HC Deb 16 December 1993 vol 234 cc1370-91

"The Secretary of State shall publish on an annual basis a report to Parliament setting out the yield from the increase in primary Class I contributions payable as a consequence of the provisions of section 1 of this Act."-[Mr. Dewar.]

Brought up and read the First time.

Mr. Dewar

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

We have had a passage of arms over some minor textual matters and the constitutional machinery of another part of the United Kingdom. In sharp contrast, we now move to new clause 1, which is general in its impact and raises some fairly broad issues. I therefore intend to deal with it in a broad way but hope that I shall not stray or test your patience, Mr. Morris.

I do not intend to rehearse my objections to the main thrust of the Bill or to clause 1. I shall not talk in such detail about our reservations and fears about the substantial increase in taxation represented by the hike from 9 per cent. to 10 per cent. However, what has undoubtedly arisen during these exchanges is evidence that there is a good deal of confusion and no meeting of minds either between the Labour party and the Conservative party or between those parties and the Liberal Democrats. The hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) takes an individual view, as does his party. In some cases it is an impractical view, but it is always interesting.

On no part of the Bill will there be a more important debate in the period that lies ahead. We need not go into the merits of the new clause, but we can all agree on one matter —that many question marks exist over the traditional way in which we deliver our services and over the proper weight that should be given to the contractual principle between the Government and governed and the extent to which people are buying entitlement when they make national insurance contributions.

There are people—I am not one of them—who have put big question marks over the whole idea of the contributory principle, suggesting that national insurance should just be a form of taxation, perhaps hypothecated, but still taxation. Others go further and suggest that we get rid—

Dame Elaine Kellet-Bowman (Lancaster)

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Labour party under the late Lord Attlee made a grave error by not funding the scheme when it was brought in? All our problems have stemmed from that. It is an in-and-out scheme, whereas it should have been funded, as others are.

Mr. Dewar

I understand what the hon. Lady says. I was at a conference recently where a very elderly person told me what Jim Griffiths had told her. About 20 minutes later I lost the thread of the story, but it was some sort of explanation of why the scheme was not funded at that. time. Perhaps in a few years' time the hon. Lady herself will be telling people similar stories.

In any event, whether or not the scheme should have been funded, it is not funded. I believe that there is some virtue in dealing with the realities of the world in which we live, and I commend that approach to the hon. Lady.

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North)

Is it not rather odd that the hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) has withheld this crucial piece of information for so long? Perhaps she should have revealed it long ago so that we could have laid the blame at the door of poor old Clem Attlee.

Mr. Dewar


Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

My remarks arose precisely out of the observation that the hon. Member for Garscadden was making.

Mr. Dewar

I must get on. The tragedy is that, although I know Jim Griffiths said something, I do not know what it was. It must therefore remain a mystery.

My point is that important arguments are developing, some of them so fundamental as to question the whole principle of the contributory system. Perhaps it is apt to point that out in the week in which Sir Peter Barclay retires from his post as chairman of the Social Security Advisory Committee. He made a speech not long ago in which he directly suggested scrapping the whole system—the Contributions Agency and the recording of contributions —and treating national insurance as a form of taxation, whereupon we could get on with life.

There are fundamental difficulties with this approach. I do not endorse it for one second; I just make the point that these major arguments are beginning to develop. Perhaps in a strange way I should pay tribute to some of the more unpleasant theories emerging from the Department of Social Security. They have certainly widened the argument and drawn new people into an area that used to preoccupy specialists alone.

My impression is that more and more people who are not experts or professionals, and who are not involved directly, are becoming uncomfortably aware of the importance of these arguments and want to know more about them.

There is a real difficulty with what one might term the dissemination of information. There is also some difficulty about a debate that is often conducted under the guise of calm and rational discussion but which is actually highly polemical. We have to rely a great deal on the Government for much of the information. The word "Government" is reassuring in one way. It suggests impartiality—information provided by pure distillation from theory and from fact. The truth, as we know, is the very opposite. Government information is often highly tendentious; and the Government's approach is often merely presentational.

At the moment the Government are attempting—wrongly in my view, but I am parti pris in the argument —to suggest that the financial difficulties of the social security and contributory systems are much worse than they are. There are long-term trends which are of concern, and I do not deny that they must be dealt with and catered for in any future plans.

I will draw the Social Security Advisory Committee into the argument again, because that point was made in its ninth annual report which was published this week. It does not take the view, and nor do I, that we are in such a crisis that we are teetering on the edge of an abyss and that we have to send in the demolition men and the broker's men, or the system will implode or explode.

Mr. Corbyn

Has my hon. Friend had time to read the pamphlet from the No Turning Back group on the future of the pension system and the welfare state? That pamphlet seems to give the true version of the Government's intentions, which are to reduce consistently the value of the state old-age pension and to boost the private pension industry at the expense of the state scheme. The state scheme inevitably can provide for everybody, whereas private schemes can provide only for those who can afford to pay into them during their working lives.

Mr. Dewar

I was talking about the Government's information and expressing doubts about some of their presentational factors. To take me then to the No Turning Back group is a little unfair—that is a rather different kettle of fish.

I agree with my hon. Friend that is a pernicious pamphlet and, if he wants to collect such things, he should read the recent pamphlet from Dr. Madson Pirie. My hon. Friend may consider Dr. Pirie's remarks on private pension schemes and their virtues in the light of recent news from the Securities and Investment Board, the Life Assurance and Unit Trust Regulatory Organisation and the Financial Intermediaries, Managers and Brokers Regulatory Organisation. However, that is a different issue.

Mr. Hague

indicated assent.

Mr. Dewar

I see that the Minister agrees with me on that. We want to try to get impartiality into the debate, and a basis of information on which we can conduct the argument. I will not trespass on it at the moment, but new clause 4 tackles the same problem. We are asking the Government to enters lists in a more public sense and to provide information and assistance.

I will give a brief example which has occurred to me, concerning an issue on which I have written to the Minister. He may have the letter on the desk at moment. There is a complex and difficult argument, as the House knows, about retirement ages and the state retirement scheme. One of the factors which influence that deeply is the demographic factor and the projection of the number of people above the retirement age.

All hon. Members have their little conglomerations of facts which they can trip out in an argument and which become user-friendly. One of my facts is that, in the year 2030, there will be 14.1 million people over pensionable age in this country. I got that figure from a Government publication and it was an authoritative figure, which was used both in the text and in the graphs. The figure was used for a long time in the consultative document for discussion on the equalisation of the pension age. The Leader of the House will be familiar with the figure.

Two months ago, I was at a conference that was organised by Legal and General at which the Secretary of State spoke. Rather to my surprise, the right hon. Gentleman suddenly said during his speech that we would have great problems with demographic trends because in the year 2030—the very year to which I have referred—there will be 15.5 million people over retirement age in this country. The statistic appears to be the same, but—I do not want to use a pejorative term and say that it was invented —suddenly almost 1.5 million people were introduced into the argument.

Clearly that is a major change, and a factor which must be taken into account. I am not being funny about this, and I genuinely do not know why that happened. I can tell the House that I have watched carefully, and 15.5 million is now established in the Government's little group of statistics. The Prime Minister uses that figure constantly, for example, as does the Secretary of State.

I have written to the Minister and I wait with interest to ask how that had happened, and on what basis the Government suddenly found another 1.5 million pensioners. The hon. Member for Lancaster will appreciate this because she takes a great interest in these matters, and I acknowledge that she is a frequent attender of debates such as these. In 2030, the harmonisation of the pension age at 65 will have taken place, if the Government's plans come to fruition. We would have expected that, because they want to cut the number of people over pensionable age.

Not only have we an increase of 1.5 million people, but in circumstances which have changed since the original estimate and which one would have expected to have lowered the estimate and not increased it. It is mysterious and interesting; that is why I am interested in impartial reports and bringing some objectivity into the debate and the facts on which it is based.

Mr. Alistair Darling (Edinburgh, Central)

Is it not the case that, in crude terms, the Government are trying to soften up opinion to justify cuts in pension provision and other welfare benefits? They are grossly exaggerating the problems that Britain and other countries face. That is why we see such a slapdash and casual acquaintance with the facts.

Mr. Dewar

I have a great deal of sympathy with that view. It will be widely shared among Opposition Members, but I have no doubt that it will be strongly repudiated by the Government.


Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Dewar

In a moment.

It may depend on whether the Chief Secretary or the Chancellor wins the battle of the Treasury, whether it is a real battle or a presentational exercise. Perhaps it is another aspect of the matter into which I shall not delve.

The new clauses address the need to establish a proper basis for the discussion.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

If there are mysteries here, there must be mysteries in all the other countries in Europe. As the hon. Gentleman no doubt knows, the German Government said exactly the same thing in their submission to Mr. Delors—that the pension burden in Germany will be enormous. It is the same in France, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. We are not the only ones who are discovering a demographic time bomb.

Mr. Dewar

I understand that entirely. The hon. Lady has heard Ministers saying it on many occasions. The term demographic time bomb is, in a sense, hyperbole. If she looks at the facts and figures, she will see that we are infinitely better placed that most western European countries.

The country in the greatest mess in demographic terms, for historic reasons, is Germany. The position there is extremely serious and Chancellor Kohl has been taking energetic steps to get to grips with it. It is a problem on a different scale from the one that we face in Britain.

The hon. Lady may be a victim of the hype that I am trying to get over. I suspect she has been listening to Ministers. I do not blame her; it is how Back Benchers operate, but she is over-simplifying the idea that we cannot survive because we have a problem on the same scale as that of Germany.

I can recommend to the hon. Lady—if she wishes, I shall arrange for a copy to be sent to her—an excellent and substantial piece of research from John Hill of the London School of Economics, which deals with social security expenditure which she will find genuinely interesting. She could then measure it against some of the statements from Government. But I must not argue the case.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that, as we are spending an increasing amount of money on our national health service and cures are being found which would have been unthinkable even two or three years ago, not only will the number of people living increase, but their quality of life will improve? It means people are not only living on to a much greater age, but they actually enjoy living on to a much greater age.

Mr. Dewar

The hon. Lady is happy. I agree with her entirely.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

I shall live to be 100.

Mr. Dewar

Do not depress me.

The hon. Lady makes an important point and I agree with her. it is a complicated equation. It is true that we are closing acute beds, sometimes over-enthusiastically, but in some cases for good reasons, as surgery can be carried out in an out-patient department which once would have required extensive in-patient treatment.

I remember being in hospital for five weeks for something that my doctors now tell me would be done on an out-patient basis. It is a complicated equation.

Let me make one more point to the hon. Lady. The interesting document produced by the Government, "The growth in social security: International comparisons", with which some of my hon. Friends will be familiar, contains evidence of the expense and burden that we will have to carry and, as a civilised community, ought to carry. It is also important to remember that, if we take social protection expenditure—that is, the health service and the benefit system put crudely altogether—as a percentage of gross domestic product, in Europe the burden is 26 per cent. and in Britain it is 23 per cent. We are well below the European Union average.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

We must be more efficient.

Mr. Dewar

We may be more efficient, but Ministers often lead us to believe that we are uniquely at risk because of ever-escalating costs, which cannot be controlled and are now running away in a disastrous fashion.

The contributory principle—the inter-relationship between the national insurance fund, the national health service, the benefits and pensions systems—is a key area. There is a genuine case for an annual report on the kind of increase which has been included in the Bill. If we can receive that kind of impartial information, we will have a better chance—perhaps not a great chance—of a well-informed debate and of reaching the right conclusions at the end of the day, even if we start from a different political point of view.

There was a time when at least we had common aims and objectives—even though we argued about the way in which they could be achieved. One of the sadnesses of recent years is that we can no longer agree on the aims and objectives and the proper community approach. If we are to have an argument of such far-reaching importance, we deserve to be better served by the Government's statistics.

Mr. Wicks

I rise with great enthusiasm to support the proposal that we should have an annual report on these very complex matters. The debates on Second Reading and in Committee have shown that we are at something of a crossroads; there are different scenarios about the future of social insurance or some alternative to it.

I was intrigued by the intervention of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) when she sought to blame Lord Attlee for not supporting a funding scheme. Tha allows me to say, with something of an exaggerated flourish, that I knew Clement Attlee. I refer to a short conversation that I had with him when I was a schoolboy. The conversation with the then Lord Attlee, in county hall, London—in the good old days when we had a London county council, a council that my father had the honour of chairing in its final year—went something like this: I said, "Hello, sir." He said, "How are you, young man?" "Fine, sir," I replied. I regret that I did not seize the opportunity, in the middle of this historic dialogue, to say, "What about funding, Lord Attlee?"—but next time I will.

The serious point is that there are different scenarios about the future of national insurance, or social insurance or some alternative. An annual report would enable us to monitor performance against objectives. It could become as important as the annual reports from the Supplementary Benefits Commission, as it was, and more recently the Social Security Advisory Committee. Many Opposition Members will pay tribute to the work of Sir Peter Barclay, whose tenure as chairman of that committee comes to an end at the end of the month. I have great respect for his work; his reports have helped enormously and have added strength to the proposal made by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar). I believe that annual reports could become important state documents.

One scenario is that we will increasingly see a reduction in the principle of national insurance and a move towards a kind of residual social welfare system. That would come about through a reduction in the value of national insurance benefits, a move from state provision to occupational welfare—we have seen an example of that recently. It would come about also through the privatisation of what were formerly national insurance benefits—we have seen that with private pensions.

I would have major worries about that. To "residualise" welfare and guard it carefully with a means test is to increase the inequalities in our society—albeit at a time when new language is used to describe state benefits and state provision. Unemployment benefit, for example, has become a "job seeker's allowance". I wonder where it will all end. Perhaps the Government should consider calling the homeless "home owner aspirants", which would be less negative and less politically embarrassing.

Let me give another example of the linguistics of social policy. I offer this purely as an illustration, not as a prediction. If one day a Government anxious about public expenditure were to propose the introduction of euthanasia for the poor, no such crude and vulgar language would be employed. The measure would be introduced under the acronym EHOP—"early heaven opportunity programme". The language of social policy is certainly becoming more intriguing.

The Chairman

Order. I am listening attentively to what the hon. Gentleman is saying—

Mr. Wicks


The Chairman

Will the hon. Gentleman sit down for a second? The new clause is entitled "Annual report to Parliament". Whether the language to which the hon. Gentleman refers will form part of that report is not immediately evident from what he has said so far; perhaps clarity will soon prevail.

Mr. Wicks

Certainly the annual report will be full of language—and, most important, it will help us to enable both public and Parliament to determine the direction in which the national insurance system is going. That is why I support the idea.

An alternative to the idea of a residual welfare system, in which means-testing increasingly replaces national insurance, is the idea of enabling the annual report to identify other possibilities. Some people say, for instance, that the concept of national insurance is no longer relevant in a modern society. They claim that it is not actuarially sound. It is not funded, they say, so why not come clean and make it part of income tax? The annual report would determine whether the system was moving away from national insurance and towards taxation.

Mr. Corbyn

How would the report deal with the position of people who were denied invalidity benefit that they could otherwise have received because of the new rules introduced by the Secretary of State? Would it examine the question of the refusal of benefits under a means-testing system?

Mr. Wicks

I certainly hope that it would. It needs to be independent and objective when assessing the overall impact of such measures.

Among other things, the report would enable us to establish whether national insurance has a future. I believe that it has, but that we need to reinvent or reconstruct the concept of social or national insurance. The issue was discussed on Second Reading. I think that any new social insurance system would have to establish whether, 50 years after Beveridge, the risks faced by modern society were being addressed. If Beveridge were alive today, although he would recognise many of those risks—for instance, the risk of unemployment, job seeking or whatever the language is—he would also recognise that new risks had developed. The annual report would help us to assess them.

Many of the growing number of frail elderly people will need not only an income—a pension—but care. That is one of the major forms of social insecurity nowadays. It is a major risk that insurance should help us to tackle. It may be that in a reconstructed national insurance scheme people could be insured against the risk that one day they may need care costing hundreds of pounds a week, perhaps £20,000 or £30,000 a year, in residential accommodation. A modern national insurance scheme would help us to tackle such risks.

The idea of an annual report to help us to shine a light on the practice and policy of social insurance is a vital part of the Bill. I hope that it will become part of the Bill and that the Committee will accept the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar).

10.30 pm
Mr. Flynn

It is a pleasure to speak on this vital new clause. We must look to the report to Parliament as a sort of gatekeeper—to use the word used by the Minister. It should be seen as a moderating influence, someone to guard the gate. My misgiving about the use of that word is that the Spanish word for gatekeeper is portillo. That may be some sort of sign.

I have attended almost every minute of the debate and I have been slightly distressed to see that the Secretary of State has had trouble keeping his eyes open. Earlier today, I had a conversation with a Treasury Minister who was purchasing mints downstairs. [Interruption.] This is relevant; it will become clear later. I pointed out to the Minister that there was a notice warning customers about an outbreak of some sort of Asiatic plague at the mint factory and that they should not take mints. I worry that he might be sending them to other members of the Government and it may be that the Secretary of State's apparent indisposition—

The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse)

Order. We have gone far enough with that. We must return to the debate on the new clause.

Mr. Flynn

There is clearly a deep division between the policies of the Treasury and those of Ministers in the Department of Social Security. It strikes at the heart of the new clause. The report to Parliament should be seen to be at least an attempt to retain parliamentary scrutiny of the Government's destruction of the welfare state.

The welfare state is not something trivial. It did not happen by accident and was not introduced by just one Parliament. It is the result of the life work of generations of our parents and grandparents. They saw it as a great ideal that society should be organised so as to distribute society's wealth in a way that was fair to everybody. They wanted to ensure that when people reached retirement age they would have about 40 per cent. of their previous salary on which to live out their final days in dignity and relative prosperity. That was the inspiration of Lloyd George and Beveridge and it has had support from all parties until the present day.

There is one question that the Government must answer. Why is it that between 1944 and 1951, when we still had rationing and great troubles and were a poorer nation than we are today—the same applies to the years 1950 to 1955 when we were in a similar position—the value of the pension was greater in real terms than it is now? Also, why are the Government planning for the real value of the pension to be far less in 40 years—when, by all predictions, we will be richer than we are now—than it is now?

I intervened earlier because, as an old lag of these debates—I have sat in on every Social Security Bill since 1987—I was distressed by the fact that none of the many knowledgeable Conservative Members with an insight into social security had spoken. We heard at least one speech from a parliamentary private sectretary, who was reading from a brief, but we have not heard from the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts), for whom I think we all have great respect and whose works I have quoted in the Chamber. The hon. Gentleman understands the situation and has blown the gaff on the Government's great con. They have successfully convinced the media and the nation that we cannot afford a welfare state any more, that somehow a terrible disaster has taken place and that we cannot afford a national insurance scheme. I make the distinction between a national insurance scheme and a poor law scheme because one hon. Member referred—

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. The hon. Gentleman is going very wide of the subject. The debate is about contributions, so he should get back to the clause under discussion.

Mr. Flynn

Each year the annual report must contain a critical appraisal of whether we have a welfare state or return to a poor law scheme. I suggest that the authors of that report should become the social—

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. I must insist that the hon. Gentleman return to the clause.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

He has never been on it.

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. The subject of the clause is contributions, so the hon. Gentleman should confine his remarks to that subject.

Mr. Flynn

Contributions are a vital part of the Bill. Earlier, I challenged the hon. Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant) to tell me how they have changed since 1979. He sought assistance from heaven. Perhaps it is not well known that he is fluent in Icelandic. For all its value, his contribution could well have been delivered in that language. The difference is significant. In 1989, the level of contribution—the precise subject of the clause—was 6.5 per cent. The change to 10 per cent. represents an enormous increase of more than 50 per cent. since then.

Let us puncture the myth that we cannot afford a welfare state. We do not need to increase contributions by 53 per cent. over 14 years, or even by 40 per cent. or 20 per cent. If we increase them by 15 per cent., in the next century we will be able to afford pensions that are more generous than they are today.

Who says so? The hon. Member for Havant. Who else? The Social Security Advisory Committee, the organisation that advises the Government, has produced its ninth report and it should be the organisation that produces future reports. The Government have disregarded every other report by that Committee. Throughout my time in Parliament since 1987, I have read all those reports. They are a great guide to parliamentarians on what has happened to the social security system. The advice of the committee that was set up to be objective and independent has been disregarded time after time.

Judging by their contributions and the policies that they have adopted, the Government are driven not by any considerations of welfare or fairness but by blind ideology. They have used the excuse of demographic change—as the hon. Member for Havant says in his splendid document, "The Age of Entitlement"—not because it is true, because it is not. They have vastly exaggerated.

We will have problems in the next century because of the baby boomers which will last for about 13 years. After that, the problem will lessen and we will have a society in which we can provide decent pensions. The reasoning behind the Government's policy—the whole nonsense behind this legislation—is the ideology that everything private is wonderful and everything public is nonsense.

What are our contributions to the national insurance scheme? We will soon be paying 10 per cent.—the highest this century and in history. What will happen to them? If the contributions go into the national insurance scheme, 95 per cent. will end up as benefits. The alternative is to put the contributions into private insurance schemes. When that is done, 50 per cent. will end up being paid as benefits. The other 50 per cent. will be lost in administration charges, profits for the insurance company and commission. That is the time bomb under the Government. That is what contributions are all about.

We have a system of national insurance. Beveridge's inspiration was a scheme based on contributions. What he saw, Mr. Lofthouse, was the insurance schemes that your father and mother and my father and mother had—industrial insurance policies. They paid someone to come to the door every week. Beveridge studied those policies. He said that 50 per cent. of the contributions were lost in the scheme's administration charges. He said that the private insurance companies were more interested in selling the schemes and in their profits than in providing value.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

The hon. Gentleman is misquoting Beveridge. Beveridge wanted the scheme to be run in gradually. He did not want it to come in immediately. I see that the hon. Gentleman has only a silly bit of paper; I have the Beveridge report. The point is that Beveridge wanted the scheme to be run in gradually. I observed earlier that if the scheme had been funded, all the problems that we have inherited and that we shall pass on to our grandchildren would not have occurred.

Mr. Flynn

The hon. Lady has quoted Beveridge, which, like my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Wicks), I regard as night-time reading. Beveridge said that he wanted to ensure that every person fulfilling during his"— pardon the sexism— working life the obligation of service according to his powers, can claim as of right when he is past work an income adequate enough to maintain him. Let me tell the hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) what Beveridge also concluded. He published his report in 1942. He thoroughly investigated the life assurance schemes. His conclusion was that the cost of administration consumed half the money paid in by members. He said that the door-to-door insurance—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Lancaster wishes to know about Beveridge, she should listen. I am quoting his report. He said that door-to-door insurance served the interests of companies and the sellers of policies to the detriment of those insured. His preferred solution was a state-run scheme for everyone.

We have a state-run scheme that has been neglected. We are not giving people choice. The Government have very unwisely told people to opt out of the state scheme and go into personal pension schemes. All Conservative Members who have a vested interest and a direct pecuniary interest in personal pensions should not vote on the issue. The Government would lose their majority. The result of this—

Mr. James Couchman (Gillingham)

On a point of order, Mr. Lofthouse. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to impugn the integrity of Conservative Members during the debate?

The First Deputy Chairman

It is not the tradition of the House, but it is not uncommon that hon. Members on both sides of the House do it.

Mr. Flynn

I have noticed in the Register of Members' Interests that 14 per cent. of Opposition Members have pecuniary interests in various bodies. I have none, I assure you, Mr. Lofthouse. Eighty-five per cent. of Conservative Members have pecuniary interests. I do not impugn the honour of Conservative Members, but I suggest that we should adopt the practice in local government whereby someone who declares an interest in a subject does not vote on it. That is an important reform that we should introduce in the House of Commons, especially as 85 per cent. of Conservative Members have pecuniary interests.

We want a proper annual report to be made by an objective body such as the Social Security Advisory Committee. The Government are not giving choice to the country by offering them personal pensions. They are throwing people to the wolves.

Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale)

For the past hour, I have listened to the debate on this new clause and I have yet to hear one argument in favour of it. The hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) talked about a record level of national insurance contributions, which will be the consequence of this Bill. We do not need an annual report to tell us that we are spending a record amount on the national health service and social security. If we examine the Bill and the new clauses, it must be blindingly obvious that if we will the end, we must will the means.

I do not see why we need to spend more money on administration and creating more reports and statistics when we all know the truth. Under this Government, we have spent a 'record amount on the NHS, and we are spending a record amount on the social security budget. All hon. Members have received letters from constituents saying that people are prepared to pay more to fund the national health service. This Bill will enable people to pay more for a better national health service. We do not need this new clause to ensure that that is carried out.

10.45 pm
Mr. Corbyn

I shall be brief because the Minister should have an opportunity to speak about this excellent new clause. My hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) explained why the Government will not support the new clause. It is obvious. If there is an objective annual analysis of what happened to the contributions—what was paid out from them, who did not get them and who was denied them by means testing; and the almost 1 million people who received no benefit whatever despite having paid into the fund during their working lives—the Government will be exposed.

The Government are perpetrating an enormous con on the people of this country. They are increasing contributions in order to pay less and reduce benefits. All pensioners have been robbed of £18 a week because of the break of the link with earnings in 1980 and the substitution of a cockeyed retail prices index. The Government are being cruel and hypocritical by cutting unemployment benefit, despite the scheme being a contributory one. It is benefit fraud of the highest order. That is what benefit fraud is about. It is not the sort of xenophobic nonsense that the Secretary of State was talking about when he addressed the annual rally of the Conservative party. Of course, to call it a conference would be to suggest that there was a serious discussion going on, which there certainly was not.

An annual report must show the real cost of the state pension scheme and the contributory system. My hon. Friend explained what happened under the old private insurance schemes which predated the welfare state. We are rapidly moving back to a society in which any spiv can set up a pension company, make a great deal of money from it and possibly go bust. The robbery of Maxwell pensioners has exposed the lack of regulations for pension funds. People who are withdrawing from the state earnings-related pension scheme are a £6 billion drain on the national insurance fund. I believe that such matters must be exposed.

The Government rely on secrecy. They rely on the Murdoch press to perpetrate the enormous lie and myth that this country cannot afford a universal benefit scheme or a proper welfare state. We can afford it if the political will is there to do it. The Government's changes to the taxation system over the past 15 years have rewarded the rich with £31 billion per year. That is what it is about. The Bill is simply a minor, introductory skirmish into the great row and debate that will take place about the Government's attempt to smash the welfare state in which we believe so strongly and passionately.

Mr. Hague

This has been a varied debate. You would be angry with me, Mr. Lofthouse, however, if I failed to confine my remarks to the new clause and followed hon. Members down the various alleyways and byways that they have travelled.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) proposed the new clause in the spirit of providing impartial information to the country and Parliament and in the spirit of openness in policy making. I agree with that spirit. It is not a bad idea to have an annual report to Parliament about the national insurance fund. In fact, it is such a good idea that we already do it every February when we lay the re-rating or uprating orders for national insurance contributions. That provides a great deal of information.

The new clause would require the Secretary of State to publish every year an additional report, which would set out the expected income from the contributions paid by employees, in a form that showed separately the income attributable to the proposed increase in the rates of the contributions from 9 to 10 per cent. I see little point in producing such an additional report, which would be confined to one financial impact on the national insurance fund, when the Government Actuary already produces a report, which must be laid with the annual orders that set the rates of contributions and benefits for the coming year. Each year those reports give details of expected contribution income and expected contributory benefit expenditure. They also take into account the effect of any changes that have taken place in the rates or accounts of contributions.

I do not think that there would be much merit in having an additional report. Hon. Members who have argued for more information should be aware that a quinquennial review of the national insurance fund is—

Sir Donald Thompson (Calder Valley)

Every five years.

Mr. Hague

My hon. Friend has immediately worked out that it is conducted every five years.

That review contains the Government Actuary's long-term financial estimates, which consider the viability of the contributory scheme up to 60 years hence. Opposition Members have rightly said that they want to take a long-term view of the scheme and that review offers that opportunity.

It would be wrong to initiate an additional report. I do not believe in creating unnecessary work for civil servants, who would be called on to provide information that is already ascertainable and available from the reports provided by the Government Actuary. I hope that the new clause is either withdrawn, or defeated in a Division.

Mr. Dewar

I listened with interest, but without much hope, to the Minister. The new clause is a good one and there are powerful arguments for it, despite his best efforts. I am unrepentant about tabling it.

Mr. Hague

What does the hon. Gentleman think about my point about the quinquennial review?

Mr. Dewar

I always find that the hon. Gentleman's presentation is excellent. Quinquennial reviews are obviously admirable institutions, but on this occasion it is clear that the quinquennial review about which he is talking in no way meets the eloquent points that have been raised not only by me, but by my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) and others.

In the circumstances, I do not see any point in delaying the Committee with a vote.

Mr. John Greenway


Mr. Dewar

I would have thought that that was a cause for celebration and cheer on the hon. Gentleman's part. Conservative Members should recognise a Christmas present when they are offered one. It seems very uncharitable and unseasonable for Conservative Members to mock in this way.

On this occasion I will beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read a Third time.

10.54 pm
Mr. Bradley

We have had an extremely interesting Committee stage. If any merit has come out of the fact that the Bill has been guillotined—there is only one merit—it is that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) has been able to participate so effectively in the Committee. He has brought great knowledge and a particular humour to our proceedings. We should welcome that as we run up to the end of this part of the Session.

On Second Reading, we concentrated very much on the consequences of increasing the national insurance contribution by 1 per cent. from 9 per cent. to 10 per cent. It is worth repeating yet again what the real consequences of that are. Through the back door, the Government are giving the biggest hike to taxation. The increase will bring in a staggering £2.26 billion in revenue in a full year. If the Government had been honest in the Budget and had raised taxation, they would not have received as much money. They would have received £360 million less than they are getting from this massive imposition of national insurance.

What has come clearly out of our debates today and yesterday is what the Government failed to tell the British people during the general election campaign. The Conservatives claimed that they were the party of low taxation. All that myth has now been exploded. I do not believe that the British people who, from next April, will on average have to pay £9 or £10 a week extra in total taxation and £16 on average the following year will ever again believe this Government.

This is the biggest hike in taxation. It is very pleasing that the former Chancellor, the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Thames (Mr. Lamont), is in the Chamber to listen to the description of the effects of his policies. The new Chancellor—I quote from the Daily Mail—admitted the truth to the Treasury Select Committee yesterday: Clarke comes clean. Kenneth Clarke admitted last night that this year's Budget has raised the equivalent of 7p on the basic rate of income tax. We know that, in conjunction with the national insurance contribution, people throughout the country will suffer, and suffer and suffer from the consequences of the Government's policies.

Through our debates, we have also been able to winkle out from the Government some important facts not only about the consequences of the increase in national insurance contribution, but about the effect on people of not being able to draw certain benefits in future. Two issues are worth reinforcing on Third Reading. I welcome our future opportunity to debate in greater detail the new job seeker's allowance. We have found out not only what was clear from the start—that it was about reducing the amount of benefit and about reducing eligibility from 12 months to six months—but, most importantly, that anyone under 25 who receives the new job seeker's allowance will get it at a reduced rate. That is a lower rate of income support. It is also clear that the dependants' addition will be significantly reduced under the new scheme.

It is a disgrace and scandal that the 3 million officially unemployed people will pay the price, not only through a reduction in the eligibility to benefit to six months, when many of them, through the contributory system, have paid into the fund and believed that they had a right to proper levels of unemployment benefit as a result, but young people up to the age of 25 will have their benefit reduced to income support level. That is a disgrace, and when it is properly understood, there will be a furore and campaigns against what the Government are proposing. The Minister may laugh, but the 3 million unemployed are not laughing. They are suffering from the consequences of the economic mismanagement of the Government.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the Opposition spokesman to mislead the House? There are not 3 million unemployed, and he ought to know—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Bradley) is responsible for his own speech.

Mr. Bradley

I understand exactly what the hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) is saying. I understand that, over the 14 years of this Tory Government, they have fiddled the figures 19, 20 or 21 times to cover up the real total of over 4 million unemployed—that is, all those eligible to look for work, but ineligible to claim benefit because that right has been taken away from them. We understand what is going on, and we shall fight to protect the interests of those 4 million people.

You have not only curtailed the right to benefit for unemployed people. We shall look in great detail at the second exposure resulting from the debates in the past couple of days. That is the exposure of the way in which you are going to treat people with an incapacity, people who are sick and those who have disabilities. Not only will their right to a decent level of benefit be curtailed through the draconian measures that you are likely to introduce, but—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is getting a bit carried away. The Chair is not responsible for anything in this Bill, or any other.

Mr. Bradley

I accept what you say, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I had no intention of drawing you into the net of the guilty people who sit on the Treasury Bench, who will significantly reduce the living standards of thousands of disabled people through the imposition of the new assessment of incapacity.

We know that such people will be caught in a trap, a trap that we exposed in the debate on the Statutory Sick Pay Bill yesterday. Because of the extra burden of having to pay statutory sick pay, employers will look carefully at people's health records. People with health problems will be denied the right to a decent benefit. They will be caught in a trap—too ill to work but not ill enough to receive benefit from this miserly Government. We are determined that, when the Bill dealing with incapacity goes into Committee, we shall look at every line dealing with the way that assessments are done. What you are doing—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I have already told the hon. Gentleman that the Chair is doing nothing. I am only conducting the debate, in accordance with the rules of procedure. I should be grateful if the hon. Gentleman would bear that in mind.

Mr. Bradley

I apologise. As we enter the Christmas period, we feel even more the ways in which the people whom we represent are being downtrodden. I apologise for getting emotional. We are trying to protect the vulnerable —the people who do not have the income to match that of Tory Members. We are trying to protect them against the ravages of an incompetent Government, who in one day can lose £7 billion. At the same time they try to cut the benefits of the most vulnerable people in society. Such are this Government's priorities.

The Secretary of State is so appalled and is such a guilty man that he cannot even come to the Chamber to hear the closing speeches on this legislation. Where is he? I think I perhaps know. I suspect that there is an argument going on between the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State about the other area that we are determined to protect—the right to a decent level of state retirement pension.

The Chief Secretary is not interested in the future needs of people for the state retirement pension. He is looking for it to be continually eroded so that it has no real value in future. He believes that the state should not provide this sum in the 21st century and that everyone should look to the private market for an income in their old age. That is not good enough for us. We shall protect the elderly. We do not accept the arguments put to us and directed clearly by the Chief Secretary. We shall ensure that the millions of elderly people are properly protected by the policies of a Labour party committed to the interests of the elderly.

Today's debate has given my hon. Friends adequate opportunity to expose the Government's hypocrisy and the way in which they are trying to con the British people into believing that if direct taxation does not increase, somehow national insurance contribution increases are a side issue and do not affect pay packets in the same way. I assure Ministers that on 1 April next year when the public receive their pay slips the Government's con will be exposed.

At the same time as incomes are ravaged and limited by tax and national insurance impositions, bills will come through doors demanding VAT on fuel. Then the public will look at how mortgage interest tax relief has been eroded; they will look towards future travel and holidays and see that they have to pay tax on that. As their bills come in for home insurance and car insurance, it will be tax, tax, tax.

That from a party that went into the general election saying that it was the party of low taxation, that it had no plans and no need to raise taxation. Its hoardings argued against the Labour party's tax policies. Yet look what the country is having to suffer as a result cif the mismanagement of the economy by these Ministers and all their guilty colleagues.

We have failed—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. For the last two minutes it might be wise for the House to settle down.

Mr. Hague

To help the hon. Gentleman through the last two minutes, may I suggest that he spends them by informing the House how the Labour party proposes to meet the shortfall in the national insurance fund?

Mr. Bradley

Is not it incredible that when Britain is faced with the biggest tax hike ever, amounting to £9 a week for the average family this year and £16 next year, the Government can ask only what we would do? The Government are responsible for what is happening. The Minister and all his right hon. and hon. Friends are the guilty men whom we have exposed during the past two days. We may not have won a vote in those two days, but I am assured that we have won the hearts and minds of the British people who know only too well where the guilt lies for the economic consequences.

It being six hours after the commencement of proceedings on Second Reading, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to Order [14 December]:—

The House divided: Ayes 303, Noes 256.

Division No. 56] [11.10 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Ancram, Michael
Alexander, Richard Arbuthnot, James
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)
Amess, David Ashby, David
Aspinwall, Jack Fabricant, Michael
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Fenner, Dame Peggy
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Fishburn, Dudley
Baldry, Tony Forman, Nigel
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Bates, Michael Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Batiste, Spencer Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Bellingham, Henry French, Douglas
Bendall, Vivian Fry, Peter
Beresford, Sir Paul Gale, Roger
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gallie, Phil
Blackburn, Dr John G. Gardiner, Sir George
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan
Booth, Hartley Garnier, Edward
Boswell, Tim Gill, Christopher
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Gill, Christopher
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Bowls, John Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Brandreth, Gyles Gorst, John
Brazier, Julian Grant, Sir A. (Cambs SW)
Bright, Graham Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Browning, Mrs. Angela Grylls, Sir Michael
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Burns, Simon Hague, William
Burt, Alistair Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie (Epsom)
Butcher, John Hampson, Dr Keith
Butler, Peter Hannam, Sir John
Butterfill, John Hargreaves, Andrew
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Harris, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Haselhurst, Alan
Carrington, Matthew Hawkins, Nick
Carttiss, Michael Hawksley, Warren
Cash, William Hayes, Jerry
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Heald, Oliver
Chapman, Sydney Heathcoat-Amory, David
Churchill, Mr Hendry, Charles
Clappison, James Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hill, James (Southampton Test)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Coe, Sebastian Horam, John
Colvin, Michael Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Congdon, David Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Conway, Derek Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Cormack, Patrick Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Couchman, James Hunter, Andrew
Cran, James Hund, Rt Hon Douglas
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Jack, Michael
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Jenkin, Bernard
Davis, David (Boothferry) Jessel, Toby
Day, Stephen Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Deva, Nirj Joseph Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Devlin, Tim Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Dicks, Terry Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Dorrell, Stephen Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Key, Robert
Dover, Den Kilfedder, Sir James
Duncan, Alan King, Rt Hon Tom
Duncan-Smith, Iain Knapman, Roger
Dunn, Bob Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Durant, Sir Anthony Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Dykes, Hugh Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Eggar, Tim Knox, Sir David
Elletson, Harold Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Legg, Barry
Evennett, David Leigh, Edward
Faber, David Lennox-Boyd, Mark
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Shaw, David (Dover)
Lidington, David Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lightbown, David Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Shersby, Michael
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Sims, Roger
Lord, Michael Skeet, Sir Trevor
Luff, Peter Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Soames, Nicholas
MacKay, Andrew Speed, Sir Keith
Maclean, David Spencer, Sir Derek
McLoughlin, Patrick Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Madel, David Spink, Dr Robert
Maitland, Lady Olga Spring, Richard
Malone, Gerald Sproat, Iain
Mans, Keith Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Marland, Paul Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Marlow, Tony Steen, Anthony
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Stephen, Michael
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Stern, Michael
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Stewart, Allan
Mates, Michael Streeter, Gary
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Sumberg, David
Merchant, Piers Sweeney, Walter
Milligan, Stephen Sykes, John
Mills, Iain Tapsell, Sir Peter
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW) Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Moate, Sir Roger Temple-Morris, Peter
Monro, Sir Hector Thomason, Roy
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Moss, Malcolm Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Needham, Richard Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Nelson, Anthony Thurnham, Peter
Neubert, Sir Michael Townend, John (Bridlington)
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Nicholls, Patrick Tracey, Richard
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Tredinnick, David
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Trend, Michael
Norris, Steve Trotter, Neville
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley Twinn, Dr Ian
Oppenheim, Phillip Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Ottaway, Richard Viggers, Peter
Page, Richard Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Paice, James Walden, George
Patnick, Irvine Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Patten, Rt Hon John Waller, Gary
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Ward, John
Pawsey, James Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Waterson, Nigel
Pickles, Eric Watts, John
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Wells, Bowen
Porter, David (Waveney) Whitney, Ray
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Whittingdale, John
Powell, William (Corby) Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Rathbone, Tim Wilkinson, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John Willetts, David
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Wilshire, David
Riddick, Graham Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Robathan, Andrew Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Wolfson, Mark
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Yeo, Tim
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Tellers for the Ayes:
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Mr. Timothy Wood and
Sackville, Tom Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Abbott, Ms Diane Austin-Walker, John
Adams, Mrs Irene Banks, Tony (Newham NW)
Ainger, Nick Barnes, Harry
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Barron, Kevin
Allen, Graham Battle, John
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Bayley, Hugh
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Armstrong, Hilary Bell, Stuart
Ashton, Joe Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F. Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Benton, Joe Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bermingham, Gerald Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Berry, Dr. Roger Grocott, Bruce
Betts, Clive Gunnell, John
Blair, Tony Hain, Peter
Blunkett, David Hall, Mike
Boateng, Paul Hanson, David
Boyes, Roland Hardy, Peter
Bradley, Keith Harman, Ms Harriet
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E) Henderson, Doug
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Heppell, John
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Burden, Richard Hinchliffe, David
Byers, Stephen Hoey, Kate
Caborn, Richard Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Callaghan, Jim Home Robertson, John
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Hood, Jimmy
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Hoon, Geoffrey
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Canavan, Dennis Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Cann, Jamie Hoyle, Doug
Chisholm, Malcolm Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Clapham, Michael Hugher, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hutton, John
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Ingram, Adam
Clelland, David Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Coffey, Ann Jamieson, David
Cohen, Harry Janner, Greville
Connarty, Michael Johnston, Sir Russell
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Corbett, Robin Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Corbyn, Jeremy Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Corston, Ms Jean Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Cousins, Jim Jowell, Tessa
Cox, Tom Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Cryer, Bob Keen, Alan
Cummings, John Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Khabra, Piara S.
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Kilfoyle, Peter
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn)
Darling, Alistair Kirkwood, Archy
Davidson, Ian Leighton, Ron
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral) Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Lewis, Terry
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Litherland, Robert
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'I) Livingstone, Ken
Denham, John Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Dewar, Donald Llwyd, Elfyn
Dixon, Don Loyden, Eddie
Dobson, Frank Lynne, Ms Liz
Donohoe, Brian H. McAllion, John
Dowd, Jim McAvoy, Thomas
Dunnachie, Jimmy Macdonald, Calum
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McFall, John
Eagle, Ms Angela McKelvey, William
Eastham, Ken Mackinlay, Andrew
Enright, Derek McLeish, Henry
Etherington, Bill McMaster, Gordon
Evans, John (St Helens N) McNamara, Kevin
Fatchett, Derek McWilliam, John
Faulds, Andrew Madden, Max
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Mahon, Alice
Fisher, Mark Mandelson, Peter
Flynn, Paul Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Foulkes, George Martlew, Eric
Fraser, John Maxton, John
Fyfe, Maria Meacher, Michael
Gapes, Mike Meale, Alan
Garrett, John Michael, Alun
George, Bruce Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Gerrard, Neil Milburn, Alan
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Miller, Andrew
Godman, Dr Norman A. Moonie, Dr Lewis
Golding, Mrs Llin Morgan, Rhodri
Graham, Thomas Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Simpson, Alan
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Skinner, Dennis
Mowlam, Marjorie Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Mudie, George Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Mullin, Chris Smith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)
Murphy, Paul Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Snape, Peter
O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire) Soley, Clive
O'Hara, Edward Spearing, Nigel
Olner, William Spellar, John
O'Neill, Martin Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Steinberg, Gerry
Patchett, Terry Stevenson, George
Pendry, Tom Stott, Roger
Pickthall, Colin Straw, Jack
Pike, Peter L. Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Pope, Greg Taylor, Rt Hon John D. (Strgfd)
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Tipping, Paddy
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E) Turner, Dennis
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Prescott, John Wallace, James
Primarolo, Dawn Walley, Joan
Purchase, Ken Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Quin, Ms Joyce Wareing, Robert N
Radice, Giles Watson, Mike
Randall, Stuart Welsh, Andrew
Raynsford, Nick Wicks, Malcolm
Reid, Dr John Wigley, Dafydd
Rendel, David Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Robertson, George (Hamilton) Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW) Wilson, Brian
Roche, Mrs. Barbara Winnick, David
Rogers, Allan Wise, Audrey
Rooney, Terry Worthington, Tony
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Wray, Jimmy
Rowlands, Ted Wright, Dr Tony
Ruddock, Joan Young, David (Bolton SE)
Salmond, Alex
Sedgemore, Brian Tellers for the Noes:
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Mr. Jack Thompson and
Short, Clare Mr. Eric Illsley.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.