HL Deb 26 July 1984 vol 455 cc406-20

3.39 p.m.

Viscount Whitelaw rose to move, That this House approves the following proposals with respect to the rates of the car mileage allowance available to Members of this House—

(1) The allowance payable in respect of a journey commenced in the period beginning with 1st October 1984 and ending with 31st March 1985 shall be payable—

  1. (a) subject to the limit specified in paragraph (3) below, at the rate per mile shown in column 2 of the following Table in relation to the engine capacity of the vehicle used for the journey; and
  2. (b) in respect of miles in excess of that limit, at the rate per mile shown in column 3 of that Table in relation to that engine capacity.

Engine capacity Mileage up to limit Further mileage
1300 cc or less .. .. 18p 11.3p
More than 1300 cc and not more than 2300 cc 25.9p 14.7p
More than 2300 cc .. 39p 19.5p

(2) Paragraph (1) above shall have effect in relation to journeys commenced in the year beginning with 1st April 1985 and each subsequent year with the substitution, for the rates shown in the Table, of rates calculated, on the principles exemplified in Appendix I to the Report of the Independent Inquiry, from the figures in the edition of the Royal Automobile Club's Schedule of Estimated Vehicle Running Costs published in or about the April of the year in question.

(3) For the purposes of this Resolution the limit on the number of miles in respect of which car mileage allowance may be paid at the rate specified in column 2 of the Table shall be 10,000 miles for the period beginning With 1st October 1984 and ending with 31st March 1985 and 20,000 miles for the year beginning with 1st April 1985 and for each subsequent year.

(4) In this Resolution— the Report of the Independent Inquiry" means the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Motor Mileage Allowance for Members of Parliament to the Leader of the House of Commons (H.C. 469 of Session 1983–84); "year" means a year beginning wih 1st April.

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I beg to move the second Motion standing in my name on the order paper. The purpose of this Motion is simply to bring the motor mileage allowance in your Lordships' House into line with new arrangements which have recently been agreed to in another place. It may be helpful if I explain a little of the background to the changes made in another place.

Last year the Civil Service moved to a two-tier system of motor mileage rates. Mileage over and above an annual limit of 9,000 miles was made subject to a lower rate. The reason for this was that the normal rate includes a contribution towards the annual standing charges incurred in running a car. If this rate were paid in full to those travelling very long distances, they could make a profit which would be liable to tax. The two-tier system prevents such profits from being made, and thus ensures that no tax liability arises. In July last year, the Government proposed in another place that a similar arrangement should be introduced for the mileage allowance payable to Members of Parliament. But the Government's proposals were not acceptable to Members in another place, and my right honourable friend the Lord Privy Seal undertook to set up an independent inquiry into the most appropriate means of reimbursing members the cost of their motor mileage.

The inquiry was undertaken by my noble friend Lord Peyton of Yeovil, the noble Lord, Lord Barnett, and Mr. Richard Wilkes, under the chairmanship of my noble friend Lord Peyton of Yeovil. Their report was published last month. It recommended the introduction of a two-tier system of mileage allowance, with a reduced rate for travel over 20,000 miles in any year. The report proposed that the allowance should be calculated by reference to the table of vehicle running costs issued by the RAC in April each year. It proposed that the basis of calculation should be one vehicle of 2600 cc, replaced every three years. On that basis, the report proposed a rate of 39p per mile for the first 20,000 miles, and thereafter 19.5p per mile.

The report indicated that these figures were intended to be an upper limit, and that Members with smaller cars would be expected to limit their claims to the amount of their costs. The Government felt, however, that in the interests of public accountability, and of the proprieties being not only observed but seen to be observed, it would be appropriate to formalise such an arrangement and to lay down lower limits for smaller cars. Accordingly, the resolution which was approved in another place last Friday laid down different rates for three ranges of engine size. The rates are set out in the table which appears in the Motion before your Lordships.

If your Lordships agree to this Motion, it will—like the Motion on Lords' expenses to which your Lordships have just agreed—provide for automatic annual up-rating. The rates which appear in the table will apply from 1st October this year until 31st March next year. Thereafter, with effect from 1st April each year, the rate will be recalculated in accordance with the RAC's annual table of vehicle running costs, to which I have already referred.

I realise that one effect of the proposed new arrangements will be that noble Lords whose cars have an engine capacity of 1300 cc or less will, at any rate initially, be able to claim less than the current flat-rate allowance. But I hope your Lordships will agree that it is only right that the allowance which is payable should reflect, as accurately as possible, the expenses actually incurred. Furthermore, a uniform scale for reimbursement of motoring expenses should surely be applicable to Members of both Houses. I therefore hope that your Lordships will endorse the arrangements which have been adopted in another place and which reflect the findings of an independent inquiry.

I have noted with interest the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, which would have the effect of retaining a uniform rate for all cars, of whatever size. It is perhaps only fair to the noble Lord that I should wait to hear what he has to say before responding to those amendments.

I have been reprimanded, if that is the right word, for straying out of order during the previous Statement and your Lordships all know who reprimanded me. Having been so reprimanded, I will not do it again. I will not reply to each noble Lord in turn. I will, of course, reply at the end and indeed also after the amendments have been moved. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That this House approves the above proposals with respect to the rates of the car mileage allowance available to Members of this House—(Viscount Whitelaw.)

Lord Tordoff moved Amendment No. 1 to the above Motion: In paragraph (1)(a), line 2, leave out "2" and inset "1".

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we are all grateful to the noble Viscount, who, in his usual humorous and relaxed way, has introduced what appears to be an extremely complicated piece of paper in a way which we can all understand. Although I may not succeed to the same extent, I will try to do the same with my amendments, which appear to be equally complicated. I rise to move Amendment No. 1 but, by leave of the House and, I hope, for its convenience, I will speak to Amendments Nos. 1 to 6. Amendment No. 2: In paragraph (1)(a), line 2, leave out "in relation to the engine capacity of the vehicle used for the journey". Amendment No. 3: In paragraph (1)(b), line 1, leave out "3" and insert "2". Amendment No. 4: In paragraph (1)(b), line 2, leave out "in relation to that engine capacity". Amendment No. 5: Leave out the Table and insert:

Mileage up to limit Further mileage
25.9p 14.7p"
Amendment No. 6: In paragraph (3), line 2, leave out "2" and insert "1". Noble Lords will see that Amendment No. 5 is the major amendment in this group and that the others are consequential upon it.

Before I go any further, I ought to make it plain, standing here as I do at the Liberal Front Bench, that this is not a party matter. It is a matter on which I have the support of a number of my colleagues individually, but it is not being advanced to your Lordships as a party matter and I hope other noble Lords will recognise that it ought to be a matter for freedom of voting as this House understands it.

First, may I clear away one or two misunderstandings by saying that this recommendation which is before your Lordships was not the original recommendation from the Top Salaries Review Body, which wished to have a single maximum figure within which noble Lords could claim up to the limit of their actual costs at a level of 39p per mile. The Government have not taken that on board and I am not complaining about that. There is no earthly reason why the Government should on every occasion accept the recommendations of individual review bodies.

Nor is it based on Civil Service rates either now or in the future. Indeed, it has been put to me that, if my amendment were to be carried, the rates would be lower than the appropriate Civil Service rates. I find no difficulty with that, because the need for car usage by civil servants is quite different from that of your Lordships' House. We have one purpose for using motor cars and that is to come to this House and to get home. Civil servants have to use them for business in other parts of the country at different times of the day and night, and I believe that what is appropriate to them is not necessarily appropriate to us.

Nor do I accept the suggestion by the noble Viscount that, because these rates have been laid down for another place, they are necessarily applicable to us. The payment of car allowances to honourable and right honourable Members in another place is to enable them not only to get here and to get home, but also to move about their constituencies on political business. We do not have constituencies and therefore I suggest that the questions are again different. These are based very properly on figures produced by the RAC. They are not directly attributable to those figures, because the middle bracket is an average across the range for 1,300cc to 2,300cc, but they are broadly based on figures that have been put up by the RAC and therefore, in that sense, I have no quarrel with the figures which are included.

What I am questioning is the introduction of the higher band at 39p. As I said, although that is the same figure as the Top Salaries Review Body suggested, they suggested that as a maximum and not as a norm; that is, up to the level of 20,000 miles a year. I believe that in these days it behoves Members of your Lordships' House to set an example in the country. We should be seen to be economical with taxpayers' money. We should be seen to encourage the use of public transport. I would draw your Lordships' attention to the expenses form that most of us fill up, which states on the back in the notes: Lords are reminded that travel by road is considerably more expensive than that by public transport and are therefore urged to use public transport wherever practicable.

That is something to which we should all subscribe. Cars are a necessity for some of your Lordships, because of where you live and for other reasons, and it is proper that such noble Lords should he properly recompensed for the costs that are incurred. But the other objection that I have to raising this top band is the fact that we should also be economical in the use of scarce energy resources.

We have had some questions today on wave power. Whatever happens to that, there will be a need for many years to come for the use of hydrocarbon fuels for transport, but these, as we know, are not replaceable. Again I believe that we should be setting an example to the country in the economic use of hydrocarbon fuels. It seems to me that the Motion relating to our expenses does not make us appear to do so. Indeed, the introduction of the top band will be seen by the world outside as being the very opposite. It will be seen as encouraging noble Lords to use their cars rather than to use public transport and, moreover, to use big cars. If one were to be cynical about it, it might be suggested that the best thing that one could do in terms of getting value for money from expenses—which I am sure noble Lords are not out to do, but it may be seen like that by the outside world—would be to buy a second-hand 2,500 Rover which is about 10 years old on which the depreciation is down to virtually nothing.

It may be that people need cars for purposes other than merely to come to this House and go home again. If that is so, it is the choice of noble Lords. It seems to me that the variable cost they then pay should be attributable to them. We should expect noble Lords to be able to come to this House in reasonable comfort at a reasonable speed so that they can properly carry out their duties, but I do not believe that we should be seen to be encouraging more than that.

The right honourable Leader in another place indicated the other day in a debate on the same subject that we were to be seen as in a goldfish bowl and that the world outside would monitor what we do. I should like to draw your Lordships' attention to a letter which appears in today's copy of The Times, which says: I am dismayed by the new scale of mileage allowances, detailed on page 2 of last Saturday's Times, which MPs have voted themselves. This system encourages rather than penalises the use of large capacity cars and I would suggest that this is a bad example and a retrograde step at a time when fuel conservation is supposed to be practised by the rest of the population".

The world outside is watching us, and I believe that we must be seen to be acting responsibly. No doubt we do act responsibly and no doubt we shall act responsibly, but we have to be seen to act responsibly. I believe that the Government's proposals will be seen as the opposite. It is on that simple proposition that I beg to move Amendment No. 1, having spoken to the other amendments, of which Amendment No. 5 is the kernel.

Lord Morris

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, speaks, as I do, with the comfort of comparative youth. He has not considered the vitally important point that there are many Members of your Lordships' House who are considerably older than are we who need the safety and comfort of larger capacity cars. I totally reject the case which he has just put forward.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

My Lords, I support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, not only for the reasons he has so cogently put forward but also because on one occasion when a noble Baroness ran into my Ford Escort the cost was comparatively small, whereas on another occasion when I ran into a noble Lord's Rolls Bentley the cost was very large. Therefore I suggest that noble Lords should be discouraged from using Rolls Bentleys and encouraged to use Ford Escorts. For this reason, I find myself in full support of the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff.

Lord Mulley

My Lords, I, too, support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff. I join with him in thanking the noble Viscount the Leader of the House for putting his case so clearly but I reject his initial thesis that we have got to follow what has happened in another place. The noble Viscount and I were in the other place together for many years. I believe he will agree that the need for a car is greater in the rural rather than the urban constituency. Members of Parliament cover large distances in their cars. They have to go round their constituencies, carry people to the polls, and so on. Their need for cars is probably greater than that of Members of this House.

I am not particularly attached to a particular sum of money, but I believe that it would be better to stick to a uniform sum. We should not have a mileage allowance of up to 20,000 miles at 39p for anybody's car, because that amounts to £7,800 a year. That is a great deal of money to convey any noble Lord from wherever he lives to this place during the limited period of time that the House sits. I believe, therefore, that the second as well as the first part of the noble Lord's amendment is important and that if the amendment were carried as a whole there would inevitably be a reduction in the total cost, without any undue hardship. I have heard no complaints about the existing arrangements. For many years the other place has had a uniform arrangement and for many years before that there was no car allowance at all, but that is an entirely different matter.

Secondly, it is difficult to know where to draw the line. There is no such thing as a British 1300cc car. The whole of the British Leyland range is 1275cc, the Ford range is 1296cc and the Vauxhall range 1297cc.

Lord Mottistone

My Lords, if I may correct the noble Lord, I have a British Leyland Maestro which is 1300cc.

Lord Mulley

My Lords, the noble Lord will find that that is just printed on the car. If he looks at the official registration and the official statistics published by the motoring organisations, the noble Lord will find that his actual engine capacity is 1275cc. The Vauxhall range is 1297cc. If one wishes to buy a certain foreign car—I shall not mention its name, in case the noble Lord might be tempted to buy it—one can buy it with an engine capacity of 1301cc. Therefore, with an increase in capacity of one-third of 1 per cent—0.03—you can get almost a 50 per cent. increase in your allowance, which does not seem to me to make very much sense.

Furthermore, in assessing the cost of motoring one has to bear in mind not merely the cost of fuel, which is what we have been talking about, since that is related to engine capacity, but the cost of other motoring expenses. Tax and parking costs are uniform, whatever the make of car. The biggest cost of motoring—insurance and depreciation—is not necessarily related to engine capacity but to a whole range of other matters. Very expensive cars can have a relatively low engine capacity.

I strongly urge noble Lords to take into account the point made so ably by the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, in moving his amendment: that we should not be seen to be encouraging the use of large cars, thus attracting a greater mileage allowance. I am sure that the noble Viscount will also endorse the plea of the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, that as this is a House of Lords matter we should have a free vote.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil

My Lords, there are three points which I should very much like to make as the member who had the rather difficult job of presiding over this small committee. First, I should like to make it clear that the committee were not invited to consider, nor did they apply themselves to, the question of what allowances should be paid to Members of your Lordships' House. They were appointed to consider the allowances which should properly be paid to Members of Parliament. They found the task exceedingly difficult and complicated to fit every kind of constituency, every kind of Member, old and young, regardless of their physical strength and whether or not they have young families. It was not at all easy. They did their best and attempted to produce something which was simple and convenient and did not involve a huge amount of administrative work. They also attempted—and this is the last point I want to make—to keep their report reasonably short. I must say that we were all astonished when the Government, in publishing that report, followed that example.

I did comment to my right honourable friend the Leader of the House that it was strange to publish a report which began with the word "we" and then not to identify who "we" were. In his answer to me he pointed out that the names of the members of the committee had been omitted in the interests of brevity!

Lord Somers

My Lords, I do not want to oppose the amendment but I should like to make one point. The noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, quoted a passage from the instructions which said that noble Lords are urged to use public transport whenever possible. That would give rise to many difficulties. If one lives some way from a railway station, one has to make arrangements either to park or to garage one's car while one is in London, and that is not always easy. It is expensive, and it may be next door to impossible. When one gets here, of course, one has to get a taxi to the House, and taxis are getting more and more expensive every year. Therefore, I do not know that I would say that the difference in cost is all that great. However, I thought I would make that one point.

Lord Monson

My Lords, I wholeheartedly support the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff. Apart from the incidental and mildly selfish feelings which some of your Lordships may share, that there are already far too many large cars clogging up the forecourt so that those of us with cars of a more normal size often find it impossible to park, there is a far more important consideration—the British taxpayer.

The most expensive first-class return rail fare between London and Edinburgh is £104. At the mileage rate proposed for cars with engines in excess of 2.3 litres capacity, the corresponding car mileage expenses would be no less than £305.76—almost three times as much. The respective amounts for Liverpool are £60 and £150.93; for Lincoln, £41 and £105.69; for Norwich, £34.50 and £89.70; and for Cardiff, where for some reason the differential is at its narrowest, £47 and £ 113.10. This is taking the most expensive first-class rail fares as examples. When a first-class weekend return is bought—which is more often than not possible for your Lordships —the differential is even greater: over four times in all cases and over five times in the case of Edinburgh, where the weekend return rail fare is £61 in comparison with just under £306.

Lord Ross of Marnock

My Lords, would the noble Lord give way? As I look around this House I see that there are a few old-age pensioners. For them it is even cheaper by rail; it is half the price.

Lord Monson

My Lords, I am very grateful for that extremely useful support. I support these amendments, but I do not think that they go far enough. The mileage figure for the first few thousand miles includes not only running costs (which is reasonable enough) but standing costs: the cost of the road fund licence, the insurance, and that part of the depreciation attributable to the age of the car rather than to the mileage covered. It is quite possible that the majority of honourable Members in another place do have to buy a second car for their constituency work, especially if they represent geographically large constituencies in Scotland, the Borders, Wales, the West country, Northern Ireland and so on, where they need a car in order to keep in contact with their widely scattered constituents. But these considerations do not apply to noble Lords, as has been pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff. There must be relatively few noble Lords who buy a car for the sole purpose of journeys to and from this House. That being so, is it really right that standing costs (as opposed to running costs) should be included in our mileage allowance at all?

Finally, may I point out that my brother happens to be a county councillor, and the mileage allowance to which he is entitled is 19.1p for a car of any size. This mileage allowance, I understand, applies to county councillors as well as to magistrates. Why should Members of this House be able to claim twice the mileage allowance of county councillors and magistrates? I look forward to hearing what the noble Viscount has to say on this matter.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

My Lords, while supporting the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, may I first make one reservation about the implications of his speech. I think it would be a pity if it were to go out from this House to the public that noble Lords simply use their cars to get from their homes to this Palace. Indeed, I am sure that many noble Lords would agree with me that their cars are frequently used to visit educational establishments and industrial establishments, to meet immigrants, and to meet various lobbies. One can also mention the number of metropolitan councils which, over the last few weeks, have asked us to go to meet them. Of course, our travel does not compare with that of a Member of Parliament in his constituency, but there is a substantial amount of travelling involved in the proper exercise of our duties in this House and the collection of material for the formation of views to be expressed here.

With that reservation I should also couple the fact that, although we are urged to use public transport rather than cars, a great deal of the public transport in this country has simply been removed. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Monson, would agree with me that in the area from which we come, not only are there no trains running in many districts but the train lines have been pulled up and the stations have been sold, so there is no chance of them being renewed. In many rural areas in this country today it is only with the use of a car that you can be mobile at all. However, I fully agree with the main points put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, particularly on the conservation issue and bearing in mind the latter years of this decade, when North Sea oil will be running out.

But there is one further issue. The noble Lord pointed out—and I agree with him completely—that this is not a party political matter; but it is a philosophical matter. Is it not obvious that the proposals which have been put forward by the Government are based on the concept that those who have most capital shall be given the largest allowances and that those who have least capital shall have their allowances reduced? Is this not a philosophical issue, and is it one which this House wishes to support? I am sure that there are many noble Lords on all sides of the House who do not believe that this philosophy should go forward and have the assent of this House. I believe that this greatly strengthens the case of the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, whose amendments I fully support.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

My Lords, I shall be brief because I know that your Lordships have much other business to transact today. As the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, said in moving his amendment, this is not a party matter. With that we entirely agree, and I have no doubt that if the noble Lord presses his amendment to a Division noble Lords will vote as they see fit on a free vote without the imposition of any Whips.

Having said that, we have a good deal of sympathy with the arguments of the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, and with the particular reasons he put forward, which have been repeated by many noble Lords. There is the question of the conservation of energy and resources; the question of public expenditure; the question of how the introduction of the high mileage allowance for large cars will be seen by the public. These are questions which will all weigh with your Lordships in deciding whether or not to support the amendment.

As has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, the report was prepared for Members of the House of Commons who use their cars in a way that is rather different from that in which we use our cars, and there is no reason why we need necessarily follow the decisions taken in another place. We shall all be interested to hear the reply from the Leader of the House.

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, I am grateful to noble Lords for all the points they have made. First, I believe it would be right to confirm that I have discussed our position on this side of the House with my noble friend the Chief Whip, and we will of course follow exactly the same procedure as the other parties and have a totally free vote. Therefore, anything that I say is not in any way meant to persuade my noble friends to support me if they feel otherwise. I should like to make that absolutely clear.

I will turn now to some of the points which have been made. My noble friend Lord Morris raised the point about the comfort of the elderly in a large car. Obviously that is a point which will weigh with your Lordships. The noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, did not seem to give a particularly good reason against large cars. After all, he did have an option, which he did not appear to exercise: that is, not to run into any cars at all, large or small. But as he has been in the habit of doing so, perhaps it became a better reason.

The noble Lord, Lord Mulley, raised the point about a free vote and also commented that there was no particular reason why we should follow another place. The same point was made by the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede. They commented that Members of another place use their cars differently, for different purposes, and for constituency work, in a way that we do not. My noble friend Lord Peyton, who speaks with all the authority of the author of the scheme—even if, for reasons I did not appreciate, he was not given prime authorship when it was published— pointed out that he had been asked to look at the case for allowances for Members of another place and not for Peers.

The noble Lord, Lord Somers, referred to the difficulty of parking cars and the expense involved. The noble Lord, Lord Monson, said that we should be particularly careful of the taxpayers' interests. Of course, he must be right in that regard, and I fully accept the point he made. The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, seemed to introduce some political concepts into his statement which had not occurred to me. But as the noble Lord will realise, I am very much a nonpolitical animal. Nevertheless, he made it clear that he supports the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff.

I have to say that we have not yet discussed the amendment concerning mileage rates, which obviously we shall come to, but I must agree that these amendments would save the taxpayers' money. Although I am advocating another course, it would be quite wrong of me not to admit that, on balance, the amendments would do that. People with large cars would lose a considerable amount, and people with small cars would gain. On balance, I think there would be a saving of the taxpayers' money.

Lord Monson

My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Viscount for giving way. Can he say anything in reply to my point about magistrates and county councillors, who receive only 19.1 pence per mile for a car of more than 2.3 litres compared with the 39 pence proposed by the Government?

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, it was simply that the arrangements put forward for Members in another place and which we were seeking to copy here, were based on proposals made by my noble friend Lord Peyton and his committee. There are inevitably many different comparisons which can be made, and the noble Lord very properly makes yet another one.

Clearly, many of your Lordships feel that it is right not to appear to be using larger cars at this time, and to support smaller cars. That is a very proper approach; but I must say something on a rather broader front. In seeking to do my best for your Lordships and this House as far as various arrangements are concerned, it would be wrong if I did not say that it does help, from time to time, to work with another place. In some cases, it does help to follow their practices. To break away from those practices is perfectly reasonable if that is what your Lordships decide, but that does have disadvantages as well as, perhaps, an advantage on this occasion.

In my position as Leader of this House, and with the many different negotiations I have to make, it would be quite wrong of me not to register that point. But having done so I return to the point that this is entirely a matter for your Lordships personally to decide. I have made the points that I felt it right to make as Leader of the House, but I leave it entirely to your Lordships to decide what you wish.

Lord Tordoff

My Lords, with typical generosity the Leader of the House has mentioned that on the other side of the House as well as on this side there is to be a free vote. I welcome that most generous statement. I will deal first with the final point he made about breaking away from the practices of the Commons. I accept that the noble Viscount works hard on our behalf to ensure that we have a fair crack of the whip. But it does not seem to me that in changing on this occasion we would be doing anything other than that which was rational on the arguments which have been deployed. I am sure that can be explained to Members of another place. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, in that respect, because we should make it quite clear that anything we do is no reflection on what may have been done in another place. If we were to do something different, it is because our circumstances, in respect of this particular issue, are quite different.

I take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Somers, about parking. Of course, we are not trying to force everyone to use public transport. We are trying to encourage people to use public transport; but it is recognised that we in this House are of different ages and of different vitalities. This bears on the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Morris. The worst accusation that has been made against me today is that I am too young. That applies only in this House: outside, my children take a very different view.

We recognise that there are many people coming to your Lordships' House who need to have adequate private transport. I do not believe that in passing this amendment we would seriously restrict the people who need that kind of transport. It is on that basis, and encouraged by the support I have received from all sides of the House, that I press my amendment.

4.18 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 128; Not-Contents, 64.

Airedale, L. Dean of Beswick, L.
Aldenham, L. De Freyne, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Diamond, L.
Amherst, E. Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Ampthill, L. Elliot of Harwood, B.
Annan, L. Elystan-Morgan, L.
Attlee, E. Ezra, L.
Avebury, L. Falkland, V.
Aylestone, L. Foot, L.
Banks, L. Gallacher, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Gladwyn, L.
[Teller.] Gosford, E.
Beswick, L. Graham of Edmonton, L.
Birk, B. Greenway, L.
Blanch, L. Grimond, L.
Blease, L. Grimthorpe, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. Haig, E.
Bottomley, L. Hall, V.
Buckmaster, V. Hampton, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Hanworth, V.
Cathcart, E. Hatch of Lusby, L.
Collison, L. Hayter, L.
Craigavon, V. Henley, L.
Dacre of Glanton, L. Hooson, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B. Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes, L. Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Hunter of Newington, L. Phillips, B.
Hylton-Foster, B. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Ilchester, E. Rankeillour, L.
Ingleby, V. Rea, L.
Inglewood, L. Renton, L.
Irving of Dartford, L. Renwick, L.
Jacobson, L. Romney, E.
Jacques, L. Ross of Marnock, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Rugby, L.
Jessel, L. Ryder of Warsaw, B.
Kilmarnock, L. Sainsbury, L.
Kintore, E. St. Davids, V.
Lawrence, L. Saltoun, Ly.
Leatherland, L. Seear, B.
Listowel, E. Seebohm, L.
Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Serota, B.
Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Somers, L.
Longford, E. Spens, L.
Lothian, M. Stamp, L.
McCarthy, L. Stedman, B.
McNair, L. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Mais, L. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Marsh, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Maude of Stratford-upon- Stone, L.
Avon, L. Strabolgi, L.
Mayhew, L. Strathspey, L.
Milford, L. Strauss, L.
Milverton, L. Swinfen, L.
Molson, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Monson, L. Teviot, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. Tordoff, L. [Teller.]
Moyne, L. Tranmire, L.
Mulley, L. Underhill, L.
Newall, L. Walston, L.
Nicol, B. Wells-Pestell, L.
Norfolk, D. Whaddon, L.
O'Brien of Lothbury, L. White, B.
Oram, L. Willis, L.
Pender, L. Winterbottom, L.
Alport, L. Lane-Fox, B.
Avon, E. Lauderdale, E.
Bauer, L. Long, V.
Beloff, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Belstead, L. Margadale, L.
Bessborough, E. Masham of Ilton, B.
Boothby, L. Merrivale, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Morris, L. [Teller.]
Broxbourne, L. Northchurch, B.
Bruce of Donington, L. Onslow, E.
Caithness, E. Orkney, E.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L. Quinton, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Sandys, L.
Cockfield, L. Savile, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Selkirk, E.
Cox, B. Sempill, Ly.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Daventry, V. Strathcarron, L.
Denham, L. Sudeley, L.
Denning, L. Swinton, E.
Eccles, V. Teynham, L.
Elton, L. Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Erroll of Hale, L. Tonypandy, V.
Faithfull, B. Torphichen, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Trefgarne, L.
Glanusk, L. [Teller.] Trumpington, B.
Hailsham of Saint Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Marylebone, L. Vivian, L.
Halsbury, E. Westbury, L.
Home of the Hirsel, L. Whitelaw, V.
Killearn, L. Wise, L.
Kinnaird, L. Young, B.
Kinnoull, E.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

4.28 p.m.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone)

My Lords, I think I understood the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, to say that Amendments Nos. 2 to 6 would be moved en bloc.

Lord Tordoff

moved Amendments Nos. 2 to 6: [Printed earlier: col. 409.]

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Tordoff

moved Amendment No. 7: In paragraph (3), line 3, leave out "10,000" and insert "5,000". The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall be brief. I seek to move Amendment No. 7 and at the same time speak to Amendment No. 8. Amendment No. 8: In paragraph (3), line 4, leave out "20,000" and insert "10,000". What I am doing here is questioning the Government on this limit of 20,000 miles for the cutoff point. It seems extremely high, as someone has already said in the earlier debate. The amount of contribution to the depreciation charges that are obtained at 20,000 miles a year is very high in relation to the total cost of the car. I should have thought that a lower figure, again, was more appropriate for your Lordships' House because of many of the suggestions that were made in the earlier debate. It is essentially a probing amendment. I should be grateful if the Government could indicate whether they will at some stage consider reducing the level. It seems to me to be excessive in relation to your Lordships' needs. I beg to move.

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, clearly your Lordships' decision on the other amendments raises questions for this one as well. At this stage I should like to suggest to the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, that the arrangements that have been made so far as mileage is concerned are slightly important from the point of view of trying to make reasonable recompense for the actual costs involved. The arrangement affects that. For that reason, I should prefer to leave the matter as it stands, naturally having accepted what has been done on the other amendments. If having done that I have a chance to look into the matter against the background of the other decisions, I am perfectly prepared to do so.

Lord Tordoff

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 8 not moved.]

On Question, Whether the Motion, as amended, shall be agreed to?

Lord Ferrier

My Lords, may I point out that there is no provision in the regulations for hire cars? There are a number of Peers who by virtue of living a great distance from an airfield, and/or age, and/or infirmity, are compelled to hire a car. Perhaps my noble friend could apply his mind to making a provision whereby the cost of hire cars in such circumstances can be defrayed.

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Ferrier has asked about the arrangements for Peers who are unable to drive their own cars and have to hire a car. Perhaps I may remind him that in July last year the House agreed that Members of this House who are disabled should be able to recover additional expenses for attendance at this House incurred by them on account of their disablement. These additional expenses in hiring a car can therefore, subject to the discretion of the Leave of Absence and Lords' Expenses Committee, be met under the existing rules. I believe that they are now, and they certainly will be in the future.

Lady Saltoun

My Lords, it is not just a question of those who are disabled having to hire a car. To give an example, I live 45 miles from Aberdeen airport, where there is only parking in the open. I can drive my car there, and, if it is not required at home, leave it there during the week between April and October. But in that part of the world I cannot possibly do so between October and April, because when I came back it would be frozen up. Therefore in the winter months I am obliged to take a taxi. I should very much like to know what the rules and regulations are.

The Earl of Kintore

My Lords, we can be paid for the trip there and back once a week, if one has only one car and no transport whatever otherwise than that. That applies if one has to take the car and your wife has no car to use until you return. That problem has been recognised. and there is this provision once a week. That would be fine if we could limit our trips to attend the House to only once a week. but that is not the case. I live a long way from an airport, and the second time that one makes the trip one has to pay for it oneself. I do not think that that is very logical, nor awfully just.

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, in answer to the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun, and my noble friend, of course this matter can he looked into again by the Leave of Absence and Lords' Expenses Committee, and I will undertake that it should be. I believe that the matter has been looked at before and did not find favour on that occasion, but that does not mean that it cannot be looked at again, and that will certainly be done.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.