HL Deb 24 June 1986 vol 477 cc158-79

3.2 p.m.

The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Trefgarne.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Lord Aberdare) in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [General restrictions on deductions made, or payments received, by employers]:

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 9, at end insert ("is reasonable in amount having regard to all the circumstances of the case and").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 1. in my name and those of my noble friends, comes to a central issue in a Bill which will take away a protection for a very large number of working people. With the leave of the Committee, I shall move this amendment and speak also to Amendment No. 56. It is my understanding that the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, will speak to his Amendment No. 2, in the course of the same debate.

This central issue is that just 90 years ago the Truck Act 1896 protected most deductions from wages on broadly a two-pronged basis. First, no deduction could be made unless there were a clear contractual base for it in a written contract or a notice in writing at the workplace. Secondly, the 1896 Act required that the deductions from wages should be fair and reasonable. Of course, it is true that those provisions applied only to manual workers and it has long been a non-controversial point of policy in many quarters that the division between manual and non-manual workers should cause this aspect of the law to be changed; although, as we shall see, the Government set up in this Bill a new dichotomy between two different types of worker.

The question is how to amend the law. Should it be amended to apply to all workers no protection or a protection based only on a contract of employment; or should it retain the second element which has been there—and indeed has been there as a crime— since 1896: that it is wrong and illegal to deduct unfair and unreasonable amounts from the wages of a worker? When the noble Lord the Secretary of State spoke to the House on Second Reading on 6th June he gave this explanation of this part of the Bill at col. 1205 of Hansard. He said: The Truck Acts also include statutory controls on deductions from wages. The Government have decided to bring those up to date. That is necessary for several reasons. The controls are uncertain in their effect; they apply only to manual workers and, in part, to shop assistants; they establish criminal offences to deal with what are essentially contractual disputes between workers and employers; and they are designed to deal with problems that existed in 1896 not 1986.".

We agree that the manual worker division should be revised; we can see the case is there to treat the matter in the civil law as against criminal offences, although it depends upon how you do it. We dispute that there has been great uncertainty in this part of the law. No evidence has ever been brought forward to suggest it. We certainly dispute the suggestion that the problem, is for 1896 not 1986. All the evidence is the other way. The Secretary of State appeared not to know that there is a mass of evidence that deductions from workers' wages play a major and an increasing part in the lives especially of the low paid, the ill-organised, the isolated and the weak groups of workers in our society.

Employers in many areas—certainly not in all but in many areas such as garages—have extended these deduction practices beyond anything that could remotely be called reasonable. The evidence of the Citizens' Advice Bureaux in regard to that Government's consultative document gave many examples. The Government, I am sure, would not write off the evidence from such a responsible body. They told them about long-distance lorry drivers who had large deductions made from the month's wages for expenses without reasons being explained. The other cases included a young man of 17, a forecourt attendant, on duty when a group of children stole sweets from the shop. He could not leave the shop unattended as that risked even worse fault on his part. That whole loss was deducted from his wages, leaving him £5 living expenses for the week.

The trade union movement knows of these practices. The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers has spoken of employers increasingly introducing the power to deduct for shortages into the contracts of workers if it cannot be resisted. The idea that this is a problem for 1896 and not 1986 is defeated even by the law reports. In the case of Sealand Petroleum Company and Barratt, in this year's All England Reports, in the second volume, at page 360, noble Lords will find that an 18 year-old lad was taken on after an afternoon's trial at a self-service petrol station, with a statement in writing which said that he was to be liable for any loss of cash, stock or other equipment as a result of his breach of contract or other duty or any negligence; and that that amount could go immediately from his pay. That was interpreted as meaning, for example, that if he did not take the vehicle number of any customer who did not pay for the petrol at the self-service station, that amount would be deducted.

This came to the court under the 1896 Act. He had to look after the shop and the self-service station and he had to look after the car-wash bay, which was difficult to see from where he primarily worked. The Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division had no doubt whatever that this could not be supported under the 1896 Act. Mr. Justice Nolan said that the, contract afforded no adequate means by which the respondent could check or supervise the calculations of deficiencies for which he was to be held responsible".

He could not get near the till when it was checked.

Thus his prospects of being able to mount a successful challenge… by complaint would be negligible.

He was not trained.

He was, it must be remembered, 18 at the time… and was taken on after only one afternoon's trial.

The judge concludes that this contract, gave a wholly arbitrary power to the employer within the limits of the total loss ascertained by the employer as to the amount of the fine.

Lord Justice Watkins said that it, contains a very one-sided obligation. It is an obligation on the employee to accept the consequences of whatever it is the employer determines shall be the effect of his finding a deficiency in the takings at the end of a working day".

As I say, the evidence is there that this is very common in garages. It is quite common in other parts of retail employment, but it is also increasingly found in employment which is not retail and not in garages, although the worst practices appear to be in many garage chains. The essence of the problem is that these deductions fall hardest on employees who are the most vulnerable. They are the least unionised and the least protected in any other way. As the citizens' advice bureaux evidence put it, You find workers who will take almost any terms in the labour market of today.

Having got a weak labour market, as we like to call it in rather abstract terms—a market in which workers like these are open to exploitation—how should we amend the law? Should it be by making sure that every deduction is provided for in the contract? Yes, but it has to be said and it has to be understood that in regard to the worker in a labour market in the kind of situation Anthony Barratt was in on that garage forecourt, consent by contract is to a large extent a fiction. Consent by contract is in fact submission in order to get a job at all.

The Truck Act of 1896 was based upon debates, including debates in your Lordships' House, almost 90 years ago which were about precisely this problem although no doubt the social context was different. I do not know whether the problem was more or less widespread: perhaps it was more. But it was not about the issue that we are debating today; namely, whether to take away (as this Bill would) the protection of reasonableness as a residual way of stopping these arbitrary practices. The debate was whether or not deductions from wages should be prohibited altogether or whether there should be a limit assessed by the standards of reasonableness. So the whole axis of the debate today is one step backwards on the Bill which is before us and which this amendment would only bring back to the debate of 1896 and go for the same solution. That solution has not proved wholly unsuccessful. It has not been wholly successful, partly because, founding itself on a criminal basis, it was necessary to have a wages inspectorate which enforced it beyond the resources which the wages inspectorate has usually had, especially during the past few years.

But the idea that there should be at least these two parts of possible protection for workers of this kind seems to us the most elementary protection for which one can ask. Nor is it true that our law of contract does not know of this concept. Indeed, not only in the Unfair Contract Terms Act of 1977 but in many other statutes—and in particular in the Act of 1977—the idea that certain contractual terms should not be permitted to operate according to their tenor on the face of the contract but should be moderated by the court by some concept of what is reasonable is now established part, certainly of consumer transactions and of many other areas of the law contract.

What we are asking for in this amendment is that workpeople in this position should not be made responsible for possible losses from thefts by customers or thefts by other employees; or as a result of defects in stock control mechanisms which we shall come to later today; or by failure to train workers like Anthony Barratt (who had only an afternoon's training) or certainly by failure of management supervision. No doubt there are failures all round them; but there are these deductions of amounts for which they are not, in anyone's moral perspective, themselves responsible, other than on the paper which they have had to take to get the job.

The matter goes further because some of the practices are really scandalous. There are garage chains—and Heron Garages appears to be one—which set a ratio of oil sales to petrol sales on past experience, and if the petrol sales then come to so much on a check they assume that the oil sales should have come to the same ratio; and if there is some discrepancy to the disadvantage of the attendant, they deduct amounts from wages on that basis. That will be in the contract or the document of at least most of those workers.

However, is it right that there should be nothing else in the law to protect them in that situation? We say that for the employee and indeed the manager—because this matter can go to the managers of such retail outlets—there should be some protection. This is for all workers in respect of the amount that can be taken from the wage upon which not merely the worker but the family at home depend. The family expects a weekly wage; and if the worker is responsible for some specific misconduct, that is another matter. But the broad test should surely be what we have had for 90 years: that the family expectation of the wage should be limited by what is in the contract and by what is reasonable. Take away the second protection, leaving various avenues of exploitation for those who wish to exploit—the bad employers who may well be in the minority but who exist in terms of the practices going on now—and the workers are at a double disadvantage. They are the most vulnerable and the weakest. That is what this Bill would do.

It is our great hope that the Government will at least say they will think again about putting into this Bill a protection and not mark themselves as a government in favour of unreasonable deductions. This amendment asks only for that which is reasonable, and I beg to move.

Lord Rochester

It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I speak now, with leave, to Amendments Nos. 2, 13, 70 and 112.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

Would the noble Lord forgive my interrupting him? I am very grateful to him. There is an objection because they are totally disparate considerations that arise under this Amendment No. 1 and on Amendments Nos. 2, 13 and 70. It would import, with the greatest respect to the noble Lord, an intolerable degree of confusion if he were to try to deal with two wholly separate and distinct concepts at one and the same time. If the Committee is with me on this, I would respectfully suggest that we deal with the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, and then in due course deal with the other set of amendments.

Noble Lords

Hear, hear!

Lord Rochester

I am in the hands of the Committee. I had understood that there was a measure of agreement that this was the procedure which should take place. Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, would help us on behalf of the Government.

Lord Trefgarne

I hope my noble friend will feel able to agree that we should proceed in the way proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Rochester. As my noble friend will appreciate, considerable discussions go on through the usual channels as to how we should handle these matters; and if they fall apart as soon as we get to the Floor of the Chamber very often we find ourselves considerably detained. So I hope my noble friend, at least on this occasion, will feel able to agree that we should discuss the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, with the one proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

I am obliged to my noble friend the Minister. Quite clearly, the usual channels have messed this one up, but if they have done it, they have done it and we had better get on with it.

Lord McCarthy

I think it was our intention that, although the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, could speak to both amendments, there would be a separate vote on our amendment. We intend to press our amendment to a separate vote. Therefore, if the noble Lord were in a position in which he wanted to support one rather than the other, he would in the end be able to do so.

Lord Rochester

It was worked out and that is why I said at the outset that it was my intention to speak to these amendments, rather than at this stage to move any. Like the amendment which has just been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, the amendments to which I referred—perhaps for the convenience of the Committee I should just repeat that they are Nos. 2, 13, 70 and 112—are aimed at ensuring that deductions from wages are reasonable, but they set about the task in a way different from that proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn.

At the Second Reading of the Bill I expressed the view that there was a strong case for a code of practice to be drawn up by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service after consultation with other interested parties to facilitate the implementation of Part I of the Bill. In response the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, assured me that guidance material would be produced before Part I commenced and added that ACAS was also aware of the suggestion that it should produce advice on aspects of the Bill.

Since then I have come to feel that the area which could most usefully be covered by such a code is that of deductions from wages, particularly in relation to the form which the relevant term in the contract of employment should take. Indeed, it was a discussion in another place of the need to build on good practice in this matter which led the Under-Secretary of State to say, first, that he should perhaps be responsible for recommending that ACAS should produce guidance on it and then, more specifically, that it would be a good idea if ACAS was to propose a draft form of contract.

Between them, the amendments to which I am now speaking seek to take the matter a little further, first, by providing in Amendment No. 2 that deductions from wages should accord with a code of practice; secondly, by requiring the Secretary of State—that is, under Amendment No. 13—to issue such a code prior to the date on which Part I of the Bill comes into force; and, thirdly, by stipulating in the new schedule referred to in Amendment No. 70 that the objective of the code should be to ensure that deductions from wages are fair and reasonable. The terms of the proposed code of practice are set out in the schedule and they follow closely Section 3 of the Employment Act 1980, except that in this case the issuing of the code by the Secretary of State would be mandatory rather than, as in 1980, permissive.

Initially, as under the 1980 Act, the Minister would have to consult ACAS, publish a draft code, consider representations made to him about the draft, and have the draft approved by both Houses of Parliament. Once it was introduced, failure to observe the code would not render an offender liable to proceedings, but in any proceedings before a court or industrial tribunal the provisions of the code would be admissible in evidence and could be taken into account in determining any relevant question. Amendment No. 112 is consequential in simply enabling the process of introducing the code to begin at the time the Bill is passed, rather than waiting until the rest of Part I of the Bill comes into force.

If I may turn to the amendment which has been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, it follows from what I have so far said that I am in sympathy with its objective. As he said, the Bill as it stands does not even uphold the existing statutory safeguards, particularly those which were a feature of the Truck Act provisions of 1896. In general, the contract of employment should, in my view, be regarded as inviolate—that is, as between the employer and the employee—but the principle that deductions from wages should continue to be reasonable in amount seems to me to be of such basic importance that it should be treated as an exception to the general rule. My only doubt is whether a requirement that the deduction should be, reasonable in amount having regard to all the circumstances of the case", to quote the terms of the amendment just moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, would of itself prove effective.

In two recent well publicised cases concerning petrol station attendants—the noble Lord referred to one of them—the courts have done their best to interpret the law as it now stands, but in doing so they seem only to have succeeded in adding to current doubts about its application. It appears questionable, therefore, to me whether the insertion in this subsection of a test very similar to the one now in operation would serve its intended purpose.

The aim of my amendment is to see that it has a better chance of doing so by providing additionally for a code of practice containing practical guidance on this subject. In my view this would both diminish present uncertainties and produce a welcome measure of consensus in what would otherwise remain a contentious area. Indeed, I have enough faith in ACAS to feel that if the task of drawing up such a code were entrusted to it, the outcome would prove generally acceptable. I hope, therefore, that the Committee will support the introduction of a code of practice of the kind proposed in this amendment to facilitate implementation of this part of the Bill. I shall not move this amendment, but will leave the matter there for the time being.

3.30 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

May I first speak to Amendment No. 1 and then, with the Committee's leave, to Amendments Nos. 2, 13, 70 and 112. I speak in opposition to both amendments in the names of the noble Lord, Lord McCarthy, and the noble Lord, Lord Rochester. On Amendment No. 1, I have listened with that degree of attentive awe which any practitioner owes to a law don, but I fear that I am unable to follow the logic of the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, other than on the basis that, as he said, consent by contract has become a fiction—a proposition with which I hope your Lordships' Committee will not agree.

Amendment No. 1 is open to serious objection because it has to be seen in context with Amendment No. 4, which seeks to excise paragraph (b) of Clause 1(1) from the Bill, and unlike the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Rochester (Amendments Nos. 2, 13, 70 and 112), it does not impose an unacceptable qualification on Clause 1(1) (b); it simply seeks to excise it.

There are three grounds of objection to Amendment No. 1 moved by the noble Lord. First, there is the imposition of a wholly unacceptable qualification on subsection (1) (a).

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton

When we come to the amendment concerning Clause 1(1)(b) I shall be happy to explain to the Committee and to the noble Lord its purport, but at the moment he should not assume that its relationship is either alternative or otherwise to the amendment we are discussing.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

I am assuming that it is both, because it is either one or the other. If noble Lords will be good enough to look at Amendment No. 4 they will see that it excises Clause 1(1) (b). If it excises Clause 1(1) (b), in those circumstances the objection is to excision, because who better than the worker to judge in this day and age whether he should signify his consent? Therefore it is objectionable on that ground. If it does not excise Clause 1(1) (b) it is objectionable because if Clause 1(1) (b) is left in it imports a wholly impracticable qualification affecting the operation of Clause 1(1)(b). I know the noble Lord intervened to assist, but, with respect to him, I had worked this one out, and whichever way you put it there is a problem. I am seeking, not unkindly I hope, to expose the problems that lie within the proposed amendments. That is the first objection.

The second objection as I see it is the one to which I have referred—the excision of subsection (l)(b), taking the point that it is an alternative objection. The third is that Amendment No. 1 read in context with all the amendments to Part I of the Bill in the name of the noble Lord—

Lord Mishcon

I wonder whether the noble Lord with his usual courtesy will allow an intervention, because this is upsetting the whole rules that govern us in discussion at Committee stage. We are either discussing amendments that have been moved or by arrangement are to be spoken to or we really find ourselves in complete disarray. Amendment No. 4 has in no way been moved. My noble friend may decide when he comes to Amendment No. 4 either to move it or not to move it, but if we start discussing amendments which by arrangement are not to be discussed and assume that they are going to be moved, we really end up in chaos. Since the noble Lord was anxious to avoid chaos before, in his submission to the Committee, I am sure that he will now wish to avoid it in his own case.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

The noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, for once and wholly exceptionally fails to do me justice. The whole problem arises because one has to look at Amendment No. 1 objectively. If you look at it without Amendment No. 4 it raises the objection which I have made. If you look at it—and I take only a moment to say it—with Amendment No. 4 it raises the objection to which I have also spoken. I am not speaking to Amendment No. 4. This is one of the reasons I was hoping that these two sets might be dealt with separately. I hope that I have satisfied the noble Lord on that.

I come to the third and last objection to Amendment No. 1. If you look at Part I of the Bill as the Government propose it should be—there are no government amendments to Part I—and if you look at Part I of the Bill wth Amendment No. 1 and the set—I say no more than that—of Opposition amendments in the name of the noble Lord, the whole structure of Part I which is broadly intelligible and satisfactory is drastically altered. The hope must be that my noble friend the Minister will not accept Amendment No. 1 for the reasons that have been given, because any qualification by this Bill which qualifies as distinct from repealing or amending (and one goes to Clause 1(l)(a)) what, is required or authorised by statute or alters what has been agreed under a contract of employment makes a vast general superimposition on existing statute law which is wholly unacceptable and also indeed on the freedom of contract.

Those are the basic objections to the first amendment. The set of amendments moved by the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, raises quite different objections. I have listened with due deference to the noble Lord, who speaks with authority on all matters relating to good working relations between management and staff, but the objections to this set of amendments go not only to form but to substance. First, the provisions of Part I of the Bill operate to ensure that the deduction should be fair and reasonable in all the circumstances, broadly; secondly, the proposed injection by paragraph 1 of the Schedule—and the Committee will find that in Amendment No. 70—of standards of what is fair and reasonable could operate to qualify retrospectively existing statute law or obligations under the employment contract under Clause l(l)(a); or to negative matters of consent in writing, no doubt given on the basis of independent advice under Clause 1(1)(b).

The third objection is that because the obligation is upon the Secretary of State to issue a code of practice under paragraph 1 of the Schedule—that is in Amendment No. 70—and is upon Parliament under paragraph 4 to approve the code, and upon courts, tribunals and the Central Arbitration Committee to take the code into account under paragraph 7, that is neither appropriate nor requisite; nor indeed is it acceptable. There is an internal conflict in the proposals of the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, which, with respect to him, makes no sense because in (2A) in Amendment No. 13 you have the type of code that has no legal effect at all. It is a mere practical code of guidance that is not taken into account. If you look at paragraph 7 of Amendment No. 70 you see the type of putative effect of the code. The two lie in irreconcilable conflict and the source of confusion is all but unimaginable.

The set of triple amendments is objectionable on that ground. The further objection is basic. What the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, has done is to make a fundamental departure from settled practice under which the trigger clause which introduces the code, and which determines the legal efficacy, is found in the body of the Bill and not, as he has put it, in the schedule. Paragraph 1 of the schedule, which mistakenly he has put in the schedule instead of in the body of the Bill (hence the conflict) is borrowed from Section 3 of the Employment Act 1980. A similar section is found in Section 6 of the Employment Act 1976.

I shall not detain the Committee but there is, in any event a very serious objection, recorded in the debate on 15th January in which the noble Lord was good enough to take part, as to resort to this type of code—and it is all on record in Hansard. It has given rise to concern. It is the type proposed in paragraph 7 of Amendment No. 70. To borrow a phrase in another context from Churchill, it is neither one thing nor the other. Although it is admissible under paragraph 7(a) in Amendment No. 70, there is no sanction whatever if it is not taken into account under paragraph 7(b). There is no appeal and there is no judicial review. It is mere putative efficacy dressed up as a sort of legal doll. If a code is needed—which is much to be questioned because ACAS has certain responsibilities which it could discharge—then either it should be the code of practical guidance which is the very type proposed in subsection (2 A) of Amendment No. 13, or it should be a code having full legal effect such as is taken into account at first instance and then can be taken into account on appeal or judicial review; analogous, as the Committee will remember, to the Commons amendment to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. There is another example which will be moved on Report in respect of the Bills dealing with the disabled and gas next week.

Therefore, this set of amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, proposes a type of code which follows an evil precedent. The form of the set of amendments is open to objection on the ground of irreconcilable conflict. It departs from settled practice and it imports wholly unacceptable qualifications into Clause 1 of the Bill. For those reasons, which are quite distinct from the reasons on Amendment No. 1,I hope that my noble friend the Minister will not accept that set of amendments.

3.45 p.m.

Lord Denning

As between these two amendments, I should like one or other of them to be accepted, but of the two I prefer that proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Rochester. Let us think for a moment of the problem under the 1896 Act. That applied only to manual workers. It did not apply to people working in shops, and the like. Under that Act it was permissible for an employer to make deductions from his men's wages so long as he put up a proper notice warning them about it. In addition, he could deduct from their wages subject to this: the men had only one form of complaint—they could not go to the civil courts or to a tribunal but had to prosecute the employer before the petty sessions magistrate and had to prove that the deduction was not fair or reasonable.

No wonder that in those days nobody went through that archaic procedure. No man did. I remember no case brought before my court under those Acts in all the years I sat. In the last year or two some petrol garage people have become alive to the situation and as the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, said, some petrol attendants, and so on, have been faced with contracts or notices enabling the employer to deduct everything—all the deductions and so on—from the workers' wages. That was taken before the magistrates and then before the Divisional Court and it was held to be not fair or reasonable. It was a very proper decision, if I may say so, but it is time that we had another attempt to put the law on this matter on a proper footing.

As I read this Bill and these clauses they go a long way towards putting everything in proper order. There has to be a proper contract for the employee. He must have signified his agreement to it in writing. The employer must then deduct in accordance with that contract and there is provision that he cannot deduct more than 10 per cent. That is a very good way of dealing with the matter. Moreover, if the man is dissatisfied and states that it is not good enough, he can go before the tribunal. That is all right and proper.

However, there is one omission from this Bill which was in the 1896 Act—it must be fair and reasonable. That is why I suggest—and the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, was quite right—that many of these so-called contracts are a pro forma. A form is set before the man and he signs it without reading it. Members of the Committee will have done that dozens of times in contracts that they have signed. These printed forms are hopeless and time after time I have said in the Court of Appeal that they ought to be fair and reasonable. Under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 the legislature has said that many commercial contracts, with all these exemption conditions, are enforceable only if they are fair and reasonable.

Therefore, we should have in this Bill a provision to ensure that deductions can be made only in accordance with a contract that is fair and reasonable. In the circumstances of the case, whatever the man has done, the deductions must be fair and reasonable. That is the way in which I hope the Bill will be amended in due course.

What is to be the form of the amendment? With respect to the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, the first amendment goes only a little way. It says nothing about fair and reasonable. It only has to be, reasonable in amount having regard to all the circumstances of the case". That is only looking at the amount—whether £10 or £5 should be deducted. That is not looking at the terms of the contract, or the arrangements, and what has happened to the man—whether or not he has been careless. There is nothing in that amendment as to whether it is fair or reasonable. But the condition of fair and reasonable comes into the proposals of the noble Lord, Lord Rochester. The first paragraph of Amendment No. 70 states: The Code of Practice issued by the Secretary of State … shall have as its objective to ensure that any deductions from wages is fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case". That is just to my liking. As my noble friend Lord Rochester has said, there is an advantage with a code of practice that all these matters are not necessarily allowed to be dragged up in the courts. They may be small matters, so let them go if your please. They should not come under the strict and rigid rules of law. These matters should go before a tribunal which will consider the terms of the contract and whether they are fair and reasonable. It is for this reason that I favour a code of practice. Codes of practice are now widely recognised in law. They are very useful in dealing with cases where there is a mass of detail to be considered which, if I may say so, it would be quite inappropriate to consider in your Lordships' House. Let us consider the Highway Code. A person in charge of a vehicle has to exercise due care and attention but details such as when he is to keep to the right side of the road and when it is considered safe to overtake, and so on, are left to the code of practice. These matters should be dealt with by a tribunal and the code should be there for guidance. We have an industrial relations code which is concerned with whether a person has been properly or reasonably dismissed. It is recognised that decisions of this kind depend very much on the individual situation.

We should not put such details in a statute but in a code of practice. For example, in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act which was passed a year or so ago, the words of the statute are very difficult for people to understand. Even I fail to understand a lot of the statutes that we have now. The value of a code of practice is that it puts everything into simple words, so that the people who have to act according to the code of practice can read and understand it. At the moment I am afraid that in Clause 1 of the Bill as it now stands there is a great deal of detail. For example, subsection (5): Nothing in this section applies—

  1. (a) to any deduction from a worker's wages made by his employer …
  2. (b) to any deduction … or any payment received from a worker by his employer".
There is a great deal of detail already in the Bill.

When we come to the amendments of the noble Lords, Lord Wedderburn and Lord McCarthy, there are all sorts of other details, such as the proposal that a copy of the provisions should be presented by the employer when he makes any deduction, and so on. Many of these matters are very appropriate for a code of practice, but are much too detailed for your Lordships to have to consider time after time in Parliament.

On the whole, if there has to be a choice between Amendment No. 1 and Amendment No. 2., I should be against Amendment No. 1 and in favour of Amendment No. 2. However, if I may say so I am not sure but that the better course is for the Minister to take this point away and for him to bring back something which will give effect to the underlying principle, which is that in all the circumstances, whether under the contract or not, the deductions should be fair and reasonable—just as was provided for in the 1896 Act. I am against Amendment No. 1 and in favour of Amendment No. 2 on the whole.

Lord Murray of Epping Forest

We should perhaps remind ourselves that a major aim, perhaps even the main purpose, of this part of the Bill is to extend cashless pay. This was the basis of discussions between the TUC and a former Secretary of State for Employment. It is a purpose that I think should commend itself to the Committee and indeed to most people. It is right and proper to the extent that the Truck Acts are an impediment—and various inquiries have shown that they are only a minor impediment—to the extension of cashless pay in an orderly way.

This particular provision smuggles in behind or underneath the purpose of extending cashless pay a serious and indeed improper weakening of what was the original, definitive purpose of the Truck Acts, which was, in short, to stop unscrupulous employers from cheating their employees. It would indeed be a happy state of affairs had unscrupulous employers disappeared from the face of the earth, but I fear that it is not so. No doubt they are only a minority of employers but evidence has been put before Parliament that they are most certainly there. It would also be a happy state of affairs if alternatively the workpeople concerned had had the prescience, foresight and ability to organise themselves collectively in order to resist victimisation, oppression or cheating. But, as has already been said, the extent of trade union organisation, partly because of the nature of the trades and occupations, is very limited indeed.

It is therefore still incumbent upon this Committee to ensure that the conditions of working people are not made worse by their inability to resist an impost by their employer by incorporating within the legislation the degree of protection that is suggested in the amendment that is now before us. I find it odd that employers have a unilateral right in any event to impose fines upon their employees. If the employee is guilty of dishonesty, let him be sacked or prosecuted; if the employee is cheated by a third party—such as a motorist who drives away with a full tank of petrol—let the employer look to his management systems and supervision and not impose a penalty upon the employee, who may not have caused the original distress or damage.

Be that as it may, this Bill gives employers a great power which they can exercise against individuals who are weak, who are anxious for a job and who. as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, has said, will sign almost anything in order to get work.

It is right that the tribunal, if it is to be a tribunal, should have at its disposal not only the powers that are expressed in the Bill but also the further power to ask whether what the employer has done is fair and reasonable. It should have the further power to search behind the narrow words—words of which perhaps the employee has repented, regretting that he had not had sufficient foresight—and to ask that question. The Government themselves have acknowledged the need for common sense to be operative in this context in that they have suggested that a figure of 10 per cent. should be applied in certain circumstances. We are not arguing about the level of the figure. The idea of the figure indicates that there must be some common sense and some application of shrewdness of judgment, in order to prevent the worst excesses. That is why I think we should incorporate some further protection within the legislation or, perhaps I should say more accurately, why we should preserve a protection which has historically been found to be necessary and for which, regrettably, time has not removed the need.

Lord Milverton

I am quite prepared to accept either the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord McCarthy, or the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Rochester. I have listened to the different arguments and 1 am prepared to support either of the amendments, because I think it is thoroughly disgraceful that, as has been suggested, young people who do not have the means, the power or the strength to insist on fair play, can be taken advantage of. That is why I am prepared to support either of the amendments. I do not think it can be too strongly emphasised how thoroughly disgraceful it is if young people are being taken advantage of and how essential it is that it should be stopped.

4 p.m.

Lord Coleraine

I shall speak only to Amendment No. 1 which was moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn. Because I find myself basically in sympathy with it, I should like to say in answer to what I think was the only point of substance made in relation to the amendment by my noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway that I cannot for a moment agree that consent by contract is a fiction in these filling-station cases. The amendment is designed to underpin the protection offered by the Bill to low-paid workers in what are in times of high unemployment very vulnerable jobs indeed. Whether the amendment goes far enough is one question, and I am mainly going to direct what I have to say to the question of whether there is a need here which the Bill does not rectify.

This is not a party political question. The Truck Act 1896 was introduced under a Conservative Administration, with general support, to meet the needs of its time. Now it limps. It is interesting to note that about a third of this Bill, and almost all of Part I of it, is devoted to re-legislating the 1896 Act in respect of deductions from wages. I see that as a clear indication that the problem of deductions, though it may have a different shape now, is just as much with us as it was at the turn of the century.

There is in my view a relatively widespread problem which this Bill does not tackle adequately. Once a provision allowing deductions from wages is in a contract of employment, no matter how unreasonable it may be, provided that the employer is alert to see that the modest requirements of the Bill have been complied with, there will be nothing that the county court, the magistrates' court or the industrial tribunal can do to protect the employee. There will be just the same abuses as were seen in 1896.

I should like to draw briefly on two examples of what actually happens, each taken from a recent decision of the Divisional Court. The judgment in the first—and that is the case of Mr. Barratt, to which the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, referred—was only four months ago. Perhaps I may mention that Mr. Barratt went to the stipendary magistrate and complained that his employers had unlawfully fined him. The stipendary found the case proved, fined the employers £250 and ordered them to pay costs and to repay to Mr. Barratt the deduction which had been made, amounting to £75.90.

Under the Bill the making of wrongful deductions is to be decriminalised. It is only necessary to pause to consider for a moment the size of the fine in this case compared with the amount of the deductions to see that one strong deterrent to the making of wrongful deductions is to go with the repeal of the 1896 Act.

I would also point out to the Committee that on the facts of the case Mr. Barratt worked for only three weeks at the filling station. His net wages were to have been £55.90 a week. In one week he lost £20; in another he lost the lot. Mr. Barratt was lucky. What the court found in his case was that his employers had wrongly imposed a fine on him and so they put themselves outside the Act. They had not taken his money by way of compensation for their loss, which might have been legitimate as between an employer and an arguably negligent employee. The Divisional Court decided that as a fine it was not a fair and reasonable one.

The second case, also a filling-station case in the Divisional Court, was decided a year ago. A Mr. Bristow was a cashier. He, like Mr. Barratt, was 18 years old. In what seems to have been a written contract of employment there was this provision: Every site employee, together with other site staff working with him, if any, is responsible for all cash shortages that may occur in the cash till that he is using. He will, therefore, undertake to make good to the company either all or his share of the total shortages on every shift that he works, either immediately or by deduction from any wages outstanding". That made the employee liable for cash deficiencies, and he signed a separate acceptance of responsibility in respect of stock deficiencies.

In that case the intention of the employers was that Mr. Bristow should be legally liable, irrespective of whether he or indeed any other employee was culpable, for a share of all loss of cash and stock. In the five weeks of his employment in 1983 there was deducted from his pay packet an average of 17 per cent. of what should have been his weekly net wage.

Mr. Bristow failed both before the magistrates at Brentford and in the Divisional Court because he could not show in his case that the deductions were fines and so covered by the Act. He could only proceed under Section 1 of the Truck Act 1896, which deals with fines, because he was not under that Act a workman; he was a shop assistant and shop assistants are protected only by Section 1 of the Act. That is one of the fine but outdated distinctions in the Act which are to be eliminated with this Bill's passage into law.

What seems to me to be common to both cases is that the deductions were unreasonable, but if the Bill is passed unamended it would be possible for unscrupulous employers to continue to make those unreasonable deductions. Both Barratt and Bristow were 18 years old. What sort of introduction to employment was that, and what sort of first-job experience was it?

The amendment proposed by the noble Lord is a modest one. I wonder whether it could not be widened to provide, in effect, that all contractual provisions for deductions must be fair and reasonable and not just that the deductions made under the provisions must be fair and reasonable. Might it not be better to influence employers to write fair contracts in the first instance, rather than to leave it to employees to find out that unfair contracts are unenforceable?

I hope that my noble friend will think again about this clause in the Bill and perhaps come back at a later stage with something to meet what seem to be the general feelings of the Committee today.

Lord Trefgarne

It may help if I briefly explain the philosophy of the controls on deductions from wages in Part I of the Bill. The Government conducted a consultation exercise in 1984 on controls on deductions from wages that should be established if the Truck Acts were to be repealed. The results suggested that there is no major problem that workers are currently experiencing in the field of deductions from wages other than in the limited area of deductions concerning cash shortages and stock deficiencies. The Bill provides for general controls on deductions from wages that, broadly, allow the parties to agree their own terms, but then ensures the employer sticks to the terms. It provides for special controls in Clauses 2 and 3 on deductions to cover shortages.

It is quite reasonable that employers will make in some circumstances disciplinary deductions from wages as a sanction for breaches of discipline that do not merit dismissal. If such deductions were entirely prohibited employers might more readily resort to dismissal. The philosophy of the Bill is to let employers and workers sort out rules governing such deductions in the contract. But Clause 1(3) ensures that the worker knows what the rules are; Clause 1(4) ensures that the rules cannot be changed retrospectively by the employer to allow a deduction in respect of events that are past; and Clause 5 ensures that the workers can enforce the rules before an industrial tribunal. I believe that these are fair and reasonable provisions.

I recognise that the amendments moved by the noble Lord, Lord McCarthy, and his noble friend are inspired by a desire to reinstate certain words in the Truck Act 1896 concerning reasonableness. It is proposed that deductions from wages or payments by workers to employers should be reasonable in amount, having regard to all the circumstances of the case. But the fundamental difficulty with a requirement that deductions be "reasonable" is that what is reasonable is a matter of opinion. Employers and workers would just not know where they stand if these amendments were accepted.

If we say in the statute that deductions must be "reasonable" the employer will never know if a deduction is lawful until he has had its lawfulness tested before an industrial tribunal. In practice, employers may simply not take the risk of having to waste a morning arguing the case before an industrial tribunal and simply punish breaches of discipline by dismissal. Surely it is enough simply to say that the terms of the basis on which the parties are prepared to go on offering and accepting employment are reasonable terms.

One must also recognise that the more we tie up people with statutory requirements which they must follow in deciding whether to offer and accept employment, the more likely it is that we shall deter would-be employers from offering employment at all.

Lord McCarthy

Not again.

Lord Trefgarne

With regret, I think that the practical effect of the amendments, however well-intentioned, would be to increase the number of dismissals, leave employers in an impossibly uncertain position and reduce the number of jobs on offer. I noticed considerable derision when I made that observation a moment ago. I wonder how many noble Lords opposite have been in the position, as I have, of being a small employer and being genuinely concerned about the bureaucracy that is attached to taking on new employees. It is a deterrent. Noble Lords opposite should not lose sight of that.

May I turn to the proposal for a code of practice? My noble friend the Secretary of State has considered closely whether it would be appropriate for him to issue guidance on good practice in drawing up contractual terms concerning deductions. On balance, he thinks that it would not. However, I can assure the Committee that the Department of Employment will issue guidance on the law before Part I comes into operation.

It is possible that a number of independent organisations such as the Institute of Personal Management or ACAS may wish to produce some guidance on good practice in framing contractual terms of deductions. ACAS is aware of the point which was raised during earlier stages of the Bill, but ACAS is an independent body governed by a council that includes TUC and CBI representatives. It is not an instrument of the Department of Employment. It would not be appropriate for Ministers to seek to direct ACAS in any way, but the ACAS council will doubtless consider the call for a code.

The noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, and my noble friend Lord Coleraine referred to the case of Sealand Petroleum Company Ltd. v. Barratt. That case demonstrates, if I may say so, that a High Court case was required to determine whether the 1896 Act protected the employee. I believe that supports the proposition that the 1896 Act, after 90 years, is uncertain and therefore largely ineffective.

A number of questions have been asked about the concept of "reasonableness". I shall perhaps help the Committee with an example. Suppose that an employer is faced with a worker who has breached a safety regulation, perhaps putting other workers at risk. The employer does not wish to dismiss him and the contract says that workers can be fined for such breaches. Suppose that the employer fines the worker £10. Is that lawful? With the amendments, the employer does not know until he comes before an industrial tribunal. He spends a day arguing his case and is told that £5 was perhaps reasonable but not £10, or perhaps £10 but not £15. The employer just does not know where he stands. I have said that the Truck Acts have caused considerable confusion on that issue. At an earlier stage the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, was right to describe them as ineffective. They are a poor model.

I hope that those difficulties will have persuaded the Committee that we should not proceed in the way suggested in the amendments. I hope that the amendment will not be pressed.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton

It is a novel experience for me to hear, albeit from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, that I am not going far enough, but I take his point. After consultation, my noble friends and I have come to certain conclusions. I shall say just two or three things about the arguments against our amendment. The noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, speaking for the Government produced some astonishment. Every time there appears in this Chamber any Bill that has anything to do with the protection of workers, we are told that it must be bad because it will stop recruitment into jobs. There is no evidence of that in relation to matters which have come before us recently, any more than there is that jobs will be promoted by the Government's plan to charge workers £25 for going to an industrial tribunal which is contained in their latest policy document.

The noble Lord fell into another error which must be faced. He said that the amendment rests upon "reasonableness"; that what is reasonable is a matter of opinion; that no one would know where they stood and therefore we should not have such a law. Many laws stand on "reasonableness". On the noble Lord's reasoning we should never have had a law on unfair dismissal. I am not sure that the Government want an unfair dismissal law. No doubt if they come to repeal it, that is the argument that they will use. It is a poor argument, because many parts of our law depend on what is reasonable. The Factory Acts, which the noble Lord cited frequently, depend upon the employer doing what is reasonable or what is different but perhaps more difficult, that which is reasonably practicable. No one suggests that we should repeal the Factory Acts because they include such formulae.

I do not hold such a low opinion of British employers, be they small or large, that I believe that they would not know in the vast majority of cases when a fine on a worker was reasonable and when it was unreasonable. I do not believe that. I do not believe that the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, when he was a small employer, would not have known in the vast majority of cases when he went home at night whether he had treated someone unfairly.

The noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, rightly took us to two cases. I did not cite the Bristow case because it seemed to me more concerned with the definition and interpretation of what is a fine, which does not appear in our formulation. We have had cases in the courts because petrol companies have gone in for scandalous practices. In 1896 the Home Secretary, replying to a debate on the Bill, said on 4th May at col. 523 of Hansard that he did not apprehend any vexatious litigation over the expression "fair and reasonable". He felt sure that one or two decisions by the courts of law would settle the meaning of that expression. In this context he was right. It is only when employers in this area have gone for such outrageous practices that cases have gone to the courts.

There has been a wages inspectorate. Although we all criticise it, over the years it has also maintained standards on the basis of a test of reasonableness. The noble Lord, Lord Campbell, spoke to other amendments. I shall reserve my comments until we come to those amendments. I must put one matter right in case it was my slip of the tongue rather than his mishearing. I hope that I did not say that all consent for workers by way of contract was a fiction. I hope I said that the groups of workers with whom we are dealing, the formal contract is more in the nature of a submission than of real consent. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, gave other illustrations of when that is so.

If the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, will look at the report of bodies such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux he will find hundreds of cases described. They are not all by any means in retail shops or petrol stations. There are hundreds of cases with questionable deduction clauses in workers' contracts. As the North Warwickshire Citizens Advice Bureau put it, they are individuals who are desperate for employment, only too eager to sign the contract and only later when the deductions affect their living standards and their families do they fully realise the consequences. That is the reality of today. Those are the workers for whom we are worried.

My noble friends and I are not concerned about the precise order of the amendments on the Marshalled List, but we are interested in workers in stock rooms, store rooms, petrol stations, shops and driving jobs who suffer those practices and whose families suffer them. If there be a sense in the Committee that the first amendment is in some ways too mild and insufficiently full, or not quite right, we shall not press the matter as there may be a better solution.

I understand that Amendment No. 2 will be pressed. As I read it, it demands that deductions must be in accordance with the standards of the code of practice. That is to say, the code of practice will not be merely a document suspended in some judicial levitation above employment practices but will be there, right in the middle. Its standards must be observed. It is possible that this is something that some Members of the Committee prefer. Because my noble friends and myself regard it as so important to establish the broad principle and because the two amendments, it seems to me, are very much at one, I beg leave, on the understanding that we can go into the Lobby on Amendment No. 2, to withdraw this amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Rochester moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 1, line 9, at end insert ("is in accordance with the code of practice referred to in subsection (2A) below, and")

The noble Lord said: I have already spoken to this amendment, and I sense that the Committee wishes to reach a conclusion on the matter in general. I should like, briefly, to thank all noble Lords who were good enough to contribute to the discussion on the amendment to which I spoke earlier. I respect very much the opinion of the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, who criticised my amendment on grounds both of form and substance. I felt, if I may respectfully say so, that, on substance, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, demolished that argument pretty effectively. If it was only a matter of form, and if there was some imperfection in the code that could be improved upon, that is one thing. It could readily be done, I am sure, at another stage. But it is the principle, clearly, with which the Committee is concerned. It is that, I suggest, to which we now have regard.

I was particularly grateful to the two noble Lords on the other side of the Committee, who spoke in favour of the general proposition. I admired very much the manner in which the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, spoke. Clearly, the noble Lord has considerable knowledge of the subject. I was greatly disappointed by the response of the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, who seemed to be saying, in effect, that what the employer and the employee agreed between them on the contract to be followed was sacrosanct. I do not regard that as nearly good enough. What is required is that employees, often, as stated at an earlier stage, among the most lowly paid, should be adequately protected in terms of deductions from wages being fair and reasonable. The noble Lord the Minister said that it was the intention that ACAS should offer some guidance on this subject. I do not believe that this is good enough. What we want to see is something inserted in the Bill to that effect.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, for agreeing in the circumstances and in the light of the discussion that has taken place, to withdraw his amendment in favour of mine. I wish therefore to move the amendment.

Lord Trefgarne

Before the noble Lord decides what to do with his amendment, he has, I believe, slightly misunderstood what I said during my remarks. I was not in the least intending to be unreceptive to the proposal that he made. I said that the Department of Employment would be issuing guidance before Part I of the Bill became law. I pointed to at least two bodies that might wish to prepare a code of practice that would further assist employers and employees operating the provisions of this measure. I am not sure how much further the noble Lord wants me to go. If it helps him, I would be happy to agree to look again at the possibility of my noble friend preparing a code of practice of his own which I believe would go some way to meeting the noble Lord's concern.

Lord Rochester

I thank the noble Lord for what he said. I thought that I had made plain at an earlier stage that we are anxious—I believe that I speak for most, perhaps all, noble Lords on this side of the Committee and for a number on the other side—that something should be written into the Bill upholding the principle that has been enunciated this afternoon. I wish both to move and to press the amendment.

4.26 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 101; Not-Contents, 125.

Airedale, L. Harris of Greenwich, L.
Amherst, E. Hatch of Lusby, L.
Aylestone, L. Heycock, L.
Bacon, B. Hirshfield, L.
Banks, L. Hooson, L.
Birk, B. Houghton of Sowerby, L.
Blease, L. Hughes, L.
Blyton, L. Hunt, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. Irving of Dartford, L.
Brockway, L. Jenkins of Putney, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. Jessel, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. John-Mackie, L.
Burton of Coventry, B. Kaldor, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Kilbracken, L.
Chitnis, L. Kilmarnock, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Kinloss, Ly.
Coleraine, L. Kirkhill, L.
Crawshaw of Aintree, L. Lawrence, L.
David, B. [Teller.] Leatherland, L.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Listowel, E.
Dean of Beswick, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.
Denington, B. Lockwood, B.
Denning, L. Lovell-Davis, L.
Diamond, L. McCarthy, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. McNair, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Mar, C.
Ennals, L. Mayhew, L.
Ewart-Biggs, B. Milverton, L.
Ezra, L. Mishcon, L.
Falkender, B. Morton of Shuna, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Mulley, L.
Gallacher, L. Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Glenamara, L. Nicol, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Northfield, L.
Grey, E. Oram, L.
Hampton, L. Parry, L.
Hanworth, V. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Rhodes, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Ritchie of Dundee, L. Tordoff, L.
Rochester, L. [Teller.] Turner of Camden, L.
Ross of Marnock, L. Underhill, L.
Sainsbury, L. Walston, L.
Seear, B. Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Shackleton, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Shepherd, L. Whaddon, L.
Silkin of Dulwich, L. White, B.
Simon, V. Williams of Elvel, L.
Stallard, L. Wilson of Langside, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L. Wilson of Rievaulx, L.
Strabolgi, L. Winstanley, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Allerton, L. Lothian, M.
Ampthill, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Arran, E. Luke, L.
Auckland, L. Lurgan, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. McAlpine of West Green, L.
Belstead, L. MacLehose of Beoch, L.
Bessborough, E. Macleod of Borve, B.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Mancroft, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Marley, L.
Brookes, L. Marsh, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Masham of Ilton, B.
Broxbourne, L. Maude of Stratford-upon-
Caccia, L. Avon, L.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L. Merrivale, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Middleton, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Molson, L.
Cathcart, E. Monk Bretton, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L. Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Cottesloe, L. Morris, L.
Cowley, E. Mottistone, L.
Cox, B. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Cross, V. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Dacre of Glanton, L. Onslow, E.
Davidson, V. Pender, L.
De Freyne, L. Perth, E.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Porritt, L.
Dilhorne, V. Portland, D.
Dormer L. Reay, L.
Dundee, E. Rochdale, V.
Eccles, V. Rodney, L.
Elles, B. St. Aldwyn, E.
Elliott of Morpeth, L. St. Davids, V.
Elton, L. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Fanshawe of Richmond, L. Sandford, L.
Forester, L. Sandys, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Savile, L.
Gainford, L. Selborne, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Sempill, Ly.
Glanusk, L. Shannon, E.
Glenarthur, L. Sharples, B.
Gridley, L. Shaughnessy, L.
Halsbury, E. Skelmersdale, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L. Strathcarron, L.
Hives, L. Strathcona and Mount Royal,
Holderness, L. L.
Home of the Hirsel, L. Swinton, E. [Teller.]
Hood, V. Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Hooper, B. Thomeycroft, L.
Hunter of Newington, L. Tranmire, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Trefgarne, L.
Inglewood, L. Trenchard, V.
Kaberry of Adel, L. Trumpington, B.
Killearn, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Kimball, L. Vickers, B.
Kinnaird, L. Vinson, L.
Kintore, E. Vivian, L.
Knollys, V. Westbury, L.
Lane-Fox, B. Whitelaw, V.
Lauderdale, E. Wise, L.
Layton, L. Young, B.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E. Young of Graffham, L.
Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Long. V.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Viscount Long

My Lords, I think that it would be appropriate at this moment to take the Statement. Therefore, I beg to move that this House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.