HC Deb 26 March 1990 vol 170 cc153-80 10.30 pm
Mr. Bryan Gould (Dagenham)

I beg to move, That the Personal Community Charge (Relief) (England) Regulations 1990 (S.I., 1990, No. 2) dated 2nd January 1990, a copy of which was laid before this House on 5th January, be revoked.

Mr. Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to consider the following two motions: That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Personal Community Charge (Relief) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 1990 (S.I., 1990, No. 402), dated 2nd March 1990, a copy of which was laid before this House on 5th March, be annulled. That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Personal Community Charge (Relief) (Wales) Regulations 1990 (S.I., 1990, No. 288) dated 16th February 1990, a copy of which was laid before this House on 19th February, be annulled.

Mr. Gould

At times, it is hard not to feel sorry for the Secretary of State and his Ministers as they wrestle with their poll tax inheritance, but sympathy for them must be strictly limited when we consider the plight of those millions of people who deserve it much more—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Would hon. Members who are not remaining for the debate please leave quietly, particularly those beyond the Bar?

Mr. Gould

Our sympathy for the Secretary of State, who I am sorry does not appear to be present, must be strictly limited when we consider the plight of millions of people who will pay the price for his convolutions and incompetence and for the iniquitous scheme that he and the Government are imposing on them. I am delighted to see that the Secretary of State is now present, although I am sorry that he will not be opening the debate for the Government.

The saga of the poll tax has been increasingly marked by a desperate search for expedients and bolt holes and by increasingly implausible resort to inventions and fictions to try to mask and to conceal what has been done. We are dealing tonight with a prime example of that.

Viewed in retrospect, perhaps one of the most poignant moments in the development of the poll tax was in October, at the Tory party conference, when the Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities announced the introduction of the transitional relief scheme, under which, he assured Tory Members and councillors, no one would pay more than £3 above their rates bill. As alarm and anxiety had been expressed by Tory Members and councillors, they were mightily relieved by that assurance. They allowed themselves—they deserve no criticism for this—to be lulled into a false sense of security. Their fears were allayed; they were bought off by that assurance.

The Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities (Mr. David Hunt)

It would be helpful if the hon. Gentleman would quote the exact words that I used and the exact words used by my noble Friend Lord Hesketh on the same day, when he made it clear that the pledge about people paying no more than £3 above their rates would apply only if the council concerned spent in accordance with Government spending guidelines.

Mr. Gould

I shall come to the point raised by the Minister. If he is already conceding that the promise which he appeared to give was vitiated by the false assumption which he made, that is exactly the point that Opposition Members, and many Conservative Members, will wish to press.

Mr. Jeff Rooker (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

I wish to kill this point straight way. Two weeks ago on our television screens we all saw the briefed and educated Tory candidate for Mid-Staffordshire tell people that their poll tax would not be more than £3 a week more than their rates. He gave that impression because that was the impression that everyone else was supposed to get.

Mr. Gould

It is for the Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities to explain himself to the House when he addresses us.

Like so much else in the poll tax saga, and so many of the measures designed to smooth off the rough edges, the relief scheme has turned out to be a massive and fraudulent disappointment. The scheme excludes many of those who might otherwise have been expected to benefit, arid offers only an illusion of help to many others. Even for those who, in principle, fall within it, many will pay much more than £3 per week extra, but will not qualify, and many others will qualify for transitional relief but will end up paying more than the £3 per week extra.

We are entitled to ask how a Government promise, so solemnly made to their own supporters, was so comprehensively broken so soon. The answer lies first in the scheme's structure. Many people are, by the scheme's rules, excluded from it. Like the transitional relief scheme for the uniform business rate, many people whose circumstances change after the scheme's introduction will lose its benefit.

That is true for those who turn 18 after 1 April 1990. It is true of those who cease to be exempt, for whatever reason—for example, those who hitherto have been mentally ill, but then recover and rejoin the community after 1 April 1990. They will not be entitled to the scheme's benefits. Those who move house and change their address, even within the same local authority district, after 1 April 1990—of whom there will be many in the ensuing three years—will not qualify. Those who fail to qualify in the first year will be disqualified in successive years, even if their poll tax bill goes us sharply in those successive years.

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, on the advice of the Department of the Environment to local authorities, one group of people wholly excluded from transitional relief will be pensioners living in sheltered housing schemes, such as those provided by Anchor Housing? As their rates were paid by the housing association, and by them to the housing association, they will not be classed as ratepayers and the Department is advising local authorities not to pay relief.

Mr. Gould

What the hon. Gentleman said about that case is more generally true, but for slightly different reasons, for many of those living in buildings in multiple occupation.

The scheme's structure also makes it unlikely that two further and large classes of people will benefit to any great degree. Single poll tax payers living by themselves are virtually certain not to qualify, because to do so they would have had to have a rates bill in the current financial year £156 lower than the assumed poll tax bill they will shortly receive. That is a virtually impossible requirement in most local authority districts. It would require a ridiculously low rates bill for the current year.

For example, in Pendle, it would require a rates bill of £16 or less, in York, one of just £30 or less, in Hyndburn, just £25 or less. Another way of putting the same rather implausible point is that, in Leominster, the notional poll tax would have to rise by 1,770 per cent. above the rates bill before anyone would qualify for transitional relief.

For different reasons—I refer here to a point related to that made by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) a moment ago—poll tax payers in large families or in buildings in multiple occupation are unlikely to gain much, if any, benefit from the scheme because the scheme is calculated on the basis of a notional poll tax paid by two members of a household only. However, the relief that they may or may not be entitled to is divided among the number of householders, and that may be three, four, five, six or more.

For all those reasons, the scheme is not what it seems. Like the uniform business rate transitional relief scheme, and perhaps even more like the relief offered to those claiming rebates but hitherto disqualified because of the savings limit, the measures taken by the Government have promised much more than they have delivered.

However, we have not yet considered the main reason why so many expectations have been disappointed. The reason why the scheme so signally fails in its stated purpose is that it is based on a fairy tale. It is vitiated by the same deliberate error that underlay the Government's ill-fated attempt to pursuade local government and the British people that somehow or other their poll tax bills were going to average just £278. Transitional relief is based on the amount by which rates bills plus £156 fall short of what is quaintly called an "assumed" poll tax. That is not the actual poll tax bill that will fall through letter boxes in a week or so's time; it is an assumed poll tax.

What is the assumed poll tax? I received a letter this morning from the right hon. Member for Mole Valley (Mr. Baker), the chairman of the Tory party, in which he addressed that question. I do not know whether he meant to describe the assumed charge in exactly these terms, but he certainly gave the game away. He wrote that the assumed charge is an assumption, not a prediction or guarantee. Many millions of people who might have hoped to qualify for transitional relief will now know that he spoke the truth—on that occasion, at any rate. The reality is that the assumed poll tax bears virtually no relationship to the size of the actual poll tax bill. We know why that assumption is wrong.

Mr. Hunt

Perhaps I might assist the hon. Gentleman. Barking and Dagenham council is in his constituency. He just said that the assumed charge bears no relationship to the actual charge. In Barking and Dagenham the assumed charge is £278, and the actual charge is £280.

Mr. Gould

I am delighted to congratulate my authority on its ability to meet the Government's prediction. However, that is not the case for the vast majority of local authorities, and the reason for that is understood by Conservative Members as well as by everyone else.

The Government underestimated, and assumed a level of local government spending £1.6 billion lower than the actual level for the current year. They then assumed that no new commitments would be undertaken by local authorities, including new commitments imposed on them by the Government, such as the costs of collecting the poll tax. They also assumed that 100 per cent. of the poll tax would be collected. Not one Conservative Member can tell me that that is the assumption on which his or her district or borough treasurer is operating. The most ludicrous assumption of all is that inflation is running at 3.8 per cent. Again, I ask any hon. Member to tell me whether that is an accurate forecast or assumption.

Mrs. Edwina Currie (Derbyshire, South)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, in the Suth Derbyshire district, which covers most of my constituency, the assumed charge offered by the Government is £301, which is a 13 per cent. increase over the average rates charged in the area in the previous year? The South Derbyshire district has increased its budget by 9.9 per cent. The reason why our local community charge is 45 per cent. above that figure is the free-spending idiots in Derbyshire county council.

Mr. Gould

I had hoped for a moment, as the hon. Lady rose in her place, that she was about to draw my attention to a little local miracle in South Derbyshire—that she was going to tell me that, in her constituency and in her local authority district, somehow or another, exempt from the inflation rate that applies throughout the rest of the country, inflation was only 3.8 per cent. I noticed that she somehow forbore making that claim.

Mr. Richard Tracey (Surbiton)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Gould

Here is an hon. Member who is going to make such a claim.

Mr. Tracey

May I bring the hon. Gentleman's attention back to Barking and Dagenham? The leader of the hon. Gentleman's council was quoted in the newspapers as saying that he had no complaints about the grant that he had received from the Government, and that his community charge was arrived at by good management, which had been going on for a number of years. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would like to confirm or deny that quote. If he confirms it, will he tell us why other Labour councils cannot achieve the same level of efficiency?

Mr. Gould

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman could tell us why so few Tory council leaders have been able to make a similar claim. The reason is that, in their local authority districts, inflation is running at 7.5 per cent., which is twice the Government's assumption. That is why there is no relation between the assumed poll tax and the real poll tax. That is why, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy surveys, the average poll tax bill is 34 per cent. above the Government's projections. That is why Conservative local authorities throughout England and Wales have set their poll tax bills 31 per cent. higher than the Government said they would. That is why the average poll tax bill is £90 greater than the Government's assumed poll tax bill.

It is on that £90 average that no relief whatsoever is available under the transitional relief scheme. Because that £90 average conceals gaps which, in some cases, are much greater and which in theory could be unlimited, the Government have so signally failed to keep their promise. That is why so many people will now be required to pay more than the £3 a week extra that they were told was their maximum increase. That is why people are not protected in the way that the Government have promised. That is why the transitional relief scheme is so fatally flawed.

The scheme has at its heart a myth that the Government hope to get away with, but that myth has now been fully exposed. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said last week, nothing can remedy the basic unfairness of the poll tax, but, when a Government make promises—not least to their own supporters—we, and I hope they, are entitled to see that those promises are kept.

If Conservative Members are serious, if they are honestly trying to mitigate the worst effects of the poll tax, and if they want to be able to say to their constituents that they have done their best by them, they should not accept the shamefully broken promise. They can vote the regulations down. If we vote the regulations down, the consequence will be that the Government will have to take the regulations away and come back with a better scheme that would be a more accurate attempt to fulfil the promise that they have made.

We want to see whether Conservative Members will join us in insisting that the Government keep their promises.

Mr. Barry Porter (Wirral, South)


Mr. Gould

No, I shall not give way as I am about to conclude.

If Conservative Members do not take that action, it is they, as well as their constituents, who will have been revealed as the victims of a cruel poll tax hoax.

10.49 pm
The Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities (Mr. David Hunt)

The hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Gould) made an unworthy speech. If he had wanted credibility in the House, he should not only have quoted the promise that he alleged that I made, in the terms incorrectly advanced by him; he should also have quoted and referred to Hansard for the other place, because the details of the scheme were carefully set out by my noble Friend Lord Hesketh on 11 October 1989.

Mr. John Battle (Leeds, West)

Will the Minister confirm that he mentioned the figure of £3?

Mr. Hunt


When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I took over the responsibility of local government in the Department of the Environment eight months ago, we found that there was no scheme to protect ratepayers from the consequences of the change to a new system. We felt that circumstances suggested that such a scheme should be introduced. We also found that a safety net would last for four years and decided that we should give our right hon. and hon. Friends an indication that the period for contributions to the safety net would last for only one year. In the first year, half the gains would flow through, and in the second year the full gains would flow through.

We decided that rather than abolish the first year of the contributions to the safety net, we would use the money to bring in a transitional relief scheme. At that time, we quoted figures of just over £600 million for a transitional relief scheme that would last for three years. We chose our words extremely carefully, which is more than the hon. Member for Dagenham has just done. We said that we would introduce a transitional relief scheme that would protect ratepayers from the consequences of the changes in such a way that, provided the council spent in accordance with the assumptions made by the Government, ratepayers would not be more than £3 per week worse off.

Mr. Gould

When the hon. Gentleman expressed himself in those terms, did he have any inkling that in almost every case the assumed poll tax figure would fall so far short of the real poll tax figure? If, as I expect, he had no such inkling, how did he expect those who were listening to him to realise that the promise that he was apparently giving them was conditional on an assumed figure turning out to be right?

Mr. Hunt

If the hon. Gentleman refers to the statement made in the House of Lords on that day and to the speeches made subsequently, he will see that it was made absolutely clear at all stages that the assumed charge would be based—[Interruption.] No, let me answer the hon. Gentleman—that the assumed charge would be based on the precept levied by the council from the ratepayer, plus grants from the Government and the business rate, increased by 4.64 per cent. Those figures were published in full on 6 November. The hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) is nodding his head. Those figures were known on 6 November, and were published on 11 January—

Mr. Battle

They were different.

Mr. Hunt

Only in respect of the adjustments made as a result of the grant settlement consultation. If the hon. Gentleman looks at the differences, he will see that they were minimal.

We also met the local authority associations, almost immediately after the announcement of the transitional relief scheme was made. We explained to them the basis on which the Government figures were to be assumed, and the fact that external finance for local authorities would be increased in the coming financial year over this financial year by 8.5 per cent. and that the total amount of standard spending assessment would be increased by 11 per cent. We said that, in those circumstances, we hoped that local authorities would reach community charges in accordance with the level of spending that increased by an amount within the rate of inflation. As it so happens, local authorities have decided to increase their spending by much more than the rate of inflation. Because the level of the community charge depends very much on the local spending decisions of each council, that has immediately increased the community charge.

When I announced the scheme at the party conference, and my noble Friend Lord Hesketh announced it in the other place, we estimated that the total cost of it would be, in the first year, £300 million, that the total amount would be £600 million over three years, and that in the first year 6 million people would benefit. These are important figures which show that we have not gone back on any promise that we have made—the accusation that has been levelled.

We have since revised the figures, and, based on the same commitment, we now find that it will cost not £300 million but £350 million in the coming year, that not just 6 million but 7.5 million people will benefit, and that the total cost of the scheme will not be £600 million but, over three years, £810 million.

Mr. Andrew Rowe (Mid-Kent)

Would it not have been a great help to my hon. Friend if more councils had copied the example of Rochester upon Medway, which has set a community charge of £248, which would have been even less if we had not had to make arrangements to bail out councils elsewhere by contributing to the safety net?

Mr. Hunt

That is a helpful comment because it enables me to point out something on which the Labour party has sought to mislead the public—this is a serious accusation. This misleading statement has been picked up, quite incorrectly, by many in the media. It was made by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett), who said that those in overspending council areas would lose their right to transitional relief. That is untrue. It is important to say this because that statement has been repeated several times by Opposition Members. Once the transitional relief figure has been fixed, in accordance with the assumed figures, not one penny or pound of it is lost, even if the recipient of that relief is in the area of an overspending Labour council.

Mr. Gould

The point that my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) made was that there would be no relief for the gap between the assumed figure and the real figure. If the Minister will look at column 750 of Hansard for 6 November, he will see the record set out clearly. Unlike the wriggling to which the right hon. Gentleman treated us when he gave his assumptions about the level of poll tax charges, he purported to give us specific figures about the cost of the transitional relief scheme and the numbers who would benefit. Does he agree with paragraph 2 of the report from the working party on the community charge, from his own Department? It says that the figures that he has quoted and the figures on which he bases his argument are "indicative" rather than "precise forecasts".

Mr. Hunt

It is an indicative forecast of how much the relief will cost in the first year and how many people will receive it. I have upgraded the figures from £300 million to £350 million and the receivers from 6 million to 7.5 million. I stand by those figures.

Dr. Keith Hampson (Leeds, North-West)

I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree that there is much uncertainty and anxiety. Will he upgrade the assumed community charge, which in Leeds was £257, to the assumed target average of £278? That is one of the reasons for a sense of injustice. Will he consider extending the period of transitional relief so that the unwinding of it in conjunction with the unwinding of the safety net does not produce substantial losses in northern town after northern town?

Mr. Hunt

The assumed level of spending is based on last year's spending plus 4.64 per cent. That applies throughout the country, and it does not bear a direct relationship to what my hon. Friend was talking about when he referred to the standard assessment. It is designed purely to cover the consequences to a ratepayer for a change in the system and not to cover changes in the spending pattern of his local authority. That is key, and that was the basis on which the scheme was announced.

I must take issue with the hon. Member for Dagenham. I cannot recall being accused—perhaps the hon. Gentleman has levelled this accusation at others—of misleading the House. Let there be no misunderstanding about this: what the Labour party has said about transitional relief is entirely untrue and has led to much uncertainty in the country. There are many who believe that they will not be entitled to transitional relief because of statements made by Opposition Members when they will be entitled to it.

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

We are grateful to my hon. Friend for the relief that has been made available, but there are many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are faced with considerably higher bills than they had last year. Some of them are relatively low paid, yet they are faced with increases of up to £8 a week. Many pensioners are still concerned about the rate of attrition of their savings. Can my hon. Friend tell the House—many of his hon. Friends are deeply anxious—that the Government will be introducing further support and relief this year for those who are most hard pressed?

Mr. Hunt

We are debating a transitional relief scheme which, despite the accusations of the Opposition, has not been changed one jot from the moment when we announced it, although its scope has increased. My hon. Friend has drawn attention to a serious circumstance in which local people are facing the consequences of their local councils deciding to increase their spending by substantially more than the rate of inflation. I can offer no immediate sustenance by means of the scheme to deal with that. The level of the community charge depends much on the spending decisions of a local authority. The scheme provides transitional relief at a cost of £350 million in the first year to 7.5 million people to cover the changes in the system. It is nothing to do with the change in the system that there have been spending decisions that would mean an increase in rates of 33 per cent. That is nothing to do with the change in the system. It has everything to do, however, with the way in which spending decisions have been made.

Mr. Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough)

I ask a question as a naive constituency Member without an understanding of the variety of figures which have been quoted. I have a letter from one of my constituents, Amanda Dawn Singleton, who has received a document which tells her that she will have to pay £42.90 a month on the introduction of the community charge. She receives £44 and a £10 training allowance per week. She writes: I cannot afford to pay this amount. I am in a desperate situation, could you please please help me. I have her community charge bill with me. It states: Less your Government transitional relief 0.00 Less your Government rebate 0.00 What can I say to my constituent?

Mr. Hunt

I always dislike trying to deal with complicated cases across the Floor of the House. I do not know the particular circumstances. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to put those facts to me, I shall consider them. Transitional relief is intended to benefit those who are currently ratepayers or members of ratepaying couples and we have singled out pensioners and disabled people who do not fall into that category and given them special relief, which means that they will pay a community charge of £158 in the hon. Gentleman's area and £156 in Wirral.

Mr. Keith Speed (Ashford)

Does my hon. Friend agree that the burden of the Opposition's case is that they endorse local government expenditure increases of 35 per cent. and expect the taxpayer to underwrite them?

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

Does my hon. Friend agree that it would be—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

Order. I ask the Minister to respond to each intervention. We cannot have one on top of another—[Interruption.] I should like a little less noise from the Benches below the Gangway.

Mr. Hunt

My hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Speed) is absolutely right. The transitional relief scheme covers and protects ratepayers and members of ratepaying couples from changes in the system. My hon. Friend has clearly demonstrated that what is now arising is the result not of the change in the system but of spending decisions that would have meant a 33 per cent. increase in domestic rates.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Am I right in believing that in my hon. Friend's constituency ratepayers had a choice between the lower Conservative community charge and that suggested by the Liberals, which was higher? Would it not have been an enormous advantage to the citizens of Lancashire if they could have chosen between the additional £123 million of expenditure by the Labour party and the reduction of £60 million by the Conservative party?

Mr. Hunt

I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. In Wirral the Conservatives proposed a community charge, and so did the Liberal-Democrats, but the Labour party refused to put forward a figure—

Mr. Gould


Mr. Hunt

Wait a moment; let me answer my hon. Friend. The Labour party decided not to propose a charge, although it is believed that if it had it would have been about £450. Some 12,500 people voted in the telephone poll—64 per cent. opted for the Conservative suggestion.

Mr. Den Dover (Chorley)

I listened carefully to my hon. Friend's speech at Blackpool. It was my opinion—shared, I am sure, by the many thousands present—that each individual in a married couple would benefit to the tune of £3 a week. Many of my constituents now think that there has been an act of bad faith. They are now told that it is £3 a week maximum—assuming that the spending levels are adhered to—shared between two or more people. Can my hon. Friend assure us that that was never the intention? My constituents are very concerned about this matter.

Mr. Hunt

I said clearly at the party conference that, with the proviso I made about spending by local authorities, the new scheme would ensure that in areas where local authorities spent sensibly no ratepayer or ratepaying couple would be more than £3 a week worse off when the community charge was introduced, whatever their income. I can add that we shall now single out pensioners and the disabled for special treatment, whether or not they pay rates. If the local authority decides to spend above Government guidelines, it is right that the full amount of the excess —these are my exact words at the party conference— should fall to be met by the local charge payer".

Mr. Rooker

Does the Minister appreciate that, if that statement had been made where it could have been tested by questioning—for example, in the House—the misinformation and false promises would not have been planted in people's minds? It was reading that from the conference platform that caused the difficulty. I have one general question.

Mr. Hunt

May I get this absolutely straight? The hon. Gentleman was not listening. I said that my comments at the party conference were repeated in the other place at almost exactly the same time by Lord Hesketh. It may well be that the hon. Gentleman has some criticisms of his hon. Friends in the other place, but on 11 October 1989, at column 344, Lord Hesketh—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sure that the Minister is a sufficiently practised parliamentarian to paraphrase that for me.

Mr. Hunt

If the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) checks the facts, he will see that there was no misunderstanding whatever.

Mrs. Currie

May I refer my hon. Friend to the Library research note No. 477 of 3 November 1989, almost immediately after we returned to the House, in which the details that he has set out on the transitional relief, which will go to 10,000 families in my constituency, are set out precisely? The only difference since then has been that the allowance for inflation has been raised. Does my hon. Friend agree that, if Labour Members did their homework in the Library, they would not have made the mistakes that they have made tonight—unless they are doing it deliberately?

Mr. Hunt

The Labour party has done its homework, but it has chosen to ignore the facts.

Mr. Gould


Mr. Hunt

Just one second. That has caused much misunderstanding throughout the country. The circumstances of this scheme have not changed one little bit, except in one respect: whereas before we thought that the total scheme over three years would cost £600 million, it now will cost £810 million.

Mr. Gould

I am grateful to the Minister for at last giving way. [Interruption.] Before his hon. Friends attempted to rescue him, he was making an interesting point about the special relief, as he termed it, which would be available to elderly and disabled people. He will know that in the regulations relief takes the form of a limit to what they must pay of £156 plus Z, Z equalling the difference between the assumed poll tax and the real poll tax. He will accept that Z on average throughout England and Wales amounts to £90. That means that the average bill for an elderly and disabled person will be £246 a year. As we are talking about elderly and disabled people who hitherto have paid nothing whatever, how can he describe an obligation to pay £246 as special help and transitional relief?

Mr. Hunt

It is special help under the transitional relief scheme. The individuals have full entitlement to rebate, if they fall within the guidelines.

Mr. Barry Porter

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) talked about mist. There is no mist surrounding the rebates available to pensioners and the disabled in the Wirral. I am glad that my hon. Friend gave us the figures for those groups. The mist is when Labour Members talk of honesty, seriousness, promises and a better scheme. That is more than a mist; it is a complete fog. I have heard nothing. Perhaps my hon. Friend can enlighten me.

Mr. Hunt

My hon. Friend is right to emphasise yet again that transitional relief is just a part of the picture. The scheme has not changed one little bit since we announced it last October. It is in no way related to people's means. It would have been impossible for us to give a blank cheque and to say that we would cover the difference between this year's rates bill and next year's community charge whatever the level. I do not think that anyone in his right mind could have expected that. So we announced the scheme, and we have fulfilled our pledge.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Porter) is right to point out that there is also a rebate system, which is another part of the same picture. He is equally right to point out that in Wirral no pensioner or disabled person who is a ratepayer or a member of a ratepaying couple will be worse off by more than £156.

Miss Emma Nicholson (Torridge and Devon, West)

I am convinced that my hon. Friend means the transitional relief to effect exactly what he has said it will effect. Will he, most kindly, assure me that he will continue to consider its operation very carefully, since neither he nor I can be comfortable when, in one of the lowest-spending boroughs in England—West Devon borough—not one single person will qualify for transitional relief, and very few couples —perhaps a few thousand—will qualify. That means that three quarters of the people in West Devon borough will pay more than £3 extra a week.

Mr. Hunt

I would just say—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] Give me a chance. I do not believe that there is no one in my hon. Friend's area who could claim transitional relief—[Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker


Mr. Bell

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Could you confirm that you heard, as we heard, the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South (Mrs. Currie) say earlier that 10,000 of her constituents—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. That is not a point of order.

Mr. Hunt

It may well be that my hon. Friend the Member for Torridge and Devon, West did not mean nobody in her area, but meant no single person in her area. That may well be the case. The whole purpose of this scheme is to protect the ratepayer and the ratepaying couple from changes in the system. In the main, the system benefits single people.

The hon. Member for Dagenham said a few moments ago that one of the defects of the system was that it did not give relief to single people, for instance, in a borough such as Wandsworth. That was a direct quote from the press release by his hon. Friend the Member for Brightside which said, "e.g. Wandsworth". The reason why single people do not benefit—except pensioners or disabled people who do not presently pay rates or are not part of a ratepaying couple—is that the majority of them are generally better off. In Wandsworth they will pay £148 and therefore they will pay only three—[Interruption.] Wandsworth gets the second lowest amount of Government help of any inner London borough. In Wandsworth the charge is £148. As the scheme protects people against a payment of £156, that is why single people in Wandsworth do not benefit.

Mr. Dave Nellist (Coventry South-East)

The Minister says that single people will be better off. Is he aware that in Coventry those under 25 who earn more than £70.85 a week do not qualify for any form of rebate and will have to use between a month and a month and a half of their wages just to pay the poll tax? According to yesterday's opinion poll in The Sunday Correspondent, 7.6 million people, including a third of all those under 34, will refuse next Monday to pay this Tory tax.

Mr. Hunt

One of the sad features of what the hon. Gentleman has just said is that he appears to show no shame for having said it. He has the privilege of being a Member of Parliament. In using that privilege, he should be aware that people listen to Members of Parliament when they say something about whether they should obey the laws of the land. By urging people throughout the country not to pay, which is what he is doing, he is putting an increased burden on the remaining people in his constituency who will have to pay for the free ride that he is seeking and that he is urging others also to seek.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Hunt

It is about time that, instead of turning silently away from the hon. Gentleman and pretending that his words had not been spoken, the Opposition Front Bench—[Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker


Mr. Hunt

It is about time that those individuals there—

Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Hunt

It is about time—

Mr. Wilson


Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. I request the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) to resume his seat.

Mr. Hunt

We on this side will never stop demanding that the Opposition Front Bench should condemn that sort of law breaking. It is about time that they spoke out. I commend the regulations to the House.

11.23 pm
Mr. Jeff Rooker (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

I intend to make only a few points, just to give the Minister a chance to calm down.

Twice as many people will pay the poll tax as paid the rates. According to the Government, the same amount of money will be collected. People do not understand why so many people will qualify for relief. That has to be explained. It was never explained while the legislation was being considered. I remind the Minister that it was pushed through the House by a party which got only 42 per cent. of the votes at the last election and which used the guillotine. The legislation was never fully and properly discussed. We were unable therefore to consider every possible defect that was alluded to either in the other place or in this House. I suspect that many more defects have still to come to light.

The Minister discovered a few months ago that transitional relief would be needed for all the losers. How can hundreds of millions of pounds be required when only the same amount of money is to be collected from twice as many people? Ministers must explain that, outside the House.

Mr. Roger King (Birmingham, Northfield)

May I help the hon. Gentleman? As a Birmingham Member, he will know that Birmingham city council's approved budget for last year—1989–90—was £622 million. The budget for the coming year has risen to £744 million: that is why we are paying more. He will have observed, in his travels around the city, that Birmingham has not spent this year's budget. That is clear from the fact that it is repairing roads, and doing a number of other things that it should do in any case.

Mr. Rooker

As the hon. Gentleman knows, next year's increase in new money and new spend for Birmingham is £17 million—2.38 per cent.—of which £13 million is going to education and social services. We make no apology for that. The Government have manipulated the figures so that the amount can be made to look like more than £100 million, but for the purposes of the people of Birmingham who will experience any improvement in services it is £17 million. I defend that, and will continue to do so; what I do not defend are the funny-money figures that the Government have foisted on Birmingham.

I do not wish to detain the House: I want to hear Conservative Members make the explanations that they must make. However, I will give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike).

Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)

Even when viewed in the most favourable light, do not the Government's proposals mean that a married couple must be more than £6 a week worse off before they can receive a penny of transitional help? To many people, that is a tremendous amount.

Mr. Rooker


The Minister has said that the Labour party is to blame for giving the country false information. The last time that I looked up the figures, the Government employed 800 press and information officers; to the best of my knowledge, the Labour party employs fewer than can be counted on the fingers of one hand. How can we have managed to put all that false information around the country? It does not make sense.

Mr. Peter Hardy (Wentworth)

My hon. Friend has mentioned false information. The Minister appeared to approve the assumption of the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South (Mrs. Currie) that 10,000 families in her constituency would receive poll tax relief. If that is the case—unless the circumstances are extremely unusual—the prediction of 7.5 million beneficiaries and a figure of £350 million is surely a gross underestimate.

Mr. Rooker

We need to look at the figures to find out how many people, on average, will benefit in each constituency, but we shall not know for certain until the bills come through the letter boxes. The real row about the poll tax has not started yet. I know that Croydon, for example, has already sent out its bills—without any rebate details—but until all the bills arrive I do not think that the country will wake up. The Government may think that there is trouble now; let them wait until next month and the month after.

11.28 pm
Sir Rhodes Boyson (Brent, North)

I know that many hon. Members wish to speak, so I shall be very brief.

Conservative Members are grateful for the transitional payment arrangements. The Minister has made no attempt to misrepresent the facts; he has always been not only courteous but accurate, and any disagreement between him and me has nothing to do with misrepresentation. The transitional arrangements will be helpful, but they do not go far enough. That is the problem. I consider that four categories require help.

First, it is wrong to take away the safety net in the second, third and fourth years and not the first year. In the first year, the built-in safety net will be at great cost to many careful Conservative boroughs where up to £70 per person is being transferred to what they consider to be spendthrift Labour boroughs. That will stick in the gullets of people there.

The second category was also affected by last week's Budget—a husband has to pay his wife's poll tax if she is at home. At the same time as the Government have separated taxation between the husband and wife, they have brought it back in the poll tax. That will cause great resentment in the country. If a wife stays at home to look after her children, her husband will have to pay her poll tax although they are taxed separately.

The third category is pensioners. If pensioners live in their own homes or with their relatives, they have to pay the poll tax, or their families have to pay it for them. If they live in residential homes, they do not have to pay the poll tax. That is another anti-family measure that was introduced, not without thought, but without considering the possible reactions to it, and some help should be provided.

Mr. Beith

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Sir Rhodes Boyson

I shall not give way, as I know that other hon. Members wish to speak.

My fourth and final point is that I quite understand why my hon. Friend the Minister said that, if an authority spends more than what the Government intend, the charge payers in that area will have to pick up the bill. But that is hard luck on Conservative voters in Conservative areas swamped within Labour boroughs. They have voted Conservative all their lives, as in Brent where 19 out of 21 councillors are Conservatives. We cannot get many more than that. We have tried to get 23, but so far we have not achieved it. I have some sympathy with those Conservative voters in such areas, because they are doing all they can, yet they are penalised without any transitional help. I make only those four points, as I know that other hon. Members wish to speak.

11.31 pm
Mr. Ronnie Fearn (Southport)

I shall be factual, but not too brief.

I begin with a quotation: If your actual community charge bill is more than the assumed community charge bill the relief will be calculated on the basis of the assumed charge. That is a quotation from the Department of the Environment press release of 7 March when it announced that 7.5 million people, rather than 6 million people, will get transitional relief.

The press release highlights so well the Government's inability to estimate or forecast anything correctly. It is worrying that the entire poll tax system is based on estimates and assumptions. It is quite clear that the Government have got their assessments totally wrong and it is not surprising that the country is now in uproar.

It was not long ago that the Government, desperate to sell the poll tax system to the electorate, were suggesting that no one would have to pay an increase of more than £3 a week. It is abundantly clear that that figure is no more than fiction, as are most of the other figures that we have heard tonight.

The Government have hugely underestimated the cost of vital services. That is probably due to their ignorance of the needs of local people, the elderly, children in state schools and those less able than themselves to participate fully in our communities and to their ignorance of the recreation needs of children and adults in small and large communities.

The Department of the Environment's statement in the press release that I quoted is without explanation or apology and does not spell out that more than 90 per cent. of local authorities are setting poll tax rates well above the assumed charge. That means that the 7.5 million who are entitled to relief will not get the full amount.

This lack of clarity is reprehensible. It is clear that the Government hope to ride out the storm and that they hope that, once the system is up and running, people will get used to it and complain less. With other kinds of policies, that attitude may work, but I am afraid that it will not work with this one.

People were misinformed about this tax, and they are still being misinformed. They believed that the Government had guaranteed that increases would be no more than £3 a week, but they are finding that they have to pay far more, without any means of relief, but also without fully understanding why. On top of that, many people did not realise that in households where there are more than two people the relief will be calculated on the basis of only two persons, and the amount of relief will be shared between all the poll tax payers in that household.

Mr. David Hunt

I may not have dealt properly with that point when I responded to my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Dover), so I am grateful for this further opportunity.

Before making our announcement, we consulted the local authorities. They told us that if they were to come anywhere close to completion of the scheme in time—and at that time they thought that it might not be possible to complete all the administration, and so on—there would have to be an automatic allocation of relief for households with more than two people. We considered that view very carefully, and, in response to local authority pressure, we conceded the point and allowed the relief to be spread equally between all occupants. But that does not prevent the pensioner or the disabled person who has not been a ratepayer, or part of a ratepaying couple, from claiming his special relief in addition to the automatically allocated relief. I hope that that explains the position.

Mr. Fearn

I am very grateful for the Minister's explanation. The point was not explained fully in the response to the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Dover).

Mr. Beith

The Minister still has not explained why this relief is not available to pensioners living in sheltered housing, whose rates were paid through housing schemes. They are not allowed to qualify for the special relief, because they previously contributed to the rates through their payments to the housing association.

Mr. Fearn

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. So far, the Minister has nodded twice to that question. No doubt he will have an answer later.

I want to refer now to the problems of young people on low incomes. Often these people come from low-earning families. They are less likely to be able to move out of their homes or to do what their better-off neighbours do. The number of such people is increasing as Government policy impairs moves by young persons to become independent by finding their own homes. These people are to be penalised even further. They are not being treated as deserving of full participation in the transitional relief scheme. They are, however, seen as being deserving when it comes to paying the poll tax. They are not entitled to a rebate—they will pay in full. A young person earning less than £3,750 per year will have to pay as much as 11 or 12 per cent. of net income.

As I said earlier, the whole poll tax system is based on assessment and assumption, which is bound to create anomalies. But of even more concern to local authorities is that, for many counties, the notional expenditure level to be used in the calculation of transitional relief is significantly below the standard spending assessment. The Association of County Councils requests that, for the purposes of calculating transitional relief, the 1990–91 community charge calculation be based on the higher of the notional spending level and the standard spending assessment.

It would be even better if the Government were to take this opportunity to increase their benchmark figure of £278 for standard spending, which was calculated and set many months ago—before there was any concrete evidence of the real spending levels of local councils for 1990. I note that the Government have promised £21 million to cover the cost of administration. I believe that, so long as the full amount is distributed in such a way that the councils get the benefit and that part of it is not clawed back into the Treasury, local authorities will consider the amount to be reasonable. But I wonder whether the Minister has any idea of the sheer weight and physical effort that will go into the administration of the poll tax scheme. The massive volume of paperwork, claims and rebates will lead to long delays, and that will result in hardship for many of those least able to manage.

Already, 40,000 people have applied to Sefton council's finance department for rebate forms, 10,000 have applied to the social services department, 20,000 to the housing department and a further 5,000 to the Department of Social Security. So far, a total of 75,000 applications have been made. Since Budget day and the doubling of the limit on savings, there has been a further deluge.

Mr. Donald Thompson (Calder Valley)

Is that more or fewer applications than for housing benefit?

Mr. Fearn


Sefton council received 3,500 Government-sponsored newspaper coupons, which proved to be almost useless because they made no distinction between rented and owner-occupied accommodation. Those coupons have been returned for people to explain the information that they put on them. That is a further example of ratepayers' money being wasted. I find it hard to comprehend, given those figures for a not unusual local area, that the Government could possibly have accounted for all administration costs. I am certain that they have not considered the hardships of many people, who will suffer from the inevitable delay in the production of forms.

The poll tax is unfair, unworkable and expensive to run. The poll tax, not the statutory instruments that we are discussing, should be revoked.

11.40 pm
Mr. Robert G. Hughes (Harrow, West)

When the debate began, the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Gould) sought to suggest that the transitional relief announced by my hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities at the Conservative party conference was different from the scheme now before us. As he sought to explain his remarks, and after the reply from the Minister, it became abundantly clear that the comments of the hon. Member for Dagenham were in line with most comments that we have heard from Labour Members: they simply were not based on facts. Labour Members were trying once again to mislead the public that the scheme is other than what it is. It is disgraceful for them to pretend that people are being denied relief when it was never offered.

Is it reasonable that the transitional relief scheme should be available for use by any Labour council that wants to set an excessive community charge, irrespective of the needs of the borough? I say that for a particular reason. Despite the humbug that we have heard from Labour Members, we have never heard, in this debate or in others on the rating system, any suggestion that transitional relief would be available for people who have suffered enormous rates increases at the hands of Labour councils. What about Labour councils that year after year caused misery to thousands of people by increasing rates in excess of inflation?

Mrs. Maria Fyfe (Glasgow, Maryhill)

Will the hon. Gentleman consider the case of a pensioner couple in my constituency who before the poll tax paid £84.20 in rent and rates but this year will have to pay £91.24? Does he agree that that is £7.04 more a month, not £3? Does he expect his constituents to be equally worse off, or will this be another example of people in England being better off?

Mr. Hughes

I shall be happy to consider that matter provided that the hon. Lady will consider all those people in the London borough of Ealing who, last year, had rate increases of more than 50 per cent., all those older people who were denied money for food and heating because they had to pay excessive bills to a Labour council. It is that sort of point, coming from Labour Members, which does the Labour party no credit because Labour Members shed crocodile tears when it is they who take money from people's pockets to pay for excessive spending. I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway), who can explain some of those matters.

Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North)

I can explain the suffering of some of my constituents. The constituents of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) do not know they are born. If they lived in Ealing they would suffer. In Ealing, we have had a rate—a local tax—increase of 264 per cent. in four years, when inflation was only about 20 per cent. What about that for Labour wickedness?

Mr. Hughes

My hon. Friend's intervention points up my case.

Mr. Nellist


Mr. Hughes

I shall not give way to scabs who make other people pay for their community charge.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will want to withdraw that remark.

Mr. Hughes

If you, Madam Deputy Speaker, advise me that the remark is unparliamentary, of course, I withdraw it, but it is no worse than anything that anyone who is going to be—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. It is a most objectionable word, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his courtesy.

Mr. Hughes

What the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) is doing to those people who will have to pay for the services that he enjoys on his high salary simply defies description. What makes it worse is that anyone who follows his lead and does not pay the community charge will be dragged through the courts. He can sit behind his privilege as a Member of Parliament and not be dragged through the courts; he is making people do things that he will not have to do.

Mr. Nellist


Mr. Hughes

I have already told the hon. Member that I will not give way to him.

The transitional scheme is generous and will come to the aid of those people who have to pay more money as a direct result of the new scheme of local taxation. That is what it is designed to do and what the Government promised it would do. If the Labour party wants to talk about councils which charge a high community charge, it must come up with the explanation of why people have to pay more money. It is no good the Labour party criticising, when it refuses not only to come up with a scheme of its own, but to come up with the answers to any of the questions posed by Conservative Members. Labour Members may want to act like deaf mutes, but in the end they will not get away with that, because the electorate will rumble them.

11.47 pm
Mr. Barry Jones (Alyn and Deeside)

The Council of Welsh Districts proposed transitional relief as a less administratively complicated system than that for England. However, since the Welsh Office revealed the final details, the Council of Welsh Districts, the architect of the transitional relief scheme, has expressed deep concern that the Welsh Office has not gone far enough, either in the period of relief—three years, not five—or in the extent of the relief.

Many Welsh communities will not receive transitional relief—541, nearly seven out of 10, will not. Only 323 will receive transitional relief. There are anomalies in the system. Due to the way that community boundaries are drawn, people living on opposite sides of the road, using the same services, may receive different levels of relief. For example, residents in part of Trehafod in the Rhondda will receive £41 relief, but their neighbours whose homes are in Taff-Ely will receive no help. Similarly in north Wales, residents in Llanfynydd in Alyn and Deeside will receive no transitional relief while their neighbours in Brymbo in Wrexham Maelor will receive £8 relief.

With regard to anomalies, the professionals in local government finance in Wales believe that the Government are less than competent in deciding what area should have relief. The anomalies set area against area and it is clear that the Government have not done their homework. The arbitrary use of areas means that thousands of people are losing.

The average community charge in Wales will be £232, which is almost £60—or one third—more than the Government's figure of £173. A comparison between the average rates bill for the current year for adults and the community charge starting next month shows that poll tax payers in Blaenau Gwent, in Cynon Valley and in Rhondda will pay more than £100 more per person once transitional relief ends.

No council in Wales—be it Labour, Conservative or independent—has levied a poll tax at the Welsh Office figure. The introduction of transitional relief smacks of panic by a Government who have recognised the enormity of the opposition to the poll tax among ordinary people and the size of electoral disaster that threatens to engulf them. The Government have dug themselves such an immense hole that they need more than transitional relief stepladders to get out of it.

If Welsh authorities are charge-capped, who will do the capping? Will that be the last act of the present Secretary of State for Wales or the first act of the present Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities? That question should be answered. Should there be charge capping, the Secretary of State should make a statement in the House. We are tired of statements of importance to Wales being made outside this place. We are tired of Government by press release.

The poll tax is unpopular in Wales. We believe that it will create more debt in the Principality. We fear that it will divide families and that young people may leave home because of the tension and debt that it will create within homes. We regret that people looked after by carers or relatives must pay the poll tax, while those in institutional care will not. We also believe that the Government have greatly underestimated the administrative costs of this iniquitous tax. No council treasurer in Wales believes that there will be 100 per cent. collection of the poll tax.

We in Wales believe that the poll tax is unjust. It is not related in any way to ability to pay. Nobody would deny that Wales is a mature political democracy. However this despised tax is dubbed and however it is tarted up, the Welsh people will continue to believe that the poll tax is unjust and entirely unacceptable. When the poll tax demands go through letter boxes in Wales next week, the shame will be that the poorest of our people will be hit the worst. That is why the Opposition oppose what the Government propose.

11.55 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Ian Grist)

It is extraordinary that the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) accords such importance to this subject that, at the last sitting of the Welsh Grand Committee, instead of debating this subject, we debated the effect on Wales of the Channel tunnel. That demonstrates the hon. Gentleman's depth of feeling.

I assure my right hon. and hon. Friends that we have the operation of the community charge very much in mind and we are aware of their concerns about it. We listen to what is said, and that is why we have the regulations and why they are in the shape they are. The Government will go on listening and taking note of what happens on the ground, and we will act accordingly. We could, of course, do absolutely no less. I certainly make that promise to my right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson).

Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Grist

I shall not give way.

The regulations are designed to ease the passage from one system to another—they are not permanent crutches. Indeed, the three years over which they are to operate give local authorities, if they have any concern for their poorer citizens, time to moderate their expenditure ambitions and thus to keep their community charge at a reasonable and moderate level. Certainly, as we have seen north of the border, after the initial disgraceful burst when the new system was set up last year, local authorities have begun to moderate this year as those who pay the charge come to understand the system a little better.

What is clear is that many councillors, mainly supporters of the Opposition, enjoy spending other people's money. As my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) pointed out, their motto is "Spend, spend, spend." Of course we are still in the dark about just how Labour Members would raise the money that they are going to spend. Will it be from income tax, a roof tax, or from some sort of capital values? Will rates be revived? We never hear the answer. We always hear how to spend money, never how to raise it. It beggars belief that they should propose such expenditure; the effect on inflation and interest rates would be catastrophic.

A major purpose of the community charge is that local councils will be answerable to local electors. Electors will quickly see in their bills the results of councils' inefficiency or empire building. The effects of local authority overspending were outlined very clearly in the earlier speech by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The regulations for Wales have been welcomed by Welsh local authorities and by the financial adviser to the Welsh counties, who said that they were extremely well targeted. They are clear, easily understood, and cheap to operate. [Interruption.] Hon. Members from England could not have been listening to the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside. He accepted that the Welsh system is easily understood, and so it is. It has benefited about 750,000 people by between £1 and £93. It is based on communities, or parishes as they are called in England, and compensates all those who—

Mr. Barry Jones

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Grist


It compensates all those who, on the basis of last year's rates, uprated by the retail prices index and allocated per head, find themselves paying £18 or more than the Welsh Office's target figures. Any payment above that figure is the result of the local authorities dunning their own citizens. As a result of the transitional scheme, 324 communities out of 860 in Wales will benefit and 35 out of 37 districts contain communities that will benefit from the relief.

Already community charge bills incorporating this scheme have been sent out. Were the regulations to be defeated, all those authorities and communities involved would have to cancel their current bills and send out higher, and in some cases much higher, fresh bills—at heaven knows what expense—and to the dismay of beneficiaries and local authorities. That, of course, applies to England as well as Wales.

In the Welsh context, it is noticeable that 14 district authorities and two counties have increased budgets by 10 per cent. or less from 1989–90. If they were able—

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question pursuant to Order [23 March]:

The House divided: Ayes 233, Noes 305.

Division No. 141] [12 midnight
Abbott, Ms Diane Bradley, Keith
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Bray, Dr Jeremy
Allen, Graham Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Alton, David Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Anderson, Donald Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Buckley, George J.
Armstrong, Hilary Caborn, Richard
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Callaghan, Jim
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Ashton, Joe Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Cartwright, John
Barron, Kevin Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Battle, John clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Beckett, Margaret Clay, Bob
Beith, A. J. Clelland, David
Bell, Stuart Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Cohen, Harry
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Bermingham, Gerald Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Bidwell, Sydney Corbett, Robin
Blair, Tony Corbyn, Jeremy
Boateng, Paul Cousins, Jim
Boyes, Roland Cox, Tom
Crowther, Stan Lewis, Terry
Cryer, Bob Litherland, Robert
Cummings, John Livingstone, Ken
Cunliffe, Lawrence Livsey, Richard
Cunningham, Dr John Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Dalyell, Tam Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Darling, Alistair Loyden, Eddie
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) McAllion, John
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) McAvoy, Thomas
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) McCartney, Ian
Dewar, Donald Macdonald, Calum A.
Dixon, Don McFall, John
Dobson, Frank Mckay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Doran, Frank McKelvey, William
Duffy, A. E. P. Maclennan, Robert
Dunnachie, Jimmy McNamara, Kevin
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth McWilliam, John
Eadie, Alexander Madden, Max
Eastham, Ken Mahon, Mrs Alice
Evans, John (St Helens N) Marek, Dr John
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Fatchett, Derek Martlew, Eric
Faulds, Andrew Maxton, John
Fearn, Ronald Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Meacher, Michael
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Meale, Alan
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Fisher, Mark Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Flannery, Martin Moonie, Dr Lewis
Flynn, Paul Morgan, Rhodri
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Morley, Elliot
Foster, Derek Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Foulkes, George Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Fraser, John Mowlam, Marjorie
Fyfe, Maria Mullin, Chris
Galloway, George Murphy, Paul
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Nellist, Dave
George, Bruce Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Godman, Dr Norman A. O'Brien, William
Gordon, Mildred O'Neill, Martin
Gould, Bryan Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Graham, Thomas Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Patchett, Terry
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Pendry, Tom
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Pike, Peter L.
Grocott, Bruce Prescott, John
Hardy, Peter Primarolo, Dawn
Harman, Ms Harriet Quin, Ms Joyce
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Radice, Giles
Haynes, Frank Randall, Stuart
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Redmond, Martin
Henderson, Doug Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Hinchliffe, David Richardson, Jo
Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall) Robertson, George
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Home Robertson, John Rogers, Allan
Hood, Jimmy Rooker, Jeff
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Rowlands, Ted
Howells, Geraint Ruddock, Joan
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Salmond, Alex
Hoyle, Doug Sedgemore, Brian
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Sheerman, Barry
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Short, Clare
Illsley, Eric Skinner, Dennis
Janner, Greville Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn) Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Snape, Peter
Kennedy, Charles Soley, Clive
Kilfedder, James Spearing, Nigel
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Kirkwood, Archy Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Lamond, James Steinberg, Gerry
Leadbitter, Ted Stott, Roger
Leighton, Ron Strang, Gavin
Straw, Jack Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck) Wilson, Brian
Turner, Dennis Winnick, David
Vaz, Keith Winterton, Nicholas
Wall, Pat Wise, Mrs Audrey
Wallace, James Worthington, Tony
Walley, Joan Wray, Jimmy
Wardell, Gareth (Gower) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C) Tellers for the Ayes:
Welsh, Andrew (Angus E) Mrs. Llin Golding and
Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N) Mr. Ray Powell
Wigley, Dafydd
Aitken, Jonathan Currie, Mrs Edwina
Alexander, Richard Curry, David
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Allason, Rupert Davis, David (Boothferry)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Day, Stephen
Amess, David Devlin, Tim
Amos, Alan Dickens, Geoffrey
Arbuthnot, James Dorrell, Stephen
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Dover, Den
Ashby, David Dunn, Bob
Aspinwall, Jack Durant, Tony
Atkins, Robert Dykes, Hugh
Atkinson, David Eggar, Tim
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Emery, Sir Peter
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Baldry, Tony Evennett, David
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Batiste, Spencer Fallon, Michael
Bellingham, Henry Farr, Sir John
Bendall, Vivian Favell, Tony
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Fenner, Dame Peggy
Bevan, David Gilroy Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Fishburn, John Dudley
Boscawen, Hon Robert Fookes, Dame Janet
Boswell, Tim Forman, Nigel
Bottomley, Peter Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Forth, Eric
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Fox, Sir Marcus
Bowis, John Franks, Cecil
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Freeman, Roger
Brandon-Bravo, Martin French, Douglas
Brazier, Julian Fry, Peter
Bright, Graham Gale, Roger
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Gardiner, George
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Garel-Jones, Tristan
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Glyn, Dr Sir Alan
Budgen, Nicholas Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Burns, Simon Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Burt, Alistair Gorst, John
Butcher, John Gow, Ian
Butler, Chris Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Butterfill, John Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Gregory, Conal
Carrington, Matthew Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Carttiss, Michael Grist, Ian
Cash, William Ground, Patrick
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Grylls, Michael
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hague, William
Chapman, Sydney Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Chope, Christopher Hanley, Jeremy
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Hannam, John
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Harris, David
Colvin, Michael Haselhurst, Alan
Conway, Derek Hawkins, Christopher
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Hayes, Jerry
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hayward, Robert
Cope, Rt Hon John Heathcoat-Amory, David
Couchman, James Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Cran, James Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Hind, Kenneth Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Holt, Richard Norris, Steve
Hordern, Sir Peter Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Oppenheim, Phillip
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Page, Richard
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Patnick, Irvine
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Patten, Rt Hon John
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hunter, Andrew Porter, David (Waveney)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Portillo, Michael
Irving, Sir Charles Powell, William (Corby)
Jack, Michael Price, Sir David
Jackson, Robert Raffan, Keith
Janman, Tim Redwood, John
Jessel, Toby Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Rhodes James, Robert
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Riddick, Graham
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Key, Robert Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Roe, Mrs Marion
Kirkhope, Timothy Rossi, Sir Hugh
Knapman, Roger Rost, Peter
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Rowe, Andrew
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Knowles, Michael Ryder, Richard
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Sackville, Hon Tom
Lang, Ian Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Latham, Michael Sayeed, Jonathan
Lawrence, Ivan Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Shaw, David (Dover)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lilley, Peter Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Shelton, Sir William
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Lord, Michael Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Luce, Rt Hon Richard Shersby, Michael
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Sims, Roger
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Skeet, Sir Trevor
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Maclean, David Speed, Keith
McLoughlin, Patrick Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Stanbrook, Ivor
Madel, David Stern, Michael
Major, Rt Hon John Stevens, Lewis
Malins, Humfrey Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Mans, Keith Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Maples, John Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Marland, Paul Stokes, Sir John
Marlow, Tony Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Sumberg, David
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Summerson, Hugo
Maude, Hon Francis Tapsell, Sir Peter
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Mellor, David Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Miller, Sir Hal Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Mills, Iain Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Mitchell, Sir David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Moate, Roger Thorne, Neil
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Thurnham, Peter
Moore, Rt Hon John Townend, John (Bridlington)
Morris, M (N'hampton S) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester) Tracey, Richard
Moss, Malcolm Tredinnick, David
Moynihan, Hon Colin Trippier, David
Neale, Gerrard Trotter, Neville
Needham, Richard Twinn, Dr Ian
Nelson, Anthony Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Neubert, Michael Viggers, Peter
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Waddington, Rt Hon David
Nicholls, Patrick Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Walden, George Winterton, Mrs Ann
Waller, Gary Wolfson, Mark
Ward, John Wood, Timothy
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill) Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Warren, Kenneth Yeo, Tim
Watts, John Younger, Rt Hon George
Wells, Bowen
Wheeler, Sir John Tellers for the Noes:
Whitney, Ray Mr. Alastair Goodlad and
Widdecombe, Ann Mr. David Lightbown
Wiggin, Jerry

Question accordingly negatived.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Personal Community Charge (Relief) (Wales) Regulations 1990 (S.I., 1990, No. 288), dated 16th February 1990, a copy of which was laid before this House on 19th February, be annulled—[Mr. Barry Jones.]

The House divided: Ayes 229, Noes 297.

Division No. 142] [12.13 am
Abbott, Ms Diane Darling, Alistair
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Allen, Graham Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Alton, David Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)
Anderson, Donald Dewar, Donald
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Dixon, Don
Armstrong, Hilary Dobson, Frank
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Doran, Frank
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Duffy, A. E. P.
Ashton, Joe Dunnachie, Jimmy
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Eadie, Alexander
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Eastham, Ken
Barron, Kevin Evans, John (St Helens N)
Battle, John Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Beckett, Margaret Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Beith, A. J. Fatchett, Derek
Bell, Stuart Faulds, Andrew
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Fearn, Ronald
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Bermingham, Gerald Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Bidwell, Sydney Fisher, Mark
Blair, Tony Flannery, Martin
Boateng, Paul Flynn, Paul
Boyes, Roland Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Bradley, Keith Foster, Derek
Bray, Dr Jeremy Foulkes, George
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Fraser, John
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Fyfe, Maria
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Galloway, George
Buckley, George J. Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Caborn, Richard George, Bruce
Callaghan, Jim Godman, Dr Norman A.
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Gordon, Mildred
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Gould, Bryan
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Graham, Thomas
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Cartwright, John Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Grocott, Bruce
Clay, Bob Hardy, Peter
Clelland, David Harman, Ms Harriet
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Cohen, Harry Haynes, Frank
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Henderson, Doug
Corbett, Robin Hinchliffe, David
Corbyn, Jeremy Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)
Cousins, Jim Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Cox, Tom Home Robertson, John
Crowther, Stan Hood, Jimmy
Cryer, Bob Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cummings, John Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Howells, Geraint
Cunningham, Dr John Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)
Dalyell, Tam Hoyle, Doug
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Pendry, Tom
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Pike, Peter L.
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Prescott, John
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Primarolo, Dawn
Illsley, Eric Quin, Ms Joyce
Janner, Greville Radice, Giles
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Randall, Stuart
Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn) Redmond, Martin
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Richardson, Jo
Kennedy, Charles Robertson, George
Kilfedder, James Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Rogers, Allan
Kirkwood, Archy Rooker, Jeff
Lamond, James Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Leadbitter, Ted Rowlands, Ted
Leighton, Ron Ruddock, Joan
Lewis, Terry Salmond, Alex
Litherland, Robert Sedgemore, Brian
Livingstone, Ken Sheerman, Barry
Livsey, Richard Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Short, Clare
Loyden, Eddie Skinner, Dennis
McAllion, John Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
McAvoy, Thomas Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
McCartney, Ian Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Macdonald, Calum A. Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
McFall, John Snape, Peter
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Soley, Clive
McKelvey, William Spearing, Nigel
Maclennan, Robert Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
McNamara, Kevin Steinberg, Gerry
McWilliam, John Strang, Gavin
Madden, Max Straw, Jack
Mahon, Mrs Alice Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Marek, Dr John Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Turner, Dennis
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Vaz, Keith
Martlew, Eric Wall, Pat
Maxton, John Wallace, James
Meacher, Michael Walley, Joan
Meale, Alan Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Wareing, Robert N.
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Moonie, Dr Lewis Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Morgan, Rhodri Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Morley, Elliot Wigley, Dafydd
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Mowlam, Marjorie Wilson, Brian
Mullin, Chris Winnick, David
Murphy, Paul Wise, Mrs Audrey
Nellist, Dave Worthington, Tony
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Wray, Jimmy
O'Brien, William Young, David (Bolton SE)
O'Neill, Martin
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Tellers for the Ayes:
Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Mrs. Win Golding and Mr. Ray Powell
Patchett, Terry
Aitken, Jonathan Batiste, Spencer
Alexander, Richard Bellingham, Henry
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Bendall, Vivian
Allason, Rupert Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Bevan, David Gilory
Amess, David Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Amos, Alan Boscawen, Hon Robert
Arbuthnot, James Boswell, Tim
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bottomley, Peter
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Ashby, David Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)
Aspinwall, Jack Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Atkins, Robert Bowis, John
Atkinson, David Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Brazier, Julian
Baldry, Tony Bright, Graham
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Budgen, Nicholas Harris, David
Burns, Simon Haselhurst, Alan
Burt, Alistair Hawkins, Christopher
Butcher, John Hayes, Jerry
Butler, Chris Hayward, Robert
Butterfill, John Heathcoat-Amory, David
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Carrington, Matthew Hind, Kenneth
Carttiss, Michael Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Cash, William Holt, Richard
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Hordern, Sir Peter
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Chapman, Sydney Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Chope, Christopher Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Colvin, Michael Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Conway, Derek Hunter, Andrew
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Irving, Sir Charles
Cope, Rt Hon John Jack, Michael
Couchman, James Jackson, Robert
Cran, James Janman, Tim
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jessel, Toby
Curry, David Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Davis, David (Booth ferry) Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Day, Stephen Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Devlin, Tim Key, Robert
Dickens, Geoffrey King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Dorrell, Stephen Kirkhope, Timothy
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Knapman, Roger
Dover, Den Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Dunn, Bob Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Durant, Tony Knowles, Michael
Eggar, Tim Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Emery, Sir Peter Lang, Ian
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Latham, Michael
Evennett, David Lawrence, Ivan
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Fallon, Michael Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Favell, Tony Lilley, Peter
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Fishburn, John Dudley Lord, Michael
Fookes, Dame Janet Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Forman, Nigel Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Forth, Eric MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Mackay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Fox, Sir Marcus Maclean, David
Franks, Cecil McLoughlin, Patrick
Freeman, Roger McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
French, Douglas Madel, David
Fry, Peter Major, Rt Hon John
Gale, Roger Malins, Humfrey
Gardiner, George Mans, Keith
Garel-Jones, Tristan Maples, John
Glyn, Dr Sir Alan Marland, Paul
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Marlow, Tony
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Gorst, John Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Gow, Ian Maude, Hon Francis
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Mellor, David
Gregory, Conal Miller, Sir Hal
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Mills, Iain
Grist, Ian Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Ground, Patrick Mitchell, Sir David
Grylls, Michael Moate, Roger
Hague, William Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Moore, Rt Hon John
Hanley, Jeremy Morris, M (N'hampton S)
Hannam, John Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Moss, Malcolm Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Moynihan, Hon Colin Stanbrook, Ivor
Neale, Gerrard Stern, Michael
Needham, Richard Stevens, Lewis
Nelson, Anthony Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Neubert, Michael Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Nicholls, Patrick Stokes, Sir John
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Sumberg, David
Norris, Steve Summerson, Hugo
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Tapsell, Sir Peter
Oppenheim, Phillip Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Page, Richard Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Patnick, Irvine Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Patten, Rt Hon John Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Thorne, Neil
Porter, David (Waveney) Thurnham, Peter
Portillo, Michael Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Raffan, Keith Tracey, Richard
Redwood, John Tredinnick, David
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Trippier, David
Rhodes James, Robert Trotter, Neville
Riddick, Graham Twinn, Dr Ian
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Viggers, Peter
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Waddington, Rt Hon David
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Roe, Mrs Marion Walden, George
Rossi, Sir Hugh Waller, Gary
Rowe, Andrew Ward, John
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Ryder, Richard Warren, Kenneth
Sackville, Hon Tom Watts, John
Sainsbury, Hon Tim Wells, Bowen
Sayeed, Jonathan Wheeler, Sir John
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas Whitney, Ray
Shaw, David (Dover) Widdecombe, Ann
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Wiggin, Jerry
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Winterton, Mrs Ann
Shelton, Sir William Wolfson, Mark
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Wood, Timothy
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Shersby, Michael Yeo, Tim
Sims, Roger Younger, Rt Hon George
Skeet, Sir Trevor
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Tellers for the Noes:
Soames, Hon Nicholas Mr. Alastair Goodlad and
Speed, Keith Mr. David Lightbown.
Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)

Question accordingly negatived.