HC Deb 18 January 1994 vol 235 cc820-42

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Coal Industry Bill, it is expedient to authorize—

  1. (a) the making by the Coal Authority established by the Act of charges for things done in the exercise and performance of its powers and duties;
  2. (b) the imposition of charges to corporation tax by provisions relating to the taxation of persons to and from whom property, rights and liabilities are transferred in accordance with schemes under the Act; and
  3. (c) the payment of sums into the Consolidated Fund or the National Loans Fund.—[Mr. Kirkhope.]

Several hon. Members


Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes)

Order. Before I call hon. Members, may I make it clear that the Ways and Means motion deals with specific charges. It is not an excuse for a re-run of the provisions of the Bill.

11.29 pm
Mr. Eric Illsley (Barnsley, Central)

I take on board your warning, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Paragraph (a) of the motion states: the making by the Coal Authority established by the Act of charges for things done in the exercise and performance of its powers and duties ;". [Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but there is still a general buzz of conversation, which is not confined to hon. Members from one party. It is discourteous to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Illsley

I am grateful for your assistance, Madam Deputy Speaker, in subduing a crowded House.

I should like to speak about the Coal Authority that will be established by the Bill and about the charges for the exercise of its powers and duties. Surprisingly, some powers have been left out of the authority's remit. The timing of the Bill and the associated legislation is deplorable. In the previous debate, the hon. Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens) spoke about an industry in the grasp of politicians, and said that politicians should not involve themselves in the running of an industry. To some extent, I agree with him, and ask why politicians have retained an interest in the running of the nuclear power industry by way of subsidy to that industry. That subsidy is not available to coal.

Mr. Geoffrey Dickens (Littleborough and Saddleworth)

The hon. Gentleman invites me to explain. He was a member of the Select Committee on Energy and knows that the suggestion that the nuclear industry should be privatised could not be made bankable because the generators could not explain the costs of decommissioning. If that had been explained, privatisation would have been a bankable matter and could have gone ahead.

Mr. Illsley

The hon. Gentleman is right: he and I served on that Select Committee. When we examined the evidence that the Department of Energy was willing to present—that which was not comercially confidential—we realised that the nuclear power industry had been uneconomic for many years. The price of coal to the generators had not increased since 1985, and it was apparent that coal had subsidised nuclear power for many years. The industry suffered greatly as a consequence, but I shall not debate the nuclear power industry, not only because it is outside the terms of the motion, but because I am aware of sedentary admonition from some of my hon. Friends.

The coal industry has been run down from 1985. Prices have not been increased and in the past two years the industry has been run down even more rapidly, and that has led to the Bill and the associated legislation. Over the past 18 months the President of the Board of Trade has announced the closure of 30 pits, and in the months ahead there are likely to be many more. Press releases in the past few days have shown that seven collieries are scheduled to close.

It is ludicrous to debate this legislation at a time when the coal industry is in turmoil. Nobody can say how many collieries will be left this time next year or whether any will be left. Established coal contracts are for about half the tonnage agreed in previous years. We now have a much reduced market and a large number of colliery closures. The Bill, the resolution and the Coal Authority are not strong enough to deal with what is happening now. It is the wrong time to be considering the privatisation of the industry which is in such turmoil that we should take the Bill, the Ways and Means resolution, the money resolution and the rest and rethink the idea of coal privatisation.

Mr. Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough)


Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. Before the interven-tion takes place, may I point out that we are dealing specifically with the Ways and Means resolution, and that any remarks must be related to that? I am sure that considerable ingenuity will be exercised by hon. Members.

Mr. Bell

My hon. Friend will understand what you are saying, Madam Deputy Speaker. All that will happen when the Bill goes through Committee will relate to the Coal Authority. The Coal Authority will be responsible for the charges and for the exercise and performance of its powers and duties. I am sure that, as my hon. Friend makes his speech, he will think about the significance of the Coal Authority.

Mr. Illsley

I shall move on to the powers and duties in relation to the Ways and Means resolution. I was slightly distracted by the argument about nuclear power.

The resolution is untimely in creating the coal authority when the industry is in a state of uncertainty. No one can envisage exactly how the industry will fair over the forthcoming few months and whether the Coal Authority will have any collieries over which to preside when the Bill receives Royal Assent.

The Coal Authority, to which the resolution refers, takes over certain liabilities from British Coal and from the Government. It also takes over some of the outstanding liabilities. One of the arguments on which I shall expand in a few moments relates to the liabilities that the Government will leave to a privatised industry. They will make it unattractive to anyone wanting to buy into the industry and will add costs to any private operator.

Those liabilities and costs could be detrimental to the industry when it is privatised and should be accepted by the coal authority and the Government to make sure that, when the industry is privatised, there will be no danger that it will die because no private operator will take on its liabilities.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point, which covers the sale of assets by British Coal. When estimating the amount of liability which British Coal has now, it would be worth while my hon. Friend casting his mind over the assets which will yield revenue that is authorised by the Ways and Means resolution.

Mr. Illsley

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The main revenue-raising power for the coal authority will be licensing. I intend to make some remarks in due course relating to the conditions that the authority will place on licences to the private sector. The strength of that licensing regime will be crucial to certain aspects of the Bill.

Mr. Cryer

If I could just make a further inquiry on my hon. Friend's speech, one wonders whether the Ways and Means resolution is necessary. The section of the Bill relating to manpower or staff envisages at least 100 people being employed by the Coal Authority. One wonders what revenue is envisaged as a result of the licensing activities of the Coal Authority which provides revenue authorised by the Ways and Means resolution. It seems to me that the licensing revenue may be so trivial and set against the liabilities that it makes the Ways and Means resolution otiose.

Mr. Illsley

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. The financial memorandum to the Bill refers to the Coal Authority's costs, but states: Accurate assessments of the Coal Industry's costs—including staffing and subsidence costs—and income are not possible at this stage. Even the Government are not able to give us an idea of the income that will be generated through the authority's licensing operations.

Mr. Jimmy Hood (Clydesdale)


Mr. Illsley

Will my hon. Friend bear with me for a moment?

Even now, the authority's income is not included in the Bill because the Government have been unable to estimate it. One hopes that by the time the Bill is discussed in Committee, such points will be highlighted. The omission lends credibility to my argument that, if we cannot determine the authority's income and what the licensing regime will be, we should not be debating the Bill, the money resolution or the Ways and Means motion now, because they are premature.

Mr. Peter Hardy (Wentworth)

My hon. Friend makes a serious point. In Committee, the Minister will have a great many questions to answer.

My hon. Friend referred, among other things, to the Coal Authority's licensing fees, but no one seems to have considered the costs that it will incur. Until recently, the mines drainage unit was based in my area. The unit was then closed and the responsibility was passed to Silverwood colliery. Silverwood is to close, so who will take on the drainage function? In my constituency, there are four seams of outcrop which are very close to the surface and which have been known to engage in spontaneous combustion. Would my hon. Friend care to ask the Minister how many staff there will be in South Yorkshire to exercise the authority's responsibility in that respect?

Mr. Illsley

My hon. Friend makes an important point. He and I have already discussed what would happen if there were fires—underground fires or, as he fears, outcropping fires—without the mines rescue resources to deal with them. Clearly, as outlined in the motion, the Coal Authority takes responsibility for licensing and charges and will have within its remit the income from the sale of land.

One issue that must be debated thoroughly is how the authority will dispose of the land and what regulations will be in place to ensure the safety of that land which is disposed of and which is a fire hazard, such as that mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy). Will the sale include a covenant to ensure that the private operator purchasing such a plot of land will have the responsibility of dealing with any emergency?

I again cite the financial memorandum, which states that the costs and income of the Coal Authority cannot be assessed "at this stage". The Bill is therefore premature.

Mr. Dickens

For the privatisation to be successful, the successor companies will want to know the ground rules, which have to be set out most carefully. In addition to acquiring any of the industry's assets, the companies will have a duty to acquire the liabilities which will include having to deal with spontaneous combustion and subsidence. The Government have to lay down the ground rules sensibly to make the privatisation attractive; if not, the industry will not be privatised.

Mr. Illsley

The hon. Gentleman makes a very fair point; one that I should like to stress. He is saying that, unless the Ways and Means resolution gives sufficient finance to the Coal Authority to exercise its powers and duties, the privatisation is unlikely to be a success because the successor companies will not accept such liabilities. My point is that the ways and means given to the authority have to be sufficient to enable it to discharge its functions. Not only that but under the resolution, the Government will have to give the authority wider powers to deal with matters scheduled to be transferred to the successor companies. In my view, the Government must accept through the Coal Authority more duties than at present—and the costs that go with them.

A major obstacle to successful privatisation are the liabilities left to successor companies—and which in this case will not pass to the Coal Authority, as most people expected.

Mr. Martin O'Neill (Clackmannan)

I am not clear in my mind whether the resolution gives the Coal Authority the power to reimburse the Government for the sums of up to £200,000 that will be made available to groups wishing to exercise their right to apply for a licence.

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

It could be a royal exhibition grant.

Mr. O'Neill

It could, but there are not many exhibitions in Barnsley on the scale that the hon. Member for City of Chester (Mr. Brandreth) had in mind.

The Coal Authority will receive applications from groups that have received money from the Government, not British Coal, for the purpose of putting together the business plan that will form the core of a licence. That is apparently being done to encourage management buy-outs and worker participation. Does my hon. Friend believe that, under the terms of the Ways and Means resolution, the authority will have the necessary powers and duties to provide that money, or will that be the responsibility of the Government or British Coal?

Mr. Illsley

The conflict that arises is whether the Coal Authority is likely to have returned to it the funding that the Government will give out in the form of loans to successor companies. My hon. Friend will have read the explanatory and financial memorandum to the Coal Industry Bill, which states: The Bill enables the Secretary of State to grant loans of up to £3,000 million to successor companies". My hon. Friend mentioned a figure of £200,000. That relates to individual grants to groups contemplating a buy-out. The total sum involved will be £3 billion. Will the Coal Authority have sufficient teeth to recoup that Government expenditure, and will it have any licensing teeth in respect of the liabilities in the Ways and Means resolution.

If one considers the outstanding liabilities, one can see how many powers have been allocated to the authority and judge how successful it will be after privatisation. The resolution makes reference to the powers, duties and money given to the authority, which is another quango.

One of the first references in the Bill is to the salaries of the people who will serve on the Coal Authority. We cannot determine the authority's income, the charges that it will levy or the licensing regime that it will operate—hut the measure is quick to point out that the members of the authority will receive sufficient salaries and expenses to enable them to do their work.

Under the Coal Industry Bill, the authority will be responsible for licensing not only deep-mine operations but opencast mining. Applications for opencast mining are still to be encouraged as part of the Coal Authority's duties. At the same time, the industry is being totally run down and subjected to colliery closure after colliery closure.

Last year, just under 18 million tonnes of coal was opencast in this country; total contract tonnage for the generators was 30 million. Almost two thirds of our coal is now being obtained through opencast for power generation, which is the last market available to British Coal. We are allowing opencast to undercut British Coal: we have allowed that cheaper mining method to pose a problem in the search for future markets. Yet the number of opencast applications continues to increase, despite public opposition to the process.

The motion refers to "powers and duties". Where is a duty placed on the Coal Authority to protect the environment? Opencast mining causes pollution—dust, noise, fumes and heavy traffic, for instance. Will the Coal Authority be given any environmental duty under the licensing regime? We know that it will have power to grant licences, but will it have the power to tell any private operator to whom it gives such a licence that the licence will be conditional on an adequate environmental protection regime, thus ensuring that the countryside in opencast areas is left in a decent state when the operation is finished?

Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central)

My hon. Friend has raised a number of important points about the Coal Authority's functions. Has he noted paragraph 1(4) of schedule 1, which lists the circumstances in which the Secretary of State can remove a member of the authority? Under paragraph 1(4)(c), he can remove a member of the authority if he considers that person unable or unfit to carry out the functions of a member Does that condition worry my hon. Friend, who has made some important points about opencast and environmental considerations? Might not a member of the authority who was opposed to opencast mining, and the environmental conditions that it creates, lose his position? Should we not consider such issues?

Mr. Illsley


Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. Before the hon. Member for Barnsley, Central (Mr. Illsley) replies, may I issue a small warning? We are dealing with the question of charges, and hon. Members' remarks must relate to that subject. Hon. Members cannot engage in a general debate about the duties of the Coal Authority without relating it to charges.

Mr. Illsley

I accept your warning, Madam Deputy Speaker.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) has made an important point, which will presumably be taken up on Committee: it may well be beyond the scope of the motion. Clearly, fitness for membership of the authority should be paralleled by the fitness of successor companies to be considered for licences, and that should be defined in the schedule.

All the powers and duties of the Coal Authority will, of course, be subject to either charges of income. They will all be related to the licensing regime.

I mentioned opencasting earlier. The charges are relevant to opencasting in that presumably the Coal Authority will obtain income from the scale of land to various successor companies and from charging under the licensing regime. It will charge the opencasting companies for the benefit of obtaining a licence.

The Coal Authority will pass responsibility for health and safety to the Health and Safety Executive and the Health and Safety Commission. Health and safety should be a responsibility of the Coal Authority. There is little reference to health and safety in the Bill. Clause 4 is about 20 lines long. Previous legislation contained an all-important clause stating that British Coal had responsibility for the health and safety of its work force. As I understand it, the Bill and the Ways and Means motion do not place a duty on any successor company. There is no requirement that any successor company should take steps to safeguard the health and safety of its employees.

The licensees to whom authority is given to win coal should have an obligation placed on them, and be charged for it by the Coal Authority, to ensure the health and safety of their employees. Whether the companies are engaged in opencast mining or deep mining, they should be responsible for the health and safety of their work force.

Several hon. Members have raised fears about health and safety and the inadequacy of the Bill's health and safety provisions. I do not intend to follow that line of argument. I simply wish to make the point that the Coal Authority should have a duty on health and safety and should have the power to charge and fine companies or refer them to the Health and Safety Executive if they are in breach of the normal health and safety guidelines. That brings me to what powers the Coal Authority has to levy charges and the conditions that it can place in the licences.

We are discussing the Coal Authority again under the Ways and Means motion yet we have not seen the contents of the licences that will be awarded by that authority to the successor companies. We have no idea what could be in the licences. That gives cause for concern. When we have discussed the Bill, the resolutions and all the rest of it, we might still not know what conditions the Coal Authority can place in a licence, what charges it can make and what income it will derive from licensing operations.

Britain's record in health and safety could be jeopardised. I see the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Moss) falling asleep at what I am saying. As a former member of the Energy Select Committee, I am sure that he cares about health and safety in the mining industry. He should perhaps listen more intently to the fears of Opposition Members.

One of the powers and duties of the Coal Authority, which has been referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy), is the operation of a mines rescue service. The point relates particularly to charges and duties. There is little in the Bill or the information on the Coal Authority about a mines rescue service. That liability will be passed to the successor companies. If the Coal Authority has responsibility for a mines rescue service, it will have to levy a charge against the successor companies.

Returning to the comments of the hon. Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens), are the successor companies willing to take on the financing and operation of a mines rescue service and have that charge levied against them by the Coal Authority? Will they be willing to accept that, or are they likely to say that they want little to do with the service and do not see why they should pay for it because that duty should be placed on the Government as a residual liability?

The Government have not dealt with residual liabilities in the motion. The mines rescue service has considerable expertise, equipment, land and buildings. Obviously a great deal of thought—[Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. We cannot have a semi-private conversation between a Back-Bench Member on one side and a Minister on the other.

Mr. Illsley

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

A considerable amount of planning has to go into the mines rescue service. One of the latest rescue centres was established by British Coal to service the Selby coalfield. Obviously, with five packages as disparate as Scotland, Wales and the central areas of England, the successor companies will want to contribute as little as possible in charges to the Coal Authority for a mines rescue service. They will want the minimum service that they can get away with, because they will not want to contribute to the cost.

Where will the centres be based if they are to service an industry that is spread across the length and breadth of the north of England? How are the charges to be levied? Will it be a condition of the licence that successor companies will be required to contribute to the rescue service and, if so, in what proportions? Will the service be Government-funded?

The Government should retain the rescue service as a residual liability. It is just another example of a liability that should have been allocated to the Coal Authority. We should be discussing that authority's detailed provisions for health and safety and the mines rescue service. The authority will grant a licence to the successor company. Will the rescue service and health and safety be conditions of that licence? Will a duty be placed on the Coal Authority to remove a licence if a successor does not meet an accepted standard of health and safety provision, or its contributions towards a mines rescue service?

Mr. O'Neill

My hon. Friend's argument is of special relevance to the colliery in my constituency. Any charge imposed by the Coal Authority on a Scottish coal operation would be disproportionate.

As you well know, Madam Deputy Speaker, a mines rescue service is a complicated business, as it requires a continuous shift system and therefore needs four or five times as many people to run it. The facility also needs to be fairly close to the coalfield. In Scotland, the difficulty is that for the foreseeable future there is likely to be only one complex of mines. There is a small offshoot at Monktonhall. At present British Coal pays for that and Monktonhall miners co-operative does not contribute to it.

When the new coal authority grants a licence, if the charge is to be sufficient to meet the cost of such a scheme it will have to be disproportionately expensive for the Scottish mining operation because the scheme would be smaller than one for the centre of northern England, where the Yorkshire mines will be located. The costs of a rescue scheme are of great significance to licensing in different parts of the country.

Mr. Illsley

That is a telling point about Scotland, and the same will apply to Wales. If the Coal Authority is to consider a mines rescue service when issuing licences, the successor companies will look long and hard at the situation in Scotland and Wales. If the Coal Authority is to take account, under the licensing regime, of a mines rescue service and, as a consequence, has to ensure that a part of that service will operate in Scotland and in Wales, obviously, as a result of the disproportionate number of collieries in Scotland and Wales compared with the central region, the successor companies in the central region will be required to pay the lion's share of maintaining a service that will operate in outlying areas.

That is a cost which the successor companies will be unwilling to meet, because they will be paying, in the central region, for a mines rescue service that is to operate in Scotland and peripheral areas. I am sure that those companies will regard that as a disproportionate cost placed on their company after privatisation.

As my hon. Friend the member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) points out, the licensing regime under the resolution and the charging by the coal authority is crucial in all those respects. Without having sight of the licences, we cannot know the conditions that will be placed on the successor companies in such a crucial sector as mines rescue. How are we to maintain a mines rescue service under that system? Will the successor companies be willing to be charged by the Coal Authority for the provision of that services?

A further liability is subsidence. The Coal Authority will not be given sufficient duties or powers in relation to subsidence. Earlier, the President of the Board of Trade said that subsidence liability would be passed to the Coal Authority, except in certain circumstances in which subsidence damage or compensation for subsidence damage can be allocated to a specific successor company. The President of the Board of Trade said in his speech that that would enable members of the public to determine exactly who is responsible for subsidence damage to their properties or their land and to take the appropriate action.

I put it to the Minister that that is an absolute nonsense. There is no way that a member of the public will get a straight answer from the successor companies operating in the industry in relation to subsidence. It is difficult enough now under British Coal. Obviously, members of the public will chase from one company to another as each company denies responsibility for the subsidence damage to their property. How is the average member of the public to prove responsibility for subsidence damage?

Mr. Hood

That is one of the parts of the Bill that puzzle me. It says: It is estimated that subsidence will initially cost the Authority £35–40 million per annum, but that this is expected to fall to under £20 million in the last year of the century. I assume that my hon. Friend's experience is the same as mine. The cost of subsidence has not been decreasing, and it will continue to increase for a considerable time after the end of the century. That seems to be an estimate by an organisation which is not identified in the Bill and which I suspect from the rhetoric in the Bill has no expertise or understanding of the problem of subsidence. Is that not another nonsense? The true calculations have not been put into the Government's assumptions of actual costs.

Mr. Illsley

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. My experience of the Bill also takes into account the report of the Energy Select Committee in relation to subsidence and the Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1991. It was apparent from those deliberations that the general public do not get the fairest deal when it comes to subsidence damage. Matters will only be made worse because of the Government's intention to place the responsibility for subsidence damage on successor companies and only partly on the coal authority. As a result, the Coal Authority will have to mop up all the residual liabilities when members of the public cannot obtain adequate compensation from the colliery company responsible in their particular region.

The question is why, under the licensing and charging regime, the Coal Authority has not been given total responsibility for subsidence damage. It would be far simpler for that authority to be vested with the power to grant compensation for subsidence, and subsequently to charge the money back to the successor companies that it determined were responsible for the damage. That would give members of the public direct access to one body., a one-stop shop where they could go to pursue a claim. The successor companies would know that the coal authority would charge the compensation back to them as part of the licensing regime, and that would be far simpler than the procedure envisaged in the resolution.

It is sad that certain sections of the Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1991 are to be deleted. I served on the Committee on that Act when it was a Bill. It is now likely that the coal authority will place no responsibility on successor companies to notify individual areas, and the owners of houses and other properties, of local mining orperations and the consequent likelihood of their properties being subject to subsidence damage. The Bill will remove that responsibility.

Mr. Hardy

My hon. Friend will recall that, during proceedings on the Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1991, our former colleague and good friend Allen McKay, who was then the Member of Parliament for Barnsley, West and Penistone, and whose constituency—a mining area since ancient times—adjoined mine, told the House about an occasion not long before he became a Member of Parliament when he was a voluntary fireman. He attended an incident in which some land had collapsed in order to rescue two cows that had fallen down a long-disused mine.

This is a true story, Madam Deputy Speaker, and is entirely relevant to the point that my hon. Friend was making. Conservative Members will recall Allen McKay, and he informed the House—[Interruption.] We are entitled to ask the Minister to take the matter seriously. My former hon. Friend asked the House who would be responsible for the subsidence, for the expenditure of the voluntary and professional firemen who had to attend, and to the farmer for all the inconvenience that he had suffered, and for the suffering, injury or even loss of the two cows? Does my hon. Friend think that such calculations crossed the Government's mind as they prepared to establish the authority?

Mr. Illsley

Certainly some calculations have crossed the Government's mind—mainly concerning how much responsibility should be passed to the successor companies. To minimise that responsibility they have decided to do away with some sections of the 1991 Act in so far as they relate to notification of individuals and to the responsibility of the industry to maintain plans in connection with subsidence damage. Without such notification, individuals will not be appraised of their rights under the subsidence legislation. The change is being made to reduce the costs of the industry after privatisation. The Act is less than three years old, so we have debated the subject recently and decided that that duty should be placed on the industry; yet the Government now seek to remove it.

The original provisions had the blessing of the all-party Select Committee on Energy, which debated subsidence damage as a precursor to the Act, and there was all-party agreement to its report, which said that there should be the duty of notification. I am surprised that the Government are seeking to reduce the effectiveness of the 1991 Act. The new subsidence proposals are totally unacceptable. They will be ignored by private sector companies and the rights of members of the public in relation to subsidence damage will be severely diminished as companies try to avoid their responsibilities for such damage, which is especially severe in the Nottinghamshire area.

Will the Minister tell us why no successor body to the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation—CISWO—has been delineated? The coal Authority has not been given any powers in relation to welfare. The Minister and I have discussed welfare and he has taken the view that an industry such as mining has no need for welfare provision. He would make the point that welfare provision does not apply in any other area other than the armed forces. The mining industry has been a dangerous industry, it is a dangerous industry and there will always be requirements for welfare. The Bill scraps the Miners Welfare Act 1952 and makes no provision for a successor body.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sorry to pull up the hon. Gentleman, but he must relate what he is now saying more closely to the charges. If he can do that, fine. We cannot have a general debate, in which I think he is now engaging.

Mr. Hood

I am sure that my hon. Friend is going to keep in order and I hope that my question is as well. Is it not the case that CISWO provides social care for 11,000 miners, retired miners and paraplegics at a cost of £2.5 million a year? If that care is not provided for in the Bill, either the 11,000 miners who have been receiving that care will lose out, or there will be a burden on local authority community care and it will cost a lot more than £2.5 million.

Mr. Illsley

The industry requires welfare provision. The point that I wish to make in relation to the motion is that the Bill removes the Miners Welfare Act 1952 and leaves a void. The only successor body under the whole privatisation scenario would be the Coal Authority. That cost of £2.5 million per annum, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) referred, should be charged through the Coal Authority either to the successor companies or to some other bodies which are created to provide welfare.

Obviously, the best way in which the coal industry social welfare organisation could have moved forward would have been to leave it alone, to leave the Act of 1952 in place and not meddle with it. Once the Government begin to consider a successor to the Act of 1952, the only available option is the Coal Authority, and we shall unravel a whole host of difficulties in the provision of welfare.

Will the Minister consider specifically making the Coal Authority the body responsible for welfare and giving it power to recharge the relatively modest cost for the provision of welfare—some £2.5 million—back through the industry to maintain that welfare? The other side of the coin is that if we are left with a void in relation to welfare provisions nobody will pick it up. The successor companies will go to the Coal Authority which wishes to charge them for welfare and why they should pay for the welfare of their work force when they do not see that as an appropriate cost to their business.

All year, we have heard of the costs to industry of social provision, but here we have a clear case where social welfare provision should be retained. As I have said, there are 500,000 beneficiaries of that provision and 72,000 people in receipt of benefit for pneumoconiosis—a prescribed disease in the mining industry. That is where the need for welfare arises. The coal industry is unique in terms of its dangers and its susceptibility to industrial illness and injury. There is a requirement for welfare, and it should be taken on by the Government.

I hope that amendments are moved in Committee to enable the Coal Authority to become the responsible body for that welfare provision. There will be considerable disappointment in mining areas if welfare provision is not accounted for. Obviously, local authorities will be mentioned as taking up the responsibility for welfare. They do not have the resources to do so. Therefore, they cannot charge the Coal Authority for that provision. The Coal Authority will not have a duty to a local authority for the provision of welfare.

There are two other matters to which I wish to refer in relation to the Coal Authority. The penultimate one—

Mr. Malcolm Moss (Cambridgeshire, North-East)

The hon. Gentleman should not cut short his speech.

Mr. Illsley

It is not a long speech—or, rather, it would not have been.

My penultimate point is about pensions, the Coal Authority and why the Coal Authority will not be allowed to take on responsibility for pensions after privatisation. As the Minister knows, pensions are dealt with by the British Coal pensions and insurance centre in Sheffield, and there is a question about its future role in the provision of pensions and benefits. The coal industry insures its own risks. British Coal does not have an insurance policy. It has to insure itself against whatever risk—for example, civil liability, personal injury—and there are substantial claims against it. The pension schemes relate to a fund of £14 billion.

Where is the safeguard through the Coal Authority in respect of pension schemes? It is suggested that the £14 billion be allocated to the Government and that they will take responsibility for allocating pensions in future, on the basis that 50 per cent. of the surplus will be allocated immediately to the Government. But what will happen to current workers? Their existing pension entitlement will end, their pension scheme will be wound up, and they will begin another pension scheme, perhaps with a private pension fund.

Where are the safeguards for serving mineworkers pension provision? The mineworkers pension scheme is quite good. When it came to opting out a few years ago under the 1986 legislation, many private pension companies were unwilling to accept mine workers transferring because the benefits under private provision were not as good as under the mineworkers pension scheme. In particular, the mineworkers pension scheme contained provision for widows' benefit. The private pension industry was unwilling to make a similar commitment, and transfers to private pension funds were not as good as under the mineworkers pension scheme. Therefore there were few transfers to private pension plans.

We have the same problem now with privatisation. A very good scheme, which is in surplus, and which has employees taking a contributions holiday to the tune of £800 million, is to be wound up. What is the logic in winding up the mineworkers pension scheme, and forcing every serving mineworker to take on a new scheme? Surely there is a vehicle—the Coal Authority—which can take responsibility for the provision of pensions, or license the existing pension organisation and charge the successor company.

The Coal Authority has licensed its pension provision to the pensions organisation, the pensions organisation administers the pension scheme on behalf of the successor companies and charges them for that service. I am convinced that the successor companies will welcome that with open arms. How many companies will welcome with open arms the idea that they must start a pension scheme for new employees which perhaps will be more poorly funded than the existing mine workers' pension scheme and which will provide poorer benefits? The answer is that the Government want the £14 billion.

It is simple: £14 billion goes into the Government's coffers and they are home and dry. The idea is that the Government will take the £14 billion from the mineworkers pension fund and the British Coal superannuation scheme and then pay the pensions as they fall due. At a time when we have a £50 billion public sector borrowing requirement, £14 billion is a handy little nest egg that the Government have stumbled upon. It looks attractive. Obviously, the Government will turn logic on its head and stop the pension scheme from operating simply to get their hands on the £14 billion. That is scandalous.

What has happened to pension schemes over the past three or four years? Who has been castigated for stealing pension fund moneys? Who gets all the blame for nicking pension funds? This is a classic example of £14 billion going the same way as the Maxwell pensions. The future pension entitlements of 500,000 beneficiaries could well be jeopardised by the ending of the mineworkers pension scheme. It is an absolute disgrace.

Mr. Bill Etherington (Sunderland, North)

My hon. Friend has mentioned that the closed pension scheme proposed by the Government will take 50 per cent. of any surplus for the benefit of the Treasury, leaving only 50 per cent. for existing beneficiaries. The 50 per cent. offered by the Government compares poorly with the Coal Board's record of offering 70 per cent. to beneficiaries. Does my hon. Friend accept that the Coal Board, which is by no means the most generous employer, could manage to do a little better than the Government's proposals?

Mr. Illsley

My hon. Friend is right. One has only to look at the existing mineworkers pension scheme. Over the past few years, British Coal has taken various contribution holidays amounting to £800 million, yet the scheme still has a viable fund of £14 billion to meet pension commitments. As I recall, the scheme has never been in deficit to the extent that the employer has had to make good the deficit.

The pension scheme is in excellent shape, yet the Government want not only to take the £14 billion fund. They automatically want 50 per cent. of any surplus. As my hon. Friend says, they want the cake, and they want to eat it as well. They want every last pound from the scheme. That is detrimental to the scheme and threatens the beneficiaries of it.

I shall refer to the duties of the coal authority.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Is this the penultimate point?

Mr. Illsley

This is the penultimate point, and it relates to concessionary coal. [HON. MEMBERS: "Come on."] If Tory Members do not interrupt me, I shall conclude my remarks more quickly.

The Government have said that concessionary coal is a liability that can be passed on to the successor companies. We must ask how the successor companies will be made responsible for concessionary coal. How will they be obliged to meet their commitments to beneficiaries under the concessionary coal scheme? The Government have chosen to pass the concessionary coal scheme on to the successor companies rather than allow the Coal Authority to be responsible for it.

That plan would be far more sensible than what is envisaged. It would be far easier for the Coal Authority to take on board the arrangements for concessionary coal and to charge the successor companies for the provision of that service to serving mineworkers and to beneficiaries. Of course, if people were attracted to cash in lieu as an alternative to concessionary coal it becomes far easier, as that is only a money transaction. The provision of coal could be through the companies and could be charged back to the Coal Authority.

Many concessionaires and beneficiaries are worried that their historic right to concessionary fuel will be affected by the Government's proposals. The transfer of rights contained in the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 is unlikely to be sufficient to enable beneficiaries to continue their concessionary coal entitlement because any company can place its employees on a new contract which does not allow for concessionary fuel. That fuel could be lost to serving mineworkers.

Mr. Michael Clapham (Barnsley, West and Penistone)

Does my hon. Friend agree that a better way of protecting the existing beneficiaries of the concessionary coal scheme and of providing for the workers in the privatised industry would be to have the Coal Authority preside over the 1983 concessionary fuel agreement? Does my right hon. Friend agree that that would protect both the current beneficiaries and the future work force?

Mr. Illsley

My hon. Friend and I have studied the 1983 agreement long and hard. There is no reason why the Coal Authority could not have the duty to take responsibility for the concessionary coal scheme and to charge the successor companies for dealing with that scheme.

I will conclude my remarks on concessionary coal by referring to another aspect which worries a great number of serving mineworkers. Contractors within the coal industry do not receive concessionary coal, and it is open to the successor companies as part of their licensing arrangements that their employers are sub-contracted to them. In that way, the successor companies can avoid the liability for concessionary coal.

There are a number of other matters on which I had hoped to touch, and I will refer to them briefly.

Mr. Hood

My hon. Friend makes a valid point as he comes to the end of his excellent speech. Is he aware that the example he has given is happening now in the industry? Private mining companies have taken over other companies have had to take over the historical liabilities of the scheme. Those companies are now saying—quite openly, and without any threat from the Government—that they are taking away the concessionary fuel agreement. If that is happening now before privatisation, can anyone be surprised that miners who work in British Coal pits now fear that the same may happen to their concessionary fuel agreement?

Mr. Illsley

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. In advance of legislation to define a particular industry, companies are ignoring the provisions of a Bill. The same thing happened with regard to Sunday trading; I will make only a passing reference to the subject, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Employees have been placed on six-day working contracts regardless of the contents of the Bill.

I will draw my remarks to a close, as I have discussed concessionary coal. However, there are other worries which are not addressed in the Bill or by the Ways and Means resolution in relation to the coal authority. I have mentioned the insurance claims of British Coal. Will the successor companies insure their own risks or take out insurance? What will be the level of premiums? Will they be judged like other companies for employer's liability insurance? That is a big area, in view of the number of accidents which have to be compensated for in the industry.

I have been involved in that side of the industry and I am well aware that there are claims within my area of Yorkshire which go as far back as 1982. Those claims amount to around £3 million or £4 million pounds per annum in terms of compensation paid. Should the Coal Authority take responsibility for that area?

There are outstanding compensation claims. The successor companies will not welcome with open arms the liability for historical compensation claims, many of which will not be settled before the privatisation legislation is in force. Noise-induced deafness is currently soaking up much of British Coal's resources. There are also other residual compensation claims. Those points must be addressed and must be the responsibility of the Coal Authority.

Insufficient residual liabilities are to be passed to the Coal Authority to protect the public from such dangers as subsidence or for the industry to be viable after privatisation. The privatisation is untimely, unnecessary and incomplete. The Bill and the motion are confused. There are insufficient safeguards and the Bill is hurried. There are major omissions which hon. Members must consider in Standing Committee in the coming months. There will be a bleak future for pensioners and beneficiaries of the pension scheme. Above all, the future for serving mineworkers is bleak.

12.35 am
Mr. Peter Hardy (Wentworth)

I will be brief, as I spoke earlier. However, I want to raise one or two points that I did not have time to mention then. I hope that the Minister will pay attention to my points and, if he cannot reply to them tonight, reply to them at an early and

I recognise that the matter is very narrow. Paragraph (a) of the resolution refers to the making of the Coal Authority … of charges for things done in the exercise and performance of its powers and duties."— [Interruption.] I recognise that the House is a trifle excited about possible developments, but when the Minister's adviser has finished telling him about the latest dramatic developments, I hope that the Minister will pay particular attention to my points.

Mr. Hood

Perhaps I can be helpful. I am also interested in what is happening between the Government Whip and the Minister. I heard a whisper when I was outside the Chamber a moment ago to the effect that there is a security alert outside St. Stephen's entrance. An unidentified car has been left there and the police are genuinely concerned that there might be a bomb in it. The police are worried about the possibility of a Division, as that would attract hon. Members to the House. I am sure that hon. Members will feel obliged to continue to examine the Ways and Means motion until the security alert is cleared. I am sure that that is what the Government Whip was telling the Minister.

Mr. Hardy

My hon. Friend has done the House a great service by bringing us up to date with the latest development in the insanities of life in this city. I hope that the car belongs to a representative of one of the foreign mining firms with a bad safety record who might have heard our strictures and gone away.

In an earlier intervention, I mentioned the experience regaled to us by our former good colleague and friend, Allen McKay. When we debated subsidence a few years ago, he told us about his experience as a volunteer fireman when he rescued two cows which had fallen into an old mine working. My serious questions on the resolution relate to the fact that my constituency, like the neighbouring constituencies of some of my colleagues, lies in the very heart of the old south Yorkshire coalfield.

There has been mining in our constituencies for 300 or 400 years. The first fatality in the mining industry in my constituency occurred around 1660. The industry is an ancient industry because several seams of coal outcrop and can be found easily in close proximity to Wath upon Dearne, where I live in my constituency in the heart of South Yorkshire. The Warren house seam, which comprises part of the coal being mined today in the Selby coalfield, outcrops at Warren house, which is about one mile from my home. It is close to the Abdy seam, which outcrops 18 in below the surface at the point where the Warren house colliery, which closed many years ago, had its first shaft. The seams bear the names of the localities where they outcrop. Within about a mile of my home there is the Newhill seam, the Meltonfield seam, the Warren House seam and the Abdy seam, all of them outcrops.

A few years ago, there was a fire in the Abdy seam and the mines drainage unit, based at the Westfield colliery site at Parkgate, had enough men to deal with it. As the industry contracted, the mines drainage unit was closed and responsibility was placed on Silverwood colliery, to which I referred in an earlier debate. That colliery may be whittled away; if it is, who will bear the responsibility and have the capacity to respond to an event such as the Abdy seam fire?

That is one of the problems that arise from contraction. Another difficulty is that we are dealing with an old industry whose problems may have their roots in events that occurred a century or more ago. Will manning in the authority be sufficient to understand and appraise such problems, and will it have the resources to organise a response to them?

Using the mines drainage unit, British Coal could respond rapidly to such problems, but many pits have closed or are to close. However, the problems arising from heritage remain. I represent an area in the heart of one of the older coalfields. Can I be assured that the problems arising from the legacy of past mining will be met by public provisions or by the authority under its obligations when that authority may have no capacity to do so?

When I was a student, I was researching the history of mining and happened to be taking photographs with a little box Brownie camera in pursuit of my thesis. In Rawmarsh, which is just a couple of miles from my home, I saw that the land had fallen in at a place where a bell-pit had operated, probably in the late 17th century. No one could prove that date because the records of a mine's workings were not collected then. Some of the mining operations in my constituency are not on official records. I shall give an illustration that is covered by the legislation.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse)

Order. I do not think that places of work are covered by the resolution.

Mr. Hardy

Paragraph (a) refers to the making by the Coal Authority …of charges for things done in the exercise and performance of its powers and duties". I shall illustrate what I mean. About 2,000 yd from my home is the site of what was the Rockingham porcelain manufactory. The Fitzwilliam estate, which owned the whole area, was a kind landlord to the Rockingham manufacturers, the Brameld brothers. They were given permission to mine coal in that vicinity—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. This is all very interesting, but it does not have a great deal to do with the subject of the debate. The hon. Gentleman should confine his remarks to the resolution.

Mr. Hardy

I shall try to make the matter clear. The Coal Authority would be empowered to charge for the exercise of its responsibilities, but who will pay the charges if the pit that is responsible for the problem ceased to exist 150 or 200 years ago? [Interruption.] I should like to finish this point which you were correct to require me to explain, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

If the pit closed 150 years ago, who will pay the charge? Who will ascertain the degree of responsibility? The problem will exist, so who will be identifiable as the person or body responsible? I do not propose to go further, but the Minister will understand that the questions that my hon. Friends and I have raised tonight will have to be answered in Standing Committee, otherwise we shall be placing an impossible responsibility on the British Coal authority arid asking it to perform tasks which are completely insoluble.

Mr. Etherington


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Is the hon. Gentleman giving way?

Mr. Hardy


Mr. Etherington

My hon. Friend raised a vital point when he used the term "heritage" in referring to the liabilities that have been created in mining areas. He spoke about the problems of pumping and of old pits that have closed. He will obviously be aware that the position will be particularly grim in areas where no pits remain. Does he agree that it is important that the powers and duties taken on by the Coal Authority should involve the responsibility for dewatering areas where a rise in the mine water could lead to pollution and other environmental problems? It is extremely unfair that the areas which—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Is the hon. Gentleman making a speech or an intervention? I understood it to be the latter, and interventions are supposed to be brief.

Mr. Etherington

I was following the spirit of the interventions which have been made tonight, but I accept your advice, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Does my hon. Friend agree that the cost of the burden should be borne by the country rather than by the people living in the area, who have given quite enough to society?

Mr. Hardy

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. He has put to the Minister some aspects of the problem which may not have dawned on him and given him due warning that, when we consider the relevant parts of the Bill, satisfactory explanations will have to be made in Standing Committee and on Report. I would stress that a number of noble Lords will take a deep interest in some of those matters.

The Government will have to do their homework in the next fortnight. The Bill and the manner it is being dealt with do not give us confidence that any homework is being done.

12.46 am
The Minister for Energy (Mr. Tim Eggar)

I have heard speeches from a number of Labour Members. I did not realise what good news was given from a sedentary position by the hon. Member for Barnsley, Central (Mr. Illsley). I must tell him immediately that I shall miss him.

I venture to think that there may be some misunderstanding on the Opposition Benches about the thrust of the motion on the Order Paper. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) for his interesting historical exposition of the outcropping and its relationship with the porcelain manufacturer in his constituency. It was one of the more interesting speeches from the Opposition and I should be delighted to hear the conclusion of that story.

Mr. Bell

My hon. Friend is on the Standing Committee.

Mr. Eggar

Then we may have many such opportunities.

A wide number of issues have been aired, some of which are relevant to the proceedings in Committee. I am sure that Opposition Members will not be surprised or offended when I say that few of them, indeed almost none, were relevant to the resolution, but that is a matter for their consciences, the Chair and the length of time they wish to detain the House.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Barnsley, Central for giving me notice of some of the issues that will be raised in Committee. I am particularly interested in considering how I will deal with the cows.

Much of the debate has been about the range of the Coal Authority's duties. The resolution will, of course, permit the authority to charge for the services that it provides, but it in no way restricts the range of its duties or the services that it provides. That is a matter for the Bill, and I shall not get into a discussion on that now.

It might be helpful and avoid doubt if I outline what the resolution covers. First, it covers charges levied by the Coal Authority. The Bill enables the authority to charge for the services that it provides and a good example would be a licence application fee for services provided in the processing and consideration of an application. The aim is to set fees at a level that will enable the authority to cover its administrative costs. As the House knows, that is a well established practice for such bodies.

Secondly, the resolution covers corporation tax. The Bill contains provisions that deal with the consequences for corporation tax purposes of the transfer under restructuring schemes of property rights and liabilities to successor companies and other public sector companies. There are also provisions to deal with the subsequent taxation treatment of such transferees. The general approach follows that adopted in previous privatisations which involve statutory bodies already subject to corporation tax. Finally, the resolution covers any sums to be paid into the Consolidated Fund or the national loans fund.

I hope that it has been of some use to the House to define exactly what the Ways and Means resolution covers. I am upset that we shall not be hearing any further contributions from the hon. Member for Barnsley, Central in Committee—we shall all miss him.

Mr. Greg Knight (Derby, North)

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:

The House divided: Ayes 210, Noes 56.

Division No. 77] [12.51 a.m.
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Gillan, Cheryl
Alexander, Richard Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Amess, David Gorst, John
Arbuthnot, James Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Ashby, David Hague, William
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Hampson, Dr Keith
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Hanley, Jeremy
Baldry, Tony Hargreaves, Andrew
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Harris, David
Bates, Michael Hawkins, Nick
Beresford, Sir Paul Hawksley, Warren
Blackburn, Dr John G. Hayes, Jerry
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Heald, Oliver
Booth, Hartley Heathcoat-Amory, David
Boswell, Tim Hendry, Charles
Bowden, Andrew Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.
Bowis, John Horam, John
Brandreth, Gyles Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Brazier, Julian Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Hunter, Andrew
Browning, Mrs. Angela Jack, Michael
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Jenkin, Bernard
Burns, Simon Jessel, Toby
Butterfill, John Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Carrington, Matthew Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Carttiss, Michael Key, Robert
Cash, William Kirkhope, Timothy
Chapman, Sydney Knapman, Roger
Clappison, James Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Colvin, Michael Knox, Sir David
Congdon, David Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Legg, Barry
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Lennox-Boyd, Mark
Cran, James Lidington, David
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Luff, Peter
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Day, Stephen MacKay, Andrew
Deva, Nirj Joseph Maclean, David
Devlin, Tim McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Dickens, Geoffrey Madel, Sir David
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Maitland, Lady Olga
Dover, Den Malone, Gerald
Duncan, Alan Mans, Keith
Duncan-Smith, Iain Marland, Paul
Dykes, Hugh Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Eggar, Tim Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Elletson, Harold Mates, Michael
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Mellor, Rt Hon David
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Merchant, Piers
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Milligan, Stephen
Faber, David Mills, Iain
Fabricant, Michael Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Fishburn, Dudley Moate, Sir Roger
Forman, Nigel Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Needham, Richard
Forth, Eric Neubert, Sir Michael
Foster, Don (Bath) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Nicholls, Patrick
French, Douglas Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Gale, Roger Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Gallie, Phil Norris, Steve
Gardiner, Sir George Oppenheim, Phillip
Garnier, Edward Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard Stewart, Allan
Paice, James Streeter, Gary
Patnick, Irvine Sweeney, Walter
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Sykes, John
Pawsey, James Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Temple-Morris, Peter
Powell, William (Corby) Thomason, Roy
Rathbone, Tim Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Rendel, David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Richards, Rod Thurnham, Peter
Robathan, Andrew Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Tredinnick, David
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Trend, Michael
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Trotter, Neville
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Twinn, Dr Ian
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Tyler, Paul
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Viggers, Peter
Sackville, Tom Walden, George
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas Wallace, James
Shaw, David (Dover) Waller, Gary
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Waterson, Nigel
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Wells, Bowen
Sims, Roger Whitney, Ray
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Whittingdale, John
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Widdecombe, Ann
Spencer, Sir Derek Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset) Wilkinson, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Willetts, David
Spink, Dr Robert Wolfson, Mark
Sproat, Iain Wood, Timothy
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Tellers for the Ayes:
Stephen, Michael Mr. Robert G. Hughes and Mr. Derek Conway.
Stem, Michael
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Leighton, Ron
Barnes, Harry Lewis, Terry
Bell, Stuart Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Llwyd, Elfyn
Cann, Jamie McMaster, Gordon
Clapham, Michael McWilliam, John
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Mahon, Alice
Clelland, David Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Cryer, Bob Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Meale, Alan
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Michael, Alun
Dafis, Cynog Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dixon, Don Miller, Andrew
Enright, Derek Morley, Elliot
Etherington, Bill Olner, William
Foster, Rt Hon Derek O'Neill, Martin
Foulkes, George Pickthall, Colin
Godman, Dr Norman A. Pike, Peter L.
Graham, Thomas Pope, Greg
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Primarolo, Dawn
Hall, Mike Simpson, Alan
Hanson, David Skinner, Dennis
Hardy, Peter Strang, Dr. Gavin
Hood, Jimmy Turner, Dennis
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Wise, Audrey
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Wray, Jimmy
Illsley, Eric
Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Tellers for the Noes:
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Mr. Jon Owen Jones and Mr. Jim Dowd.
Kilfoyle, Peter

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 212, Noes 60.

Division No. 78] [1.02 am
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Alexander, Richard Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)
Amess, David Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)
Arbuthnot, James Baldry, Tony
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Banks, Matthew (Southport)
Ashby, David Bates, Michael
Beresford, Sir Paul Horam, John
Blackburn, Dr John G. Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Booth, Hartley Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Boswell, Tim Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Bowden, Andrew Hunter, Andrew
Bowis, John Jack, Michael
Brandreth, Gyles Jenkin, Bernard
Brazier, Julian Jessel, Toby
Bright, Graham Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Browning, Mrs. Angela Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Key, Robert
Burns, Simon Kirkhope, Timothy
Butterfill, John Knapman, Roger
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Carrington, Matthew Knox, Sir David
Carttiss, Michael Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Cash, William Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Chapman, Sydney Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Clappison, James Legg, Barry
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Lennox-Boyd, Mark
Colvin, Michael Lidington, David
Congdon, David Luff, Peter
Conway, Derek Maclean, David
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Madel, Sir David
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Maitland, Lady Olga
Cran, James Malone, Gerald
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Mans, Keith
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Marland, Paul
Day, Stephen Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Deva, Nirj Joseph Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Devlin, Tim Mates, Michael
Dickens, Geoffrey Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Mellor, Rt Hon David
Dover, Den Merchant, Piers
Duncan, Alan Milligan, Stephen
Duncan-Smith, Iain Mills, Iain
Dykes, Hugh Moate, Sir Roger
Eggar, Tim Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Elletson, Harold Moss, Malcolm
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Needham, Richard
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Neubert, Sir Michael
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Nicholls, Patrick
Faber, David Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Fabricant, Michael Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Fishburn, Dudley Norris, Steve
Forman, Nigel Oppenheim, Phillip
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Ottaway, Richard
Forth, Eric Page, Richard
Foster, Don (Bath) Paice, James
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Patnick, Irvine
French, Douglas Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Gale, Roger Pawsey, James
Gallie, Phil Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Gardiner, Sir George Pickles, Eric
Garnier, Edward Powell, William (Corby)
Gillan, Cheryl Rathbone, Tim
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair Rendel, David
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Richards, Rod
Gorst, John Robathan, Andrew
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Hague, William Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Hampson, Dr Keith Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Hanley, Jeremy Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Hargreaves, Andrew Sackville, Tom
Harris, David Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Hawkins, Nick Shaw, David (Dover)
Hawksley, Warren Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Hayes, Jerry Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Heald, Oliver Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Heathcoat-Amory, David Sims, Roger
Hendry, Charles Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L. Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Leighton, Ron
Barnes, Harry Lewis, Terry
Bell, Stuart Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E) Llwyd, Elfyn
Campbell-Savours, D. N. McMaster, Gordon
Cann, Jamie McWilliam, John
Clapham, Michael Mahon, Alice
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Clelland, David Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Meale, Alan
Cryer, Bob Michael, Alun
Cunliffe, Lawrence Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Miller, Andrew
Dafis, Cynog Morley, Elliot
Dixon, Don Olner, William
Enright, Derek O'Neill, Martin
Etherington, Bill Pickthall, Colin
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Pike, Peter L.
Foulkes, George Pope, Greg
Godman, Dr Norman A. Primarolo, Dawn
Graham, Thomas Simpson, Alan
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Skinner, Dennis
Hall, Mike Smith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)
Hanson, David Strang, Dr. Gavin
Hardy, Peter Turner, Dennis
Hood, Jimmy Vaz, Keith
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Wise, Audrey
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Wray, Jimmy
Illsley, Eric
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Tellers for the Noes:
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Mr. Jon Owen Jones and Mr. Jim Dowd.
Kilfoyle, Peter
Spencer, Sir Derek Trotter, Neville
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset) Twinn, Dr Ian
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Tyler, Paul
Spink, Dr Robert Viggers, Peter
Sproat, Iain Walden, George
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch) Wallace, James
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Waller, Gary
Stephen, Michael Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Stern, Michael Waterson, Nigel
Stewart, Allan Wells, Bowen
Streeter, Gary Whitney, Ray
Sweeney, Walter Whittingdale, John
Sykes, John Widdecombe, Ann
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Temple-Morris, Peter Wilkinson, John
Thomason, Roy Willetts, David
Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V) Wolfson, Mark
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Wood, Timothy
Thurnham, Peter
Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th) Tellers for the Ayes:
Tredinnick, David Mr. Andrew MacKay and Mr. Andrew Mitchell.
Trend, Michael

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Coal Industry Bill, it is expedient to authorize —

  1. (a) the making by the Coal Authority established by the Act of charges for things done in the exercise and performance of its powers and duties;
  2. (b) the imposition of charges to corporation tax by provisions relating to the taxation of persons to and from whom property, rights and liabilities are transferred in accordance with schemes under the Act; and
  3. (c) the payment of sums into the Consolidated Fund or the National Loans Fund.

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