§ 3.46 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (The Earl of Gowrie) rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 17th November be approved.
§ The noble Earl said: My Lords, I do not in any way wish to discourage discussion of matters of general importance to Northern Ireland, but perhaps I should make it clear that the draft order before the House relates to supplementary estimates for transferred services undertaken by Northern Ireland departments and does not cover expenditure on law and order or general security services. But the House will have the opportunity to discuss security and political matters next week in the context of the renewal of the emergency provisions.
§ The order is being made under paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 1974. The purpose of the draft is to appropriate the 1981–82 autumn Supplementary Estimates of Northern Ireland departments which amount in total to some £33 million. The 1981–82 main Estimates, approved in July last, amounted to £2,311 million. The purposes of the supplementary provisions are described in the schedule to the draft order. Before I touch on the 1274 main features of the Estimates, I should mention that more detailed information can be found in the Estimates volume itself, copies of which have been placed in the Printed Paper Office, and in the Explanatory Memorandum which has been sent to those noble Lords who participated in the appropriation debate. Additional copies of this have also been placed in the Printed Paper Office.
§ Turning to the main components of the autumn Supplementary Estimates, noble Lords will see that additional provision of some £7.3 million is being sought under Class 1, Votes 1 and 2, by the Department of Agriculture. My right honourable friend the previous Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced on 27th March of this year that up to £10 million of special aid was to be provided for Northern Ireland agriculture, and the major part of this aid is included in these Supplementary Estimates. This special aid is in recognition of the serious problems facing the agricultural industry following two years of rapidly falling incomes, and the extra aid has been allocated through various schemes to different sectors of the industry.
§ Some 2.3 million of the available assistance relates to the existing sucker cow subsidy borne on a United Kingdom Vote and is therefore outside the scope of this draft order. A further £7.23 million is likely to be taken up, and these Supplementary Estimates include provision for measures to develop beef cattle production mainly through reductions in charges under the department's artificial insemination service and beef recording and performance testing scheme, and to aid silage production and the liming of grassland.
§ In addition, provision is sought for a liquid milk subsidy, which will benefit milk producers by enabling the Milk Marketing Board for Northern Ireland to fix a higher wholesale price for milk going for liquid consumption without Northern Ireland consumers having to pay a higher price. There is also provision for aid to the intensive pig and poultry industries, which will take the form of payments to operators of pig and poultry meat processing plants and egg packing stations, and this is designed to prevent a rundown in pig, egg and poultry production, which would have serious consequences for an already deeply worrying employment situation.
§ Pending the approval of Parliament, the expenditure on the liquid milk, lime and silage subsidies, and on the aid for the intensive livestock sector, is being met by advances from the Northern Ireland Civil Contingencies Fund, and a proportion of this supplementary provision will be required to repay advances from that fund.
§ I should like to pass on to the industrial development programme of the Department of Commerce. The net additional requirement of £6.2 million under Class II, Vote 2, General Support to Industry, brings total provision on this particular vote to £187 million, and I believe that it reflects the Government's commitment to sustaining a vigorous industrial development drive in the Province through the provision of special financial assistance, aimed at encouraging the establishment, development and competitiveness of industrial undertakings. The Government believe that everything possible must continue to be done to maintain and enhance the Province's industrial base as the only 1275 long-term answer to the continuing unemployment.
§ The major items in the Supplementary Estimate are as follows. Additional provision of £2.9 million is required under Subhead A1 to provide industrial development loans to assist Lear Fan, which is an American company engaged in the manufacture of a new fuel-efficient executive aircraft based on the application of carbon fibre technology. An additional £2.4 million is required under Subhead A3 for industrial development grants, which are the major element of the Government's job-related selective financial assistance programme. This programme is the most generous of any region in the United Kingdom and it reflects our determination to do everything possible to attract overseas investment to the Province and to encourage local companies to expand and maintain their existing employment. Under Subhead D1 the same amount is required for capital grants. These grants are broadly comparable to those available under the Regional Development Grants Scheme in Great Britain, and are aimed at encouraging manufacturing investment. The extra requirement reflects a level of investment higher than forecast and is a quite encouraging indication that there is continuing investment in manufacturing in the Province.
§ I am sure that the House will recognise the validity of the priority for industrial development which underlies the provision now sought in the General Support for Industry Vote. There can be no doubt that if we arc to make significant inroads into reducing Northern Ireland's chronic unemployment, we need to leave no stone unturned in the search for new employment opportunities, whether they are generated by indigenous companies or through the introduction of new, inward investment. Despite the adverse effects of the continuing world recession, and the damaging image that is often presented overseas of the Province, we shall continue to seek to create conditions that attract foreign investors. We are taking steps to refine and sharpen the overseas promotional effort by concentrating on sectors selected for their growth potential and their suitability to a Northern Ireland location. However, we are often accused of concentrating our industrial development effort too much on attracting large overseas projects and of overlooking the indigenous employment potential of local industry. I do not think that those accusations are fair. The House may be aware of the recently published document entitled Framework for Action, which spelt out quite clearly our commitment to local industry. Expenditure on this Vote, is, therefore, also aimed at maintaining as much as possible of the industrial base which we have, as this is the springboard from which we can take full advantage of any improvement in national and international economic conditions.
§ Moving on to the social security field, under Class X, Vote 1, an additional sum of £5.6 million is sought in respect of the supplement to the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund coming from the Northern Ireland Consolidated Fund. This supplement is calculated by the Government Actuary, and the increased provision now sought follows the Actuary's latest assessment of the amount payable in the present financial year. Among the benefits paid from the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund are retirement 1276 pension, invalidity, unemployment, sickness and widows' benefits. Total outgoings from the fund in 1981–82 will be in the region of £489 million, of which more than half will be in respect of ordinary retirement pensions.
§ Under Class X, Vote 2, the sum of £14.2 million is sought in respect of non-contributory benefits, with some £14 million of this relating to supplementary benefits. This latter requirement has arisen largely as a result of the increasing number of unemployed who have been out of work for periods in excess of a year and have therefore exhausted their entitlement to unemployment benefit.
§ It is of course a matter of the very deepest regret that it is necessary to present a supplementary estimate that reflects the rising costs of unemployment-related social security benefits. The figures for unemployment in Northern Ireland represent a tragic human and economic picture. I have already referred to the efforts which are being made by the Government in the field of industrial promotion. We recognise, of course, that those efforts need to be complemented by shorter-term measures, and it is our intention to present to the House a spring Supplementary Estimate to provide for a package of employment measures similar to that introduced in the rest of the United Kingdom. In the meantime, the House will know that the Northern Ireland Youth Opportunities Programme is being expanded from 7,000 to 12,000 places during the course of this financial year. I can tell the House that further improvements are under active consideration in this field of young people's programmes and in the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland we regard these as having a special priority.
§ All that is only another reason why we have laid so much emphasis on achieving a better political climate. The House will probably recall that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State said in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference that healing and reconciliation were not only moral and emotional imperatives, but were a matter of hard cash and solid jobs as well.
§ I have referred in some detail to what I believe are the major aspects of the draft order. I know that many noble Lords will be raising other matters as well, and I should like to express my gratitude to those noble Lords who have given me advance notice of the points that most concern them, in particular in the field of agriculture, which, I was reliably informed, I would never have to deal with so long as I served in your Lordships' House. I shall try to answer as many of the questions as possible at the end of the debate, and any questions which remain unanswered will of course be dealt with in correspondence. I commend the draft order to the House. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 17th November be approved.—(The Earl of Gowrie.)
§ 3.59 p.m.
§ Lord Blease
My Lords, the House will be grateful to the noble Earl the Minister for his very comprehensive and helpful outline of the draft order. I also wish to thank the Minister and the department for the copy of the Explanatory Memorandum, which is a most helpful document. As we rise to consider the order in this House your Lordships will have noted that it was debated in another place last Tuesday, 1st December 1277 for about four hours, during which time a wide range of issues were raised. I have noted what the Minister has stated about the scope of the debate that should take place here today concerning the Northern Ireland schedule and Northern Ireland departments.
The draft order and the autumn Supplementary Estimate indicate the legislative and financial ambit of our debate. At the same time, I believe it is important to consider also the current economic and social climate, which places further parameters to our discussions. It is an ambit which may help to give us some degree and sense of realism. During the last three years the United Kingdom economy has suffered recession of unprecedented severity. Industrial production has fallen critically, and unemployment has risen at a faster rate than in any other major industrialised country.
Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom economic and fiscal system. In the Province, the effects of this recession have been superimposed on a number of existing and acute long-term problems. The chronic high levels of unemployment, and overdependence on declining industries, the neglect of capital development, the lack of suitable diversification of our industrial structure and the continuing civil unrest are some of the crippling difficulties we have in Northern Ireland. The stark realities are that Northern Ireland is now in such a state of severe economic depression that industrial morale and commercial confidence is at its lowest ebb. The industrious Ulster flair has been sadly and seriously weakened.
Unemployment is now almost 20 per cent., and is still rising. In some areas over 40 per cent. of the male population are without jobs. I welcome the reference which the Minister has made to the plans that the Government have for youth and for youth employment. Surely there is no greater tragedy in Northern Ireland, or indeed in the United Kingdom, than the loss of opportunities for a whole generation of our young people. They are our young people; they are our sons, our daughters and our grandchildren—talented young people, with university degrees, faced with difficulties, with uncertainties and with little or no job prospects. Their hopes and ideals are crushed. They are struggling to maintain self-respect with dignity. Any help that can be given by this Government surely should be given with just as much concern for raising the self-respect and the dignity of these young people.
I could go on at some length with this litany of social deprivation, poverty, poor housing and low standards of living. But rather than recite the negative saga of gloom and despair I should like to try to suggest possible ways to move forward to a more positive and hopeful position; and in this I think I shall he following the noble Earl in some of the remarks he has made and the indications he has given towards having the community work together for peace and reconciliation. It is a fact that the problems of Northern Ireland existed long before this Government came to office. But it is also a fact that the social and economic difficulties have considerably worsened over the past two years, and have compounded our provincial problems.
But let me state clearly that, notwithstanding my 1278 opposition to the Government's overall economic policies, I welcome and support the frank and forthright approaches of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. James Prior, in his efforts to make economic progress in the Province. In his foreword to the Government's document A Framework for Action, a document already mentioned by the Minister, I believe Mr. Prior hit the right note when he declared—and here I quote:The magnitude of the task facing the present institutions, and in the future the new Industrial Development Board, is self-evident. Northern Ireland has chronically high levels of unemployment with, currently, nearly one in five out of work; a geographical situation on the periphery of Europe; and an image which is off putting to overseas investors caused by terrorist activity and sharp political differences embedded in history. The task is colossal. It demands the total commitment of Government and the whole community, the whole-hearted support of the British people, and the sympathy and understanding of the outside world".This statement was even more strongly reinforced by Mr. Prior's pronouncement on 24th November, when he declared—and here I quote again:I pledge myself as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to devote myself unsparingly to the task of bringing peace and prosperity to Northern Ireland and I call on all the people and all their elected representatives whatever their differences to join me in these two fundamental tasks".It is for these reasons that, along with others in Northern Ireland, I welcome the initiative of Mr. Prior in arranging for the conference on 21st December, to which he has invited the Northern Ireland Members of Parliament—that is, the eleven Westminster Members of Parliament and the three European Members of Parliament; a form of parliamentary forum.
I believe that this parliamentary forum could be an important and useful occasion, with an open exchange of views on such issues as employment, training opportunities, the problems of young people, industrial investment, public expenditure priorities, housing and agriculture. I am glad that some of the MPs have already responded favourably to the invitation, and I would urge local government representatives, trade unionists, farmers, industrial representatives, church leaders, community workers and others to encourage their Members of Parliament to use this opportunity in a positive way and to accept Mr. Prior's challenge to come and reason together and call for a total commitment to the task of bringing peace and prosperity to the Province.
While I fully accept that the monies involved in this appropriation order and other such financial inputs are vital to the future wellbeing of Northern Ireland and of the Northern Ireland people, it is this total commitment of all concerned that is urgently required and is essential. This commitment can do what cash alone cannot do. It can help to find the means to release dormant commercial initiatives and productive ideas; it can help to overcome the loss of business confidence; it can help to promote new attitudes among management and workers to surmount the challenge of modern technology and competitive markets.
I wish to put four very brief points to the Minister arising out of the decreases in the Class II Vote which are set out in the autumn Supplementary Estimate. On page 8 of the estimate, under the A2 heading, "Interest Grants on borrowing for Industrial Modernisation and Reorganisation", we have a decrease of 1279 £1,546,000; and under the A9 heading, "Grants for firms in Inner Urban Areas", we have a decrease of £498,990—almost half a million pounds. I ask the Minister: Do these decreases from the original provision reflect the loss of business confidence; and, if so, are any steps being taken to stimulate both these important aspects of development?
Then, under the C4 heading, "Market Research Scheme", which is still on the same page, we have a decrease of £72,000. This brings this market research scheme £25,000 below the provision for last year; that is, 1980–81. I should have thought that this certainly is a support service ice requiring some attention, and perhaps the Minister may be able to help with this matter. The Minister made reference to the package of incentives we have in Northern Ireland, and I totally agree that we have probably the best incentive schemes in Europe. Indeed, this has been stated as being so. It may be that they require to be better presented, or in some way a better follow-up system should be arranged.
While what I have to say now may be not in direct reference to the Vote, I think it is relevant to our discussion. In the upper waiting hall on the Committee Corridor exhibitions are occasionally held which are of a very important nature, and many people, decision-makers and others of many kinds, pass through that hall. Last week there was an exhibition there of regional industrial incentives. I went to see it and was bitterly disappointed. Notwithstanding the very good literature and display presented by the Department of Industry, some of the leaflets which were presented left Northern Ireland completely off the pictorial maps printed on the hack of them. Only one leaflet there explained the scheme as far as Northern Ireland was concerned, and that referred to the local enterprise development unit. There may be an explanation for that, but I believe it was a missed opportunity.
My final point is under C.5, the energy, interest, grant scheme. This is a payment scheme to encourage energy savings in industry. There is now a cut-hack of something like £2,000. May I ask whether this indicates that the scheme has fulfilled its purpose; or are we losing momentum in this important area of energy conservation? With those remarks, I welcome the sympathetic and sensitive way in which the noble Earl presented the Appropriation (No. 3) (Northern Ireland) Order, which has the approval of this side of the House.
§ 4.12 p.m.
§ Lord Hampton
My Lords, may I take my first opportunity in debate to congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Gowrie, on his appointment at the Northern Ireland Office—now quite some time ago. Over in the Province, a few weeks back, it was obvious to me that he had already by then earned considerable respect, particularly by his handling of affairs at the Maze Prison. I wish him, together with his right honourable friend the Secretary of State, every success and, hopefully, not too many frustrations. I, too, should like to thank him for his introductory remarks this afternoon and for the explanatory memorandum that was circulated a little time back. As there are further debates (as the Minister has said) on Northern 1280 Ireland affairs next week, I have attempted to confine myself fairly closely to the order in hand and not to get involved in the political scene or anti-terrorist measures. Nevertheless, I should like to say how much we were shocked by the recent murder of the Reverend Robert Bradford, the honourable Member for Belfast South in the other place. Such deeds offer no one any gain and merely delay the day which we all look forward to, when Northern Ireland really shall be a land of peace, prosperity and contentment.
My Lords, as the Minister has said, the two earlier appropriation orders for this year allocated a total of some £2,311 million; so that the £33 million that we are now discussing is, comparatively speaking, chicken-feed. Nonetheless, important points arise, and I should be grateful for answers to a number of questions which I think the Minister is expecting. On Class I, Vote 1—and I realise that agriculture is outside the day-to-day responsibilities of the Minister—can he say why £600,000 less is being spent on artificial insemination for beef cattle? On Class I, Vote 2, £3.7 million is to go to an extra-statutory milk subsidy to allow the farmer to be paid more while the cost to the consumer is not increased. This, I understand is to compete with the problems of remoteness, compared with other parts of the United Kingdom. I am glad to know that the mainland National Farmers' Union do not feel that Ulster farmers receive unduly favourable treatment. I should be glad to know that Ulster farmers appreciate this concession. I am grateful to the National Farmers' Union for supplying me with helpful information, also a copy of a relevant Official Journal of the European Communities, No. L 197/17–26; but I must admit that I got somewhat hogged down in this. Title IV, Article 8, paragraph 1, reads:The orientation of agricultural production, as referred to in Article 1(3)(c) shall be achieved through the medium of a specific action for the development of agricultural production".And I am none the wiser!
I shall he glad if the Minister can tell me without too many complications what aid the Province can expect from the EEC in the years immediately ahead; for it is clear that the EEC Council consider that Northern Ireland has severe problems through agricultural unemployment, poor quality of much of the land, bad roads, bad drainage and so on. We cannot give all the aid we might wish, but I believe some expectations of aid from the EEC have been disappointed. On Class II, Vote 2—and I was grateful for the few words the Minister gave about Lear Fan—can the noble Earl say for what purpose the half million pounds is required for the extension of the security staff scheme? On Class X, Vote 1, National Insurance (DHSS), £5.6 million is allocated here. Can the Minister give any particulars as to whether (and, if so, how far) the injury benefit is connected with injuries received through terrorist activity? Lastly, on Class X, Vote 2, an additional £14 million is required, as stated, largely as a result of an increase in the unemployment register and the increased duration of unemployment.
My Lords, in these few words is summed up much of the tragedy of Northern Ireland. It is a vicious circle. Break the appalling unemployment figures, which are around 20 per cent., we are told, and I 1281 believe the terrorists' power will weaken. Break the terrorists' power and more opportunities for employment might well arise, home-based or imported from outside. No one concerned with the future of the Province can be anything but appalled at the unemployment position as it stands today, as the noble Earl knows well, as does the noble Lord, Lord Blease, who spoke about this problem with such feeling.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge
My Lords, we normally debate the Appropriations Order and the renewal of the Emergency Provisions Order together; and it has been our custom for the last seven years or so to allow speakers to stray a little wide of the details in the orders and to look for a few moments at more fundamental problems. As the Emergency Provisions Order has been scheduled for the most inconvenient time in the whole year—that is, at the last minute before the Christmas Recess; and as I intend to be playing golf on the South Downs at that time—I propose, I hope with the tolerance of the House, to avail myself of this licence.
I want to begin by referring to a headline in The Times of 3rd December last week, which read:SDP aims to break new ground in Ulster drive".I am happy to say that this was promptly denied. Nothing annoys the people there more than half-baked proposals claiming to solve everything. I can assure noble Lords that my party has no intention of making such an approach. We are looking for supporters in all areas of the United Kingdom—and getting them—but recruits in the Province are not to a new Ulster drive but to the party as a whole, which covers the United Kingdom.
Any policy of any incoming Government—and I am not saying which party this is going to be—must, at least to begin with, be the same as that of the last two Governments. They must explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned, meanwhile determinedly keeping the lid on. This series of clichés is about all that is open to any Government at the moment. What any Government must do—and it may well be that the present team is doing it—is to talk to the moderates, to the moderate Catholics (of whom there are many) to the moderate Protestants (of whom, because there are a greater number, there are even more) to the Alliance and to any others they can find, including any SDP recruits—who will not only be moderate but nice as well, if we may believe the newspapers.
These people, added together, are a majority in the Province, but they are outgunned by the extremists. If in discussion with them this or the next Government can find any measure of agreement towards a political initiative, this should be put to groups a little further to the extreme in both directions, but in no case should they treat with the IRA or the other paramilitary groups, and in no case should any policy be presented as more than a topic for discussion. All this time—and it takes time—the lid must be kept firmly on, which means giving the RUC and the military what they need to do so.
What we must not do is what both the Labour Party and the Government have done since the election: namely, in the case of the Labour party, to present a 1282 united Ireland as their goal, however far in the future, which, whatever they may say about "only with the people's consent", means that even the moderate Protestants will distrust them; and, in the case of the Government, to hold talks in secret with the South. Personally I freely accept the Prime Minister's word that there was no talk of constitutional change; but even the moderates have made the most of the suspicion that secrecy left in their minds. If you are to try to negotiate, it is no good making agreement impossible before you begin. If you are to talk to the South—and I certainly think you should—you must have an open agenda which is published for all to see.
There is a great deal which should be talked about with the South, to which neither Dr. Paisley nor Mr. Andy Tyrie behind him could object: border security, extradition, trade and the suppression of cattle smuggling, which is going on now as badly as when I was there five years ago, I understand. All these things need discussion and can he discussed from motives of self-interest without any affection entering in.
Dr. Paisley is at the moment playing into the hands of the IRA. The IRA want chaos, which by a very long stretch of imagination they think could lead to a united socialist Ireland. But, if our troops were removed, they would get chaos all right—a civil war which they would lose within a month, for I promise them the South would not come to their help. But many good Catholics and Protestants would be sacrificed to their crazy and hell-bent desires, and we cannot let such a thing happen.
Now, if I may come back to the figures before us, let me make an obvious point. What I have said is pretty depressing from the security point of view. I think any significant stepping up of security would tend to defeat itself by alienating the minority civil population, as has happened before. But there is no doubt that unemployment among the young makes them easy recruits for the terrorists. So, even if we are doing all we can from the security angle, surely we could do a bit more to decrease unemployment, which would have a direct influence on recruitment of terrorists.
Looking at the figures before us, two-thirds are for social relief of various kinds, and only one-third is directed towards farming and industry, where the jobs are. I suggested six months ago that more money should be pumped into the intensive side of farming, into pigs and poultry, where the cost of grain and transport is so high that jobs are decreasing steadily. It must be cheaper to preserve jobs than to create new ones. The £10 million for agriculture, of which the last £6½ million is in these figures, has been a godsend; but it is not a new initiative and it is not enough. I do beg the Government to think about a further injection on the same scale to try to save jobs still at risk. Farm income has dropped from £53 million to £9 million in eight years. That is an extraordinary figure when you look at it. Yet farming is a major factor, and an efficient factor, in the Northern Ireland economy. Help here would do more to help unemployment, and indirectly to combat terrorism, than any other intervention.
My Lords, we here stand firmly behind the Government in their present policies, which are not very different from those that I have outlined if we except the secret talks, which I do not think will happen 1283 again. On finishing, I wish godspeed to them in a situation of the greatest possible difficulty.
§ 4.25 p.m.
My Lords, I, too, should like to thank the noble Earl on the Government Front Bench for his exposition and for his explanatory memorandum. Like the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, I, too, should like to range a little wider than the actual provisions of this draft appropriation order.
The first point that I should like to make is that whereas in Northern Ireland the local enterprise development unit is doing a very good job in terms of creating employment, perhaps there is a subtle difference between job creation and job enablement. A new factor in Northern Ireland now is that quite a few people have got a modest amount of capital arising out of redundancy payments. Whereas some people are quite happy to be unemployed and take the odd job here and there for now and again, provided that they are paid in cash, there are many more who have worked through most of their adult lives and who find it degrading and frustrating to be unemployed. Many of them would like to start up their own small businesses—entrepreneurs in a small way.
These are people who I think could well be given more support in terms of making available to them expertise in the line of financial control, in the line of marketing, in the line of running a business, because whereas in the past—quite understandably—we have in many ways relied in Northern Ireland for employment on subsidiaries of multinational corporations, employing perhaps 1,000 people, it may be that in the future the recovery of our economy will depend to a greater extent on the small working employer. In other words, instead of one company employing 1,000 people, it may be 10 employing 100 each or 100 employing 10 each. I think that these are the type of people who need to be supported.
I am glad to say that there is an indication of self-help in this respect. I quote Carrickfergus where there is Enterprise Carrickfergus, a voluntary group of people who have come together to try and stimulate self-help and investment to provide employment in that area. I must declare an interest, in that I am chairman of a local subsidiary of a multinational, Carreras Rothmans, Northern Ireland, and we are doing all that we can to support Enterprise Carrickfergus. In saying that, I am in no way boasting; I am merely advertising!
Turning to another matter, one of our major employers in Northern Ireland is Shorts, the aircraft factory. This company has a full order book. They have obtained most gratifying orders from America for their small commuter aircraft and its similar cargo equivalent, but they have a cash-flow problem and unless that problem can be solved, those orders may not be able to be fulfilled. I think that Her Majesty's Government are aware of this problem, but a decision is required very urgently indeed if Shorts is to be able to fulfil these orders and to maintain its level of employment, and bring in the dollars which are so badly needed.
With your Lordships' permission, I will now turn to another matter of job creation; that is, the Ulster 1284 College of Business Studies, which I visited the other day. This foundation provides training for school-leavers ranging from chefs, waitresses, receptionists, typists and secretaries right up to personal assistants for executives, who are very often of graduate level. This organisation provides hope for school-leavers and relieves them of the degradation and despair which face a school-leaver when there is no opportunity of getting a job. Furthermore, the Ulster College of Business Studies is perhaps one of the most effective means of creating jobs. I have nothing at all against universities, but I would suggest that where young people are trained to do a specific job they are more likely to get one that is perhaps someone who leaves university with a degree in philosophy, history, higher mathematics, or something like that. Indeed, that is proved by the fact that last year job placements were between 55 and 60 per cent. from that college.
In this country and overseas it is not perhaps fully appreciated how much progress has been made in Northern Ireland over the last few years. It is the bad news that gets published and very often the good news is overlooked. We have made progress. Of course my personal pet is the grand organ in the Ulster Hall, which was restored in 1978. Another good one is the Grand Opera House, whose restoration was completed some 18 months ago. Another excellent one is the Crown Liquor Saloon, the restoration of which was completed just last week and which has been re-opened by the National Trust. So, without any doubt at all, progress has been made and these examples are like shadows of great rocks in a weary land.
Another one is the Ulster Museum, which is generally credited with being one of the best museums in the British Isles. In this instance, the total increase in next year's budget is about 6 per cent., taking into account 4 per cent. wage increases (well below the rate of inflation), and 9 per cent. on recurrent expenditure (again, well below current inflation). By comparison, I am told that the Science Museum here in London is being granted an increase of 13 per cent. in its budget, the National Gallery is to have an increase of 10.5 per cent. and the Victoria and Albert Museum 7.5 per cent. So, by comparison, 6 per cent. is not all that generous for the Ulster Museum, although of course one realises that public expenditure has got to be cut. This is another shadow of a great rock in a weary land and something which contributes to maintaining the fabric of society in difficult circumstances.
Turning to political progress, the noble Lord on the Government Front Bench will know that I tabled an unstarred Question in the middle of last June. He was not too happy about it, and I yielded to pressure and agreed to withdraw it. At the time I thought it was a good idea because it seemed that public opinion might well turn out to be very much more reasonable and moderate than that expressed through the mouths of political leaders. I concede now that perhaps the public is more polarised than it was last June, with the events that have taken place. Still, unlike some, I do not want to make Northern Ireland ungovernable but rather to improve the quality of government as it may best be done.
I think Her Majesty's Government would be surprised to find how moderate public opinion could 1285 turn out to be if people were consulted directly by referendum rather than through the mouths of the political leaders, who have got themselves on hooks and are scared to be more reasonable in case they have the word "traitor" shouted at them. Two recent public opinion polls—one conducted, I think, by the Sunday Times and the other, I believe, by Independent Television—indicated that a majority of Protestants, of whom I am one, would find a form of partnership, devolved government, acceptable. I would respectfully return to the suggeston I made on 1st November 1979 that a committee form of devolved government in Northern Ireland might be the best, whereby membership of committees and allocation of chairmanships should be proportional to the electoral support the various parties had received in the last general election.
We have got to be constructive about this and I will say this in passing; I deplore those councillors who press for adjournments of council meetings. That is not going to solve our security problem or stop terrorism. All it means is that those councillors are bringing about a dereliction of duty towards the ratepayers who voted for them. Indeed it could well cost jobs, because potential investors in Northern Ireland could well withdraw and go elsewhere if approval for their schemes were to be delayed or withheld because of the suspension of local government business.
That brings me to the end of the first part of my speech. The second part deals with security; but here have disappointing news for your Lordships, which is that because I think I have already spoken for long enough, I shall not deliver it.
§ 4.39 p.m.
§ Lord Hylton
My Lords, it is a real pleasure to follow my noble friend Lord Dunleath after hearing him play the Northern Ireland trumpet both loud and long. I should like also to say how very much I appreciated, as I am sure the whole of your Lordships' House will have done, the wise words of the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge. I am sure that the Government will consider them very seriously indeed.
This is a financial order and I have one financial point to make. This Government, of all Governments, claim to know rather precisely how much public expenditure we can afford. So I say to them: surely we should spend that amount in Northern Ireland that is judged both possible and practical, and then allow the EEC regional and social funds to come in on top. This, I know, is a general point and applies as much to Britain as to Northern Ireland. I say that, having seen with my own eyes some of the problems of Greater Belfast, and having friends in England working in some of the most squalid and deprived regions of our own part of the United Kingdom.
Above all, I urge the Government on no account to allow the Greater Belfast plan, which I understand has been agreed with the EEC Commission, to be held up; and, in particular, its most vital housing component. Surely, we can make use of the shock that was experienced by members of the EEC Commission and of the European Parliament when they visited Belfast. This concept, which is known in the jargon as "additionality", is surely the way to show what is known as the esprit communautaire and thus to win friends and 1286 influence people in continental Europe.
Part of today's order concerns the Consolidated Fund, particularly Schedule 1 and Class 10. Therefore, I feel that it may be in order to touch on one other point. It is sometimes said—and recent correspondence in both The Times and the Daily Telegraph has suggested—that Northern Ireland contains incompatible peoples and an unbridgeable gulf between two cultures. I should like to produce some evidence to the contrary. Trade unions, we know, operate on an all-Ireland basis, of which the distinguished career of the noble Lord, Lord Blease, is ample evidence; there is only one Irish rugby team; universities and polytechnics are integrated and there is constant North-South academic dialogue and interchange. Even in religion, the Irish Council of Churches and the Irish School of Ecumenics cover the whole island. Reconciliation centres, which have often been mentioned in debates in your Lordships' House, draw together Catholics, Protestants and Humanists of constructive goodwill. Therefore, in work, in sport, in higher education, in religion and in reconciliation there is co-operation and real fellowship—
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, would the noble Lord be disposed to add the harmony and co-operation which exists within the legal profession across the sectarian divide'?
§ Lord Hylton
My Lords, I am no lawyer, but I am very happy to accept that from the noble and learned Lord. These things constitute our hope. That is why we must all persevere in efforts towards peace.
Two things, I suggest, will be most helpful at this present time. The first is that we, both within this House and outside it, should encourage all the many thousands of moderate, rational unionists to stand firm and not to be swayed by eccentrics and demagogues. Equally, we should say to all Irish nationalists and to some others, "It is not enough to condemn violence. It is necessary, also, to provide the information that will allow the security forces on both sides of the border to catch the killers who so much impede all progress, whether political, economic or social."
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Baroness Ewart-Biggs
My Lords, I should first like to thank the Minister for presenting this draft order in such a very comprehensive manner. I should also like to thank him for the very helpful Explanatory Memorandum that he sent to me. Before raising the few points that I have to make about the appropriation order in particular, and the economy in general—although my remarks will not be quite so general as those of the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, but then I do not like playing golf; that is the reason—I should like to say how very much I have admired, and do admire, the courage with which the Government are trying to resolve the political situation in Northern Ireland, and how much I admire the personal courage of the Secretary of State, and of his Ministers, in handling this desperately difficult and dangerous situation. I am quite sure that there must be general agreement over this among all Members of your Lordships' House. By this I mean that there must be a common ground of agreement from every side of this House, about the need for a move forward in our 1287 search for an eventual political settlement for Northern Ireland.
However, having said that, I am not quite so sure that one can count on the same degree of support for all of the Government's economic policies in Northern Ireland. For I feel very strongly, whenever I make my sporadic visits to Belfast, that one of the reasons why living standards seem to get worse rather than better is that the Government are unwilling to face up to the existence of these conditions, and are sometimes not prepared to make the real effort which is necessary to bring Northern Ireland's living standards at least into line with the rest of the United Kingdom. So, surely, if the Government really want a political solution in Northern Ireland, they must do something about its poverty. You really cannot build a future on poverty.
I do not know whether any of your Lordships read the report in the Daily Mirror of last Thursday, describing some of the housing conditions in Belfast; describing the appalling deprivation which some of Belfast's children endure—children who, after all, represent Northern Ireland's future. These children are suffering conditions which are more common in the developing countries of the Third World than those endured in any other part of the United Kingdom. So how can we possibly enlist the co-operation and support of Northern Ireland's people to build a future—which they are—when they are really justified in blaming the Government's policies for these conditions? As a housing official over there said the other day, after rents had been increased by almost 40 per cent. last May,If the Government really wants a political solution in Northern Ireland, it will have to realise that housing is a vital part of that solution".The correspondent of the Daily Mirror article researched for his report in a highly responsible way. I know that he inquired from many of the people engaged in community work over there. But some of his conclusions were really devastating. He pointed out, quite rightly, that not only does every Government "cut" in Britain have a disproportionately cruel effect in Northern Ireland, but that millions of pounds are actually being withdrawn from desperately needed housing schemes and from the social services. He concluded that, certainly, there was an economic plan for the Province but that, sadly, it was a plan of deprivation.
May I now make a few points and ask a few questions of the Minister about the distribution of such resources in Northern Ireland, which are intended to relieve the living conditions on which I have been very faintly touching. A sentence in the Explanatory Memorandum which was sent to me states:Most of the extra provision in this vote is for supplementary benefits for which an additional £14 million is required, largely as a result of an increase in the unemployment register and the duration of unemployment".That really makes it sound as if the scale of unemployment is quite outside the Government's responsibility. It makes it sound as if it is a problem merely to be provided for, rather than tackled.
Of course, we know the efforts which the Government have made in their search for new employment 1288 opportunities. These have been generated both by indigenous companies and by industry coming from abroad. But the unemployment figures do not exactly reflect the success of these efforts. November's total of 109,525 represents just under 20 per cent. of the insured working population and is the worst November figure since the war. Out of that total, nearly 18,000 are under 19 years of age, and none of us can ignore the dangers to which out of work young people in Northern Ireland are exposed. In confirmation of this, last month the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders published a research paper which concludes that there is a clear and unequivocal correlation between the level of unemployment and the criminal behaviour of adolescents.
May I now ask the Minister one question concerning Northern Ireland's unemployed youth? Why are the Government running down their commitment to Enterprise Ulster? This organisation has always interested me. Enterprise Ulster is a well-established labour organisation which has given employment to school leavers in its recreational and community projects and which has effectively acted as a genuine bridge between unemployment and regular employment. Furthermore, it is an organisation with trade union backing which enjoys the trust and participation of the Northern Irish community workers. They have more trust in it than in other experiments, such as Action for Community Employment. It is therefore difficult to understand why, with all the demands put upon Enterprise Ulster, far from being expanded, it is actually being undermined.
May I also ask the Minister a question on the subject of education? Will he tell us the justification for the saving of £320,000 resulting from cutting 12 controlled primary schools in Belfast, affecting about 1,600 children? He will tell us, I know, that some of these schools are small—and some of them are, but not all—and that some of the school buildings are inadequate. Again, some of them are, but not all. I know also that primary school enrolment since 1968 has dropped considerably, resulting from families moving out of these deprived areas. But many of these schools provide important focal points in their local community and provide also a base for much other community activity. Moreover, several of these schools are in redevelopment areas. If young families are to be attracted back into these areas it is vital that primary schools are available. The lack of a school has a very negative effect on a community. These families, as I have said, need to be given a trust and reliance in the community to which they belong. From the point of view of education itself, through the classes becoming smaller in these schools, the students, upon whom we so much depend for Northern Ireland's future, will become better.
I should like to ask the Minister a question about his attitude towards EEC intervention in Northern Ireland. This is very much in support of what the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, said. I have always been convinced that, if the Northern Irish people can develop a trust and reliance in the European framework as a means of finding agreement over economic issues, then this might lead them to wish to use it for seeking agreement on more far-reaching matters and political 1289 issues. There is no doubt that there is agreement, both in the European Parliament and the Commission in Brussels, that Northern Ireland represents one of the priority areas within the Community. This of course means that the Province is eligible for higher financial assistance from the European Regional and Social Funds. And resulting from this there are at the moment three sources of activity reflecting European interest in Northern Ireland's economy about which I should like to ask the Minister.
First, may I ask him for a final confirmation that the funds raised by the European Economic Community through the sales of surplus farm produce and destined to be spent on Belfast housing will be additional to Government spending? Secondly, will the Minister give an assurance that if the European Commission accept the draft plan of the integrated operations programme prepared and submitted to the Commission by Her Majesty's Government, the Government, for their part, will then agree in principle to make the contributions asked of them by the Commission? Thirdly, may I ask the Minister about the Government's attitude towards the Martin Report? This is a report on the overall economic and social problems of Northern Ireland made by the Martin Committee as a result of a motion for a resolution tabled by Mr. John Hume and others on behalf of the Socialist Group at Strasbourg. First, would he say to what degree the Government might find this report useful? Secondly, should the Commission take up the recommendation and draw up an economic plan for Northern Ireland, would the Government pledge their own financial support for it?
The few points I have brought up represent in my view some ways of relieving that heartbreaking poverty and deprivation to which I referred earlier. Furthermore, I am convinced that, if the Northern Irish people accepted that Government policies were genuinely designed and intended to counter human suffering, then the overwhelming majority of them would not only respond positively to fair, direct rule government but would also be more willing to co-operate in the search for that political settlement which we all so ardently desire for the people of Northern Ireland and for which the Government are so courageously working.
§ 4.55 p.m.
The Earl of Cowrie
My Lords, the House has covered a very great deal of ground, perhaps more expeditiously than we are used to. I think that may be a reasonable justification for taking these orders separately so that next week, in the same concentrated rather precise way we can focus on what, in the jargon of the trade, are called Northern Ireland Office affairs as against Northern Ireland affairs. I appreciate that this can cause individual noble Lords some difficulty. I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge, a distinguished predecessor in my present office, was today able to get some things off his chest. He will, I think, understand if I do not reply to them in detail. The noble Lord said that he could not be with us next week because he is playing golf on the South Downs. Could I urge him to come and play golf with us in Ulster where we have some admirable golf courses which will be ready to welcome him at any hour of the day?
1290 Before taking up some of the specific questions which have been raised, may I make some remarks of a general nature. The debate has focussed attention on the very considerable economic difficulties which are being experienced by the Province, and in particular on the tragically high levels of unemployment and the very damaging effects which this has upon the social fabric of Northern Ireland. Of course the Government are aware that the economic problems from which the United Kingdom as a whole is suffering are found in a peculiarly acute form in the Province, due to the relative weakness of its industrial base and the special disadvantages which flow from both the political situation there and the civil unrest. This was the point which was emphasised most cogently by the noble Baroness, Lady Ewart-Biggs. But it is a myth that the Government, or any Government, can control the overall levels of unemployment. If they could, they would. Unemployment does not make Governments popular and it is extremely expensive for Governments—which is only to say that it puts out other planning and other methods of help which they may be able to give.
Unemployment is high, and rising, all over the Western world and one can argue about the effects of one economic policy or another. If, however, we compare ourselves with our industrial competitors, these effects are mostly at the margin. The Republic, which I know well, is suffering from very severe levels of unemployment, particularly where young people are concerned, and proportionately they have been engaged in higher spending and higher borrowing than have we. But it is not enough to point this out. A response is required of the Government, and the Government's broad response to the economic problems of the Province has been to maintain a level of per capita public investment which is over 30 per cent. higher than that which obtains in the rest of the United Kingdom. The House will also be aware that a significant proportion of this, some 35 per cent. in all of Northern Ireland's public expenditure, is in fact supported by transfers from Great Britain.
Northern Ireland is not the only region of the United Kingdom which has difficulties or which benefits from revenue raised in more prosperous regions. I hope that your Lordships' House will acknowledge that within the limitations imposed by the need to restrain public expenditure overall, which is not really so much a policy issue as a simple lack of the necessary funds, we are making a genuine attempt to deal with the social problems of Northern Ireland. By way of illustrating this I draw the attention of the House to the recent announcement of our expenditure plans, which included an increase of £91 million in cash terms over the total contained in the last public expenditure White Paper revalued. I am sure the House will also support the Government in our decision to give first priority to the economic and energy programmes in the allocation of the Province's public expenditure resources. We of course recognise that other pressing priorities also exist, in the field of housing, for instance, but we are convinced that the creation and maintenance of a viable manufacturing sector is the only lasting solution to the economic difficulties of the Province.
1291 I turn now to the specific points made in the debate. May I start by thanking the noble Lord, Lord Blease, most sincerely for his kind remarks about my right honourable friend. It is, I think, an indication of the concern and interest of Great Britain in the affairs of Northern Ireland that the principal Opposition spokesman could spend, in a debate of this kind, quite a lot of time quoting my right honourable friend's remarks in no plagiaristic sense, but glossing them and adding to them. We are most grateful for that. The noble Lord, Lord Blease, raised the question of whether the industrial incentives in Northern Ireland are sufficiently well packaged and presented. The best packaging and presentation that Northern Ireland could enjoy would be, of course, political development and increased stability. We are acutely aware of that because I am informed that there is now greater private sector investment from Great Britain into the Republic of Ireland than there is from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. That, I think, speaks eloquently of the problem we have.
We of course look at the immediate and short term possibilities of improving the packaging of our incentives. The industrial Development Consultative Forum, on which my right honourable friend the Minister of State has the opportunity on a quarterly basis of reviewing all aspects of industrial development strategy, is developing fast. He meets the heads of ID institutions and constitutent members of the Northern Ireland Economic Council, with representation of employers, employees and independents.
The noble Lord, Lord Hampton, also made kind remarks for which I am most grateful. Turning to agricultural matters, he asked why less money is being spent on artificial insemination. I believe that the noble Lord must have misinterpreted the Estimates and the Explanatory Memorandum. The estimate for receipts relating to artificial insemination is reduced because the charges have been reduced as part of our £10 million package of aid to agriculture—but the net effect is of increasing the AI expenditure rather than reducing expenditure on this service.
The noble Lord, Lord Hampton, asked me about the security staff grant scheme. This was introduced in 1973, to help companies in the manufacturing and service sectors to protect their premises from terrorist attack. Companies employing 10 or more people were eligible for grants towards the cost of employing full-time and approved security officers. With effect from 1st March last, the manufacturing, banking and office sectors were excluded and the scheme is now confined to the retailing, wholesaling and entertainments sectors—that is to say, those places to which the general public have the greatest access. I think that the restriction in the scope of the scheme reflects the need to concentrate what are inevitably limited resources on the sectors which our experience has shown are most exposed.
I said that I would not make general political or Northern Ireland Office points this time. I should like to say in a gloss to the very interesting speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, that, yes, it is true that at the initial Dublin summit last December the secrecy was subject to criticism. The noble Lord will be aware that we have now thrown open the doors 1292 on the present and subsequent summits. But I must point out to the House that that has not stopped a criticism in certain quarters in Northern Ireland, where any contact at all with the Republic by anybody is frequently anathema. The noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, asked if more could be done to encourage agriculture. We are doing more. Last spring, when the then Secretary of State announced that he was making £10 million available to help agriculture in 1981–82, he also announced that a review of the industry would be conducted to guide Ministers in their approach in subsequent years. This review has been completed. It has been conducted by an inter-departmental group of officials and we will soon be discussing our approach, in the light of this review, to the needs of Northern Ireland agriculture with the Ulster Farmers' Union.
A number of noble Lords—including the noble Lords Lord Blease and Lord Donaldson and the noble Baroness, Lady Ewart-Biggs—rightly gave emphasis to the youth problem. I will not spend time on that now because I laid great emphasis on it in my opening remarks. Of course this is crucial; of course high youth unemployment is a fertile breeding ground for illegal activities; and of course we have to make a response to this. We have the present Youth Opportunities Programme. It has been increased very substantially. We do not consider that it is altogether permanently satisfactory and that it is the best of all systems in the best of all possible worlds. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State hopes to be making a statement fairly shortly on the future of training and work preparation arrangements in Northern Ireland, which need not supersede but might extend the valuable work done by the Youth Opportunities Programme.
I much enjoyed the expert and trenchant speech (as we might expect) from a native of Ulster such as the noble Lord, Lord Dunleath. I agree with what he said about small businesses. We have a package to encourage small business. We will try to maintain and, if need be, increase it. I congratulate the noble Lord on his work with Enterprise Carrickfergus and I take the point he made about the cash flow requirements of Shorts; he will understand that this is a matter of somewhat delicate discussion and negotiation at the present time and I would prefer not to be drawn further on it at the moment. I was also glad that he drew our attention to the conservation work—as useful in employment as it is aesthetically—in the way that he did, particularly in respect of the Crown public house in Belfast, where I myself learned to drink. It must be relatively few Northern Ireland Ministers who have sowed their wild oats in Belfast, but I am proud to be one of them.
My Lords, would it be impertinent to ask if the noble Earl had never drunk before that, given that the Crown was only restored a couple of weeks ago?
The Earl of Gowrie
My Lords, I was talking about the Crown in its pristine splendour somewhere around the mid-1950s.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, could the noble Earl conceivably have been around then? With his youthful air, he is obviously deceiving us!
The Earl of Gowrie
My Lords, I was around but it is possible that my instruction was outside the strict limits of the law at the time!
§ The noble Lord, Lord Dunleath, raised the point about referenda. At present the Northern Ireland Constitution Act allows for a border poll to be held at any time after March 1983. I do not think it would be worth while to consider introducing primary legislation to amend this Act so that the timetable is advanced, and he is aware of my views about that. He will also recognise that referenda seeking the news of the electorate on a range of options do not always lead to the clearcut results sometimes claimed for them. But I take his point that it is essential to remain sensitive to changes in public opinion in Northern Ireland, and that it is possible for public opinion in Northern Ireland, as indeed here, to change perhaps a little ahead of changes in the publicly expressed sentiments of professional politicians.
§ Both the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and the noble Baroness raised the point of additionality in relation to European Community expenditure. I am altogether with both of them in my feeling that Europe has a huge part to play in what we hope will be an ultimate and peaceable settlement in Northern Ireland, as well as in the economic regeneration of Northern Ireland as a European blackspot in employment terms and in terms of social conditions. But it will be appreciated that the way in which the various EEC funds are handled means that it is not always possible to make a precise split between those receipts which represent cash additions to Northern Ireland recipients and those which are retained by the Government and shown in Estimates as appropriations in aid. The former category is substantial, and receipts in the latter category are of course taken into account when the Government are settling their future spending levels. What this means in effect is that, though some receipts may be retained by Government, they do enable a higher level of expenditure than would otherwise be feasible. That is a general point of principle.
§ Turning to the particular point the noble Baroness raised about European Community money for housing, I am happy to repeat the assurance given to her by my noble friend Lord Cockfield on 10th November, that if the proposed grant of 28 million ECUs for 1982 is made it will result in increased expenditure on housing in Northern Ireland, thus enabling truly additional house construction to he set in hand. So I have some guarded good news there. The general point I made about additionality is also pertinent to the Mme. Martin Report, which she also raised.
§ The noble Baroness also raised the issue of Enterprise Ulster. My honourable friend the Minister of State is considering the future of Enterprise Ulster in the light of its performance and in the light of resources and priorities. I am afraid I cannot be drawn further than that at the moment, but I will draw what she has said to the attention of my honourable friend. Lastly, the noble Baroness asked about the closure of 12 primary schools, and she referred to proposals being considered by the Belfast Education and Library Board for these closures. Education does not feature in the appropriation order, but I can tell the noble Baroness that the board is considering the rationalisation of its schools in the light of declining rolls; our baby bulge 1294 rhythms, if you like. Consideration in still at a very early stage. Local interests are being consulted. If the board subsequently decides to proceed with any closures it will of course follow the presented statutory procedure in each case. This, therefore, would come before the House, and I will keep the noble Baroness in close touch with the position.
My Lords, will the noble Earl forgive me for intervening once again? I do apologise. Will Her Majesty's Government kindly bear in mind the 1978 Education (Northern Ireland) Act, which provides for integrated schools, so that where schools are faced with possible closure there is the opportunity to integrate both controlled and maintained schools, thus rationalising them?
The Earl of Gowrie
My Lords, I am well aware of the importance that the noble Lord attaches to integration, and indeed the importance which many people in Northern Ireland attach to the issue of integration, and I will of course bear it in mind.
My Lords, I think it has been made clear that this is only Part 1, so to speak, of an important series of debates on the Northern Ireland issue. I would say that when we come to look at security and political questions we may, with great respect, be able to tackle them rather more cogently and precisely now that we have concentrated on the economic ones, which are so important, and the two things cannot, of course, be morally or practically divorced. I have enjoyed the debate and received great instruction from it. If there are any points which I have not answered, I will of course try to write to noble Lords who raised them.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.