HC Deb 19 July 1989 vol 157 cc461-83

Lords amendment: No. 2, in page 8, line 42, at beginning insert— ( ) In section 37A of the principal Act (mobility allowance) at the end of subsection (1) insert 'or is deaf and blind or is suffering from severe mental handicap such that he is either unable to walk or virtually unable to do so without physical control by another person'. ( ) In subsection (2) of that section leave out 'physical'.

The Minister for Social Security (Mr. Nicholas Scott)

I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.

May I warmly welcome the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) to the Opposition Front Bench. He gave us a tough time in Committee. I imagine that he will do the same in his new position. Nevertheless, we warmly welcome him.

I am conscious of the fact that there will be some disappointment not only on the Opposition Benches but on the Conservative side that the Government disagree with the Lords amendment. Some of my hon. Friends have taken a keen interest in the question of a mobility allowance for the two groups who are covered by the Lords amendment. Potential beneficiaries outside the House have been watching the proceedings carefully. Campaigning organisations, not least Sense, the National Deaf Blind Helpers League and Mencap, have also been watching them with great care.

11.15 pm

In what I hope will be a brief opening of the debate I hope to do three things—first, to say something about the background to the mobility allowance, secondly, to say why I believe that it would not be appropriate for the House to agree to the Lords amendment and, thirdly, to consider the way ahead.

The mobility allowance has been a conspicious success since it was introduced by the Opposition in 1975. It replaced the old trike scheme but, unlike the trike scheme, it was made available for the first time to severely disabled people with mobility difficulties, whether or not they were able to drive. They were given a cash allowance that they could spend as they wished, either on a motor car or on other ways of broadening their horizons or enhancing their lives.

When the scheme was introduced the criteria were largely those that governed the trike scheme. The same criteria apply now, although case law has to a certain extent modified them. I repeat that the mobility allowance has been a great success. The growth in the number of recipients of this benefit has been impressive. Since the Government came to office, the number in receipt of mobility allowance has increased from 95,000 to 580,000. That number is steadily rising.

The increase is due to three separate factors. First, the age limit has been changed. When the scheme was first introduced the age limit was 65, then it was increased to 75, and it will rise to 80 when the Bill receives Royal Assent. That has increased the number of beneficiaries by 140,000.

Mr. Kennedy

The increase in the age threshold from 75 to 80 is to he welcomed. However, a postman in the Isle of Skye who came to see me revealed a general problem with the mobility allowance. All too often people do not realise that such an allowance exists and that they are eligible. By the age of 65 they cannot apply for the allowance. This constituent reached the age of 65 and then realised that the allowance would be of assistance to him in a remote rural area. However, because of his age he found that he could not receive the allowance. Is the Department trying to heighten awareness of the existence of the allowance, in particular of the age after which people will be unable to apply for it, even though the age of eligibility for the award is now as high as 80?

Mr. Scott

My second point was going to be about awareness of mobility allowance, which has increased, dramatically. The more people who get it, the more other people know about it and are therefore encouraged to come forward. That is an important factor in the more than fivefold increase in take-up of this benefit over the past 10 years. In practice, people can apply up to the age of 66, as long as the condition existed before their 65th birthday. There is a 12-month period during which applications for the benefit can be made.

The third factor is the development of case law over the years since the mobility allowance was introduced. Anyone who has followed it knows that case law has sometimes taken three steps forward and two back in terms of being generous or more restrictive over the intervening period. The overall move has been in a more generous direction.

A combination of three decisions has made an important and constructive move forward. The first was the Edmunds decision and the subsequent regulations introduced by the then Labour Government following the 1978 decision about the criteria to be applied to those who were virtually unable to walk. Then, in 1986, the tribunal of commissioners, following the Lees case, made a decision on the way in which involuntary interruptions in the ability to walk could, dependent on their frequency, amount to a virtual inability to walk. There was also a series of unreported cases, which nevertheless form the body of case law, about the extent to which people who are deaf-blind and suffer from balance difficulties which lead to their needing physical support can also be entitled to the allowance. In three significant respects there has been some easement in the original conditions because of the development of case law.

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson (Newbury)

Can my right hon. Friend assess the number of people who fit into the two categories referred to in the amendment?

Mr. Scott

I could not do so without a much more careful analysis. Cases are decided and then the appeal tribunals and the decision-making process—in practice, independent adjudicating authorities—make decisions about the eligibility of individuals which would not necessarily be recorded as flowing from a particular case that had been decided. It is clear that each of those aspects has had a not insignificant impact on decision making.

The House may say, "We have made all those improvements, so why not accept the Lords amendment?" [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I shall explain why I feel that at this time it is not appropriate to accept the amendment which their Lordships have sent back to us. I am aware of, and have been impressed by, the case that has been made by Sense, the National Deaf Blind Helpers League and Mencap. A number of my predecessors have met deputations from those organisations and have been sympathetic to their suggestions.

This is not an easy problem to solve. Anyone who has studied the debates in another place will realise how difficult it all is. One of the most important features of the debate in another place was the gulf between the estimates by the Government and by the disability organisations of the numbers that might benefit from the amendment. I should explain why and how the Government came to their estimate, which they derived from the data of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. It should be made clear that the relevant data are not separately set out in any of the published OPCS reports. They were derived from a computer analysis by the Department of the data tapes, which are a part of the OPCS survey.

The survey data are divided between 13 different broad areas of disability—such as locomotion, personal care, continence, seeing and hearing. Within each of those areas the OPCS reseachers have constructed a scale of severity. All that is explained in the first of the OPCS reports with which all those who study these matters will be familiar.

The aim of the Department's computer analysis of the data was to see how many people had disabilities of the type and severity such that there would be a strong presumption that they would need to be accompanied outdoors and in public, even to the extent of physical control.

Perhaps I could at this stage to interpret "physical control" as used in the amendment. It is the extent to which any parent would go in holding firmly on to a child that he or she was controlling.

Mr. Harry Ewing (Falkirk East)

It would cost the Government money, and they do not want to pay it.

Mr. Scott

Therefore, the computer analysis counted the number of people who were at the top of the severity scale for behavioural disability, for disability of intellectual functioning and for communication disability and at the top of a scale which measured liability to and severity of fits causing loss of consciousness.

Mr. Ewing

A load of rubbish.

Mr. Scott

I hope that the hon. Gentleman, however well he has dined, will listen carefully to the argument. It is a serious matter, which causes great anxiety to the individuals concerned and all those who care for them—I count myself in that company.

What it means in practice is that people who scored at the top of those various scales were liable to behavioural disturbance to such a degree that they might hit other people or injure themselves, were intellectually incapable of most of the very simple tasks that we take for granted in everyday life, were liable to frequent unpredictable fits and could neither understand nor be understood in communication even with people who knew them well.

The computer analysis was designed to eliminate double counting of people who might suffer from more than one of those disabilities. It also eliminated those whose multiple disability extended also to locomotion to an extent that they might in any case qualify for a mobility allowance. The result is an estimate of 125,000 people in the age range 16 to 65 who would need to be accompanied in public and outdoors to the extent of physical control.

The proposers of the amendments say—of course I believe them, and I have met them and discussed their analysis—that they are not aiming at anything like such a large group. I understand that their estimate is derived from studies of the incidence of mental handicap reported in the 1971 White Paper, "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped". The overall incidence of severe mental handicap—which was then broadly defined as an IQ of less than 50—was reported there as about 120,000, people in total, although with an increasing rate of survival.

Within the total of 120,000, however, the proposers of the amendment say that they are aiming at a smaller group—those with behavioural difficulties requiring constant supervision. However, that is not what the amendment actually says. It says something quite different. The proposers estimate that group to consist of 4,400 people. I am not sure whether that number includes people in hospitals and residential homes, who are, of course, entitled to a mobility allowance without any time limit.

Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)

Leaving aside the difference in the figures—I accept his point—the Minister has just told the House that 125,000 people are affected. If the House does not approve the amendment, what help will be offered to those 125,000 people?

Mr. Scott

I shall come to that in what I want to say, because I want to deal seriously with the matter. They may, of course, be entitled to disability benefits other than the mobility allowance as a result of their incapacity. The attendance allowance and various other allowances could be available to them. However, we are now talking specifically about the mobility allowance, which was—I remind the House—introduced quite specifically as a replacement for the trike scheme, which was for people who were unable or virtually unable to walk. The question must be whether mobility allowance is the appropriate benefit for that particular group of people who suffer from those disabilities, or only for some of them. That is the question we must address in due course and which it would be inappropriate to address in the context of the Lords amendment.

I am saying in essence that I do not believe that with the best will in the world any statutory formula based on the Lords amendment could be limited to the numbers that those who support the amendment quote. The data of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys show, by contrast, a large number who might qualify not for other disability allowances, but specifically for mobility allowance, if we were to pass the amendment. I emphasise the word "might". I am not saying that 125,000 would necessarily benefit if we were to pass the amendment. I am saying that there is a huge disparity between the estimate we have genuinely tried to make about the possible beneficiaries and the other figure. We arrived at a figure of 125,000, whereas those who urge the amendment have put forward a figure of about 8,000. That is a huge discrepancy. Even if our computer analysis is 100 per cent. out, we are still talking about 60,000 gainers rather than 8,000.

Mr. Rooker

So what?

11.30 pm
Mr. Scott

It matters in terms of money. [Interruption.] Yes. It matters in terms of ensuring that mobility allowance is targeted on those who have real mobility disability and not disability across the spectrum, in which case other benefits may be more appropriate.

Mr. Harry Ewing

I am grateful to the Minister. I have resisted asking him to give way for a few minutes because I simply could not make tip my mind whether his insult to me about however well I had dined was deliberate and in character for him. I am prepared to be generous to him and say that it was not in character. I have known the Minister for a long time, and I regard that remark as being very insulting.

When the Minister talks about the measurement of whether someone qualifies for mobility allowance, he seems to ignore the stringent tests through which an applicant for mobility allowance is put. I will mention the case of one constituent, who will forgive me for mentioning him. He is Mr. Charles MacKay of Slamannan who, to prove his need for mobility allowance—which he was refused—was made to walk on Renfield street in Glasgow in the view of hundreds of people. I was going to say thousands of people, but I will be moderate and say hundreds. He had to suffer the shame of being made to walk in front of so many people and then he was refused mobility allowance. It is an insult to the 125,000 people about whom the Minister is talking to suggest that somehow they can get mobility allowance easily. It is not easy and the Minister should understand that. I do not ask him to withdraw his insulting remark about me personally, because that is a matter for him, but he should think carefully about those who are entitled to mobility allowance and do not get it.

Mr. Scott

I apologise to the hon. Gentleman that I reacted in that way. It was so uncharacteristic of him to harangue me from a sedentary position that I am afraid that I over-reacted. I withdraw my remark.

The hon. Gentleman's comment about the difficulty of qualifying for mobility allowance is hardly borne out by the fact that we have moved from about 100,000 to nearly 600,000 during the 10 years of this Government. Many more people are qualifying. I do not believe that the number of those who are qualified has increased sixfold in that time, but the number of those receiving the benefit has done so, as a result of the factors I announced at the beginning. If the hon. Gentleman wants to write to me particularly about the case of his constituent, I will, of course, ensure that it is drawn to the attention of those responsible for these matters, who make the independent decisions.

I am not necessarily saying that our figures are accurate; I am merely saying that there is a clear body of evidence to suggest that the figures advanced by those who persuaded their Lordships to vote for the amendment represent a gross underestimate of those who would qualify if the amendment were passed. I hope that they will look carefully at the analysis of the OPCS data that I have described. The information is now lodged in the archives of the Economic and Social Research Council in Essex. It is available to bona fide researchers and if those who promoted the amendment would like to send people to look at the information on that basis, I am happy to make it available. Alternatively, I am prepared to make a suitably qualified member of staff of the Department available to discuss with them the basis of our findings and to see whether we can reconcile the two positions. I repeat that at the moment there is a profound disparity in the calculations of those who tabled the amendment in the other place and the Government's serious attempt to calculate the numbers who might be entitled.

Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby)

Surely the entitlement of people to mobility allowance should not rest on the numbers involved and the fact that it will cost more money. The Minister seems to be saying that there is an alternative to mobility allowance for those thousands of people whose numbers were underestimated in another place. Will the Minister kindly tell the House what he has in mind that might relieve the difficulties and in some cases the real poverty of people who are blind and deaf and who, having had their expectations raised, are now faced with the Government throttling attempts to give them the very aid that they were expecting?

Mr. Scott

I say with great respect to the hon. Gentleman, whom I greatly admire, that I do not need lessons in concern for those who are deaf-blind. Since I assumed my responsibilities, the Government have spent rather more than £1 million specifically to help the deaf-blind and to improve the provision that we make for them. I am most conscious of their needs and I am anxious to ensure that their concerns are met.

Having said that, I am trying to resist an attempt to use mobility allowance for a purpose other than that for which it was introduced, as other benefits may be more appropriate for some of those who would be included were the benefit increased.

Setting aside the deaf-blind, there may be people who have suffered from mental handicap and who may have behavioural difficulties that may need constant supervision. It is going a bit far, however, to say that a person who can walk but who needs some sort of physical control—such as having to have his hand held—because of some other problem necessarily falls into the category of qualifying for mobility allowance. That was not the reason for introducing mobility allowance. I shall not quote from former holders of my office who are now in opposition and who took a firm view before we had a change of Government in 1979.

I hope that I can convince the House that we face a real dilemma. I know that a number of my hon. Friends feel very keenly about the matter—as, indeed, do I—and I want to talk a bit about the way ahead as I see it. On Monday, the last of the OPCS reports was published and all the supporting data tapes are now in the ESRC archives. They are available to those who want to inspect and analyse them.

In due course I shall explain how we shall proceed on a wider front. I have already invited comments on each of the reports as they have been published, and I shall seek to balance the conflicting claims of listening carefully to the representations made to me about the reports and the future of benefits for disabled people and of the need not unduly to delay action. Meanwhile, I hope that I can persuade the House that change in mobility allowance ahead of the wider consideration and of the magnitude that I have suggested might be involved——

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North)

In Committee the Minister prayed in aid the fact that the OPCS reports were not complete. He said that once they were complete and published he would make a statement on a number of the representations that we put to him in Committee. One such representation related to the payment of the attendance allowance to the parents of severely disabled children under the age of two. We have heard nothing from the Minister and I wonder whether it would be appropriate for him now to give us some suggestion about when he hopes to make an announcement on that matter.

Mr. Scott

I cannot, not least because I want to decide on the way forward in the round. As I said in Committee and previously, that may depend on the rate of progress that we are able to make overall. Some matters might be decided against a faster track than the generality.

Mr. Corbyn

What about the Star Chamber?

Mr. Scott

This is a serious matter. We are talking about the largest survey ever conducted in this country, possibly in the world, of the extent and nature of disability and the financial circumstances of disabled people. We must look at that survey carefully and make a serious attempt to frame a pattern of disability benefits that will endure for a considerable time. We must do that in a serious and considered way. I recognise that we might have to address some urgent matters more quickly, but until we decide how quickly we shall deal with the whole disability package, it is difficult to say what we shall do with the other cases. I cannot go further than that.

Mrs. Audrey Wise (Preston)

It will be done in time for the general election, no doubt.

Mr. Scott

The hon. Member for Preston (Mrs. Wise) supported a Government who conducted a much more limited survey of the disabled which excluded children and large numbers of other disabled people from it. That survey did not approach the situation with the seriousness that we have done.

Mr. Corbyn


Mr. Scott

No, I shall not give way.

The largest survey of the disabled in this country has just been conducted. In the light of all the results we must assess what changes might be necessary in the pattern of benefit and what priority should be accorded to those changes. No doubt some changes may have to be postponed, but, in those circumstances, it would be little short of folly to rush through a potentially major change without properly considering all the issues and their implications for the system.

In those circumstances, it would be wrong to accept the amendment made in the other place and I ask for it to be reversed.

Mr. John Battle (Leeds, West)

It is worth reminding ourselves that it was not until the Amendment Paper was printed that we learnt of the Government's intention to reverse the Lords amendment.

In the House of Lords there have been other rebuffs to the Government over the Water Bill, the Electricity Bill and the Companies Bill. The Government have reversed some of those amendments, but at least they publicly declared their intention to do so. Perhaps there has been no notice from the Government today because the Minister is too embarrassed to attract attention to the Government's reversal of the Lords amendment on access to mobility allowance.

I understand that, yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke to Conservative peers. Perhaps she humoured them and said that it did not matter what happened in the other place as she could always reverse anything with her supportive vote in this House. That should not be the Government's attitude tonight.

The amendment deals with the existing regulations covering entitlement to mobility allowance and its purpose is to ensure that the regulations cover people with a severe mental handicap and those who may be deaf and blind.

From my experience as a Member of Parliament, I know that the people who are caused the greatest difficulty and heartache are those who go through the processes for applying for mobility allowance. They genuinely believe that they are entitled to it—on the face of it, that may be correct—but they must go through a series of medical appeals and tribunals. The judgments of those tribunals are based on many inconsistent legal rulings stretching back in 10 years of case law. Many of us know of people with profound mental handicap who lack the necessary co-ordination and who need continuous assistance with their walking. Those people must go through the process of medical appeals and tribunals before they have access to the weekly mobility payments. As the Minister reminded us, the primary legislation was set out in 1975. Since that time there has been a bewildering jungle of case law as social security commissioners have considered the need for assistance for people virtually unable to walk.

The Minister referred to this being a case of three steps forward and one back. There has clearly been a lack of consistency in the decisions that have been made and Ministers should have ended any confusion about whether applications could be made in the first place. People have felt a deep sense of injustice when their claims have failed and have seemed to depend solely upon the decision of the commissioner. If the commission decisions were favour-able at the time they put in their applications, their cases might have been more favourably assessed than if they had submitted them when commission decisions were unfavourable.

11.45 pm
Mr. Scott

When Lord Ennals and the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) introduced the mobility allowance, they were at great pains to make it clear that the decisions should be made by independent authorities. That was the basis upon which the mobility allowance was introduced and it has been maintained on that basis. In the intervening period, case law has provided a more sensible framework within which those adjudicating authorities could make their decisions. I cannot stand behind every decision that they make, but the case law now gives them a much clearer framework than they had when the mobility allowance was introduced.

Mr. Battle

I do not want the Minister to get the impression that I am challenging the independence of the commissioners, but the framework is in a bit of a shambles. In 1983 some people who needed support made successful claims, but shortly afterwards another commissioner argued that under the mobility allowance regulations the inability to walk was restricted to the physical inability to move the legs and that any other problems were irrelevant. That decision was upheld in the other place in 1985. The Minister referred to the tribunal decision that followed the Lees case in 1986. The complexity of case law has reached the point at which, to say the least, it is extremely difficult for ordinary claimants or those looking after them to know whether they meet the requirements of mobility allowance regulations. They have become a difficult maze of benefit provision. People need legal advice and representation to stand any chance of receiving mobility allowance.

I accept that, as the Minister said in Committee, the Government are in principle committed to ending the legal wrangling and to codify case law by amending primary legislation. We are suggesting that the Minister takes the opportunity to do that by withdrawing the Government's motion to disagree with the Lords amendment which will ensure access to mobility allowance to a specific group of blind, deaf and severely mentally handicapped people.

In the debate in the other place, Lord Skelmersdale said: On the matter of mobility allowance for the deaf/blind and the mentally handicapped I cannot stress too strongly"——

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

Order. The hon. Gentleman must not quote directly from the other place. He should paraphrase.

Mr. Battle

I was under the impression that I could quote the Under-Secretary of State, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Lord Skelmersdale emphasised that he could not stress too strongly that the Government wanted to act and were willing to act, yet were waiting for still further analysis to explore the data in more detail. Now the Government argue that the computer data tapes are available.

The Minister's figures were interesting because he suggested that 125,000 people might be included by the amendment. The number seems to go up by the week because the figure in the other place a week ago was 100,000. An increase of 25,000 in a week certainly points to a discrepancy in the figures.

The Government seem to have given what could be described as a gross overestimate of the figures and have done that deliberately to undermine the amendment. We should seriously question the Minister's statement about the figures. There is surely not a huge discrepancy with the figures presented by the National Deaf-Blind and Rubella Association. It estimates that 3,200 deaf-blind people are entitled to the benefit. Before the debate started, I understood that that figure was not in question.

The careful Mencap analysis suggested that, at most, 4,404 people with severe mental handicap would be entitled to the benefit. That gives a total of 7,604. Even in the Mencap figure there was an acknowledgement that not everyone in that group would fulfil the age criteria. The answer to the question about discrepancy that the Minister put to the House lies not in the accuracy of the analysis of Mencap and the National Deaf-Blind and Rubella Association. It lies in the Government's rather crude use of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys data.

The OPCS data fail to define the very target group that we are talking about—people with a mental handicap to whom the amendment specifically refers. The figures in the OPCS data include people suffering from mental illness, but any of us dealing with social policy are well aware of a crucial distinction between people who are mentally handicapped and those who suffer from mental illness. That distinction is built into the wording of the amendment.

The Government seem to have gone for rather simplistic arithmetic. They have indiscriminately and insensitively added together a few of the OPCS categories. The Government account seems to have taken the most severe categories of disability from volume 1 using the two top scoring grades with communication difficulties, the two top scoring grades for behaviour, the top scoring grade for intellectual functioning and the top scoring grade for consciousness. However, there has been absolutely no cross-referencing in that analysis of diagnosis or of the cause of disability. The Government have simply made a judgment and I am tempted to say that in practice the computer analysis is really a guesstimate of the number of people who would need to be included. The 13 categories of people with locomotion disability in the OPCS survey do not include those who cannot walk without continuous physical control by another person There is no method of extraction from the OPCS tables or the data tapes that would enable the Government to distinguish between people who suffer from autism, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or epilepsy. They must all be included in the 125,000 that the Minister has mentioned in an attempt to mislead us.

I suggest that the OPCS survey-questionnaire was not even designed to collect the specific information about the severely handicapped people referred to in the amendment. It is impossible to know from the OPCS data how many people have a mental handicap and require continuous physical assistance with walking. The target group in the amendment cannot possibly be disaggregated from the four categories. The data are not specific to the target group in the amendment which does not include all those who have a mental handicap. The Government have simply added together the four broad categories. They have then subtracted people over the age of 65 and have arrived at a rough guesstimate in an attempt to undermine the amendment. Grossing up the figures in that way simply adds up to a gross argument—an attempt to unleash floodgate fears and to suggest that there will be a great financial burden if the House accepts the Lords amendment. It seems that the Government are addicted to calculation by averages. How many times do we hear of the average wage? The figures are rarely worked through in detail.

During the debate on child benefit, the Secretary of State, who is not with us now, claimed that 70 per cent. of recipients of child benefit are on above-average earnings. I took the trouble to check that assertion with the statisticians in the Library. They could not substantiate it. The figure was corrected when I tabled another parliamentary question. Three times recently I have received follow-up replies that correct the original. It seems that the real figures are hard to get from the Government, and not least the Department of Social Security. The Government seem unable to face up to the real figures. They want to hazard a guess and correct it when press interest has moved on. The Department of Social Security is rapidly becoming the most questionable in regard to basic arithmetic.

The Minister in another place said that the Government are wanting, willing and waiting. We are entitled to ask, "Waiting for what and for how long?" The OPCS work has been done and published. The data tapes have been available for some time. When the Minister last spoke on this issue, he had to say, as he said tonight, that they cannot do it now. In Committee, on 19 January, he told us: there are not many months to go until July. We are now at the end of July and we are entitled to see some sign of action. He continued: We shall then have an unprecedented wealth of information."—[Official Report, Standing Committee F, 19 January 1989; c. 67.] We are becoming involved in the absurdity of waiting for Godot on this issue. We have been waiting six months. Lord Skelmersdale said that the Government were embarking on a voyage of discovery. In March 1987, the Minister promised a survey on the matter. We have already had a major revamping of the social security system known as the Fowler review. It was promised then that work to tackle disability would be set in train.

If the Government are suggesting, yet again, that we should set out on uncharted waters, 7,600 people who we estimate should have mobility allowance will be literally left waiting. Unlike the Government on their voyage of discovery, they will go nowhere. How long will they wait? Will they have to wait for a full Bill on disability? There is no sign of one next Session. Will we have to await inclusion of the necessary resources in the Budget? That would push the issue at least two years into the future.

The blind-deaf and the severely mentally handicapped who cannot get about without assistance do not deserve the Government's deliberate dallying and their playing of the crude numbers game. All that is needed is a straightening out of existing social security law.

Why do we not use the Lords amendment as an opportunity to fine-tune primary legislation, and to clarify entitlement to mobility allowance for a specific group of people who really are in need? I am tempted to invite any Tory Members who are still thinking of voting against the Lords amendments to close their eyes, put their hands over their ears and try not to cross the road outside, but to find their way into the Lobby to vote against the motion. I urge the House not to vote against the Lords amendment.

12 midnight

Mr. John Hannam (Exeter)

I regret the Government's rejection of this much-needed Lords amendment, which would provide financial support to help some 3,200 blind-deaf people and 4,400 severely mentally handicapped people. The amendment does not introduce a new concept, nor extend the mobility allowance to a large group of people. The numbers that I have quoted are the real numbers, based on a careful analysis of the White Paper of 1971. Some deaf-blind and mentally handicapped people with severe mobility or behavioural difficulties receive the mobility allowance, but only after making several appeals, and others have had the allowance refused on reapplication when there has been no basic change in their circumstances. The guidelines are operated differently by different panels of professionals.

Let me quote a case as an illustration, and one that the DSS knows all about. It involves a woman aged 33 with poor dexterity who cannot be left alone for a minute because of danger to herself and those around her. She cannot have a relationship with anyone other than her mother. She cannot walk about without continuous physical assistance and control, has an awkward gait, and cannot get up or down stairs. She cannot communicate verbally, and only grunts, and she understands only food, toys and simple commands, such as no and yes. She is a typical example of someone with a severe mental handicap, who, even on the Department's assessment, was proved to be eligible for the mobility allowance. However, she has been refused by two medical appeal tribunals, despite a successful appeal on a point of law to the social security commissioners.

My right hon. Friend and the Minister in the other place have recently spoken of the figure of 100,000 who would benefit by this amendment, and said that it is based on an analysis of data from the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. The figure is so much at variance with all the previously agreed figures, which were all around the 8,000 to 10,000 level, and which were discussed at the various meetings between the all-party disablement group and various successor Ministers responsible for disablement matters that we have been in touch with the Department to find out the basis for the new vast total. The Department had carried out what it called a secondary analysis of the OPCS data tapes, but was not able to give any figures, or even a reliable method of calculating the people in the group defined clearly in the amendment. The person should suffer from severe mental handicap such that he is either unable to walk or virtually unable to do so without physical control by another person". The OPCS survey, which has been used by my right hon. Friend and the Department of Social Security, has included the general term "mental illness", Alzheimer's disease, brain tumour and other behaviour disturbances. It has also used scales for consciousness, which include epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and other conditions. The data did not include the need to be accompanied. Curiously, the 13 categories of locomotion disability in the OPCS's first report do not include the definition unable to walk without physical control by another person. The researchers in the OPCS and the ESRC data archives at Essex university were unable to produce figures or even a reliable method of calculating the people in our target group. I have to challenge the convenient guesstimate figures which have appeared from the Department. I prefer the unchallengeable analysis of Mencap and of the 1971 White Paper, "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped", which revealed that there would be about 4,400 possible claimants under the proposed amendment. We are talking of those with severe mental illness and behavioural difficulties requiring constant supervision.

Mr. Scott

We are discussing an amendment which includes the term physical control by another person That could amount to the need to hold a hand. The amendment does not refer to constant supervision or physical support, which were the previous criteria. We have to judge the number of people who might be eligible against the exact wording of the amendment, and not that of the 1971 concept which their Lordships now ignore.

Mr. Hannam

The Lords amendment has been tightly drawn to ensure that it catches fully the deaf-blind and the mentally handicapped as defined in the 1971 White Paper.

Mr. Rooker

If the will had been there and there was doubt about the definition in the amendment, it was open to the Government to table an amendment to the amendment to clarify the definition, to remove any doubt, to introduce precision, to improve targeting and to reduce cost. Why did not the Government do that? Does the hon. Gentleman have an answer to that?

Mr. Hannam

This is not an issue that has suddenly descended upon us. It is one that has been discussed over many years. There is no dispute about the number of deaf-blind. Everyone is agreed about that category. We know that there are 3,200, and some of them are already in receipt of the mobility allowance. The fact that they are is the luck of the draw—the accident of living in an area where there is a helpful panel.

This is not a flash-in-the-pan attempt to get some more money out of the Treasury. The all-party group and representatives of the various disablement organisations have had meetings with three Ministers who have been responsible for the disabled since 1985. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster first proposed the allowance for the deaf-blind in a ten-minute Bill 10 years ago. He agreed in 1986, after a meeting, to discuss the matter with his officials to ascertain how a solution could be found at the margin.

In March 1987, the present Chief Secretary to the Treasury, when the Minister with responsibility for the disabled, undertook to carry out a survey of both deaf-blind and mentally-handicapped claimants with a view to wording legislation specifically to identify the groups that needed to be covered. At that time there was never any doubt about the merits of the case. There was merely a practical difficulty in finding the appropriate wording. There was never any doubt about the small numbers involved. Equally, there was an acceptance that case law was confusing rather than clarifying the position and that something needed to be done promptly to relieve the frustration and anguish that many claimants were experiencing.

The argument that we should await the OPCS report, which we now have, and the review of disability benefits before taking action is spurious in that it delays still further the necessary action that we need to take.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths (Edinburgh, South)

I know that the hon. Gentleman will want to join me and the entire House in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) on a succinct, balanced and well judged speech in favour of the amendment. Will he join me in advising the Minister that the cost of extending the allowance would be about a quarter of the expenditure on the mobility allowance, and that that expenditure is less than 1.5 per cent. of the general expenditure on social security benefits?

Mr. Hannam

I hope to conclude my remarks in a few minutes by pointing out that the expenditure is far less than that.

This is not a fundamental change; it is fine tuning designed to clarify a long-standing problem. That has happened with other provisions in the Bill relating to mobility allowance, such as the raising of the age limit from 75 to 80. That was a piece of fine tuning or tinkering with the system. That is what the House of Lords wishes to achieve with this amendment.

We are talking not about 100.000 or 125,000 people but about the 7,600 who suffer from dreadful mobility problems through being deaf-blind or having severe mental handicaps. The cost, at the current rate, would be less than £10 million. It would not represent a breach of the Treasury dam—or, as some might say, the damned Treasury. If the amendment is rejected, it will be a severe blow to all those who have worked so hard to help the severely handicapped. I hope that my right hon. Friend will give a positive assurance and, to use his words during a recent meeting with our group, put the necessary provisions on the fast track in the mobility disability benefits review.

I shall vote for the Lords amendment, and I hope that all other hon. Members will do the same.

Mr. Jack Ashley (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam), who does such valuable work for the disabled.

The Minister said that he wanted no lessons in conscience, and I do not propose to offer him any. However, the other place followed the example of Lord Carter and have offered a clear and practical lesson. The amendment is specifically designed to give practical and valuable help to a small group. I remind the Minister that soft words and general principles are of no value to the severely disabled who desperately need the mobility allowance.

The crux of the debate is numbers. The Opposition and some Conservative Members believe the number to be tiny—fewer than 8,000. The disability organisations also believe that. The Minister came up with a figure of 100,000 people who may be affected by the amendment. I ask Conservative Members to bear in mind the methods that he used to come up with that figure. He simply extrapolated certain figures from the OPCS survey and said that 100,000 people would benefit from the amendment. There can be no justification for that conclusion, and the Minister knows that.

I can only tell the Minister—and I am being kind to him—that it is disgraceful to assume that the number of people who would be affected by the amendment is anything like 100,000. He knows that it will affect fewer than 8,000 people, a strictly limited number. He is in statistically dangerous waters in presuming that so many people will be affected; they will not.

We are trying to help people who are both deaf and blind or who are mentally handicapped. If we cannot cast our votes to obtain a few million pounds to help those people, we will never pass the stage of saying, "Not tonight." Perhaps tonight Conservative Members will lake hold of their courage and their conscience and join us in the Lobby to vote to help those in desperate need.

Mr. Peter Thurnham (Bolton, North-East)

In Committee, the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) put the case for such an amendment well enough to graduate to the Opposition Front Bench tonight. However, I take exception to some of his points. He argues that the worst cases are of people who fail to obtain mobility allowance, but the worst cases are those who received mobility allowance in the past but who are unable to continue doing so.

The hon. Member for Leeds, West wants an end to confusion, but it will only add to confusion if the House agrees to Lords amendment No. 2, because the number of persons affected by it is not accurately known. The hon. Gentleman claims that the Mencap analysis is tightly figured, whereas the Government's estimate is crude. However, we know that Mencap's figures are only based on extrapolations of 1971 statistics—and the OPCS survey reveals that earlier estimates were very inaccurate.

12.15 am

The best estimate of the number of handicapped children in institutional care available before the OPCS survey was published was only half the OPCS figure of 5,500. We must conclude that the OPCS estimate is far more accurate than any earlier figures. The figure of 3,200 deaf-blind is not in question, but that of 4,000 mentally handicapped suggested by Mencap is. Although Mencap attempted to ensure the accuracy of its figures, they must be called into question when compared with the OPCS estimates.

My right hon. Friend the Minister was unsure whether Mencap's figures include people in institutional care. On the basis of Mencap's statistics, clearly they do. But the numbers are so small that they should be checked. Mencap's figures show no children at all aged 0 to 14 in residential care, and only five aged 15-plus in hospital or residential care. However, we know from OPCS surveys that more than 100,000 people are in category 10, in institutional care. I appreciate that category 10 cannot be considered in isolation, but that single statistic illustrates the difference in magnitude between the OPCS figure of 100,000 in care and Mencap's figure of a mere five.

If the House agrees to the Lords amendment, it will add to the confusion that the hon. Member for Leeds, West seeks to reduce. Right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House want to help the people who are the subject of the amendment, but they will be helped by a reduction in confusion, not an increase. I ask the Government to get a move on, undertake the review, and then make their proposals. The figures are available, so let the Government run the computer tape and present their proposals by the autumn. The Opposition argue that it will be five years before the Government make up their mind. I do not believe that that is true. The Government could make proper proposals at an early date.

I urge the House to reject the Lords amendment, but to press the Government to make clear suggestions to reduce confusion among the very people we want to help.

Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)

In welcoming Lords amendment No. 2, I speak, as the House knows, as the basic author of the mobility allowance and also, as the originator soon afterwards, of the proposal to set up the motability scheme. I could not, as Minister, apply the mobility allowance at once to all the eligible groups. They had to be phased into the scheme over a period of time. I readily concede that its benefits have been extended to more people since then. From the inception, as the Minister will know, that was always the plan.

The Lords amendment is of the first importance to thousands of the most severely disabled people in Britain today. It would give much needed help to disabled people with the dual handicap of deafness and blindness, and to those in need of constant supervision due to severe mental handicap and behavioural difficulties.

To be both deaf and blind is a devastating handicap whose effects on mobility are extremely serious. The Lords amendment has been called the Helen Keller amendment, but in fact some of the people it seeks to help are even more severely disabled than Helen Keller in that, unlike her. prelingual deafness has left them without speech in addition to being both deaf and blind.

The mentally handicapped people, including many children, who would be helped by the amendment are also, by common consent, very severely disabled. To help both groups, at a cost of £10 million—which is an increase of less than 2 per cent. in spending on the mobility allowance—is a modest proposal that the Government ought to be able to accept in advance of their disability benefits review. It is an urgent proposal of help that merits the same measure of all-party support that it was given in another place.

The Government's position is hard to follow, even for the most well-informed people in this policy area. In fact, Ministers have been flatly contradicting each other. When the Bill was in Committee in the Commons, the Minister for the Disabled said that he felt that case law was dealing already—to a considerable extent—with the aim of the amendment. He reiterated this at a meeting of the all-party disablement group in January 1989, when he said—I quote from the group's minutes—

Case law is beginning to move in the right direction and define the law on this issue. So the Minister's position has been that the law as it stands can deal with the aim of the amendment.

By contrast—as my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) recalled—Lord Skelmersdale, speaking on the amendment, said: On this matter of mobility allowance for the deaf-blind and the mentally handicapped I cannot stress too strongly that they were wanting to act, willing to act, but waiting to act."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 12 July 1989; Vol. 510, c.268.] Thus the position of Lord Skelmersdale—also speaking for the Government—is that the aim of the amendment cannot be dealt with by the law as it stands, and that the Government are willing to act, but waiting to act to change the law.

Even if the Minister for the Disabled had been correct in Committee and when addressing the all-party disablement group, he could not gainsay the truth of what my noble Friend Lord Carter has said about the preventable suffering inflicted on the relatives and other carers of severely disabled people by the "harrowing and lengthy" task of going through the appeal procedure. Lord Allen of Abbeydale said that the changes proposed by the amendment would do much to ease despair and frustration. They would save many appeals and much expense; they would simplify the task of the adjudicators, and would show that Parliament cared.

Let me give brief details of the cases of two disabled people who would be helped by the amendment. The first is that of a young woman who is totally deaf, totally blind and has a mental handicap that causes behavioural problems. All her disabilities are due to rubella. It took four years to secure the mobility allowance for her. She cannot walk alone; indeed, she will not take even a single step alone.

The allowance was first claimed in 1984. It was initially refused, but then awarded on appeal to a medical board. The Secretary of State, clearly unhappy about the award, then referred the board's decision to a medical appeal tribunal, which refused the allowance. That case shows how extremely important it is for this House to make entitlement irrefutably clear.

The second case is that of a girl of 14. She has severe mental handicap, and also suffers from petit mal epilepsy. She "walks" on her toes with her feet turned inwards, and frequently falls. Mobility allowance was first applied for in 1985 and awarded for three years, but on the renewal claim in 1988 it was refused.

How is it possible, then, for the Minister to argue that the law as it stands is dealing already with the aim of the amendment? Again, how can he possibly defend the Government's absurd exaggerations about the cost of the amendment? Mencap, Sense and the Disability Alliance have very carefully researched the cost of the amendment and have dismissed the Government's talk of an additional cost of £100 million. The truth seems to be that the right hon. Gentleman has lost a battle with the Treasury to secure a much lower sum.

The Government stand accused of using a very crude method of "analysis" by simply adding together a few different categories of disabled people covered by reports from the OPCS. The Lords amendment is very tightly drawn to ensure that it includes only the deaf-blind and the mentally handicapped who require physical control by another person. Very few hon. Members will want to question their compelling claims to help, and I hope that we shall indeed show that this House cares by approving the amendment tonight.

Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale)

I think that I speak for many of my hon. Friends when I say that, although I do not take a detailed interest in social security matters, I have considered them in depth after having received deeply moving letters during the last few days from such admirable charities as Mencap and Sense. All hon. Members have experience of cases where appeals appear not to have been dealt with satisfactorily. I do not, however, intend to detain the House by citing examples from my constituency.

There is considerable doubt about the number of people who would be affected by the Lords amendment. I am less concerned about the cost of the proposed provision. I am much more concerned about ending the confusion and the degrading arrangements that lead to appeal after appeal by these people, many of whom have the duel sensory disability of blindness and deafness as well as being severely mentally handicapped. We must end that confusion.

The OPCS survey provides a springboard for action. We must ensure, whether the number is 8,000 or 125,000, that we provide the right framework of benefits for these people. As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security said, none of us knows whether the mobility allowance is the right benefit for some of the folk whom the OPCS survey highlighted as being in need of benefit beyond the level that has already been suggested.

I come to the House not having made up my mind whether to vote for the Lords amendment or to support the Government. It is largely because of my right hon. Friend's fine record as Minister of State in the Department of Social Security that I trust implicitly his commitment at the Dispatch Box tonight to do whatever he can to ensure that that is put right. It must be done this autumn. My right hon. Friend has a particularly fine record in respect of the deaf and the blind. In addition, the Government have a fine record in respect of the mobility allowance. During the last 10 years they have increased it sixfold. During the debate we have heard about the number of people who now receive it. However, we must not let this opportunity pass without saying to the Government and to the Treasury that the matter, along with other matters, must be addressed in next autumn's Social Security Bill.

Mr. William Ross (Londonderry, East)

I have an interest in the allowance for two reasons. The first is strictly personal. In my own family circle I have a sister who was stricken by polio in 1950. She now spends most of her time in a wheelchair. I also have a nephew who is blind. Therefore, I have personal experience of disability in the home and what it means to those who have to care for the disabled.

Secondly, I have constituency knowledge of the difficulty of obtaining the allowance for those who, to the layman's eye, appear to qualify for it with ease. I came into the Chamber only to listen to the debate, but, as all too often happened when the Minister held a different ministerial post, I felt that I had to speak because of the Minister's attitude.

The hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) said that many of the problems are due to inconsistent legal decisions. I put it to him that many of our constituency problems arise even more from inconsistent medical opinions. We have all heard that doctors differ and patients die. Because that is so, whenever someone says to me that his relation has been refused that benefit, I advise him to do as Robert the Bruce did—"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Like Robert the Bruce, people succeed. They do so because they get a different doctor to examine them.

12.30 am

The medical decisions have created not a fuzzy borderline but a broad fuzzy band. It is difficult to know who will fall on one side or who will fall on the other. Like the rest of the House, I waited in vain for the Minister to say that he would try to clarify the degree of disability that was necessary before people could get the allowance.

I listened also to the Minister's explanation of how he arrived at the figure of 125,000 people compared with the caring charities' figure of only 8,000. I heard the Minister say plainly that the Government were not prepared to fund 125,000 new people. I failed to hear him say that the Government would not fund 8,000 people. He seemed anxious to avoid getting an accurate figure. For that reason, my hon. Friends and I will support the Lords amendment.

Mr. Harry Ewing

The House is anxious to come to a decision. I have known the Minister in a previous incarnation in the Northern Ireland Office and now in the Department of Social Security. I say, without being patronising, that I respect him. I am grateful to him for his generosity and his profound apology to me for his rather insulting remark against the background of my sedentary intervention. I apologise for that intervention.

This has been a debate about numbers. In deciding the fate of the Lords amendment, the House will not decide whether it is 125,000, 7,500 or 4,500 people. That will be decided by the tribunals to which the new group of people apply for mobility allowance. The amendment is not about whether it is 125,000, 7,500 or 4,500 people but about opening a door for a new group of people, those who are profoundly disabled and deaf. The Minister went over the top a wee bit in talking about those who need constant attention, including holding their hands. That simplified matters to the extent of insulting those people.

The amendment would enable that new group of people to apply for mobility allowance. The tribunals, or doctors, to whom the applications are made will decide the numbers. The Minister should admit that this is all about money. My position is clear. Until my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) said that he was the architect of the scheme, I did not realise that it was his brainchild. I was on the Labour ministerial team that put it together. I do not care whether it is 125,000. If 125,000 people require mobility allowance, so be it—we should accept that responsibility. I believe that the Minister in his heart of hearts would like to concede that, but he has been told by the Treasury that he cannot.

I am saying to the Minister's right hon. and hon. Friends on the Back Benches that we have a chance tonight—I am not being emotional, but I am appealing to their humanity—through the amendment, to say to the Government, "Look, you open up the avenue for this new group of people to apply for mobility allowance." Whether they get a mobility allowance is a matter not for the House, but for the statutory authorities to which we have delegated the powers to decide those matters. But we must say to the Government that that new group must have the ability to apply for that mobility allowance. I am saying in all sincerity to Conservative Members that everything is to be gained by accepting the amendment from the other place; everything is to be lost by defeating it. I plead with Conservative Members to join us in the Lobby and to support the amendment.

Mr. Scott

I sense that the House wants to reach a decision, so I shall make just four brief points.

Of course, in any system that is run by independent authorities, there will be some people who will feel that they are hard done by when they are turned down for an allowance, whether it be attendance or mobility allowance. However, the fact that the numbers have gone up from 95,000 to 580,000 under the Government hardly suggests that we are being unduly restrictive about the criteria that are being applied to the mobility allowance.

My hon. Friends the Members for Bolton, North-East (Mr. Thurnham) and for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway), both of whom take a close interest in these matters, urge me to early action. I must say, however, that others outside urge me to have a large-scale, long-term review of the whole nature of disability benefits. I reiterate that I seek to balance careful consideration and listening to the views of people outside with not delaying unduly appropriate action. It was said that we are in statistical deep water in this area. There is no argument about the number of deaf-blind, but I cannot agree that the amendment that their Lordships have sent down to us is sufficiently tightly drawn to limit the numbers to the extent that they calculate. I believe that our figures are likely to be more accurate.

I shall finish by quoting what the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) said in an oral answer when he held the post that I hold at present. He said: In reviewing their public expenditure programme, the Government keep constantly in mind all claims for extending the scope of this important new allowance … every claim for improvement in the scheme must be weighed both against other proposals for adding to the Government's present level of help for disabled people and all other proposals for increases in public expenditure."—[Official Report, 11 July 1978; Vol. 953, c. 1226.] I ask nothing more than to be allowed the same right, to look at all this in the round and to weigh these priorities. I ask the House to reverse the amendment.

Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 299, Noes 219.

Divison No. 311] [12.38 am
Adley, Robert Couchman, James
Alexander, Richard Cran, James
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Currie, Mrs Edwina
Allason, Rupert Curry, David
Amess, David Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Amos, Alan Davis, David (Boothferry)
Arbuthnot, James Day, Stephen
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Devlin, Tim
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Dorrell, Stephen
Ashby, David Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Atkins, Robert Dover, Den
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Dunn, Bob
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Eggar, Tim
Baldry, Tony Emery, Sir Peter
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Batiste, Spencer Evennett, David
Bellingham, Henry Fallon, Michael
Bendall, Vivian Favell, Tony
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Bevan, David Gilroy Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Biffen, Rt Hon John Fishburn, John Dudley
Blackburn, Dr John G. Fookes, Dame Janet
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Forman, Nigel
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Forth, Eric
Boswell, Tim Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Bottom, Peter Fox, Sir Marcus
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Franks, Cecil
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Freeman, Roger
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) French, Douglas
Bowis, John Gale, Roger
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Gardiner, George
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Garel-Jones, Tristan
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Gill, Christopher
Brazier, Julian Glyn, Dr Alan
Bright, Graham Goodhart, Sir Philip
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Browne, John (Winchester) Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Gorst, John
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Gow, Ian
Buck, Sir Antony Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Budgen, Nicholas Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Burns, Simon Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Burt, Alistair Gregory, Conal
Butcher, John Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Carrington, Matthew Hague, William
Carttiss, Michael Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Cash, William Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Hanley, Jeremy
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Chapman, Sydney Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Chope, Christopher Harris, David
Churchill, Mr Hawkins, Christopher
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hayes, Jerry
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hayward, Robert
Colvin, Michael Heathcoat-Amory, David
Conway, Derek Heddle, John
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Cope, Rt Hon John Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hill, James Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hind, Kenneth Norris, Steve
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Hordern, Sir Peter Oppenheim, Phillip
Howard, Michael Page, Richard
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B 'wd) Patnick, Irvine
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Patten, John (Oxford W)
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Pawsey, James
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Porter, David (Waveney)
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne) Portillo, Michael
Hunter, Andrew Powell, William (Corby)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Raffan, Keith
Irvine, Michael Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Jack, Michael Redwood, John
Jackson, Robert Renton, Tim
Jessel, Toby Rhodes James, Robert
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Riddick, Graham
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Key, Robert Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Roe, Mrs Marion
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Rossi, Sir Hugh
Kirkhope, Timothy Rost, Peter
Knapman, Roger Rowe, Andrew
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Ryder, Richard
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Lang, Ian Sayeed, Jonathan
Latham, Michael Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lawrence, Ivan Shaw, David (Dover)
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lee, John (Pendle) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Shelton, Sir William
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Lightbown, David Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lilley, Peter Shersby, Michael
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lord, Michael Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Luce, Rt Hon Richard Speed, Keith
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
McCrindle, Robert Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Squire, Robin
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Stanbrook, Ivor
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Maclean, David Stern, Michael
McLoughlin, Patrick Stevens, Lewis
Major, Rt Hon John Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Malins, Humfrey Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Mans, Keith Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Maples, John Stokes, Sir John
Marlow, Tony Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Sumberg, David
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Summerson, Hugo
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Mates, Michael Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Maude, Hon Francis Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Temple-Morris, Peter
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Mellor, David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Miller, Sir Hal Thorne, Neil
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Thornton, Malcolm
Mitchell, Sir David Thurnham, Peter
Monro, Sir Hector Townend, John (Bridlington)
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Moore, Rt Hon John Tracey, Richard
Morris, M (N'hampton S) Trippier, David
Morrison, Sir Charles Trotter, Neville
Moss, Malcolm Twinn, Dr Ian
Moynihan, Hon Colin Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Neale, Gerrard Viggers, Peter
Needham, Richard Waddington, Rt Hon David
Nelson, Anthony Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Neubert, Michael Waldegrave, Hon William
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Walden, George
Nicholls, Patrick Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Waller, Gary Winterton, Mrs Ann
Ward, John Wolfson. Mark
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill) Wood, Timothy
Warren, Kenneth Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Watts, John Yeo, Tim
Wells, Bowen Younger, Rt Hon George
Wheeler, John
Whitney, Ray Tellers for the Ayes:
Widdecombe, Ann Mr. Tony Durant and Mr. Tom Sackville.
Wilkinson, John
Wilshire, David
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Allen, Graham Eadie, Alexander
Alton, David Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Anderson, Donald Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Fatchett, Derek
Armstrong, Hilary Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Fisher, Mark
Ashton, Joe Flannery, Martin
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Flynn, Paul
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Foster, Derek
Barron, Kevin Fraser, John
Battle, John Fyfe, Maria
Beckett, Margaret Galbraith, Sam
Beggs, Roy Galloway, George
Beith, A. J. Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Bell, Stuart George, Bruce
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Bermingham, Gerald Golding, Mrs Llin
Blunkett, David Gordon, Mildred
Boateng, Paul Graham, Thomas
Boyes, Roland Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Bradley, Keith Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Grocott, Bruce
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Hannam, John
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Hardy, Peter
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Harman, Ms Harriet
Buckley, George J. Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Caborn, Richard Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Callaghan, Jim Hinchliffe, David
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Home Robertson, John
Canavan, Dennis Hood, Jimmy
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cartwright, John Howells, Geraint
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Hoyle, Doug
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Clay, Bob Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clelland, David Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cohen, Harry Illsley, Eric
Coleman, Donald Ingram, Adam
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Janner, Greville
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Johnston, Sir Russell
Corbyn, Jeremy Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Cousins, Jim Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)
Crowther, Stan Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Cryer, Bob Kennedy, Charles
Cummings, John Kirkwood, Archy
Cunliffe, Lawrence Lambie, David
Cunningham, Dr John Lamond, James
Dalyell, Tam Leadbitter, Ted
Darling, Alistair Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Lewis, Terry
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Litherland, Robert
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Livingstone, Ken
Dewar, Donald Livsey, Richard
Dixon, Don Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Dobson, Frank Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Doran, Frank Loyden, Eddie
Douglas, Dick McAllion, John
Duffy, A. E. P. McAvoy, Thomas
Dunnachie, Jimmy McFall, John
McKelvey, William Ross, William (Londonderry E)
McLeish, Henry Rowlands, Ted
Maclennan, Robert Ruddock, Joan
McNamara, Kevin Salmond, Alex
Madden, Max Sedgemore, Brian
Mahon, Mrs Alice Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Marek, Dr John Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Short, Clare
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Skinner, Dennis
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Martlew, Eric Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Maxton, John Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Meacher, Michael Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Meale, Alan Snape, Peter
Michael, Alun Soley, Clive
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Spearing, Nigel
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Steel, Rt Hon David
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Steinberg, Gerry
Moonie, Dr Lewis Stott, Roger
Morgan, Rhodri Straw, Jack
Morley, Elliot Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Mowlam, Marjorie Turner, Dennis
Mullin, Chris Vaz, Keith
Nellist, Dave Wall, Pat
O'Brien, William Wallace, James
O'Neill, Martin Walley, Joan
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Parry, Robert Wareing, Robert N.
Patchett, Terry Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Pendry, Tom Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Pike, Peter L. Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Prescott, John Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Quin, Ms Joyce Wilson, Brian
Radice, Giles Winnick, David
Randall, Stuart Wise, Mrs Audrey
Redmond, Martin Worthington, Tony
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn Wray, Jimmy
Richardson, Jo Young, David (Bolton SE)
Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Robertson, George Tellers for the Noes:
Robinson, Geoffrey Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. Allen McKay.
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 2 disagreed to.

Lords amendment No. 3 agreed to.

Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendments Nos. 1 and 2: Mr. John Battle, Mrs. Margaret Beckett, Mr. Michael Fallon, Mr. Peter Lloyd and Mr. Nicholas Scott. Three to be the quorum.—[Mr. John M. Taylor.]

To withdraw immediately.

Reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords amendments reported, and agreed to: to be communicated to the Lords.

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