HC Deb 10 May 2000 vol 349 cc868-89

'Moneys collected under a licensing scheme shall be used solely and exclusively for the purpose of reducing the business rates on those premises in the area where workplace parking spaces are subject to a licensing scheme.'.—[Mr. Syms.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

5.15 pm
Mr. Syms

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

We now come to the second of the terrible twins. We have dealt with congestion charging and we are about to consider workplace parking. Although this topic was mentioned in the debate on new clause 28, that new clause referred only to congestion charging. This debate is purely about workplace parking, and I have been asked to make that point clear.

Mr. Gray

In view of what my hon. Friend has said, may I make a quiet apology to the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster), who I wrongly accused of not understanding the Bill?

Mr. Syms

I am sure that the whole House will take that apology in the spirit in which it was given and that it will take a constructive approach to this topic.

Workplace parking is one of the key ideas in the Bill. It is another method by which the Government wish to raise money for their transport plans, but it has to be seen in the context of the £36 billion that is raised from motorists in Britain. The Government wish to give local authorities and transport authorities the ability to introduce workplace parking charges in parts or the whole of their areas if they so wish.

The proposal has caused a great deal of concern, to business in particular. Many businesses think that the costs of the scheme will fall on them rather than on their employees and that they would face a heavy burden. I remember that, in my youth, the Harold Wilson Government introduced the selective employment tax, which was a tax on employment. Workplace parking charges will also turn out to be a tax on employment, because the firms that have the most employees and offer the most workplace parking spaces are likely to have the biggest bills. The scheme will probably not affect firms with one or two employees.

As the Bill has gone through the House, representations have been made by some major companies that have been responsible and provided parking places for their staff so that they can get to work and earn their crust. Those companies are aggrieved that the tax will be levied on them. When a local authority collects the business rates, it is likely to list the number of parking spaces for which a company will have to pay and add a further charge to its rates.

A business in that position will be left with a difficult choice. Should it pay the charge for its employees or should it pass it on? There is a slight sting in the tale: if the company passes the charge on to its employees, it may be VAT-able. A higher charge will be paid and the Government will receive even more income in the form of VAT. Many businesses have expressed concern that the effect of the proposal is that businesses will reduce the number of parking spaces that they provide, and that may displace parking on to highways and byways nearby and cause disruption.

If one reads the new clause carefully, one understands that it would make this part of the Bill inoperable. That is what we want to do, because we oppose the principle behind the proposal. A totally unjustified burden will be placed on businesses and it is likely to have an effect on jobs.

When the Committee considered the proposal, Ministers made it clear that workplace parking charges could be paid by employees, agents, suppliers, business customers and business visitors. They went on to say that the definition would include pupils parking at their schools or colleges.—[Official Report, Standing Committee E, 14 March 2000; c. 1014.] Students, who have already had their grant reduced and have difficulties in paying for their education, would therefore have to pay to park their vehicles at colleges and universities.

In Committee we had a long debate on exemptions, and the only ones allowed by the Government are for NHS hospitals. Apart from that, it will be up to authorities introducing such schemes to determine exemptions. Concerns were expressed about local authorities having great difficulty in deciding what needed to be exempt and, indeed, in varying the charge for different parts of the borough and, perhaps, for different users.

We have therefore tabled new clause 30, which would effectively destroy this part of the Bill. Conservative Members are unashamed about admitting that: we think that workplace parking should go the same way as window taxes did in Georgian times, when the Government tried to collected money on windows.

Mr. Phil Woolas (Oldham, East and Saddleworth)

It was a Tory Government.

Mr. Syms

I suspect that the Liberal Democrats were in power at the time.

Mr. Geraint Davies

Liberal Democrats?

Mr. Syms

All right then, Whigs.

We oppose the charge. The Government produced an interesting document entitled "Breaking the Logjam". In Committee, a number of points were made about it in relation to workplace and congestion charging, which may well be used together on traffic management. It was made clear that public transport must be improved to offer motorists a real choice before charging starts. "Breaking the Logjam" sets out an understanding of the potential of charges to damage business and commerce and highlights the need to protect the vitality of towns and city centres, including the need for a regional perspective to protect the sustainability of competing economic centres.

Many of our town and city centres are already struggling because of the cost of doing business in certain areas. A large number are already adversely affected by parking restrictions. Indeed, I believe that congestion charging—which we have just discussed—and charging for workplace parking could impose a real burden on businesses trying to keep shops going in town centres. If we are not careful, that will be a great disincentive to the revitalisation of our urban areas, and we should all be concerned about that.

Mr. Geraint Davies

As I understand it, the thrust of the hon. Gentleman's argument is that we should not have workplace parking schemes. However, the new clause says that we should, and proposes that the cost should be taken off business rates, so that there is no net impact on business. It would therefore introduce more and more red tape for business. If the hon. Gentleman does not want workplace parking schemes, he should table an amendment to that effect. The new clause, however, would involve more and more bureaucracy for business, which now knows what the Conservative party stands for.

Mr. Syms

If our new clause is accepted, introducing workplace schemes would not be worth while as they would not generate significant revenue. In most instances, money taken from companies would have to be given back to them. The proposal is therefore virtually revenue-neutral.

No sensible authority would wish to introduce a scheme from which it received no great benefit and which, perhaps, involved a cost to it.

The paper, "Road charging options for London", is relevant as that city is one of the few areas where a study of workplace parking has been done. The paper suggests that, for a parking space in central London, a charge of £3,000 might be levied. The chairman of the London planning advisory committee, Nicky Gavron—who doubtless will be quoted on many occasions in this Chamber—called for a charge of £5,000 a year per parking space in central London.

We are therefore talking about considerable sums, although the figures would be different for charges collected in other regions. However, if one counts parking spaces needed by businesses and comes up with a figure of £100 or £200 a parking space, for many businesses, that adds considerably to their costs throughout their year. That adds to the cost of employing people, which will have a pretty bad effect on business.

Mr. Gray

In addition to the effect on business, is my hon. Friend aware of the recent series of written answers which demonstrates that the Government have about 43,000 workplace parking slots? Given that, what effect will the proposal have on taxes?

Mr. Syms

My hon. Friend makes a good point, but the Government can probably look after themselves. I am concerned about small businesses that are struggling to meet their payrolls and to do business. They already pay substantial tax. On top of business rates, they are to be charged for providing parking for employees.

We go through fashions in this country. Occasionally, planning policy is that firms should have parking spaces, but then it is decided that it ought to be discouraged. I know that in the City of London at one stage, several buildings were built without parking spaces. Eventually, many had to be knocked down because they were not suitable. People wanted parking spaces to enable them to do their jobs.

We are opposed to workplace parking charges because they will not benefit the nation, business or people who work in businesses. It will put business in the difficult position of having to decide whether to require employees to pay for their parking spaces at work. Then, we come to the question of whether employees should be compensated in higher salaries. The proposal will increase the costs of employment, particularly in urban areas, which is not a good thing.

We have had many representations on this topic. The Confederation of British Industry ran a survey in London in which there was overwhelming opposition to workplace parking charges. Business made comments such as In the long run it will simply add to the cost of employing Londoners. Expensive for small companies, adding costs does not consider the needs of the companies. For example our two spaces are for sales staff who regularly drive to meetings outside London or who have "samples" in their car. Those comments apply across the country.

Another business in the CBI survey said of the proposal: It's using businesses to solve the transport problem—this is a Government responsibility. I do not wholly agree with that—responsibility is partly the Government's, although business must play its role—but workplace charging is not the right way forward. Another business commented: Car spaces are provided because they are needed by us to run our business which involves a lot of travelling. There are many such quotations.

Mr. Geraint Davies

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the impact of such charges will be first, to reduce the number of spaces, which will free up quite a lot of aggregate space for urban development; secondly, to encourage people to use public transport; and, thirdly, to encourage people to live near to where they work? Does he agree that those results are all environmentally beneficial and will probably lubricate the economy—people will take fewer journeys, on public transport, and there will be better use of urban space?

Mr. Syms

I am afraid that I do not share the hon. Gentleman's rosy vision. People live in particular areas because they like to do so. Many people live in the countryside because they prefer to do so. London is of course a nice place to live—I am sure that many areas of it are being regenerated, which I welcome—but taxation on workplace parking is not a productive approach. Costs will be substantial.

There is even the problem of definitions, which we discussed in Committee on several occasions. What qualifies as "a workplace"? In Committee, I used the example of a builders' merchants. If one is a builder, as I am—I better declare an interest—one would be charged for parking in a space at the builders' merchants because one is trade custom. However, members of the public who are buying garden furniture and perhaps a little cement would not be charged.

There is the issue of liberty. Local authorities will become involved in counting parking spaces and will have the right to enter people's premises to ensure that they are not trying to avoid the charge. In effect, there will be licences for parking spaces.

The proposal gives rise to many difficulties. It is instructive that the Government, who are a meddling Government, plan to introduce a workplace parking tax that will meddle a great deal in people's lives. I make no apology for the new clause, which would make the measure unworkable, as no sensible authority would go forward with it.

People feel strongly about the issue. Many of them need a motor car to conduct business. I do not believe that the Government are proposing a decent measure for the future, and I therefore oppose it.

5.30 pm
Mr. Geraint Davies

I shall make a couple of simple observations about the new clause. As I said in my earlier intervention, it would encourage business parking place charging as a form of taxation and as a substitute for normal rates. As I said in my second intervention, a workplace parking scheme could have beneficial effects and provide business incentives by reducing the number of spaces, increasing the use of public transport, and renewing and reviving some of the space at present used for parking.

The scheme would generate more red tape, but it would encourage those virtuous outputs. However, under the new clause there would be no opportunity for hypothecation to promote environmental benefits and more public transport provision to enable people to use public transport instead of their cars.

As I made clear in my interventions, the Opposition's agenda makes no sense, and their case shows no coherence. If they are against workplace parking charges, they should say so. Their new clause suggests that they are for it at a lower cost, but they are not willing to put in the investment to provide the public transport and environmental infrastructure needed to build a more sustainable Britain.

Mr. Don Foster

I begin by thanking the hon. Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Gray) for his apology, which he made with his characteristic courtesy and generosity. I am grateful to him for that. He made it clear that in the context of the new clause, we are speaking about workplace charging.

As the House knows, workplace charging is intended as an additional measure alongside others that have been mentioned, not least road user charging, as part of the strategy for reducing congestion on our roads, to which I referred in an earlier speech.

During that speech, the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow), who sadly is no longer in his place, challenged me by suggesting that all the current journeys that are made by car are absolutely necessary, and there was no possibility of reducing the number of such journeys. Amazingly, since that comment from the hon. Gentleman, into my hand has come some information which clearly demonstrates that he is unaware of the benefits that could be gained by persuading some of the people whose car journeys are less necessary to change to public transport.

I was interested to read that a motoring organisation, the RAC, concluded from one of its surveys that many car trips that are currently made do not have to be made by car. According to the RAC study, for up to 30 per cent. of car journeys, the trip was hardly necessary, or a perfectly good alternative was already available.

The challenge for all of us is to produce strategies that will enable us to persuade people who make unnecessary car journeys not to make the journey at all, or to switch to other modes of transport, preferably high-quality forms of public transport. Many strategies, in addition to those that the Bill proposes, are available.

I hope that the Government will accept the need to provide much greater support not only for rural buses, but for other forms of community transport. We could even be radical and consider tax breaks for people who have season tickets for different forms of public transport. We could consider more radical approaches to car pooling schemes. In my constituency, an organisation called Take 5 works with some of the major employers in the area to try to persuade them to co-operate effectively on finding ways of encouraging their employees to pool car journeys to and from work. Some big organisations—the best example is the British Airports Authority at Heathrow—have effective, computerised car pooling schemes.

We could consider a more radical use of variable speed limits, and make better use of our existing road network. Perhaps the Minister who replies to the debate will tell us about the Government's proposals for that. I am sure that you prefer to use public transport whenever you can, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but you may have noticed on the rare occasions when you use your car that drivers on motorways become infuriated with motorists who sit in the middle lane and clog it up. There is an urgent need for education about correct lane discipline on our motorways.

While other strategies exist, they do not deliver the goods on their own. It is therefore right for the Government to consider alternative strategies such as congestion charges, which we discussed in our previous debate, and workplace charging. Liberal Democrat Members believe that workplace charging has a part to play in the battle against congestion. We are less convinced about it than about congestion charging, but we acknowledge that the decision will rightly be left to local government. Local councils know the problems of their area best and are therefore best placed to make a judgment about the appropriateness of introducing workplace charging.

Fears abound that workplace charging will be introduced throughout the country and that it will be levied on the staff of a corner shop in a tiny village. That will not happen. It is not the Government's intention, as I understand it. I cannot think of a local council that would contemplate such a proposal.

The Government are keen to give local decision making full rein, but they are not prepared to be sufficiently radical. In Committee, we had an interesting, albeit unproductive debate about extending workplace charging. Many of us know about the problems that out-of-town shopping centres create and the volume of traffic that they generate. The number of journeys to and from such centres can be an added cause of congestion. Yet the Minister has been unwilling to accept the possibility of extending workplace charging to such locations because the Government have clearly said that it can be introduced only in areas that are congested, not in places where people's movement to and from them might cause congestion. I would hope that even at this stage the Minister may be willing to consider giving greater flexibility to local authorities.

If we go ahead with workplace charging as the Government envisage, it is right that the money raised, just as with the money raised from congestion charging, is likely to be best spent by being invested in making improvements in our public transport infrastructure and other related measures to improve the environment. On that basis, it would be wrong to accept the new clause, which would lead to moneys raised from workplace charging being used for a purpose entirely different from that originally intended, and one that we fully support.

It is strange that the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Syms) should introduce a new clause related to how money raised from workplace charging should be used when he and his hon. Friends are entirely opposed to the concept. I suppose that we should be grateful to him for moving the new clause, because it has given us an opportunity to debate these issues.

As there is plenty of time for the debate to continue and as there will be an opportunity for the hon. Gentleman to expand his views at great length, he might at least take a few minutes to explain whether the Conservative party believes that there is a congestion problem on the roads. The hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) was willing to acknowledge that there is a significant problem. He acknowledged also that it was costing business and individual motorists large amounts of money. However, it is not clear whether that is the official view of the Conservative party. It is—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman should confine himself to the terms of the new clause and not go wide of them.

Mr. Foster

I am grateful, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You will be aware that the clause suggests that money raised from workplace charging should be used for a particular purpose. Yet the hon. Member for Poole, in introducing it, made it clear that he was opposed to such charging. I was merely seeking to ascertain whether he was opposed to it and whether he accepted that there is a congestion problem. If so, I wanted to know what proposals he would make for solving the problems.

Mr. Syms

A Government that raises £36 billion in tax should spend a little more than at present on increasing capacity rather than taxing and restricting people.

Mr. Foster

That is a helpful intervention. If money is to be spent on increasing capacity, the hon. Gentleman's implication is twofold. First, he would be prepared to take away some current Government revenues from the purposes to which they are being applied. Presumably that means that he would be happy to see less money spent on pensioners, health or education. Secondly—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is going wide of the new clause.

Mr. Foster

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Of course I accept your stricture.

Unlike the Conservative party, we believe that congestion is causing a problem. We believe also that there is a wide range of strategies that can be used to address it, and that within that range there is a place for workplace charging. That is in areas where local authorities determine that it is the most appropriate way forward. We shall not be able to support the new clause.

5.45 pm
Mr. Owen Paterson (North Shropshire)

It is a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) and to resume the contacts that we had in Committee, although it is regrettable that the Government did not listen to the sensible arguments that we made. The proposals for workplace charging are totally pernicious. They will not work. They will not affect congestion in the countryside and small country towns that I know. They constitute a brutal imposition of tax on the benighted British road user.

British motorists and road hauliers are the most heavily taxed and the least rewarded in Europe. The Automobile Association has carried out a survey that shows that British motorists suffer from the worst road congestion in western Europe. They pay the most for petrol and diesel. They pay the most for their cars. They are the most highly taxed and they receive least return on investment in roads and public transport.

In the Budget, the Government trumpeted the increases in line with inflation on fuel duty and vehicle excise duty as a blinding flash of light that showed that they had seen reason at last, but British hauliers are still easily the most heavily taxed in western Europe. The vehicle excise duty on a heavy truck has been reduced only to £3,950 compared with £308 in Portugal, £328 in Spain or £358 in Luxembourg. I could continue, but I expect that other hon. Members wish to speak. Diesel costs 67p a litre in the United Kingdom, but 36p in Luxembourg and 35p in Belgium, so is it a surprise that Britain's hauliers are either closing or flagging out and going abroad?

Mr. Snape

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Paterson

I am delighted to give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Snape

I realise that the hon. Gentleman normally sticks faithfully to the script provided by the Road Haulage Association, but, as he mentions flagging out, can he tell the House the percentage of foreign hauliers on Britain's roads and how much it has increased or decreased since last year?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman can worry about hauliers another time, but not during this debate.

Mr. Paterson

I shall follow your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I will not be led down the wicked byways suggested by the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape), but I should be happy to give him those figures later. The Library supplied them to me last year.

The British road user is getting a lousy deal. Less than a sixth of the £36 billion taken in tax is put back into roads and local transport. The increases in line with inflation in the Budget were £715 million, but the Government will spend only £280 million extra on transport. In my rural area, which has not been addressed by the Government in any of these debates, 95 per cent. of freight goes by road and 67 per cent. of people in Shropshire drive to work in cars, but there is a £94 million backlog of road repairs and winter maintenance extends to only 22 per cent. of the network. Those are being ripped off by the Government. There is no other term for it.

Mr. Bercow

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Paterson

I am delighted to give way to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Bercow

I am listening to my hon. Friend's exposition with great interest and attention. Is he aware of the strength of opposition to workplace charging that has been expressed consistently and eloquently by an 82-year-old constituent of mine? Mrs. Elizabeth Zettl of High street, Buckingham, regards with repugnance the Government's damaging proposals. She travels across my constituency to undertake voluntary charity work in Buckingham. She would be savaged by the Government's proposals.

Mr. Paterson

I am delighted to hear about Mrs. Zettl and entirely sympathise with her predicament. Like every other motorist, £8 of every £10 she puts in her tank goes to Ministers, who spend it on other things.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman should not discuss such matters, which are not before us. We are debating new clause 30, which was tabled by his Front Benchers. What goes in a constituent's fuel tank has nothing to do with the new clause.

Mr. Paterson

I listened carefully to your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We are discussing moneys that are collected under a licensing scheme. My argument is that the British road user is so highly taxed that he cannot afford to spend any more moneys on any other scheme. I support the new clause because it has the splendid effect of neutralising this thoroughly loathsome and pernicious measure to tax parking spaces.

Mrs. Zettl is in good company. The British Chambers of Commerce has said: Business will face a bill of at least £2 billion a year should the Government's ill-thought out proposals for workplace charging come to fruition. Such a policy will serve only to put firmly into reverse any improvements to business competitiveness derived through greater investment in transport. Non-domestic parking charging would do little to change behaviour as the tax is charged to businesses rather than individuals. If charges are not, as is likely, passed to staff, the charge will operate as an additional tax on business. If the charge is passed to staff, business will have to act, again, as an unpaid tax collector. The charge could also cause friction between employer and employees. I think that they are understating the case. It is a cast-iron certainty that the charge will cause serious friction between employer and employees.

Mr. Bercow

My hon. Friend helpfully points out that the charges are levied on the business or organisation rather than on the individual user undertaking his or her duties for that business or organisation. Does he agree with me that it is a legitimate cause for concern that charities could be savagely hit by the proposal for workplace charging? They would have to foot the bill, their revenues would suffer, and as a result they would do less good for the community. The measure is utterly pernicious, wrong-headed and should have no place in our deliberations.

Mr. Paterson

I entirely agree. Those points were made in Committee, but regrettably were ignored by the Government. My constituents who drive to the college in Shrewsbury, which is a distance of 20 miles, will also be clobbered. Some of them are the least able to afford a new tax. People who have to attend training may drive to Wrexham or Telford. They will not be heavily remunerated if they are changing jobs, so they are in the most vulnerable position and will not be able to pay these charges.

A scion of Sainsbury's sits on the Government Benches in the other place. I have had a letter from Sainsbury's development policy manager, Mr. Huw Williams, who says: The Company believes that the introduction of a workplace parking levy presents innumerable practical problems. The opportunities for evasion and/or the implications of people's attempts to avoid paying the levy have not been adequately considered in the Bill or accompanying draft guidance. Sainsbury's is particularly concerned about the difficulties that it is likely to encounter in many locations in differentiating between parking provided for shoppers, which are therefore exempt, and spaces used by its staff.

Mrs. Zettl is also in good company in that the Institute of Directors has carried out a survey. It is a substantial organisation with a membership of 51,000, 48,000 of whom are based in this country. They were asked whether they supported strongly or opposed strongly allowing councils to levy workplace parking charges. An incredible 81 per cent. opposed the charges, 61 per cent. of them strongly. It was interesting that the directors were also asked about their likely reaction to the effect of this horrible measure. Only 12 per cent. considered that the charges would encourage people not to drive to their premises and, amazingly, 18 per cent. said that they would consider relocating. This measure will be counter-productive.

Those companies fear that people who visit them will vote with their wheels. In Committee, I cited the case of the towns in my constituency. A town such as Oswestry does not have one business that is more than 10 or 15 minutes' walk from a residential area. That shows the crass impracticality of the measure. Ministers have not worked in business or been to a country area such as Shropshire. It is obvious that, to avoid the charges, people will park their cars in the residential areas and walk into town. The measure is even more pernicious in that it will hurt businesses that are situated outside towns, where there is no option. People will park in the lanes and clog up the roads.

This is a thoroughly ill-thought-out measure. It is nothing less than a tax. It is a means of giving local authorities a method of raising money for local transport schemes that will not come from central Government. That is what it is all about. Time and again in Committee we came across the supine inability of Ministers to negotiate any battle with the Treasury and win. Every time, they came out worst, and they have had to muddle through and come up with such tack-handed schemes to replace money that should rightly come from central Government, if it is to come from anywhere at all. The measure gives local authorities the right to raise money for schemes, because it is almost certain that central Government will reduce their support.

This measure does not even have the support of what should be good, loyal councils. In Committee, I quoted Mr. Emmerson from the Telford development agency. He said that the agency was looking into the possibility of postponing putting this scheme into practice for seven years on the ground that Telford does not have any congestion. It is almost certain to have to go for a scheme in order to raise money. That proves the point. Ministers are incapable of negotiating effectively with the Treasury, and they are imposing through the back door yet another vicious tax, which will make every one of my constituents worse off and every one of the businesses in my constituency less competitive.

Ministers do not understand how things work on the ground. I support new clause 30 because it has the splendid feature of totally neutralising this horrible proposal.

Mr. Snape

I apologise to the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Syms) for not being present when he moved the new clause. I was doing an interview for the BBC—alas not on this subject.

Mr. Bercow

On buses.

Mr. Snape

Not on buses either. I hope the hon. Member for Poole will forgive me.

It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr. Paterson). If he will forgive me for saying so, his speech does not improve with repetition. He made it several times over the months in Committee. I know that he does not like the charges, but I wish that he would try to understand them. No one will force Telford or any other authority to implement these charges. The legislation gives them the right to do so. The hon. Gentleman avoided speaking to the new clause, although I do not want to go too far down that road in case I am accused of doing your job, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I could not possibly aspire to that.

I had the measure of the hon. Gentleman fairly early on in the Committee. His greatest wish is that Eddie Stobart will name a lorry after him. Time after time, he expressed his view that road hauliers are wonderful.

Mrs. Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest)

Why not?

Mr. Snape

Eddie Stobart might name a lorry after the hon. Lady as well.

The hon. Member for North Shropshire made the same speech time and again in Committee, completely misunderstanding the purpose of the legislation. He trots out the old figures about so much raised from motorists and so little spent on roads. We have done that issue to death, and none of it has gone in. The hon. Gentleman gives the impression that every morning he goes down to his local road hauliers, has a load of pre-mixed concrete injected in one ear, is given a brief and turned loose on the rest of us. I wish that he would listen occasionally and consider the legislation—even the new clause that his own party is proposing.

Mr. Bercow

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I seek your guidance because, not for the first time, we have been told in the Chamber that such and such a matter cannot be debated because it has previously been considered in Committee. This is a serious point. Am I not right in thinking that the legislation is to be reported from the deliberations of the Committee to the House? Those of us who did not have the immense privilege of serving on the Committee, but are now having the luxuriating lather of participation in the Report stage, want to hear my hon. Friend's speech because we did not have the pleasure of hearing it on the first occasion.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The amendments and new clauses before us have been selected by Madam Speaker. The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) is speaking within the terms of the new clause, and I am happy to listen to him.

6 pm

Mr. Snape

I suspect that, in his heart of hearts, the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) is happy to listen to me as well. At least I promise him the odd new phrase, which, it appears, is more than the hon. Member for North Shropshire can deliver.

A much more interesting speech was made by the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster), who—again, not for the first time—makes me wish that he would renounce the false doctrines of the Liberal Democrats and, as they used to say, come home to Labour. His was a speech that I would be proud to have made, had I the ability to be as lucid and well informed.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Mr. Keith Hill)

Old Labour.

Mr. Snape

We are all old Labour—apart from my hon. Friend, who may have moved on a bit. Anyway, given his speech, the hon. Member for Bath would have fitted quite well in the old Labour party alongside me. He correctly drew attention to the weaknesses in the new clause, and the thinking behind the Government's original proposal to introduce workplace charges, despite their obvious unpopularity.

Mr. Paterson

The hon. Gentleman and I enjoyed our exchanges in Committee, when he rejoiced in the nickname "Bertie Bus". He was always cheerful, and always gave a roly-poly response. I heard that response many times. This is the hon. Gentleman's last chance to prove that the Government's proposal will not make businesses less competitive in areas such as Shropshire. We are always given the roly-poly response; we are never presented with any specific arguments.

Mr. Snape

I do respond to the hon. Gentleman, but unfortunately he does not listen, or else he does not understand. I realise that he had the doubtful benefit of going to one of those posh schools, but he does not appear to be capable of listening. I am concerned about that, but I will try again.

The measure will make no difference in Shropshire if the councils that the hon. Gentleman mentioned decide not to implement it. It is as simple as that. Does he get it?

I am worried about the hon. Gentleman. I cast my mind back to the late 1960s and the last days of steam on the railways, when most of my generation fancied becoming engine drivers. Given his demeanour and his features, the hon. Gentleman probably pretended to drive a racing car around the playground. He has not come on at all since then. His speeches give the impression that nothing matters except the road haulage industry and the motorist, and misrepresent the purpose of the Bill to a considerable extent. [Interruption.]

I am trying to answer the hon. Gentleman, but he is obviously not listening. He is having a conversation with the hon. Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Gray). I despair.

Mr. Paterson

I am waiting to hear the hon. Gentleman's argument.

Mr. Snape

I have just presented it. It is necessary for local authorities to seek these powers. The Bill, and the new clause to which we should be addressing our remarks—I, at least, am doing so—mean that if local authorities such as those mentioned by the hon. Gentleman wish to implement the legislation, they are free to do so. If they do not, there is no element of compulsion. Do I take the hon. Gentleman with me thus far?

Mr. Paterson

Yes. But if, as is feared, central Government do not provide the funds for transport schemes, authorities will be forced to introduce charges that are quite inappropriate for rural areas.

Mr. Snape

They will not be forced to do anything. The new clause relates to the way in which we spend the revenues raised by the charges.

Mr. Syms

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Snape

I shall be delighted to do so in a moment, but first I must respond to the hon. Member for North Shropshire. It is a bit like knocking a nail into concrete, but I have got to try.

I will say this for the last time. The purpose of the Bill and the new clause is to give powers to local authorities, if they desire to use them. The hon. Gentleman keeps going off on that barmy tangent of his, saying that a Labour Government will starve authorities of capital and they will have to use those powers. There is not a shred of evidence for that; as far as we can see, it is just assertion. Indeed, the hon. Gentleman was long on assertion and pretty short on facts for the eight weeks—or 80 weeks, or however long it was—of the Committee stage.

Mr. Syms

Let me reinforce the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr. Paterson). This year, the Government gave a borrowing figure of some £754 million in relation to grant to local authorities, but only about £13 million of that consisted of grant. There is a danger that the Government will say to local authorities, "You can raise money; it is up to you whether you do it, but we are not giving you anything." That will force local authorities to make decisions, whether they want to or not.

Mr. Snape

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman—who usually tries to be fair about these matters—will agree that that would apply regardless of the political hue of the Government of the day, and regardless of the political hue of the local authority. His is a reasonable hypothesis, but it is no more than that. It is certainly not the intention behind the Bill, whose aim is to put more money into local transport generally, and to find ways of allowing councils to raise revenue in their areas if they choose to do so. I would expect members of the self-styled party of freedom to favour such legislation. They may not agree with its purpose, but I should have thought that the principle would please them.

Mr. Bercow

The hon. Gentleman referred disparagingly to Radley, the school attended by my hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr. Paterson). Does he honestly believe that it would be acceptable for workplace charges to be imposed on teachers parking their cars—as they would have—at my former state comprehensive school, Finchley Manorhill, in the Finchley and Golders Green constituency? It would be a monstrous imposition on people of modest means. Does the hon. Gentleman not see that?

Mr. Snape

Of course I do—and if anything is likely to turn me off the principle of comprehensive education, it is learning that the hon. Gentleman went to a comprehensive school.

I meant no disrespect to the school of the hon. Member for North Shropshire. I am sure that it is a good school, and I am sure that somewhere behind that bluff veneer is quite a bright chap, but he concealed that very well for the eight or nine weeks of the Committee stage, which worries me.

Conservative Members continue to give hypothetical instances, which disguise their total opposition to the principle of the charges. I understand that—it is a perfectly tenable view—but I wish they would not try to obscure their view behind the smokescreen so elegantly woven by the hon. Member for Buckingham, and the one not so elegantly woven by the hon. Member for North Shropshire.

Mr. Paterson

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Snape

I am still mulling over the hon. Gentleman's contribution. He cited an opinion poll of the Institute of Directors. I have never joined the Institute of Directors, because it is not an organisation in which I put much faith in terms of political acumen, but let me ask the hon. Gentleman this: if the same question were put to the Institute of Directors about income tax rather than congestion charges, would it receive a similar response? Of course it would. None of us likes paying taxes: that is the way of the world. I do not like it, and nor does anyone else. However, we must somehow tackle congestion, especially in inner cities, and we wait in vain for any constructive suggestion from the Opposition.

I know why Opposition Members tabled the new clause, and I understand it; but an organisation that is, perhaps, more reputable than the one prayed in aid by the hon. Member for North Shropshire, the Confederation of British Industry, has had a few words to say about the levies. It suggests that there should be a degree of flexibility. It does not say that it is in favour of the charges—indeed, it is opposed to them—but it acknowledges that the Government want to tackle congestion, especially, although not exclusively, in inner cities. It says: We would welcome flexibility to allow, for example, the local authority to raise and administer the levy— the workplace parking charge, that is— through some form of "pay and display" approach, as has been suggested by some businesses in the West Midlands. This would remove the administrative burden from business and levy the charge directly on the user. My hon. Friend the Minister will say that the problem with that is enforcement. We all know that there are problems with enforcement of parking charges anywhere, but I do not think the CBI's view unreasonable, and, when we are discussing how to spend revenues raised through the charge, it is worthy of consideration.

Finally, let me repeat that no taxes are popular. This is perhaps less popular than most, but the alternative is to do nothing. Finally—I mean it this time—let me say this. The hon. Member for Bath mentioned the problems of out-of-town shopping centres, and the question of whether charges should be raised from either staff or shoppers. If the hon. Member for North Shropshire came to the west midlands a bit more often—

Mr. Paterson

I live there.

Mr. Snape

All right. I meant the west midlands conurbation. If he went somewhere such as Merry Hill, he would see the misery caused to those who live around a major shopping centre as a result of the over-dependence, in their view and in their words—I will show him the letters—on car usage by both staff and shoppers going to and from a major shopping centre.

If we are to have the charges—the hon. Member for Bath mentioned similar situations—my hon. Friend the Minister should look at extending them to out-of-town shopping centres, largely because confining the tax to inner-city areas leads to the type of accusations that we have heard from Conservative Members today. My hon. Friend looks a little incredulous. It may be that I may have misread the legislation and that the go-ahead can be given to the use of such charges in out-of-town shopping centres. I should be surprised if that were the case, but it is an area that we should look at. If we are to discuss and to debate new clauses about how the charges levied are to be spent, it is relevant to look at how they are raised in the first place and, in particular, at the area in which they are raised.

Let me conclude—I mean it this time. As I have said, no taxes are popular. Any neutral who wandered into the Chamber to listen to some of the arguments, which have been well rehashed and well rehearsed by Conservative Members, would believe that there was no congestion problem anywhere in the UK. We all know that there is. It is getting greater and greater. Doing nothing is not an option. From that point of view, the Bill is to be welcomed and the new clause should be resisted.

Mr. Peter Atkinson

It is curious that at this late hour in the history of the Bill, the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape), whose contributions we enjoyed enormously in Committee, is trying to get down to the basics of the measure, but he is wrong—it is not about reducing congestion; it is purely and simply about raising a tax on business.

The hon. Gentleman has been in the House a long time and he is an old soldier as far as the Government are concerned. He knows perfectly well that if the Government give local authorities the option to introduce a tax on business, the Treasury will say, "We will cut their money because they can make up the difference by introducing the new tax." If I had time to go to the Library, I am sure that, with some research, I could come back with countless examples of where that has happened. It is purely and simply a tax on business—another one from the Government that business will have to pay.

There is no suggestion that people who need their cars to go to work, particularly in areas such as those that my hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr. Paterson) has described, will stop using their cars. They cannot. It would be grossly inefficient for them to park their cars on the outskirts of towns and take public transport. They will just foot the bill, or the company will have to foot the bill. It is another tax that makes companies less competitive. The usual decline of business will be caused by it.

My hon. Friends have been right to introduce the new clause. There has been criticism of it from the representative of the Liberal Democrats, the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster), and from Labour Members, but again we are wise to the matter. We know that the Government will introduce the tax. All we are trying to do with the new clause is give some of the money back to the business that is being taxed. That would be fair and justifiable. The Government's warm words about helping business are always belied by their actions. It is a classic case of another stealth tax on business, which business will have to pay. It will not help one jot to reduce congestion on the roads of our city centres.

6.15 pm
Mr. Hill

It has been a fascinating debate, with many important speeches and observations. I hope that time will permit me to return to some of the points that have been made, notably by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, Central (Mr. Davies), and the hon. Members for Bath (Mr. Foster), for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) and for North Salop who gave his usual rant on the subject of the road haulage industry. It will be a particular pleasure to return to that subject.

It is important, particularly in the light of the helpful and typically highly informed speech by my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape), to clarify that the Government have no present intention to extend licensing schemes to out-of-town shopping centres. I confirm that there are no powers in existing legislation to secure any such extension. It is possible under the terms of the Bill to apply workplace parking provisions to out-of-town situations where there is a congestion problem, but I need to make it crystal clear that the Bill cannot apply to shoppers parking in or out of town.

The hon. Member for Bath looks a little disappointed. I would be happy to learn from him that it is current Liberal Democrat policy to extend such provisions. [Interruption.] I take it from his sedentary assent that that is the case. I hope that the electors of Bath will bear that in mind when it comes to the next general election.

Mr. Don Foster

Just to clarify the point, I neither proposed such an extension nor suggested it. Nor is it part of my party's policy, but the voters of Bath might be pleased to see that happen because of the impact it would have on Cribbs Causeway. It might persuade rather more of them to shop in Bath itself and to help the local economy, so I would not be too concerned if I did propose it.

Mr. Hill

I am fascinated by that response because, on a number of occasions in Standing Committee, and indeed in this debate, the hon. Gentleman has sought to persuade the Government to extend the workplace parking provisions to out-of-town shopping centres. Now we learn that it is not his party's policy—that is absolutely typical Liberal Democrat ambivalence.

I return to the substance of our exchanges. I listened with interest to the speech by the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Syms). We have had a wide-ranging debate, but let me remind the House that new clause 30 would require revenue from workplace parking levy schemes to be used only to reduce business rates on premises in the area of a licensing scheme.

I propose to overlook the fact that the new clause flatly contradicts the previous Conservative new clause because, in my usual spirit of reasonableness, I am willing to acknowledge that, on the face of it, new clause 30 has some merits. That is obviously a source of consternation to the hon. Gentleman because he came as close as dammit—if that is an acceptable parliamentary expression—to conceding that it was a wrecking new clause. However, the fact is that it bears some consideration.

The measure would still give businesses an incentive to reduce the number of workers commuting to work by car—very good. Businesses providing relatively high levels of employee parking would pay a higher levy than those providing lower levels—very good. Recycling the revenue raised to reduce business rates in the area of the licensing scheme would mean that the levy placed no additional costs on business overall, although some individual businesses would be winners and some losers—very good, too.

The drawback to new clause 30 is that there would be no extra funding for local transport improvements. We believe that the success of charging and licensing schemes relies on the twin effect of their acting as a demand management tool and as a source of additional funding for transport improvements. In short, in addition to the workplace parking levy giving an economic incentive to encourage more people to switch from car use, substantial improvements to public transport, traffic management, cycling and walking provision will be vital to tackling congestion successfully. That is why the Bill gives schemes a guarantee of a minimum period of 100 per cent. hypothecation.

In our discussion of the Bill on Second Reading and in Committee, we heard Opposition Members stress the need for people to have alternatives to driving to work before new charges are put in place. We also heard about the particular problems of people in rural areas such as Salop, who might drive to a nearby town or city to work. In answer, I have stressed that the Secretary of State will expect public transport improvements to be made in advance of new charges, and that the Bill allows local traffic authorities scope to fund complementary transport improvements in neighbouring rural areas. The hon. Member for Bath raised that issue, and I am very happy to repeat that reassurance. The Bill clearly makes that provision.

Mr. Paterson

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Hill

I am happy to give way to the hon. Member for North Salop.

Mr. Paterson

I really must warn the Minister, for his own sake, not to use the abbreviation "Salop", which causes tremendous unhappiness. The abbreviation—as I have just managed to persuade the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency—is Shrops. However, does the Minister agree that in a constituency such as mine, with 98 villages, comprehensive public transport is inconceivable?

Mr. Hill

An entirely comprehensive transport scheme would be difficult to ensure. However, in the current three-year period, the Government's rural bus initiative has committed £170 million to new and enhanced rural bus services. Moreover, we have recommitted to that for the next three years. No fewer than 1,845 new and refurbished bus services have been secured for our rural areas. That commitment to the countryside was never contemplated by Conservative Members, but it has been broadly welcomed in the countryside.

The Government's target now is to ensure that, in the next five years, the great majority of parishes in England and Wales will have bus services within a six-minute walk. That is a real commitment to the countryside and to serious levels of public transport provision in the countryside. However, I should return to my main theme.

If the only possible use of the revenue from a licensing scheme is to offset business rates, where does it leave individual motorists? Their employers will still have a clear incentive to reduce their parking provision, and perhaps to prevent them from parking at work. If the Opposition's proposals were accepted, however, there would be no new money for transport improvements in and around the scheme's area, and many motorists might be caught in the dilemma of having no alternative to driving. The Government's aim is not to force people off the roads, but to give them real choices where none may currently exist. Giving people that choice is essential to tackling congestion.

We are fully aware of business's concerns about costs and competitiveness. None the less, we have to remember that congestion itself imposes on the UK economy a huge and growing cost—which the Confederation of British Industry estimates is more than £20 billion per annum. New powers to tackle congestion are essential. We place great importance on the need for licensing schemes to work with the grain of business. The Secretary of State will not approve licensing schemes that are designed only to raise revenue. It would not be acceptable simply to place additional burdens on business. Each scheme must demonstrate that it will have a direct impact on congestion before it is approved.

I cannot accept that, at the outset, offsetting business rates should be the only use of licensing scheme revenues, when our first priority must clearly be to address the years of inadequate transport funding by the previous Administration. In those circumstances, I very much hope that the hon. Member for Poole is willing to withdraw the motion and the new clause.

Mr. Syms

The workplace parking levy is a tax that will particularly hit large employers and inner-city and deprived areas. We shall press the new clause to a vote.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 132, Noes 371.

Division No. 190] [6.25 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Heald, Oliver
Amess, David Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Baldry, Tony Hunter, Andrew
Beggs, Roy Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Bercow, John Jenkin, Bernard
Beresford, Sir Paul Key, Robert
Body, Sir Richard Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Boswell, Tim Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Lansley, Andrew
Brady, Graham Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Brazier, Julian Lidington, David
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Luff, Peter
Burns, Simon MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Butterfill, John MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Cash, William Maclean, Rt Hon David
Chope, Christopher McLoughlin, Patrick
Clappison, James Madel, Sir David
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Major, Rt Hon John
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Malins, Humfrey
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Collins, Tim May, Mrs Theresa
Cormack, Sir Patrick Moss, Malcolm
Cran, James Nicholls, Patrick
Donaldson, Jeffrey Norman, Archie
Duncan Smith, Iain O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Ottaway, Richard
Evans, Nigel Page, Richard
Faber, David Paice, James
Fabricant, Michael Paterson, Owen
Fallon, Michael Pickles, Eric
Flight, Howard Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Prior, David
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Randall, John
Fox, Dr Liam Redwood, Rt Hon John
Fraser, Christopher Robathan, Andrew
Garnier, Edward Robertson, Laurence
Gibb, Nick Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Gill, Christopher Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Ruffley, David
Gorman, Mrs Teresa St Aubyn, Nick
Gray, James Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Green, Damian Shepherd, Richard
Greenway, John Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Gummer, Rt Hon John Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Hague, Rt Hon William Spicer, Sir Michael
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Spring, Richard
Hammond, Philip Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Hawkins, Nick Steen, Anthony
Hayes, John Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond Wells, Bowen
Syms, Robert Whitney, Sir Raymond
Tapsell, Sir Peter Whittingdale, John
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton) Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Willetts, David
Townend John Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Townend, John Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Tredinnick, David Yeo, Tim
Trend, Michael Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter Tellers for the Ayes:
Walter, Robert Mr. Keith Simpson and
Waterson, Nigel Mr. Stephen Day.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Clapham, Michael
Ainger, Nick Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Allen, Graham Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Clwyd, Ann
Ashton, Joe Coaker, Vernon
Austin, John Coffey, Ms Ann
Baker, Norman Coleman, Iain
Ballard, Jackie Colman, Tony
Barnes, Harry Connarty, Michael
Bayley, Hugh Cooper, Yvette
Beard, Nigel Corbett, Robin
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Corston, Jean
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Cotter, Brian
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Cousins, Jim
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Cox, Tom
Bermingham, Gerald Cranston, Ross
Berry, Roger Crausby, David
Betts, Clive Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Blackman, Liz Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Blair, Rt Hon Tony Cummings, John
Blears, Ms Hazel Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Borrow, David Dalyell, Tam
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Bradshaw, Ben Davidson, Ian
Brake, Tom Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Brand, Dr Peter Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Breed, Colin Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Dawson, Hilton
Browne, Desmond Dean, Mrs Janet
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Denham, John
Buck, Ms Karen Dismore, Andrew
Burden, Richard Dobbin, Jim
Burgon, Colin Donohoe, Brian H
Burstow, Paul Doran, Frank
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Dowd, Jim
Cable, Dr Vincent Drew, David
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Ennis, Jeff
Cann, Jamie Fearn, Ronnie
Caplin, Ivor Field, Rt Hon Frank
Casale, Roger Fitzpatrick, Jim
Caton, Martin Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Cawsey, Ian Flint, Caroline
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Flynn, Paul
Chaytor, David Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Chidgey, David Foster, Don (Bath)
Church, Ms Judith Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Khabra, Piara S
Fyfe, Maria Kidney, David
Gapes, Mike King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Gardiner, Barry King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
George, Andrew (St Ives) Kirkwood, Archy
George, Bruce (Walsall S) Kumar, Dr Ashok
Gibson, Dr Ian Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Gidley, Ms Sandra Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Gilroy, Mrs Linda Laxton, Bob
Godman, Dr Norman A Lepper, David
Godsiff, Roger Leslie, Christopher
Goggins, Paul Levitt, Tom
Golding, Mrs Llin Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Gordon, Mrs Eileen Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Linton, Martin
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Livsey, Richard
Grocott, Bruce Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Grogan, John Llwyd, Elfyn
Gunnell, John Love, Andrew
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) McAvoy, Thomas
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) McCabe, Steve
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) McCafferty, Ms Chris
Hancock, Mike McDonagh, Siobhain
Hanson, David Macdonald, Calum
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet McDonnell, John
Harris, Dr Evan McFall, John
Harvey, Nick McGuire, Mrs Anne
Heal, Mrs Sylvia McIsaac, Shona
Healey, John McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Mackinlay, Andrew
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) McNamara, Kevin
Hepburn, Stephen McNulty, Tony
Heppell, John MacShane, Denis
Hesford, Stephen Mactaggart, Fiona
Hewitt, Ms Patricia McWilliam, John
Hill, Keith Mahon, Mrs Alice
Hinchliffe, David Mallaber, Judy
Hodge, Ms Margaret Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Hoey, Kate Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Hood, Jimmy Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Martlew, Eric
Hope, Phil Maxton, John
Hopkins, Kelvin Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Alan (Newport E) Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Howells, Dr Kim Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Hoyle, Lindsay Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford) Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Mitchell, Austin
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Moffatt, Laura
Humble, Mrs Joan Moonie, Dr Lewis
Hurst, Alan Moore, Michael
Hutton, John Moran, Ms Margaret
Iddon, Dr Brian Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Illsley, Eric Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead) Morley, Elliot
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Mountford, Kali
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Mudie, George
Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW) Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Naysmith, Dr Doug
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Norris, Dan
Keeble, Ms Sally Oaten, Mark
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) O'Neill, Martin
Kemp, Fraser Öpik, Lembit
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W) Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian Stinchcombe, Paul
Pendry, Tom Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Pickthall, Colin Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Pike, Peter L Stringer, Graham
Plaskitt, James Stuart, Ms Gisela
Pollard, Kerry Stunell, Andrew
Pond, Chris Sutcliffe, Gerry
Pope, Greg Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Prescott, Rt Hon John Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Primarolo, Dawn Temple-Morris, Peter
Purchase, Ken Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Quinn, Lawrie Timms, Stephen
Radice, Rt Hon Giles Tipping, Paddy
Rammell, Bill Todd, Mark
Rapson, Syd Tonge, Dr Jenny
Raynsford, Nick Touhig, Don
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough) Trickett, Jon
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N) Truswell, Paul
Rendel, David Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Roche, Mrs Barbara Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Rooney, Terry Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Rowlands, Ted Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Roy, Frank Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Ruane, Chris Tyler, Paul
Ruddock, Joan Tynan, Bill
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Vaz, Keith
Ryan, Ms Joan Ward, Ms Claire
Salter, Martin Wareing, Robert N
Sanders, Adrian Watts, David
Sarwar, Mohammad Webb, Steve
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Welsh, Andrew
Shipley, Ms Debra White, Brian
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Whitehead, Dr Alan
Singh, Marsha Wicks, Malcolm
Skinner, Dennis Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Willis, Phil
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Wills, Michael
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Winnick, David
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Wood, Mike
Snape, Peter Woolas, Phil
Southworth, Ms Helen Worthington, Tony
Spellar, John Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Squire, Ms Rachel Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Wyatt, Derek
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George Tellers for the Noes:
Stewart, David (Inverness E) Mr. David Jamieson and
Stewart, Ian (Eccles) Mr. David Clelland.

Question accordingly negatived.

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Forward to