HC Deb 08 November 1989 vol 159 cc1064-83

". —(1) Part II of the Housing Act 1985 (Provision of Housing Accommodation) shall be amended by the inclusion of the following section after section 32— 32A—No condition shall be attached by the Secretary of State to the payment of grant to a local housing authority, or to the giving of a consent to:

  1. (i) the disposal of land, or
  2. (ii) the use of funds, or
  3. (iii) the payment of grant to a housing association by a local authority, which would require such authority or housing association to grant occupiers a right to acquire the full equity or any specified share of the equity of any dwelling which is constructed in a rural parish with a population of 3,000 people or less."
(2) Part II of the Housing Act 1988 (Housing Associations) shall be amended by the inclusion of the following section after section 50— 50A—No condition shall be attached by the Housing Corporation to the payment of grant to a housing association or to the giving of consent to the use of funds by a housing association, which would require such housing association to grant to occupiers a right to acquire the full equity or any specified share of the equity of any dwelling which is constructed in a rural parish with a population of 3,000 people or less.

Mr. Howard

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

We heard repeatedly in the previous debate the accusation that the Government had no housing policy save the right to buy. I said during questions this afternoon that our planned public spending on housing over this and the next two years amounts to nearly £13 billion. Against that massive programme, the allegation that we have no housing policies save the right to buy does nothing save demean political debate and bring our discussion into disrepute.

Lords amendment No. 269 aims to retain local housing in rural areas for those who need it. We agree with its objective, but we propose to achieve it in a slightly different way. Our policy is that shared owners who own part of their home and rent the remainder should be allowed to become full home owners. The amendment would prevent either the Secretary of State or the Housing Corporation from insisting that publicly assisted shared ownership schemes should give shared owners that opportunity. It applies to rural parishes of fewer than 3,000 people.

We recognise the strong concerns that have been expressed on both sides of the House about the need to provide and retain low-cost housing for local needs in rural areas. The Government produced a repurchase scheme designed to ensure that housing associations could keep properties in rural areas in the low-cost housing sector, but there was legitimate concern that the proposal might not work satisfactorily. The Department has been working with those most closely involved to see how we can improve the scheme. As a result of those discussions, we have come up with improved arrangements which I shall invite the Housing Corporation to implement.

We have benefited from the views of a number of colleagues, notably my right hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Jopling). I am sorry that I was not in my place this afternoon during his speech. My right hon. Friend was entitled to claim a considerable victory. I pay tribute to his persistence and to the characteristically resourceful way in which he has pursued his campaign over a lengthy period. We have benefited from the views of many in the other place, in particular Lord Stanley, Lord Carter, and Lord Vinson. I am happy to tell the House that the arrangements that I am about to describe have the full support of the Rural Development Commission, the National Agricultural Centre's Rural Trust, the National Farmers Union and the Country Landowners Association.

The first point that concerned people was whether the money to pay for the shared ownership property would really be available from the Housing Corporation when it was needed. I can give the House an assurance that the corporation will fund, on demand, housing associations that want to repurchase properties within this scheme. It will do that with the full authority of the Government from its approved development programme.

Of course, a generalised undertaking needs to be applied to the particular properties in question. The corporation will therefore make it clear in writing, when a property is first accepted into the scheme, that the repurchase arrangements will apply. Therefore, in addition to the general undertakings which I am giving now and which the corporation will give, there will be a site-specific undertaking, indicating that the shared ownership housing on a particular site is subject to the repurchase arrangements that I have described. The amount of Housing Corporation funding will normally be that which is necessary to enable the property to be resold for shared ownership, with the new shared owner buying the same proportion of equity as the first shared owner had originally bought. In appropriate cases, the corporation will be prepared to consider' making additional grant available so that the new purchaser can acquire a lower share of the equity.

Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

My hon. and learned Friend has said that the new owner should be able to obtain the same proportion of equity as the previous owner. Will he be able to do so at the same price as the previous owner? Many people are worried about the fact that, although the same proportion may be made available, the price may have escalated, because of the increase in value, to such an extent that cheap housing is no longer available.

Mr. Howard

That would very much depend on the circumstances in which the housing was made available. It is true that there may have been an increase in the price. As my hon. Friend will appreciate, in all shared ownership schemes, the subsidy goes to the part of the share that is rented and not to the part that is purchased. If the house were originally on land that was made available for a particular scheme at low cost, or at no cost, and were subject to a covenant whereby it should remain available only to local people on low incomes—there are ways in which this objective, which I know my hon. Friend holds dear, can be achieved—although I cannot say that there would be no increase in the price, the price would certainly reflect those special arrangements.

Mr. Soley

Much of my worry is about the market price. A housing association will, in a sense, lose a certain amount of money and need to make it up when it rebuys the property at the new market price. The Government need to be clear about this point. Will they make sure that the housing association can repurchase at the market price without losing its funds in any way? That is crucial.

Mr. Howard

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate from the answer that I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) that the market price reflects all the relevant circumstances. The fact that a property is subject to the kind of covenant to which I referred when dealing with my hon. Friend's point will be reflected in its market price.

Concern has been expressed that the funds that the Housing Corporation would need to operate the repurchase scheme could reduce the number of projects allowed into the scheme in the first place or could erode the amounts available for rural rented housing. I assure the House that repurchase funds will not be found from the amount set aside within the Housing Corporation's programme for rented accommodation or shared ownership in rural areas—the point on which my right hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale placed particular stress.

The Government strongly support the case for an expanding programme of low-cost housing in rural areas. I am inviting the Housing Corporation to propose a significant increase in its special rural programme for rented housing, to allow 1,000 approvals next year, 1,200 in 1991–92 and 1,500 in 1992–93. I am inviting the corporation to identify separately, for the first time, a rural element within its low-cost home ownership programme, to allow 250 approvals next year, 300 in 1991–92 and 350 in 1992–93. Neither of those approval targets will be affected by the demands for repurchase funds.

The localities to which the repurchase scheme applies are wider than those proposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale when we debated this subject in the summer. The scheme will apply in areas eligible for investment under the corporation's special rural programme. That is primarily targeted on settlements in rural areas with fewer than 1,000 people, but that is not intended to be an absolute cut-off point. It may be appropriate for the pre-emption scheme to apply to properties in rural areas with a greater population. It is important that there should be a measure of flexibility at the margin, and the corporation will consider all such cases on their merits.

The scheme will apply also in rural areas other than those within the special rural programme where the site has received planning permission specifically for the development of low-cost housing for local needs and is covered by a section 52 or similar agreement. It will apply also where a private landowner has made a site available on condition that it is retained for low-cost housing—the kind of circumstances to which I referred in answering my hon. Friend the Member for Honiton.

Some people have been worried by the fact that a housing association has a right to purchase, but not an obligation. They point out quite fairly that if there is a chance of an association not exercising its right, landowners may be reluctant to give land in the first place or local authorities may not feel able to grant planning permission. Where local authorities or landlords are worried about this point, the solution is to enter into a covenant and/or make a section 52 agreement to oblige the association to exercise its right to repurchase. They can do that in the full knowledge that the funds will be available from the corporation to enable the association to meet its undertaking.

We shall, of course, be monitoring the operation of the scheme. We shall want to review its workings after a suitable period. We believe that the improved repurchase scheme and the substantially increased programme for rural housing are important new elements in the Government's drive to meet local housing needs in rural areas. Those who promoted the amendment believe that as well. With their agreement, therefore, I ask the House to disagree with the Lords in amendment No. 269.

Mr. Soley

This is an important debate which will predominantly affect hon. Members who represent rural constituencies. My complaint about the Minister's lack of a housing policy is quite correct because the amount that we invest in housing is now one of the lowest in western Europe. We should not be having a debate on the problem in rural areas if the Government had not failed to develop a proper housing policy. It is precisely because of that failure that I have been able to point out consistently over the past few years that our housing crisis is no longer primarily an urban or inner-city crisis, but a national crisis which is hitting the rural areas. I know that some Conservative Members are seeking to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I shall ensure that they have time to do so by keeping my remarks brief. The fact that they are trying to catch your eye shows the level of seriousness of the housing crisis in rural areas.

8.30 pm

When the Government said last year that they planned to increase the number of housing association schemes, it sounded like good news, but when we looked at the small print we found that "schemes" meant only 600 new houses or flats throughout the rural areas of England. No Conservative Member—least of all the Minister—can believe for a moment that that will meet the needs of the rural areas. As I have often said, the Government made the fundamental error of ending council house provision as it used to exist and cutting it back until only 5,000 or 6,000 units per year were being built, without providing an alternative. As I have also often said, the private sector is unable to provide and is continuing to collapse.

The Government did a bit of an about-turn a couple of years ago by beginning to put funds back into housing associations, but even now, when additional funds have begun to flow in, the housing association movement is still not providing the same number of homes as in the mid-1970s and is only just beginning to get back to that figure. Even in a few years' time—for the moment, I am sticking to the rural areas—the housing association movement will not be providing enough accommodation to make up for the loss in the council sector. That is why the right hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Jopling), and the hon. Members for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) and for Taunton (Mr. Nicholson) are in trouble in their areas. That is why people in those areas are saying that their sons and daughters cannot find anywhere that they can afford to rent or buy and that is why the local work force, such as postmen, nurses, teachers and bus drivers, are saying that they cannot find anywhere to rent or buy at a price that they can afford. That is the housing crisis in rural areas. The shared ownership scheme has a small but important part to play. Most—if not all—political parties have always accepted that the shared ownership scheme is useful in helping people to bridge the gap between renting and owning, and we all want to encourage that scheme.

I note that the Lords amendment refers to the full equity or any specified share of the equity". The Government are trying to persuade the right hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale to accept what for him is a compromise. I must be careful. I accused the right hon. Gentleman on Report of not being prepared to press his amendment to a Division, but in fact he did so and he had my full respect for that. The compromise now concerns the amount of the equity and, more importantly, the small print of the deal, to which both I and the hon. Member for Honiton have referred in interventions.

There is understandable anxiety that the housing association may not be able to ensure that it receives back the full amount of money to enable it to repurchase at the price that is being asked at that time. In other words, we must allow for house price inflation because, although we are now going through a slight flattening of the inflation curve on house prices, they are still going up and we know that they will probably go up quite steeply from the end of next year. The housing associations will be asked to pay that price at that time. If they cannot do that without drawing on their reserves, as a result of the tight squeeze they are in and the fact that they are being pushed by Government policy towards private sector finance, they will try to find ways of avoiding doing that. They will at least want to hold the Government to their commitment to fund them in some way.

I notice that the Lords have tied their amendment to rural parishes with a population of 3,000 or fewer. I suspect that the problem goes wider and is affecting all rural areas. I also suspect that the problem for housing associations is the complex relationship that develops on the market price when they come to repurchase and, as the Minister himself acknowledged and as was mentioned in the Lords amendment, the question of the disposal of land price, the use of other funds and the payments of the grant at the time. The housing associations may have a deal, with the land price having an effect on that, but if the Government's price simply takes that into account without giving the housing associations sufficient funds to buy back the property at the price at the time without loss to their reserves, the housing associations will want to avoid such repurchases or, if they are forced to do so, will do so only at the expense of further housing investment in that area.

Such investment may not necessarily be in new housing because it may be investment through repair and renovation schemes. Housing associations may deal with the problem by making up the money through other people's rents. If they do that there is a danger. Let no Conservative Member think that any extra money that the housing association has to find itself can be lost in rents without causing problems. Housing association rents went up last year by 24 per cent. We all know that they will go up again next year and, almost certainly, the year after, unless the Government change the rules that they have introduced. The housing associations are being asked to operate the shared ownership scheme, which is neither cheap nor an easy option. We must remember that the price people are being asked to pay is closer to a mortgage than a rent in most cases, which is one of the problems for people who get into difficulties changing a mortgage into a shared ownership scheme—which many of us would like to see. The difficulty is that the payments are often close to the amount of a full mortgage. Housing associations cannot pass on any surplus that they have picked up in rent without pushing up rent levels generally.

I urge Conservative Members who are interested in this subject to think carefully about the wording and to hold the Government tightly to what appears, on paper, to be a tolerably good commitment to fund the associations. When one looks at the small print, one sees that housing associations will either have to find some extra money from their reserves and squeeze their building, repair and renovation programmes or lose the money in a rent increase. If they do not do that, they will try to avoid buying back because they will not receive the funding that they expected from the Government.

I am deeply disturbed by the Government's proposal and I should have thought that it would have been best to accept the Lords amendment. It is worth reminding the House that some 111 Members of the House of Lords voted for the amendment, with only 38 against; some 10 Tory Members of the House of Lords supported the amendment, as did a significant number of Cross Benchers and a couple of bishops. It would be unwise for the Government to throw out the amendment without bearing in mind the fact that the issue attracted cross-party support in the Lords or without considering the cautionary note I have sounded. I advise the House to agree with the Lords amendment.

Sir Peter Emery

I understand the concern expressed by the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley), which many of us have voiced. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Londsdale (Mr. Jopling), who brought this matter to our attention and pursued it in a proper and reasonable manner. We have been able to show the degree of flexibility of Government policy and of Government Ministers, which many of us have always believed to exist, although Governments are frequently not given credit for being flexible. We have certainly got much further with the Government than would have appeared obvious from the then Secretary of State's reply on a certain night, which did not even seem to understand the problem, let alone begin to meet it.

The Government's solution has gone through the hoops—it has been closely examined by the Country Landowners Association and by the National Farmers Union. A Minister who can get those two bodies together and persuade them to welcome and agree on recommendations is not doing badly, and I congratulate my hon. and learned Friend on having achieved that. As my hon. and learned Friend said, the solution should be monitored. We must make certain that it does what the Government and what those of us who have been pressing them want it to do.

The decrease in the amount of local housing in agricultural areas is a major worry, as is now accepted by everybody and by the Government. The level of financing suggested by my hon. and learned Friend the Minister slightly concerns me. The Opposition have a point that it may not be enough to meet the problems. One great difficulty is that in some constituencies—Honiton is a prime example—homes which in the past have always been established as agricultural cottages are now being snapped up by people from the midlands and elsewhere for use as retirement homes. A host of housing is being taken out of circulation that would previously never have been used for anything other than homes for those working in agriculture.

The amount of assistance that may be necessary to sustain homes in agricultural areas needs to be monitored closely and I ask my hon. and learned Friend to give us an assurance that that will happen.

I have one other question, with which my hon. and learned Friend did not deal, and which goes wider than low-cost agricultural housing. East Devon district council is very concerned about some of the restrictions that have been placed on it. The local authority purchased land a number of years ago at a reasonable price, very much lower than the market value, yet it is being forced to sell to housing associations at market prices. The housing associations then increase the cost of the housing to a level far higher than the local authority would wish. The local authority has applied to the Department, which has told it that it will have to sell in accordance with the market valuation of the land rather than at its purchase price. The ratepayers would in any case have got back the money spent on the purchase and it seems to me foolish that at a time when we are trying to encourage the provision of low-cost housing and starter homes the Ministry should insist that local authorities, which are in a position o provide low-cost land for such premises, should inflate the price of the land and sell it at market value. That may be to the benefit of the ratepayers, but it is of no benefit in trying to achieve what the local authorities and most people in the area would want—the provision of low-cost housing and starter homes. Perhaps my hon. and learned Friend will pursue that case with me..

I urge my hon. and learned Friend to express our gratitude to those in the other place for pursuing our ideas and translating them into Lords amendments. Without the Lords, we might not have had such an excellent statement from the Government. I am happy to urge my hon. Friends to accept that statement so long as it is understood that the provision will be monitored over the next two or three years to ensure that it achieves the objectives that the Minister has outlined. If that can be done, we shall have achieved a considerable victory.

8.45 pm
Mr. Fearn

I am happy to add my own support and that of my party to the support already voiced for Lords amendment No. 269. I should have liked it to apply much more widely. The fact that it refers to rural parishes with populations of 3,000 or fewer makes it a moderate move. I hope that Conservative Members will join many of their colleagues in the other place and agree to the amendment.

As the House knows, the amendment received overwhelming support from all parties in the other place, whose members are knowledgeable about the provision of low-cost housing in rural areas. Many of their Lordships have spent much of their lives helping to provide homes for those who can least afford them. It is the provision of land —at its agricultural rather than its development value—by some of the Lords that makes some low-cost schemes possible. They have the interests of their community at heart, and we should do well to heed their expert advice. Many housing groups also agree with Lords amendment No. 269. Unfortunately, Ministers do not have a reputation for taking kindly to outside advice, especially if it is given to someone else.

It may be admirable for the Government to claim that they are standing by the fundamental principle of their housing policy, which is the right to home ownership. But such a policy becomes somewhat dogmatic and foolhardy if it deprives hundreds, if not thousands, of people of the opportunity ever to have a home of their own. The policy is even more foolhardy if it leads to the devastation of whole communities, and that could still happen.

I note that, by trebling the number of low-cost homes to be built in rural areas, the Government have recognised at least some of the problems, and that they have attempted to alleviate them by giving the housing associations the first right to buy. The fact that that right can only be exercised if they buy at open market prices will, as we heard, result in their being unable to buy, so the use of the houses will be lost to local people on low incomes.

Claims that funds will be available for that purpose —for all houses once they have been accepted into the scheme—should be taken with a pinch of salt. The scheme is cash-limited. The Government are the least likely people to agree to an open-ended project. Housing associations wishing to apply for a grant from the Housing Corporation to provide rural low-cost housing will still have to compete with all the others.

Homes will still be sold on the open market to people outside the community, and landowners, including some of their Lordships, the Churches and others, will be reluctant to make the land available, in spite of the Minister's statement about covenants. I did not quite understand that statement, incidentally. That will make it impossible for low-cost housing schemes to get off the ground in the first place.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

Surely the whole point of the covenant is that they will be prepared to sell the land with that assurance.

Mr. Fearn

Being a Conservative Member, the hon. Lady may have understood what the Minister said, but I do not think that it was clear. Perhaps the Minister will deal with that point later.

Those affected are often vital to the community. They include nurses, farm workers and now even teachers. Unless the House agrees to the amendment as it stands, the housing blight in rural areas will not improve and the House will again preside over the break-up of many rural communities.

Mr. Jopling

I must be losing my touch for judging the pace of progress of the business of the House. I was convinced during the debate on the timetable motion that there would not be time to discuss Lords amendment No. 269. Hence I made most of my remarks during the debate on the timetable motion, in hopeful anticipation of what my hon. and learned Friend the Minister would say. Now, having heard what he said, I shall add one or two remarks to supplement what I said earlier.

Mr. David Nicholson

Would my right hon. Friend care to note the pressure on the Labour Benches yesterday during the debate and the pressure now?

Mr. Jopling

There is one Labour Back-Bench Member present and we are delighted to see him.

Mr. George Howarth (Knowsley, North)


Mr. Jopling

I must get on.

I am grateful for the kind remarks made about me and those who have supported me. I still believe that a better solution would have been that in the amendment. However, I do not intend to press that tonight, because the Government have a perfectly fair point. They have suggested, and it was recommended to me, that their solution should be tried for a little time. Therefore, I am happy to see how it works for 18 months and for us then to come back to it. I am grateful that the Government have said that they will review the matter. We shall have to do that.

The Government have given us the assurances that they back the scheme which the previous Secretary of State elaborated in June. They have said that there are guarantees of adequate repurchase funds and that the scheme for repurchase will be available in the majority of rural areas. I welcome also the promise of increases in the rural rented and shared ownership programmes that the Minister has explained to us. We have the basis for a helpful experiment. I welcome the efforts that I know that Government have made to meet the strong points that have been made here and in another place. They have worked extremely hard to help us.

We will have to see how the experiment works over the next 18 months, but the House is aware that I believe that the problems of rural housing amount to a crusade. I shall return to other problem arising on that issue over the months and years ahead. One of the problemss is with local authorities. We may have to return to that but there are other matters that we shall wish to discuss.

This is one of the most important issues with which hon. Members should be dealing and, on that basis, I have advised all my right hon. and hon. Friends who have been good enough to support me in the past few months not to press our objections to the Government's intentions tonight. Therefore, I recommend that they should support the Government and the motion before us.

Mr. Christopher Gill (Ludlow)

As the sponsor of the early-day motion on rural housing in the previous Session of Parliament, I should like to take this opportunity to say two things to my hon. and learned Friend the Minister. First, I should like to pay tribute to him for listening to the plea from the countryside on this key issue and congratulate him on the concessions that he is making tonight. Secondly, he will not be surprised to hear me say that we shall be wanting to review progress during the next 18 months or so to see that the measure alleviates the problems.

Mr. Howard

With the leave of the House, I shall reply to the debate.

I express my gratitude to my right hon. and hon. Friends for their remarks. I wish to respond briefly to two points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery). First, on the availability of resources, it is important to remember that, because the shares that are purchased have to be purchased at market value, whatever that is, the difference between the market value—the funds from which go to the housing association—and the cost of repurchase, is not as great as it might at first appear.

Secondly, I am looking at the point raised about the desire of some local authorities to make land available to housing associations at less than market price. I understand the problems to which that has given rise, and I and my Department are studying them. I commend the motion to the House.

Mr. Soley

With the leave of the House, I shall reply to the debate.

I should have learnt my lesson. We have just had a clear demonstration that it is always a mistake to be generous to the Conservative party. I said that I would give time to Conservative Members to speak on rural housing as we know that that issue is hurting them much more than the Labour party because of the distribution of seats. Clearly, there will be fewer Labour Members in a debate of this nature because we have fewer rural Members. We need to and shall put that right. The hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Nicholson) jumped up to point out that there are few Labour Back Benchers here. What does he expect? Why should I ever again give Conservative Members time to debate the issue? I could have spent much more time on this and future matters, and I will do so if necessary.

I am troubled also by the way in which the right hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Jopling) said that he wanted to start a crusade on the issue. I welcome that, but I am more than a little puzzled that he is recommending that all his right hon. and hon. Friends should vote with the Government on what he sees as a watered down version of the Lords amendment, which is what he wanted initially. Now he is saying, "Let us make the crusade a bit weaker and lay down our swords for a while." He is urging them to make the crusade weaker in case they win.

Mr. Jopling

The hon. Gentleman should remember what I said in the timetable debate. The advice from the majority of the organisations which suggested those changes earlier in the year is that we should not object tonight to the Government's proposal and that we should let the experiment run.

Mr. Soley

If the right hon. Gentleman wants the stronger position recommended by Members of the House of Lords from all parties—including the Conservative party—he will vote with us. It is as simple as that. If the right hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale is going to have a crusade on this issue—I agree that it deserves one—could he widen it to join the crusade on housing in general? If there is a problem with housing in rural areas in terms of shared ownership, by God there is a problem with rented accommodation in all areas.

There is also a desperate problem for those people who are trying to buy. In the Conservative heartlands such as east Sussex—one of the richest areas in the country—67 per cent. of the people who do not own their own homes◦ at present cannot afford to buy property there. There is a similar percentage—just over 60 per cent.—in Hampshire. In other counties in that area, over 50 per cent. of those who do not already own their own home cannot afford to buy. Furthermore, they cannot afford to rent, for all the reasons that I spelled out earlier.

The Minister attempted to sell to his hon. Friends the idea that somehow or other the changes that he is making —although less effective than those suggested by the Lords —will considerably help the shared ownership schemes in rural areas. I accept that they will help at the margins, but I do not accept that the Minister has faced up to the problem in both the rented and purchase sectors that I put to him earlier. Until the Minister does something about the housing finance mess that the Government have got themselves into, housing associations will never be able to provide the necessary number of homes in rural areas that are affordable either for renting or shared ownership because they will not have the necessary resources.

9 pm

The Government are in difficulties on this point for two reasons. First, they want the housing association movement to use more private sector money and are therefore squeezing Government grants. The House will remember that the Government went through some uncertainty a couple of years ago about whether housing associations were or were not in the public sector. My view is that they are clearly in the public sector, but that does not rule out the possibility that they can, or indeed should, look for private money. I have no objection to that. However, we should not kid ourselves that the housing associations are anything other than in the public sector.

If we are to enable housing associations to provide for the difference that was lost because of the cuts made in the council sector, we must increase the amount of money available to them and reform housing finance. What one must not do—the Government are busy doing this—is to make housing associations take over existing council housing. When a housing association in a rural area—especially in the south where this practice is now becoming quite common—seeks to take over council housing, usually at the request of a Conservative-controlled council, not one single house is added to the rented or purchase stock. It simply changes the management. However, the cost and the bureaucratic problems involved mean that housing associations spend less time on shared ownership schemes, on providing affordable housing or on doing the land deals that are necessary if they are to get some low-cost land, and that in turn compounds the Government's problem.

Housing associations are still unable to provide the necessary accommodation. That is why Conservative Members such as the hon. Members for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) and for Taunton—the latter of whom I shall try to tempt back on board although he has had the audacity to try to bite the hand that feeds him—are getting into trouble. I advise them that this is the tip of the iceberg. I am aware that that phrase is unfortunate in view of recent history, but this really is the tip of the iceberg.

Unless the Government deliver a housing policy that provides affordable accommodation in the areas represented by Conservative Members, messing around with shared ownership schemes such as this will not help to solve their problems. Conservative Members will still find many of their constituents knocking on their doors, saying, "Where is my son or daughter going to live? Where are the local workers going to live?" I advise those hon. Members that that will continue.

Finally, I am struck by a headline that I have seen this evening, which reads Thatcher's plan to save the world". Apparently the Prime Minister addressed the United Nations with two people standing by wearing white coats. I wish that she had first directed her attention to the housing crisis that she has created here. If she wants to ignore the homeless kids on our streets and the problems in the inner cities, okay, but she should at least address herself to the Conservative areas where people can no longer afford either to rent or to buy.

Many of the homeless kids on the streets of London, Birmingham, Manchester or Glasgow have come from rural areas. They are not necessarily inner-city kids. According to the Centrepoint study, about 40 per cent. come from outside London. Many come from areas represented by Conservative Members who, sadly, do not meet such people. Although Conservative Members had an opportunity to do so today, to the best of my knowledge only one Conservative Member went, but all credit to him for doing so. I wish that Conservative Members would talk to those kids, because many of them come from their areas. They have moved to London and to other cities because their local housing associations cannot deliver.

This vote is important for the rural areas. There is much more about which I would dearly love to have spoken, but I have had to leave those topics out because the Government have chosen not to allow us to do so. That is their choice. On this vote, more than any other, Conservative Members should be in the Lobby with us rather than helping to water down the famous crusade that has been discovered suddenly by the right hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale.

There is nothing convincing about a crusade when its leaders presumably whip up the troops for action, then, when they are ready to go, turn around and say, "Okay, sit down again, fellas. We have decided not to sail for the Holy Land today; we shall sail in a couple of years when we have seen what the Government have delivered". That is some crusade. It is not convincing and I do not think it will convince the electorate in the rural areas.

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

The House divided:Ayes 232, Noes 195.

Division No. 376] [9.05 pm>
Adley, Robert Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)
Alexander, Richard Ashby, David
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Aspinwall, Jack
Amess, David Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)
Amos, Alan Banks, Robert (Harrogate)
Arbuthnot, James Batiste, Spencer
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bellingham, Henry
Benyon, W. Hannam, John
Bevan, David Gilroy Hargreaves, A.(B'ham H'll Gr')
Blackburn, Dr John G. Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Harris, David
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Haselhurst, Alan
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hawkins, Christopher
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hayward, Robert
Bowis, John Heathcoat-Amory, David
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Heddle, John
Brazier, Julian Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Bright, Graham Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Browne, John (Winchester) Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Hill, James
Buck, Sir Antony Hind, Kenneth
Budgen, Nicholas Holt, Richard
Burns, Simon Hordern, Sir Peter
Butcher, John Howard, Michael
Butler, Chris Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Butterfill, John Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Hughes, Robert G.(Harrow W)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hunter, Andrew
Carrington, Matthew Irvine, Michael
Carttiss, Michael Irving, Charles
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Jack, Michael
Chapman, Sydney Jackson, Robert
Chope, Christopher Janman, Tim
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Jessel, Toby
Clark, Sir W.(Croydon S) Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Clarke, Rt Hon K.(Rushcliffe) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Colvin, Michael Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Conway, Derek Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Key, Robert
Couchman, James Kilfedder, James
Cran, James King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Critchley, Julian Knapman, Roger
Davis, David (Boothferry) Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Day, Stephen Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Devlin, Tim Knox, David
Dicks, Terry Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lang, Ian
Dover, Den Lawrence, Ivan
Dunn, Bob Lee, John (Pendle)
Durant, Tony Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Dykes, Hugh Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Eggar, Tim Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Emery, Sir Peter Lightbown, David
Evennett, David Lilley, Peter
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Fallon, Michael Lord, Michael
Favell, Tony MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Fenner, Dame Peggy Maclean, David
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey McLoughlin, Patrick
Fookes, Dame Janet McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Forman, Nigel Malins, Humfrey
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Mans, Keith
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Maples, John
Fox, Sir Marcus Marlow, Tony
Franks, Cecil Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Freeman, Roger Maude, Hon Francis
Gale, Roger Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Garel-Jones, Tristan Miller, Sir Hal
Gill, Christopher Mills, Iain
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Miscampbell, Norman
Glyn, Dr Alan Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Goodlad, Alastair Mitchell, Sir David
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Monro, Sir Hector
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Gow, Ian Moore, Rt Hon John
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Morrison, Sir Charles
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Gregory, Conal Moss, Malcolm
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Moynihan, Hon Colin
Grist, Ian Neale, Gerrard
Ground, Patrick Nelson, Anthony
Grylls, Michael Neubert, Michael
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hague, William Nicholls, Patrick
Hampson, Dr Keith Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Thornton, Malcolm
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Thurnham, Peter
Oppenheim, Phillip Townend, John (Bridlington)
Paice, James Tracey, Richard
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Tredinnick, David
Patnick, Irvine Trippier, David
Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath) Trotter, Neville
Patten, John (Oxford W) Twinn, Dr Ian
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Pawsey, James Viggers, Peter
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Walden, George
Porter, David (Waveney) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Powell, William (Corby) Waller, Gary
Price, Sir David Ward, John
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Redwood, John Warren, Kenneth
Renton, Tim Watts, John
Rhodes James, Robert Wheeler, John
Riddick, Graham Whitney, Ray
Ritkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Widdecombe, Ann
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Wilkinson, John
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Winterton, Mrs Ann
Stevens, Lewis Winterton, Nicholas
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Wolfson, Mark
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood) Wood, Timothy
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Younger, Rt Hon George
Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Temple-Morris, Peter Tellers for the Ayes:
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley) Mr. Stephen Dorrell and Mr. Tom Sackville
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Abbott, Ms Diane Dalyell, Tam
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Darling, Alistair
Allen, Graham Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Alton, David Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Dewar, Donald
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Dixon, Don
Ashton, Joe Dobson, Frank
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Duffy, A. E. P.
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Dunnachie, Jimmy
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Barron, Kevin Eadie, Alexander
Beckett, Margaret Evans, John (St Helens N)
Beith, A. J. Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Bell, Stuart Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Fatchett, Derek
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R dish) Faulds, Andrew
Bermingham, Gerald Fearn, Ronald
Blair, Tony Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Boyes, Roland Fields, Terry (L pool B G'n)
Bradley, Keith Fisher, Mark
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Flannery, Martin
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Flynn, Paul
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Foster, Derek
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Fraser, John
Buchan, Norman Fyfe, Maria
Buckley, George J. Galloway, George
Caborn, Richard Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Callaghan, Jim Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) George, Bruce
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Golding, Mrs Llin
Canavan, Dennis Gordon, Mildred
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Gould, Bryan
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clay, Bob Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clelland, David Grocott, Bruce
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Harman, Ms Harriet
Cohen, Harry Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Coleman, Donald Haynes, Frank
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Corbett, Robin Heffer, Eric S.
Cousins, Jim Henderson, Doug
Crowther, Stan Hinchliffe, David
Cryer, Bob Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Cummings, John Home Robertson, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Patchett, Terry
Hoyle, Doug Pendry, Tom
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Pike, Peter L.
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Illsley, Eric Prescott, John
Ingram, Adam Radice, Giles
Janner, Greville Randall, Stuart
Johnston, Sir Russell Redmond, Martin
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Jones, leuan (Ynys Môn) Reid, Dr John
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Richardson, Jo
Kennedy, Charles Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Kirkwood, Archy Rooker, Jeff
Lambie, David Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lamond, James Rowlands, Ted
Leadbitter, Ted Ruddock, Joan
Leighton, Ron Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Lewis, Terry Short, Clare
Litherland, Robert Skinner, Dennis
Livingstone, Ken Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Livsey, Richard Smith, C. (lsl'ton & F'bury)
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Loyden, Eddie Snape, Peter
McCartney, lan Soley, Clive
McGrady, Eddie Spearing, Nigel
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Steinberg, Gerry
McKelvey, William Stott, Roger
McLeish, Henry Strang, Gavin
Maclennan, Robert Straw, Jack
McNamara, Kevin Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
McWilliam, John Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Madden, Max Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Mahon, Mrs Alice Turner, Dennis
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Vaz, Keith
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Wallace, James
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Martlew, Eric Wareing, Robert N.
Maxton, John Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Michael, Alun Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Wigley, Dafydd
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Moonie, Dr Lewis Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Morgan, Rhodri Wilson, Brian
Morley, Elliot Winnick, David
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Mowlam, Marjorie Worthington, Tony
Mullin, Chris Young, David (Bolton SE)
Murphy, Paul
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Tellers for the Noes:
O'Brien, William Mr. Ken Eastham and Mr. Frank Cook.
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley

Question accordingly agreed to.

It being more than two hours after the commencement of The proceedings, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order this day, designated those amendments which appeared to him to involve questions of privilege.

Lords amendment No. 266 agreed to. [Special Entry.]

MR. SPEAKER then proceeded, pursuant to the Order this day, to put forthwith the Question on any motion made by a Minister of the Crown,That this House doth disagree with the Lords in a Lords amendment.

Lords amendment: No. 265, after clause 140, insert the following new Clause—Charges: temporary traffic signs.— Notwithstanding any enactment or rule of law to the contrary, or the provisions of sections 138 to 140 above, a highway authority may not impose a charge for permitting temporary traffic signs to be placed on or near any road in their area by an organisation representative of road users under section 65 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, as amended by the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 in its application to Scotland.

Motion made, and question proposed, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.— [Mr. Howard.]

Question put forthwith, pursuant to the Order this day—

The House divided: Ayes 212, Noes 126.

Division No. 377] [9.22 pm
Adley, Robert Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Alexander, Richard Gow, Ian
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Amess, David Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Amos, Alan Gregory, Conal
Arbuthnot, James Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Grist, Ian
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Ground, Patrick
Ashby, David Hague, William
Aspinwall, Jack Hannam, John
Atkins, Robert Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Harris, David
Batiste, Spencer Haselhurst, Alan
Beggs, Roy Hawkins, Christopher
Bellingham, Henry Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Bevan, David Gilroy Hayward, Robert
Blackburn, Dr John G. Heathcoat-Amory, David
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Hill. James
Brazier, Julian Hind, Kenneth
Bright, Graham Holt, Richard
Browne, John (Winchester) Hordern, Sir Peter
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Howard, Michael
Budgen, Nicholas Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Burns, Simon Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Butcher, John Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Butler, Chris Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Butterfill, John Hunter, Andrew
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Irvine, Michael
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Irving, Charles
Carrington, Matthew Jack, Michael
Carttiss, Michael Jackson, Robert
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Janman, Tim
Chope, Christopher Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Colvin, Michael Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Conway, Derek Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Key, Robert
Cran, James Kilfedder, James
Davis, David (Boothferry) King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Day, Stephen Knapman, Roger
Devlin, Tim Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Dicks, Terry Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Knox, David
Dover, Den Lang, Ian
Dunn, Bob Lawrence, Ivan
Durant, Tony Lee, John (Pendle)
Eggar, Tim Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Emery, Sir Peter Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Evennett, David Lightbown, David
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Lilley, Peter
Fallon, Michael Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Favell, Tony Lord, Michael
Fenner, Dame Peggy MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey McLoughlin, Patrick
Fookes, Dame Janet McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Forman, Nigel Malins, Humfrey
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Mans, Keith
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Maples, John
Fox, Sir Marcus Marlow, Tony
Franks, Cecil Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Freeman, Roger Maude, Hon Francis
Gale, Roger Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Garel-Jones, Tristan Miller, Sir Hal
Gill, Christopher Mills, Iain
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Miscampbell, Norman
Glyn, Dr Alan Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Goodlad, Alastair Mitchell, Sir David
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Monro, Sir Hector Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Morrison, Sir Charles Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester) Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Moss, Malcolm Temple-Morris, Peter
Moynihan, Hon Colin Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Neale, Gerrard Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Nelson, Anthony Thornton, Malcolm
Neubert, Michael Thurnham, Peter
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Townend, John (Bridlington)
Nicholls, Patrick Tracey, Richard
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Tredinnick, David
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Trippier, David
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Trotter, Neville
Oppenheim, Phillip Twinn, Dr Ian
Paice, James Viggers, Peter
Patnick, Irvine Walden, George
Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Patten, John (Oxford W) Waller, Gary
Pawsey, James Ward, John
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Porter, David (Waveney) Warren, Kenneth
Powell, William (Corby) Watts, John
Price, Sir David Wheeler, John
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Whitney, Ray
Redwood, John Widdecombe, Ann
Renton, Tim Wilkinson, John
Rhodes James, Robert Winterton, Mrs Ann
Riddick, Graham Winterton, Nicholas
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Wolfson, Mark
Sackville, Hon Tom Wood, Timothy
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Younger, Rt Hon George
Shersby, Michael
Stevens, Lewis Tellers for the Ayes:
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Mr. Stephen Dorrell and Mr. Sydney Chapman.
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Abbott, Ms Diane Fisher, Mark
Alton, David Flannery, Martin
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Flynn, Paul
Ashton, Joe Fyfe, Maria
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Golding, Mrs Llin
Barron, Kevin Gordon, Mildred
Beith, A. J. Gould, Bryan
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Bermingham, Gerald Grocott, Bruce
Blair, Tony Harman, Ms Harriet
Bradley, Keith Haynes, Frank
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Heffer, Eric S.
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Henderson, Doug
Buchan, Norman Hinchliffe, David
Buckley, George J. Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Caborn, Richard Home Robertson, John
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Canavan, Dennis Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Illsley, Eric
Cohen, Harry Janner, Greville
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Johnston, Sir Russell
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Crowther, Stan Jones, leuan (Ynys Môn)
Cryer, Bob Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Cummings, John Kirkwood, Archy
Cunliffe, Lawrence Lamond, James
Dalyell, Tam Lewis, Terry
Darling, Alistair Livsey, Richard
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Dixon, Don Loyden, Eddie
Doran, Frank McGrady, Eddie
Duffy, A. E. P. McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Dunnachie, Jimmy McLeish, Henry
Eadie, Alexander McNamara, Kevin
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) McWilliam, John
Fatchett, Derek Madden, Max
Faulds, Andrew Mahon, Mrs Alice
Fearn, Ronald Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Martlew, Eric Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Maxton, John Snape, Peter
Michael, Alun Soley, Clive
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Spearing, Nigel
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Steinberg, Gerry
Moonie, Dr Lewis Straw, Jack
Morgan, Rhodri Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Morley, Elliot Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Mowlam, Marjorie Vaz, Keith
Murphy, Paul Wallace, James
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Patchett, Terry Wareing, Robert N.
Pike, Peter L. Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Quin, Ms Joyce Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Randall, Stuart Wigley, Dafydd
Reid, Dr John Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Richardson, Jo Winnick, David
Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Rowlands, Ted
Ruddock, Joan Tellers for the Noes:
Short, Clare Mr. Michael Welsh and Mr. Martin Redmond.
Skinner, Dennis

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendment proposed in lieu of the Lords amendment: (a), after clause 140, insert the following new Clause—Charges: temporary traffic signs—

`(1) In section 65 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (powers and duties of highways authorities and roads authorities as to placing of traffic signs) after subsection (3) there shall be inserted the following subsection—

"(3A) No charge may be made—

  1. (a) in England and Wales, by a highway authority which is the council of a county, metropolitan district or London borough or the Common Council of the City of London, or
  2. (b) in Scotland, by a local roads authority,

with respect to the exercise of their power under subsection (1) above to permit a traffic sign to be placed on or near any road in their area if—

  1. (i) the sign conveys information of a temporary nature or is otherwise intended to be placed only temporarily; and
  2. (ii) the sign is to be placed by a body which is prescribed for the purposes of this subsection as being a body appearing to the Secretary of State to be representative of the interests of road users or any class of road users."

(2) Subsection (1) above does not apply in any case where, before this section comes into force, the payment of a chargehas been agreed.'.—[Mr. Garel-Jones.]

Question put forthwith, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided:: Ayes 197, Noes 118.

Division No. 378] [9.34 pm
Adley, Robert Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Alexander, Richard Budgen, Nicholas
Amess, David Burns, Simon
Amos, Alan Butcher, John
Arbuthnot, James Butler, Chris
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Butterfill, John
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Carlisle, John, (Luton N)
Ashby, David Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Aspinwall, Jack Carrington, Matthew
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Carttiss, Michael
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda
Batiste, Spencer Chapman, Sydney
Beggs, Roy Chope, Christopher
Bevan, David Gilroy Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Blackburn, Dr John G. Colvin, Michael
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Conway, Derek
Boscawen, Hon Robert Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Cran, James
Brazier, Julian Davis, David (Boothferry)
Bright, Graham Day, Stephen
Browne, John (Winchester) Devlin, Tim
Dorrell, Stephen McLoughlin, Patrick
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Dover, Den Malins, Humfrey
Dunn, Bob Mans, Keith
Durant, Tony Marlow, Tony
Dykes, Hugh Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Eggar, Tim Maude, Hon Francis
Emery, Sir Peter Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Evennett, David Miller. Sir Hal
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Mills, Iain
Fallon, Michael Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Favell, Tony Mitchell, Sir David
Fenner, Dame Peggy Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Monro, Sir Hector
Forman, Nigel Morrison, Sir Charles
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Moss, Malcolm
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Moynihan, Hon Colin
Fox, Sir Marcus Neale, Gerrard
Franks, Cecil Nelson, Anthony
Freeman, Roger Neubert, Michael
Gale, Roger Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Garel-Jones, Tristan Nicholls, Patrick
Gill, Christopher Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Glyn, Dr Alan Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Goodlad, Alastair Oppenheim, Phillip
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Paice, James
Gow, Ian Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Patten, John (Oxford W)
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Pawsey, James
Gregory, Conal Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Porter, David (Waveney)
Grist, Ian Powell, William (Corby)
Ground, Patrick Price, Sir David
Hague, William Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hannam, John Redwood, John
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Renton, Tim
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Rhodes James, Robert
Harris, David Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Hawkins, Christopher Sackville, Hon Tom
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Hayward, Robert Shersby, Michael
Heathcoat-Amory, David Stevens, Lewis
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE) Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Hill, James Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Hind, Kenneth Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Holt, Richard Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Hordern, Sir Peter Temple-Morris, Peter
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Thornton, Malcolm
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Thurnham, Peter
Hunter, Andrew Townend, John (Bridlington)
Irvine, Michael Tracey, Richard
Irving, Charles Trippier, David
Jack, Michael Trotter, Neville
Jackson, Robert Twinn, Dr Ian
Janman, Tim Viggers, Peter
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Walden, George
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Waller, Gary
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Ward, John
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Key, Robert Warren, Kenneth
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Watts, John
Knapman, Roger Wheeler, John
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Whitney, Ray
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Widdecombe, Ann
Knox, David Wilkinson, John
Lang, Ian Winterton, Mrs Ann
Lawrence, Ivan Winterton, Nicholas
Lee, John (Pendle) Wood, Timothy
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Younger, Rt Hon George
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Lilley, Peter Tellers for the Ayes:
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Mr. David Lightbown and Mr. Irvine Patnick.
Lord, Michael
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Abbott, Ms Diane Jones, leuan (Ynys Môn)
Alton, David Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Kirkwood, Archy
Ashton, Joe Lamond, James
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Lewis, Terry
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Livsey, Richard
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Barron, Kevin Loyden, Eddie
Beith, A. J. McGrady, Eddie
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Bermingham, Gerald McLeish, Henry
Blair, Tony McNamara, Kevin
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) McWilliam, John
Buchan, Norman Madden, Max
Buckley, George J. Mahon, Mrs Alice
Caborn, Richard Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Martlew, Eric
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Maxton, John
Canavan, Dennis Meale, Alan
Carlile, Alex (Monf'g) Michael, Alun
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Cohen, Harry Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Moonie, Dr Lewis
Crowther, Stan Morley, Elliot
Cryer, Bob Murphy, Paul
Cummings, John Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Cunliffe, Lawrence Patchett, Terry
Dalyell, Tam Pike, Peter L.
Darling, Alistair Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Quin, Ms Joyce
Dixon, Don Randall, Stuart
Duffy, A. E. P. Richardson, Jo
Dunnachie, Jimmy Rowlands, Ted
Eadie, Alexander Ruddock, Joan
Eastham, Ken Short, Clare
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Skinner, Dennis
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Fatchett, Derek Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Fearn, Ronald Snape, Peter
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Soley, Clive
Flannery, Martin Spearing, Nigel
Flynn, Paul Straw, Jack
Fyfe, Maria Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
George, Bruce Vaz, Keith
Godman, Dr Norman A. Wall, Pat
Golding, Mrs Llin Wallace, James
Gordon, Mildred Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Gould, Bryan Wareing, Robert N.
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Haynes, Frank Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Heffer, Eric S. Wigley, Dafydd
Henderson, Doug Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Hinchliffe, David Winnick, David
Home Robertson, John Wise, Mrs Audrey
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Illsley, Eric Tellers for the Noes:
Janner, Greville Mr. Michael Welsh and Mr. Martin Redmond.
Johnston, Sir Russell
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)

Question accordingly agreed to.

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