HL Deb 28 March 1983 vol 440 cc1366-409

4.25 p.m.

Third Reading resumed.

Clause 5 [Payment of revenue grants]:

Lord Underhill moved Amendment No. 5:

Page 5, line 21, at end insert— ("( ) An Authority may with the approval of the Secretary of State increase the amount of any revenue grant in any year where the amount determined under section 4(1) above becomes inadequate for reasons of extreme urgency brought by events unforseeable by the Executive and the Authority.").

The noble Lord said: We are now dealing with Clause 5 of the Bill, which provides that an authority shall make a revenue grant only in accordance with a determination that they shall make in the light of the annual plan and with a regard to the guidance given by the Secretary of State. As there may be only one determination by the authority in any one year, previous amendments have sought to make provision for circumstances where the amount of the revenue grant has been exceeded by expenditure due to unforeseen circumstances. At the Committee stage, there was an amendment to allow the authority to increase the grant in such circumstances. On that occasion the noble Lord, Lord Bellwin, pointed out that "unforeseen circumstances" could enable an executive to act irresponsibly. He argued that it could negotiate a huge wage settlement or increase its level of services. He explained also that any additional grant would have to be within the single annual grant determination and not be an extra grant.

Therefore, at the Report stage, a different amendment was brought forward that an authority may increase the amount of revenue grant where it becomes inadequate due to circumstances beyond the ability of the executive and the authority to control. It was proposed also that this increase be made by the authority after consultation with the Secretary of State. On that occasion the Minister said that he had more difficulty as the amendment would still provide opportunity to circumvent the planning procedures and was even an excuse for slack management. He said, showing great confidence in local authorities and transport executives, that he was sure that, with their ingenuity, some authorities could if they wished find examples of circumstances beyond their control. He added, Would there not then be never ending approaches to and discussions with the Secretary of State?".—[Official Report, 17/3/83; col. 906].

This amendment now before your Lordships should meet the apprehensions of the Minister, first because the words, "due to circumstances which are beyond the ability of the executive and the authority to control" are replaced by the words of the amendment: … for reasons of extreme urgency brought by events unforeseeable by the Executive and the Authority". That, I would suggest, satisfactorily qualifies the circumstances in which the need for an increase in the grant could arise. The amendment is further changed in a way which should completely remove the apprehensions of the Minister because, instead of using the words, "after consulting with the Secretary of State" (which was in the amendment at the Report stage) the present amendment uses the words, "with the approval of the Secretary of State". Therefore, the amount of revenue grant may not be increased without the approval of the Secretary of State. All the arguments used by the Ministers at both Committee and Report stages cannot now possibly apply to this amendment because the final decision will rest upon the approval of the Secretary of State. I beg to move.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, during the Report stage of this Bill on 17th March we had a long and interesting discussion in relation, then, to Amendments Nos. 21 and 22 which were moved by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. These were basically on whether an authority should be able to increase its amount of revenue grant to an executive during the year in order to cover any emergencies. The noble Lord suggested then that this might be made subject to the approval of the Secretary of State and my noble friend Lord Bellwin promised at that time to consider all that had been said on that occasion. My noble friend has indeed done so, and your Lordships will know that when he promises to do something he always does it.

In the light of his consideration and, may I say with all due temerity, in the light of my own reconsideration of what was discussed on Report, we have come to the conclusion that an amendment of this nature is not really necessary. The fact of the matter is that there are already a number of courses available to executives to cover unforeseen circumstances during the year without any need for the amount of revenue grant to be increased. The emergency could immediately be covered—and I apologise to your Lordships if I am repeating myself but it seems to be necessary—by borrowing or by the unplanned use of reserves. This in turn would be covered in the following year by an increase in fares, a reduction in costs, the planned use of reserves or an appropriate increase in the amount of revenue grant from the authority.

Moreover, as has been emphasised on a number of occasions, the executive's financial duty to break even is qualified by the words, "so far as practicable". This is an important point and one which I do not think has been given due regard in our discussions. It really means that if because of an emergency or for whatever compelling reason it was impracticable for an executive to break even, then they are not obliged, come what may, to do so. I would have hoped that what I have said would reassure noble Lords opposite that the Bill already provides executives with adequate scope in covering any emergency or contingency which might arise outside their control, without any need for an increase in the grant.

I turn now to the suggestion that any increase could be made subject to the approval of the Secretary of State, and I would suggest that this would result in considerable exchanges between the executive, the authority and the Secretary of State. Frankly, it would seem to me this would only result in considerably greater interference by the Secretary of State in the affairs of the authority and the executive; and I know we are at one in agreeing that this would be highly undesirable. Moreover, there could be no guarantee that the Secretary of State would agree that the emergency was such as to justify an increase in the grant. The executive would then have to fall back on one of the alternative solutions already available to them which I have outlined on more than one occasion.

I should also make the point that if the authority were allowed to increase its revenue grant halfway through the year it would itself have to cover the increase either by borrowing or by the use of reserves, or possibly by depleting funds allocated to other services within the authority. The noble Lord, Lord Underhill, reminded us that a second precept, a second increase, is not permissible. Therefore, it seems to me quite unnecessary, not to say undesirable, that any additional revenue grant should be provided and financed by means of this kind when the executive itself has access to at least three sources of funding.

I hope that noble Lords opposite will see that this amendment is so very similar to those which we have had before and therefore the answer has to be very similar because of that degree of similarity. I hope, in the light of what I have said this afternoon, they will see that the amendment is not sound.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, on each of the occasions when the Government's reply is given to amendments put forward from this side of the House I have a little bet with myself as to which of the two speeches the Minister is going to make. Will it be the one in which he says that the amendment is unnecessary because this or that other clause has already provided for it? Or will it be the other speech in which he says that this is an intolerable attack on the core of the Bill, on the seamless cloth out of which the Bill is woven, which would never survive the strain of the extra two or three words moved by my noble friends or myself? On this occasion we have had the first of those two speeches and, frankly, it is no more convincing than it was when the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, made it on Report.

He seems to have learned very little since that time about the kinds of circumstances we were referring to when we moved those amendments on Report and the futility, really, of the approach he was making to the business management of public transport undertakings. We did try (and I am sorry that I have to repeat myself as well to some extent) to say that there are some occasions—I wish I could think of some new examples rather than the heavy snowfall which I keep on using, or other acts of God or the weather—when a public transport undertaking, which actually works in the open air, is involved in often quite heavy additional expenditure. It could be "one-off"; there may be no implication whatever of bad management and no implication—unless there are more statistical forces at work in regard to the weather than I am aware of—that the expenditure will be repeated in a future year. Certainly there would be no indication that this was a deliberate attempt by the authority or the executive to break any financial boundaries imposed by the Secretary of State, but it is unavoidable and, as my noble friend says in the amendment, involving grave urgency—I am trying to read without my glasses.

Surely, in those circumstances, it is sheer bad management for the authority and the executive to be forced to borrow in order to meet that expenditure. It is equally bad management for the executive to get into debt and to have to make it up out of reserves for the next year. It is equally bad management if it comes out of existing reserves available, because that means that the reserves have been kept at too high a level for the normal operations of the executive's undertaking. So from a sheer business point of view—nothing to do with party politics—what the noble Lord is suggesting is bad guidance to an executive and ought not to be pursued. I am very sorrry indeed that the overwhelming case for that piece of business management has not been understood and accepted by the Government.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I think it is a little ungenerous of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, to complain of the similarity or, as I would prefer to put it, the consistency of my noble friend's speeches. If noble Lords opposite exercise their right, even on Third Reading, to go on putting down substantially the same amendment they really must not be surprised if they get substantially the same answer. The answer which my noble friend gave on at least one and, I believe, on two previous occasions on this subject seems to me wholly convincing and indeed he has no option but to give it again if the same amendment is put down again and again. Frankly, it does not lie in the mouth of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, with respect, to criticise my noble friend on this point.

The only other observation I should like to suggest to your Lordships is that emphasis has been put in this amendment on the question of the unforeseen. I would remind your Lordships of an observation of Disraeli: A policy is the toll levied on a fool by the unforeseen. I am not the former and I do not believe in the latter".

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I wonder whether he would accept that I was not criticising the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, for repeating his arguments. I was merely criticising the content of those arguments and apologising for the fact that I myself was repeating the arguments.

Lord Sefton of Garston

My Lords, the emphasis of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, is on the unforeseen. In this amendment, the emphasis is entirely different: it confers upon the Minister the right to say what is an emergency. Perhaps I could outline its importance by describing what could happen in the place which I know best, Merseyside. On either side of the river we have developed a quite extensive network of rail services. They cover both the north and the south bank of the Mersey. Because of the obvious cost, we have to rely upon the old Mersey railway tunnel. This means that both those services are dependent upon one double track under the Mersey.

It is within the bounds of possibility that with two trains under the River Mersey, one train could be derailed and hit the other. Then one would be faced with a catastrophe. Lives would be lost and transport on Merseyside would have to be reorganised. All communication between the south and the north banks of the Mersey by rail would immediately be at an end. It would call for a massive injection of investment: either for the movement of buses from the LBC into the area to use the two road tunnels or for the hiring and chartering of one or more additional ferryboats to provide for the tremendous movement of traffic. One has to remember that the commercial life of Liverpool practically depends upon the large number of commuters from the Wirral.

I have outlined a scenario which could occur. Nobody could describe it as not being an emergency. Therefore I pick up the argument of my noble friend Lord McIntosh of Haringey about whether or not it is good management to borrow for a situation of that kind. I do not think that it is, nor do I think that the Government believe it to be good policy to borrow money for that kind of purpose. Even if they do at the moment, there would be no option under the Bill but for them to say to a local authority, "Borrow the money in order to get you out of this difficulty". That is a stupid situation to be faced with. It means that in framing the Bill the Government have envisaged every possible circumstance and have left themselves with no flexibility to move away from the Bill. What kind of a Bill is that? It places upon the Government so firm a restriction that they cannot possibly move.

This amendment seeks to allow the Minister to decide what is an emergency. Secondly, it allows him, if he thinks fit, then to allow the transport authority to exceed the grant rather than to borrow. That is all the amendment seeks to do. If ever there were a constructive rather than destructive amendment which is designed to make it a better Bill, this amendment is it.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I am rather forced to my feet by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey. I would suggest that he has lost his bet, because I added a totally different argument from that which was previously advanced—one which I should have thought would appeal to him. I said—and I cannot recall having said it before—that it seemed to me that this would result only in considerably greater interference by the Secretary of State in the affairs of an authority and an executive. I know that we are at one in not wishing that to happen, but that is what the amendment suggests.

The noble Lord, Lord Sefton of Garston, spoke about a snowfall and added another scenario, but I do not believe that we can be expected to legislate for acts of God. I suggest that it would be extremely bad management not to hold reserves against contingencies. Noble Lords opposite seem to suggest that this is not one of the ways out of a problem which might arise. They want to shift that responsibility to the Secretary of State. I suggest that this is not right. I could not possibly agree with the arguments which noble Lords opposite have put forward. To accept the amendment would be to throw away the orderly processes provided for in the Bill and to substitute possibly a continuous process of approaches to the Secretary of State, with the substitution of his decision about the amount of the grant rather than leaving that to be determined by the authority, which is what noble Lords opposite have been calling for throughout. Their arguments have not persuaded me.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, as discussion of the Bill continues I grow more and more amazed. We are now told that this amendment would interfere with the determination of the grant by the authority. The authority can determine nothing. It can say what it thinks the grant should be, but when the Minister can say, "No, I shall give you different guidance, and if you dare to vary it somebody can go to the courts" that is not determination by the authority. With all respect to the Minister, it is nonsensical to put forward that argument.

Of course a similar pattern is to be found in the three amendments moved at Committee stage, Report stage and Third Reading. With respect to the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, that is the purpose of this House. What we have tried to do at each stage is to listen to the ministerial arguments and to adapt the amendment accordingly, hoping that it would then be acceptable to the Government. We adapted the amendment moved at the Committee stage. At the Report stage we hoped that it would meet the arguments advanced by the Government. But that amendment was not successful. This time, therefore, we have gone to the ultimate. Therefore the amendment says, "with the approval of the Secretary of State". How much further can one go in adapting amendment after amendment? I am certain that the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, did not mean what he said, otherwise the revising function of this House is useless and we may as well dispense with the revision stages—and with this House.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, if the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, is challenging me on that point, may I say that I was replying to his noble friend Lord McIntosh of Haringey who criticised my noble friend the Minister for using the same arguments on this occasion as those used on previous occasions. I pointed out that as the amendment is substantially the same as those moved on previous occasions, consistent and sensible answers must also be more or less the same. Surely the noble Lord can absorb that proposition.

Lord Underhill

Except, my Lords, that I am saying that it is a substantial change to give the authority to the Secretary of State. This was not proposed in any previous amendment. Noble Lords will see the point that I am trying to make. Emphasis is placed on the number of courses which are available. My noble friends Lord Sefton and Lord McIntosh of Haringey have dealt at length with the business arguments against the courses which have been set out. To say that if there is an unforeseen emergency one should increase fares in an area where there is 25 to 30 per cent. unemployment, might result in employers in the area saying, "What the devil do you think you are doing by increasing fares? Think of the effect it might have on employers and their employees". Recourse to borrowing and recourse to increased fares might be unsuitable. We are therefore saying that an authority should not be allowed to take this decision; they should put their case to the Minister. If the Secretary of State says that he does not regard it as an emergency in which the Government can act in this way and asks whether there are other ways of dealing with it, then he can say, "I will not agree". But if he considers that a case has been put up, the Secretary of State will decide. That is what this amendment says.

When I am told that this will increase the number of exchanges between the authority and the Secretary of State, I hope that the Minister will go to the department and take a look at some of the exchanges which are taking place already, before this Bill is even passed, on points concerning the chronology of the planning process. I have seen some of the correspondence, so I do not want to be told that this will increase the number of exchanges between the authority and the Secretary of State. If this will deal with a situation where the final decision rests with the Secretary of State, then surely that is something which the whole House ought to applaud.

When I am then told, as a final argument, that we should not wish to press this amendment because it will increase interference by the Secretary of State in the affairs of the authority, we would have preferred to have seen matters the other way around. We tried this at Report stage. The Minister, for various reasons which we have heard explained, said "No." So now we have come to the ultimate point. We have said: "Right, this emergency has come. It is unforeseen and beyond control. Who will take the decision? We will put up the case, but the Secretary of State's approval must be given to it." That seems to be so reasonable.

This issue is not one on which I was proposing to divide the House, but some of the same arguments put against this amendment were put forward last time, and have been adapted each time to knock out a different stage. Unfortunately, there are only three stages to a Bill. If there were another, we would adapt the amendment yet again and see what other argument was put forward against it. But that is not a possibility, and so we can only show our disagreement and our objections to the arguments of the Minister and of the Government. All we want to do is say, "All this is subject to the approval of the Secretary of State." If that is not acceptable to the Government, then your Lordships' House ought to say, "Yes, it is."

4.52 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 5) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 58; Not-Contents, 106.

Ardwick, L. Kirkhill, L.
Avebury, L. Leatherland, L.
Aylestone, L. Listowel, E.
Bacon, B. Lloyd of Hampstead, L.
Banks, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Longford, E.
Beswick, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Bishopston, L. [Teller.] Mayhew, L.
Blease, L. Melchett, L.
Blyton, L. Mishcon, L.
Briginshaw, L. Oram, L.
Brockway, L. Phillips, B.
Bruce of Donington, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Chitnis, L. Rathcreedan, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Sainsbury, L.
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Sefton of Garston, L.
David, B. [Teller.] Stedman, B.
Denington, B. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Ezra, L. Stone, L.
Hale, L. Strabolgi, L.
Hampton, L. Tanlaw, L.
Hatch of Lusby, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Hunt, L. Tordoff, L.
Jacques, L. Underhill, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
John-Mackie, L. Walston, L.
Kennet, L. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Ailesbury, M. Daventry, V.
Airey of Abingdon, B. Davidson, V.
Auckland, L. De La Warr, E.
Avon, E. Denham, L. [Teller.]
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Drumalbyn, L.
Bellhaven and Stenton, L. Eccles, V.
Blake, L. Ellenborough, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Elles, B.
Caithness, E. Elliot of Harwood, B.
Campbell of Croy, L. Elton, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Fortescue, E.
Cathcart, E. Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Cockfield, L. Gainford, L.
Coleraine, L. Gibson-Watt, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L. Gisborough, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Glenarthur, L.
Cottesloe, L. Glenkinglas, L.
Cox, B. Gormanston, V.
Craigavon, V. Gray, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Greenway, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. O'Neill of the Maine, L.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Hampden, V. Penrhyn, L.
Henley, L. Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ilchester, E. Porrit, L.
Ironside, L. Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Killearn, L. Ridley, V.
Kilmany, L. Romney, E.
Kinloss, Ly. St. Davids, V.
Lane-Fox, B. Saint Oswald, L.
Lauderdale, E. Sandys, L.
Lawrence, L. Seebohn, L.
Long, V. Shuttleworth, L.
Loudoun, C. Skelmersdale, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Somers, L.
Lyell, L. Spens, L.
McAlpine of Moffat, L. Stamp, L.
McFadzean, L. Strathspey, L.
Macloed of Borve, B. Sudeley, L.
Mancroft, L. Swinfen, L.
Margadale, L. Swinton, E. [Teller.]
Marley, L. Taylor of Hadfield, L.
Merrivale, L. Terrington, L.
Mersey, V. Teviot, L.
Mills, V. Trefgarne, L.
Milverton, L. Trenchard, V.
Molson, L. Trumpington, B.
Montgomery of Alamein, V. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Mottistone, L. Vickers, B.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L. Vivian, L.
Newall, L. Westbury, L.
Northchurch, B. Wise, L.
Nugent of Guldford, L. Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

5 p.m.

Lord Underhill moved Amendment No. 6:

Page 5, line 33, at end insert— ("( ) The National Bus Company and their subsidiaries and the British Railway Board shall supply an Executive with such information as they reasonably require for the purpose of preparing a plan under section 3 above.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, once again I have to make it clear that an amendment dealing with the general content of this present amendment was brought forward at Report stage. Reference to the need to obtain information from the National Bus Company so as to supply information to the Secretary of State has been left out. It has been left out because of the attention which the Minister drew to the provisions of the 1962 Act, which provide the Secretary of State with a comprehensive power to obtain all information from the National Bus Company directly. But we have now included in the amendment the need to obtain information from British Rail as well as the National Bus Company and its subsidiaries. To meet the point which the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, made at Report stage, the word "reasonably" has been included. I shall be too optimistic if I assume that he will therefore support my amendment, but I still hope so.

The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, said that Section 24(2) of the 1968 Act places the National Bus Company and the executives under a duty to co-operate with one another and to enter into agreements as to services to be provided within a metropolitan county. That is correct, but that subsection is nothing to do with the provision in this amendment—neither subsection (2) nor subsection (3) of that section. I will not take the time of your Lordships in explaining the point, except to say that I am sure the noble Lord the Minister will agree when he looks at those two subsections that they have no relationship to what we are trying to do in this amendment. There is need for the executives to have such information as they may reasonably require—that is in the amendment—for the purpose of preparing the annual plan, which is to be spread over three years, which is part of the purpose of this Bill.

There is another reason why this amendment should be supported. Apart from the purpose of meeting the criticism of the Minister, which we have tried to do in this new amendment, it was made absolutely clear when I attended a meeting last Friday of representatives of transport executives and of transport authorities that hitherto considerable difficulty has been experienced in obtaining required information from the National Bus Company and also from British Rail. In fact, some officers of transport executives said that the information required in connection with the submission of their TPP was sometimes two years old. Therefore, if the executives are to be in a position to really carry through the requirements of the Bill, to submit a proper annual plan covering three years, it is absolutely essential that there be statutory powers for them to obtain reasonable information from both the NBC and its subsidiaries and, as now included, also from British Rail. Past experience of transport executive officials makes it quite clear that this amendment is really necessary. I beg to move.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, without being frivolous, perhaps I could remind your Lordships of some of the words the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, used when we were discussing the last amendment. He referred to having had to adapt his amendments to meet what we had said. Frankly, this amendment is an absolute adaptation; it is fundamentally the same, but it brings in the British Rail element and adds one word. Recognising these small differences, I would not have thought they were very significant; but if the noble Lord wishes again to debate the basic issue then that is, of course, his prerogative. The present amendment introduces the word "reasonably", which my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter pointed out in a teasing way when we last discussed this would be necessary in the interests of consistency. Of course, the House did not accept that amendment, as the noble Lord reminded us.

This new amendment extends to the British Railways Board. If I may take that point first, I do not think it can be argued that it adds anything of substance to the amendment we considered last time. There is already the existing power in Section 20(3) of the 1968 Transport Act that the Railways Board, shall furnish the Executive with any information which the Executive may reasonably require for the purposes of discharging their responsibilities".

Lord Sefton of Garston

My Lords, will the noble Lord give way?

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, I think it would be very difficult for me to follow my own line of argument—and, indeed, for the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, to follow it—if I gave way before I had finished saying what I have to say in response to the amendment. If noble Lords opposite feel that I am perhaps taking an attitude to which they really object, I am happy to give way, but I think it would be more helpful if I went on.

I was talking about there being an existing power under Section 20(3) of the Transport Act 1968. That provides that the Railways Board, shall furnish the Executive with any information which the Executive may reasonably require for the purposes of discharging their responsibilities under section 20(2) for keeping the rail services in their area under review and entering into agreements with the Board for the provision of services". So I do not think an executive could claim that they lack any adequate power so far as the railways are concerned.

The question of what information is needed from the National Bus Company is perhaps a little different. We discussed this before, and I suggested then—and certainly my inquiries do not suggest that I was wrong at that time—that while there are sometimes disagreements and there may be times when the two bodies, the NBC and the PTE, are not seeing eye to eye, I have certainly not had any evidence brought before me that PTEs have not been able to get the information that they require. The department consulted with both the National Bus Company and, incidentally, with the British Railways Board, at the same time as we were trying to have consultation with the AMA, about the information requirements that would result from the Bill. We were concerned then, and we are still concerned, to ensure that there is so far as possible general agreement about what needs to be provided, and that the requirements are in a form which will not create unreasonable difficulties either for the Railways Board or for the NBC, any more than for authorities and transport executives.

The Railways Board and the NBC have been helpful and constructive in their approach to our consultations. Frankly, I have to say that I wish the AMA attitude had been as forthcoming at that early stage as were the NBC and the railways. Having said that, I should add that in recent days—in fact only from about 18th March until this morning—the AMA have responded in a very much more fulsome manner to the consultation documents which we have put out. That is, of course, to be commended and is helpful to everyone concerned.

Nevertheless, I remain convinced that the sensible way of getting the information requirements and the planning system right is in discussion and agreement and not by relying on additional statutory powers. If one had them it would add nothing material within the context of this amendment. We took that view on Report and I have to tell your Lordships that we see no reason at this stage to change it.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I am almost tempted to take up the point that the noble Lord made about the AMA because I am aware of the reply to which he referred. The reason why the AMA hitherto has not sent various pieces of information is that co-operation was required from the AMA on how to carry out a Bill to which they were opposed. They were not brought into consultation about the provisions of the Bill. As I shall explain later, the White Paper and the Bill both came to Parliament on the same day. This amendment is not intended to be critical of the NBC or of British Rail.

The Minister said that we ought to secure this information by discussions and agreement, and not by statutory powers. I wish that statement had been made before we started consideration of this Bill, because the whole of it is statutory powers on what the authority must do and the information it must give, what the executive must do and the information it must give. It is riddled on almost every page, in every section and subsection, with powers. If that is what the Government wanted to avoid we could have had numerous amendments to the Bill.

Reference was made to the Act of 1968, but that is 15 years ago. We are talking about information required for a different purpose—to prepare a plan each year for the next three years. That is a totally different thing altogether. The Minister can take my assurance that the people I was with on Friday afternoon all expressed concern that it was essential that if they are to do the job of preparing a three-year plan they must have this information. However, one can see the attitude of the Government. We will not press this further, but the statement that I have made and that the Minister has made are on the record. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave withdrawn.

Clause 7 [Review of managerial organisation]:

5.12 p.m.

Lord Underhill moved Amendment No. 7: Page 6, line 27, leave out from ("shall") to ("cause") in line 28 and insert ("if the Secretary of State so requires, not more than once in any period of three years").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, a similar amendment was put forward on Report and I will briefly explain why. On that occasion the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, said: I can say categoricaly that the Secretary of State has no intention of requiring transport authorities to cause frequent reviews to be made of the management and organisation of their executives.". That is a statement which I think was generally welcomed. Shortly afterwards the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, said that he reiterated the assurance given by the noble Lord, Lord Bellwin, in Committee that the Secretary of State would call for a review, only at the time of giving the guidance". The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, added: It would be undesirable to modify the Bill to prevent the Secretary of State asking for more frequent reviews. However, I assure the House that it is not his intention to ask for such reviews more frequently than once every three years."—[Official Report, 21/3/83; cols. 956–957.]

Therefore, we have a situation where categorical assurances are given that it is not the intention to ask for reviews more frequently than once every three years but at the same time we are told that it is undesirable to modify the Bill to stop the Secretary of State from asking for more frequent reviews. One hand seems to disagree with the other hand, or the same voice disagrees with itself at different stages of the discussions.

It must be pointed out that these reviews under the Bill are for a particular purpose. They are not general organisation reviews. They are to determine whether any particular activities should be managed as separate units with separate accounts. If it is the intention of the Secretary of State to act as has been stated by the Minister—and I freely accept those assurances—then that should be in the Bill. But we cannot have legislation drawn up on the basis of assurances from the Secretary of State for the future. As we have said time and again, the Secretary of State may not be there. There may be a different Secretary of State and different circumstances. I think we are right in the point that we have put forward by moving this amendment but having noted what the Minister said, with which I totally disagree, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

The Deputy Speaker (The Earl of Listowel)

The amendment is not moved.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I should explain that I am withdrawing the amendment, having already moved it.

Lord Skelmersdale

My Lords, if the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, will give way for a moment, he has in fact neither moved the amendment nor withdrawn it in the current state of play because my noble friend has not answered. If the noble Lord wants an answer he will have to move the amendment.

Lord Howie of Troon

My Lords, the amendment should not be withdrawn just yet because the whole thing hinges on the Secretary of State. Whoever he may be in the future, and it may well be the distant future, he might or might not have opinions and those opinions might or might not be agreeable to the House. Certainly they might not be agreeable to this side of the House. As my noble friend on the Front Bench said, it is not sufficient for us that this part of the Bill should go through merely on the future say-so of the Secretary of State. We should have something from the Government Front Bench which reassures us on how the Secretary of State, whoever he might be, is likely to react in the future to the comments of my noble friend on the Front Bench, which were, I thought, very restrained.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I apologise to the House. I seem to have spoken so much that I was forgetting. I was dealing with arguments put forward on Report and not with arguments put forward at this stage. May I formally move the amendment so that the Minister can get his reply on record. I beg to move.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, since the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, and the noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, are particularly anxious that I should respond I can do no worse. Neither can I do any better than say that I can and do repeat the assurances I previously gave on Report. First, the Secretary of State will not ask for a Clause 7 review any later in a year than the date on which he gives his guidance under Clause 4(5). Secondly, he will not require reviews under Clause 7 more frequently than once in three years. The Secretary of State is in fact likely to use his powers under Clause 7 very rarely because authorities are far more likely to carry out such reviews of their own accord under the existing powers in Section 15A(3) of the 1968 Act.

I will again remind your Lordships of the examination which London Transport have been making of their bus operations, for they are considering reducing the number of bus districts from eight to six, devolving a great deal of managerial responsibility away from the centre to the divisions. This is precisely the sort of review we have in mind. Most of the authorities, we believe, will undertake such a review of their own accord and the power of the Secretary of State to require a review is really provided to cope with an exceptional situation where an authority does not institute such a review. In view of that repeated assurance, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, will do as he suggested when he spoke just a few moments ago, and withdraw his amendment.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I am glad that I was able to adjust what I had said previously so as to get the Minister's reply on record. It was not exactly in the words which the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, has now put forward. Clause 7(1) is not a general review of the organisation and operation of the activities of an executive. It says it shall determine, whether, in the interests of managing the activities of the Executive in the most efficient manner, any particular activities of the Executive should be managed as separate units with separate accounts". That is the purpose of the review.

I and other noble Lords pointed out way back in the distant Committee stage of this Bill that passenger transport executives do carry out their own reviews of their own organisation. In fact, we were able to instance examples of this, where they had done it themselves. The London Transport Executive has been mentioned by the Minister. That was not a review that they carried out to see whether or not they should run things as separate units. It is a regular review that any sensible executive will carry out from time to time. Having put that statement on the record, let me say that the authorities are not insensitive bodies and the executives are not incompetent bodies, despite the comments that we occasionally get from Ministers. They are bodies which want efficiency. What we were trying to do in this particular amendment was to ensure that we should not have these particular reviews, which are for a particular purpose only, more than once in three years.

The Minister has given assurances that that will not happen. I agree with my noble friend Lord Howie of Troon that that should be in the Bill and we should not just have assurances. But, having had those assurances once again, I beg leave to withdraw this amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 8 [Tenders for carrying on activities of Executives]:

5.22 p.m.

Lord Underhill moved Amendment No. 8: Page 7, line 3, after ("persons") insert ("selected from a list of tenderers approved by them").

The noble Lord said: This may seem an unnecessary amendment to some noble Lords—I hope not—but it has a very important purpose. Clause 8(1) provides that: An Executive shall … invite other persons to submit tenders to carry on". such of their activities as the executive may determine, or, under subsection (2), as the authority may direct the executive so to do. The amendment is a commonsense, businesslike proposal that the persons to be appointed to tender shall be: from a list of tenderers approved by", the executive. It may be asked: why do this? It is mainly because of the condition laid down in this clause that—I am just paraphrasing—an executive shall accept a tender which gives satisfactory service and at no greater cost.

In these days, many of us believe that we ought to purchase the maximum amount that we can from British sources. Buses, for instance, may be cheaper from overseas and may reasonably satisfy the operations, but we should not necessarily find the executive compelled to purchase from that source. That is only one example. That is why we want a list. There ought to be a list of tenderers approved by the executive and only persons from that list should be drawn to tender for these respective activities. I beg to move.

Lord Mottistone

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, opened by saying that some of us might not see the point of his amendment. I listened with as much care as I could, and I still do not see the point of his amendment. I do not quite understand why, if, An Executive shall … invite other persons to submit tenders", they need to make a list of them. It seems a very nitpicking sort of thing, hardly relevant to an Act of Parliament, let alone this particular subsection and this sentence. I really think that the amendment does not have much point to it and is not perhaps wholly suitable for a Third Reading amendment.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, notwithstanding what my noble friend Lord Mottistone said, nevertheless we do have an amendment and I think that it would be right and proper to respond to it and your Lordships would expect me to do so.

In the Bill there is no restriction or control over the way that the executives seek tenders. Once executives have decided to invite tenders for an activity, it is up to them to decide how to go about it. They may indeed use a list of tenderers which perhaps the local authority have or they may go out to open tender. In our view it would be completely inappropriate to put in the Bill the requirement for an executive to have an approved list of tenderers. It would interfere, I suggest, with matters which are for the executive. It would certainly restrict their freedom of action and in all other regards be far too much of a constraint upon them. They may consider at some particular stage that they would like to go out to tender on an activity, a tenderer for which may not be on a tender list. It may be a totally new development or a new piece of expertise which has arrived for which they might like an outsider to tender. While on the one hand they can use selective tendering for certain areas of activities, we would not wish them to be restricted or constrained in any way. Because of that we could not agree to this amendment.

Lord Howie of Troon

My Lords, is it not common for public bodies to go out to tender on a list, whether they are a local authority or any other kind of public body, for any purpose? They know, as a rule, what they want when they go to tender and they also know the kind of people who are likely to be able to meet their requirements, so they go out on a list. That is by no means unusual, unique or new. I take the point of the noble Lord the Minister that from time to time occasions occur when the requirements are themselves new. For such occasions the list would include such others as were able to meet the requirements of the authority. Therefore there is no difficulty in my noble friend's amendment at all. I think that the Government should accept it. There is no difficulty of any kind whatsoever.

Lord Sefton of Garston

My Lords, there is a point. If we look at Clause 8, that deals with the executive alone. If it was left as it is, there is no provision whereby the authority could decide who the tenders should be accepted from. May I remind your Lordships that it is not the first time that committees with delegated authority have done things which the democratically elected body thought other than reasonable? I am not quite certain on a point of order whether I should refer to the other place, but it certainly happened in the other place, when somebody discovered that they were dining off crockery manufactured in West Germany. That was done because of the freedom of the Catering Committee—I suppose one could call the Catering Committee the executive in that regard—to pick where it wanted to pick in regard to a tender.

The point behind the present amendment is that the executive's power to choose a tenderer would be circumscribed by the list approved by the authority. So there would not be a gap. If the list were approved, it would be approved early enough. If it needed reviewing, it would be reviewed early enough. So at all times the authority would be aware of from where the tenders were coming.

I should not like to be in the position in which the present Government might find themselves if, by mischance or deliberate intent, an executive decided that, instead of obtaining buses in the normal way, it would import them from Japan, at a cost which was slightly lower, but which would not compensate for the number of people who would become unemployed because the buses were being manufactured in Japan rather than in this country. That is a real possibility, and all that is needed to avoid it is for the Government to accept the amendment. However, I am quite certain that they will not accept it, because they have resolutely set their face against any constructive amendment at all.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, said that there was no point in the amendment, and that it is not an amendment suitable for Third Reading. I should like to follow up what my noble friend Lord Sefton of Garston said and draw attention to the actual provisions of the clause. Subsection (3) states that: An Executive shall"— I emphasise the word "shall"— accept a tender invited pursuant to this section if it appears to them that to do so would result in the relevant activities being carried on in a satisfactory manner and at less cost to them than if they were to continue to carry on those activities themselves". The word "shall" is involved in that provision. Subsection (5) provides that in the report that it must submit the executive must give a statement showing the steps that it has taken during the last accounting period to comply with the requirements of subsections (1) and (2) of the clause.

So, in other words, the Government could say to an executive, "Well, you have had a tender at less cost to yourselves. You can't deny that it would give you satisfactory service. Why haven't you accepted it?" Admittedly, the Minister has said that the authority to accept a tender rests with the executive, but the word "shall" appears in subsection (3), and there is also the report that the executive has to make to the Secretary of State on what it has done to carry out the requirements of the clause.

Therefore there must be kept in mind the point that I made at the outset, and which has been referred to by my noble friends in support of the amendment. We should not wish there to arise a situation where an executive could have satisfactory service at a cost and from a source which would in turn result in unemployment in this country being increased. That would be absolutely undesirable. The purpose of the amendment is to avoid such a situation, as well as other circumstances that we might consider. However, the Minister has explained that, for reasons which, frankly, I could not properly understand, the Government will not accept the amendment, and so I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.34 p.m.

Lord Underhill moved Amendment No. 9: Page 7, line 12, after ("on") insert ("over whatever period they consider appropriate").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment, too, relates to Clause 8, which concerns tenders. As I have already pointed out, subsection (1) of the clause provides that tenders shall be invited to carry on the specified activities for such period as the executive may specify. However, subsection (3), to which I have already referred, contains a mandatory "shall". The amendment seeks to insert words so that, if the amendment were accepted, the relevant part of subsection (3) would state that the executive shall accept a tender if it appears to it that to do so would result in the relevant activities being carried on over whatever period they consider appropriate in a satisfactory manner and at less cost". So that would remove any dubiety that the executive could not accept a tender for activities to be undertaken over a period which it considered appropriate and satisfactory. I beg to move.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, for explaining the purpose of the amendment. However, I think that the point is adequately covered by subsection (1) of the clause, since the subsection specifically states that the executive may invite tenders for such period"— and so on— as the Executive may specify". So if the executive thinks that the particular activity for which it is inviting tenders must be looked at over the long term, it is perfectly entitled to insert such a qualification in the tender invitation. If, likewise, the executive is convinced that a tenderer has looked at an issue and submitted a low tender solely on the basis of a short-term calculation, it is entitled to say that it is unacceptable because it is not convinced that the activity would be satisfactorily carried out; that is of course in relation to the details and the time period specified in the invitation to tender. I think that the Bill allows the executive full flexibility with regard to anything that it may wish to insert in an invitation to tender document, and I can see no point in this additional amendment to the Bill.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, the Minister has given the reasons why the amendment cannot be accepted. The reference in subsection (1) to "such period" refers to the invitation to tender. It may well be that when the tenders are received, although they may seem satisfactory and the cost would be economically advantageous, for some reason or other the executive may wish, by agreement with the tenderer, to extend the period, or it may wish to have a more limited period. The Minister said that that is what the provision really means. This is one of those cases where the addition of a few simple words might avoid a devil of a lot of correspondence, interviews and meetings in order to try to settle the issue, and at the end of the day might avoid even possible court arguments. Yet the Government are adamant that they will not accept this simple, commonsense proposal, which would provide a very valuable safeguard. The Government have resisted the amendment, and so I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 10 [Commencement of Part 1 and transitional provisions]:

Lord Underhill moved Amendment No. 10: Page 8, line 33, after ("not") insert ("without the approval of the Secretary of State").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, perhaps it will be convenient for your Lordships to take, with this amendment, Amendment No. 11. We come to the final amendments at the last stage of the Bill at which it is possible to move amendments. We are placing a power completely in the lap of the Secretary of State, and we hope that at this last opportunity we might secure acceptance by the Government of an amendment.

At the Report stage in the other place Clause 10(2) was amended without any consultation, without any debate whatever, without even an explanation by the Minister who moved the amendment, because the guillotine was in operation. As amended, the subsection imposes a complete block on payments of revenue grants in 1983–84—which I would remind your Lordship commences on 1st April this year; only a few days ahead—until the Secretary of State has issued guidance and the authorities have made the determination of the amounts required under the subsection.

I am assured that passenger transport executives generally are paid the revenue grant on a monthly basis, and there is considerable concern about the hold-up which may occur with the April and May payments this year if the Bill as it now stands receives Royal Assent. Based on the provisional protected expenditure level figures set out in the White Paper, the amounts which could be held up for the two months could reach £70 million. If, to maintain cash flow, the public transport executives have to borrow, that will further increase their expenditure. That would be commercially undesirable, and should be avoided.

The insertion of the words set out in the two amendments would enable the Secretary of State to allow the normal monthly payments to be made where he thinks that is appropriate; in other words, where it has not been possible for him to go through the process that is set out in the Bill, but there is likely to be a hold-up in the payments for April and May of this year, which could reach £70 million. If one looks at the figures relating to the provisional guidance in the appendix to the White Paper, one sees a figure of £436 million for the year. Divided by six for two months, that gives a figure of £70 million. It is a big problem. I hope the Minister will not say that the executives can borrow the money. This is an important business proposal; there are no politics involved. At the end of the day, we are saying that we want the Secretary of State to give authority, if he considers this necessary, for the payments to be made without going through the process outlined in the Bill for any one of the earlier months of the first year. I beg to move.

Lord Pitt of Hampstead

My Lords, I hope the Government will accept this amendment. We are passing the Bill this week, probably today. Clause 10 will then come into effect. The Government and the authorities will not have gone through the planning process in time for a proper estimate to be made of the payments that will start on Friday. The amendment provides a safeguard that would be useful to the Government, to the authorities and to the executives. It allows for the Government to continue their planning process while allowing the executives in the meantime to receive payments from the authorities without the proper determination incumbent upon them under Clause 10. The amendment is merely a safeguard—in fact, a sort of long stop—which I consider (given the circumstances in which we are passing the Bill) should be acceptable to the Government. I hope they will accept the amendment.

Lord Teviot

My Lords, I hesitate to intervene. I have listened with interest to all the debates. I heard Lord Underhill move the amendment. I can follow his argument when he talks about the situation in regard to the next two months' payments. However, I cannot see what effect the wording of the two amendments will achieve. I am not sure of the purpose behind the words. I hope that my noble friend may know what is intended.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lords, Lord Underhill and Lord Pitt, for raising this point. I can appreciate their worries about the likely consequences if there were to be a delay after Royal Assent in issuing guidance and the authorities making their determination. I do not, however, believe that the amendment is necessary. I hope that I can categorically set your Lordships' minds at rest.

The Secretary of State will issue guidance very quickly following Royal Assent—in fact, as soon as possible after he has considered any new information that the authorities and the executives wish to supply. This should take only a few days. There will therefore be no delay at the Government's end. It is, of course, for the authorities to decide how to make their determination. I know that the authorities have been closely following the progress of the Bill, and I am sure that, as responsible bodies, they have made adequate contingency plans to make a speedy determination.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, the Minister says that this may take only a few days after Royal Assent. For the benefit of the noble Lord, Lord Teviot, I should like to explain why we consider the amendments necessary. Under the Bill, An Authority shall not make any revenue grant in the year beginning on 1st April 1983". We wish to amend the Bill to insert, after the word "not", the words, without the approval of the Secretary of State". We also wish to amend the words, no such determination shall be made by an Authority unless they have been given guidance by the Secretary of State", to read, except with the approval of the Secretary of State no such determination shall be made by an Authority unless they have been given guidance by the Secretary of State". On what facts will the Secretary of State make a decision of this great importance within a few days of Royal Assent? What will be the basis? What will be the criteria? The Secretary of State has had no plan from the executive. After he has given his guidance figure, the authority has then to give its determination. There could be delay. Discussion, argument and controversy may occur. One is talking of the possibility of £35 million in April this year, not next year, and of £35 million in May this year. One would have thought that it was plain business common sense for the amendment to be inserted. It is not asking that any particular authority be given to the executives; it is not asking for any special authority to be given to the transport authority. It is giving the Secretary of State power to say that he will approve, if necessary.

One would have thought that the Government would jump at the opportunity to accept the amendments. We are placing something in the lap of the Secretary of State to enable him to avoid a complication. If a complication now occurs under Clause 10(2), it will be the Government's responsibility for putting the Bill forward in this manner. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 11 not moved.]

5.48 p.m.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass. I regret very much that my noble friend Lord Bellwin is unable to be present today. I wish to begin, if I may, by reminding your Lordships that at Second Reading he described the urgent need for greater certainty and stability for our public transport services both in the GLC and the metropolitan areas, and the need for improved efficiency and better value for money. Finally, he emphasised the need to achieve a proper balance between the interests of ratepayers and of transport users. That is what this important Bill seeks to do.

My Lords, the Government fully recognise that it is necessary to subsidise public transport in our major cities. Indeed, the Government accepted £283 million for revenue support through the transport supplementary grant for 1983–84. In setting the provisional PELs, we were prepared to protect no less than £436 million. Nor, my Lords, should we forget the substantial Government contribution to capital spending on public transport. The Government have, for example, contributed over two-thirds of the total estimated cost of £425 million, at December 1982 prices, of the Tyne and Wear Metro scheme. Although the Metro is not repaying its capital costs, there have been real benefits in that it has encouraged forward-looking Management and manning policies and practices.

These huge sums reflect significant Government commitment to public transport in our cities, but the Government, it must be firmly stated, have viewed with alarm growing and accelerating demands for subsidy for local transport. In 1979–80 the sum was £139 million; in 1982–83 it was nearly £400 million; and the level predicted last summer for 1983–84 was no less than £700 million. Since last summer there has been time for reflection—a process encouraged by the publication of this Bill and the White Paper. And on reflection it is significant that many authorities have been able to curb their appetite for revenue support. It now looks as though about £500 million will be spent on subsidy next year, but authorities have not yet determined their grant under the Bill.

To judge from their rate precepts, some authorities do not propose to alter course, so that if the final PELs are similar to the provisional ones, they could not therefore have the whole of their subsidy protected from legal challenge. But others appear to be making quite significant downward adjustments. This must be due, at least in part, to this Bill, which in my view very clearly offers protection to reasonable levels of subsidy while not preventing authorities from deciding for higher levels of subsidy should they so wish. But unless the higher level is clearly justifiable, there will then be a real risk of challenge. In this way the Bill certainly improves the clarity of the legal basis for subsidy but without, admittedly, providing protection for excessive levels.

One result of the reassessments by authorities will be the more selective use of subsidy. In the Government's view there is all the difference in the world between holding fares down to 1976 levels using massive tranches of ratepayers' money, as South Yorkshire have been doing, and the judicious use of subsidy to maintain a reasonable network. The bill for cheap fares in South Yorkshire in 1982–83 is estimated at £53 million. However, whatever South Yorkshire decide to do, a number of the other authorities appear likely to adopt a more reasonable and protected level of subsidy, and to try to provide—and no doubt they will—the best services they can within that level.

I am of course aware that individual authorities, and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities on their behalf, are opposed to the Bill and were initially unwilling to discuss it. I believe that we have dispelled some of their genuine fears—for example, by showing that the Bill really does leave almost untouched the existing powers of the authorities and the executives. Most of the authorities have now discussed the Bill and the provisional PELs with the department. The department regrets that discussion between the department and the authorities, executives and the association was restricted during the early period, but now that the Bill has reached its final stages we very much hope that all concerned will get gack to the more usual and proper discussions. Indeed, I was very glad to hear that the AMA are now providing comments on the most recent of the department's consultation documents. Although these comments are a mixture of support and criticism—I do not suppose that we would have expected otherwise—they do form a basis for discussion and improvement. I very much hope that this is a sign of a return to improved relationships between the department and the association and, of course, the individual authorities and executives.

The noble Lord, Lord Underhill, has worked strenuously indeed, I think I might describe it as indefatigably, in persuading us all to look most carefully at this Bill. That is quite proper. I can readily understand his disappointment that the Government have not accepted any amendments and we shall no doubt discuss that in relation to the Motion which we shall come to shortly. With the leave of your Lordships' House I would wish to say a few further words at the end of that debate. But at this time I think that your Lordships would like me to place on record our thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, for the work which he has done on the Bill. He has, of course, been ably supported by the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, who as always managed to develop complex and very devastating arguments from a few well chosen words. His ability is to make those words into something of a heavy artillery barrage. Nevertheless, I am very glad to place on record that answering fire came from this side of the House and I should particularly like to mention my noble friends Lord Boyd-Carpenter and Lord Campbell of Alloway.

I was particularly impressed with the contribution made by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. I am sorry that he is not in his seat because I would have liked to say to him that he and I perhaps had something in common in that this was his first major Bill speaking from that side of the House, as indeed your Lordships will recall this is my first major Bill speaking from this side of the House. There were of course other noble Lords who contributed—the noble Lord, Lord Sefton, the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, my noble friend Lord Teviot, my noble friend Lady Gardner of Parkes and, indeed, the noble Baroness, Lady Bacon, and the noble Baroness, Lady Nicol. If I have left anyone out, it is not to suggest that the contributions they made were any more or any less significant than any other.

I thank all of your Lordships who have contributed or listened to our debates. There has been great value in those debates because we have examined the way in which the Bill is to work to see whether there are faults or room for improvement. I believe that our discussions have cleared away many misconceptions and demonstrated how the Bill is to work. Those of us who were present will recall my noble friend Lord Bellwin giving very forceful assurances at Second Reading that, despite allegations to the contrary in the campaign against the Bill, the powers to pay concessionary fares to the elderly, the blind and the disabled were in no way affected by this Bill.

We have also shown that the Bill provides adequately for consultation; it allows any benefits to be taken into account; it provides a taut financial duty which is nevertheless not a straitjacket; and it provides for other measures. We have also given assurances with regard to the organisational reviews under Clause 7. Only a few minutes ago I repeated the assurance that organisational reviews will be requested no later in the year than when the Secretary of State gives his guidance. I repeat that the reviews will not be asked for more frequently than once in three years. We have shown that it is the intention of the Secretary of State to meet the targets requested by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, in relation to the timing of the Secretary of State's initial advice and the question of later guidance.

I believe that this Bill should lead to substantial improvements in the areas of the GLC and the metropolitan authorities, in the efficiency and value for money being provided by their massive transport executives, and also in the benefits which they provide from the subsidies. The Bill will also provide protection from legal challenge for reasonable levels of subsidy. And the authorities and the executives, and the taxpayers and the ratepayers, will, in the end, have cause to be grateful for this Bill.

Although the Bill deals principally with public transport I must not overlook the other provision in Clause 11, which provides for the reduction in the National Dock Labour Board's debt to the Government of £23.8 million. This follows an undertaking given by the Government last April to write off the debt arising from the severances in London and Liverpool in 1981 as part of a wider package to help ease the financial problems associated with the continuing reduction in registered dock workers. This measure will benefit all ports involved with the National Voluntary Severance Scheme.

I should like to conclude by using words which come more familiarly to me. The Bill represents a correction in the alignment of the steering gear and an overhaul of the direction indicators as regards public transport within the metropolitan areas.

Finally, may I take this opportunity to thank officials who have helped on the Bill, particularly officials who have had to deal with me personally and who helped me in an area which at one time was extremely unfamiliar to me. Again, I should like to reiterate my thanks to those of your Lordships who have participated in the discussions on this Bill. My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Lucas of Chilworth.)

Lord Underhill rose to move, as an amendment to the Motion that the Bill do now pass, at end to insert ("but this House deplores the insistence of Her Majesty's Government that this Bill should pass unamended through all stages irrespective of the merits of amendments proposed.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, at this stage I should like to move the amendment which stands in my name. Having formally moved the amendment, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, for his kindly references to me, and to say how much we on this side of the House always appreciate the way in which his noble friend Lord Bellwin introduces Bills. We congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, on the way in which he has handled his first Bill in his new position. Having had that experience four years ago—this is now the fourth Transport Bill for which I have had responsibility—I can appreciate how he feels. But having said that, I am sorry that he is in the position of having to defend this particular Bill.

I should also like to thank my noble friends. At the Committee stage of this Bill there were more speakers from this side of the House than there have been on any Transport Bill with which I have been concerned—there was so much feeling about the issue. It is always invidious to mention names, but in particular I should like to express my thanks to my noble friends Lord Mishcon, Lord McIntosh and Lord Sefton. In addition, I have seven or eight names in front of me of noble friends who assisted. Little support came from the Government side. There were notable exceptions but, generally speaking, either Members were satisfied with the answers or, for some reason, preferred not to defend the Government in any of the criticisms being made against them.

As this amendment says, no amendment has been accepted. Seventy were brought forward at the Committee stage, 36 at the Report stage and 11 at the Third Reading this afternoon. A considerable number of these amendments had cross-party support from the Liberal Benches and from the SDP Benches; therefore, they were not just Labour amendments. I am not being presumptuous in saying that our amendments should have been accepted, but not a single Government amendment was based on any arguments that were brought forward whereby the Government thought it was worthwhile trying to introduce an amendment to clarify points. I contrast that with previous Transport Bills. In one Transport Bill there must have been 60 or 70 Government amendments brought forward at subsequent stages because of points which needed clarification. Even in the noble Lord's speech on the Bill do now pass, he referred to assurances. Assurances are not legislation, and those assurances should have been written into the Bill. So even those simple amendments could have been accepted by the Government. But for some reason best known to themselves they preferred not to do so.

A great number of the amendments proposed no interference whatever with the basic intention behind the Bill. I would remind noble Lords that beyond Clause 2 no clause of this Bill was properly debated in the other place. It rested with this House to try to deal with it, and that is what we attempted to do.

I want to raise one other important point. We have heard a great deal about the failure to consult. The White Paper proposing the legislation and the actual Bill were both published on the same day—5th November last. So the only consultation there could have been after that was on how to implement the Bill and not about the principles in the White Paper. That is another reason why we regret that the Government have not seen fit to bring forward amendments to clarify some of the important points, for there are many points in this Bill which needed clarification, and there are still many points in the Bill which could be the basis for legal arguments.

It is not my intention to go through the Bill and give, in effect, what would be another Second Reading speech. The Bill deals with the public transport arrangements for more than a third of the population of England. All the PTAs concerned oppose the Bill, and the executives are concerned about the provisions in the Bill. It is not without some significance that the areas concerned—the GLC and the six metropolitan authorities—have the highest proportion of households without cars, and those figures can be checked from the 1981 Census returns. Except for mid-Glamorgan, the areas covered by this Bill have the largest proportion of households without cars. That is why public transport is so important to these particular authorities and to their executives.

This is a further example of interference with local government. We have been told time and time again by Ministers that there is flexibility and that the authority will have the final decision. The final decision?—yes, so long as you do what the Secretary of State says and accept his guidance figure. It is wrapped in advice and guidance but always from behind, and that is an encouragement which was given without any doubt at all in the White Paper—that if you want to deviate from his advice and guidance, then the courts will determine, and any body of ratepayers or a local authority concerned can take the matter to court.

That is not my idea of flexibility; that is not my idea of a decision which rests with the local authority concerned. Every effort to amend the Bill, so that the plan covering three years must have regard to such important matters as planning and social benefits, has been rejected on the basis that the word "benefits" in the Bill covers everything, despite the fact that we were able to quote from departmental statements issued with the authority of the Government that benefits of a certain kind shall not be taken into consideration in the preparation of the plan.

The Bill is an attack on local democracy. It ignores issues which have been made focal points at local elections. We even had a statement at an earlier stage of the Bill which suggested that manifestos at local elections should not be taken into account—and I am paraphrasing. Local people know what their transport needs are; they should determine the basis for meeting those transport needs. We cannot have a situation, which is so prevalent in this Bill, that the Secretary of State knows best and can ignore local mandates.

In moving that the Bill do now pass this afternoon, the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, said that he believes that many fears have been disposed of. I can assure the noble Lord that many fears still exist, and some of the comments which have been made by Ministers have shown no confidence in the local authorities concerned. Those fears must be dispelled if this Bill is not to upset good relations between local and central Government. The department and the Secretary of State will be involved in considerable detail of local transport planning and operation—again, we have quoted from departmental documents. I have referred to letters which I have seen—detailed information about the operation of local services. The planning process, which is to extend over a period of 12 months, is, with all respect to the department, a piece of real Whitehall bureaucracy.

Even parts of the chronological table will be impossible. The Secretary of State will have to give his guidance on the revenue grants before any decisions are made on rate support grant and transport supplementary grant. How that is to be done is not established in the Bill. The Bill establishes a wrong relationship with the transport executives, and they are the unelected operators of the local public transport. They are responsible to the elected public transport authorities, which are the county councils concerned.

We are also told that the Bill will clarify the law. Noble Lords will recall that little that they have heard in our various debates has clarified the law. There is the invitation to hostile individuals and reactionary councils to go to law. The basic criticism of the Bill is that it shows a lack of understanding, or readiness to accept, that public transport is a service which must be based on local needs, local desires and local wishes. Without effective public transport large numbers of people—and I have already referred to the fact that these are the areas with the largest numbers of households without cars—will be unable to move about, and without it, too, our roads in these conurbations will become even more congested. After the Secretary of State has decided the protected expenditure level it will then be left to the local authorities—in some cases an almost impossible task—to meet local needs and what the local people really want.

In the event, this is not really a Transport Bill; it is another local government Bill. It is not designed to improve public transport; it is designed to allocate a predetermined sum of money between the public transport executives. And it is not to decide the best level of public transport provision to meet local needs. There was opportunity to amend the Bill, there was opportunity to clarify some of these points and not to interfere with the basic desire of the Bill, but that opportunity has not been taken. I therefore move my amendment.

Moved, as an amendment to the Motion that the Bill do now pass, at end to insert ("but this House deplores the insistence of Her Majesty's Government that this Bill should pass unamended through all stages irrespective of the merits of amendments proposed.")—(Lord Underhill.)

6.12 p.m.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I am sure that the whole House appreciated the generous and proper tribute that the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, paid to my noble friend Lord Lucas on his maiden trip in charge of a substantial Bill. I am sure from this side of the House that we should like to join in that tribute, and at the same time express the admiration which I certainly feel for the untiring energy, resourcefulness, and good temper which the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, himself has shown. Those of us who have been on Front Benches both in Government and Opposition know the handicap that the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, is under in not having those wise counsellors who send in little bits of paper when the position might otherwise become a little difficult.

One noted a curious thing about the speech to which we have just listened. The noble Lord, Lord Underhill, repeated with great force his criticisms of the Bill but said very little about the quite remarkable Motion which he has put on the Order Paper and which he has indeed just moved. I shall, with your Lordships' permission, reverse that procedure and say only a word about the Bill, for which my noble friend is responsible and for which he can and, I am sure, will say all that needs to be said, and say a certain amount about the quite serious Motion—for it is a kind of vote of censure—which the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, and his noble friends have placed on the Order Paper.

On the Bill, I want to say that I share the regrets which have been expressed that it has been necessary to introduce a Bill which in fact reduces the independence of local authorities. But what I regret particularly is the necessity for so doing. It is the sad experience of all of us who have seen something of public life that when power is abused then that power, sooner or later, will be restricted. There is really no doubt at all that certain local authorities in this country, and in particular the Greater London Council, have abused their power in respect of subsidisation of transport, and have placed—and are still threatening to place—quite intolerable burdens on their ratepayers in pursuit of their policy.

I only need remind your Lordships that the Greater London Council carried this policy to a point at which they were found to have transgressed the law. They spent a great deal of money—ratepayers' money—both in the subsidisation and indeed in the legal proceedings which they had brought upon them. When local authorities, or anybody else in this country, conduct themselves in that irresponsible way, and indeed in that oppressive way, no Government of any spirit, no Government with any sense of responsibility, can do other than introduce remedial legislation.

The Motion on the Order Paper is a curious one. As I have ventured to suggest to your Lordships, it is in the form of something of a vote of censure. The word "deplores" is there. It is not only a vote of censure on the Government; it is a vote of censure also on your Lordships' House for not having accepted any of the amendments which the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, and his noble friends put down and argued.

I do not suppose for one moment that the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, would claim that anyone proposing an amendment is wholly impartial in his assessment of it. Indeed, if he were, he would do it infinitely less well than the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, did. But the fact remains that though the Government advised your Lordships' House to reject the amendments which were taken to a Division, it is a fact that your Lordships' House on every such case, normally by substantial majorities, rejected those amendments. Therefore, I say to your Lordships that this is also to some extent a vote of censure on your Lordships.

It is quite wrong to put the sole responsibility on the Government. The Government, as my noble friend knows very well, cannot always rely on the support of your Lordships' House. In the present Parliament the Government have been defeated on, I understand, some 40 occasions, and some of them matters of great importance. In all those cases the Minister concerned had asked your Lordships, as my noble friend did in this Bill, to reject amendments, or other propositions, and your Lordships declined by a majority to accept that advice.

I need hardly remind your Lordships of the school transport matter on which the noble Duke, the Duke of Norfolk, and the late Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, inflicted a heavy defeat on the Government. I would hesitate also to remind your Lordships of the amendment to give the citizens of Gibraltar, under the nationality Bill, the full British citizenship which they sought, in which I was myself a little involved, and in which I certainly voted against my noble friends. Therefore, it is an assessment which this amendment seeks to raise of the conduct of your Lordships' House.

In one way I was deeply impressed by the anxiety which the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, showed that your Lordships should fully carry out your revising function. I wonder whether in that way he speaks for his right honourable friends in another place? In particular, whether he speaks for Mr. Foot, who has only recently reiterated the doctrine that your Lordships' House should be abolished. The noble Lord, Lord Underhill, cannot ride both horses. He cannot say that your Lordships should, when he wants to do so, amend the Bill radically because your revising function is so important, and at the same time say that your Lordships' House should be abolished. Therefore, I shall be interested to hear whether the views of Mr. Foot, or whoever it may be who will, presumably, sooner or later, succeed him—sooner, I understand, rather than later—will prevail, or the view that this House should discharge a revising function. I—I make no concealment of it—am one whose whole bias is in favour of your Lordships' House exercising its revising function particularly when, as the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, was perfectly justified in pointing out, the Bill in question has been subject to the guillotine procedure in another place and part of it came here undiscussed. Therefore, if one is to deal with this amendment fairly your Lordships must look at what actually happened.

I do not claim to have the 100 per cent. attendance record during our debates—it must almost feel like 105 per cent.—that the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, has had, but I can claim to have heard most of the debates and I think that I have been involved in all but one of the Divisions. I have a very clear recollection that the amendments fell into two broad categories. The first category was amendments which, in greater or lesser degree, would frustrate the purpose of the Bill and make it less effective for the perfectly clear purpose for which it has been produced, which I shall not repeat because my noble friend Lord Lucas has set it out so clearly. The other category was small amendments to the phraseology—the addition of adverbs, slight adjustments to the terms—for which there was of course some argument. But in every case there was also a considerable counter-argument which your Lordships were fully given, and—if I may be allowed to repeat this—when the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, called a vote, resulted in the amendments being rejected.

Nor, my Lords, when one is considering, a Bill of this sort, is it sensible to ignore the fact that this is a Bill which basically embodies a conflict between the Conservative and Labour Parties. It is a measure on which there is a genuine difference of party philosophy and party doctrine. It is significant, but understandable in that context, that the speeches against it were made almost exclusively—I, of course, except the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff—from the Labour Benches. We had the indefatigable Lord Underhill, the equally indefatigable Lord Mishcon and, occasionally, the sound of Thames water from the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, and what I might call a Mersey sound from the noble Lord, Lord Sefton of Garston. But it was a straight party issue. I think I am right in saying that there was not a single speech from the Cross-Benches; and, in view of the immensely important part in most of our legislative process which the Cross-Benches fulfil, that was, perhaps, some confirmation of the proposition which I am venturing to put to your Lordships.

Therefore, I come back to the point that is posed by this amendment. Given that this is a Bill on a narrow but important issue which in the view of my noble friends is urgently needed to protect ratepayers from very serious further burdens being imposed upon them by improvident or, indeed, extravagant local authorities acting in support of their own party docrine, is it the kind of Bill, contested almost exclusively by the official Opposition, on which it is to be expected that amendments are likely to be accepted?

It would be a little naive for this purpose to put this Bill in the category of the great major measures, raising great constitutional and philosophical issues, on which your Lordships have so frequently divided in recent years—for example, measures such as the British Nationality Act—on which opinions of all sorts were expressed from all sides of the House and on which amendments were put forward, some of which were carried against the wishes of the Government, while on others the Government themselves succeeded in meeting the objections raised. This Bill is not in that category. Noble Lords opposite know that as well as I do.

Therefore, I hope that now that we have had this Motion, and when such of your Lordships as so wish have eased your feelings by indicating support for it, we shall be able to get back to the normal position in this House, in which every issue that is raised and debated is debated in a friendly and understanding—even if, sometimes, contesting— manner; and that your Lordships, after due debate, will deal with the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Underhill. I express the profound hope, which I have no doubt is shared by my noble friend the Chief Whip, that in due course it will be resoundingly defeated.

6.26 p.m.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, the House has been privileged to hear a weighty speech from a weighty speaker, in the form of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter. Let me at once emphasise, in view of the joviality of the noble Lord, that I was referring to his mental capacity and not to his physical capacity. He took the trouble to deliver such a weighty speech upon a Bill which he thought was not weighty in content, and I have the idea that he thought that some of the things that he had to say to the House—always matters which are worthy of consideration—were of weighty importance. Indeed, they were.

One of the things one has noticed about the debates which have taken place on this Bill, especially when those on the Front Bench have spoken, and those who carry all the authority that the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, carries, is that the reason for this Bill has been clearly stated. It is the behaviour of profligate, irresponsible local authorities. I am not going to argue from this Dispatch Box whether some authorities deserve those terms. I am going to take it for granted for one moment, in order to shorten my speech and to make the point I want to make, that what they say is true. What I am going to say is that you are bad legislators if what you do is to make national legislation which is supposed to last, and you do it because you regard a few in number, a minority in the whole conglomeration of local authorities, as irresponsible and profligate.

The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, knows a phrase very well from his own legal training and from the profession which is glad to have him as an adornment, and it is "Hard cases make bad law". The legislator and the lawyer use that phrase only to show that you cannot legislate for hard cases. Hard cases are bound to occur. What you must do is to look at the general and see the benefits that you manage to achieve, or possibly the harm, before you legislate. This is mistaken legislation, for the very reason that those who have spoken from the Front Bench, and the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, have advanced today. It is legislation for hard or bad cases, and the good have been caught with the bad.

Why do I say that? Tributes have deservedly been paid to my noble friend Lord Underhill, as indeed they were deservedly paid to the noble Lord, Lord Lucas. I thought that if only our batsmen who played for the first time in a test had scored as many runs as did the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, we should have had a better record in Australia. It was made abundantly clear that this legislation was a local government Bill, said the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, and not a transport Bill. I differ from him, if I may, in only one respect. I literally call it the "Local Government Democracy Burial Bill, No. 2". We have had a No. 1 Bill. We had it before. Now we have a No. 2 Bill. The No. 2 Bill lays down without any doubt at all that the master is the Secretary of State and the office boy is the authority.

Why that is bad law is very simple indeed to somebody who has tried to serve in a humble capacity in local government for a very considerable fraction of his life. The question is—and I have asked it before: What sort of people are you going to get in the future in local government? Are you going to get people experienced in transport (where transport experience is so necessary in local authorities) to act as office boys under a Bill of this kind? You are not.

I shall turn very briefly to deal with the actual Motion moved by my noble friend by way of an amendment. It is all very well for the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, to make a few quips. They are received, I assure him, with great goodwill and with great good humour. He knows, as well as I do, that there are many people of no party and many people of my party, who are fighting for the continuance of this House, continuance, possibly, in a very much reformed way. The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, has also fought for some reforms to this House in order that its life may be secured.

I have to answer the noble Lord by saying that this Bill, and the way in which it has been treated in this House, has not helped one bit those who are trying to fight that battle; because one of the main arguments that is advanced—and speaking here for myself alone as a relative newcomer to your Lordships' House, I have so much admired it—is the way in which we fill the gaps that are left by another place through the use there of the guillotine or whatever it may be.

Where have we filled the gaps here? Somebody issued an edict, and let us not pretend that it did not happen. "For Heaven's sake," was the edict, "not one amendment to go into this Bill. It must not go back to the Commons. It will spoil the whole of the timetable and all this has to be got in. April 1st is a sacred day. We have got to rush the whole thing—White Paper same day as Bill, Bill same day as White Paper; and when it comes to the Lords it does not matter how many amendments are put down, even an amendment saying that you cannot accept the lowest tender". I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway—and I hope I am not taking his name in vain—who thought that that was a perfectly sensible amendment. The answer from the Minister at the Report stage (and I pay him every respect; I have just done so and I meant it sincerely, and now I am trying to use fairly neutral terms) was unsatisfactory. It did not even catch the purpose of the amendment. Although I am used to making speeches which are not well received, at least, I hope that the arguments that I advance are going to be answered; but they were not. That applied to many amendments. The whip, in more senses than one, has been inflicted upon the Front Bench. And I am sorry to say that they have cowered under it.

I am sorry, too, to say—and it is all very well to talk in the terms used by the noble Lord—that people wandered in, strange people from strange places in your Lordships' House, who had not heard a word of the arguments. And then the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, says, when the Division results come out, "Good gracious me! It must be that the amendments were not worthwhile because they were not passed by your Lordships' House."

I am sorry, my Lords, but this amendment on this occasion is correctly moved. It is correctly moved, with those behind it who have a loyalty to this House. Those who say they are loyal to this House and who vote against the amendment ought to think again.

6.35 p.m.

Lord Tordoff

My Lords, I expressed my views on this Bill at Second Reading and I think that I was one of the first to say that this was not a transport Bill at all, but it was in fact a local government finance Bill. That has been echoed several times since. How often at this stage of the Bill one hears Members on both sides of the House saying that we send it away a better Bill than it reached us. In this case, we send it on its way in exactly the same form in which it arrived at Second Reading. I will come back to that later.

Like the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, and the noble Lord the Minister, this is the first time that I have been involved from the Liberal Benches in all the stages of a Bill. It has been at times a frustrating and somewhat wearing experience. Nevertheless, it has been interesting and I am grateful to have been able to sit and listen to noble Lords much more experienced than I am, through all the stages of the Bill. I think, in particular, that one has had the usual respect that one has for the noble Lord, Lord Bellwin, who indeed has a great feeling for local government. In a sense one feels a degree of sadness that he has had to be part of the pilotage of this Bill—because I am sure that he has had difficulty with some parts of it—although one understands that he feels very strongly some of the views that were expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, a few minutes ago.

To the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, one expresses admiration for speaking from the Back Bench. One would hesitate to say that he is poacher turned gamekeeper; nevertheless I think that he has had to suppress his exuberance from time time on matters such as this. I think that, as has already been said, your Lordships would wish to congratulate him on the way in which he has conducted himself in steering the Bill through this House.

It is a bad Bill. One accepts the point that Lord Boyd-Carpenter made in saying that there were perhaps two sorts of amendments to this Bill which were brought before the House. One did not expect that those amendments which directly attacked the strategy of the Bill would receive acceptance. They were not matters of principle and I will not go into the Second Reading arguments about them again. But they were there, they were confronted, and one did not expect that the Government would give way on those or that, with whatever support there was on this side of the House, the Government would be defeated on those. But there were the other sort of amendments which I think the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, tended to trivialise in what he said.

They were the sort of amendments which, in the case of many other Bills, the Government would say, "Yes, we understand the reasoning behind this". Indeed, they said that. And then they would say, "We will take it away" or, "There are certain deficiencies in this amendment but if it were brought back at Report stage and somewhat amended we would be prepared to accept it". It did not happen on this occasion. The Government agreed on a number of occasions to have second thoughts on one or two matters, but, unfortunately, when they came back the second thoughts had turned sour.

One is driven to the conclusion, inexorably through every stage of this Bill, that the Government had not the slightest intention of accepting any amendments to this Bill. It is for that reason that my colleagues and I will be supporting the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Underhill. In passing, may I also offer our congratulations on the way in which on many occasions he so devotedly has put forward amendments against which our names have appeared; he has leapt into the fray with his knowledge and expertise and support from his colleagues.

But I believe that if this procedure were to happen too frequently in this House your Lordships' House would be gravely damaged, for the very reasons that have been expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon. I did not come here just to be part of another rubber-stamping process and I am sure that goes for many of those Peers who are known these days—dare I say it?—as working Peers. We are here to try to play our part in a rational way and a way which I believe has got through to the British public, who believe that somehow in this Chamber rational argument does on the whole prevail.

The problem has been that we have had to divide too often because the Government have not been prepared to bend, to understand and to accept some of the arguments and to come back at later stages with their own amendments. There has been a confrontation throughout this Bill on both major and minor matters. I believe it is a great sadness and I would counsel my noble colleagues to support the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, in the interests of your Lordships' House.

6.42 p.m.

Lord Mottistone

My Lords, I should like to make two quick points to underline what my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter has said and, in a sense, to answer the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon. I do not think that noble Lords, and certainly the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, have paid sufficient attention to the many occasions when this House has believed that the Government were wrong and have defeated the Government. This is not entirely due to the number of noble Lords sitting on these Benches. In fact, we know very well that if all noble Lords on these Benches were to vote one way and everybody else votes against them, we would be outvoted. There are many examples of that; and I think that perhaps a significant vote, which is very relevant to this particular aspect, was on the very last Division which we had on Third Reading, when the figures were, I believe, 106 to 58. That, I would suggest to noble Lords opposite, was not so much because there was strength on this side but because there was an absence on their side—and that absence could be Cross-Benchers, Liberals, Social Democrats or Labour supporters.

The example of this particular Bill is not as catastrophic to our standing, our good name and all that as noble Lords opposite are attempting to say. The example of this Bill is that it was a straightforward, quite simple and very political Bill which really did not require anything in the way of amendment. That is what, collectively, your Lordships have said about it, and have said about it pretty firmly. That is the balance of the position, and I hope that the amendment will be defeated as resoundingly as the last amendment was.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I wonder whether he would agree with me that, of the 106 votes cast, which he sought to give as an example, less than 25 per cent. were present in the Chamber to hear the argument. Therefore, what can he possibly deduce from that, except that somebody has "whipped" the Government supporters to vote in favour of the amendment?

Lord Mottistone

My Lords, if I may answer that question before I sit down, I would say: how about looking at the 53? There were not all that number on the Benches opposite. Furthermore, noble Lords on the Benches opposite normally produce on these occasions, if they are important—for themselves alone, let alone the other, minor parties and the Cross-Benchers—votes of 70 and 80. That is what is significant, my Lords.

Baroness Bacon

My Lords, I will not detain your Lordships' House for more than two minutes to make just one short but, I believe, very important point, It is one which has already been touched on in general terms by my noble friend Lord Mishcon. During the Second Reading debate I said tht people south of Watford, those who live in the Greater London area, neither knew nor understood the problems and difficulties of the metropolitan counties in the north of England. I come from West Yorkshire, which is a totally different area from the Greater London area, and there we have problems of great rural areas which they do not have here in London. Yet during the Second Reading and the Committee and Report stages we heard speech after speech from the opposite side of the Chamber about how spendthrift are the Greater London Council.

To me, this is beside the point. I do not even care whether they are or are not; but what I do care about is that the people in my county, in West Yorkshire, should be penalised by this Bill because of that. I think it would have been much more honest if the Government, instead of calling this the Transport Bill, had produced a Bill called "The Greater London Transport Bill", and had discussed it in that context. My people in West Yorkshire, the West Yorkshire County Council, and all the local authorities in Yorkshire, are sickened by the idea that they are to be penalised because of this Bill, though they are in a totally different area from the area of the Greater London Council.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I would follow the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, in one respect, in that I want to speak mainly about the amendment rather than about the Bill. All I will say about the Bill can, I think, come from the White Paper, Public Transport Subsidy in Cities. A study of that White Paper makes it quite clear that, as has been said, this is not a Transport Bill. This is a Bill the real objectives of which are not shown in the White Paper and are not made clear in the Bill itself. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, has made it clear why the Bill has been put forward: it is to spite those local authorities who have been behaving in a way which the Government do not approve.

The White Paper said the object of the exercise was to provide a clear and consistent legal framework. I think that anybody who sat through the debates in your Lordships' House will have to recognise that there is at least a case for saying that we will have a less clear and consistent legal framework at the end of the exercise than we had at the beginning, and that what has been resolved by the courts in recent months now becomes a matter for virtually indiscriminate challenge by ratepayers against the elected authorities in their area.

The White Paper says that the object is to have a reasonable, stable and lawful subsidy régime. The Bill provides nothing of the sort. It produces a subsidy régime which is entirely at the whim of the Secretary of State. In the case of the present Secretary of State, of course, the intention is really to reduce public subsidies to public transport. It might be different in the hands of another Secretary of State, and the Bill would then have a totally different effect from that which is intended by the present Government. Without any changes in the wording of the Bill there is no stable régime but simply central Government political control.

The White Paper says it is the intention to build three-year planning into the legislation. We have moved innumerable amendments to try to get that written into the Bill so that there could be three-year planning. All those amendments have been summarily rejected. The financial horizon for public transport is now to be for a single year only, with only indicative plans for future years, and nothing like even the provision for longer-term plannning that there is in the transport policies and programmes procedure.

Finally, the Bill is described in the White Paper as a framework for the future. I venture to suggest to your Lordships that this Bill will not be in its present form on the statute book in five years' time, or possibly not even in three years' time. It is a panic measure, intended to be against some particular actions of local government rather than a serious attempt at planning public transport expenditure for the future.

As to the amendment, I should like to take as my text a quotation from The Times before the Bill came to this House: Seldom, if ever, have the surviving functions of the Upper House been more important. A casual glance at the Transport Bill as it leaves the Commons suggests that if a revising Chamber did not exist it would have been necessary to invent it. The Bill will no doubt pass into law. There is no question of the Lords frustrating the will of the Commons but it is vitally important that before it is passed these sections and clauses which have been so far discussed inadequately or not at all should be subjected to the impartial, practical and expert examination of which the Upper House is capable". Some of your Lordships will not recognise that quotation. I said it was before the Bill came to this House. I did not say how long before. That was on 6th June 1947. It referred to a Transport Bill of the Labour Government which at that time was amended substantially by your Lordships' House. What is the difference between that time and this time? Despite what the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, says, it is not the conduct of the House which is being criticised in the amendment. It is the composition of the House which is being criticised. The fact of the matter is that a permanent majority is available to a Conservative Government.

Several noble Lords


Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, in my short experience I have seen that majority working very effectively. There is a majority available to a Conservative Government which want to push through legislation with a deadline. The deadline is more important than the wording or the effect of the Bill. That majority is available, and during the last few weeks ruthless use has been made of it in this House.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I do not know whether the noble Lord was good enough to listen when I was speaking, but I invited the attention of your Lordships to the fact that in the present Parliament alone Her Majesty's Government have suffered 40 defeats, a number of them on major issues.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I did hear what the noble Lord said and I do not disagree with it in any way. I am not saying that the Government exercise on every Bill their power to achieve their intentions. I am saying that when it is thought to be necessary by the Government, that when it is a relatively straightforward political issue (let us not deny that this is an issue of political difference between the Conservative and the Labour parties; I would not attempt to deny it at all) and that when there is a deadline, a majority is available, and no attempt on this side of the House to make any reasonable changes has any effect whatsoever.

6.54 p.m.

Lord Sefton of Garston

My Lords, may I commence by welcoming Part II of the Bill, Clause 11. I am sure that my welcome of that clause will not be shared by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, whose only comment about it was that he did not believe that the two bodies were worth the amount of money which was being given to them. To those who are not so blind that they do not want to see, it illustrates that because of Clause 11 it would be difficult for this side of the House to vote against the Bill. The amendment does not ask the House to reject the Bill. The House is asked to criticise the Government. It is not asked to criticise the membership of this House. I, for one, would not quarrel about the way the Whip works in this House, nor would I quarrel about the fact that Members opposite have used their vote on several occasions to defeat the Government. The important point, however, is: what were those occasions? They were occasions when the Government were vitally involved in getting a Bill through by a certain date.

I have no fundamental objection to any Government saying that it is important to get a Bill through by a certain date. That is part of government. But you cannot make statements in isolation and not look at the reasons. Why do the Government want to get the Bill through by a certain date? Why is there so much opposition to the Bill? Why did the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and all the local authorities concerned refuse to discuss the Bill? Why has a large body of experienced people in local government—who believe, with the Government, that in some ways there has been abuse by local government of the power to levy rates—been alienated by the Government? Why have transport executives which have no political axe to grind and experienced men in local government reached the conclusion either that it is no use or that it would not be a perfectly good function, from the point of view of democracy, to discuss the Bill with the Government? Is that the fault of local authorities? Is that the fault of this House? Of course it is not. The fault was outlined by my noble friend Lord Mishcon. The fault lies with the Government.

If it is right that the majority here say that expenditure on items such as transport should come within a global figure of expenditure as it affects the national economy, why have we reached the stage where we are not discussing it? Why have we reached the stage where we are not discussing how the Government should control that figure? Why is it that instead we are discussing how the Government should set about achieving that aim? It is because of the fault of the Government. Can one really expect responsible members of local authorities to sit down and accept a Government diktat? We have a White Paper and a Bill produced on one day. There was no previous consultation. If one lambasts local authorities as being guilty of abuse, can one then expect local authorities to sit down without protest and discuss the matter with the Government?

What should the Government have done? First, the Government should have realised that local authorities are an important part of our democracy and that they are treading dangerous ground by imposing penalties on local authorities because of the way that they manage their budgets. The grounds are that local authorities have abused their power. Merseyside were taken to court because they had been accused of abusing their power. But the courts decided that they were not guilty. Despite that, the Bill goes ahead and tries to impose these penalties on West Yorkshire, the Midlands and Merseyside. If the Government had not already alienated local government, the sensible course would have been for central Government to hold discussions with local government to find out how they could achieve their aim.

As I said at Second Reading, it was not the fault of local government that they were pushed into the wilderness and that all their expertise and experience was taken away from them. It was not the fault of local government that the boundaries were redrawn. At that time local government told central Government about the tragic mistakes they were making in reorganising local government. Nobody listened when the Government were told that if the aldermanic bench was abolished the experience which local government had built up over many years would automatically be taken away. All these problems have now arrived on the Floor of this House.

This amendment criticises the Government. It does not criticise the Government for the Bill. It does not seek to say to the Government, "You are not going to have your way". It merely points out to the House that what the Government did was ill-advised, wrong and damaging to local democracy. It says: but this House deplores the insistence of Her Majesty's Government that this Bill should pass unamended through all stages irrespective of the merits of amendments proposed". I am not going to deal with the amendment but I shall deal with its fundamental aim. Most of the amendments to the Bill sought to do one thing: to restore to local authorities some of the status and dignity that this Bill takes away. It was all being taken away on the grounds that the Government decided that they had to have this Bill through by 1st April.

We know the money involved. I made the point at Second Reading that the money involved was not sufficient to damage the economy of this nation. I quote no better person than the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said that the country could handle the whole of the expenditure on the Falklands Islands adventure without it damaging the economy of this nation; that the reserves of the nation were sufficient to handle that. So who would deny that the amount of money we are discussing here could have been held back for another 12 months? Of course it could have been. The truth is that this is the next step in the Government's proposed attitude to local authorities. If it is popular and if it is demanded by some newspapers that local authorities should suffer more, then they will suffer more. It will start with London and then perhaps the Government will want to abolish the county councils.

Let me say this as a final word. There are some people in local authorities, in district councils, who think that a threat to county councils is just a threat to county councils and is not a threat to local government. This Bill and the last Local Government Bill are indicative of the way in which this Government is going. I said on Second Reading that this Bill is moving us still further to a bureaucratic central state that the Government supported. I believe that this amendment should be supported because the Government have acted in haste. They have acted ill-advisedly and they have alienated local government, and it is time that someone stood up for the interests of local government.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I am advised that I have an opportunity to reply on this amendment.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

But, my Lords—

Lord Underhill

I am sorry, my Lords—I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, had the last word.

7.2 p.m.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, I believe it would perhaps be helpful were I to respond now to various points which have been made. To change the tone of this debate just a little, may I at the outset say how grateful I am to my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter, to other noble friends and to the noble Lords, Lord Underhill and Lord Tordoff, for making such kind remarks about me personally.

I should like to start by saying to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, that as I stand here I take a very firm view over to the other corner of the House, where I often feel that the balance is held. It is quite ridiculous for the noble Lord to say that we can defeat amendments. Noble Lords on this side of the House have explained how, for more than 40 times this Session, we have been beaten. We are quite consistently beaten with help from independent Members of your Lordships' House. So there is no question here of it being on a party basis. The noble Lord may shake his head but that is a fact. When the noble Lord has been here a little longer or has studied some of the Division Lists a little more completely, perhaps he will come to agree with me.

As I said earlier in moving the Motion that this Bill do now pass, I understand the disappointment which noble Lords opposite expressed, because the Government have not accepted any amendments. I must insist that the Government did not have a closed mind. On the contrary, I hope that it is clear from the responses we have given, and in a number of letters, that we have thought hard about the proposals made and considered them on their merits. The Government would have been prepared to accept any amendment which we believed genuinely to be necessary or which would have created a genuine improvement. Indeed, time has been set aside in the other place for them to consider any amendments to this Bill which might have been accepted today. I will explain why it is that the Government have not wished to accept the amendments proposed.

A number of the amendments that we have considered I might term "wrecking amendments". One noble Lord said that a kinder phrase might be "frustrating amendments", although in many cases I do not believe that the amendments were necessarily intended to wreck. The point is that the Bill is a structure and to have altered one part would often have damaged or wrecked the whole. The noble Lord, Lord Sefton of Garston, will remember that I was in some trouble with him when I said something similar shortly after the start of the Committee stage in your Lordships' house. What I meant then, and what I mean now, is that the making of what appears to be a minor alteration to one part of this Bill could very often have damaged or wrecked the whole. I did not mean then, nor do I mean now, that the Government would not accept amendments. But I do believe that until the Government responded to some of these amendments, noble Lords had not recognised the damage which the amendments may have caused.

I will give just a few examples. First, there were amendments which sought to ease the financial duty and which would have led to incredible complexity and a slackening of that duty. We showed that there were already adequate means for executives to meet their duty even in the face of some of the most fearsome emergencies, which were conjured up before us even as late as this afternoon. Similarly, we showed that there was no need to transfer child fares from within the PEL to Section 138 of the 1968 Act; that is, outside the PEL. We showed that under the Bill, the setting of these fares remained firmly with the authority and with the executive.

We explained why the Government could not accept the early amendment designed to alter Clause 5, to give protection to any level of subsidy, however large, nor indeed subsequent variations designed to lead to more than one determination of grant in the year. We have shown this to be unnecessary. Other amendments sought to prevent or alter the frequency with which the Secretary of State may require an authority to carry out a review. Most authorites will institute such reviews themselves, but the Government have insisted on retaining the right to call for one if the authority does not. We have given assurances not to call frequent reviews, and shown that there is no need to alter the Bill; no more than any need has been shown to alter the similar power of the authorities under the 1968 Act.

Some other amendments have sought to extend policy, such as one to alter Section 138 of the 1968 Act yo allow authorities to give concesssionary fares to the unemployed. Although your Lordships did not agree to make this amendment, you showed in your speeches characteristic sympathy for this and other groups of disadvantaged people. I gave an undertaking then to draw the attention of my right honourable friends with responsibilities in this area to that which has been said; and I say to your Lordships this evening that that is what I have done.

Other amendments again sought to insert words which, while not paricularly damaging, would have added little or nothing to the Bill. The fact that an amendment is not harmful or damaging is not, I suggest, a good enough reason to make it. Otherwise, your Lordships' House would find itself forever making amendments of little merit; padding out a Bill.

The point I seek to reiterate here is that the amendments proposed would either have damaged substantially the integral structure of the Bill, accidentally or perhaps even deliberately, or sought to extend policy in a way the Government could not accept, or would have added little or nothing of substance. We have shown in the Bill and during the debate, that preservation of local democracy has not been damaged. On the contrary, the protection from challenge enhances the ability of an authority to exercise more effectively their role in local democracy within a protected limit. They did not have that before.

The noble Lord, Lord Sefton of Garston, said that the real truth was that this Bill was an attack on local authorities. The real truth is in the three figures I gave earlier this afternoon; the figures which my noble friend Lord Bellwin gave at Second Reading, when we began our consideration of this Bill. The truth is that expenditure in 1979–80 was in terms of a sum off £39 million; in 1982–83, nearly £400 million; and predicted for 1983–84—last summer—was a figure of £700 million. The real reason is that the interests of both the user and the taxpayer had to be protected, and this Bill goes a long way towards doing that. Indeed, as I mentioned earlier, since last summer, while there has been time for reflection, that predicted figure of £700 million has now been reduced to £500 million because the authorities are curbing their appetite for money.

The noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, and indeed the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, have both argued very strongly, as did other noble Lords, that the Bill was an attack on local democracy. This is not so. The Bill keeps to a minimum the intervention by central Government. Direct intervention really is concerned simply with the Secretary of State obtaining information in order to allow him to set the guidance figure. That means that the seven authorities must supply plans of which at least an element is in a common form. My understanding is that most of the authorities already provide for their own internal use most of this information. It is the common form, the common methodology that is required.

When the noble Baroness, Lady Bacon, says that it is no good us suggesting that we can deal with West Yorkshire in the same way that we deal with others, how can we bring a common purpose, how can we take account of the overall need, the overall ability of the nation to provide these monies, without having a common basis upon which to work? These are necessary so that the Secretary of State can evaluate plans on that basis. But all the present relationships in the authorities and the executives continue, and after indicating the protected level of expenditure it is left entirely to the authority to choose its plan and decide its subsidy. So the Government cannot see this as an interference with local democracy, at least no greater interference than is necessary to produce this legal clarity and a stable framework for local transport to operate within the level of resources the nation can afford.

Although the Bill has not been amended, as I said earlier, there has been value in the debates. Our discussions have cleared away misconceptions. Although the Government are now content with the Bill as it stands, the debates have recorded even more sharply than were recorded at Second Reading that there are fundamental philosophical differences dividing us, and the differences are those which cannot be and will not be and would not have been removed by amending this Bill. My noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter referred to this aspect.

The noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, talked about rational argument. He then went on to say that underlying it were these philosophical divisions. Of course he is quite right. That is what has prompted this Motion we are debating tonight. I was sad, I might add, that the noble Baroness, Lady Bacon said in her opening remarks that she did not care whether the GLC are spendthrift. Well, my Lords, we do care.

Baroness Bacon

My Lords, may I just say this? I am not a ratepayer of the Greater London Council. It is the concern of the ratepayers of the Greater London Council what the Greater London Council does. But I am a ratepayer of West Yorkshire County Council, and our powers to determine what happens in West Yorkshire have been taken away from us because the Government think they have to bring the Greater London Council to heel. That is the point I was making.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, that may well have been the point the noble Baroness was attempting to make. The point she made, certainly with me, was that she did not care whether the GLC were spendthrift. I argue that the Government have not taken away the rights of her local authority to determine either the rate or how they spend it. All the Government have done is to set a limit above which the Government are not prepared to protect the authority.

The Government recognised these philosophical differences. Some opponents of the Bill might well have preferred the authorities and executives not to have to prepare the proposed financial plans, nor to have to explore more systematically the uses of subsidy Some might have preferred the Government not to protect from legal challenge this subsidy up to a reasonable level. Some opponents have gone so far as to say that they would prefer a cash limit system to be imposed by the Government in preference to the system under the Bill which leaves the authorities free to have the final word on their plan and proposed subsidy. We listened to all these views and recognised the gulf between them and the Government's own view. But I must repeat the Government's belief is that this Bill is necessary.

The Bill will provide an improved financial planning procedure; it will protect a reasonable level of subsidy from challenge; it will certainly strike a better balance between the interests of ratepayers and public transport users; it will also encourage the efficiency in the transport executives that we are looking for. That is what the Bill does. I have to say, in all seriousness, having heard every single amendment at every stage of this Bill, that I cannot see that had we accepted any of the amendments there would have been improvement in meeting those objectives. I invite the House to reject this Motion and to pass the Bill.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, after this debate I will be extremely brief in reply. I do not intend to follow the noble Lord, Lord Lucas in going through all the amendments to show where they could have been beneficial to the Bill and to the House. In moving this amendment I did refer to a number of points of disagreement, philosophic, if you like, but also points where this Bill could have been improved without interfering one jot with the principle that the Government wants.

I am glad that a number of noble Lords have referred to this House as being a beneficial revising Chamber. As the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, said, it is not a rubber stamp. Reference has been made by the Minister to the 40 occasions on which the Government have been defeated. That has been this House at its very best, not as has happened on the occasion of this Transport Bill. I have had experience from this Dispatch Box of numerous occasions where the Government have intelligently taken back arguments and examined them and brought forward their own amendments. That is what we are concerned with as well as having our amendments carried.

The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, referred to understanding my disappointment. That is not the issue; my disappointment does not matter. It is that there has been an opportunity to improve this Bill, there has been an opportunity to clarify issues, there has been opportunity to bring into the Bill assurances which the Minister has tried to give orally but was not prepared to put into the Bill. My criticism is not of this House. My criticism is that the Government did not give a lead. The amendment says: deplores the insistence of her Majesty's Government". We do not on principle vote against the Third Reading of any Bill, but this is an occasion where the Government have failed abysmally. They have been too rigid, too inflexible. They have failed to see opportunities where they could have brought forward their own amendments, not to destroy the purpose of the Bill but to clarify it and improve it. I hope the House will support the amendment.

The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, the original Question was that this Bill do now pass, since when an amendment has been moved at the end to insert the words set out on the Order Paper. The Question, therefore, is that this amendment be agreed to.

7.20 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 51; Not-Contents, 89.

Ardwick, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Aylestone, L. Mayhew, L.
Bacon, B. Milner of Leeds, L.
Beswick, L. Mishcon, L.
Bishopston, L. [Teller.] Ogmore, L.
Blease, L. Oram, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. Peart, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. Phillips, B.
Chitnis, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]
Collison, L.
David, B. Rhodes, L.
Denington, B. Sefton of Garston, L.
Ezra, L. Simon, V.
George-Brown, L. Stedman, B.
Hatch of Lusby, L. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Hayter, L. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Strabolgi, L.
Ingleby, V. Tanlaw, L.
Irving of Dartford, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Jeger, B. Tordoff, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Underhill, L.
John-Mackie, L. Walston, L.
Kennet, L. Whaddon, L.
Kilmarnock, L. White, B.
Kirkhill, L. Winstanley, L.
Avon, E. Cork and Orrery, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Cottesloe, L.
Blake, L. Cox, B.
Boston, L. Craigavon, V.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Daventry, V.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Davidson, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L. De La Warr, E.
Caithness, E. Denham, L. [Teller.]
Campbell of Croy, L. Drumalbyn, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Eccles, V.
Cathcart, E. Elliot of Harwood, B.
Chelwood, L. Elton, L.
Coleraine, L. Ferrers, E.
Colwyn, L. Ferrier, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L. Fortescue, E.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Gainford, L. Newall, L.
Gibson-Watt, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Gisborough, L. O'Neill of the Maine, L.
Glenarthur, L. Orkney, E.
Greenway, L. Orr-Ewing, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Penrhyn, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Henley, L. Rankeillour, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Ridley, V.
Killearn, L. Romney, E.
Kilmany, L. Saltoun, Ly.
Kinloss, Ly. Sharples, B.
Lauderdale, E. Shuttleworth, L.
Lawrence, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E. Stamp, L.
Long, V. Swinton, L. [Teller.]
Loudoun, C. Taylor of Hadfield, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Terrington, L.
Lyell, L. Teviot, L.
Macleod of Borve, B. Teynham, L.
Mancroft, L. Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Margadale, L. Trefgarne, L.
Marley, L. Trenchard, V.
Merrivale, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Mersey, L. Vickers, B.
Milverton, L. Vivian, L.
Molson, L. Westbury, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V. Wise, L.
Mottistone, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly: Bill passed.

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