§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. Jeff Rooker (Birmingham, Perry Barr)
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I apologise for intervening on a point of order so early in the debate, but I would like you to clarify a ruling, if possible. Under the Standing Orders of the House, would it be appropriate for any Member speaking in the debate who has enjoyed free tickets and free hospitality at the annual super prix to declare that? That is a common practice and any interest on the part of those speaking for and against the proposals tonight should be placed on record.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)
That is a matter for individual Members, but I am sure that those who have an interest to declare will make it clear to the House in the normal way.
Before we begin the debate, I refer the House to the fact that Mr. Speaker has selected the instruction, which may be referred to on Second Reading.
§ Mr. Roger King (Birmingham, Northfield)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
In deference to the request of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker), my family and I have been frequent attenders of the super prix. Indeed, I was a competitor at the first super prix event and, until last year, I could say with some honesty that I was the fastest Birmingham resident to travel the streets of that city. In the first race, I exceeded 100 mph. This year I have been superseded by another Birmingham resident who went a great deal faster than that in a race. I hope that I have satisfied the hon. Member for Perry Barr that I have experienced the super prix, and am delighted to have done so.
§ Ms. Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood)
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the expenditure on free tickets and hospitality at the road race is large and a matter of controversy. Will he estimate the quantity and value of the free hospitality and tickets provided to him and his family?
§ Mr. Roger King
I cannot exactly recall the price of the tickets, so I cannot provide that information. Children under 14 are not charged anyway, and the number of nibbles that they had in the so-called hospitality tent was very modest. So were my own tastes, I may add: as I recall, I was actually locked out of the tent one year because it was too crowded.
§ Mr. Iain Mills (Meriden)
Can my hon. Friend confirm to one who also enjoyed that hospitality that there were more members of the Labour party than Conservatives in the tent, and that more had free tickets?
§ Mr. King
My hon. Friend has raised an interesting point. As I remember, at the first event we were graced, if that is the right expression, by none other than Mr. Derek Hatton, who had come to see how Birmingham got on with running such an event. I do not know whether it had any effect on what he has been doing since then. The event attracted considerable civic attendance from further afield, and I was aware of the presence of a large number of Labour councillors and others enjoying the limited hospitality that was available.
§ Mr. Howell
I hope that the debate develops on a rather higher plane. But in answer to a question that Opposition Members are asking—whether Mr. Denis Thatcher tended to receive such hospitality—he attended as a director of Halfords, the main sponsor of the event, and put a considerable amount of money into it. I hope that we shall hear no more of such pettiness.
§ Mr. Pike
As a Member with no direct involvement, who wants to find out whether the Bill is in the interests of Birmingham and its residents, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be somewhat concerned that Halfords has written to all Members with Halfords superstores in their constituencies urging them to support the Bill. Does he think that the Bill is more important to Halfords than to the people of Birmingham?
§ Mr. King
That is another interesting point. The element of sponsorship has been one of the major assets of the super prix, which attracts more sponsorship than any other motor race in the United Kingdom except the formula 1 grand prix meeting at Silverstone. As a result of paying large sums in sponsorship, Halfords benefits considerably from media coverage of the super prix, and I think that it is entitled to put its view across.
With its superstore concept the company has expanded dramatically, bringing thousands of badly needed jobs to inner-city areas, redeveloping rundown areas into new and attractive one-stop shopping for the motorist and providing car servicing at an economic price. I think that Halfords has something worth shouting about, and that it is entitled to write to Members saying how important the super prix is in highlighting its services and products.
How fitting it is that, on the day on which Toyota has announced its massive £700 million investment in the midlands, we should debate a subject that centres on the motor car. While to some motor racing is a rich man's pastime, to the motor industry it is still a focal point of engineering activity and a window to the world for our national prowess in automotive technology. What better place to celebrate that expertise than the centre of our country, in the streets of Birmingham—a city that still depends so much on the motor car and its future?
Having gone through difficulties in the recent past, our motor industry is now stronger than it has been for many years, providing good-quality products—not just cars and other commercial vehicles, but components. Racegoers will see very few foreign-built single-seater racing cars on our world tracks. No French, German, Italian or even Japanese cars are entirely built by those countries. It is Britain chassis design and engine technology that so often lead the way in motor racing.
It is worth pointing out that at Indianapolis, where one of the oldest motor races in the world takes place, the vast 247 majority of cars that come to the start grid are British-designed and British-built. I do not think that we shout loud enough about that. [Interruption.] I said that most cars to be seen in a race were British. Toyota uses a British chassis, British engineering, British road-holding equipment and British components. The engine at the back is a Toyota unit, yes, but British engineers have tuned it up. In the type of motor racing that takes place in Birmingham—the super prix and international formula 3000 racing—we are pre-eminent in providing the competitive products that teams from throughout the world use during a season.
The background to the Birmingham super prix is well documented. We had a Second Reading debate about it on 1 April 1985, and it was admirably promoted by Sir Reginald Eyre, whom the House now misses. He delivered a cogent, sensible and enthusiastic speech on why Birmingham should capitalise on the opportunities to stage a motor race in its city environment. He could only do so, however, because the local authority had decided, by a significant majority, to promote a Bill to allow that motor race to be held. The Bill enjoyed all-party support. Strangely, a Labour administration on the city council was keenest to promote a motor race in the city.
This Bill has also received substantial support from the city council: 75 members were in favour of it, and of the 16 who were not, six abstained. It can be said, I think, that the Bill comes to the House from the people of Birmingham, whose elected representatives have debated at great length whether to seek a further Bill to allow us to run the motor race that we want.
§ Mr. Rooker
May I make a small point? Birmingham city council has 117 members. Where were the other 20? What list are they on?
§ Mr. King
I am only quoting the figures that I have here. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be able to guide me. I suppose that those people, for one reason or another, were not present to cast their vote. The number 20 rings a slight bell: I recall that there is a militant section within the ruling party in the town hall with a name similar to "the Grosvenor group", whose members do not agree with anything that the council is doing. They are now contesting the leadership. Because their attitude is always derogatory and they are always seeking to disrupt their own party, presumably they stayed away that day.
I think that we would all agree, however, that the fact that a Member is not in the House of Commons to cast his vote does not imply that he is either for or against the motion. We always decide questions on the basis of the votes of Members who vote when the opportunity is there. Nevertheless, it is not all that difficult to go to the town hall to cast a vote, and I see no reason why those people should not have gone. I can only imagine that their absenteeism—if that is what it was—meant that they did not feel able to support the measure.
§ Mr. King
I shall not be led up that road. The Conservative view was that that house should not have 248 been closed. The hon. Lady's point is utterly irrelevant to the debate. I have no intention of being steered away from the main topic of the debate, the super prix.
In1985, Birmingham city council was given the power to run motor racing through the city centre. The intentions of the city council were stated in the preamble to the Birmingham City Council Act 1985, which states:The city is a major commercial and industrial centre and with a view to promoting the city, encouraging tourism and attracting business it is expedient that the council is authorised to provide or arrange for the provision of motor races on certain streets in the city".That preamble places the motor race, which became known as the Birmingham super prix, within an overall economic development strategy.
The recession in the 1970s and early 1980s which severely affected Birmingham's traditional manufacturing base and resulted in record levels of unemployment, focused attention on the need for the city to diversify into service-sector employment. The tremendous success of the national exhibition centre in attracting new wealth and new employment led the way. The economic benefit of visitors and their spending power in leisure and business tourism was recognised as a significant vehicle for creating labour-intensive industry in hotels, leisure and associated trades.
Hon. Members from all sides of the House will probably pay tribute to the way in which the city has revitalised Birmingham, which in the past few years has developed from an area of despondency and decline which some felt was irreversible. Thanks to the determination of all its elected representatives and the people of Birmingham, the city has proved that it can find a new path to prosperity and new opportunities by concentrating and targeting on new avenues of commercial enterprise, not on the bedrock of manufacturing but on a new tourist centre.
§ Dr. John G. Blackburn (Dudley, West)
Does my hon. Friend agree that the House should welcome the proposal by the Labour administration in Birmingham to produce the Bill, because it benefits not only the motor industry but the entire west midlands? I represent Dudley, and many components are manufactured in my constituency. The components industry is dependent on the promotion of the motor car and the motor industry. Does he agree that that is an important factor?
§ Mr. King
My hon. Friend is quite correct, but the impact of the motor race has far wider implications than the immediate environment of our constituencies and affects the whole region. When such an event is promoted by the media and on television, the region benefits. A great city such as Birmingham, with nearly 1 million people, can embark on promotions on a scale which places such as Dudley would have to contemplate extremely carefully. Dudley does not have the the facilities or the ability to promote such an event; nevertheless, Dudley will gain from Birmingham being the vital, throbbing heart of the region's strong economic activity.
A series of ambitious and imaginative schemes were devised by the city council to stimulate leisure and business tourism. On the sporting front, a major athletics stadium, the Alexander stadium, was constructed to international specification, capable of hosting major events such as the European junior championships, international meetings, and the Women's Amateur Athletics Association/ 249 Amateur Athletics Association national championships and Olympic qualifying meetings. The national indoor sports arena is soon to be built in the city centre. Those who have seen the architects' drawings know that that will be a tremendous asset for Birmingham and for the region. The national exhibition centre, which is being extended, hosts major sporting events such as the European figure skating championships in January 1989.
The development of sport as a people attraction resulted in Birmingham's ambitious bid to host the 1992 Olympic games. I pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) who is present today and who so ably led our delegation all over the world. As the years go by, we appreciate the great ambassadorial work that he did. Its effects are still being felt, because it focused world attention on Birmingham's ability to do things, to think big and to act big. If a great city such as Birmingham does not have confidence in itself, how can it show confidence in its people and promote the future we want for our citizens?
On the cultural level, the city council has invested heavily in its theatres, the city of Birmingham symphony orchestra and new festivals for jazz, film, readers and writers. It has recently agreed to relocate Sadler's Wells—a major achievement. We are not simply debating vroom, vroom for Brum, Brum and the promotion of a motor race, but promoting the city for cultural reasons, not only for sport and excitement. I was delighted when the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett) tabled an early-day motion which was signed by most hon. Members representing Birmingham constituencies, welcoming the Sadler's Wells ballet to the city at some cost to the ratepayers, but I did not notice anyone demurring from that, because investment in such activities can only benefit our city and it is right and proper that a limited amount of promotional, recreational and cultural activity should take place.
On the business tourism front, a major new international convention centre is being constructed in the city centre, transforming a rundown area into a major development alongside the national indoor arena—an extensive leisure development opposite the new Hyatt hotel presently being constructed.
Some of my hon. Friends will wish to talk about the extent of the advances in tourism in the city. Birmingham is now the fifth most visited British city. That is a great achievement. It has not been instant, but it has developed because we are providing those facilities. About 40 hotels are currently being planned, built or opened as a result of the major new initiative in developing the city.
§ Ms. Short
The international convention centre and the highly subsidised Hyatt hotel are in my consituency. The development borders on an extremely rundown estate which has had no work done on it for years and has no community facilities and has more than 30 per cent. unemployment. The problem is that all those subsidies to the private sector are failing to bring resources to people in need in Birmingham.
§ Mr. King
The hon. Lady has answered her own problem. The national conference centre, the indoor sports arena, the Hyatt hotel and other developments currently under way are providing or will provide thousands of jobs 250 for people in the immediate environment. That is the crux of the issue. Those places will have to be manned, maintained and run, and there is no reason why the hon. Lady's constituents should not find work. I admit that there are problems in the inner city, but they will be solved not simply be doling out money on a weekly basis, but by providing the infrastructure from the commercial sector wherever possible with help from the local authority to create jobs and provide opportunities for those people. I believe that the city council has been successful in providing that.
The Birmingham super prix has been part of the economic strategy. It is a high-profile, ambitious statement of intent that Birmingham is changing, married to the traditional engineering and organisational skills of the city. The Birmingham super prix has proved particularly successful in fulfilling the requirements set by the promoters of the Bill a few years ago.
Within those three years, the super prix has become established as a national event, as well as a sporting occasion. The organisers have created a festival that appeals to a family audience and one has only to visit it, as some of my hon. Friends have, to see that. I would have found it difficult to comment on the running of such an event had I not been there to see for myself what it means to the population in the surrounding area and to the economy of the city. Not only are there two days of motor racing, but the city comes to life, with street theatre and circus. Because the community has something to do in an area where it has been denied it for so long, criminal activity usually registers an all-time low. We are not surprised that, when the event takes place, there are few problems of violence and theft or the other traditional problems we associate with an inner-city environment.
The event has quickly developed and achieved high profile media coverage with live television and national news attention promoting the city of Birmingham. It has drawn a crowd the majority of whom come from outside Birmingham. At last year's event, market research showed that on Monday, 23 per cent. came from Birmingham, 29 per cent. from the midlands and 48 per cent. from the rest of the country. If we were trying to attract inward investment into the city, we could not have a better means than the super prix, because half the people watching it come from well outside the midlands. They are taking back home the visual impact of a city that is alive and dynamic, and in which investment is not misplaced.
§ Mr. Michael Jack (Fylde)
Can my hon. Friend confirm that many of the hospitality suites situated around the super prix circuit are taken by companies from all over the United Kingdom with national and international connections and that they bring to Birmingham many business people who gain the impression that my hon. Friend has put forward so eloquently this evening?
§ Mr. King
My hon. Friend is right. He has visited the super prix and he said to me how envious he was that the city had been able to have such an event established. As the years go by and the event matures, it becomes increasingly self-perpetuating because of investment by many of the companies and organisations that relish the prospect of having a hospitality suite at a motor race meeting where, if it were not for the fencing, it would be almost possible to reach out and touch the cars. The cars are not right over 251 the other side of an airfield circuit, but are passing by the side of the spectators. That gives a unique dimension to an exciting sport.
There is high national public awareness of the event. An opinion poll conducted outside the midlands showed that 47 per cent. of those asked recognised Birmingham as the home of city centre motor racing. In the short space of three years, we have got the message home to the people who have visited the city that we are the capital of inner-city motor racing.
The event has brought direct economic benefits to the tourist industry. A survey of local hotels showed an increase of 110 per cent. in hotel occupancy and in terms of visitor expenditure, that represents about £500,000. Day visitors account for at least as much. The direct spending by the city council on the event represents more than £750,000 spent locally. Those figures are indicative of the cash injection in the local economy.
The city centre shops, which now open on the bank holiday, are well satisfied with the business generated by the motor race. In the first year of the event we had a problem. Many of the shopkeepers felt that the event would not bring them much custom because everybody would be watching the motor race. By a process of coaxing, they have gradually opened up their shops. We now find that, while the menfolk are watching the motor race, the ladies are shopping. That is an admirable development and a splendid opportunity for the city to offer a family day out, which one cannot enjoy at Silverstone or Brands Hatch. It is a major plus point.
It is important for the life of the city centre that its shops can compete over bank holidays with the attraction of the out-of-town shopping centres, and the motor race has enabled them to do that. We often hear about out-of-town planning developments, so to have an event that brings people into the city centre at a time when it would normally be deserted is significant in providing a living, dynamic and vibrant city centre.
The Birmingham super prix is now the second most prestigious motor race in the United Kingdom. It is the most prestigious round of the international formula 3000 championship and enables many teams of drivers to attract the sponsorship necessary to compete in the championship. The crowd is second in size only to the British grand prix and is the largest of any round of the international formula 3000 championship.
The Birmingham super prix has gone a long way to meeting the objectives of those who first envisaged the event almost 20 years ago, but just in case anyone feels that all I am reporting is a business bonanza, I must reveal that that learned organ of the capitalist press Marxism Today enthused about the race, considering it a Socialist achievement which has taken motor racing to the masses. With that endorsement, who can go wrong?
There are some constraints on the event which require legislative change, which is why we are here this evening. I shall now deal with some of the changes that the Birmingham City Council (No. 2) Bill seeks to bring about, so that we can continue to develop successfully this major attraction. The Birmingham City Council Act 1985 conferred on the city powers to run motor racing, but within certain constraints. The experience of having held the event for three years has resulted in the city council needing amendments to legislation to enable the city to overcome technical problems, to enhance the event and to reduce costs.
252 The Bill seeks to amend the 1985 Act in a number of ways. Firstly, it seeks to extend the number of days and to have more flexibility of dates to enable the super prix to continue. At present, it is confined to taking place on the Sunday and Monday on one of the two May bank holiday weekends or the August bank holiday weekend. It has been held over the August bank holiday weekend for the past three years and will be held again this year at that time. It is now proposed to extend the number of days available from two to four and to allow flexibility of dates so that the event can end on a Sunday or a bank holiday Monday in May, June, July, August or September.
There are powerful reasons for that. The formula 3000 international championship round held in Birmingham now requires three days, which is an international rulling outside the control of the city. We are fortunate in having a waiver for this year so that we can hold the race over two days, but that waiver will not continue, so we must extend the time in which the race can be held. Birmingham is granted a waiver through the international motor sport authority, FISA, to enable the event to run for two days.
Birmingham city council needs to protect the international stature of the event, as it has a track record of promoting the event over the past three years in a way that is attractive to the media, to the sponsors and to the spectators. The city wants especially to guarantee television coverage. Without the formula 3000 prestigious international race, which is only one step down from grand prix racing proper, the whole event would be in jeopardy. Birmingham city council therefore needs an extension to three days.
§ Mr. Robin Corbett (Birmingham, Erdington)
The hon. Gentleman has made an argument for extension from two to three days, but has not yet spoken about a fourth day. As I understand it, the only circumstances in which the city council would require the powers for a fourth day would be if a grand prix were offered and the city council was prepared to fork out £1 million for the privilege of staging it.
§ Mr. King
I was coming on to that important point in a moment.
Secondly, Birmingham city council believes that it has proved the super prix to be a major motor racing event. We should now be in a position to promote the most prestigious motor racing event, a grand prix, should one be offered. That would require four days. The city council wants to welcome back all the drivers now in grand prix racing who have driven at the Birmingham circuit over the past three years. Many drivers in formula 3000 go on to formula 1 racing, which is more prestigious. It is recognised that there is intense competition throughout the world for grand prix racing and that unless Birmingham city council is capable—I stress that word—of offering four days to the international motor sport authorities, it will never be offered a grand prix.
Thirdly, the difficulty is that, should the city be offered a grand prix, it could well fall on dates that are not at present available for it. In answer to what the hon. Member for Erdington said, it is not the city council's' intention actively to obtain a formula 1 grand prix. In any case, they are difficult to get. However, there may come a time when there will be the opportunity to stage such a prestigious event.
253 There is no doubt that a formula 1 grand prix meeting requires an outlay of about £1 million and, as the hon. Member for Erdington said, it will have to be debated by the local council at some considerable length. Indeed, it is only right and proper that the council should do so. However, in no way does this change in the legislation bring nearer the holding of a formula 1 meeting. Ultimately, it will be the city council that will have to debate the merits of investing that sort of money if the opportunity occurs, but frankly, I cannot see that happening for many years.
The plus side is that £1 million up front, if one can use that expression, stands a chance of earning a city such as Birmingham many more millions of pounds in income from the teams and from the enormous extra number of people who will come to the city during the three or four days that the circuit is available for use for practice or for the main event.
§ Mr. Rooker
Does the hon. Gentleman not appreciate that, in laying the foundations for such an event in the way that he has just explained, the city council would be required to overturn completely its stated policy from day one—a policy that is currently maintained—of not allowing cigarette advertising on the circuit? One cannot have formula 1 grand prix and keep that policy. Does the hon. Gentleman envisage that we should bring the merchants of death on to the streets of Birmingham? Is that what is in the minds of the promoters? Many consequences would flow from such a decision and would overturn existing commitments and promises that were given and received in good faith.
§ Mr. King
I know that that point concerns the hon. Gentleman, because it concerned him in relation to the original Bill in 1985. If my memory serves me correctly, such a situation has occurred before in formula 1 racing. Certain cars with cigarette advertising on them have had to have that advertising blanked over during meetings in a particular country. In any case, the criticism that the hon. Gentleman has rightly pointed out would be a matter for debate by the local authority, which may well decide that such an event is not for them because of the restrictions that may be placed on it by the Formula 1 Contractors' Association, which at some stage may say, "No, we are not going to abide by any cover-up of cigarette advertising."
As it is, I believe that only two teams, Camel Lotus and McClaren, are closely identified with cigarette advertising and use colours that are associated with popular cigarettes. That is a tenuous connection, and as far as I know no overt publicity or promotion is given to the event in that way—
§ Mr. Rooker
I am sorry, but I shall have to press this, because the hon. Gentleman has failed to meet the point. One of the reasons that this House, in its wisdom, gave Birmingham approval for the 1985 Act—we all agreed with it when it finally went through for reasons that I shall 254 explain later—was the commitment that was given, but that commitment is not written into the Act. If the city council wishes to overturn its policy on tobacco, it does not have to come back to the House. Given the fact that the biggest cause of death in this country is coronary heart disease and that the biggest single independent factor involved in those 3,000 deaths per week is smoking, I should be even more opposed to all this than I was before. However, as a Member of Parliament, I would be prevented from raising the matter, because the event will have been sub-contracted to the local authority.
§ Mr. King
I have no doubt that, if the opportunity arose to stage a formula 1 meeting—it is a slender one—the hon. Gentleman would have the opportunity to press his point.
If the city council wishes to offer amendments to what it has formerly agreed—as the hon. Gentleman rightly pointed out, that commitment is not included in the Act—it is for the city council to try to persuade the hon. Gentleman that there will be adequate safeguards. If a formula 1 race meeting is agreed by the city council, I imagine that it will be agreed on certain conditions with the Formula 1 Contractors Association. If people agreed that cigarette advertising was anathema to the local authority—to be fair to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) I must confess that I would support that view—the contractors would be required to remove such advertising from their cars.
There is nothing new here. The issue will be considered on its merits and I have no difficulty in saying that the local authority and its Members of Parliament—presumably we shall all be consulted—will have an opportunity to make our voices known.
§ Mr. Terry Davis (Birmingham, Hodge Hill)
The hon. Gentleman may not be aware that, when the previous Act was introduced in the House in 1985, objections to tobacco advertising were raised by myself and my hon. Friends. I was given a written assurance by a senior member of the council—
§ Mr. Davis
My hon. Friend says that that assurance is not worth anything, but I shall draw attention to what I regard as assurances that have been broken later in the debate if I succeed in catching your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
I advise the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. King) that I was given written assurances that there would be no cigarette advertising connected with the event. Will the hon. Gentleman make it quite clear to the House, because he is now responsible for sponsoring this Bill, whether he regards the city council as having an option to keep that assurance?
§ Mr. King
I have no problems in saying that, if the city council made those assurances—and yes, it did; we were all here when we debated the original Bill in April 1985—I see no reason why that agreement should have been rescinded in any way. I think that it still holds absolutely good, and there should be no problems on that score.
§ Mr. Davis
I must press the hon. Gentleman. Will he give a categorical assurance as the hon. Member promoting the Bill that he would not condone any decision 255 to allow cigarette advertising in the course of a grand prix event—and what is more, that it will not happen because of the assurance that was given to hon. Members in 1985?
§ Mr. King
I thought that I had just made that point quite clear. I am giving that assurance. As far as I am aware, nothing has changed from what was previously agreed. Unless the hon. Gentleman can produce a letter saying that things have changed, we must assume—I assume and I give him the assurance—that that commitment still holds good and that there is no question of cigarette advertising being allowed on racing cars or even of the promotion of cigarettes being allowed within the environment of the circuit. I willingly give the hon. Gentleman that assurance. I cannot imagine that anyone would want to change such an assurance.
§ Mr. Jack
Perhaps I can assist my hon. Friend by telling him that, at the moment, the West German grand prix requires that all forms of written promotion for cigarette advertising be removed from the cars, and that is what happens. The cars remain in their colours but there are no sponsors' names on them. Does my hon. Friend agree that motor sport is now increasingly being used as a promotional tool for another environmentally sensitive issue—lead-free petrol?
§ Mr. King
My hon. Friend made a good point at the end of his intervention and I am grateful to him for reminding me that it is in the West German grand prix that such advertising is removed. Therefore, the safeguards do exist, and I can give the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) an assurance on behalf of the promoters that what was previously agreed still holds good now. There is no question of us going back on that.
It is also a requirement in the revised rules of running a formula 3000 event that the circuit must be altered to provide a safer pit area. At the moment, the area is somewhat confined and cars have to decelerate quite quickly and engage in a few twists and turns to get into the pit area. In addition, the acceleration lane is not long enough to allow them to build up to a circuit speed. Although the circuit is perfectly safe, it is felt by FISA and the organisers of formula 3000 that improvements have to be made.
The city council wishes to do that by changing the circuit slightly to enable racing to take place on the inward carriageway of Bristol street, thus releasing the outward carriageway of Bristol street for use as pits. That would require the construction of a short link road between the two carriageways. It will make for a more attractive and interesting motor race and one which, by implication, will be a great deal safer.
Clause 7, the new section 4(2) in schedule 3, and clause 6(1) involve longer highway closures. Under the 1985 Act powers, highways are closed for the event from 9 am to 6 pm. At the request of the police, highways are in fact closed from 6 am under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. The city council wishes to have that additional time specifically mentioned in the Act.
Racing—by which I mean practice—will not take place on any day before 9 am. In addition, two additional hours at the end of racing are proposed to allow racing to finish should there be any delays during the day due to crashes. Because of bad weather and incidents on the circuit, we have experienced delays because of the time taken to restore the circuit to its 256 correct and safe state. Last year, that resulted in us losing two races at the end of the day, when we had to close the circuit and re-open the roads at 6 pm.
Speaking as a witness and as a pure matter of fact, there is little sense in losing such races, because the amount of public access to the roads for two or three hours after 6 o'clock on a bank holiday Monday is negligible. That is thanks to the superb arrangements made by the West Midlands police to route traffic away from the circuit. We submit that for the circuit to be used for an extra two or three hours would not excessively infringe anyone's right of movement.
§ Ms. Short
The hon. Gentleman has forgotten that people live within the circuit and for them getting in and out of their houses and driving their cars to the shop or church in the evening is a serious concern. They do not welcome the extension of hours.
If it was legal to close the streets for longer than the times granted under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, why are those powers needed in this Bill? Has there been some doubt about the legality of the extended road closing in previous years?
§ Mr. King
As far as I know, the hon. Lady can rest assured that there is no illegality. The police have powers to make limited closures in the way that I have described under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. However, I believe that, to put this on a regular basis, it is right that the promoters should bring the Bill to the House to request that it be written into the Act. With the permission of the House, we are extending the days from two to four and in that way exceed the limited role of the police to make specific changes now and again. We need to study the implications behind such extension of road closures. Other hon. Members may wish to speak about the reaction of the local community to the city's proposals through, for example, opinion poll sampling, and, perhaps, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you will allow such debate.
§ Mr. Terry Davis
On the question of closing the roads for certain periods of certain days, will the hon. Gentleman clarify the meaning of the Bill that he is introducing? The Bill would make it possible for the city council to close the roads for four days instead of two, as at present, and to close them for four days at any time between the end of April and the beginning of October, with the fourth day being either a bank holiday or a Sunday. Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that the effect of the Bill is that the city council can decide to have a road race on any Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday between the beginning of May and the end of September, to close the streets for all four days and to close them until 8 o'clock instead of 6 o'clock in the evening?
§ Mr. King
As a result of experience, a certain number of engineering days are allowed to set up and to dismantle the circuit, to which clauses 3(b) and 6 refer. Under the 1985 Act, the number of days available for the safety fence erection works is 10 days before and five days after the event. The city council wishes to extend that to 20 days 257 after the event. That will minimise the engineering works undertaken in anti-social hours, thus minimising disruption to residents, to businesses and to traffic.
It must be accepted that any work carried out within the confines of the highway will inevitably cause some disruption to the traffic using the roads. The problem experienced by the council is that, because of the restricted time that it is allowed to set up the circuit, it requires more men working and more disruption. It is hoped that, by spreading the period when the erection and the dismantling of the circuit can take place, the inconvenience to the road users and to the local residents—one must take into account their day-to-day problems—will be reduced dramatically. They will not therefore have to face the high pressure of the circuit engineer building the circuit with the consequent disruption that we have experienced.
Additionally, because of the time restriction, there is the cost of working through the night on many occasions, which is also disruptive to local residents. By extending the engineering days in such a way, the work can be carried out during the day, when the residents will not be inconvenienced by night-time noise and work.
§ Ms. Short
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that one Birmingham citizen, who I believe lived in his constituency, has died as a result of the barriers being erected in advance? It was the Birmingham coroner who called for changes to be considered when building barriers on the city's super prix route. Can the hon. Gentleman assure us that the fact that someone has died means that the coroner's remarks have been taken into account and that people's lives will not be put at risk in future?
§ Mr. King
The hon. Lady has probably given a clear indication why we are making some of our proposals. It has been disruptive to install the barriers in the way that we have because of the time restraints. That has required contractors in vehicles to occupy the highways and lift the ARMCO barrier into position in a way that we do not like. By spreading out the time available, one can have fewer people working for a longer period, which will have a less disruptive influence on traffic that is on the highway at the same time.
The hon. Lady has reminded us of the tragedy. How directly attributable that was to working on the super prix circuit—
§ Ms. Short
Has the hon. Gentleman made up that answer on the spur of the moment, or does he really know that safety has been taken into account? It is a serious matter when a life has been taken and the coroner has said that it was due to the way that the roadworks were being carried out. The gentleman who died was Mr. Taylor, of Staple Lodge road, Northfield, so I presume that he was the hon. Gentleman's constituent.
Will the hon. Gentleman assure me that safety has been taken into account in reorganising the way in which the 258 barriers will be erected? If not, is he just saying that off the top of his head, without knowing whether safety has been properly considered?
§ Mr. King
The hon. Lady is right to be concerned. I say again that the entire exercise of extending the time in which engineering work will take place is designed to reduce the inconvenience to road users and to local people. Because we are reducing the inconvenience, that must imply that we are intending to do so in as safe and as efficient manner as we can.
One cannot guarantee that somebody will not have an accident because of work that is taking place. In all honesty, no one can say that. However, steps are taken and will be taken to minimise that possibility. I have no doubt that, as a result of what the coroner has said about that accident, the city engineers and those responsible for erecting the circuit will pay particular attention to ensuring that such an accident is not repeated. No one would want anybody to be the innocent victim of what is a strong social event and an entertaining spectacle.
Schedule 2 outlines police costs. The 1985 Act gave the West Midlands police full indemnity for their costs arising in connection with the race. That is unique, because the costs include the policing costs outside the sporting area as well as inside. The costs also include planning and the staffing of police headquarters. Birmingham city council has no influence over the level of policing, as that is an operational decision of the chief constable. As a consequence, extremely high costs have been carried by the city council—they have averaged much more than £100,000. The city council feels that that is unfair, as the figure represents about a quarter of the total police bill to football clubs for all matches played in the west midlands in one season.
One of the problems has been that, because of the stated requirements, some of the costs have been much higher than originally estimated way back in the early 1980s. During the three years of the event, however, the police have reported only a handful of incidents leading them to take action. The city council is currently discussing the matter with the police authority, and it hopes to reach agreement leading to an amendment being put to the Committee, should the Bill receive a Second Reading.
The city council would also like the House to consider the insurance costs. Section 20 of the 1985 Act establishes strict liability for personal injury or damage to property without proof of negligence. That is unusual, as negligence normally has to be proved. The consequence has been an extremely high insurance premium of around £200,000 a year. The council originally wanted to repeal this section of the 1985 Act, because experience of three years racing suggested that it was unjustified. However, it has noted the concern of local residents, businesses and hon. Members and it will put an amendment to the Committee to reinstate strict liability without proof of evidence for residents, spectators, businesses and statutory undertakers. That cover will not include drivers, their teams or associated personnel involved in the super prix, including the media. The latter will need to prove negligence. It is felt that, in any case, those in the latter category are well aware of the risks they take at this sport.
It is important to mention the accounting procedures that the city council has adopted over the years, given their importance to the perception of the super prix as a profitable operation. I am sure that other hon. Members 259 will also want to comment on this. The 1985 Act placed upon the city council the obligation to make a cumulative profit over five years in order to retain its powers to run motor racing. In addition, the Act obliged the city council to adopt commercial accountancy procedures rather than local government accountancy procedures. Section 14 of the 1985 Act refers to that and was inserted following objections to the Bill in 1985.
The city council was advised as to the proper presentation of its motor race accounts by its auditors. Because of the unusual nature of commercial accounts within a local government setting, the city council sought counsel's opinion on the presentation of the accounts. It has been guided by that advice. It was right for the city council to comply with the advice of its auditors.
The financial outcome is as follows. In the report to the general purposes committee of Birmingham city council on 3 October 1984, the city treasurer reported his estimates of costs and revenue for the motor race. The estimated costs ranged from £1.35 million to £1.8 million and the estimated income was £1.35 million. The treasurer concluded:From a prudent financial viewpoint it is considered that the first motor racing event on the streets of the city may not generate large profits. It is anticipated that a similar position would result from the second or third events.… Whilst the promotional benefits of staging road races cannot be quantified it must be accepted that there is immense potential. It is thus suggested that, if a loss were to be made that it would be right to judge such as part of the overall costs of promotion and publicity of the city.That was before the original Bill came to the House.
In 1986, the costs were £1,530,000; in 1987, they were £1,561,000; in 1988, the provisional costs—the accounts have not yet been audited—were £1,213,000. Those figures are within the estimates set. The income in 1986 was £898,000; in 1987 it was £1,122,000, and in 1988 it was £1,213,000—that figure may vary by £1,000 either way. In other words, the city lost money in years one and two but broke even last year. Those are the figures if one accepts or adopts local government accounting methods. If one considers those figures in the light of commercial accounting methods, as necessitated by the 1985 Act, they reveal that in 1986 the city lost £173,051; in 1987 it made a profit of £76,557 and in 1988 it made a profit of £565,494. The cumulative figure for the years to date shows that a profit of about £470,000 has been made. Those are the figures that the auditors have looked at and approved.
It is clear, judged by normal local government accounting conventions and commercial accounting conventions, that the race is profitable and will go forward from strength to strength. Other hon. Members may wish to argue the merits of the accounts or the way in which they have been drawn up, but those figures are subject to audit and the auditors are clear that the city has adopted the correct accountancy procedures and that the figures, as presented in the accounts, stand the test of examination.
My speech has been extended because of the interventions by many hon. Members. I thought it was right and proper to allow them to do so, as that avoids much repetition later on. Those interventions have also helped to clarify the issues and the concerns about which they are rightly worried.
I have pleasure in presenting the Bill to the House. I hope that all hon. Members will realise that the Bill comes from the people of Birmingham—from the local authority—with support from all sections of the political parties. It 260 illustrates the city's desire and determination to see the motor race prosper and to grab the opportunities that are available to ensure that the city maintains its dynamic drive towards future prosperity and competitiveness in this its 100th year.
§ Mr. Terry Davis (Birmingham, Hodge Hill)
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. King) took 28 minutes of his speech to reach the Bill. During those first 28 minutes he described the economic benefits of running a motor race through the streets of Birmingham.
The hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand that the disagreement within the Labour party about this matter does not concern whether there are economic benefits, but how those economic benefits should be generated. I found it rather amusing that the hon. Gentleman, a Conservative Member, extolled the merits of public expenditure as a way of generating employment in Birmingham or elsewhere. The disagreement within the Labour party is not about whether there should be expenditure to generate jobs, but what sort of expenditure should generate what sort of jobs. The argument within the Labour party is about priorities. We believe that in deciding to spend money on the motor race—in subsidising a motor race—the city council has forgone the opportunity to spend money on social services, on education, on housing and on all the other activities for which people elect city councillors. Those services generate jobs as well as providing services for those in need.
§ Mr. Davis
I was not aware of that and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing that to our attention.
The hon. Member for Northfield briefly addressed the fact that when the 1985 Bill was introduced to the House of Commons by Sir Reginald Eyre, the House was told not only that we would derive all the economic benefits, described by the hon. Gentleman for 28 minutes, but that we would also receive a profit. We were told that the race would make a profit without anything being charged to the ratepayers and that that profit would in turn be used to improve social services, education and housing. It has not made a profit without a charge being made on the rates.
§ Mr. Davis
If my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) disagrees, he will no doubt have an opportunity to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, but, if he disagrees, I will certainly want to examine his figures after this debate.
There are two reasons for opposing this Bill. The first is the effect of the road race on the people who live near the circuit. There is no doubt in my mind, having talked to representatives of residents in that area, that there is a tremendous noise and disruption as a result of the road race. At the time of the 1985 Bill we were told that people living in the area welcomed the excitement, glamour and pleasure they would derive from watching a road race pass their front windows, and we were told there were surveys 261 which supported that. I did not disagree with that argument, but people living in the area have experienced three road races, and there is now evidence that many of them do not want the road race to continue and that even more of them are very concerned about the possibility of a bigger road race taking place—a formula 1 road race—for a period of four days.
It is not only the people who live in the area who have strong feelings about the disruption caused by the road race. People living further afield suffer a great deal of inconvenience in commuting to the city centre during the period of the road race during the road works before and after the race. I leave it to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham Ladywood (Ms. Short) and other hon. Members whose constituents are adversely affected to describe the effects of the road race in detail.
The problems people have at the moment will clearly be made worse by the proposals in this Bill, and I cannot advise the House to accept the assurances given by the hon. Member for Northfield, who is no doubt acting in good faith; so was Sir Reginald Eyre when he gave assurances to this House four years ago. Those assurances have not been kept.
For example, the hon. Member for Northfield said that we should extend the period of the works to 20 days, which would enable them to be done at less anti-social times, which will reduce the effect on people living in the area, but there is no guarantee that that will happen; it is not written into the Bill. The Bill gives the council the opportunity to do the road works over a period of 20 days at unsocial as well as other hours.
Similarly, the hon. Member says that the council would not want to have a road race for four days unless it were formula 1 rather than formula 3. Again, that is not guaranteed in the Bill. Indeed, when I intervened in his speech and asked him to confirm whether it was possible under a clause in this Bill to have a formula 3 or super prix race over a period of four days on any weekend between the beginning of May and the end of September, he said that it was. In the previous Bill, which became an Act, we were assured that the super prix would take place only on one of three weekends; it would have to be a bank holiday weekend, over Sunday and bank holiday Monday, on one of the two bank holiday weekends in May or the one in August.
However, this Bill gives the council the opportunity to have a race for four days on any weekend between May and August, and there is no guarantee that the council will not take this opportunity and will not operate like the moneylender in "The Merchant of Venice" and demand its pound of flesh because it is entitled to it under the terms of this Bill. I am not prepared to accept the hon. Member's assurances, although I am sure that he gives them in good faith.
This Bill would also enable the council to close the streets from 6 am to 8 pm instead of the present shorter period. The Bill would enable it to refuse to idemnify the costs of the police authority. In such a week, after last Saturday's tragedy, I am amazed that anybody can argue in this House about the level of policing which the police force judge to be appropriate for any sporting event or that anyone wants to refuse to pay for that policing. As it 262 stands, the Bill would also enable the council to escape its strict liability obligations, which were included in the previous Act.
I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's assurances, which brings me to the second reason for opposing this Bill—we have had assurances before. We had clear and explicit assurances four years ago. I refer to the financial arrangements for the road race, the assurances given then by the city council to this House, and the assurances given in this House by Sir Reginald Eyre on behalf of the city council; assurances incorporated, as we were told, into the Bill which became the 1985 Act; assurances which in my opinion have now been broken.
These assurances took two forms. The first was that if the council were allowed to use £.1.5 million of its capital allocation to pay for the capital expenditure required for the road race—an allocation from the Government intended to pay for repairs to council houses—the money would be recovered over a period of five years from the income generated by the road race and that the money would be recycled to pay for those repairs. That assurance was not only given in this House but was confirmed in a letter to me from the leader of the city council dated 21 June 1985. When I discussed the wording of the Bill with the representative of the city treasurer's department or the city solicitor's department, Mr. Allport, I was promised that the assurance would be given effect. That was one of the reasons why I dropped my objections to the Bill at the time.
Subsequently, I had correspondence with the city solicitor about this matter and was told that the capital expenditure on essential services would be financed by the road race. That assurance has not been kept. When I raised this point with Councillor John Charlton, the chairman of the general purposes committee, a few months ago, he told me that the promise had been kept and referred me to the city treasurer. I took up that invitation and had a very frank discussion with the city treasurer. I was told by him that he had had to find £1.5 million to honour the assurance given to this House, but he did not find it in the money generated by the road race; it was money made available to the city council for other reasons.
§ Mr. Davis
My right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath shakes his head, but Mr. Bernard Farrar, the city treasurer, explained this to me in careful detail. The £1.5 million came not from the road race but from the Severn-Trent water authority, and that money was used to pay for council house repairs. When I put it to the city treasurer that that was all very well but that it was still open to the city council to increase the money spent on repairing council houses by that £1.5 million as well as 1.5 million re-cycled from the income of the road race, he had to admit that that was correct. We were promised that the money would come from the road race over a period of five years, and that promise has not been kept. I repeat that it is not being kept for the benefit of my right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath who keeps intervening from a sedentary position.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
The purpose of this interruption is to point out that the hon. Gentleman said this has to be done over five years. I accept what he says, but the race has been on for only three years.
§ Mr. Davis
I have here a letter dated 30 January, from Councillor John Charlton, chairman of the general purposes committee, who is claiming that the assurance has been kept, not that it will be kept in the future, and it was he who referred me to the city treasurer. When I spoke to the city treasurer, he explained to me what had happened and that it was not money from the road race and would not be from the road race. So that assurance, in my judgment, has not been kept, and the city treasurer was kind enough to say that he understood my view.
The second assurance which has not been kept is that the road race would not be subsidised by the ratepayers of Birmingham. In other words, we were told that the road race would make a profit, not a loss, so there would not be any question of money being spent on the road race instead of on repairs to houses and schools, on employing more teachers' home helps and occupational therapists, or on adaptation's to the homes of people with disabilities. We were told that none of those things would take second place to the road race and that money would not be spent on the road race rather than on those vital services for the people of Birmingham. We were told that profit would provide money for increased expenditure on all those things.
§ Mr. Davis
My right hon. Friend's memory is correct. That is what we were promised. We were told that the profit would be used to improve services for the people of Birmingham. We were specifically told that if the road race did not make a cumulative profit for the first five years, it would not be held again. The council was so confident that it said that the race would not be held then in spite of all the other benefits described by the hon. Member for Northfield. That assurance has not been kept.
The assurances were given at a very early stage in our discussions on the Bill which became the Birmingham City Council Act 1985. The city council issued a document in January 1985 which stated:The view from the consultants is that a profit of at least £1 million would be made on the first event, with even larger profits in the future.….The most pessimistic view is that in the short term, income and expenses will break even. No charge will fall on the rates.That document was followed by an advertisement which appeared in The House Magazine on 25 January 1985 which stated succinctly under the headline "Birmingham ratepayers won't be paying for it":The cost to the ratepayers of Birmingham? Absolutely nothing. Indeed it will be to their benefit as more cash will be brought into the authority's kitty.
§ Mr. Davis
I hope that my right hon. Friend will continue to follow my argument.
Another document was issued which stated:The race will make money for the city council so the ratepayer will not lose out. We will not be taking decisions on whether to repair leaking roofs or to support the race. The road race will bring more cash into the authority's kitty.The then chairman of the general purposes committee wrote a letter in which she said:the support given to the motor race will not reduce the amount of resources available for other purposes. In fact, in a profit situation, the funds available for these purposes will 264 actually increase and of course it is our hope that besides promoting the city and encouraging tourism, the racing will generate income which we can use on community and social services.That was backed up by another letter from the then city treasurer, Mr. Paul Sabin, who referred first to capital expenditure, and who said:It can be regarded as good value for money in the sense that it will generate income from the motor race which will improve the city's revenue position and thereby free resources to be spent on other services. In the long run, housing, education etc. could well benefit significantly from the motor race … Since we envisage the motor race at worst breaking even in revenue or year-to-year operating terms, and probably generating significant income, there is no question of revenue resources being diverted from other spending areas … There is no conflict of priorities … It would not take long for annual benefits to cancel out the initial capital contribution and therefore should perhaps be seen as a major financial factor in this debate.When the Birmingham City Council Bill was introduced in March 1985, a circular was sent to some hon. Members which stated:The race will make money for the city council and will not therefore be a burden on the ratepayers.
§ Mr. Davis
My hon. Friend is still with me. I hope that he will continue to be with me.
The Birmingham City Council Bill had its Second Reading on 1 April 1985. Sir Reginald Eyre said:Since the city envisages the motor race at worst breaking even in revenue on year-to-year operating terms, and probably generating significant income, there is no question of revenue resources being diverted from other spending areas … It is the hope of the city council, based on careful study of all the factors involved, that besides promoting the city and encouraging tourism"—I emphasise those words, "besides promoting the city and encouraging tourism"—the motor racing will generate income and so extra resources for the city."—[Official Report, 1 April 1985; Vol. 76, c. 962–63.]My colleagues and I continued to have some scepticism about those claims and we regarded them as being exaggerated. Nevertheless, the Bill received its Second Reading and went into Committee. In Committee, questions were raised about the financial arrangements For the race. An hon. Member for Manchester is recorded as asking who would be responsible for any financial loss resulting from the ratepayers. A representative of the city council in the presence of the agents Sharpe, Pritchard and Company, the same agents for this Bill, answered:It was not thought likely, however: expert analysis projected a £1 million profit on a £1.5 million outlay not including the spin-off from tourism.Many of my hon. Friends subsequently received a letter from the leader of the city council, who wrote:As far as I am concerned, however, to keep running a road race at a loss is not on. We will therefore bring in an amendment in the Lords to provide that the race shall not take place if an operating loss is still made in the fifth year of the event.That letter was sent by Councillor Dick Knowles on 21 June 1985.
On 24 June, Sir Reginald Eyre said in the House:In principle, a requirement that the race would not continue—that is, that the powers to operate the race would cease—if the event could not be staged without incurring annual losses, is accepted. The city council would not want to continue running the race if it had to require support from the ratepayers each year … The intention is to introduce an 265 amendment in another place to deal fully with the principle of the new clause … I am giving an undertaking of equivalent value"—that is, equivalent value to a new clause or amendment, which had been tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Ladywood. Sir Reginald Eyre said:I am giving an undertaking of equivalent value in that such an amendment will be introduced in another place. I give that undertaking on behalf of the city council.When pressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Ladywood, he said:I have given an undertaking without reservation on behalf of Birmingham city coucil."—[Official Report, 24 June 1985; Vol. 81 columns 712–13.]The intentions of Sir Reginald Eyre and the city council were clear: the race would generate a profit and would not require any subvention from the rate fund.
On 4 July, we resumed the Report stage of the Birmingham City Council Bill. In the meantime, there had been private discussions between myself on behalf of my hon. Friends and Sir Reginald Eyre in the presence of other council representatives. Sir Reginald Eyre was very forthcoming and he accepted the strength of feelings of myself and my hon. Friends. He assured me that it was not the intention to run the race at a loss, that the council would stop it after five years if there was a cumulative loss, and that there would be no subsidy from the rates on any grounds. I accepted in good faith what Sir Reginald Eyre told me and I advised my hon. Friends to drop their objections to the 1985 Bill. My hon. Friends accepted that I was also acting in good faith, and we agreed that we could trust Sir Reginald Eyre's assurances. A new clause was tabled by him to give effect to the assurances that he had given to me and my hon. Friends.
New clause 3, which was brought before the House on 14 July 1985, became section 14 of the Act. Subsection 5 says:If the statements for the first five financial years in which the council provide motor races show a cumulative deficit, the power to provide motor races shall cease to be exercisable by the council.Sir Reginald Eyre, explaining the purpose of that new clause, said:New clause 3 is designed to meet the points that were made in the earlier debates. This provision meets my undertaking that if the revenue accounts for the first five financial years in which the council provides motor races show a cumulative deficit, the power to provide motor races shall cease to be exercisable by the council."—[Official Report, 4 July 1985; Vol. 82, c. 577.]On that basis, my hon. Friends and I allowed the Bill to become an Act of Parliament, and the city council issued this community bulletin:In spite of what has been suggested by the few critics of the race proposals, it will not cost the ratepayers anything.In fact, financial analysts have projected that, far from costing money, the event will put much-needed profits into the city's kitty, and this means more to spend on the services we all need.Those are not my words; they are the words of the city council. That is what the council said would happen; that is what it said was built into the Bill; that is the assurance that it gave.
Unfortunately, the first race was held in 1986, and it made a loss. The second race was held in 1987, and it made a loss. In February 1988, the city council was faced with the problem of having to meet the assurances that it had given to this House, as expressed in section 14 of the Act.
§ Ms. Short
My hon. Friend is telling his story very well. We all lived through this. There has been a great deal of talk about the way in which the accounts were kept. Can my hon. Friend confirm that implementaton of the provisions in the Act about the way in which the accounts should be presented is entirely a matter for the city council? Is it not a fact that the council chose that way of recording the accounts, and did not have it imposed by others?
§ Mr. Davis
My hon. Friend is absolutely correct. I do not propose to go into detail about my discussions with Sir Reginald Eyre. I took him as representing the city council. After all, he sponsored the Bill in this House. I had known him for several years in his role as a member of the Conservative party. I disagreed with him about many political issues, but I would never have questioned his integrity or his good faith. I believed what he was telling me, indeed, I believe that he believed what he was telling me—that there would not be any cost to the ratepayers of Birmingham if the race were to go ahead and if, at the end of five years, there were to be a cumulative deficit, the race would not be held again.
In February 1988 the city council officers found that they had a problem. They had a loss of nearly £600,000 from the race in 1986, and a loss of about £400,000 in 1987, and they had trouble with the auditors. The auditors came to look at the road race accounts, and found that some items that should have been included in those accounts had not been included. I refer to items such as hospitality for VIPs, which had been charged to other accounts. The council argued that that expenditure had been incurred under provisions of other legislation and that therefore there was no need to show it as a cost against the road race. The auditors said that that was not right and that the council must put the expenditure into the road race account.
The auditors also told the council that it must include depreciation. I have some sympathy for the council on that. It is a detailed point, and the city council made a great issue of it in discussions with my hon. Friends and myself. Actually, the figures show that the amounts included for depreciation are nothing like the total of the losses.
There is some dispute about what happened at the meeting with the auditors. Certainly, it is clear to me that the suggestion came from that meeting that the council should consider putting a sum of money into the road race account for the benefit of promoting tourism in the city. It is not clear who made that suggestion. It was based on the preamble of the Act, which says:The city is a major commercial and industrial centre and, with a view to promoting the city and encouraging tourism and attracting business, it is expedient that the council be authorised to provide or arrange for the provision of motor races on certain streets in the city.I emphasise that those words were in the preamble from the very beginning. At no stage was it suggested that those words justified a credit to the road race account from the rates account. At no time was that suggested, by Sir Reginald Eyre or anybody else, and it was never thought of until the meeting took place nearly two years after the first road race had been held.
§ Mr. Rooker
My hon. Friend is making a useful and a very important point. It is one that has to be put on the record for the benefit of all hon. Members and for 267 everyone else who may read the report of this debate. The preamble to a private Bill is not the same as the preamble to a public Bill. Most of us do not bother with preambles. Until this issue arose, until I saw what happened last October, I never knew that the preamble was amendable. I never dreamt that anything from section 1 of an Act had the legal force to rub out sections.
This is a valuable point that my hon. Friend is making. The preamble to this Act runs to eight paragraphs of crucial importance. At that time, I had 12 years' experience in this House. I freely admit that, despite that experience, I had never seen anyone attempt to amend a preamble. I had never heard a preamble debated, or seen anyone rest a case on a preamble. Hon. Members concern themselves only with clauses and scheules to Bills—later, sections and schedules to the Acts.
My hon. Friend is giving all hon. Members a warning. We all make law, though we are not all lawyers. This is a warning about the importance of the preambles to Bills, whether private or public. Generally speaking, this problem arises in the case of private Bills because the preambles to such Bills are much longer, much more full of information, than the preambles to public Bills.
§ Mr. Davis
I am grateful to my hon. Friend.
Before giving way, I had reached the question of the meeting with the city auditors, Price Waterhouse. It is absolutely clear—there is no question—that nobody had suggested before 1988 that there should be a credit to the road race account from the rates account on the ground of that preamble. There is some confusion about whose idea it was at that meeting with the city auditors. Councillor John Charlton, chairman of the general purposes committee, has told my hon. Friends and myself that the suggestion came from the auditors themselves. Well, I put that to Price Waterhouse, and they disclaim all credit—or rather odium—for the suggestion. I do not think that we shall ever find out where the idea came from, but what we can be clear about is the motive for it.
§ Mr. Roger King
Perhaps I can help the hon. Member in trying to establish where this solution came from. It came from Price Waterhouse themselves. I have here a copy of a letter, dated 12 April 1989, to the hon. Gentleman. It says:Accordingly, when the first road race accounts were being compiled we took notice of the requirements of the 1985 Act and, in particular, those set out in section 14. My staff quite properly, and as part of normal procedure, questioned whether the accounts were drawn up correctly and if all amounts of expenditure and income had been included … In addition, on a point of principle, my staff questioned whether, in accounting terms, the road race account should reflect income for sponsorship from the city.It seems to me quite clear that the auditors actually pointed this out when they were auditing the first road race accounts.
§ Mr. Davis
I am very sorry that the hon. Gentleman has chosen to quote the letter to me from Price Waterhouse. He forces me to refer to the correspondence in some detail. On 11 April I wrote to Price Waterhouse in these terms —[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends may be disappointed that I am going to refer to all this correspondence, but it is he, not I, who has quoted from it. This is the letter that I sent to Price Waterhouse:I understand that you were responsible for suggesting that the city council should avoid the intention of section 14 of the 1985 Act by using the preamble as authority for 268 crediting the 1986–87 and the 1987–88 road race accounts with a total of £1,050,000, and I should be grateful if you will confirm this point because I want to refer to it during the debate in the House of Commons on the Birmingham City Council (No. 2) Bill.The hon. Member for Northfield quoted from Price Waterhouse's reply, but he did not read the whole of it. He missed out the preceding paragraph which said:The statement set out in your letter is not correct.I was asking Price Waterhouse whether it was responsible and it said that it was not. I wrote a long letter back in which I said:I repeat that I have been told that a credit for promotional value was suggested by Price Waterhouse, and that the idea of a credit based on a preamble to the 1985 Act was not initiated by the city council.Today I received a message which was taken down in shorthand from Mr. Walls of Price Waterhouse in which he said:On the matter of the road race there are several things that I might have said to Mr. Davis personally, but I do not have a lot to add to my letter of 12 April. Mr. Davis must understand that Price Waterhouse give advice to the city as well as audit the city as they do with all their clients. I am pretty certain that I did not suggest, as he has put several times in his letters, that the preamble of the 1985 Act should be used to justify this credit to the road race account.The hon. Member for Northfield has just suggested that Price Waterhouse accepted responsibility. Mr. Walls of Price Waterhouse dictated that message today. He said:I am pretty certain that I did not suggest, as he has put several times in his letters, that the preamble of the 1985 Act should be used to justify this credit to the road race account.Wherever the responsibility lies, the important thing is that the city solicitor then sought advice from Queen's counsel. I have looked at the instructions that were given to the Queen's counsel by the city solicitor. He left Queen's counsel in no doubt whatever about the purpose behind this suggestion of a credit to the road race account on the ground that the road race had promoted tourism on the basis of the preamble to the 1985 Act.
That was not the only suggestion. The city council also asked for the advice of Queen's council on the possibility of increasing the grant which the city council gives to the Birmingham convention and visitor bureau in the confident expectation—the bureau's chairman is a leading city councillor—that the bureau would then give a grant to the road race. If that is not creative accounting, I do not know what is. Even the city solicitor—especially the city solicitor—had some qualms about that.
The city solicitor makes it quite clear in his instructions to counsel thatIf such an arrangement were possible it would sidestep the thinking behind section 14 of the Act which was to prevent the council subsidising a loss-making motor race indefinitely.That was the motivation. It was to sidestep an Act of Parliament. That is what the council officers and senior members of the city council were doing. They knew that they had given an assurance that if the race made a loss, they would stop it after five years. They were looking for a way of sidestepping section 14—their own new clause, drafted, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ladywod has said, by their lawyers, not by us, and supposedly given in good faith to be honoured by the city council.
After all the discussions had taken place, the city council transferred £500,000 to the road race account for the 1986 race and £550,000 for the 1987 race.
It has been said that there is no difference between the city council choosing to spend money on the road race to promote tourism and choosing to spend it in some other 269 way to promote tourism. I understand that point. If the city council had decided to spend money on promoting tourism and believed that the road race was a good vehicle for doing so rather than books of matches, posters or newspaper advertisements, I might have had some sympathy with its point of view, but that was not what happened.
The city council had overspent on the promotion of tourism in the financial year 1986–87. It did not transfer money from the promotion of tourism account to the road race account; it just reclassified the deficit. It simply said that instead of overspending by a few thousand pounds on the promotion of tourism, it would overspend by that, plus another £500,000. It was a fiddle. To my constituents it looks like cheating. It was not a case of using money; the council just reclassified the loss in the accounts. It was a book-keeping manoeuvre, and it was not in the spirit of negotiations undertaken by Sir Reginald Eyre.
At that stage, the city council had not done its accounts for 1987–88. When they were published, we found that it had overspent in that year as well. Now we have the probable figures for promoting tourism for 1988–89 and we find that compared with its original estimate the council has overspent by £500,000. But it is worse than I thought because the council has transferred £600,000 to the road race account. For the current year 1989–90, the council has estimated for another subvention to the road race account of another £600,000. This is a bottomless pit. The council overspent on the promotion of tourism in 1986–87, 1987–88 and 1988–89 and it has now increased its estimate for 1989–90 in order to hide the subsidy.
To be fair, the city treasurer assures me that he will transfer some of the money back. He will transfer back not £600,000, but £550,000, having ensured that the race makes a profit of that amount. He is hoping to do the same next year.
It is not only Socialists who have questioned the way that this is being done. At the statutory consultation meeting with representatives of industrial and commercial ratepayers about this year's budget—in particular, representatives of the Birmingham chamber of commerce—they were told that the race was making a profit. I do not accept that.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath says that he is sure that it did, but on the basis of my discussions with the city treasurer I am convinced that, in the spirit of the undertaking given by Sir Reginald Eyre, the race has made a loss in excess of £1 million and there will be provision for further transfers in the current year.
It took the hon. Member for Northfield 54 minutes to get to that point, which he well knows is the objection that I and my hon. Friends have to the road race and the new Bill. The hon. Gentleman said that it was the proper thing to do. I do not agree. It is not proper to look for ways to sidestep an Act of Parliament when the city council is itself responsible for the wording of the Act of Parliament. The council could do it, but it did not have to do it. It was a policy decision to do it. It was legal, but it was not right, and it should not have done it.
It would not matter so much if the money put int,o the road race account had been surplus. It would not matter so much if Birmingham had no financial problems. But every Member of Parliament and city councillor from 270 Birmingham knows that Birmingham has tremendous financial problems as the result of the Government's financial policies. Council houses are not being repaired. Houses in my constituency stood empty throughout March because the local housing department did not have the money to repair them, and people could not move into them. Schools are waiting to be repaired. Roofs are leaking in nursery, infant, junior and secondary schools in my constituency. There is a shortage of occupational therapists. People with severe disabilities are classed by their doctors as in need of having their homes adapted. Such people are waiting not weeks but months to be visited by an occupational therapist, and even longer for the adaptations that are required.
In August last year the city council stopped issuing bus passes to people with disabilities because it had run out of money. In fact, the city council had not issued any bus passes to people with disabilities, who had been assessed from April 1988 as entitled to them. It had taken the council from April to August to deal with the backlog from the previous year because it had run out of money that year as well—when it was subsidising a motor race.
I challenge the order of priorities of the city council. I accept that a motor race creates jobs. The point is that all the other things that I mentioned would also create jobs. If money is spent on repairs to council houses, on occupational therapists, or on repairing the leaking roofs of schools, jobs are created. If bus passes are provided for people with disabilities, that provides jobs for bus drivers. The question is: what are the council's priorities?
It is significant that the 1985 Act was introduced by a Conservative Member of Parliament, and that this Bill has been introduced by another Conservative. The priorities are Conservative priorities; they are not Socialist priorities. That is why I will vote against the Bill.
§ The Minister for Roads and Traffic (Mr. Peter Bottomley)
It may be helpful to the House if I intervene at this point to give a brief indication of the Government's view on the Bill. As the House knows, the Government traditionally stand neutral in relation to private Bills where no major matter of principle is involved. That was our position on the 1985 Act, which authorised motor racing on the streets of Birmingham for the first time.
The Bill now before the House proposes some significant amendments to the 1985 Act. These particularly concern the number of days on which motor racing can take place and the length of time for which streets can be closed to traffic each day. Understandably, the Bill has aroused opposition from those who fear an increase in the disruption that motor racing must inevitably cause to the normal pattern of daily life and movement in Birmingham. Questions have been raised about the way in which the city council has financed the races held so far.
We have considered whether these are major matters of principle on which it would be right for the Goverment to take a view. We have taken into account the fact that none of the roads directly affected by the Bill's proposals is a trunk road. Birmingham city council is itself the highway authority for all the roads concerned. Our conclusion is that the issues raised by the Bill are essentially of local concern and that it would not be right for the Government to intervene. In the light of that, we have no comment on the instruction.
§ Mr. Bottomley
It is for the promoters to persuade Parliament that the powers that they are seeking are justified.
§ Mr. Bottomley
There are now eight petitions—[HON. MEMBERS: "Give way."]—remaining against the Bill.
§ Mr. Rooker
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. on 1 April 1985 the Minister's predecessor, the right hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker), was more than generous in giving way to her colleagues in the House when she said:We have stated that we expect the project to be self-financing".—[Official Report, 1 April 1985; vol. 76, c. 980.]That is what she said on behalf of the Government. What about the Minister—
§ Mr. Bottomley
Intemperance from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) is out of place.
There are now eight petitions remaining against the Bill which raise matters reflecting genuine and widespread local concern. The petitioners will have the opportunity to present their objections to the Select Committee, which will be in a better position than the House today to examine in detail the issues involved and will have the added advantage of hearing expert evidence. In the usual, conventional way, the Bill should be allowed to proceed to Committee for that detailed consideration.
§ Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath)
I am an unashamedly enthusiastic supporter of municipal Socialism and I am in favour of municipal enterprise. I find it extremely ironic that my lifelong principles are being supported from the Government Benches and opposed from the Opposition Benches, but those of us who have served a long time in the House are never surprised at anything these days. I do not often fall out with my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis), but even if everything that has been said about the subsidy for the race were correct—in fact, it is wholly inaccurate—I should still think the road race worth while, and I am sorry that my hon. Friend seeks to oppose the strategy of Birmingham city council.
The Government's policies have brought enormous unemployment to Birmingham. I believe that my constituency has the third highest level of unemployment in the country—with long-term unemployment at 40 per cent., including much youth unemployment. It was for that reason that I decided, with the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Hodge Hill and others, to take on the job of promoting the Birmingham Olympic bid. Sir Reginald Eyre was also active in supporting that bid. The philosophy behind the bid was that because the Government would not solve the unemployment problems of Birmingham, we had better do something about them 272 ourselves. The only way to produce long-term economic benefits was to sell the wonderful city of Birmingham worldwide and to attract enormous worldwide investment.
That was nothing new. That logic started with the national exhibition centre. Some of the arguments that we have heard today from my hon. Friend the Member for Hodge Hill are an echo of the arguments about the establishment of the national exhibition centre. There was an all-party effort, supported by the chamber of commerce, to get the NEC built at Birmingham. Despite all the Jeremiahs telling us that the NEC would lose money, it is profitable. I believe that about £12 million of profit now goes directly to the rate fund each year. Of course, the NEC did not make a profit in the first year or two, but it gradually gathered support—it has to be sold worldwide—and the profit that it makes now goes towards expenditure on all the things that my hon. Friend the Member for Hodge Hill rightly demands, such as education, housing and other services.
That led us to thinking in other directions. Some hon. Members will remember the tremendous fight about the NEC. We had a great success against the London lobby. I remember going to see the Prime Minister with my hon. Friend's predecessor, who did one or two things of which I approve, although leaving the Labour party was not one of them. When he was a more senior Minister than I, we went to see the Prime Minister and told him that regional policy and the attraction of investment to the midlands would mean nothing if he did not agree to the NEC being put in Birmingham. It is to the credit of the Prime Minister of the time, now Lord Wilson, that in our presence he signed a piece of paper saying, "proceed."
The concept of the NEC came from the city council, and particularly from two late friends of ours, Sir Frank Griffin and Harry Watton. In spite of initial losses and quite a lot of risk, the NEC is producing a profit of about £12 million a year which subsidises the rates.
That is why I support municipal Socialism. When I was a member of the city council I was the chairman of the civic catering committee. We had to compete with the catering trade on more than fair terms because we had to pay considerably more each week in wages. Nevertheless, we made a success of it.
I have always believed in municipal enterprise and I am saddened by the doubts that my hon. Friends have expressed about that concept. The great city of Birmingham has been built up on municipal enterprise. Chamberlain produced water, electricity and gas—yet the Conservatives first nationalised them and the present terrible Government are privatising them. All that enterprise came from Birmingham. Those are the ironies of history that we must remember. Birmingham is a city based on municipal enterprise. That is why the NEC has been successful. It is also why we are promoting the Olympic bid. We went all over the world and attracted great attention.
§ Mr. Howell
It did not fail. We just did not secure sufficient votes to get it on the last occasion. It is clear that my hon. Friend does not appreciate that the Olympic bid is responsible for massive investment in the city of Birmingham. There are people building hotels now in Birmingham and wanting to establish businesses there 273 who say frankly to me, "Until we saw you going round the world selling your city, we were unaware of the city's attractions." Efforts of that type are cumulative.
§ Mr. Bob Clay (Sunderland, North)
I was wondering whether the city had an economic development department. It seems odd that one has to have Olympic bids. After all, we cannot all do that. Perhaps Sunderland should have an Olympic bid if my right hon. Friend thinks that that is the only way to get investment.
§ Mr. Howell
I wish that we could have more intelligent interruptions. It should be obvious that our Olympic bid is just one of many ways to go about achieving the object that we had in mind. Other cities will adopt different methods. Sheffield is going for the world student games—and good luck to that city in its efforts.
§ Mr. Michael Jack (Fylde)
The right hon. Gentleman referred to municipal Socialism. Perhaps for the same virtues that he claimed for that argument, he will acknowledge that Budapest in Hungary and Moscow bid for grand prix to attract attention to their respective cities.
§ Mr. Howell
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for reminding me of that. Perhaps I should declare an interest in that I have been to the Budapest grand prix and seen the effect that it has had on that country. It has been enormously successful, and all credit to the organisers.
While on the subject of declaring interests, I have been to the Birmingham road race, but not as a guest of Birmingham city council. I hope that that satisfies my hon. Friend the Member for Perry Barr. I saw many of his councillors in the hospitality suite, but I am glad to say that I did not have a drink there. I do not think that my hon. Friend had a drink there either.
§ Mr. Rooker
By referring to it in a perjorative way—[Interruption.] I am simply saying that we are making law. There are beneficial interests involved in the result of this legislation. They have been enjoyed by some hon. Members, who no doubt will enjoy them in the future. The point of my earlier argument was that we should make it clear to the ratepayers of Birmingham, who pay for the free tickets, that they should know that we know that, and that when we are making law we should say, "Thank you very much—the hospitality and free tickets are fine." There was nothing disparaging in what I said. I assure my right hon. Friend that the city councillors are a totally different kettle of fish.
§ Mr. Howell
I was simply drawing attention to the fact that people were enjoying hospitality. My hon. Friend interrupted me as I was about to say that there was nothing wrong with that. It is sensible and reasonable to do it, and it happens to all of us from time to time. I mentioned it only because my hon. Friend asked us all to declare our interests. I was declaring mine.
§ Ms. Short
As my right hon. Friend was chair of the Birmingham catering committee, he will be aware that that department is now going through a redundancy exercise. Is he further aware that that department contributed £28,000 to free hospitality—free booze and food—for VIPs? I thought that that was wrong. Did my right hon. Friend think that it was wrong?
§ Mr. Howell
I accept that my hon. Friend has the figures, but I do not know whether the catering department, of its own volition, was providing the hospitality or whether it was performing a service.
§ Mr. Howell
In that case, it was not providing it[Interruption.] It may have spent £28,000 on food, drink and so on, but it must have been doing it as part of a service that it was paid to provide. I assume that that was the position. Catering departments are paid to provide services as the basis of their existence, but I will gladly look at the figures that my hon. Friend says that she has.
§ Mr. Howell
Yes, the department gets an income, which derives from various sources. I would be ruled out of order if I were to reflect on where we got the income when I was chairman of the catering department. It came from a variety of sources. By law it must make a profit, and it always managed to do that when I was chairman.
§ Mr. Terry Davis
I am sure that my right hon. Friend is anxious to have the correct figures. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) may inadvertently have underestimated the amount charged for hospitality. Price Waterhouse insisted that the city council include in its road race account an amount for 1986 of £45,515 for hospitality for guests, a sum that had previously been charged elsewhere in the council's accounts. In other words, the city treasurer wanted to charge it somewhere else and Price Waterhouse insisted that that would not be right.
§ Mr. Howell
I am glad that was the position because it enabled my hon. Friend to make that intervention.
§ Mr. Howell
This has nothing to do with teachers, as my hon. Friend knows. I will come shortly to the main points that he and other hon. Members made. I wish to move 275 from the attractions of the Olympic bid to the question of the national indoor stadium which we are about to build in Birmingham.
I have not the slightest doubt at all that in the case of the national indoor stadium—this country does not have one—there will be a lot of objectors, but again, it is a piece of municipal enterprise which is in the interests of the nation. We hope that it will make a profit. Nobody can guarantee at the moment that it will, but it will do so if it is properly run, like the new national convention centre with 10 halls that we are also building, including hall number two—
§ Mr. Howell
It is a good thing. Does my hon. Friend the Member for Ladywood not want to attract people to Birmingham? Does she not want to get business into the city? Does she not want to do anything for the people of Birmingham?
§ Mr. Howell
It has everything to do with the road race. It is all part of the same strategy: that is my whole point. We are selling Birmingham worldwide by these wonderful concepts. I am sorry that my hon. Friends cannot be big enough, even if they disagree, to understand the underlying philosophy that is supported by the people of Birmingham. We have had figures to show whether the people were behind it. The city conducted another survey after two road races and there is still a majority in the area concerned in favour of the road race. That was shown by the public opinion exercise conducted this year.
This leads me to another point. I respect the right of all my hon. Friends to criticise the Bill, but I believe that the local electors are best left to choose local councillors to run the city. I am glad to say that, in the two years that the road race has been run, the electors of Birmingham have held faith with the Labour group in Birmingham. I am sorry that my hon. Friends are rather more contemptuous of that local democracy than I would wish.
§ Mr. Rooker
Of course there is a split. My right hon. Friend is quite right that local people are the people to elect the local authority, and the local authority is best placed in all circumstances to govern the area concerned from a strategic and technical point of view. But that does not give the local authority the right to come to Parliament and demand that we rubber-stamp its legislation. That is the point that my right hon. Friend has not taken on board. Nor has it a right to breach undertakings given in this place in good faith and accepted in good faith. No authority whether it be our local authority or any other, has the right to expect that of the House. If my right hon. Friend is not seized of that point he is not really entering into the debate that is going on here at the moment.
§ Mr. Howell
I am very seized of the point and I am coming to it very shortly. I do not know why I keep on giving way, but I try to be courteous.
I was concluding my opening argument about the philosophy and strategy on which Birmingham's enterprise is based. I had conceded that my hon. Friend the member for Perry Barr and anybody else was entitled to 276 question the Bill, but I object to my hon. Friends objecting to the Bill in a way which suggests that their wisdom on these matters is superior to that of the elected representatives. That is what is happening—my hon. Friends are saying that, so far as the Bill is concerned, they know better than the Labour councillors in Birmingham.
§ Mr. Howell
They may be split. We are split, too. If I may say so with great respect, my hon. Friend must not talk of politics in those rather juvenile terms. We are always split. I am against uniformity. The council was split when I was on it. The Labour group was split then, and we are split here. The Labour party is split. If we were not, half my hon. Friends would not be sitting here.
We must have regard to the facts of life. Of course we have different points of view, but I am entitled to put my point of view, which is that I am very sorry that in opposing the Bill my hon. Friends are not doing so entirely on the principles of the Bill but rather in the belief that their wisdom is superior to that of the elected members of the city council.
§ Mr. Howell
I will move on to the accountancy matters that my hon. Friends want us to discuss. I hope that my hon. Friends will listen carefully as the first thing that I have to say to them is that if they kill the Bill tonight, as is their intention—
§ Mr. Howell
I am about to make an unexceptionable statement of fact. It is certainly not blackmail.
§ Mr. Howell
What I am going to say is that if my hon. Friends kill the Bill tonight they will leave the city with no income from the road race.
§ Mr. Howell
I agree with my hon. Friend. That makes his attitude more extraordinary. We shall be left to pay debt charges of £135,000 per year for 20 years or more.
My hon. Friends have asked us all to be honest, so when they get the chance they will presumably stand up and say, "We want to saddle Birmingham with debt charges of £135,000 per year for 20 years, and no income—that is what we want to do with our vote tonight." My hon. Friends, if they are honest, will say, "We want the 277 people of Birmingham to be saddled with this great debt." I do not. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nor do we."] I am pointing out what will happen if the Bill is killed. We are all responsible for the consequences of our actions.
§ Ms. Short
If we succeed in killing the Bill today, as is our intention, wish and hope on behalf of the citizens of Birmingham, the power to run a two-day road race in Birmingham will remain. The barriers that were bought with the money to which my right hon. Friend refers will continue to be used for the two-day event, so the blackmail that has already been used on us is dishonest. I do not accuse my right hon. Friend of being dishonest, but the two-day event can continue and the barriers can continue to be used. Killing the Bill will not close down the two-day event.
§ Mr. Howell
I am pointing out my interpretation, just as my hon. Friends are entitled to do. My hon. Friends do not want the proposals contained in the Bill.
The promoters say that the proposals in the Bill are essential for the future of the road race. The logical conclusion of that is that my hon. Friends do not want the Bill to be carried forward on the conditions which the promoters tell us are essential.
§ Mr. Howell
I wish that people would not make such interventions. It is not my experience that officers and leading members of Birmingham city council tell lies. They do not. I advise my hon. Friends that, outside the Chamber, they had better not make the kind of comments about officials that they have made inside it tonight. That is rather sad.
The trouble with my hon. Friend the Member for Hodge Hill is that he has been hoist with his own petard. My hon. Friends the Members for Perry Bar and for Hodge Hill insisted on section 3 and the old clause that is now section 14 being placed in the Bill. Once they were in, the city auditors, Queen's counsel consulted by the city and the Audit Commission responsible, said that the accounts had to be made up in that way. They all offered that opinion and the point at issue—
§ Mr. Howell
No, I will not give way for the moment because I am developing this point in answer to my hon. Friend's question.
Price Waterhouse, the Queen's counsel and the Audit Commission all said that in accordance with the Bill and section 14, which was forced on the Bill by my two hon. Friends who are now objecting—
§ Mr. Howell
Under those terms, the city council had to produce these accounts on the basis of creative accounting. It had to account for the amount of income in the Bill that 278 could be properly assigned to promotional effects. The city council then had to employ another consultant to assess the benefit of the road race.
§ Mr. Howell
I will give way in a moment.
It went to the firm of Alan Pascoe and his associates, who have considerable experience in sports promotion. They were asked to advise the city on the beneficial effects of sponsorship of the road race for the promotion of Birmingham. That is where the figure of £600,000 comes in. My hon. Friends are continually saying that it is a subsidy, but it is not.
§ Mr. Howell
I am not misleading the House—I am trying to correct what was said earlier. We are approaching the Division and I have a good deal more to say.
§ Mr. Davis
My right hon. Friend has told the House that three bodies told the city council that it had to credit the road race account with an amount for the promotion of tourism. He said that the council had no choice—that it had to do that. Those were his words, as Hansard will show.
I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the actual words used by leading counsel. My right hon. Friend said that the auditors, the Audit Commission and leading counsel told the council that it had no alternative. On being asked by the council whether it could credit the road race account—not whether it must, but whether it could—leading counsel said:A credit may be carried to the motor race account.He did not say that it had to be carried. The council could credit the account if it wished, and it did wish.
§ Mr. Howell
I am afraid that I do not agree with my hon. Friend's interpretation. His entire speech was based on the city council's having behaved improperly. He has now quoted a QC's opinion that the council was behaving perfectly properly. We are quibbling only about whether it ought to credit the account or whether it may credit it. My hon. Friend has shot himself in the foot. I accept the wording that he quoted, but what the QC said was, "You may do it," and Price Waterhouse had already said that it should.
What is more important than what was said by Price Waterhouse or the QC is the fact that the Audit Commission said that the accounts had been properly conducted, and signed them. Those accounts have been audited and accepted by the Audit Commission. I advise my hon. Friends not to go around saying that there is anything improper about accounts that have been challenged and checked by auditors, the Audit Commission and Queen's counsel.
279 The race, moreover, is making a profit. The costs for the city in 1986 were £1,530,000 and the income £898,000, so in that first year the race made a loss. In the second year, 1987, the costs were £1,561,000 and the income £1,222,000. Last year, 1988, the costs were £1,215,000 and the income £1,215,000. The race has broken even in three years. That should be a cause for general rejoicing, and I am sorry that it is not.
The accumulated profit, as the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. King) has said, is now £469,000. That is the profit that my hon. Friends wish to destroy, but I do not wish to destroy it. Even if we take into account the £600,000 contribution for promotional purposes, of which my hon. Friends do not approve, the profit on the race this year will be £550,000. We are talking about £50,000 even if we allow their figures, which I dispute. On the clear evidence of the best cost accounting procedures, after three years the race is already beginning to become profitable. The elected city council supports the race and the MORI poll shows that the majority of those living in the area are in favour of it. I believe that the House should give the Bill a Second Reading and I am sorry to have heard such jaundiced objections to it.
§ Mr. David Gilroy Bevan (Birmingham, Yardley)
I am proud to disclose that I am an adviser to the BSG group which includes Autolease, which has been described as the largest car dealer in the world. The company is based in my constituency, employs hundreds of Brummies, produces employment and motor cars everywhere and backs the commodities that go into the car race. I am also involved with PPG Industries which is based in the constituency of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short), which employs hundreds of people and provides the paint finishes for most of the world's motor car manufacturers offered to bring the lead car from the Indianapolis to the car race in Birmingham, though this offer was not taken up.
I am extraordinarily pleased to disclose those interests because I believe that Birmingham needs the business that those fine firms generates, because otherwise there would be no profits on which to pay taxes or for us to debate in the House. There would be no money to allocate. The car race is an expression of what I believe is good for Birmingham. I compliment my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. King) and the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell). The right hon. Member for Small Heath made an excellent speech. He has always been a good Brummy and has promoted what is good for the city. I wish that his hon. Friends would take more notice of him.
I was elected to Birmingham city council some 30 years ago and I voted in favour of the car race at least 20 years ago when it first cropped up. At that time, the present leader of the majority Labour party in Birmingham, Councillor Dick Knowles, made an excellent speech in which he said that the car race will be like the Brummy, brash, noisy and boisterous, but nevertheless warm and welcoming. The car race has been welcomed by citizens and businesses in Birmingham and they want it perpetuated.
Prior to the promotion by the city council in 1985, a survey showed that 82 per cent. of respondents voted in favour of holding motor racing in the city and only 18 per 280 cent. voted against. In January, a survey on the proposed amendment to the 1985 Act revealed that 76 per cent. of respondents thought that the motor race was good for Birmingham, bringing publicity and employment; 75 per cent. of respondents thought that the motor race was likely to improve the image of Birmingham in other parts of the country and abroad; and 58 per cent. of the respondents would not object to extending the race for three days, although 42 per cent. were against. Opposition to a four-day race amounted to 48 per cent. but there was a majority in favour of the extension of 52 per cent.
However, those figures take no note whatsoever of firms that are not enfranchised and cannot vote—the firms in the city of Birmingham which employ so many constituents of hon. Members on both sides of the House representing Birmingham constituencies. They are involved primarily with the motor components industry and would have voted in favour of the car race had they had the opportunity to vote. Birmingham is still a substantial home for the car manufacturing business, as is the west midlands generally. Those are some of the facts. The motor race is backed by firms and by the people.
In the 1970s and the early 1980s, during the regrettable economic recession which occurred in my city, the traditional industries diminished to a large extent. Without the implementation of service sector industries such as the leisure industry, including the car race and tourism, we would have suffered grievously. Some £500 million is now earned by tourism, including the car race, in the midlands. In the broadcloth of the country, the industry has employed up to 50,000 people each year. It brings about 16 million tourists to this country and we are told that almost 17 million may come here next year.
§ Mr. Bevan
No, tourism, of which the road race is an integral part, brings in those numbers. About £15 billion comes in from tourism and helps to pay wages costs generally.
One of the wards in my constituency is near the national exhibition centre, which the right hon. Member for Small Heath has so eloquently described. The unemployment rate there is almost 6 per cent. less than in the wards that are further away. That is a direct result of the national exhibition centre, and together with the convention centre, into which £136 million is being invested, it will make Birmingham a tourist centre of immense interest. The road race is becoming a vital and axiomatic part not only of tourism, but of the success of industery generally and the motor industry specifically.
I was asked to say how much hospitality I have received. I do not drink and I do not smoke, but firms in my constituency, and many others, have hospitality tents in which they rightly entertain clients. I have had many a cup of tea and a plate or two of food, and there is no shame in that. The motor race brings kudos to Birmingham, and without the income that tourism earns, wages would not be available with which to pay bills. With those words, which I hope will be noted well, I rest my case for supporting the Bill.
§ Mr. Jeff Rooker (Birmingham, Perry Barr)
I am grateful for being called and I am glad that you are back in the Chair, Mr. Speaker, because you have missed an 281 interesting half Second Reading debate. I am the fifth hon. Member to speak, not counting the Minister, who was extremely neutral, spoke for about three minutes, did not give the Government's view and did not take interventions. I was rude to him, and for that I apologise.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
I did not declare my interest. I bought a cup of orange juice at Birmingham international station today.
§ Mr. Rooker
The debate today has not been balanced. There is a case to be made for the Bill and a case against it. There is a case for substantial and serious amendment to the Bill, and until I was called, only my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) had the opportunity to present that case. In the seven minutes remaining, I cannot make the case properly. However, I must make it clear that we want the Bill to be debated as fully as possible. As with the previous Bill, the reason that we tabled our motion is our prime concern about the finances, which are at the root of the difficulties.
We saw a bottomless pit opening up with the finances and that was why the House, with agreement from hon. Members of all parties and on both sides of the argument, sought to regulate the finances in the Birmingham City Council Act 1985. It is because the regulations that this House wrote into the statute have not been followed that, with our humble non-accountant, non-legal opinion—the arithmetic is on our side—we tabled the instruction; that is partly why we wish to make a detailed case about why the Committee that considers the Bill should amend it in line with our instruction.
§ Ms. Short
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way because, as he knows, the road race runs through my constituency and it looks as though I will not get an opportunity to speak in the debate. My hon. Friend knows that I agree with him about the financial objection and that I share his criticism.
I should like to put it on the record briefly that the people who live in the area cannot bear the thought of a four-day event with all the attendant noise and inconvenience, and those people are entitled to have their views respected. Even the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley (Mr. Bevan), who spoke in favour of the Bill, recognised that his poll showed that a majority in the area is opposed to the race. That is a second and important criticism—[HON. MEMBERS: "He did not."] Yes, he did. He said that only 48 per cent. were in favour.
§ Mr. Rooker
My hon. Friend makes a valuable point, and I wish that she could deploy her case on behalf of her constituents who are directly affected.
At the outset, I should declare an interest, because I attended the 1987 road race. Unlike my hon. Friends who have signed the instruction, I made it my business to ensure that I was in the city in 1987, so that I could witness the road race at first hand. Although I did not expect the matter to come before the House so soon, if it did, I wanted the experience of having walked the circuit and seen what happens.
I had a personal report from the police afterwards about the conduct around the circuit and around the pubs. I have never had to take any action on the report, because the road race was a peaceful occasion. I paid for the two 282 tickets that I was offered, although there was a bit of an altercation when the officials said, "Mr. Rooker, there is no account for us to pay guests' money into." I said, "Well, the city of Birmingham rates fund will do for me." I paid for the tickets, but I did not contribute towards my lunch, and to that I extent I have an interest to declare.
I turn now to the point made by the hon. Member for Yardley, before he addressed the key financial aspects. Of course, my hon. Friends and I are all on the side of our city. Most of us were actually born there and are proud of it. Nobody who visits Birmingham today can deny that there has been a sea change in the past decade. There is a buzz and a hum in many parts of the city. However, at the same time there is also massive poverty, to the extent that the city council is setting up an anti-poverty programme, which is supported right across the city council. That is something that the council has never had to do or thought that it had to do before. It is important to note that point. It is no good saying that things are all black or all white or that they are all good or all bad, because there is no doubt that there has been a sea change.
I agree with most of the examples given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell), who mentioned the national exhibition centre and the Olympic bid. However, the difference, which he did not seem to grasp, is that all those things give the citizens of Birmingham capital assets, whereas the road race accounts give them a revenue plughole down which hundreds of thousands of pounds of ratepayers' money are being poured at present and down which it is planned to pour even more in the future. It is no good my right hon. Friend denying that, because, as a percentage, more people in his constituency will be losers under the poll tax than in any other Birmingham constituency. When the losses of the road race start to be taken into account for the rate support grant—or the revenue support grant as it will be known under the poll tax legislation—the citizens of Birmingham will be doubly penalised.
I want to follow up one brief point about motor racing that was made by the hon. Member for Yardley. Of course there is a massive spin-off from motor racing. Most of the motor racing circuits of the world are dominated by British designers and British drivers. However, I have often wondered, how come the car factories in this country are not making racing motor cars? We cannot sell the motor cars we are making on the scale that we should be able to sell them if it was true that there is a fantastic and direct spin-off which clearly there is not. It is no good saying that, if there is lots of racing, we can make lots of cars, because it does not work like that. Therefore, there is a case to be made for—
§ Question put, That the question be now put:—
§ The House proceeded to a Division—
§ Ms. Short
(seated and covered): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The promoter of this Bill spoke for an hour. This road race take place in my constituency and my constituents have strong views about it. I have been here for every minute of the debate and I have not been given a chance to speak. I do not believe that it is right to allow a closure when a debate has been conducted in such a way. 283 The promoter of the Bill took a long time hogging the debate and you, Mr. Speaker, have only allowed one speech against the Bill.
§ Mr. Speaker
I have to take into account the amount of time spent on this debate. I have to say that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) spoke for 44 minutes. There have been some very long speeches.
§ Mr. Speaker
I know, but the point is that two and a half hours have been spent on this matter and it is not the end of it. It is for the House to decide whether the Bill should be closured or not.
§ The House having divided: Ayes 153, Noes 30.284
|Division No. 163]||[9.59 pm|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Gregory, Conal|
|Alexander, Richard||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Alton, David||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Amos, Alan||Harris, David|
|Arbuthnot, James||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Heddle, John|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)|
|Atkinson, David||Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)|
|Baldry, Tony||Howells, Geraint|
|Beith, A. J.||Hunt, David (Wirral W)|
|Bellingham, Henry||Irvine, Michael|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Jack, Michael|
|Benyon, W.||Janman, Tim|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Boswell, Tim||Johnston, Sir Russell|
|Bottomley, Peter||Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Key, Robert|
|Bowis, John||Kilfedder, James|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)|
|Brazier, Julian||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Knapman, Roger|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Knight, Greg (Derby North)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick||Knowles, Michael|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Knox, David|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||Lang, Ian|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Carrington, Matthew||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda||Lightbown, David|
|Chapman, Sydney||Lilley, Peter|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)|
|Conway, Derek||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Lyell, Sir Nicholas|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)|
|Cope, Rt Hon John||Maclean, David|
|Critchley, Julian||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Mans, Keith|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Maude, Hon Francis|
|Day, Stephen||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Miller, Sir Hal|
|Durant, Tony||Mills, Iain|
|Favell, Tony||Moate, Roger|
|Fearn, Ronald||Moss, Malcolm|
|Fenner, Dame Peggy||Neale, Gerrard|
|Forman, Nigel||Needham, Richard|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Neubert, Michael|
|Forth, Eric||Newton, Rt Hon Tony|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Fox, Sir Marcus||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Fraser, John||Norris, Steve|
|Fry, Peter||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Paice, James|
|Gill, Christopher||Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Portillo, Michael|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Raffan, Keith|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Thurnham, Peter|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Sackville, Hon Tom||Trippier, David|
|Sainsbury, Hon Tim||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Shaw, David (Dover)||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Shersby, Michael||Wallace, James|
|Skeet, Sir Trevor||Waller, Gary|
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)||Watts, John|
|Speed, Keith||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Steel, Rt Hon David||Wilshire, David|
|Stern, Michael||Wilson, Brian|
|Stevens, Lewis||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)||Wood, Timothy|
|Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|Summerson, Hugo||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Taylor, John M (Solihull)||Mr. David Gilroy Bevan and|
|Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman||Mr. Andrew Hargreaves.|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)||Loyden, Eddie|
|Buckley, George J.||McNamara, Kevin|
|Clay, Bob||Pike, Peter L.|
|Corbett, Robin||Redmond, Martin|
|Dalyell, Tam||Rooker, Jeff|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)||Short, Clare|
|Dixon, Don||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Fisher, Mark||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)||Vaz, Keith|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Warden, Gareth (Gower)|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)||Mr. Bob Cryer and|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Mr. Dennis Skinner.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 145, Noes 24.286
|Division No. 164]||[10.11 pm|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)|
|Alexander, Richard||Coombs, Simon (Swindon)|
|Alton, David||Cope, Rt Hon John|
|Amos, Alan||Corbett, Robin|
|Arbuthnot, James||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Atkinson, David||Day, Stephen|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Beith, A. J.||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Bellingham, Henry||Durant, Tony|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Favell, Tony|
|Benyon, W.||Fearn, Ronald|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Fenner, Dame Peggy|
|Boswell, Tim||Forman, Nigel|
|Bottomley, Peter||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Forth, Eric|
|Bowis, John||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Fraser, John|
|Brazier, Julian||Fry, Peter|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Gill, Christopher|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Burns, Simon||Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||Gregory, Conal|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Carrington, Matthew||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda||Harris, David|
|Chapman, Sydney||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)|
|Conway, Derek||Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)|
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)||Maude, Hon Francis|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Howells, Geraint||Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Miller, Sir Hal|
|Irvine, Michael||Mills, Iain|
|Jack, Michael||Moate, Roger|
|Jackson, Robert||Moss, Malcolm|
|Janman, Tim||Needham, Richard|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Neubert, Michael|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Newton, Rt Hon Tony|
|Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Key, Robert||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Kilfedder, James||Norris, Steve|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Paice, James|
|Knapman, Roger||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Knight, Greg (Derby North)||Portillo, Michael|
|Knowles, Michael||Raffan, Keith|
|Knox, David||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Lang, Ian||Sackville, Hon Tom|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Sainsbury, Hon Tim|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Lightbown, David||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Shersby, Michael|
|Lyell, Sir Nicholas||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Maclean, David||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Speed, Keith|
|Mans, Keith||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Stern, Michael||Wallace, James|
|Stevens, Lewis||Waller, Gary|
|Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)||Watts, John|
|Stradling Thomas, Sir John||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Summerson, Hugo||Wilshire, David|
|Taylor, John M (Solihull)||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman||Wood, Timothy|
|Thurnham, Peter||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Twinn, Dr Ian||Mr. David Gilroy Bevan and|
|Waddington, Rt Hon David||Mr. Andrew Hargreaves.|
|Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Pike, Peter L.|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Clay, Bob||Redmond, Martin|
|Dalyell, Tam||Rooker, Jeff|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)||Short, Clare|
|Fisher, Mark||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Vaz, Keith|
|Henderson, Doug||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Mr. Bob Cryer and|
|Loyden, Eddie||Mr. Dennis Skinner.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read a Second time and committed.