HC Deb 03 March 1993 vol 220 cc349-69
Mr. Cynog Dafis (Ceredigion and Pembroke, North)

I beg to move amendment No. 122, in page 153, line 12, after '(2)', insert 'where an order relates to a local education authority in England.'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse)

With this it will be convenient to discuss also the following amendments: No. 121, in page 153, line 14, at end insert— '(2A) Where an order relates to a local education authority in Wales, the area specified in the Order may extend to the whole of Wales.'.

No. 120, in page 153, leave out lines 21 to 23.

No. 198, in page 153, line 25, at end add— '(6) Any order under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.'.

Mr. Dafis

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the amendments in this small but significant group.

The issues with which the clause and the amendments are concerned have been debated at length already, in Committee and last night. The fact that this is a matter of great concern was evident from Conservative Members' eloquent speeches last night about the provision of the music service, to which I shall return.

Amendment No. 120 would remove the two-year limit after which LEAs would not be allowed to sell services to schools in other LEA areas or to grant-maintained schools. Amendments No. 122 and 121, which I drafted myself, would enable services to be sold by any LEA to the schools of any other LEA in Wales and to grant-maintained schools in any other part of Wales.

I emphasise that, if Opposition Members' only concern were to sabotage the grant-maintained movement, we should not have tabled amendment No. 120. The non-availability to grant-maintained schools of LEA services after two years is likely to act as a strong disincentive to schools to become grant maintained. The Under-Secretary of State for Schools confirmed that last night when he said: If parents decide that relying on the continuance of LEA provision of the kind to which their school is accustomed is of paramount importance to them, perhaps that school is not the right sort to become grant maintained."—[Official Report, 2 March 1993; Vol. 220, c. 206.] The hon. Gentleman actually admitted that the non-provision of services might be a disincentive to some schools to become grant maintained. We are not being driven by ideology in this: we are not in the business of sabotaging the grant-maintained movement at this time.

It is worth mentioning the fact that only after a period of about two years will schools in Wales be going grant maintained at all, so in effect they will be unable to benefit from the services anyway. Opposition Members are driven not by ideology but by the wish to ensure that, if the grant-maintained sector grows and develops, the mixed system that will then exist should be able to work with the minimum amount of damage being done to pupils. That is our main concern.

6.45 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Mr. Eric Forth)

It is important that the ground rules should be clear. The restrictions will not even operate if only a few schools have become grant maintained. Only when a local education authority experienced a significant number of schools becoming grant maintained and exceeded its margin of capacity would the question even arise. The two-year period would start from that point, allowing a transitional period during which the appropriate adjustments could be made. It is important to understand that.

Mr. Dafis

I accept that and I shall come to the question of the margin of capacity in a moment.

I emphasise that amendment No. 120 does no more than propose that there should be a level playing field between the public and private sectors. If Conservative Members are saying that it is not possible to identify the true cost of services provided by LEAs—that has been suggested—and so ensure that there is a level playing field, they are saying, in effect, that they regard local authorities as perfidious and in the business of cheating. Some Conservative Members—not all—clearly believe that. The hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West (Mr. Richards) clearly regards LEAs and local authorities as essentially perfidious bodies. Conservative Members must take a dim view of the extent of human ingenuity if they do not believe that it is possible for human beings to devise a system whereby the true costs of providing services can be identified.

That is not the view of the Secretary of State for Wales. The White Paper on local government reorganisation in Wales states that local authorities in Wales will be encouraged, as a matter of good practice, to introduce an internal accounting framework for corporate and other services and to expose them to competition as soon as possible. Clearly, the Secretary of State believes that it is possible to develop an accounting procedure which makes it possible to identify the true costs of services provided by local education authorities and local government generally.

Under the Bill as drafted, LEA schools will have a choice as to where they obtain their services: they can get them from the LEA or from the private sector. Grant-maintained schools, however, will not have that choice. On the face of it, the Bill seems to discriminate against grant-maintained schools as much as it discriminates against LEA service providers. In that context, it is worth asking which principle is more important to the Government: the promotion of grant-maintained schools, or the discouragement of the public sector as providers?

Some people in the grant-maintained movement and in the semi-independent sector say that they cannot understand why the Government insist on the prohibition coming into operation after two years. I think that I understand what is behind the Government's thinking. If the LEA is prevented from supplying services to grant-maintained schools and if the grant-maintained sector grows, it will be increasingly difficult for the LEA to provide services for its own schools. The necessary economies of scale will not be available and schools will increasingly lack any reason to remain with the LEAs. That is probably the Government's strategy. Like God, the Conservatives move in a mysterious way their wonders to perform. It would be naive to imagine that they intend to leave the growth of the grant-maintained sector to parental choice and that they will not employ other measures in the background to facilitate and hasten their process. They are prepared, in pursuit of an ideological goal, to endanger services and the quality of children's education. It is difficult to imagine anything more irresponsible.

Last night the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South (Mr. Cormack), in an eloquent, moving and civilised speech, talked of his anxiety about the question of music provision. The hon. Gentleman was ably supported by the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis). In the case of those two hon. Gentlemen the term "honourable" seems appropriate. I should like to talk about music provision in my constituency and, in particular, about trading at the margins of capacity.

In Ceredigion we have a fine school orchestra, whose conductor is the music organiser for Dyfed. The orchestra has enjoyed considerable success on great occasions at the Royal Albert Hall. If, in the new county, which will be called Sir Aberteifi, there is one grant-maintained school, its pupils will presumably be able to join the orchestra. Presumably grant-maintained schools would pay the LEA fees as it would be within the capacity of the LEA to provide for its own schools. In other words, the provision would be within the margin of capacity. However, if more schools were to become grant-maintained, such provision in Ceredigion could be made only beyond the LEA's margin of capacity. Thus, grant-maintained pupils would not be able to take part in the orchestra. I think that my understanding is correct.

What would happen then? Would grant-maintained schools set about starting their own orchestra? It was surprising to hear the Minister talk last night about co-operative ventures. Perhaps the grant-maintained schools could organise a co-operative venture. Thus we would have two orchestras. It might be argued that competition would be created and that that would be a good thing. Competition between the two orchestras would drive down the fees charged for putting on concerts here and there. I am being facetious, of course, but I shall now be serious. Such a situation might very well mean the LEA's own orchestra becoming unviable.

Mr. Forth

I should like to deal with this point now lest it fail to be picked up later. I shall check the situation and provide confirmation, but I am pretty certain that the problem posed by the hon. Gentleman can be resolved under the Local Government Act 1972, which enables such services to be provided across county borders and across boundaries between the LEA and grant-maintained sectors. I made this point in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) in Committee and on the Floor of the House.

Mr. Dafis

If that is true and if it applies to orchestras specifically, it is a comfort. None the less, there remains the argument that at a certain stage grant-maintained schools will be unable to obtain services from the local education authority as that would amount to trading beyond the margin of capacity.

I refer to other services in Wales—in particular, in my part of Wales—that will suffer similarly. I have mentioned those in Committee. The education authority has set up language centres—canolfannau iaith—where children undertake intensive courses in Welsh. After six or eight weeks they return to their own primary schools and receive part of their education through the medium of Welsh. The language centres are run by one or two specialist teachers, who have gained considerable expertise through periods of training. The centres are essential to enable schools to cope with the shifting linguistic circumstances in my part of the world.Families arrive from England and children enter school at various ages. Schools could not cope satisfactorily without such support.

Linked to this provision is the network of area teachers which we call athrawon bro. That service is partly funded by special grants from the Welsh Office which are very much appreciated. Some of the teachers are peripatetic. They visit various primary schools and teach Welsh as a second language, provide language enrichment lessons, and so on. The specialist teachers also train other teachers and develop teaching materials. The loss of such centres and of this network of teachers would have a disastrous effect on the provision that is necessary to deal with the complexities of the bilingual situation in my part of the world and to meet the opportunities.

Mr. Anthony Coombs (Wyre Forest)

It is difficult to follow the logic of the hon. Gentleman's argument. He seems to believe that if something is not provided by the local education authority it should be lost. That is similar to the obsessive and purblind ideological approach of the Labour party. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many grant-maintained schools are taking part in co-operative exercises? In that way they can purchase services from bodies in the independent trust sector, often in conjunction with local education authorities in cases such as those to which the hon. Gentleman refers. Music and language services can be obtained in that way. The Labour party has talked about how pleased it is to see the Clinton administration in power. Well, that administration has a bible called "Reinventing Government", which describes governments not as providers but as facilitators. The hon. Gentleman is not a member of the Labour party, but he may have learnt from that approach.

Mr. Dafis

I do not question the possibility of having trusts, set up by groups of schools, which could organise alternative provision. However, alternative provision might not emerge.We have a very efficient system already. The scenario put forward by the hon. Gentleman would lead to duplication and would make it more difficult for the local education authority to continue to provide a service to its own schools, as it would have to carry the same overheads with reduced provision. It would certainly create a more difficult and complex situation.

Mr. Rod Richards (Clwyd, North-West)

Is the hon. Gentleman seriously telling the House that the ethos of Welsh schools will disappear under the grant-maintained system? If he is, he does not seem to have a high regard for the demand for Welsh education and things Welsh in his new county of Sir Aberteifi.

7 pm

Mr. Dafis

That is an extraordinary intervention. Obviously, the hon. Gentleman was not listening to me. I was not talking about Welsh schools: I was talking about special language centres that are set up by local education authorities to service schools which are designated Welsh medium schools and those which are not so designated.

The provision of special language services would be destabilised and made more difficult. There might be duplication and the services might not be available at anything like the present level. I have every faith in the demand for Welsh medium education, but I am concerned about the provision of services and the ability to cope with the varying linguistic situations in west Wales. There is a great danger that the provision of services will suffer as a consequence of the Government's proposals and their refusal to allow local education authorities to continue to sell services to grant-maintained schools.

We have heard more than once about the effect of the Bill on outdoor pursuit centres. I will not pursue that matter in detail—perhaps other hon. Members would like to mention it—but it is a significant element. I should mention in passing that outdoor pursuit centres in Wales that are owned by local education authorities in England provide a not insignificant element of employment in Wales. That is a side issue, but it is worth mentioning. I beg the Government to reconsider the matter.

We are talking about the difference between ideology and pragmatism. The Opposition parties—Labour, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru—have proposed a pragmatic approach and a pragmatic response. To insist on competition between the public and private sectors to maximise efficiency is perfectly reasonable and shows a confidence in market forces which is rational. To prevent the public sector from competing with the private sector in the provision of services to the public sector and to assume that the private sector will deliver the goods in all circumstances seems to betray a faith in market forces which borders on the mystical. We should not be legislating on the basis of mysticism.

May I examine amendments Nos. 121 and 122 in the context of local government reorganisation in Wales. The amendments would enable local education authorities to sell their services in any part of Wales. They are meaningful only if amendment No. 120 is passed so that we get rid of the prohibition beyond the margin of capacity after two years.

In connection with that, I shall quote from paragraph 46 of the White Paper on local government reorganisation in Wales: Authorities must be directly accountable to local people for the services which they secure (by purchase or otherwise). The new unitary authorities will therefore normally be responsible in law for securing the provision of services. But statutory responsibility does not mean that each authority should itself seek to provide every aspect of service, so authorities will need to have a flexible legal framework allowing them both to work much more closely with one another and to purchase services and expertise from each other and from outside agencies—including the private and voluntary sectors. That is clear enough. It keeps with the purchaser-provider relationship which the Government advocate and there is something to be said for it. If it makes sense for local authorities to be allowed to sell any services to each other, surely it makes sense in education. There is no justification for differentiating between education and other services.

Mrs. Jacqui Lait (Hastings and Rye)

Would the hon. Gentleman contemplate the concept of the local education authority as a monopoly provider and that what he recommends remains a monopoly? We are trying to break down the monopoly and create competition. Such competition will provide a much greater opportunity for many more people to provide good quality services in exactly the same way as the purchaser-provider relationship in the health service has been broken down from a monopoly into a much broader competitive field.

Mr. Dafis

I am not quarrelling with the concept of the purchaser-provider split. I am saying that, in the White Paper, it is envisaged that one local authority shall be the provider and another local authority shall be the purchaser. It would not be a monopoly situation but one in which the private sector could also offer services so that there was competition between the public and private sectors. There would be a varied pattern of purchasers and providers.

We should not allow an ideology-driven English Government—which is what we have—to mess up the provision and delivery of education services in Wales. Obviously, the smaller size of the new local authorities in Wales will make it more difficult for all of them to deliver the whole range of services. The White Paper opens up the possibility for what are called lead authorities to specialise in various fields and supply services to each other, alongside contributions from the private sector.

The scope for specialisation within the education service is considerable—for example, specialised courses and residential courses, including courses for the learning of Welsh. The demand for such courses will certainly increase, partly as a result of the Government's Welsh Language Bill. One local education authority could make such specialised courses available for purchasing by people working in the education service in other parts of Wales.

Teams of inspectors specialising in specific parts of the curriculum could be working for one local education authority with their services being for sale to schools in other local education authorities and grant-maintained schools. It has been suggested to me that, unless we have a market for those teams of inspectors throughout Wales, it will be difficult to recruit sufficient people to them, especially to carry out inspections through the Welsh medium.

The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Sir Wyn Roberts)

The hon. Gentleman knows only too well that we have created the office of an independent inspectorate for Wales which operates on a Wales-wide basis, not on a local education basis.

Mr. Dafis

I am grateful for that intervention. I was talking about the possibility of teams of inspectors being employed by a local education authority and then selling their services to schools in other local education authority areas. Is that not a possibility? Perhaps I am misunderstanding the matter, but that is what has been suggested by people in the education service in Wales.

Advisory services in specific subjects have been developed by local education authorities in Wales. Those services exist among employees and can be provided to other areas in Wales. It would be tragic if local authorities were prevented from supplying services to schools in other areas. To allow them to do so would be within the spirit of the Secretary of State's White Paper.

Clause 257 would allow a local education authority for two years to sell services only to areas contiguous to it. That would be particularly disadvantageous in Wales, where the Government propose that there will be 21 authorities, because many fewer of them will be contiguous with each other. An English authority on the Welsh border could sell services to schools in Powys, Monmouthshire, Wrexham or Flintshire, but many Welsh authorities could not sell services to those counties even though the syllabus in Wales is significantly different in many subjects from the syllabus in England.

If one looks at the map one can see, for example, that Anglesey could not sell services to Denbighshire, Cardiganshire, could not sell services to West Glamorgan, West Glamorgan could not sell services to Heads of the Valleys and Bridgend could not sell services to Caerphilly because those counties are not contiguous. If they were contiguous they could do so at least for two years. That is nonsense. It frustrates the intentions of the local government White Paper, which would enable general selling of services throughout Wales. We should not allow a Bill intoduced by a Government dominated by English interests and values—I do not think that the Bill would ever have emerged from the Welsh Office—to undermine the Welsh education system. It is possible that it could.

I should be interested to hear the Minister's comments on the position that I have described. I beg the Government to show flexibility and no more on the matter.

Mrs. Angela Knight (Erewash)

The hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Dafis) has mistaken the intention of the clause. We are dealing not with some prohibition but with relaxation. The reference notes which are available to all of us in the Members' Library clarify the point.

At present, local education authorities with grant-maintained schools in their area can sell services to those schools, provided that they are trading at the margin of capacity. The clause allows that procedure to operate more widely under certain circumstances. There is a period of two years in which local education authorities can employ additional staff or incur additional expenditure, if it is necessary because there are no private sector suppliers in those areas. That is the point. The existing procedure is being relaxed. The hon. Gentleman led the House to believe that the clause represented a prohibition.

Mr. Byers

The hon. Lady used the phrase "margin of capacity", which has also been used by the Minister. It is not used in the relevant legislation on local authority goods and services. Will she tell the House where the phrase comes from?

Mrs. Knight

My hon. Friend the Minister answered that question in Committee, and dealt with the point earlier today. Undoubtedly, he will deal with it in more detail in his reply. As the hon. Gentleman will know, the Audit Commission has interpreted the legislation as operating in the way that I have described. There is no contradiction on that point.

We must examine what a local authority is there to do. It is not there to provide everything for people in its area. It is there to enable certain necessary services to be delivered. Within that framework, competitive tendering has been widely successful in local authorities across the country for services such as cleaning, rubbish collection and direct labour organisation operations. It is now cascading through into the professional services. That is correct, because competitive tendering has ensured not only that the quality of services has increased for the benefit of local people but that the cost of services has declined.

The hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North implied that grant-maintained schools were desperate to receive services from local authorities and the local authorities were desperate to supply services to grant-maintained schools. I take issue with that. In my area, Derbyshire county council refused to have anything whatever to do with grant-maintained schools So it is relevant to the debate to examine what grant-maintained schools do when they seek the services that they require.

7.15 pm

I refer all hon. Members to the recent report and survey on what grant-maintained schools are doing. They are turning to private firms or employing their own staff to run ancillary services. Local authorities are failing to win contracts especially for cleaning and school meals. The survey was carried out just before Christmas, and covered 229 schools which had either opted out or were in the process of doing so and had made decisions on contracts.

The survey was not carried out by the Department for Education, by the Grant-Maintained Schools Centre or by some Conservative party think tank; it was undertaken on behalf of the Confederation of Health Service Employees, the National and Local Government Officers Association, the National Union of Public Employees and the Transport and General Workers Union.

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham)

Why does the hon. Lady think that contracts which were put out to competitive tender were won by the private sector? Might it not have something to do with the fact that private companies paid half the wages that direct labour organisations paid?

Mrs. Knight

Contracts were won by the private sector because private companies put in better, more competitive bids to provide a good-quality service for the area. If the hon. Gentleman looked at what his constituents wanted rather that what he personally would prefer, he would conclude that any area, any resident and any constituent requires a good quality service at a good quality price.

I return to the telling report. It is noticeable that Opposition Members do not like it. It concludes that only four schools which had opted out asked councils to provide the full range of services. Most had a pick-and-mix approach, but the trend was towards schools running their own services. The trend is for grant-maintained schools to look to others to provide services, not back to the LEA from which they have fled.

Mr. Jamieson

Will the hon. Lady confirm that some grant-maintained schools might be happy to buy into consortium arrangements with local education authorities to buy fuel? She may have seen last week announcements in the press that grant-maintained schools were no longer in local authority arrangements. They have to pay £2,000 more a year for their gas than hitherto. Perhaps she would comment on that.

Mrs. Knight

I have no trouble with consortia. I have no worry about trusts. That is the way in which we should proceed. We should move not from one monopolistic supplier to another but to variety and choice. I would say to schools which have joined together in consortia that they have some clout, and they should use it to obtain the best deal from whichever petrol, oil or gas supplier the hon. Gentleman refers to. That is the way forward, and the way in which we want the service to go.

Local government reorganisation is coming to us all—not merely to Wales—and it will ensure that schools start to think clearly about the services that they require and the way in which they wish to proceed. Rather than merely deciding whether to stay within the local education authority or go grant maintained, they will be able to decide how to ensure that the services that they need can be best provided.

Mr. Jamieson

The hon. Lady missed the point of my intervention. Grant-maintained schools are on their own because they have left the consortia provided by the local education authorities. They have to buy fuel from monopoly private organisations, such as British Gas, which charge them substantially more. The Bill will stop them from being in the consortia provided by the LEAs.

Mrs. Knight

The hon. Gentleman did not listen to my answer. I said that grant-maintained schools should join together into consortia so that they can use their clout as a group of schools to ensure that they get the best price for whatever commodity they need. I undoubtedly urge schools to continue in that direction.

Mr. Richards

The hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson) mentioned consortia, but he was really talking about over-manned, over-staffed, overpaid bureaucracy.

Mrs. Knight

I thank my hon. Friend, who argues clearly, coherently and very well indeed.

Conservative Members want a flourishing grant-maintained sector, with flourishing private-sector suppliers, which will result in the money going into education being spent on pupils, rather than going into the pockets of an over-manned local education authority. That is the way forward.

The hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North misread and misinterpreted the clause. That also happened in Committee, and it is about time that Opposition Members recognised the intention of the clause—better education for children.

Mr. Paul Murphy (Torfaen)

I do not believe for one minute that the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North misinterpreted anything, and he has hit the nail on the head when it comes to this clause.

In Committee, we were allowed inadequate time to discuss the clause. This morning I re-read the speech that my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mrs. Campbell) made in Committee on the day that we discussed it, and I pay tribute to her. She highlighted the method in Cambridgeshire, where services have been successfully devolved to grant-maintained schools and to those belonging to the local education authority.

I want to concentrate on the situation in Wales because I understand that the Minister of State, Welsh Office is going to reply to the debate.

Mr. Win Griffiths

If he has time.

Mr. Murphy

I am sure he will. I have only been speaking for the last two and a half minutes, and I shall not continue for too long, as I do not want to miss this important opportunity.

Although the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North referred to the Welsh language, he did not mention the Urdd Gobaith Cymru—the Welsh youth movement—which has written to all Members of Parliament representing Wales to express its concern about the clause and the difficulties that will result from its enactment. Its letter states: the threat posed by the Education Act"— and the clause in particular— could inflict permanent damage to the organisation and that without the Urdd being directly involved. The Urdd says that it operates a unique service for the children and young people of Wales", which could well be jeopardised by the provisions that we are discussing.

The hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North also mentioned the provision of music services in the Principality. The revenue support grant settlement was announced only a few weeks ago. As a result, county after county in Wales has had to reduce music support services for young people. The county music service in South Glamorgan has been operating since 1936-2,500 children in the county are in bands and orchestras and 4,000 receive peripatetic music lessons in schools. The county council has been virtually forced to end the free provision of orchestras, bands and music because of the cuts that the Government have imposed. I believe that the clause will also threaten music services.

Wales is rich in outdoor pursuit centres, and the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North also referred to those. To a large extent, Wales subsidises English local education authorities through such centres. It may be of interest to the House to learn that it is estimated that each of the outdoor pursuit centres in Wales brings in £250,000 per year to the local economy, which adds up to about £10 million and the employment of about 1,000 people in Wales.

Such centres recently asked the Welsh Office about their future, if services provided by the local education authorities are likely to be jeopardised. A Welsh Office spokesman said that the Government would expect such services to be provided by the private sector if they were in demand from schools, and that the relevant clause in the Bill was simply a proposal: it was not yet law, and was subject to change. I sincerely hope that the spokesman was talking sense, and that there will be a change in the measures.

I have received a great wad of letters from schools in Oxfordshire which use the Woodlands centre for outdoor education in Powys. I do not have time to read them all, but they include letters from parents, head teachers and pupils who have made great use of the services provided by our local education authorities.

For Wales, the most important factor is that the Secretary of State for Wales announced on Monday his plans for local government reorganisation in the Principality. He said: I am today publishing a … White Paper … This follows a consultative process lasting more than two years, and I take this opportunity once again to express my gratitude to the Welsh local authority associations for their wholehearted and constructive participation in that process."—[Official Report, 1 March 1993; Vol. 220, c.19.] Of course he was right, but that does not square with the reported words of the Minister of State when he addressed the Secondary Heads Association in Llandrindod Wells about two weeks ago and made a stinging attack on Welsh local education authorities for a variety of reasons.

Also it does not square with the comments of the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West (Mr. Richards), who referred a few minutes ago to overweening bureaucracy in Wales. Who are we to believe—the Secretary of State, the Minister of State or the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West? Are local authorities providing good services in Wales or not? The Secretary of State seems to believe that they are not doing a bad job.

In the White Paper, the Secretary of State also said that he wants tremendous flexibility in the provision of services when the new authorities are set up. He said that local authorities are enablers as well as providers, and that they will co-operate with one another, selling one another their services. Where do grant-maintained schools stand in all that? Can they not benefit from the new regime which the Secretary of State proposes for Wales? If there is to be flexibility, and local authorities are to provide services for all 21 unitary authorities in Wales, why can that not be extended to grant-maintained schools?

The Secretary of State also referred to specialist residential centres, education/business partnerships and artistic opportunities such as youth orchestras and theatre in schools". All those will be in jeopardy unless the Government think again about the clause.

Wales will be a poorer place without our orchestras, centres, drama groups and libraries and, most important of all, the services provided by our local education authorities.

7.30 pm
Mr. Congdon

In its original incarnation as clause 244, clause 257 generated much heat and not much light. Fortunately, in many ways the debate in Committee managed to clarify many of the misunderstandings about the clause.

What has intrigued me about the debates, both in Committee and today, is why Opposition Members are so concerned about the clause. I think that all of them, on each occasion that we have discussed the Bill, have said that grant-maintained schools will not flourish and that there will not be an avalanche of them. If they do not flourish and there is no avalanche, the impact of the restrictions on local authorities trading with grant-maintained schools will not bite. In that sense, one could argue that the clause was irrelevant and local authorities could continue to be the monopoly provider. I would not support dropping the clause because, unlike Opposition Members, I believe that grant-maintained schools will flourish and there will be an avalanche of applications from schools wishing to go grant-maintained. We are seeing that already.

The key reason why it is essential to have such a clause is to enable a private sector to flourish—we made no secret of that in Committee. Opposition Members made great play of the fact that there should be a level playing field to allow local authorities to compete. They seemed to suggest that, by some miraculous method, the private sector would win through. So long as there is a monopoly provider, the private sector will not flourish. We saw that clearly when early attempts were made to introduce competition into the provision of other local authority services. It was difficult for firms to set up even to provide refuse collections and cleaning, because we have now seen those services flourish, providing benefits to community charge payers up and down the country.

The clause, as my hon. Friend the Member for Earwash—

Mrs. Angela Knight


Mr. Congdon

I apologise to my hon. Friend the Member for Erewash (Mrs. Knight)—it was a Freudian slip. As she said, the clause clearly gives local authorities the opportunity, by order of the Secretary of State, to be allowed to trade with grant-maintained schools for a period of two years if that is so designated. That is an important and sensible concession. We want grant-maintained schools to have the opportunity to buy services in a range of sectors, including financial, personnel, training, libraries and music.

Mr. Steinberg

Does the hon. Gentleman not appreciate that a school library service contains literally hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stock? Is he really expecting the private sector to build up another stock of exactly the same amount of resources? Does he not understand the absolute waste of money and resources in having two providers when one can amply provide for everyone?

Mr. Congdon

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman has such a limited imagination as to what could happen if the market for the provision of library services is opened up. Schools will have devolved spending responsibility in a variety of sectors. Grant-maintained schools will have that responsibility in all functions and can choose where they purchase books for their library. There is no problem about that.

Earlier, great play was made of the issue of choice. It was said that grant-maintained schools would, not have the choice of using an LEA service. But they would, provided that the LEA is trading at the margin. In many areas, they will continue to trade at the margin until there is a sizeable number of grant-maintained schools.

Mr. Win Griffiths

Define the margin.

Mr. Congdon

It is difficult to define "at the margin". That is not a weakness of the proposals, but a strength. They rightly and properly leave individual local authorities and, crucially, the auditor to judge whether they are operating in accordance with the law of the land. The provisions are not over-prescriptive, which is important.

In reality, if local authorities were allowed to continue to trade indefinitely with grant-maintained schools, the only choice available for grant-maintained schools would be to use the local education authority service. In that scenario, the private sector would not enter the market as there would not be a market for it to use. That is why it is important that such provisions are available.

As my hon. Friend—perhaps I should not try to pronounce the name of her constituency again—the Member for Erewash said, it is important that local authorities are enablers, rather than direct providers of services. If they become enablers, they are given the crucial role of monitoring more carefully and closely the quality of services provided.

There is an irony about the fact that arguments have been voiced about local authorities trading with grant-maintained schools. I believe that it was Derbyshire county council—as we were told in Committee—that refused to provide services or to trade with the grant-maintained schools in its area. Are we witnessing a conversion in the Labour party in that it now recognises that it should trade with grant-maintained schools? It certainly did not in Derbyshire.

It is important that we resist the amendments as they would only perpetuate the position in which there is one monopoly provider. If we value the provision of services to grant-maintained schools and enable them to have real choice and value for money, we must ensure that a free, flourishing and successful market has the opportunity to grow. That is why I oppose the amendments.

Mrs. Anne Campbell (Cambridge)

The position is unclear. The hon. Member for Croydon, North-East (Mr. Congdon) described that as a strength. I do not see it as a strength and I believe that clarification of what is meant by trading at the margin will eventually lead to some local authorities being involved in expensive court cases. I cannot believe that that is the Minister's intention. Surely it is better to sort the matter out so that we all know where we stand and people do not have to take local authorities to court to obtain a decision as to whether those authorities are trading at the margin.

Mr. Forth

It is much simpler than that. The main responsibility for the determination of trading at the margin will lie jointly with the district auditor and the financial accounting officer of the local authority. I see no need for court cases if local authorities conduct their business responsibly. It should be perfectly straightforward to determine the margin, case by case.

Mrs. Campbell

I am aware that district auditors interpret trading at the margin in different ways in different areas. There is a high degree of confusion, not to say chaos, about the clause.

The Conservative philosophy has been made clear from what Conservative Members have said. As in so many other matters, the philosophy is not about co-operation or working together to create communities—which is what the Labour party believes in—but about creating conflict and competition. That is not the best way to educate our children in the next few years and into the next century.

I want local education authorities, schools, teachers, governors and parents to put their efforts into educating and getting the best out of our children, helping them to flourish and giving them the best possible education. I do not want schools and teachers to spend their time worrying about where their next contract will come from, who is competing with whom and who is producing what—and giving an inferior service at the end of the day.

I am also concerned that a number of schools which have opted out of local authority control were simply not aware that that was the Government's intention. Yesterday I waved at the Minister a booklet entitled "Education for the Next Century". Unfortunately I have left it in my office today. That clearly says that local education authorities will be able to trade with grant-maintained schools for some school services. Many parents will have been misled by that booklet which is available to all parents in libraries throughout the country.

Mr. Steinberg

In a letter to the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone), the Under-Secretary of State said: It is simply wrong to claim that schools will be deprived of access to local authority support services. That is not accurate. The Minister is giving wrong information to his hon. Friends and the grant-maintained sector.

Mrs. Campbell

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point. There has also been a great deal of confusion in my local authority. There have been different interpretations in the local media. People find it difficult to understand that that could possibly be the Government's intention. There is a sense of disbelief about the clause.

There is also confusion among Conservative Members about what library services involve. For the education of Conservative Members, I will clarify what library services in schools are all about. They can be either part of the local education authority or, in some parts of the country, part of the public library service contracted to work for the local education authority. They provide not only book loans but packs to support topic work in the national curriculum; they offer advice and help to schools in the creation and maintenance of their own library and resources centres; they provide in-service training opportunities for teachers and other staff; they also create links between the children's public library service and school libraries.

It is not a question of the library service providing a stock of books that any private organisation can supply—provided, of course, that it has the capital. It is a great deal more than that. It is about experience built up over 50 years in some cases. It is a wonderful example of a shared resource and the way in which the maximum benefit can be obtained from public expenditure.

The school library service offers all schools, but particularly small primary schools, a resource that they could not possibly provide themselves, and it gives them access to a much wider range of resources. There are no external competitors for most elements of that provision. Many reports of Her Majesty's inspectorate have criticised libraries in schools, sometimes because they have too little stock, but that is a reflection of the school's inadequate budget for library acquisitions and not a criticism of the school library service itself. School library services are often praised in HMI reports; on occasion, they are highlighted as the only good thing about a school library. The reports are not praising the stock of books but the services that go with the library service. From comments made yesterday, Conservative Members do not seem to understand what the school library service is all about.

The point that I am making is that school library services are not like cleaning, catering or ground maintenance services. They offer a great deal more—something that I find impossible to believe could be provided by a private agency coming in from outside.

We have heard a lot today about the support that local education authorities can offer schools in their areas. When we were talking earlier about education associations a great deal was said about the role that a local education authority can play in supporting not only a failing school but a highly successful school as well.

I want to illustrate that with an example. In December 1991 an arson attack on St. No school in St. Ives destroyed the science block with six teaching laboratories and a unique collection of animals built up over many years. Teaching materials, text books, teachers' personal scientific notes, pupils' project work for A—levels, pupils' GCSE work, work books, mark books, assessments, equipment, computers, visual aids, furnishings and fittings were also lost.

7.45 pm

The local education authority was able to mobilise a wide range of practical and specialist help within hours, clearing the ruins, making the area safe, bringing in mobile classrooms, co—ordinating help from other schools, advancing money for replacements required immediately, advising about the loss of pupils' GCSE and A—level work, supporting staff, dealing with insurance claims, and so on. The school was able to keep going and by the beginning of the next term science teaching was back on course.

That was a large school with experienced staff and I have to ask how any grant—maintained school would have coped in similar circumstances without the local education authority's expertise to hand. Make no mistake about it, we are talking about the destruction of the local education authority's support service for something which will be tenuous and difficult to replace. It is just not enough to be insured.

That school is in the Prime Minister's constituency. It has just held a parental ballot and the prospect of leaving the local education authority was overwhelmingly rejected by the parents. I am not at all surprised.

Conservative Members are being naive about the clause. They assume that the private sector will step in and provide a service. It will not be a better service and in many cases there will be no service at all.

Dr. Tony Wright (Cannock and Burntwood)

Such an example could be echoed and repeated throughout the country and through a range of services. That surely reveals that the Government's prime purpose is clearly to destroy local education authorities. The Government are not concerned with the implications of that for the quality of service that the education authorities provide. We have just heard it said that the purpose of this legislation is to let the private sector flourish—nothing to do with education or the quality of the service. Is that not exactly the divide that we are talking about?

Mrs. Campbell

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point—on which I wanted to conclude, so it comes at an opportune moment. The restriction placed on local education authorities to prevent them from trading with grant—maintained schools has nothing to do with raising education standards. It is about encouraging the private sector and perhaps encouraging Conservative party supporters to set up businesses in competition with the local education authority, thus making themselves a great deal of money. I hope that the amendment will be accepted.

Sir Wyn Roberts

I am sorry to complain yet again that the Government have been left little time to respond to the debate. I intended to confine my remarks only to the Welsh amendments, which were moved over a period of 25 minutes by the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Dafis), in the hope that the Parliamentary Under—Secretary of State for Schools, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid—Worcestershire (Mr. Forth), would deal with the amendment concerning England with his customary verve and dexterity.

Clause 257 will allow the Secretary of State to make an order enabling a local education authority to sell services beyond the margins of capacity to grant—maintained schools in its own area, or in the area of a neighbouring LEA, for up to two years.

The hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North explained the reasoning behind his amendment, which was prompted by his concern that some LEAs in Wales would not be in a position to provide such services. Government policy is clear—that local authorities should not be trading organisations. I do not think that community charge or council tax payers would approve either. There can be no justification for a different approach in Wales.

Clause 257 recognises the special circumstances which exist in the case of the developing grant—maintained sector. That is why the clause provides temporary relaxation.

In the context of local government reorganisation, we made it perfectly clear that we expect the new, smaller unitary authorities in Wales to adopt a variety of ways of discharging their statutory responsibility to deliver services, including education. Those methods could include joint working and co—operation or, through an authority, arranging for another authority to discharge functions on its behalf.

The Local Government Act 1972 already allows an authority to arrange for another to discharge many of its functions. Clause 258 provides that local authorities will no longer be required to establish education committees. One consequence of that will be to bring education into line with other services and to allow that function, or certain elements of it, to be discharged by another authority—which may employ staff specifically for that purpose—rather than having, as the law currently stands, to go through the process of establishing joint education committees.

In terms of the delivery of service by the new unitary authorities, I do not envisage difficulties. Let us not forget that many of the day—to—day operational responsibilities of managing the education system have already been delegated to schools.

To return to the provision of services to grant—maintained schools by the new unitary authorities, and the relevance of clause 257, at present each LEA in Wales is bounded by at least two other education authorities. In some cases the other authorities may be in England. Under the Local Government (Goods and Services) Act 1970, any LEA can provide services to any grant—maintained school anywhere in Wales and England so long as it does not exceed the margins of capacity.

Clause 257 would allow LEAs to operate for up to two years in their own and in a neighbouring LEA's area beyond the margins of capacity. If any orders were made under clause 257 before local government reorganisation, they would effectively expire with the abolition of the existing LEAs on 31 March 1995.

After reorganisation, each proposed unitary authority in Wales would be bounded by two or more education authorities—except Anglesey. This next point is important. As now, under the 1970 Act, any unitary authority in Wales or LEA in England could provide services to any grant—maintained school anywhere in Wales and England so long as it did so within the margins of capacity. As my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under—Secretary of State for Schools pointed out in an early intervention, clause 257 will come into play only if an authority wants to provide services to grant—maintained schools in its own or a neighbouring authority's area beyond the margins of capacity. Because the unitary authorities in Wales would be entirely new, the fact that there might have been an order under clause 257 relating to the education authority for the same area prior to reorganisation would not be relevant. The unitary authority's power conferred by an order under clause 257 could run for two years from the making of the order.

Even in the case of grant—maintained schools in Anglesey—which, as everybody knows, is very much an island—the picture is not so bleak as some would paint. It would be open to the unitary authorities for the island and for neighbouring Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire to provide services to them beyond the margins of capacity by way of an order under clause 257, but it would also be open to those schools in Anglesey to purchase the services from any education authority in Wales and England if they could be provided by that authority within the margins of capacity.

We are confident that the move to unitary authorities will not adversely affect the provision of services to LEA or grant—maintained schools. The amendments are well meaning, but the special treatment that they seek to give Wales is not necessary and cannot be justified.

The hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North made mention of facilities that are special to Wales, such as language centres and peripatetic teachers of Welsh. I am sure that existing LEAs will be anxious to sell the services of such centres and teachers to grant—maintained schools which need them and that grant—maintained schools, which are obliged to follow the national curriculum—there is no difference between them and LEA—maintained schools in that respect—will be anxious to purchase.

I am sure also that as the grant—maintained sector grows it will want to develop independent sources. That has been the history of development in Wales. A parallel can be found in broadcasting. At one time, there were no independent producers of programmes in Wales, but we provided in legislation for their existence; as a result, they came into being and today they represent a flourishing sector.

Grant—maintained schools will have special purpose grants which cover the development of the national curriculum and associated developments—school management and appraisal, and staff training and development.

My hon. Friend the Minister mentioned the use of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of choirs, orchestras and bands. They can be organised by LEAs under section 145 of that legislation without falling within the ambit of clause 257. I remind the hon. Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) that many youth establishments of the kind to which he referred are privately funded.

We do not see any special circumstances in Wales which warrant treatment different from that given in England. In regard to England, we reaffirm our current position: we are certainly not in the business of enabling local authorities to trade in competition with the private sector which we are certain will develop in the supply of services to the grant—maintained sector.

I repeat what I said to the hon. Member for Torfaen and, indeed, say it to the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North. They represent—

It being Eight o'clock, MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question already proposed from the Chair, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 246, Noes 274.

Division No. 170] [8 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Cousins, Jim
Adams, Mrs Irene Cryer, Bob
Ainger, Nick Cunliffe, Lawrence
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Allen, Graham Dafis, Cynog
Alton, David Dalyell, Tarn
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Darling, Alistair
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Davidson, Ian
Armstrong, Hilary Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Ashton, Joe Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)
Barnes, Harry Denham, John
Barron, Kevin Dewar, Donald
Battle, John Dixon, Don
Bayley, Hugh Donohoe, Brian H.
Bell, Stuart Dowd, Jim
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Dunnachie, Jimmy
Bennett, Andrew F. Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Benton, Joe Eagle, Ms Angela
Bermingham, Gerald Eastham, Ken
Berry, Dr. Roger Enright, Derek
Betts, Clive Etherington, Bill
Blair, Tony Evans, John (St Helens N)
Blunkett, David Fatchett, Derek
Boateng, Paul Faulds, Andrew
Boyce, Jimmy Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Boyes, Roland Fisher, Mark
Bradley, Keith Flynn, Paul
Bray, Dr Jeremy Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Burden, Richard Foster, Don (Bath)
Byers, Stephen Fraser, John
Caborn, Richard Fyfe, Maria
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Galbraith, Sam
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Gapes, Mike
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Garrett, John
Campbell-Savours, D. N. George, Bruce
Cann, Jamie Gerrard, Neil
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Chisholm, Malcolm Godman, Dr Norman A.
Clapham, Michael Godsiff, Roger
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Golding, Mrs Llin
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Gordon, Mildred
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Graham, Thomas
Clelland, David Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Coffey, Ann Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Cohen, Harry Gunnell, John
Connarty, Michael Hain, Peter
Corbett, Robin Hall, Mike
Corbyn, Jeremy Hanson, David
Harvey, Nick Mullin, Chris
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Murphy, Paul
Henderson, Doug O'Brien, Michael (N Wkshire)
Heppell, John O'Brien, William (Normantcn)
Hill, Keith (Streatham) O'Hara, Edward
Hinchliffe, David Olner, William
Hoey, Kate Parry, Robert
Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld) Pendry, Tom
Home Robertson, John Pickthall, Colin
Hood, Jimmy Pike, Peter L.
Hoon, Geoffrey Pope, Greg
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Hoyle, Doug Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Prescott, John
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Primarolo, Dawn
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Purchase, Ken
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Quin, Ms Joyce
Hutton, John Randall, Stuart
Illsley, Eric Raynsford, Nick
Ingram, Adam Redmond, Martin
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead) Reid, Dr John
Jackson, Helen (Shefld, H) Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Jamieson, David Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)
Janner, Greville Roche, Mrs. Barbara
Johnston, Sir Russell Rogers, Allan
Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Rooker, Jeff
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Rooney, Terry
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Ruddock, Joan
Jowell, Tessa Salmond, Alex
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Sedgemore, Brian
Keen, Alan Sheerman, Barry
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Khabra, Piara S. Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Kilfoyle, Peter Short, Clare
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn) Simpson, Alan
Kirkwood, Archy Skinner, Dennis
Leighton, Ron Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Lewis, Terry Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Litherland, Robert Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Snape, Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn Soley, Clive
Loyden, Eddie Spearing, Nigel
Lynne, Ms Liz Spellar, John
McAllion, John Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
McAvoy, Thomas Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
McCartney, Ian Steinberg, Gerry
Macdonald, Calum Stott, Roger
McFall, John Strang, Dr. Gavin
McKelvey, William Straw, Jack
Maclennan, Robert Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
McWilliam, John Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Madden, Max Tipping, Paddy
Mahon, Alice Tyler, Paul
Mandelson, Peter Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Marek, Dr John Wallace, James
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Wai ley, Joan
Martlew, Eric Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Maxton, John Wicks, Malcolm
Meacher, Michael Wigley, Dafydd
Meale, Alan Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll Bute) Wilson, Brian
Milburn, Alan Winnick, David
Miller, Andrew Wise, Audrey
Moonie, Dr Lewis Worthington, Tony
Morgan, Rhodri Wray, Jimmy
Morley, Elliot Wright, Dr Tony
Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Tellers for the Ayes:
Mowlam, Marjorie Mr. Gordon McMaster and
Mudie, George Mr. Dennis Turner.
Adley, Robert Amess, David
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Ancram, Michael
Aitken, Jonathan Arbuthnot, James
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)
Aspinwall, Jack Forman, Nigel
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Forth, Eric
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Baldry, Tony Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Bates, Michael French, Douglas
Batiste, Spencer Fry, Peter
Bellingham, Henry Gale, Roger
Bendall, Vivian Gallie, Phil
Beresford, Sir Paul Gardiner, Sir George
Biffen, Rt Hon John Garnier, Edward
Blackburn, Dr John G. Gillan, Cheryl
Body, Sir Richard Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Booth, Hartley Gorst, John
Boswell, Tim Grant, Sir Anthony (Cambs SW)
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Bowden, Andrew Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Bowis, John Grylls, Sir Michael
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Brandreth, Gyles Hague, William
Brazier, Julian Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bright, Graham Hampson, Dr Keith
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Hannam, Sir John
Browning, Mrs. Angela Hargreaves, Andrew
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Harris, David
Burns, Simon Haselhurst, Alan
Burt, Alistair Hawkins, Nick
Butcher, John Hawksley, Warren
Butler, Peter Hayes, Jerry
Butterfill, John Heald, Oliver
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Heathcoat-Amory, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hendry, Charles
Carrington, Matthew Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence IL.
Carttiss, Michael Hill, James (Southampton Test)
Cash, William Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Horam, John
Chapman, Sydney Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Clappison, James Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif) Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hunter, Andrew
Coe, Sebastian Jack, Michael
Congdon, David Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Conway, Derek Jenkin, Bernard
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Cormack, Patrick Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Couchman, James Key, Robert
Cran, James Kilfedder, Sir James
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Knapman, Roger
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewasb)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Day, Stephen Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Deva, Nirj Joseph Knox, David
Devlin, Tim Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Dickens, Geoffrey Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Dorrell, Stephen Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Leigh, Edward
Dover, Den Lidington, David
Duncan, Alan Lightbown, David
Duncan-Smith, Iain Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Dunn, Bob Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Durant, Sir Anthony Lord, Michael
Dykes, Hugh Luff, Peter
Eggar, Tim Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Elletson, Harold MacKay, Andrew
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Maclean, David
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) McLoughlin, Patrick
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Madel, David
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Maitland, Lady Olga
Evennett, David Major, Rt Hon John
Faber, David Malone, Gerald
Fabricant, Michael Mans, Keith
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Marlow, Tony
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Fishburn, Dudley Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Soames, Nicholas
Mellor, Rt Hon David Spencer, Sir Derek
Merchant, Piers Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Milligan, Stephen Spink, Dr Robert
Mills, Iain Spring, Richard
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Sproat, Iain
Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW) Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Monro, Sir Hector Steen, Anthony
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Stephen, Michael
Moss, Malcolm Stern, Michael
Needham, Richard Stewart, Allan
Nelson, Anthony Streeter, Gary
Neubert, Sir Michael Sumberg, David
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Sweeney, Walter
Nicholls, Patrick Sykes, John
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Norris, Steve Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley Thomason, Roy
Ottaway, Richard Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Page, Richard Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Paice, James Thurnham, Peter
Patten, Rt Hon John Townend, John (Bridlington)
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Pawsey, James Tracey, Richard
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Tredinnick, David
Pickles, Eric Trend, Michael
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Trotter, Neville
Porter, David (Waveney) Twinn, Dr Ian
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Powell, William (Corby) Viggers, Peter
Rathbone, Tim Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Redwood, John Walden, George
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Richards, Rod Waller, Gary
Riddick, Graham Ward, John
Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Robathan, Andrew Waterson, Nigel
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Wells, Bowen
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Whitney, Ray
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Whittingdale, John
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Widdecombe, Ann
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Wilkinson, John
Sackville, Tom Willetts, David
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim Wilshire, David
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas Wolfson, Mark
Shaw, David (Dover) Wood, Timothy
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Yeo, Tim
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Young, Sir George (Acton)
Shersby, Michael
Sims, Roger Tellers for the Noes:
Skeet, Sir Trevor Mr. Irvine Patrick and
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.

Question accordingly negatived.


then put the Questions on all amendments moved by a member of the Government up to the end of clause 265.

Forward to