HC Deb 27 October 1993 vol 230 cc923-43 10.17 pm
Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Assisted Areas Order 1993 (S.I., 1993, No. 1877), dated 23rd July 1993, a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd July, be annulled.

Madam Speaker

With this it will be convenient to consider the following: That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Assisted Areas (Amendment) Order 1993 (S.I., 1993, No. 1894), dated 27th July 1993, a copy of which was laid before this House on 27th July, be annulled.

Mr. Fatchett

When the Minister of State made his announcement in July on the new map for the assisted areas, he had the audacity to claim a degree of success and to claim that he had squared a number of circles. The reality is that the new map reflects the new geography of Conservative economic failure.

Over the past few years, the north-south divide has disappeared. It has been blurred, but not by the Government creating some new affluence in the north of England. On the contrary, there has been no economic miracle. What happened was that the south of England declined, so the Government faced a new situation. Many once prosperous areas in the south of England were demanding that they should receive assisted area status.

The figures speak for themselves. In London, between 1983 and 1992, 200,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. Between 1990 and 1992 in the banking, insurance and finance sector—where wealth was often created in London —90,000 jobs were lost. In the same two years, 96,000 jobs were lost in retail services and the hotel industry. That proves the depth of the recession and the collapse of the wealth-making sectors in London. The picture is the same in the south of England. More than 8 per cent. of jobs were lost in the south between 1990 and 1992. There are currently 334,000 fewer jobs than there were three years ago.

I am not surprised that Conservative Members do not want to listen to the figures. The reason is that they predominantly represent the south of England, and the simple fact is that they do so very badly. The figures prove that the Conservatives have let down the very areas on which they have traditionally relied for support. The once prosperous south has asked to be included on the assisted areas map. In Harwich, 47 per cent. of all homes and property are owned outright—that is the highest proportion in the country—but one person in eight is unemployed in that travel-to-work area, and Harwich has been designated an assisted area.

Such developments changed the politics and ideology of the Conservatives. Since the announcement was made last autumn until this summer, it was interesting to watch how one Conservative after another said that, despite his commitment to the free market, he wanted Government intervention and support for his area. There was significant dissonance between the professed views of the free marketeers and their demands for assistance for their areas.

In the end, of course, the Government received too many demands on the money available. Even so, my hon. Friends know that the Government have significantly cut that money. Let us take the period 1991–92 as the key year —or 100 per cent.—for regional expenditure. If we compare it with 1978–79, the final year under a Labour Administration, it becomes clear that the Government have cut to one third the amount available for regional assistance. At the same time, unemployment has increased threefold according to the official figures and will have increased even more according to the unofficial figures. At the very time that we need intervention in industry and help through regional policies, the Government are cutting the money available.

Sir Teddy Taylor (Southend, East)

To be fair, does the hon. Gentleman agree that the reductions in the Government's proposals for assisted area status were made not by the Treasury or the Conservative party but by a bloke called Mr. van Miert who has complete power to decide how much of our own money we can spend and who reduced the percentage that the Government wanted? Rather than bashing the Government, would it not be fairer to point out the appalling fact that the final decision on how much of the British taxpayer's money the Government can spend to help the British unemployed is decided by one bloke in Brussels?

Mr. Fatchett

The hon. Gentleman knows that, as a matter of policy, the Government have cut regional aid. I am sure that if he catches your eye, Madam Speaker, he will want to mention Southend. I am sure that he knows that Southend was included in the original draft map submitted to Brussels but that it was then excluded. Some of my colleagues thought that that may have been the result of the hon. Gentleman's Maastricht activities during the previous month. I am sure that he has his own thoughts on that.

There have been two problems—first, a collapse of the economy in the south, leading to more areas demanding assistance, and, secondly, a cut in the money available. Those led to the third and key problem that faces us now. I shall ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the orders because we are concerned about the openness of Government, and the way in which the criteria were used. Incidentally, that concern is not restricted to the Labour party. In The Guardian of 4 October the hon. Member for Blackpool, North (Mr. Elletson) is reported as having said: It's a disgrace that so many places in the South, which patently don't deserve it, were upgraded when they don't have anything like the problems of our inner city. He was talking about Blackpool, but he could have been talking about many other places, too.

In his July statement the Minister said that some places were excluded because their unemployment had fallen since 1984. If that was the criterion, the Minister must tell us why the following areas were suddenly included in the map: Barnstaple and Ilfracombe, Bideford, Clacton, Dover and Deal, Folkestone, Great Yarmouth, Torbay and Thanet. Unemployment in all those areas declined over the same period. The Minister may realise that those places all share one common characteristic. Nobody denies that they have problems, but they do have one common characteristic: they are Conservative-held seats.

Mr. Roger Gale (Thanet, North)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fatchett

I shall not give way again, if the hon. Gentleman does not mind, because the debate is short.

Mr. Gale


Mr. Fatchett

No, I shall not give way again. I have said why, and I believe that the Minister wants to make a few comments too.

The fact is that all those areas are Conservative-held. In an article in The Independent just before the Christchurch by-election, in the week in which the Minister announced the changes, Colin Brown wrote: The towns that will benefit read like a roll-call of endangered Tory seats. In addition to Hastings (Conservative majority 6,634), there are Dover and Deal"— where the Tory majority is 833 over Labour— Great Yarmouth (…majority 5,309), Isle of Wight (…1,827), and Torbay"— I am not sure whether that is official Conservative these days, but at the general election the majority of the then official candidate was 5,787.

Mr. Rupert Allason (Torbay)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fatchett

Yes, as I have mentioned the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Allason

What the hon. Gentleman has said is sheer fantasy. Whether I am an official or an unofficial Conservative, I can tell the hon. Gentleman that the number of people who voted for me dropped by 205 between 1987 and 1992. Furthermore, if he honestly thinks that unemployment in my constituency has fallen since 1984 he has his facts completely wrong. I very much regret that unemployment there has considerably increased during that period.

Mr. Fatchett

There may be an argument about the criteria, but many of my right hon. and hon. Friends have the slight feeling that there has been an element of pork barrelling. I apologise to the hon. Member for Torbay for talking about constituencies with majorities of 6,000 as marginal seats. I suspect that these days even a majority of 16,000 or 20,000 means a marginal seat, so perhaps many more should have been included. Although the hon. Gentleman's majority may not be big enough, if the Conservative party goes the way of the Canadian Conservatives he may be one of the lucky two who holds on to his seat, thanks to the extra money that has been made available.

While the areas that I have mentioned have been included, others have been excluded, although they still experience high unemployment, and those are Labour areas. When the Minister replies to the debate perhaps he will answer some questions about areas in the country that still have high unemployment and great poverty yet have lost assisted area status or have been downgraded.

Manchester is a city with high unemployment. As my right hon. and hon. Friends asked at the time of the Government's statement, what justification is there for Manchester to lose assisted area status? Tower Hamlets has 20 per cent. unemployment, yet it does not qualify when other parts of London with high unemployment—not as high as that in Tower Hamlets—qualify. We are riot criticising those areas being included, but why is an area such as Tower Hamlets with 20 per cent. unemployment excluded? In Bradford there are 25,000 unemployed people. Bradford is always at the top of the European Commission poverty league tables. Why is Bradford excluded and other areas included?

Parts of the old industrial south Wales, where unemployment is structurally deep and long-term, have been excluded, yet other areas which, for cyclical reasons, have seen a downturn in unemployment in 1993 are included as assisted areas. Workington was downgraded, but it still experiences 15.1 per cent. unemployment.

What will my right hon. and hon. Friends, decent people that they all are, conclude from those figures? The argument is strong. Any decent jury presented with those facts could come to only one conclusion. We have a desperate Government who are trying to help their friends in each of their constituencies. Labour areas become unimportant in that process. Therefore, Workington, Manchester, Bradford, south Wales and Tower Hamlets could be thrown overboard as the pork-barrelling goes towards Conservative constituencies.

Mr. Gale

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fatchett

I shall not give way; I shall finish my speech in a few moments.

Mr. Gale

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fatchett

No. It is a short debate. Several hon. Members with constituency interests would like to comment.

We are faced with three problems. First, there is the changing pattern of unemployment and the decline of the once-prosperous south. Secondly, there is a fall in the regional aid budget. Thirdly, there is deep concern that help is being skewed towards Tory areas. For that reason we will vote not to take out areas but to ask the Government to justify the criteria that have been used. The map that the Minister presented in July is hard to explain and hard to justify. The questions that my right hon. and hon. Friends ask tonight are the very questions that the Minister has to answer, otherwise the Government will stand accused of helping their friends and forgetting other parts of the country.

10.32 pm
The Minister for Industry (Mr. Tim Sainsbury)

As the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) has said, this is a short debate. I suspect that several right hon. and hon. Members would like to make points about their constituencies. Therefore, I shall be brief. If the House will excuse me, it would be better not to accept interventions and to let people speak for themselves.

We should be clear that the consequences of the House rejecting the orders would be to return to the 1984 map. That is a sign that we have a desperate Opposition, fishing around for something to protest about. There is one question that the hon. Gentleman carefully ducked—what alternative map would he put forward? He is asking us to reject the map. He knows that, if an area is put into the map, another area has to be taken out. He seems to suggest, as I understand his rather unedifying remarks, that the pork-barrelling, as he described it, has rolled the barrel towards Tory seats, whereas he wants it rolled back towards Labour seats.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

Quite right, too.

Mr. Sainsbury

The hon. Gentleman, in a characteristic intervention which was more honest than what we heard from the hon. Member for Leeds, Central, said, "Quite right, too." It is clear that he wants the benefits of regional assistance to go to seats occupied by Labour Members.

That view ignores the underlying objective of the review. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept the objective of directing regional industrial support at those areas that most need it now, not those areas that most needed it in 1984.

The conclusion that we could draw from what the hon. Member for Leeds, Central said is that he does not accept that the map should be redrawn to reflect the current situation if that means that areas represented by Labour Members lose support and areas which need the support more, and which might in some cases be represented by my right hon. and hon. Friends, obtain support. That would mean that areas in the east and west midlands, the south-west, East Anglia and London—the hon. Gentleman complained about London in his speech—would not receive support. Mansfield with 13.3 per cent. unemployment, Thanet with 16.2 per cent. unemployment and Haringey with 20.7 per cent. unemployment would not receive help if the hon. Gentleman's views were accepted by the House.

The hon. Gentleman knows that strict limits are imposed on the coverage of assisted areas that we can have in this country. Those limits are imposed by the European Commission for a good reason. The restriction is imposed on all countries in the Community, which means that our industry has a more level playing field on which to compete than it would otherwise have.

Mr. Elliot Morley (Glanford and Scunthorpe)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Sainsbury

No. Many hon. Members want to speak and I shall finish my remarks as quickly as possible. I have given the reasons why there is a limit to our coverage. It is a sensible reason.

Reviewing the map required some difficult decisions. The review was conducted when, clearly, the pattern of unemployment in the country had changed since 1984. When we looked at the pattern of current unemployment taken as the average in the year to June 1993—it is sensible to take a whole year to avoid seasonal distortions—it was different from the pattern over the past five years. Clearly, in the new map, it would have been wrong to overlook areas with current unemployment well above the national average. Equally, it would have been wrong to overlook those areas—some of them are in Wales—where there were long-standing problems.

Postponing the review would have been unfair. For example, it would have denied assisted area status to a number of areas in the east midlands that have been seriously affected by coal closures. Simply extending the map to cover new areas without removing others would have been impossible. We have a strict ceiling on the overall coverage. I remind the House that that ceiling has had the effect of reducing coverage in Germany from 27 per cent. to 22 per cent. That is a much larger reduction than the one that we had to face.

If we had reflected the current realities, inevitably some areas would have lost assisted area status as a result of the review. I can assure the House that those decisions were not taken either easily or quickly. I recognise that a number of the areas that have lost assisted area status continue none the less to suffer significant levels of unemployment. Understandably, they wish that they had not lost that status. I must tell those areas, and the right hon. and hon. Members who represent them, that the map is designed to identify the areas of greatest need relative to other areas. I recognise that that will be of little comfort to those areas that have lost status, but it is the Government's task to identify the areas with the strongest case for assistance.

In drawing the map, we took account of both past and present patterns of unemployment. The hon. Member for Leeds, Central raised a specific question about some areas, including Manchester. On the current level of unemployment for the year to June 1993, Manchester is not in the worst half of the country. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we are looking at a map that covers slightly more than one third of the country.

The hon. Gentleman also referred to Tower Hamlets. As he knows from what was said at the time the review was announced, the areas in London that we designated for assistance have sites and an infrastructure, and employment can be created to benefit people in not only those areas but areas nearby, including Tower Hamlets.

The hon. Gentleman also mentioned Bradford, which was only just inside the worst half. It came 48.2 in the list on current unemployment and was not even in the worst third on five-year unemployment. He mentioned the downgrading of Workington. We have 16 per cent. of the country in the development areas as opposed to the intermediate areas and Workington is 16.6 and 17.8 on one-year and five-year averages.

The hon. Government says that the map is indefensible. The figures, of which he should be aware, if he is to bandy about these allegations, entirely support the map that we have drawn. The map that he would apparently like to draw favours the seats of his right hon. and hon. Friends and takes no account of the realities of the current pattern of unemployment. He cannot have it both ways. He cannot offer his support to those areas that have lost assisted area status without at the same time denying support to the areas that have gained it. Which areas would he seek to deprive of assisted area status?

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Sainsbury

The hon. Gentleman may catch your eye later, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have already gone on perhaps for longer than I should and I know that many hon. Members want to speak.

I am sure that all hon. Members would be interested to hear which areas the hon. Member for Leeds, Central would take out of the list. I strongly recommend the House to accept a list which reflects the reality of current unemployment and is honest to all parts of the country and both sides of the House.

10.41 pm
Mr. Paul Tyler (North Cornwall)

I know that many hon. Members want to speak, so I shall be as brief as possible. There are several important issues at stake.

The first is the issue of criteria. As the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) and the Minister said, the criteria are not easy to interpret in terms of this map. A large number of different criteria have been used, as was made clear at the time of the announcement this summer. The Library brief, which sets out in tabular form all the different criteria for long-term unemployment, persistent unemployment as well as current unemployment, makes it clear that there is no simple way of approaching the map. We should not set this in concrete today, in 1993, for ever and a day. It also needs to correlate closely with the structural funds of the European Community if it is to be effective.

The Minister was either rather naive or perhaps thought we were rather naive in suggesting that the ceilings put on expenditure are entirely a matter for a foreign power in foreign parts. That is not so. It is perfectly possible for our Ministers within the appropriate Council of Ministers—when this was last discussed, I believe, Britain held the presidency—to initiate a discussion about raising those ceilings. As far as I am aware and as far as the Minister has explained, at no time did the United Kingdom Government take an initiative to raise those ceilings. Therefore, it is expecting a lot of us to ask us to believe that somehow this is imposed on us.

As has been said, in real terms only one quarter of the regional assistance for the 10-year period from 1981 to 1991 is now being offered. During this period unemployment has trebled or even more than trebled, depending on which figures one takes. For Scotland, less than one third is now available for regional development assistance through this programme than in 1982. In Wales, it is 60 per cent. lower than 10 years ago. This reduction has been taking place during a period of substantial recession, hitting the industrial base of our country. If the Government believe that these are useful weapons with which to tackle unemployment, why have they not gone to the European Community and argued the case for more substantial aid?

It is also true that structural funds are available from the Community. However, the question why the United Kingdom map does not precisely correlate with objective 1, objective 2 and objective 5b status of the structural funds is constantly dodged. We in the far south-west are reasonably satisfied with the area assistance offered under the order, but we want to know why it has not been possible for Cornwall and Plymouth, or Cornwall alone, to achieve objective 1 status. That would enable us to receive the assistance from Brussels that we need.

The map has created certain curious anomalies which relate to various parts of the country, but one consistent theme is apparent. I would suggest that the map reveals not just new economic failure, but the new political vulnerability of the Government. Seat after seat in which the Conservative Member is challenged by a Liberal Democrat—particularly after the recent by-election successes—feature on the map. We welcome that acceptance of the new facts of life, which is fine, but some extremely damaging admissions are revealed by the map.

In Folkestone, economic failure has meant that the average unemployment rate has increased from 6 to 12.2 per cent. in just two years. In Hastings, the unemployment rate has increased from 4.9 to 13.4 per cent. The unemployment rate has increased on the Isle of Wight from 6.5 to 12.6 per cent. and in Torbay from 6.2 to 13.1 per cent. What a record of failure that map reveals.

Several hon. Members


Mr. Tyler

The Minister did not give way and nor will I. I do not intend to detain the House, because I know that many hon. Members wish to speak.

The criteria that disturb most people are those to be applied in Scotland, where some curious decisions have been made. In Inverness, the average unemployment rate between 1988 and 1992 was about the same as that in the rest of Britain. In the previous year, 1987, that unemployment rate was less than the national average. For 30 out of 60 months, however, that unemployment rate exceeded the British average, yet Inverness is still unassisted. No doubt the Government have little hope of winning that seat. The criteria have been applied in a similarly idiosyncratic manner to Peebles, Islay, mid Argyll and, to a lesser extent, to Lockerbie, Stirling and Keith.

There are nagging doubts about the way in which the process has been undertaken. The criteria exist for all to see, but their interpretation and the weight that is given to different elements in the package result in curious decisions.

The actual rate of unemployment in a given area should be the basis of the programme.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)

Will the hon. Member give way?

Mr. Tyler

No, I will not. If the Minister did not give way nor will I.

If the rate of unemployment is to be the basis of a real investment strategy to deal with persistent unemployment, that strategy needs to be monitored and reviewed regularly and not just every five or seven years. The programme needs to be part of an overall investment strategy, which also co-ordinates the available funds from Brussels and the Community. It is critical that the maps used correlate and co-ordinate.

Above all, we need an assurance from the Minister that he will return to the House—should that prove possible —to inform us that he has started an initiative within the Community to raise the ceiling. In that way, we will receive the investment necessary to deal with the persistent problem of unemployment throughout the country.

10.49 pm
Mrs. Jacqui Lait (Hastings and Rye)

Like others, I intend to be brief.

I never cease to marvel at the conservatism of Opposition Members. They cannot recognise success in regional policy and want to hang on to what they have, without realising that some areas have long-term problems. Among those I include both Hastings and the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, North (Mr. Gale).

The hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) quoted the unemployment figure of 4.9 per cent. That was a good blip in Hastings' history of unemployment which, in 1984, stood at its present level. That is probably why it was left out of the list quoted by the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett). Thanet is in exactly the same position.

Our present problems are precisely those that have been addresed in the past by regional policy, which has allowed the north, north-east, Scotland, Wales and most of the midlands to have the industrial infrastructure required to ensure that businesses can succeed. We hope that, with the awarding of assisted area status, we shall be able to build that infrastructure so that we shall eventually be able to relinquish it when the map is reviewed in, we hope, not less than three years' time.

Assisted area status has already had some success in Hastings, where we have had more than 200 inquiries from companies, of which at least 45 per cent. are realistic. If companies in my constituency are interested, other constituencies in the south-east must be having a similar number of inquiries and the poor old Department of Trade and Industry in London is clearly being overwhelmed. We are finding that, instead of the three or four weeks that we were promised it would take to get grants up to £25,000, it is taking eight to 10 weeks and the response to inquiries varies, depending on to whom one talks. The public servant at the end of the phone is undoubtedly overworked. Will the Minister consider redeploying some of the more experienced DTI staff from areas that have been able to relinquish assisted area status down to our offices so that we can benefit from high-quality, highly skilled and experienced people to allow us to build on their expertise and take advantage of the grants to which we are entitled?

The key to the issue is roads, a matter which one must pursue with a different Department. We hope that the granting of assisted area status will allow us to put extra pressure on the Department of Transport so that, when the map is redrawn in few years' time, it will be with enormous pleasure that Hastings will be able to give up assisted area status and pass it on to some other constituency or area that needs it more.

10.52 pm
Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, East)

This debate is about unemployment, not just in the north or south but throughout the United Kingdom, and we should be discussing how to deal with that unemployment. If the Government had a policy to fight unemployment, we would be trying not to spread the misery but to create jobs throughout the country.

The Minister says that the EC will give the Government limited funds under the present rules, but it is his job to go back and fight for more resources. We contribute enough and are entitled to a fair share.

It is beyond belief that an inner-city area like Salford in Greater Manchester, where male unemployment is 40 per cent., crime is rife and jobs are being lost week after week, is to lose its assisted area status. It is absolutely criminal. All the local authorities in Greater Manchester are affected in some way. We have seen the decimation of the industrial base in an area where the industrial revolution started.

Mr. David Sumberg (Bury, South)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Orme

No. Like other Members, I am not giving way.

What is happening in our area is outrageous. We are not satisfied, and we shall not meekly accept the situation. We insist that the Government fight to create jobs, and with the EEC to provide better benefits and more finance. The Government's proposals are completely unsatisfactory. We do not accept them, and we shall return to this issue.

10.54 pm
Mr. Nick Hawkins (Blackpool, South)

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Industry will be aware that there has been great disappointment in my constituency and in that of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North (Mr. Elletson) that we have not succeeded in recovering assisted area status. We acknowledge that many areas have severe problems, and we want to persuade my right hon. Friend the Minister and his colleagues that when the assisted areas map is redrawn, which I understand may happen in the next 18 months, greater consideration will be paid to drawing the areas more narrowly.

Blackpool's case for assisted area status has always been hampered because the figures for its travel-to-work area have been artificially improved by the much lower rate of unemployment in the more prosperous inland areas of Fylde and Wyre. As right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House know, Blackpool is a community in itself. I hope that when the map is redrawn, Blackpool alone will be considered—not a much wider swathe of the country.

If Blackpool's statistic of three in 10 males unemployed in many inner-town wards—not seasonally, but all year round—were considered, it would undoubtedly have qualified on this occasion. There is great concern in Blackpool about the social problems of crime and urban deprivation that follow in the wake of that unemployment.

My right hon. Friend is well aware of the extent of those problems, and I am grateful to him for agreeing to see a cross-party delegation of local authority representatives and councillors that my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and I will take to meet him within the next few weeks. That news, which arrived this afternoon, has been very well received in Blackpool.

The appalling decision by the socialist Commissioner in Brussels, Mr. Bruce Millan—nominated by Labour—not to grant objective 2 status to tourist-related areas, and the refusal of Labour members of the socialist group in the European Parliament to support the Conservative MEP, Mr. Michael Welsh, in his attempt to secure objective 2 status for tourist-related areas throughout the country, is disgraceful. They have sown the wind and, in the next election, they will reap the whirlwind in tourist resorts such as that which I represent.

We hope that a constructive approach will lead to Blackpool securing the assisted area status that it so richly deserves on the next occasion that the map is redrawn.

The situation is particularly severe at present because of the continuing decline in manufacturing industry. It is often forgotten that Blackpool's manufacturing sector has always been significant. Employment in that sector in Blackpool has fallen from 19 per cent. at the beginning of the 1970s to 11 per cent. That is largely due to the crazy employment policies pursued by Labour when in government, which destroyed manufacturing jobs. Even now, we are suffering the consequences of some of those decisions in the loss of jobs in manufacturing.

Only recently, we saw redundancies at Burton's Biscuits in my own constituency, which caused great hardship. It is noticeable that those jobs are going to areas of Scotland and Wales where the multinational that owns that company is developing its plants. I hope very much that we shall hear less rhetoric from the Labour party, that it will acknowledge its shame and responsibility for some of the decisions and that it will accept that all its accusations about the pork barrel are entirely wrong, because many Conservative seats that have been lucky enough to benefit from assisted area status have larger Conservative majorities than my constituency. If it were the politics of the pork barrel, my constituency would have benefited. The fact that we did not gives the lie to the argument of the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett).

I urge my right hon. Friend the Minister to receive the cross-party delegation and to listen carefully to the case that we shall present.

10.59 pm
Mr. Ernie Ross (Dundee, West)

When the Minister announced these changes on 26 July, only one small paragraph dealt with Scotland. He said that the map for Scotland would remain largely unaltered, with one or two changes to travel-to-work areas to reflect changes in relative circumstances.

I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) hopes to talk about experience in Dumbarton, and the relatively small changes that the Minister mentioned have proved to be quite significant in Dundee, the other area in Scotland that lost full development area status.

Dundee used to rely heavily on the manufacturing sector. It has been in a transitional period and, therefore, has required full support from the Government to continue to develop an alternative to the manufacturing base that was gradually disappearing. The city has made strenuous efforts to achieve that—for example, through tourism with the return of the RRS Discovery, which is a focal point. General Accident was attracted to move its services centre up to Dundee. The city's educational and research centre, particularly the Imperial Cancer Research Campaign, made substantial investment in the Ninewells teaching hospital.

In January, the city will lose full development status and the enterprise zone, leaving us with only objective 2 status, which, it is hoped, will remain. The announcement of those measures has already had an impact on Dundee. Since August, inward investment inquiries have all but dried up and, as the House will know, Dundee has experienced serious job losses. Timex no longer exists in Dundee, with the loss of 500 or 600 jobs. Ballantynes, the card makers, has moved production to Ireland, with the loss of 200 or 300 jobs.

Mr. John McFall (Dumbarton)

Does my hon. Friend accept that the decision that the Government made in June is out of date in my constituency, because since then 340 job losses—8 per cent. of unemployment in the area—have been announced? The decision that the Government made is no longer relevant. The Minister accepted from me in a letter that, in the past five years, Dumbarton and its travel-to-work area has had the worst unemployment in the worst 15 per cent. of the country. He accepts the figure for long-term unemployment, but that for current unemployment, which he did as a snapshot, is now out of date in our constituencies. The Government did not serve Scotland well by the decision that they made in July.

Mr. Ross

My hon. Friend is exactly right. Between 1989 and 1991, more than 4,500 jobs were lost in Dundee. My hon. Friend makes a very important point.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Allan Stewart)


Mr. Ross

I cannot give way to the Minister. He will have to ask his right hon. Friend the Minister to allow him a minute in the wind-up.

I support the comments made by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) and the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler).

The Minister must tell us the criteria used in assisted area status reviews. Do they reflect the real circumstances of the regions in this country? We also need continuous monitoring. The Government must commit themselves to that and, given the change in circumstances that we have outlined, a review should take place immediately.

On 26 July, my hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) encapsulated everything that Opposition Members are trying to say again tonight. He challenged the Minister to name a single area that he has downgraded where unemployment has gone down since the present Prime Minister took office? If he cannot name such an area, will he admit that unemployment has gone up in every single one of the 20 areas that he has relegated?"—[Official Report, 26 July 1993; Vol. 229, c. 753.] That is the real question for the Minister tonight. What does he say to those areas; how does he justify the changes to the map?

11.6 pm

Mr. Gary Streeter (Plymouth, Sutton)

I welcome the granting of assisted area status to many parts of the west country. I also thank the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) for letting the cat out of the bag this evening. The people of the west country will have taken note of the fact that it is Labour policy to remove assisted area status from the west country and to take it back, in the hon. Gentleman's words, to where it belongs: the Labour seats up north and in Scotland. So much for Labour's big push for the west country. The people there know where they stand now.

I welcome the Minister's decision to boost the west country. Plymouth has been able to keep its assisted area status, and many parts of rural Devon and Cornwall have been granted it for the first time. The people there warmly welcome it.

This has been a demonstration of the Government's commitment to the west country. It is true that in the past we have sometimes felt ourselves to be the poor relation of other parts of the country. We have even felt like the Cinderella of the United Kingdom. But now, Cinderella is going to the ball.

I am pleased to say that in my constituency, unemployment has fallen in the past 12 months by more than 200—but we still have 4,000 unemployed people, and that is far too many. The retention of assisted area status is a welcome boost to those in my constituency who are looking for jobs. That retention, combined with the work of the Plymouth development corporation and the Trident contract which will come on stream towards the end of the decade, is welcome news for the people of Plymouth and further evidence of the Government's commitment to the west country.

In other parts of rural Devon and Cornwall, unemployment is still far too high. There are reasons for that. Traditional industries such as tourism, defence and agriculture are all in decline, for all sorts of reasons. Even though defence-related job losses are always regretted, the people of the west country know that under a Liberal Democrat Government, with defence cuts of more than 50 per cent., the defence industries of the west country would be decimated. The news that the Labour conference recently voted to scrap Trident did not go down well, as hon. Members may imagine, in Plymouth. Trident is our lifeline for the future, yet the Labour party, without a thought for the people of Plymouth, voted to scrap it—if the party ever took power—and to kick the people of the city in the teeth.

Whenever he comes to the west country, the Minister is very warmly received. We took a delegation from Devon and Cornwall to see him about assisted area status. He listened carefully. I can encourage my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Hawkins); I am sure that the Minister will also listen carefully to his delegation. The Minister listened to us. He has responded. He has demonstrated the Government's commitment to the west country. That is to be warmly welcomed.

11.9 pm

Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy)

I shall be brief because I know that many people want to make their points known. I want to speak about my constituency. Aberconwy, the northerly area of my constituency, has recently been recommended for objective 5b status. There has been a great deal of lobbying. I see the Secretary of State for Wales in his place. I note with some satisfaction that the Secretary of State has included the borough of Aberconwy in his proposals for assisted areas and that the Department of Trade and Industry has accepted them.

I have lobbied hard on the issue for some months, as have many members of Gwynedd county council and Aberconwy borough council. So I am pleased. I hope that the Secretary of State will personally continue with the lobby because the designation is a life line to Aberconwy, part of which falls within my constituency. The Secretary of State rightly said in a recent press release that the original exclusion of Aberconwy was an anomaly. That is the precise way in which the campaigners put it. So I believe that the Secretary of State has given the lobby a fair hearing.

However, I pause there because I am very unhappy about the position of the southerly area in my constituency, Meirionnydd. The area has suffered from rural depopulation, the common agricultural policy changes, the effects of poor infrastructure such as roads and lack of inward investment for a considerable number of years. That was recognised in its designation as an intermediate area five years ago. The facts were sufficiently plain then for that status to be accorded to the area. However, during the past three months the Trawsfynydd travel-to-work area, which is geographically vast, has had to come to terms with the impending closure of Trawsfynydd power station. That was announced in July.

Although the announcement was a shock, it was nevertheless on the cards. It was plain as a pikestaff that the station would not run for more than two years in any event, even if it was recommissioned. The Government should have upgraded the assistance to full development status. The criteria have been met since the announcement. Indeed, they were met before that. Now it is a compelling case. The Government have lost a golden opportunity. Despite all the lobbying and arguing and all the deputations that they received, they did not give us much of a fair hearing.

In fairness, the Welsh Office has agreed, in principle at least, through the Secretary of State, that enterprise zones should be set up in the area. That fact alone, welcome as it is, underlines the fact that help is desperately needed. The Secretary of State has been positive and forthright on the issue of Trawsfynydd. But I must reiterate that upgrading the status to full development status would have been both justified and timely.

I urge the Minister even now to reconsider the status of Meirionnydd. The loss of 550 jobs may not seem a huge blow objectively. But I can tell the House that it means the loss of more than 1,000 jobs in the locality, both directly and indirectly. Those jobs will be lost to the local economy, together with more than £12 million. That is in a sparsely populated area of Wales with high unemployment. We need full development status if we are to restore prosperity to Meirionnydd. The area is losing out and there is a paucity of inward investment because we are not playing on a level playing field. The area has to compete with Merseyside, which has objective 1 status, Deeside, which has full development status, and other areas of north Wales.

The Government are always happy to talk about level playing fields in the European context. Give the people of Meirionnydd a level playing field so that they can have job opportunities equal to those in other parts of north Wales, Merseyside and beyond. I ask the Government reconsider even at the eleventh hour and to award full development status to Meirionnydd, coupled with objective 5b status to Nant Conwy, which will enable the constituents to have a fair share of assistance, which they rightly deserve.

Mr. Salmond

While the hon. Gentleman has been defending the interests of his constituency, he may not have had an opportunity to observe the behaviour of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart). His role throughout the debate seems to have been to sit like a stookie, saying absolutely nothing. When it has been pointed out that the total assistance budget of the Scottish Office is worth a third of what it was worth when the Government took office, the Minister has wriggled uncomfortably in his seat. Does the hon. Gentleman think that the Minister is suffering from a guilty conscience?

Mr. Llwyd

I cannot speak for the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland; but I urge Welsh Office Ministers to do all that they can to address the problems of my constituency. Surely, even at this late hour, it is not beyond them to reconsider.

11.15 pm
Mr. Roger Gale (Thanet, North)

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) failed to give way to me. He drew a neat distinction between north and south, as Labour Members normally do. He has probably done many of us a great favour, because it will not be lost on my constituents and many others in south-east England that the Labour party wishes the pork barrel to roll to the north, and is cheerfully prepared to abandon not only our interests but the United Kingdom's interests in the south-east. That point has been very firmly taken, and will be very well made by us.

It was not entirely surprising—certainly to Conservative Members, and, I suspect, to some Opposition Members as well—that the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) sat firmly astride the fence. He did not indicate whether he intended to vote for the motion or against it—or, indeed, whether he intended to vote at all. My guess is that his party will probably not vote at all.

Mr. Tyler

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Gale

I shall be delighted to do so. Which way will the hon. Gentleman vote?

Mr. Tyler

Let me tell the hon. Gentleman and the House that I will certainly vote for the motion.

Mr. Gale

Having opposed all the achievements in my right hon. Friend's speech, the hon. Gentleman is going to vote for the motion. Now we know where we stand.

One issue has not been made clear; let me try to make it clear now. The hon. Member for Leeds, Central referred to the assistance granted to areas of north-east Kent; he referred in particular to Dover and Deal, and to the Thanet travel-to-work area, represented by my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, South (Mr. Aitken) and myself.

What the hon. Gentleman has signally failed to recognise, and what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has taken on board so perfectly, is this. For many years, the French Government have been pouring money into Nord Pas de Calais, and jobs have been created over and over again there and around the French side of the channel tunnel that could and should have been coming to the United Kingdom. My right hon. Friend has taken that on board: he has fought extremely hard for the United Kingdom, and has seized the opportunity for us to achieve not jobs for Warrington, Blackburn, Manchester or somewhere else in the north, but jobs that would come to the United Kingdom rather than going to France. I am rather surprised, and a little disappointed, that some Opposition Members are not willing to recognise that.

We shall work very hard in the east Kent travel-to-work area—particularly in Thanet—to ensure that we take maximum advantage of the opportunity that has been afforded to us to create jobs not just for the people of east Kent and the south-east, but for the people of the United Kingdom. That is what my right hon. Friend has sought to achieve.

11.17 pm
Ms Mildred Gordon (Bow and Poplar)

I must express deep disappointment that Tower Hamlets has not been included in the list of assisted-area-status regions. The Minister said that neighbouring areas have been included, so that there will be jobs within travelling distance; but those areas themselves have high unemployment, as has Tower Hamlets. He also seemed to imply that the infrastructure was not there. Well, we have had 10 years of the London Docklands Development Corporation, and for years Tower Hamlets has been like a bomb site, with continuous road building and development works. Companies such as Olympia and York have been allowed to take huge areas of land and start a little pile driving for vast development projects—Heron Quays, for instance—which everyone knows will never take place. The roads are there, the land is there, but the money is not there, because it has been spent wrongly by a Government quango. The LDDC, letting market forces rip, has produced a net job loss.

People in Tower Hamlets are desperate. I think that their desperation was shown in the protest vote that allowed a BNP candidate to get on to the council. The people of Tower Hamlets are desperate and are crying out for help. They need help; they need jobs; they need assistance. I hope that, even at this late hour, the Government will change their mind and realise that it is essential that Tower Hamlets be given assisted area status.

11.20 pm
Mr. Rupert Allason (Torbay)

As a result of his ill-considered attack on this order, the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) has effectively undermined all the hard work that went into the presentation made by the cross-party delegation to my right hon. Friend the Minister when Torbay made an application for the restoration of intermediate assisted area status. That delegation was led by me, together with the deputy leader of Torbay borough council, who is a Liberal. I shall take great pleasure in telling him of the attack made on the order. The hon. Member for North Cornwall has effectively pulled the rug from under those whose jobs have been lost already—there: is 13 per cent. unemployment in my constituency—and those whose jobs are at risk.

In the south-west, we suffer from tremendous problems because of the inevitable rundown of the defence industries and in Torbay we are concerned about the loss of the fishing industry. That is a particular problem which we highlighted when we made our presentation to the Department of Trade and Industry. Also, the recession has hit the tourist industry hard. There are plenty of empty hotels in my constituency.

The long-term unemployed in my constituency will remember that Opposition Members intend to vote against the order. The consequences of the rejection of the order for people who are anxious to find employment will be exceptionally damaging. I shall take the opportunity to remind my constituents of the position taken by Opposition Members.

I urge my right hon. Friend the Minister to take the view that intermediate status is but a first step. The second step must be for his Department to supply information to all those who wish to pursue the grants and other advantages of having intermediate status. Two officials have come to talk to the business community in Torbay, and I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Minister for that initiative. Will he also undertake to open a separate department so that people can apply to his officials and obtain all the information so that we can take full advantage of this? After all, this is partly European money and, given that this country is but one of the two net contributors to the European Community budget, it is only fair that we should obtain our fair share of it.

I congratulate and thank my right hon. Friend the Minister for his courtesy in receiving the delegation. On this occasion, I take great pleasure in supporting the Government.

11.22 pm
Mr. Alan Milburn (Darlington)

Darlington is one of the principal losers from the new assisted areas map. As the: Minister is aware, it is a town and area of vast economic: potential, but it requires assistance from the Government if it is to realise that potential and overcome the competitive disadvantages faced by an area in the north-east.

We are some distance from the centre of the European single market and we have the same sort of deep-rooted structural problems which assail many parts of the north-east and which have given the region an unenviable record—the highest rate of regional unemployment in every month since the Government took office in the middle of 1979. This map does nothing to put that right. In fact, it makes matters worse. It switches resources away from the north and away from Scotland and Wales.

Mr. Morley

No Opposition Member wants to attack another part of the country that is suffering the same sort of problems caused by the Government, but does my hon. Friend agree that the Government should explain why some constituencies have been granted assisted area status, while constituencies such as mine in Glanford and Scunthorpe and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) have higher unemployment rates than some of those constituencies that are new to assisted area status? Does my hon. Friend agree that the Minister should explain why that anomaly exists?

Mr. Milburn

Indeed, the Minister should explain the anomaly and I hope that he will take the opportunity to do so.

There is no doubt that the recession has hit hard in once prosperous parts of Britain. Who would have thought in 1979 that Cardiff, Clacton, Wisbech, Wakefield, Hastings and Hartlepool would one day share a common label as areas in need of special economic assistance? The Government's triumph has been the creation of a level playing field in which economic decline and devastation stalk the whole land—not just the north-east, not just Scotland and not just Wales, but the whole country.

I have a great deal of sympathy for people living in Thanet, in Dover, in Deal, in Southend and in the other areas that have gained from the changes. Those areas had lost out through no fault of their own and they deserved help, but their gain should not be our loss. We should not lose out at the expense of overwhelmingly Tory parts of the country. The Government have ended up by playing off area against area and town against town. By cutting the regional aid budget in the middle of a recession, they have forced hundreds of towns to compete for slices of an ever-diminishing regional aid cake.

To make matters worse, we have not even been told by the Minister this evening how the winners and the losers were arrived at. We are left in the dark. All that we know is that Darlington and other losers have been relegated because they have lost out to higher-scoring towns in an assisted areas game being played by rules that have not been made clear even to the competitors. The Minister's failure to come clean about the issue and to publish the individual assessments on each travel-to-work area's bid for inclusion in the new map leaves us with only one clear impression—that the new map is the product of political gerrymandering.

There is other evidence to bear out that assertion. Why did the Government decide to give assisted area status to parts of certain travel-to-work areas, despite an assurance that the map would be based only on whole travel-to-work areas? Like has not been compared with like. As a result, the prospects for statistical jiggery-Pokery have been increased massively, which shows in the results.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) alluded to the fact that it was overwhelmingly Conservative areas that were gainers. That is true. Some 109 Conservative areas have gained; just 76 Labour areas have gained. Some 50 per cent. more Labour areas than Tory areas have lost out. Unless the Minister is able to give credible answers to those questions, he will rightly stand accused of fixing the new map for political ends and of vainly trying to prop up crumbling Tory support, especially in the south of England. The fact that Darlington has been made a victim will not be forgotten. I hope that the Minister, even tonight at this 11th hour, will rethink his proposals.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris)

I call Mr. Sainsbury.

Mr. Sainsbury

There have been a number—

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As I understand it, the Minister is able to speak twice only by leave of the House. As far as I am concerned, he should not have that leave, as he refused to allow interventions during his speech.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Does the House give leave for the Minister to speak again?

Hon. Members


11.27 pm
Sir Teddy Taylor (Southend, East)

I am sorry that we cannot hear the Minister. The House will have to make do with me instead.

I shall make three simple points. First, it is clear that whenever these decisions are made, some people feel genuinely aggrieved and some feel delighted. We have to make decisions on a complex formula, considering not just unemployment, but long-term unemployment, future job gaps and activity rates. All Conservative Members know that the Minister, being a straight, honourable and truthful man, will have made decisions for the right reasons. However, it would help to encourage understanding of the decisions if they were made by an independent body and not by politicians, whether Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat.

Secondly, we should not be too enthusiastic about regional aid. We should remember that, for every area that receives regional aid, a neighbouring area does not and will therefore suffer and lose employment. The massive improvement in the relative position of Scotland proves that, if one piles in aid, one merely worsens the relative position of other areas.

Thirdly, we should remember that not one penny of this money is Euro-money. Some people may say that we should simply go and get more money, but I remind them that it is not Euro-money. Hon. Members should appreciate that the Government are not able to spend our money to create jobs for our people without the specific permission of a bloke called Mr. van Miert. He was given a list, at the foot of which was Southend. For what I am sure were perfectly good reasons—the same happened to Germany and France—he cut a slice off the foot of the list. Even if we think that that is scandalous, wrong or outrageous, there is nothing we can do—

It being half-past Eleven o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question pursuant to Standing Order No 15 (Prayers against statutory instruments, &c. (negative procedure)).

The House divided: Ayes 164, Noes 223.

Division No. 373] [11.30 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Ainger, Nick Illsley, Eric
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Ingram, Adam
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Jamieson, David
Barnes, Harry Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Barron, Kevin Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Battle, John Khabra, Piara S.
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Kilfoyle, Peter
Bell, Stuart Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Leighton, Ron
Bennett, Andrew F. Lewis, Terry
Benton, Joe Llwyd, Elfyn
Bermingham, Gerald McAllion, John
Boyce, Jimmy McAvoy, Thomas
Bradley, Keith Macdonald, Calum
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) McFall, John
Byers, Stephen McGrady, Eddie
Caborn, Richard McKelvey, William
Callaghan, Jim Mackinlay, Andrew
Campbell-Savours, D. N. McLeish, Henry
Cann, Jamie McMaster, Gordon
Chisholm, Malcolm McNamara, Kevin
Clapham, Michael McWilliam, John
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Madden, Max
Clelland, David Mahon, Alice
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Marek, Dr John
Coffey, Ann Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Cohen, Harry Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Corbett, Robin Martlew, Eric
Corston, Ms Jean Michael, Alun
Cousins, Jim Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Cryer, Bob Milburn, Alan
Cunliffe, Lawrence Moonie, Dr Lewis
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Morgan, Rhodri
Darling, Alistair Morley, Elliot
Davidson, Ian Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l) Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Denham, John Mowlam, Marjorie
Dixon, Don Mudie, George
Dobson, Frank Mullin, Chris
Donohoe, Brian H. Murphy, Paul
Dowd, Jim O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)
Eagle, Ms Angela O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Eastham, Ken O'Hara, Edward
Enright, Derek Olner, William
Etherington, Bill O'Neill, Martin
Evans, John (St Helens N) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Fatchett, Derek Patchett, Terry
Fisher, Mark Pickthall, Colin
Flynn, Paul Pike, Peter L.
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Pope, Greg
Fyfe, Maria Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Galloway, George Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Gerrard, Neil Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Godman, Dr Norman A. Primarolo, Dawn
Golding, Mrs Llin Purchase, Ken
Gordon, Mildred Quin, Ms Joyce
Graham, Thomas Raynsford, Nick
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Roche, Mrs. Barbara
Grocott, Bruce Rogers, Allan
Gunnell, John Rooney, Terry
Hain, Peter Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Hanson, David Rowlands, Ted
Hardy, Peter Salmond, Alex
Heppell, John Short, Clare
Hill, Keith (Streatham) Simpson, Alan
Hoey, Kate Skinner, Dennis
Home Robertson, John Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Hood, Jimmy Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Hoon, Geoffrey Soley, Clive
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Spearing, Nigel
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Steinberg, Gerry
Hoyle, Doug Stevenson, George
Stott, Roger Wise, Audrey
Strang, Dr. Gavin Worthington, Tony
Tipping, Paddy Wray, Jimmy
Walley, Joan
Wareing, Robert N Tellers for the Ayes:
Watson, Mike Mr. John Spellar and
Winnick, David Mr. Alan Meale.
Alexander, Richard Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) French, Douglas
Alton, David Gale, Roger
Amess, David Gallie, Phil
Arbuthnot, James Gardiner, Sir George
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Garnier, Edward
Ashby, David Gill, Christopher
Aspinwall, Jack Gorst, John
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Greenway, Harry (Eating N)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Hague, William
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie (Epsom)
Bates, Michael Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bendall, Vivian Hampson, Dr Keith
Beresford, Sir Paul Hargreaves, Andrew
Blackburn, Dr John G. Harris, David
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Harvey, Nick
Booth, Hartley Haselhurst, Alan
Boswell, Tim Hawksley, Warren
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Hayes, Jerry
Bowden, Andrew Heald, Oliver
Bowis, John Heathcoat-Amory, David
Brandreth, Gyles Hendry, Charles
Brazier, Julian Hicks, Robert
Bright, Graham Hill, James (Southampton Test)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Horam, John
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Browning, Mrs. Angela Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Budgen, Nicholas Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Burns, Simon Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Burt, Alistair Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Butler, Peter Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Butterfill, John Hunter, Andrew
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Jack, Michael
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Jenkin, Bernard
Carrington, Matthew Jessel, Toby
Carttiss, Michael Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Chapman, Sydney Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Coe, Sebastian Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Colvin, Michael Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S)
Conway, Derek Key, Robert
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Kilfedder, Sir James
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) King, Rt Hon Tom
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Knapman, Roger
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Knox, Sir David
Day, Stephen Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Dicks, Terry Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Dover, Den Legg, Barry
Duncan, Alan Lidington, David
Duncan-Smith, Iain Lightbown, David
Durant, Sir Anthony Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Dykes, Hugh Luff, Peter
Elletson, Harold Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Lynne, Ms Liz
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) MacKay, Andrew
Faber, David Maddock, Mrs Diana
Fabricant, Michael Maitland, Lady Olga
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Malone, Gerald
Fenner, Dame Peggy Mans, Keith
Fishburn, Dudley Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Forman, Nigel Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Forth, Eric Mates, Michael
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley) Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Merchant, Piers Spink, Dr Robert
Milligan, Stephen Spring, Richard
Mills, Iain Sproat, Iain
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Moate, Sir Roger Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Moss, Malcolm Steen, Anthony
Needham, Richard Stephen, Michael
Nelson, Anthony Stem, Michael
Neubert, Sir Michael Streeter, Gary
Nicholls, Patrick Sweeney, Walter
Norris, Steve Sykes, John
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley Tapsell, Sir Peter
Oppenheim, Phillip Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Ottaway, Richard Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Paice, James Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Patnick, Irvine Temple-Morris, Peter
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Thomason, Roy
Pawsey, James Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Thurnham, Peter
Porter, David (Waveney) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Redwood, Rt Hon John Tracey, Richard
Rendel, David Tredinnick, David
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Trend, Michael
Richards, Rod Twinn, Dr Ian
Riddick, Graham Tyler, Paul
Robathan, Andrew Viggers, Peter
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Walden, George
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Waller, Gary
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Ward, John
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Watts, John
Sackville, Tom Whitney, Ray
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim Whittingdale, John
Shaw, David (Dover) Widdecombe, Ann
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Wilkinson, John
Sims, Roger Willetts, David
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Speed, Sir Keith Tellers for the Noes:
Spencer, Sir Derek Mr. Timothy Wood and
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset) Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)

Question accordingly negatived.