HC Deb 07 February 2002 vol 379 cc1055-67

'Persons in receipt of children's tax credit immediately prior to April 2003 shall continue to receive tax credit of the same amount after that date in any case where their award of child tax credit under this Act would be of a lesser amount, for as long as they are responsible for one or more children or qualifying young persons.'.—[Mr. Webb.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

2.2 pm

Mr. Steve Webb (Northavon)

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker(Sir Alan Haselhurst)

With this it will be convenient to consider the following: New clause 4—Effect of working tax credit on housing or council tax benefits'No award of working tax credit under this Act shall be taken into account in the determination of any housing or council tax benefit to which a person may be entitled under any other enactment.'. New clause 7—Access to social fund— ?Before the coming into effect of this Act, the Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament regulations providing for the conditions and qualifications for access to the social fund of persons ceasing to qualify for income support or income based job seekers allowance upon the coming into effect of this Act.'. New Clause 8—Access to passported benefits— ?Before the coming into effect of this Act, the Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament regulations providing for the conditions and qualifications for access to passported benefits provided by the Secretary of State, devolved administrations and local authorities which prior to the coming into effect of this Act had been afforded by qualifying for working families tax credit, income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance.'. Amendment No. 1, in clause 1, page 1, line 12 at end insert— ?(subject to the exception provided in section (Recipients of children's tax credit prior to April 2003))'. Amendment No. 5, in clause 60, page 32, line 25, at end insert— ?(except for regulations made under section (Access to social fund) or section (Access to passported benefits).'.

Mr. Webb

It is my pleasure to speak to new clause 1. We also support new clause 4. I shall not comment on new clauses 7 and 8-they will be discussed by the Conservative Members who tabled them—other than to note that they raise important issues and we are sympathetic to their intention. We look forward to hearing more about them in due course.

During our deliberations in the Standing Committee, a certain amount of ping-pong took place between the two sides. We wanted to give the Paymaster General the opportunity to set out her thinking on the rates and structure of the tax credits, but she declined to do so. Lest the hon. Lady be under any misapprehension, new clause 1 is different altogether. It does not relate to new claimants of the tax credit who start to become entitled—for example, due to the birth of a child—after April 2003; it relates to the rules that will govern the existing recipients of that tax credit.

The new clause would mean that people receiving tax credits before April 2003 were not cash losers due to the transition. They would be able to continue with the same cash receipt of tax credit for as long as they still had a dependent child, or a qualifying young person.

Obviously, the Chancellor will have to make decisions about the rates and thresholds of the tax credit in his Budget statement. We are not trying to pre-empt that. The acceptance of the new clause would not prejudge any of those decisions. It is really a statement of the principle that people who currently receive the tax credit should not be cash losers—whatever the Chancellor's decision as to the rates and thresholds.

I shall give the House an example, as otherwise we might assume that—in a rare lapse—the Liberal Democrats were defending the rich while the Conservatives were talking about the social fund. The families that I am talking about are not necessarily filthy rich.

I take the example, which I believe to be a good one, of a couple, both of whom work full-time—one on the typical salary for a nurse, one on the typical salary for a teacher. At present they receive the full child tax credit of £520. It seems almost inconceivable that, assessed on their joint income, they would receive anything other than zero. If a family of that sort received child tax credit, so would Back-Bench Members of Parliament. If, having decided to introduce a taper that withdraws child tax credit from higher earners, we include Back-Bench Members of Parliament among those who receive it, there is not much point in having a taper. Therefore, without going into details on the exact rates and thresholds that the Chancellor will choose, there is bound to be a doubt in the minds of families such as the nurse married to the teacher that they may be about to lose some, or all, of the £520 a year that they currently receive.

More than one or two families are in that position. If the thresholds remain the same, 900,000 families could lose all of their tax credit, and another 500,000 could lose some of it. The purpose of the new clause is to tell them, "You may be reassured. Although you might not get an increase, we offer you our assurance as a House today that, whatever rates and thresholds the Chancellor introduces, you will not be cash losers."

One might ask, why should not those families be cash losers? If a new system is introduced that is less generous to people in those circumstances, why should they not lose? We must remember that the children's tax credit was the successor to the married couples tax allowance, so we had a year when that allowance was abolished and nothing took its place, and we shall have had at least two years of the children's tax credit, now payable at £520 a year. It is reasonable to suppose that families have got used to budgeting on the basis of that income, and £520 is quite a serious sum of money. All that we are asking the House to agree is that such families may continue to receive that amount at that cash level. It would not be inflation-proofed, but they would be protected from a windfall loss of up to £520.

Unless the Chancellor wants to create 1.4 million losers, he will have to spend some money on that issue anyway—perhaps by raising the threshold or changing the taper. We are not prejudging that decision, but we are proposing a relatively cheap solution, as is our wont, because the only group that we are protecting consists of existing recipients, who gradually fade out of the system. An existing recipient with a 16-year-old child and nothing else gets the money for one year, and that is it.

If we were arguing that the Government should be raising the threshold so that new recipients in the same circumstances received the full tax credit, that increased cost would roll on indefinitely in the system. Our proposal is a transitional measure, not one for new claimants, because arguably a new family—the nurse married to the teacher who then has he first baby—has never budgeted on the basis of that sum of money and has never got used to having it, so that family's not having it through a new system is defensible. However, taking the money away from people who have got used to having it is far less defensible. Ours is a very modest proposal, to protect existing recipients and to make a statement of principle that there should be no cash losers, without prejudice to any decision that the Chancellor might take about raising thresholds.

I shall briefly address new clause 4. Here there are interesting parallels between the Tax Credits Bill and the State Pension Credit Bill. In the case of the latter Bill, which is passing through another place, the Government have decided that any gains that are given to people through the credit should not be taken from them by means of tapers on housing benefit and council tax benefit, but the Government have not offered us those assurances in the case of tax credits—quite the contrary.

There is some suggestion that a person who gets tax credits through the Tax Credits Bill will then potentially have some or most of them taken away as a result of the tapers on housing benefit and council tax benefit. Several London Members, who served on the Committee with us, expressed concern that because, in view of high rents, people can be on housing benefit while having relatively high incomes, those people could lose 65p—perhaps 85p—in the pound of the money that the Government want to give them.

If the purpose of the Bill is to reward work, to encourage people to work and to teach that work pays, it is dishonest to give them money through the pay packet so that they get a high take-home pay figure and then allow the local authority to come along and take 85 per cent. of it from them. That seems counter-productive in terms of the Government's objectives. We therefore consider that new clause 4 is helpful to the Government—just as we have been in tabling many of our amendments—by enabling those whom they intend to benefit from the tax credits to keep the money, instead of having to give it to someone else.

Hywel Williams (Caernarfon)

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the point that he is discussing merely replicates the very worst aspects of the previous system and that that is a disincentive to returning to work, not only in London but in constituencies such as mine where many people claim the working families tax credit, are paid low wages and are in part-time or short-time work?

Mr. Webb

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. Although high rents and council taxes in London are important, the issue is more about the interaction between high housing costs, high local taxes and low wages. Where all those factors combine, the problem will be particularly acute.

The principle of what we want to achieve under new clause 4 is relatively straightforward. We are sure that the Government want to encourage people to take the low-paid jobs that are available, but if the money that the Government give them is taken away from them partly or wholly because of another benefit system, that goes against what the Government want to achieve. We seek to protect existing claimants and to help the Government achieve their goals of encouraging low-paid work, and we believe that new clauses 1 and 4 would help to achieve those objectives.

Mr. Howard Flight (Arundel and South Downs)

This group of new clauses and amendments essentially covers territory that there was insufficient time to cover in Committee. Yet again, that is evidence of the unsatisfactory nature of Bill programming.

Amendment No. 1, tabled by the Liberal Democrats, raises an important point of principle and, as has been stated, it grandfathers claimants' benefits under the existing children's tax credit. It was the consistent policy of Conservative Governments in changing social welfare, in essence, to grandfather existing claimants and to ensure that people were not disadvantaged by legislative changes. Therefore, amendment No. 1 is, in part, a probing amendment—it is important for the House to know what the Government intend to do. As the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) said, the intention is not to discover what the rates will be across the board, but to address a point of principle, so I look forward to hearing what the Paymaster General has to say.

New clauses 7 and 8, with amendment No. 5, broadly address overlapping territory. Under new clause 4, the Liberal Democrats would apply a disregard principle, designed to address problems that arise in areas where housing is expensive, such as London. Under new clauses 7 and 8, we raise a much wider issue. The Bill does not explicitly state how passporting to the social fund and the various other crucial benefits—housing benefits, school meal benefits and council tax benefits—will be dealt with as a result of ending income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance, which provided crucial passports to qualify for those benefits.

The Bill therefore leaves major uncertainties about the arrangements for people who are presently passported by the existing qualifications under the working families tax credit, disabled person's tax credit, income support and jobseeker's allowance. The Bill will float some families off income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance, and they will lose access to the social fund unless specific provisions are made.

We want the Government to set out what their proposals are, as they should have done in the first place in the Bill. Perhaps those proposals will be satisfactory, but, unless that issue is properly addressed, the House should divide on the new clause because the most needy in society will face a major flaw if the issue is not addressed.

The Paymaster General(Dawn Primarolo)

Notwithstanding the fact that the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Mr. Flight) has already declared that he intends to vote for the new clause before he has even heard what I have to say—I shall endeavour to be my normal persuasive self—several important issues are raised in this group of new clauses and amendments, and I should like briefly to deal with each principle. The hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) has moved a new clause that deals with one set of changes, but the hon. Gentlemen have spoken about something unconnected to the new clauses and amendments that they have tabled. That causes some difficulty, but let me give an explanation.

This group of new clauses and amendments deals with the relationship between the new tax credits and the existing forms of support. They cover three main issues—the children's tax credit, the interaction with housing and council tax benefits, and the passporting issue. I want to deal with each issue in turn because they are very important, as the hon. Gentlemen have said.

2.15 pm

In speaking to new clause 1 and amendment No. 1, the hon. Member for Northavon returns to a point that we considered in Committee, even though he tries to explain that he is not doing so. I disappointed him in Committee, and I am afraid I shall do so again now. In dealing with what he claimed was a principle, he suggested some solutions. He said that the Chancellor could let thresholds remain the same, or he could change the threshold to address the point that the hon. Gentleman was making. As I have repeatedly said, the rates and tapers will be announced in the Budget by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

New clause 1 refers to the children's tax credit and to people who are currently entitled to it. Under that new clause, the hon. Gentleman continues to try to extract a commitment from the Government about how a particular group of people may be affected. He then tries to extrapolate from that the type of decisions that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will want to announce in his Budget statement.

The children's tax credit was one of a series of measures that we introduced in the previous Parliament to improve support for families with children. The measures that we introduced in our first term in office were constrained, as was the working families tax credit, by the system that then existed. The children's tax credit works in the framework imposed by independent taxation. It is therefore based on individual claimants and their individual incomes. That territory is fairly well understood in the House. The children's tax credit had to work in that way because of the income tax system.

One of the consequences of that has been that couples with the same aggregate income may receive different amounts of the children's tax credit, depending on how the income is distributed between them. Hon. Members and organisations have lobbied us extensively to tell us that that simply was not fair and that we needed to address it. That issue has been addressed in the child tax credit, and the hon. Gentleman would like me to tell him exactly how the rates and tapers will affect people as they transfer, but I am not about to do so. I have not seen any serious suggestion that the Government are at fault in trying to resolve that difficulty.

The formal announcements on the rates and tapers and on when the new tax credits will be introduced will be made in the Budget statement. I confirm yet again that that will happen in the Chancellor's Budget statement on 17 April and that we are planning a start in April 2003.

When setting the rates and thresholds, due consideration will be given to the relevant factors. My right hon. Friend will take those into account. As I said to the hon. Gentleman, the outline is in the Bill, but asking for specific undertakings on different sections of the population that will receive the tax credits is another attempt to debate rates and tapers. I know that he is keen to have that debate; so am I, and I look forward to engaging in it when the Chancellor makes his announcement. I hope that the hon. Gentleman's cold is not so bad that it restricts him from participating then.

Mr. Webb

New clause 1 is devised to allow us to request an assurance that there will be no cash losers among existing recipients. The Chancellor can set any rates or thresholds that he likes for people who come into the system or who continue in it, but do the Government believe that, no matter what those are, the principle of no cash losers is at stake? It seems that the Minister wants to keep cash losses on the table.

Dawn Primarolo

I am not going to help the hon. Gentleman to make his points about whether there are losers in the transition to the new tax credits, which he made in the press. As I said to him and to other Committee members and Members of the House, it is clear that the Chancellor will take all considerations into his calculations. Thresholds and tapers, which will influence all those who transfer into the new tax credits, will be announced in the Budget statement. The hon. Gentleman is trying to crack open that debate now so that he can continue to advance the arguments that he made in the press. I understand why he wants to do that as an Opposition Member. However, he will understand, because I have said this to him so often, that the Chancellor will make the announcement in the Budget statement.

Mr. Flight

Is the Paymaster General aware of the principle of Newton's law, named after Tony Newton? It clearly established that there should be no cash losers when welfare benefits change. For the record, the Minister is saying that this Government do not follow that principle.

Dawn Primarolo

That is not the Newton's law that immediately came to my mind. If you will excuse the pun, Mr. Deputy Speaker, this is a fruitless debate. All hon. Members know that rates and tapers are the subject of the Budget announcement by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. The Bill and our debates on it have been widely welcomed by everyone who is concerned about simplicity and transparency and about ensuring that families on the lowest incomes get the most support from our policies to tackle child poverty.

New clause 4 deals with the interaction of the working tax credit with housing benefit and council tax benefit. It would prevent the working tax credit from being taken into account in assessing entitlement to either of those benefits and would mean that people in work had a higher entitlement to benefits. I am not sure that that would produce the bed of roses that the hon. Member for Northavon might suppose.

Of primary importance to any family or individual is the overall package of support that they receive if they are in low-income work. A family with children could receive a combination of child benefit, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing and council tax benefits on top of their earnings. The Government are committed to ensuring that the overall package provides sufficient incentives for families to move into work and, once they are working, to increase their earnings.

The hon. Gentleman is well versed in the interactions of tapers and their effects on incentives to move into work. A key factor is the effect of the interaction of the various elements of the package on overall withdrawal rates. I know that the hon. Gentleman and many of my hon. Friends are concerned about the impact of that on rental costs in some parts of the country. It might help if I outline the effect of the new clause on the current system because it does not deliver what the hon. Gentleman wants.

If the working families tax credit were not taken into account in housing benefit and council tax benefit, the combined withdrawal rates of the two credits would increase significantly, producing a total withdrawal rate of around 125 per cent., so people would be worse off for working harder. The underlying principles, if not the precise numbers, are the same for the working tax credit as they are for the working families tax credit and the disabled person's tax credit.

The Government are committed to improving work incentives. I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern about areas with high rents. We have discussed that in the context of housing benefit, and the Department for Work and Pensions is considering the problem. Far from improving things, new clause 4 would cut across the work that we are doing to ensure that people are better off in work. In addition, its effects would not be well targeted, so not only would it result in a withdrawal rate of 125 per cent. but the targeting would cause problems. Housing benefit and council tax benefit are withdrawn as incomes increase, ensuring that those on the lowest incomes get the most support. Apart from a small disregard, net earnings are taken fully into account in housing and council tax benefits. It would not make any sense to treat the working tax credit, which is designed to boost net earnings, more favourably than earnings themselves.

New clause 4 would not work. Indeed, it would make things worse. The debate allows the hon. Gentleman to highlight the interaction between high-rent areas and housing benefit payments. None the less, the new clause would destroy all the work incentives and the possibilities offered by the working tax credit. That might be his intention; I know that he is not a fan of the working tax credit. However, the new clause does not impress its virtues on the Government.

I am trying to explain the Government's intentions and how we view the interaction between benefits and the new tax credit. The interaction is especially important when we consider the passporting of benefits, which is dealt with in new clauses 7 and 8.

2.30 pm

New clauses 7 and 8 set out to probe the Government's intentions regarding entitlement to what are commonly known as the passported benefits—benefits provided by other Government Departments, for example, free school meals provided by the Department for Education and Skills, and free prescriptions and dental treatment provided by Department of Health. Those benefits, and many more besides, use entitlement to certain key social security benefits and tax credits as a peg in decisions on who should get access to them, as a way to reduce the administration and difficulties involved in making sure that benefits get through.

Passported benefits remain the responsibility of the administering Departments, not of the Treasury; it is for those Departments to set the rules for entitlement and decide what level of income brings a family into entitlement. For those reasons, it is inappropriate to legislate for other Government Departments in the Bill, even though the Bill gives powers to provide information to the other Departments to undertake passporting.

The key issues in passporting are, as the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs mentioned, those who are floated off income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance when the child elements of those benefits are removed, and what we do to ensure that people who had passported benefits continue to receive them in the new tax credits. The latest estimates suggest that about 70,000 families, out of a total 1.3 million currently receiving income support or jobseeker's allowance, will no longer receive the benefits as a result of the changes. Naturally, we are anxious to ensure that their entitlements are protected.

The Department for Work and Pensions will make proposals on how those families will be treated in due course, once the rates, tapers and income rules have been determined. Families that are floated off will be contacted well in advance by that Department and offered an interview; they will be provided with all the details and with help to secure their position.

In previous discussions, hon. Members have asked about entitlement to free school meals and free milk for the young children—the so-called welfare foods scheme—of those floated off income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance. They are two specific issues on which I can offer more detail on the Government's thinking.

On 24 January, my hon. Friend the Minister for School Standards made it clear to the Committee considering the Education Bill that the Government intend to put in place measures to guarantee that those who are floated off income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance because of the introduction of the new tax credits will not lose their access to free school meals—they will be protected. Today, I can confirm that similar arrangements will be put in place to maintain that group's entitlements to the welfare foods category of benefits.

I am trying to reassure the House that those who are currently passported to certain benefits will continue to be passported on the same basis as now. It is necessary that the Government Departments involved develop new regulations using the new tax credits to ensure that there is no loss. I am confident that that will be achieved.

I hope that in the light of my explanation of how the amendments are technically flawed and would make matters worse, and my reassurances about passported benefits, together with the fact that I am not persuaded to make today an announcement on rates and tapers that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor is due to make in his Budget statement, the amendments and new clauses will be withdrawn. If they are pressed to a vote, regrettably I shall have to recommend to my right hon. and hon. Friends that they oppose them in the Lobby.

Mr. Flight


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman cannot speak again. Only the mover of the lead new clause can do so.

Mr. Webb

I am grateful to the Paymaster General for putting on the record some of the issues that we had no time to discuss in Committee, especially those relating to passporting. The hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Mr. Flight) can decide for himself whether or not he is satisfied with the hon. Lady's response.

Taking our new clauses in reverse order, I accept the Paymaster General's explanation of new clause 4's effect on the marginal tax rate. I would go so far as to say that I made a mistake—that is not the effect intended. However, she did not satisfy us on the principle. Her colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions were prepared to say in respect of pension credit that they will put up housing benefit thresholds to ensure that the benefit of the credit gets through. That credit is not due to start until October 2003. That Department is prepared to assure people that it will adjust rates and thresholds to ensure that they will get the benefit 18 months or so down the line, but the Paymaster General is not prepared to assure them that what they are given with one hand through the working tax credit will not be taken away with the other through housing benefit even 12 months down the line.

Whatever the merits of the new clause, the Paymaster General might have offered us some reassurance. The issue of high housing costs can only be addressed with reference to the effects on the housing benefit system, because the only way to identify those who have the combination of low income and high housing costs is through housing benefit. The hon. Lady said that the new clause would not deal with the problem, but did not say what would. I think that she recognises there is a problem, but she gave no sense that the Government intend to deal with it, nor any indication of how they might do so. We are disappointed by the Government's response to new clause 4, which, although it would not achieve what we intended, at least raises the issue.

It is interesting to compare the Paymaster General's response on passported benefits to her response on continued entitlement to the children's tax credit. On passported benefits, she gave an assurance that there would be no losers—people getting free school meals now will get them in future—but there was no such assurance on the children's tax credit: that will be dealt with in the Budget. What is the difference of principle between the two? [Interruption.] None—it is decent of the hon. Lady to say that. After all, I have admitted that I was wrong.

People are getting credits now and they want an assurance that they will continue to do so in future. We are delighted by the assurance that free school meals will be carried over; why can we not have a similar assurance on the children's tax credit? As the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs said, when structural changes are made there tends to be a principle whereby attempts are made to avoid cash losers. People then work their way through the system and inflation does its bit, but people are protected when changes are made.

Whatever rates and thresholds the Chancellor chooses—we are not trying to pre-empt his decision—we seek an assurance today that those who currently receive money will be protected and that there is a principle of no cash losers at work. However, the Paymaster General has reserved the option, in effect saying that she wants to leave for the Chancellor in the Budget the discretion not merely to set the rates and thresholds that he wants to set, but to take some or all of the £520 a year that those hard-working families are getting.

My hon. Friends and I are concerned that the Chancellor wants to reserve that option. We therefore want to test the opinion of the House.

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

The House divided: Ayes 165, Noes 245.

Division No. 163] [2.38 pm
Allan, Richard Cormack, Sir Patrick
Amess, David Cotter, Brian
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Cran, James
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Djanogly, Jonathan
Bacon, Richard Doughty, Sue
Baldry, Tony Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Barker, Gregory Ewing, Annabelle
Baron, John Fabricant, Michael
Barrett, John Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Beggs, Roy Flight, Howard
Beith, Rt Hon A J Flook, Adrian
Bercow, John Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Blunt, Crispin Fox, Dr Liam
Boswell, Tim Francois, Mark
Brady, Graham Gale, Roger
Brake, Tom Garnier, Edward
Brazier, Julian George, Andrew (St Ives)
Brooke, Mrs Annette L Gibb, Nick
Browning, Mrs Angela Gidley, Sandra
Burnett, John Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Burt, Alistair Goodman, Paul
Butterfill, John Gray, James
Cable, Dr Vincent Grayling, Chris
Calton, Mrs Patsy Green, Damian (Ashford)
Cameron, David Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y) Grieve, Dominic
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies Gummer, Rt Hon John
(NE Fife) Hague, Rt Hon William
Carmichael, Alistair Hammond, Philip
Cash, William Hams, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Chapman, Sir Sydney Harvey, Nick
(Chipping Barnet) Hawkins, Nick
Chope, Christopher Hayes, John
Clappison, James Heald, Oliver
Collins, Tim Hoban, Mark
Conway, Derek Holmes, Paul
Horam, John Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Jenkin, Bernard Roe, Mrs Marion
Key, Robert Ruffley, David
Kirkbride, Miss Julie Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (E Yorkshire) Salmond, Alex
Laing, Mrs Eleanor Sanders, Adrian
Lansley, Andrew Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Laws, David Simmonds, Mark
Letwin, Oliver Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian Soames, Nicholas
Lidington, David Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Loughton, Tim Spicer, Sir Michael
Luff, Peter Spink, Bob
McIntosh, Miss Anne Spring, Richard
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Streeter, Gary
Maclean, Rt Hon David Swayne, Desmond
McLoughlin, Patrick Swire, Hugo
Malins, Humfrey Syms, Robert
Maples, John Tapsell, Sir Peter
Mates Michael Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Maude, Rd Hon Francis Taylor, Sir Teddy
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
May, Mrs Theresa Thurso, John
Mercer, Patrick Trend, Michael
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield) Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler Paul
Moss, Malcolm Tyrie Andrew
Murrison, Dr Andrew Walter, Robert
Oaten, Mark Waterson, Nigel
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Watkinson, Angela
Öpik, Lembit Webb, Steve
Osborne, George (Tatton) Weir, Michael
Ottaway, Richard Whittingdale, John
Page, Richard Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Paice, James Wiggin, Bill
Pickles, Eric Wilkinson, John
Price, Adam Willetts, David
Prisk, Mark Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Pugh, Dr John Willis, Phil
Randall, John Wishart, Pete
Redwood, Rt Hon John Yeo, Tim
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute) Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew Tellers for the Ayes:
Robertson, Angus (Moray) Mr. David Heath and
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham) Richard Younger-Ross.
Abbott, Ms Diane Brennan, Kevin
Alexander, Douglas Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Newcastle E & Wallsend)
(Swansea E) Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Browne, Desmond
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Burgon, Colin
Atherton, Ms Candy Cairns, David
Atkins, Charlotte Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Austin, John Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Bailey, Adrian Casale, Roger
Banks, Tony Cawsey, Ian
Barnes, Harry Challen, Colin
Battle, John Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Beard, Nigel Chaytor, David
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Clapham, Michael
Bell, Stuart Clark, Dr Lynda
Benn, Hilary (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Bennett, Andrew Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Benton, Joe Clarke, Rt Hon Charles
Berry, Roger (Norwich S)
Best, Harold Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Blackman, Liz Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Blizzard, Bob Clelland, David
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Clwyd, Ann
Borrow, David Coffey, Ms Ann
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston) Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Cooper, Yvette Kemp, Fraser
Corbyn, Jeremy Khabra, Piara S
Cruddas, Jon Kilfoyle, Peter
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Cummings, John Kumar, Dr Ashok
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Cunningham, Tony (Workington) Laxton, Bob
Dalyell, Tam Lepper, David
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Leslie, Christopher
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Levitt, Tom
David, Wayne Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Linton, Martin
Dawson, Hilton Lloyd, Tony
Dean, Mrs Janet Love, Andrew
Dhanda, Parmjit Luke, Iain
Dobbin, Jim Lyons, John
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank McAvoy, Thomas
Donohoe, Brian H McCabe, Stephen
Doran, Frank McCafferty, Chris
Drew, David McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
Drown, Ms Julia McDonagh, Siobhain
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) MacDonald, Calum
Edwards, Huw McDonnell, John
Efford, Clive MacDougall, John
Ennis, Jeff McGuire, Mrs Anne
Etherington, Bill McIsaac, Shona
Farrelly, Paul McKechin, Ann
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead) Mackinlay, Andrew
Fisher, Mark McNulty, Tony
Fitzpatrick, Jim Mactaggart, Fiona
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna McWilliam, John
Flint, Caroline Mahon, Mrs Alice
Flynn, Paul Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Martlew, Eric
Foster, Michael (Worcester) Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Meale, Alan
Gapes, Mike Merron, Gillian
Gardiner, Barry Miliband, David
Gerrard, Neil Miller, Andrew
Gibson, Dr Ian Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Gilroy, Linda Moffatt, Laura
Godsiff, Roger Mole, Chris
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Moonie, Dr Lewis
Grogan, John Moran, Margaret
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Mullin, Chris
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian) Norris, Dan
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Hanson, David O'Hara, Edward
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart) O'Neill, Martin
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Pearson, Ian
Hendrick, Mark Perham, Linda
Hepburn, Stephen Pike, Peter
Heppell, John Plaskitt, James
Hermon, Lady Pollard, Kerry
Heyes, David Pond, Chris
Hill, Keith Pound, Stephen
Hinchliffe, David Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Hopkins, Kelvin Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Primarolo, Dawn
Hoyle, Lindsay Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Quinn, Lawrie
Hurst, Alan Rammell, Bill
Illsley, Eric Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead) Roche, Mrs Barbara
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Rooney, Terry
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Ruddock, Joan
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Ryan, Joan
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Salter, Martin
Joyce, Eric Sarwar, Mohammad
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Savidge, Malcolm
Keeble, Ms Sally Sawford, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Shipley, Ms Debra Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Simon, Siôn Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Skinner, Dennis Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Tynan, Bill
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe) Vis, Dr Rudi
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Walley, Ms Joan
Soley, Clive Ward, Ms Claire
Southworth, Helen Wareing, Robert N
Starkey, Dr Phyllis White, Brian
Steinberg, Gerry Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Stewart, Ian (Eccles) (Swansea W)
Stinchcombe, Paul Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Stoate, Dr Howard Winnick, David
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin Wood, Mike
Stringer, Graham Woolas, Phil
Stuart, Ms Gisela Worthington, Tony
Sutcliffe, Gerry Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury) Wright, David (Telford)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W) Wyatt, Derek
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen Tellers for the Noes:
Todd, Mark Mr. Nick Ainger and
Truswell, Paul Angela Smith.

Question accordingly negatived.

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