of the director general based in Scotland, but still part of a single regulatory regime. New clause 15 is therefore unnecessary as well as impracticable.

Neither do I see any need for the detailed structure of the director general's organisation to be set out in the Bill as new clause 2 suggests. The Bill rightly restricts itself to describing the functions and responsibility of the director general, as the regulator of the single British market. The director general will be appointed jointly by the Secretaries of State for Energy and for Scotland and be responsible to both Secretaries of State. There is no need for the Bill to provide for the details of the director general's office. The House is well aware of the categoric assurances it has been given on a number of occasions that the director general will have reporting to him a deputy director general based in Scotland. That arrangement is quite different and is preferable to the confused view set out in the new clause.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) and others referred to prices. They made the mistake that all Socialists seem to make on such occasions. They assume that the Government decide what the prices should be. That may have been the case under the Labour Government, but it is not the case under this Government. Such matters are decided by the industry and, in determining tariffs, the industry must take account of a range of factors including cost structure and the need to make an adequate return on assets employed.

The tariff increase in Scotland in 1988–89—4.75 per cent.—was significantly lower than in England and Wales where prices ranged in their increase from 7 per cent. to 12 per cent. The recently announced tariff increases in Scotland for this year of 8 per cent. from 1 April are slightly higher than in England and Wales but still lower than the average increases last year south of the border. The tariff increase in Scotland is greater this year than last, principally because of the effect of higher rates of inflation on operating costs generally, but also reflecting the higher than anticipated fuel costs—both nuclear and coal. Even with the latest increase, tariffs in Scotland are 9 per cent. lower in real terms than in 1982–83. One can compare that with the record of the last Labour Government, when tariffs rose by 20 per cent. in real terms.

Tariffs are primarily a matter for the boards to decide and in determining the level, they have to take into account a complex range of financial and operational factors, including the financial targets agreed with the Government. The financial target for 1989–90 is 2.7 per cent., set jointly to reflect the board's shared responsibility for nuclear generation. That holds the target at broadly the same level as it has been for the past two years.

There is no reason why tariffs should go up as a consequence of privatisation. Privatisation of the two companies will lead to increased efficiency and thus, in time, to lower prices. Competition in the broadest sense and private sector disciplines will put downward pressure on the costs that go into consumers' electricity bills. Where a monopoly will remain, prices to the consumer will be subject to strict and fair regulation and there will be downward pressure through the price condition. The restructuring proposals will create two companies satisfactorily balanced in terms of the mix of generating plant, spare capacity and forecast levels of profitability. Any tariff divergence will, therefore, relate substantially to the effectiveness of management decisions rather than simply to the structure.

The hon. Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) referred to coal. I must point out to him that since we came to power, we have put over £1 billion a year in deficit and non-deficit grant into the coal industry. Nobody can say that we have not taken full account of our responsibilities in that regard. Equally, it is quite wrong to imagine that prices are uninfluenced by the price of coal. If the SSEB were forced to take coal at a high price, there would clearly be implications for the price of electricity.

The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) quoted the Select Committee on Energy on the question of a separate regulator, but he neglected to record the Select Committee's view that the arguments for and against a separate regulator were finely balanced. We feel that they are substantially weighted towards a single Great Britain regulator, but we took account of the Select Committee's arguments in reaching a conclusion. We also note with interest that both the boards in Scotland favour a single director general and that the electricity consultative council for the south of Scotland stated: Regulation in Scotland needs to be an integral part of the UK system of regulation while recognising the different circumstances of the industry in Scotland.

Mr. Salmond

Of course the Select Committee considered the arguments for and against carefully, but the conclusion it came to was for a separate Scottish regulator. The Minister has not yet answered the question why, given that he found other aspects of the Select Committee report so useful, he did not take that recommendation on board. Incidentally, the Select Committee had only one Scottish member.

Mr. Lang

We took account of the recommendations of the Select Committee, but we also took account of other viewpoints and aspects of the matter that were relevant and important in reaching the conclusion that I described a few moments ago. The new clause will do nothing for consumers in Scotland. Consumers in Scotland will derive benefits from the rights that the Bill will give them, the competition that will be introduced through the privatisation of the industry, the downward pressure of the regulator and the more efficient operation of the industry in the private sector. Those are the ways in which the rights of consumers will be best protected, so I urge the House to reject the new clause.

7.45 pm
Mr. Maxton

I shall be brief, as I am aware that the House wants to bring this debate to a conclusion.

I must say to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) that the Labour party now accepts that every time a Scottish National Member speaks here, or anywhere else, his target is not the Government or the Conservative party, but the Labour party. The Scottish nationalists know that it is in their political interest to ensure the return of a Conservative Government rather than a Labour Government at the next general election. The Scottish nationalists are interested not in the people of Scotland, but only in their own cheap political ends. That is what the hon. Gentleman's speech was about.

We would prefer first not to have any privatisation of the electricity supply in Scotland. Our second preference is that there should be a wholly separate directorate and our third is new clause 2. We believe that only a separate Scottish director or one who is responsible to the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether a deputy or not, can ensure that the special needs of the Scottish industry and of the Scottish consumer are protected.

It is strange that just a week before the boards announced their price increases, for which the Minister disclaimed all responsibility, the Scottish Office, in the name of the Secretary of State, put out a release saying: The Secretary of State for Scotland has agreed a financial target for 1989–90 with the South of Scotland Electricity board and the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. It is beyond belief that the Minister can argue the he has no responsibility for the price increases when he is setting the financial targets for the boards. What the Minister has said differs strongly from what the chairman of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, Mr. Joughin, said when referring to the 8 per cent. price increase that his board was introducing. He said: These price increases are designed to ease the path towards privatisation.

Mr. Lang

The chairman of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board claims that he was misquoted and that he did not say that.

Mr. Maxton

It is the easiest opt-out in the world to claim that one was misquoted. I am sure that all of us, at one time or another, have tried to claim that when we have said something that we regretted. I have spoken to Mr. Joughin and others and I am sure that his original remark was the correct view. We believe that the Scottish industry should never be privatised and that there should be a director who is responsible for it. We are not satisfied that assurances given by Tory Ministers mean anything in terms of final promises. I call on my hon. Friends to join me in voting for the new clause.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 205, Noes 266.

Division No. 140] [7.46 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Eadie, Alexander
Allen, Graham Eastham, Ken
Alton, David Evans, John (St Helens N)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Armstrong, Hilary Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Faulds, Andrew
Ashton, Joe Fearn, Ronald
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Fisher, Mark
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Flannery, Martin
Barron, Kevin Flynn, Paul
Battle, John Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Beckett, Margaret Foster, Derek
Beith, A. J. Foulkes, George
Bell, Stuart Fraser, John
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Fyfe, Maria
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Galbraith, Sam
Bermingham, Gerald Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Bidwell, Sydney Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Blair, Tony George, Bruce
Blunkett, David Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Boateng, Paul Godman, Dr Norman A.
Boyes, Roland Graham, Thomas
Bradley, Keith Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Grocott, Bruce
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Hardy, Peter
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Haynes, Frank
Buchan, Norman Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Buckley, George J. Heffer, Eric S.
Caborn, Richard Henderson, Doug
Callaghan, Jim Hinchliffe, David
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Home Robertson, John
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Hood, Jimmy
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cartwright, John Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Hoyle, Doug
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Clay, Bob Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clelland, David Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Illsley, Eric
Cohen, Harry Ingram, Adam
Coleman, Donald Janner, Greville
Corbett, Robin Johnston, Sir Russell
Corbyn, Jeremy Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Cousins, Jim Jones, Ieuan (Ynys MÔn)
Crowther, Stan Kennedy, Charles
Cryer, Bob Kilfedder, James
Cummings, John Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Cunliffe, Lawrence Lambie, David
Cunningham, Dr John Leighton, Ron
Darling, Alistair Lewis, Terry
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Litherland, Robert
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Livsey, Richard
Dewar, Donald Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Dixon, Don Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Dobson, Frank McAllion, John
Doran, Frank McAvoy, Thomas
Douglas, Dick Macdonald, Calum A.
Duffy, A. E. P. McFall, John
Dunnachie, Jimmy McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
McKelvey, William Rooker, Jeff
McLeish, Henry Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Maclennan, Robert Ruddock, Joan
McWilliam, John Salmond, Alex
Madden, Max Sedgemore, Brian
Mahon, Mrs Alice Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Marek, Dr John Skinner, Dennis
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Martlew, Eric Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Maxton, John Soley, Clive
Meacher, Michael Spearing, Nigel
Meale, Alan Steel, Rt Hon David
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Steinberg, Gerry
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Stott, Roger
Moonie, Dr Lewis Strang, Gavin
Morgan, Rhodri Straw, Jack
Morley, Elliott Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Mowlam, Marjorie Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Mullin, Chris Turner, Dennis
Murphy, Paul Vaz, Keith
Nellist, Dave Wall, Pat
O'Brien, William Wallace, James
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Parry, Robert Wareing, Robert N.
Patchett, Terry Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Pike, Peter L. Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Wigley, Dafydd
Prescott, John Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Quin, Ms Joyce Williams, Alan W.(Carm'then)
Radice, Giles Wilson, Brian
Randall, Stuart Winnick, David
Redmond, Martin Worthington, Tony
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn Wray, Jimmy
Reid, Dr John Young, David (Bolton SE)
Richardson, Jo
Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Tellers for the Ayes:
Robertson, George Mrs. Llin Golding and Mr. Martyn Jones.
Robinson, Geoffrey
Rogers, Allan
Adley, Robert Burns, Simon
Aitken, Jonathan Burt, Alistair
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Butcher, John
Allason, Rupert Carlisle, John, (Luton N)
Amess, David Carrington, Matthew
Amos, Alan Carttiss, Michael
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Cash, William
Aspinwall, Jack Chapman, Sydney
Atkins, Robert Chope, Christopher
Atkinson, David Churchill, Mr
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Baldry, Tony Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Batiste, Spencer Conway, Derek
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Bellingham, Henry Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Bendall, Vivian Cormack, Patrick
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Couchman, James
Benyon, W. Cran, James
Bevan, David Gilroy Currie, Mrs Edwina
Blackburn, Dr John G. Curry, David
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Davis, David (Boothferry)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Day, Stephen
Boswell, Tim Devlin, Tim
Bottomley, Peter Dicks, Terry
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Dorrell, Stephen
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Dover, Den
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Dunn, Bob
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Durant, Tony
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Brazier, Julian Fallon, Michael
Bright, Graham Favell, Tony
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Fenner, Dame Peggy
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Browne, John (Winchester) Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Fishburn, John Dudley
Fookes, Dame Janet Meyer, Sir Anthony
Forman, Nigel Miller, Sir Hal
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Mills, Iain
Forth, Eric Miscampbell, Norman
Franks, Cecil Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
French, Douglas Mitchell, Sir David
Gale, Roger Moate, Roger
Garel-Jones, Tristan Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Gill, Christopher Morris, M (N'hampton S)
Goodlad, Alastair Morrison, Sir Charles
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Moss, Malcolm
Grist, Ian Moynihan, Hon Colin
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Mudd, David
Hampson, Dr Keith Neale, Gerrard
Hannam,John Nelson, Anthony
Hargreaves, A.(B'ham H'll Gr') Neubert, Michael
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Harris, David Nicholls, Patrick
Haselhurst, Alan Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hayes, Jerry Norris, Steve
Hayward, Robert Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Oppenheim, Phillip
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Page, Richard
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Paice, James
Hill, James Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Hind, Kenneth Patnick, Irvine
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Patten, Chris (Bath)
Hordern, Sir Peter Patten, John (Oxford W)
Howard, Michael Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Pawsey, James
Howarth, G, (Cannock & B'wd) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dlord) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Porter, David (Waveney)
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Portillo, Michael
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Powell, William (Corby)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Price, Sir David
Irvine, Michael Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Jack, Michael Rathbone, Tim
Jackson, Robert Redwood, John
Janman, Tim Renton, Tim
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Rhodes James, Robert
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Riddick, Graham
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Key, Robert Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
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
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Lang, Ian Sayeed, Jonathan
Latham, Michael Shaw, David (Dover)
Lawrence, Ivan Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lee, John (Pendle) Shelton, Sir William
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shephard, Mrs G.(Norfolk SW)
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lightbown, David Skeet, Sir Trevor
Lilley, Peter Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Speed, Keith
Lord, Michael Speller, Tony
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Squire, Robin
Maclean, David Stanbrook, Ivor
McLoughlin, Patrick Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael Stern, Michael
Madel, David Stevens, Lewis
Major, Rt Hon John Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Malins, Humfrey Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Mans, Keith Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Maples, John Sumberg, David
Marlow, Tony Summerson, Hugo
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Mates, Michael Temple-Morris, Peter
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Mellor, David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Thornton, Malcolm Wheeler, John
Thurnham, Peter Whitney, Ray
Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath) Widdecombe, Ann
Tracey, Richard Wiggin, Jerry
Tredinnick, David Wilkinson, John
Trippier, David Wilshire, David
Trotter, Neville Winterton, Mrs Ann
Twinn, Dr Ian Winterton, Nicholas
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Wolfson, Mark
Waddington, Rt Hon David Wood, Timothy
Wakeham, Rt Hon John Woodcock, Mike
Walden, George Yeo, Tim
Waller, Gary Young, Sir George (Acton)
Walters, Sir Dennis Younger, Rt Hon George
Ward, John
Warren, Kenneth Tellers for the Noes:
Watts, John Mr. Kenneth Carlisle and Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory.
Wells, Bowen
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