Power to Obtain Information

Orders of the Day — Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 1972.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Peter Rees Mr Peter Rees , Dover 12:00 am, 16th November 1972

I beg to move Amendment No. 39, in page 3, line 16, after 'information', insert: 'as may reasonably be required for the purposes of this Act and'.

The Second Deputy Chairman:

We can also discuss Amendment No. 40, in page 3, line 19, after 'documents', insert: 'which may reasonably be required for the purposes of this Act'.

Photo of Mr Peter Rees Mr Peter Rees , Dover

Clause 4 is designed to equip the Executive with far-reaching powers to require employers or trade unions (a) to furnish to the appropriate Minister such estimates, returns or other information as may be specified … or(b) to produce to an officer of the appropriate Minister, duly authorised for the purpose, any documents so specified or authorised. If the Bill is to be sharp and effective, it is right that the Government should be equipped with effective powers. No one would question that. I want to see the Bill sharp, short and effective, but in any case it is necessary to see that the Executive is not equipped with powers greater than necessary and that the subject has the right to challenge the exercise of those powers in the courts. I hope that that is a proposition which commends itself to both sides of the Committee.

Subsection (1) equips the Executive with very wide powers and, beyond that, the powers are not subject to serious challenge in the courts; and this Amendment is designed to remedy that. It is not necessary to imagine fanciful situations where my right hon. and learned Friend might require a managing director to produce his grandmother's birth certificate. But, in a more serious vein, it is possible to envisage situations where he might require a company or a trade union to produce all its books of accounts, records, correspondence, and so on. That would be oppressive and vexatious in the extreme, and the subject would have no right of recourse to the courts to challenge the reasonableness of the request because, no such right is written into the clause; it is merely a question of the Minister specifying the documents required.

As I understand the clause—and I hope my right hon. and learned Friend will be able to allay my doubts—a subject in that situation would have no right to go to the courts and say that that was an unreasonable exercise of the powers and that the documents and records required were irrelevant for the purposes of the Act.

The subsections have an old but not exactly respectable precedent. The subsection derives from a schedule to the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966, which hardly commends it to me, and there are certain echoes of these provisions in the value added tax legislation. The Executive has been over-prone of late to take to itself this kind of power. In Clause 2(7) the Minister has taken a kind of dispensing power to himself—a blanket provision with regard to dividends, wages, and prices—so that he may give his consent in writing to something which would otherwise be illegal.

Our ancestors debated the propriety of the Executive taking dispensing powers in the seventeenth century and I do not want to reopen that old constitutional issue, but I think it is right to draw attention to a situation in which a subject may be put to considerable inconvenience and expense to no great purpose.

All I have said is subject to Clause 4(2), which is a curious and obscure provision, and which, again, I imagine derives from the 1966 Act. One can understand that under the pressures which attended the gestation of the Bill there was not time to give serious consideration to this type of point. Subsection (2) provides: No person shall be compelled, in complying with any such notice, to give any information which he could not be compelled to give in evidence in proceedings before the High Court. It strikes me—I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will be able to put a different construction on it—that this either will render Clause 4(1) nugatory or may be an ineffective safeguard for the subject. Perhaps the Committee will allow me to elaborate on that.

If it means that the subject can refuse to disclose the information or documents required on the ground that it might incriminate him in criminal proceedings, it must render the Clause largely ineffective because all the contraventions of the legislation are made criminal offences and there are criminal penalties to be imposed. If that construction is put on subsection (2), a trade unionist or an employer has only to say, "I decline to produce these documents and I decline to give this information because it might incriminate me in criminal proceedings which the Minister may bring."

If, on the other hand, it is not to have that construction but means that documents or information, which would be privileged in normal civil proceedings, need not be disclosed, it is largely ineffective as regards the subject, because it excludes from the ambit of the Minister's powers only confidential communications between, say, an employer or trade union and their professional advisers. Here is a considerable area of doubt which I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will be able to clarify. It would be pedantic for me to suggest that, with his well-known antecedents, he would require the assistance of a Law Officer to elucidate this point to the satisfaction of the Committee, but I hope that he can give some comfort and help.

I appreciate that in the time available my right hon. and learned Friend and other members of the Government who produced the Bill did not perhaps have time to produce a highly tempered instrument designed to cover every situation that might be affected by it. Indeed, I recognise that the Bill must be a blunt instrument which perhaps will not be wielded for long. But because it is a blunt instrument and because it is designed to be brutal and effective, it is right to ask the Government to equip themselves with minimum powers and give some evidence that they will wield these powers with the maximum deference to and consideration for the subject.

7.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr Peter Trew Mr Peter Trew , Dartford

I should like to speak in support of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees) who, in raising this matter, has done a service to the Committee.

Clause 4(1), which would be affected by the amendments, is reminiscent of the enforcement provisions of the VAT legislation, which caused great concern throughout the whole of the legal profession, and which the Government quite rightly modified in Standing Committee and on Report. There seems to be a tendency in financial legislation, a tendency that is underlined in the Bill, to take more stringent powers on behalf of the Executive than are strictly necessary for the execution of its duties.

My hon. and learned Friend said that because this is a Bill for temporary measures it can be said that it has been hastily drafted and has stronger powers than are strictly required. The principle that governs all legislation should be that the liberty of the subject must take precedence over the convenience of the bureaucracy. We should like to be assured that in the implementation of the Clause the Executive will not ask for any information which is not reasonably required under the Act.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

It would not need very much extra-sensory perception to conclude that we are unlikely to have a lengthy debate on the schedule because of the guillotine. Therefore, the arguments just elaborated by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees) provide a useful opportunity for the Committee to ask the Government how they will use the powers contained in Clause 4. Paragraph 1(1) of the schedule says: An order or notice under section 2 of this Act may be framed in any way whatsoever, may prescribe any method of comparing prices, charges, rates of remuneration, dividends or rents, and may define any expression used in those sections (other than an expression defined by section 8 of this Act). Let the Committee be in no doubt or hesitation that that confers on the Government, albeit for a limited period, the most extensive powers. It is almost a peace-time edition of Defence Regulation 18B in a commercial and trading sense.

The anxieties expressed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover, and re-echoed by my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Trew), are fair and real. It is not that we have any lack of faith in the sensible way in which my right hon. and learned Friend will proceed, although bureaucracies have an ability to self-perpetuation, even beyond the day-to-day control and supervision of a presiding Minister. Therefore, it is important that this Parliament is making its first essay in legislation to control incomes and prices.

Do not let us be deceived by the temporary nature of the Bill into assuming that there will be no subsequent essays. That is what makes it particularly important to know exactly how my right hon. and learned Friend intends to use the vast powers that are conferred on him in Clause 4 and the wide-ranging responsibilities that he assumes under paragraph 1 of the schedule.

If in refining the requirements and in elaborating the somewhat sketchy outline of the policy contained in the White Paper my right hon. and learned Friend feels disposed to give subsequent guidelines, the Committee would like to enjoy parity of information with whatever trade associations were informed on this issue. This is important because the Government must be relying substantially upon publicity for the execution of this temporary policy, and Parliament must have at least its equal share in that publicity.

My whole feeling about this piece of legislation, distasteful as it is, is that it is unlikely ever to be used in reality. I find it difficult to believe that an order will ever be made. If it is made and subsequently challenged, the Attorney-General will never put that challenge to the test in the law courts. I believe that this is essentially a public relations Bill to cover a temporary situation. In saying that I am not saying anything of marked hostility towards the Treasury Bench. But we hold it in trust, as legislators, to look carefully at what we put on the Statute Book even if only for 90 days, 150 days, or whatever the case may be.

My hon. and learned Friend may draw upon his wide-ranging commercial experience to realise the serious difficulties that can be laid upon a company which feels itself obliged to reveal information which is detrimental to its whole commercial trading. The same argument may apply to those engaged in the trade union movement.

This is an area where, although we may give a charitable nod to my right hon. and learned Friend, the House needs the most careful and categorical assurance that these powers will only be used in the most restricted sense, that it will be the wish of my right hon. and learned Friend to exercise the authority invested in him by Clause 4 of the Bill to the very minimum, and that throughout the entire proceedings Parliament will be kept fully informed.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

I feel somewhat like the hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen). I think that this whole business is a bit of a charade. The Government have no intention of being tough about prices. Regardless of whether the amendment is accepted and whether the clause stands part of the Bill, the Government have proved over the past 2½ years that when it comes to taking action against the trade unions they can act with vigour and with speed, and they can be, and are, vicious in seeing that the law is carried out.

The five dockers is one example; the Hugh Scanlon affair is another. We know in this House that normally the law could take years before it gets cracking on an issue. The thalidomide babies are a good example. With the aid and support of the Government, the law will not move at all if the Government do not want it to move. Of course, when the Government want it to move against the trade unions it can get cracking, within days, indeed within hours, to show the viciousness and the unfairness of our legal system against the poorer sections of the population. One famous Member of this House said something to the effect that if one had enough money one could buy justice. I agree that that is true. If a person has money he can have justice.

Without the amendment, the clause reads: to furnish to the appropriate Minister such estimates, returns or other information", and so on. We have the Companies Act, and year after year unscrupulous company directors have been fleecing the public. What they have done has been inflationary. This Government refused to take any action, although by Statute they should have done so. Hon. Members on both sides of the committee have given examples of cases where companies, quite illegally, have not been holding their annual meetings, have not been sending in their annual returns, have not had properly elected directors, and have not had properly audited accounts. The Department of Trade and Industry has consistently refused to take any action. We even had the anachronistic situation where a man in gaol was allowed to run his company even though he was a convicted criminal. I believe there was even a case where a man floated a company while he was in gaol.

I am glad to see the former Solicitor-General here, because he now has the job of dealing with these matters. I hope he looks up the files. There are about 200 cases in his office at the moment of companies that have fleeced the public of hundreds of millions of pounds. The Government have done nothing. They have known about it. They have allowed the criminals to get away to Australia, running away with £4 million Robbed from the hard-working investing public.

If one asks the Minister to take action he does nothing. I can mention the Pin-flock case. A director of that company flitted with £4 million, but for four years before he went the Department was asked to take action and did nothing. Then we had the John Bloom fiasco and the Dollar Land affair. I could go on for two or three weeks giving all the details. Here the Government are saying that they want to have power to furnish themselves with information. What a farce! They are to have a system of telephone calls to the Ministry. We all know what will happen. Even a Member of Parliament cannot get an answer before several weeks elapse if he telephones to ask an urgent question. As for writing, I do not know what the experience of hon. Members on either side of the House is, but my own is that if I write on an urgent matter I possibly get a printed acknowledgment after a fortnight or three weeks saying that the matter is receiving attention, assuming that I am lucky. After another couple of weeks, I receive a letter saying that my original inquiry has been sent on to some other Department, and after another six or seven weeks, again if I am lucky, I might get an answer saying that today is Thursday, 16th November, and, of course, the information was known six or seven weeks earlier. The Department concerned could have sent the information and taken action but this Government's attitude has been: do nothing, let it find its own level, brush it under the carpet, forget it, and hope that nothing will come of it.

[Sir ROBERT GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]

7.30 p.m.

I do not see how the amendment will make any difference. I cannot envisage what will happen. But I have had experience of these things, and what I am saying is not guesswork. The present Government, the most lethargic Government we have had—with hundreds and hundreds more civil servants, incidentally—give prompt attention only to appointing their friends and supporters to big jobs at big salaries, and they make sure that those salaries are effective before the freeze becomes effective.

I read in the Daily Express in the last day or two that the Government are to appoint Sir Con O'Neill to a nice fat job as recompense for his services in pushing Britain into the Common Market. The Government have not told the House about it, but they have promised him a job at £7,000 to £8,000 a year. I telephoned to ask about this, but I was given no information. When I threatened to raise the matter on the Floor of the House, I was told that the Minister of Agriculture does not intend to announce it until the end of the month, or probably the beginning of next month—that is, not until the Bill has gone through—because there might be something of a public outcry about it.

In an interjection yesterday. I referred to the classic example of the Government wanting to give Lord Wigg a salary increase. They hurried it up to get it through before the Bill could be effective. They gave him an increase of £2,800 a year retrospective for 12 months, a 39 per cent. increase, making a total increase of 57 per cent. in two-and-a-half years. I was told that the reason was not so much that they wanted to help Lord Wigg—God bless him—but they had a new chairman of the Betting Levy Board taking over and they did not want it to be said that they had increased his salary to £10,000 a year. Why?—because the chaps who were "negotiating"—I put it in inverted commas—at Downing Street might have objected.

That is the way the story goes. We have a "phoney" Government. If I were to say that Ministers were crooked I should be out of order, so I cannot say that but I can say that the Government are a crooked Government, crooked because they act viciously against lower-paid workers while at the same time are only too keen to hand out largesse to their friends, and even—let us admit it—to Members of Parliament.

The Prime Minister promised that he would settle the terms for British entry into the Common Market only if he had the full-hearted consent of the people, but now, although the country is not in favour of entry, we shall probably have Members of Parliament going to the European Parliament. They will get £40 per day tax-free expenses. I am told that the lucky ones—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but he is straying a little far from the amendment, ingenious and interesting though he may be. He ought now to come back to the amendment. I am sure that he appreciates that other hon. Members wish to speak.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Yes, I do, Sir Robert, but I understood that the purpose of the Amendment was to exclude what was unreasonable, and I am discussing what is reasonable and unreasonable. I assume that it is relevant to consider in this connection whether it is reasonable and right to give £25 a day tax-free expenses to Members of Parliament when one of the purposes of the Bill is to control inflation.

I do not trust this crooked Government, who do one thing for the lower-paid but something very different for the higher-paid. I cannot support the amendment because the suggestion behind it is that we should limit even this limited clause, Clause 4.

I cannot trust the Government. It has been announced this week that Sir Alan Marre, the ombudsman, is to take on the hospital service, and I understand that he will have an increase in salary. But he has to wait till the Bill is through, and then he can have his increase.

For all those reasons, because the Government are a phoney Government and what they are proposing in the clause is as crooked as most of the things they do, I cannot agree to the amendment.

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

I wish to bring the Committee back to the amendment and away from the rag-bag of miscellaneous inaccuracies just presented by the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis). I echo everything said by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees) in moving the amendment. I take it that his wish is to make clear beyond doubt that all that is allowed here is what is reasonably required for the purposes of the Bill.

I expect that my right hon. and learned Friend will say that that is covered by the words of the Clause, For the purposes of this Act". But many of us feel that, even though that may well be right, this is an instance in which, even though the words may produce the result we want, it would be even better if further words were used to express exactly what we mean.

What we all mean here is that the information which may be required ought to be clearly restricted, and be specifically described as so restricted, to what is reasonably … required for the purposes of this Act". My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover referred to subsection (2) of the clause, which has to be considered in relation to subsection (1) and his amendment. Albeit that I agree entirely with what he said, I wish to put a slightly different point. I expect that my right hon. and learned Friend will give us the clarification for which he has been asked. I dare say that, as practising lawyers, we could, if we got the books out, work out exactly what subsection (2) means. But nobody ought to have to do that. We should not have legislation, even a little subsection like this, which no layman has a chance of understanding.

We are dealing here with requests for information which may be made by a Minister. The qualification on the requirement to give that information is contained in subsection (2). Very few laymen, if any at all, could decide for themselves whether subsection (2) entitled them to refuse the information. They would have to go to a lawyer and seek advice. I regard that as fundamentally wrong.

We may well have some provisions in Acts of Parliament in respect of which people have to go to lawyers because the matters are very complicated, but we are starting here with a provision about which one can say with certainty that almost everyone would have to go to a lawyer to ascertain whether he could take advantage of the protection which it is intended to give him. With respect, I regard that as bad. We ought to avoid it whenever possible.

I hope that the Committee will note that, despite what the hon. Member for West Ham, North always says about lawyers, it is the lawyers in this instance, as usual, who are asking for a law to be made clearer so that laymen may be able to understand it without going to lawyers.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

On a point of order, Sir Robert. I am a little concerned about the way in which we are taking the amendments. I have no vested interest because I do not wish to speak on any of them, but I gather that between 7 and 9 p.m. we are to discuss Nos. 39 and 40 and Nos. 51 and 70. Is there any reason why the whole lot should not be taken together, just as we have done in each of the other guillotine periods? If we do not do that, Sir Robert, there will probably be two sets of speeches from the Government Front Bench, with consequently shorter time for back benchers, particularly back benchers on this side of the Committee.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I do not think we should do that. We shall be taking Amendment No. 51 and Amendment No. 70 together, and the Committee will the sooner reach them if we get on quickly now. I am sure that the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) will be brief and that the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs will be able to reply shortly.

Photo of Mr Ivor Stanbrook Mr Ivor Stanbrook , Orpington

I support what has been said by my hon. and learned Friends the Members for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees) and Southport (Mr. Percival) about the subsection. We are growing rather used to legislation devised by the mandarins of the Treasury which proves in practice to be unsatisfactory to both laymen and lawyers. I have in mind the abhorrent penal clauses of the VAT legislation. It is perhaps symptomatic that Clause 4, which gives such sweeping powers to the Minister, has perhaps to be read in the light of the first paragraph of the schedule, which provides that the Minister— may define any expression used in those sections.. Whatever that means, it is an oppressive way of dealing with the subject.

The only safeguard we appear to have is the nebulous subsection (2) which suggests that one cannot be compelled to give information if one could not be compelled to give it in the High Court. It is rather difficult to understand just what that means. All sorts of questions such as privilege, protection against self-incrimination, relevance, competence and jurisdiction arise. The whole thing seems to be wildly uncertain. An explanation is certainly required. I believe that the amendment is justified.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

I appreciate the wish of the Committee to get on to the next group of Amendments. I will deal with the points raised on the Amendment as quickly as I can. I will not follow the points raised by the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis), which would take us back to a familiar but different topic from that which is the subject of the Amendments, save only to say that, whatever is his experience about telephone calls, the position is that during the last nine days my Department, regionally and centrally, has answered more than 10,000 telephone inquiries, to the satisfaction of those who have been making them. The hon. Gentleman's position, for one reason or another, must be exceptional.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

My hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) was right—he was echoed by my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook)—in drawing attention to the far-reaching nature of the powers in the Bill, with particular reference to the first paragraph of the Schedule. I draw their attention to the fact that that paragraph relates to legislation under Clause 2 and not Clause 4. It does not extend its application to the Clause or subsection about which we are talking.

7.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that paragraph 1 of the schedule refers specifically to Clause 2. But there is no reference to Clause 2 in Clause 4. The only words which give some indication of the ambit of Clause 4 are … for the purpose of this Act …". Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell the Committee whether the provisions of the Bill are confined to Clause 2, or do they go beyond that and, if so, how far?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

That is a separate point which I will come to in a moment. The more general point raised, quite apart from the discussions on paragraph 1 of the Schedule, is related to the far-reaching nature of the provisions, with particular comment on the provisions in Clause 4. It is right that the Committee should concern itself with an analysis of powers of this kind. But it is equally valid for me to say in response—this was acknowledged by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees)—that this legislation is, as hon. Members have pointed out, of a temporary nature. It is designed to secure quick and effective action across the board during the standstill period. Therefore, it is perhaps inevitable—I do not accept the description which was given by my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry—that it should be blunt and effective in its operation. When one looks at the matter in that context, it can be more readily understood.

I accept the point that particular provisions in the Clause become all the more relevant when it is suggested that they should not be used as a model for any longer-term provisions. Certainly that should be looked at closely in that context.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Southport (Mr. Percival) pointed out that the notice to be given under Clause 4 would have to be a notice for … the purposes of this Act … That is the point which is made by the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray). I should have thought that that means … for the purposes of this Act … In other words, that notice can be given in order to obtain information for the purposes of the Act. One would imagine and expect that information would be required in the context of whether an order should be made under Clause 2. That would seem to be the primary purpose of the Act. It is in that context that one would expect the words … for the purposes of this Act… to be construed.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Southport said that those words would operate to give some limitation to the scope of the way in which the powers could be exercised. If I may give a little more detail about the background, it would be wrong to accept what the hon. Member for West Ham, North was saying—that the Bill and the policies embodied in it are not ones which the Government intend to implement and see observed. We expect, as my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry said, compliance with the policy to be almost overwhelmingly voluntary. If any case were to arise where such voluntary compliance was not forthcoming, and where it turned out that the provisions of the Bill were being infringed, the Government would not hesitate to exercise the powers contained in it to see that the measure was observed.

In the context of obtaining information, the emphasis on "voluntary" is even more apposite. It is the intention—and the intention is likely to be fulfilled in practice—that information that might be required, and in respect of which the power can be exercised, would be forthcoming voluntarily. This is essentially a reserve power to cover cases where a formal notice is necessary to secure it.

It is right, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover said, that similar powers were taken in the 1966 Act. Such powers were available, but they were included with the intention that they would rarely be used, if at all. It is also right that comparable powers exist in the VAT legislation. Apart from the fact that we expect compliance to be forthcoming voluntarily, I assure hon. Members that if it became necessary to use the provisions in Clause 4 as a means of obtaining information, quite apart from the legal implications referred to by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Southport, the powers would be used to obtain information only in circumstances where sufficient voluntary compliance was not forthcoming. Even then, they would be exercised only in a restrained and reasonable manner. That is the assurance which I have been asked to give, and I readily do so.

I have been asked about the intended meaning of subsection (2). The intended meaning is to give protection in the area covered by professional privilege, to protect privilege between a citizen and his legal advisers. The point has been raised that it could also be used to afford protection against self-incrimination. I confess that the subsection was not intended specifically for that purpose. I do not think it was intended for that purpose in the 1966 legislation, although I should not like to say, had the question been put to me, that it might not extend that far in certain cases.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Southport complained about the ordinary citizen's difficulty in understanding that proposition because of the reference to that which could or could not be done in proceedings before the High Court. I confess that he probably has a valid criticism there, and it is something which would need to be looked at if this legislation were designed to endure for more than a short time. The powers granted in 1966 were scarcely used, if at all, and we are confident that the powers in the Bill will be used only very occasionally, so I hope that the Committee will agree to leave the Clause as it now stands.

My hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry returned to a point that he made yesterday about information being circulated by bodies, including the CBI, and the extent to which it was desirable for the Government to try to spell out and clarify the way in which the powers contained in the Bill would be exercised.

The CBI document to which my hon. Friend referred yesterday and which has again been mentioned today is a document produced by the CBI, it is true, as it says, after consultation with various Government Departments, but it is a document internal to the CBI which the CBI thought would be useful to have circulated to its members. The section dealing with dividends contained a direct reproduction of the notice issued by the Treasury. That notice has been generally available—it was a Press notice—and is available for guidance on that point. It was published almost verbatim in most newspapers.

The guidance contained in the rest of the CBI document is the kind of guidance that no doubt many organisations will have been giving to their members, and no doubt they will be doing so after consultation with the Departments concerned. I hope that what I have said clarifies the status of the CBI document and puts it in perspective.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

What my right hon. and learned Friend has said certainly clarifies the status of the CBI document. I hope he will not take it amiss if I say that he has done no more than state what was very explicitly stated in yesterday's Financial Times.

What is of more interest is to know what advice has been given by the Department of Trade and Industry to the CBI to enable the CBI to fashion this advice, and what answers are to be given to the latest CBI representations concerning incremental scales. These are two matters which seem to me to be of such significance in the interpretation of the Bill that I hope that somehow or other, through the OFFICIAL REPORT, the House can be so informed.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

That is an amplification of the point originally raised by my hon. Friend. The CBI document is, as it were, in two halves. One half is found on the published Treasury note, which is quite explicit and has been made available in full, and the other half, in so far as it is founded on consultation with my Department, is founded on consultation of the kind anyone is free to undertake in connection with people's particular requirements and does not rest on any document of the kind which the Treasury circulated in relation to dividends.

I do not think I can say more than that, because the information given by my Department is related to questions posed with regard to the problems of particular organisations or industries. I will certainly bear in mind the point which my hon. Friend makes which in effect suggests that in so far as the Treasury has given explicit guidance on dividends it might be possible to give official circulation to more explicit guidance on matters which are the responsibility of my Department. By way of amplification of what is in the White Paper, I hope that what I have said will explain the present position.

With regard to this pair of amendments, I invite my hon. and learned Friend to accept my assurance on this legislation which, as he said, is directed to specific objects for a short time.

Photo of Mr William Griffiths Mr William Griffiths , Manchester Exchange

I apologise to the hon. and learned Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees) for not being present to hear him move his Amendment. During the time I have been in the House of Commons I have seen two Governments and four Ministers introduce wage restraint, or attempts at price control, or both; Sir Stafford Cripps, Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, the previous Labour Government and now the present Government. When they have attempted to take the steps announced to Parliament through Ministers they have on some occasions been met by the public initially with a measure of good will. That was certainly the case when the Labour Government introduced their Prices and Incomes Bill. But those of us who have lived through these periods have in each case seen the attempt breaking down and failing. Like my right hon. and hon. Friends, and like some Conservative Members, I feel that this measure will rightly go the same way as have other Governments' attempts to impose a restraint on prices and incomes.

A number of lawyers have spoken in support of the amendment, but Parliament when legislating is always very concerned that the law should be enforceable, that it should never be brought into disrepute. I have felt in recent years that in a number of instances we have legislated in a way that has placed an impossible burden on the organs of enforcement. Parliament should not do that.

Although Government supporters and hon. Members in other parts of the Committee may sincerely wish to write into the Bill a form of words which will give effect to the Government's desires on prices and incomes, by the very nature of the problem in a free society it is impossible of achievement. The whole of this piece of legislation, going by all recent historical precedents, is impossible of enforcement, and to that extent is itself an instrument which brings the law into disrepute.

I listened to the short intervention by the hon. and learned Member for Southport (Mr. Percival) and the speeches of his hon. and learned colleagues, and, being a suspiciously-minded Socialist, I read into their observations a defence of the employer, a desire that there shall not be too much inquiry into the performances of what is laughably called the private sector.

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

Until a moment ago I felt that the hon. Member was carrying every lawyer in the Committee with him. We lawyers are those who are perpetually expressing the hope that legislation may be understandable so that it may be enforceable. Will he accept an assurance that what I said was motivated solely by that hope, and did not bring into consideration at all the position of any individual otherwise than in the respects to which I refer?

Photo of Mr William Griffiths Mr William Griffiths , Manchester Exchange

Of course I accept what the hon. and learned Gentleman says, but we, as members of the House of Commons, are divided by political differences. I venture to repeat my belief that the whole purpose of this piece of legislation, however it is written and however it is amended, is, by the very nature of the beast, particularly impossible to enforce, and I do not believe that anyone who has lived through the periods to which I referred would deny it.

Now is not the appropriate moment to cite chapter and verse in support of my argument. That was done on Second Reading and on other occasions, and we shall hear it again before the Bill leaves this House. The reason for my intervention was to make the point that I hope I have made. The hon. and learned Member for Southport said that he went along with me in part. If the Bill is to work, which I think is impossible, there should be the same power of inquiry into what I earlier described as the private sector, which is difficult, if not impossible, to carry out, as the Government have in their ability to intervene in the public sector.

The one thing which is clear about the Bill, apart from the question of its timing and whether it is relevant and whether it will work when dealing with inflation, is that any Government, whatever their political complexion, cannot make a start on controlling economic affairs of the country until they occupy what Mr. Bevan described as the more commanding positions in control of the economy.

8.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Peter Rees Mr Peter Rees , Dover

I hope it will not be immodest of me to claim that the amendments have given rise to a short but valuable debate. I am glad that my right hon. and learned Friend was not moved to say that I have asked the wrong question in the wrong way, as he did earlier this week. We have touched briefly on great constitutional issues, and we have received some indication of how the Government propose to proceed. We have with the assistance of my right hon. and learned Friend, who has not entirely shed his professional past, looked into the dark places of the clause. Since what he has said will be scrutinised with great care by those who will be obliged to apply the clause or litigate it I hope I may be allowed to touch on three points.

My right hon. and learned Friend has put great emphasis on the words in the subsection for the purposes of this Act", and we hope that the courts will construe them in a limiting way so that a subject who feels himself hardly treated will be able to say "the notice goes beyond anything the Act requires". That is a refined point of law, and it would not be appropriate to debate it at this stage.

My right hon. and learned Friend's restrictive construction of paragraph 1 of the schedule does not stand up to close analysis in the light of the last phrase, which says and may define any expression used in those sections". That cannot mean only Section 2. It may have slipped in by inadvertence and it may not matter much, but it reinforces the point that the schedule has a wider significance than my right hon. and learned Friend was prepared to concede. He has left in the air the precise construction to be put on subsection (2). Someone may be compelled to test the precise limitations of that subsection, but I do not wish to worry the Committee with it now. Perhaps it would have been more courteous and more sensible of me to have given him more notice of this difficult point.

My hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) and the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) both suspected that the clause might never be tested, and I hope that it never will be. But we have had some indication from the Government of their intentions, and because, unlike the hon. Member for West Ham, North, I do not believe that this is a crooked Government, because I believe the clause will have only a limited application in point of time, and because I hope that at the end of the day no one will be subjected to the powers that the clause may confer, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Tony Benn Mr Tony Benn , Bristol South East

I beg to move Amendment No. 70, in page 3, line 27, at end add: '(3) The appropriate Minister shall exercise the powers conferred on him by subsection (1) above when he is supplied in writing with details of an increase in a price or charge by a duly authorised officer of any local authority, and shall publish his conclusions'. With this amendment, I understand that it would be convenient to discuss Amendment No. 51, in Clause 4, page 3, line 24, at end insert: '(2) The information referred to in the preceding subsection shall include:

  1. (a) Manpower: Numbers of employees by job description; rates of turnover, short-time, absenteeism, sickness and accidents; details of existing provisions for security, sickness, accidents, recruitment, training, redeployment, promotion and redundancy;
  2. (b) Financial: Sales turnover by main activities: home and export sales; non-trading income, including income from investments and overseas earnings; pricing policy;
    • Costs: distribution and sales; production costs; administrative and overhead costs; costs of materials and machinery; labour costs, including social security payments; costs of management and supervision;
    • Incomes: directors' remuneration; wages and salaries; make-up of pay—negotiated rates, payment-by-results, overtime and bonuses;
    • Profits: before and after tax and taking into account Government allowances, grants and subsidies; distribution and retentions;
    • Performance indicators: unit costs, output per man, return on capital employed, value added etc.;
    • Worth of company: details of growth and up-to-date value of fixed assets and stocks; growth and realisable value of trade investments;
  3. (c) Prospects and Plans: Details of new enterprises and locations; prospective close-downs; mergers and takeovers;
    • Trading and sales plans: investment plans, including research and development;
    • Manpower plans: plans for recruitment, selection and training; promotion, regrading and redeployment; short-time and redundancy provisions; and
  4. (d) General information: A description of the company's activities and structure: details of holding companies and subsidiaries; organisational and managerial structure; outside contracts'.
The debate which is about to begin and which will be terminated by the guillotine will go over much of the ground that we have discussed in the last hour with the difference that the object of these amendments is to make explicit the need for more information, not less. Amendment No. 51 lists a number of pieces of information which we believe the Government will need, and Amendment No. 70 provides that local authorities can report upon price increases and that the Minister should take action upon the basis of reports from those local authorities.

It is very significant that when we are debating those parts of the Bill that relate to the protection of the consumer the Government Front Bench is almost empty. I admit there is one Cabinet Minister present tonight, but there was no Cabinet Minister present when we had the debate yesterday on price increases. When we come to the provisions for holding back wage increases the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretaries of State are arrayed there. The balance of the Bill in the Government's mind is made clear by the amount of attention they give to the particular clauses. They are not a bit interested, I submit, in those parts of the Bill dealing with prices and information to be provided by firms. The object of the Bill is to provide an excuse and an opportunity for wage restraint.

The Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs used sweet words to deal with the earlier amendments, but his sweet words will carry no weight in the court because the Bill gives the Government powers which cannot be challenged effectively in the court. If the Minister issues a notice under Clause 4, the notice may be in any form prescribed by regulation. It takes precedence over all other legislation. Orders under the Act will supersede legislation already upon the Statute Book.

It is most interesting to watch the reeducation of the hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) stage by stage. The intention of the Bill is only one more stage in the process of transformation by which the Government move from disengagement to what The Times, that old weather-cock that always comes round in favour of what the Government are doing, westerday described as the sure hand of confident intervention. The hon. Members know very well that line by line the Conservatives are with-drawing their manifesto and line by line is substituted for it a new way to approach the problems of economic and industrial policy.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

Re-education or not, would the right hon. Gentleman at least give me the credit that I go unwillingly to school?

Photo of Mr Tony Benn Mr Tony Benn , Bristol South East

The hon. Member is, if I may say so, the only Member worth listening to on his side because he discusses the change that is taking place while the Government Front Bench seems to think that the Government have always taken that view.

The Government have produced a Bill which is supposed to be temporary. Any-one with any experience of Parliament Knows that the one thing which guarantees permanence is to include "temporary" in the long title of the Bill. The Minister, in trying to fend off gently the amendment moved by his own side, said that this was a temporary provision. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is accidentally misleading the Committee. Whether there is to be a voluntary or statutory supervision of prices, firms must provide information. Therefore, even if the Government come forward with a voluntary policy as the basis of an agreement between the TUC and the CBI they will not be able to monitor it without information statutorily required. Even the present Government could not possibly tell the TUC "We accept your voluntary policy. You will monitor it, but if the firm will not give you any information we are sorry, but you will have to monitor it all in the dark." Therefore, in dealing with the previous amendments the right hon. and learned Gentleman misled the Committee.

The clause is guaranteed to be reproduced in the next legislation, because without a statutory provision that firms give information to the Government, the CBI, the TUC and a new Prices and Incomes Board—the hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) knows that that is coming next—the Government are abandoning every aspect of the offer they have made to the TUC. So let us be candid. This is a fundamental change in the relationship between the Government and industry requiring that information should be given, and that information will be permanently required.

Our first amendment, No. 70, makes it necessary for the Minister to exercise his powers when an increase in a price or charge is reported by an officer of a local authority. I shall not go over the ground that I tried to deal with yesterday in Committee, when I spoke of the difficulty a shopper would have in facing a shopkeeper when a price had been increased. Obviously that is so unequal a battle that local authorities would have to be brought in, even under a voluntary policy. Here we are saying that local authorities are the proper people to safeguard the shopper when prices increase and that if local authorities' weights and measures officers, or local shopping advice centres of the kind being brought into being, report matters to the Minister he should require information from the firm, as provided by the draconian words in the Bill.

The second provision we seek to insert relates to the sort of information that is necessary. I advise hon. Members to read very carefully the wording of Amendment No. 51, a very long amendment in the names of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and myself. I did not draft it; its words come from the TUC's booklet "Good Industrial Relations". I put them down for the Committee to consider because if the Government ever want to draw the trade union movement into a voluntary arrangement they will have to provide the information that the TUC itself regards as necessary to monitor the activities of business.

It is true that the information required is formidable: Manpower: Numbers of employees by job description; rates of turnover, short-time, absenteeism, sickness and accidents;.. Financial: Sales turnover by main activities: … Costs: Distribution and sales; … Incomes: directors' remuneration; wages and salaries; … Profits: before and after tax … Performance indicators: … That is formidable information, which the trade union movement believes should be available to all trade union negotiators when they are negotiating for a wage increase. If the trade union movement regards that as necessary for wage negotiations, it is of course the information it would require if it were to be part of the voluntary vetting system which the Government are offering to it. Therefore, I beg the Committee to take seriously the words of that amendment.

8.15 p.m.

If the trade unions need that information to negotiate on behalf of their members, surely the Government need it to determine whether a price increase is justified. When the Minister said that he had received many telephone calls, all he could say was that his Department had given very satisfactory answers. I was very interested, because I read in The Times this morning that the Department of Trade and Industry says that most of the 200 letters it has received each day about the freeze have been requests to raise prices. Therefore, it appears that the requests to the Minister that are receiving satisfactory answers are requests to raise prices. How can the Government seriously present the Bill as a protection of the consumer when it covers only a narrow range of consumer expenditure—rents, food, land and housing are excluded—and in the area where they pretend to provide cover most of the inquiries are for prices to be increased?

The truth is that no Minister can give a serious or sensible answer to any firth that asks for a price increase without the information that would be provided under Amendment No. 51. I say this because some time ago, in an earlier period of standstill, we had the job of administering a prices policy. I am sure I shall not surprise any hon. Member when I say that when British Leyland and other car firms wanted to raise prices we could not give them a rational answer without a great deal of information from them.

Therefore, I tell the hon. Member for Oswestry that this is the beginning of the permanent vetting of company business by Government, if it is a statutory policy. If it is a voluntary policy, it is the beginning of permanent vetting of company business by the unions and other companies. The hon. Gentleman understands that very well. It does not help the Committee to hear the mild words of the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs to allay his colleague's anxiety when this is a major change.

In the whole business of the Bill it is not only price increases that concern trade unions. Many trade unions are confronted with another threat to the security of their members in the form of sudden closures. I could cite many cases, going back to Upper Clyde Shipyards, Fisher-Bendix, Briant Colour Printing, CAV-Lucas or the Skelmersdale case. Workers are suddenly confronted with the closure of a firm, and no information is provided.

I shall take the Skelmersdale case to illustrate the importance of our amendment. The plant, the largest in Europe, employed 1,072 workers. It cost £12 million to build and substantial Government investment was involved. It began with a takeover in 1964 by Courtaulds, when substantial public money was put in. What was the timetable of closure? The closure notices were printed on 7th November. The unions were told at 3.30 p.m. on 8th November. The management was given the notices at 4.40 p.m. that day, and the notices were posted at 5 p.m. There was eight weeks' notice to stop the weaving, and if the closure had gone through it would have meant up to 18 per cent. unemployment in Skelmersdale. And the Government were not even told. I read in the newspapers that Ministers are supposed to be angry with Courtaulds because it did not tell them what was happening.

The closure decision has apparently been renegotiated. We read in The Times today that Courtaulds' profits are 31 per cent. above forecast, reaching £21·3 million. How can the trade unions negotiate with employers if they do not have the relevant information? How can the Government deal with Courtaulds, with prices or with the bold interventionism that The Times demands unless the information is available?

I have made my case as briefly as I can. The amendment will be a test of the central question that the Committee must determine in deciding whether to go ahead with the Bill—whether the intervention to which the Government are now committed is in the interests of the community, as the Government claim, in the interests of workpeople and consumers, or whether it is just a thin veil to allow the Government to bring into being the wage freeze upon which their minds are set. That is the central question which comes up in every amendment.

I commend our amendments to the Committee. They are intended to strengthen that part of the Bill which helps the consumer and the workpeople, and to prevent the Government from carrying through what is otherwise a cover for the wage freeze they seek to impose.

Photo of Mr John Golding Mr John Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme

It is very important that we give full support to the amendment. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) is not a novice in these matters. The Post Office trade unions were delighted when they discovered that the Post Office Act, 1969, provided for the formal disclosure of management information to employees. The fact that the Act included that provision was due in no small measure to my right hon. Friend.

Two points should be made tonight. First, it is in the short-term interests of any incomes policy which is pursued that there be as much disclosure of information as possible. At present there is a great deal of cynicism among workers and consumers about the way in which this policy will operate. Most people believe that wages will be frozen very solidly indeed. Many believe that this will be possible for the Government because, in both the public and the private sectors, what a person earns is well known and well defined. It is very difficult to achieve changes in wages, in either the public or the private sector, without a considerable number of people being aware of the changes involved, because often so many individuals are affected by the change.

It is thought that wages will be frozen more solidly than remuneration which is based on some individual agreement. It is very important that there be some way of ascertaining what has happened to salary structures within firms. From the viewpoint of people on the shop floor, it is very important that there be some way of forcing the disclosure of changes in perks and additions to salaries which in some way will get round any sort of freeze. It is important that workers see that the freeze is working fairly.

Whilst employers are wrong to try to stop the natural increments which occur within the public service—the Civil Service—they are right to draw attention to the loopholes which exist for salaried workers but which do not exist for manual workers on the shop floor. It is important that the Government should be able to find out precisely what is happening in firms, not only about salaries but also in relation to profits. It is high time that firms were forced by law to disclose to their workpeople not only their total profits but also how they have been distributed and—this is very important—to whom they have been distributed. Workers have as much right to know what happens to profits as shareholders have to know what is happening with the wages bill. The disclosure of information makes that possible.

It is very important that in the short term there be full disclosure of information, but in the long term the arguments put forward by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East are equally important. The TUC is concerned about the improvement of industrial relations. I give evidence to the Donovan Commission on behalf of the Fabian Society, when we said that one of the most important factors in the improvement of industrial relations was a greater degree of disclosure of information by employers to trade union negotiators. That is particularly important in regard to investment decisions because these, more than any other decisions affect the whole life of a working person. A decision can he taken around a boardroom table which will destroy towns and take away the total livelihood of individuals, which will make completely obsolescent skills they have taken half a lifetime to acquire. These decisions should not be taken without reference to workpeople or without full discussion with their representatives.

What amazes me in our society is that we have a Parliament in which we discuss at length, sometimes ad nauseam, political decisions which are of small consequence to people outside. One has only to look at our business for next week and see some of the matters which will be under discussion to realise how little impact some of these political matters have on the lives of ordinary people. When it comes to their working lives, however, to the source of their incomes or the whole question whether they are to be fit or unfit due to processes used at work, these major matters which preoccupy the industrial worker are not permitted to be discussed. The workers are not even allowed, as people were before the 1832 Reform Act, to have at least the basic information on which to discuss political matters. That information is denied them.

There can be no democracy, no semblance of participation anywhere, without information. Unless people are informed of the issues which face industry and of the complexities of the decisions that face management and union leaders, they can take no responsible or reasonable attitude towards them. That is what we should be trying to achieve in industry at present: a degree of responsibility and participation, a degree of the acceptance of responsibility that we expect of people in political life but which we deny to people in their industrial lives.

It is for that reason that I strongly support the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Peter Rees Mr Peter Rees , Dover

The right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn), who moved the amendment with his customary debating skill, shifted from position to position. He began with such accents that I wondered why he had not given some modest measure of support to the two amendments which I moved. Then he appeared to unveil himself as a syndicalist, which should not come entirely as a surprise to the Committee in view of his well-publicised activities on the Upper Clyde. Finally, he showed himself perhaps in his true colours as a dirigiste verging on the complete Marxist. These are all possible and respected positions, but it is right to know where the right hon. Gentleman stands on this matter.

These are heady topics. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman encouraged the Government and hon. Members sitting behind my right hon. and learned Friend to believe that this must be the prelude to full-blooded intervention by a Conservative Government in the whole sphere of prices and incomes. I cannot accept that. Indeed, I should have even greater reservations about the Bill than I have at the moment if I seriously believed that it were the prelude to a full-scale interventionist policy by this Government.

I profoundly believe and accept the assurances which have been given by the Government that this is to be a short, sharp freeze. It can be entirely justified and accepted in those terms even by those of us who up to now, perhaps naively, perhaps too enthusiastically, believed that market forces, when liberated from a Socialist Administration, and dramatic decreases in taxation would bring inflation under control. Alas, we were proved too optimistic. There is no point in beating about that particular bush. This Chamber has been resonant with eaten words over the past week or fortnight. Indeed, perhaps all our digestions have suffered a little. But this is politics.

We must treat this amendment seriously in the context of a Bill designed to last at worst 150 days. If we do the right hon. Gentleman the honour of taking his amendment seriously, as he would have us do, we must ask: what good purpose would be served by inflicting questions of this kind, interesting though the answers might be, on the long-suffering business community of this country? Indeed, it is perhaps a cause for comment that the questions would be directed exclusively to management, not to trade unions. I believe that I could have constructed an equally formidable list of questions which would be equally oppressive and distasteful to the leaders of the Trade Union Movement. We must recognise that both sides of industry have to carry a burden here. Certainly my concern, and I am sure that of my right hon. and learned Friend, is to ensure that the burden imposed on both sides of the business community should be as light as possible.

Therefore, viewing the amendment in this light, I hope that the Committee will reject it.

[Miss JOAN QUENNELL in the Chair]

8.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

On a point of order, Miss Quennell. I am sorry that the Chairman is not present, because I wanted to raise this point with him. I can go only on what I hear and see. I see and hear a growing practice, which is not for the good of the Committee, of the Whips going to the Chair, advising who should be called, and then finding that those whom they advise are called. It happened last night and it has happened today. I suggest that when the Whips tell an hon. Member to sit down or not to take part in a debate, because the Government want to get on with their business, that is a matter between the hon. Member and the Whips. With respect, however, it is not for the Chair to be advised by the Whips who should or should not be called.

Having made my point to you, Miss Quennell, I will see the Chairman of Ways and Means and have a word with him about it.

The Temporary Chairman:

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman. I am sure that, as a Member of some experience, he is aware that no Whip has yet successfully told any hon. Member what he should or should not do.

Photo of Mr Frank Tomney Mr Frank Tomney , Hammersmith North

Following the brief intervention by the hon. and learned Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees) and his prognostications and forecasts whether the freeze will be short, I suggest there are several different opinions. One opinion held by many of us is that legislation of a permanent character will follow the Bill. It is better that we should know where we may eventually be led.

In 1966 and 1967 the Labour Government had to introduce similar legislation. We know what followed that legislation. For the sake of our economy, we do not want that to happen again. We want to ensure that the people most vitally concerned with a Bill of this character—the wage earners—will be afforded every possible protection in future legislation.

We are facing a situation for which there has been no previous economic forecasting—of expansion of interest rates, of world demand, of money supply and of extravagant advertising—which affects possibly every country in the Western world, and our own more than any other. The philosophy according to which right hon. and hon. Members on the Government side were elected has been stood on its head during the past two years. As a result, they have been forced to confront us with this Bill.

Anyone on the escalator of inflation with one or more capital assets behind him may consider that the situation is not too serious. However, many people never get on to the escalator. The future for those people—those with whom we were previously concerned during our debates on housing and mortgages—is extremely bleak, since it is almost impossible for them to acquire capital. How can they be protected? Although the amendments would go some way towards solving the problem, they do not touch on one-tenth of the problems which may arise.

For example, there is a world commodity demand for raw materials over which we have very little control. What can be done when there is a rundown of resources and an over-productive capacity which cannot be utilised? The consequence of that would be increased unemployment, inflation and high interest rates and very little investment, the last of these being one of the kernels of the problem.

The atmosphere in which the Bill has been presented is very important. Newspaper after newspaper contains accounts of company reports, increased dividends, increased share ownership, property speculation, take-over bids and people making fortunes overnight with very little effort. The crux of the issue, whether the company is Rolls-Royce or any other, is "How can we control the cost of productive output?" Invariably it comes back to wages. It always has done, and it always will do. Everything else affecting retailers, manufacturers and agents is almost impossible to apply. One could gum up the works in trying to apply it. For example, which official in a local authority would deal with complaints? He might have to write as many as 1,000 reports a day to the Department. It simply would not work.

Some people—I am not among them—considered that the TUC was rather awkward in resolution No. 51, which sets out the TUC position on wage negotiation and bargaining. This is the kind of thing which must be built into the changing pattern of trade union negotiation, not only in this country but throughout the world. Situations will invariably arise for which economists can produce no accepted solution. For example the Japanese, with the £9,000 million surplus in their balance of trade, ruthlessly ditched Formosa overnight. There is a short sea haul to China for heavy capital goods against anything which we can offer. However, the bonanza for consumer and durable use goods is in Europe. This is where the raid will come. All capital goods exported to China will be subsidised for a long time to come. In subsidising such articles as dynamos, one is virtually subsidising every capital industry.

The Americans too have seen this trend, and we saw it earlier when we recognised the new China. Thank goodness we did so. But that will become the pattern and the competition for resources will be great. How do we make sure, with our growing population problems, that we make enough investment out of our own earnings?

All that ties in with the new pattern which is emerging, not only in this country, but in the United States. President Nixon achieved a certain amount of success with such action last year, not because of his own Republican Party but because people were afraid that the situation might run away from them. Our job as the Opposition is to make certain that, however long the Bill operates, the arguments adduced here shall be taken notice of when future legislation is presented. If further legislation is proposed, it should be subjected to even more rigorous scrutiny than this Bill.

After the jettisoning of the whole policy on which the Conservative Party was elected, including its action in nationalising Rolls-Royce, it has come to realise that the industrial, financial and commercial climate is changing. We want to see that climate changed. We want to see the engendering of trust. We want the people who are doing well to be more modest in their success. People read newspapers more now, whereas in my day—and I am not old—there were no newspapers devoted to City and financial news, which forms a large part of newspapers today. Those subjects are understood today, including comparison of Courtaulds registered profits with the closure of Skelmersdale. People are beginning to realise that in Skelmersdale and Rolls-Royce there is heavy commitment of public funds. They begin to say, "What the hell! Exactly where are we going?".

Therefore the Bill must go through, with an operating period of 60, 90 or 150 days. But whatever is to follow it—and I believe that something will—I tell my hon. Friends that we shall have to be careful when that follow-up is introduced.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

I hope that the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney) will forgive me if I do not follow directly on his arguments. I want to link them to what was said by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding), because both hon. Members drew attention in different ways to the extent to which it was right and legitimate for trade unions and their members to expect to be given certain information by the employers with whom they have to deal. The topic is important, though not directly related to the subject of the debate, but I do not challenge the importance of the matter as it was dealt with in the speech of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme.

I remind the Committee that the importance of disclosure of information was first recognised in the provisions of Section 56 of the Industrial Relations Act. They place a duty on employers to disclosure to trade union representatives specified information necessary for the purpose of collective bargaining. Its importance is further recognised by the fact that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State invited the Commission on Industrial Relations on 4th November last year to study further what information ought to be disclosed to workers and their representatives. That report was in my right hon. Friend's hands on 1st September this year. Section 2 of the Act requires the Secretary of State, in preparing or advising on the Code of Industrial Relations Practice, to have regard to the need to give practical guidance on disclosure. The matter is being considered again in the light of the CIR report.

8.45 p.m.

I hope that no hon. Member, from what has been said in this debate, will run away with the illusion that the importance of disclosure of information and of collective bargaining is unrecognised by the Government. It is not easy to see how the argument along those lines becomes a foundation for the amendment as drawn. It has nothing to do with the present argument. Indeed, the foundation of the Opposition's case was somewhat difficult to understand. At one point the Opposition appeared to be protesting that the Bill made any provision at all for the requirement of information from employers in relation to price increases and went on to protest at the ineffectiveness of the machinery that was provided.

The whole burden of the amendment is designed to turn the apparatus of the Bill into pervasive, far-reaching, ruthless machinery for inquisition. It is unnecessary and unacceptable to have the information-seeking powers which are contained in Clause 4 designed in that way.

I remind the Committee that the purpose of this legislation is to produce a standstill for the duration of the period covered by the Bill, during which time—as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees) appreciates—longer-term policies will be brought forward and placed before the House. That standstill is designed to apply across the board.

The right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) suggested that there was an intended, if not inevitable, implication of the Government's policy to deal more softly with prices than with wages. I can assure him that there is no intention that the policy and legislation covers each element, whether pay and remuneration on the one hand, or prices, rents and dividends on the other, across the board and the intention is to be effective in that way.

The right hon. Gentleman suggested again that the way in which my Department had been responding to inquiries made to it was in itself an indication of a willingness to be slack on price increases. I repudiate that. When I said that inquiries had been dealt with satisfactorily and gave the number of phone calls made, I was then speaking in the rather narrow context of the speech of the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis), who implied that he was unable to get through when he tried to make a telephone call.

I was merely drawing attention to the fact that large numbers of inquiries had been handled. To suggest that each phone call was an application for a price increase, and that each price increase had been granted, would be wholly to misrepresent the way in which the prices policy is being supervised. It is being supervised and explained along the lines set out in the White Paper, and requires anyone proposing a price increase to justify it by the tests there set out. There is no slackness on that side of the policy at all.

It would be ludicrous, however, to move on to the propositions contained in the right hon. Gentleman's amendment and to suggest that any policy for the regulation of prices, in any circumstances, would need to be as elaborate and contrived as is set out in Amendments No. 51 and No. 70. The intention is that, whenever a duly authorised officer of a local authority tells a Minister of a price increase, the Minister is to be required, according to these amendments, to serve a notice upon the person increasing the price requiring the information set out in the 27 lines of close print in this amendment—that is, to render any policy designed to restrain prices, particularly a policy to restrain prices during this transitional period wholly unworkable.

It is absurd to transplant out of Appendix V of the CIR's report and out of the TUC's 1970 report a batch of standards designed to show the kind of information that it would be appropriate to reveal in the course of collective bargaining, a perfectly legitimate group of subjects to discuss and consider, as the CIR considered them in the context of collective bargaining, but it is quite absurd to suggest that those matters should be compulsorily disclosed in respect of anyone against whom a notice of price increase has been served. It indicates the way one might expect the right hon. Gentleman and his friends to proceed if ever they were to try to undertake this kind of task, and heaven forbid that possibility should arise.

In his closing remarks the right hon. Gentleman suggested that the Government's policy over the standstill involved a discrimination adverse to consumers and to work-persons. Who is not both a consumer and a work-person? The policy is designed to help and advance the interests of the people to fulfil both those roles simultaneously. We are all consumers and we are all work-persons in one way or another. We all share the same anxious desire for a curtailment of the inflationary experience which this legislation is designed to stop.

The Bill is introduced to help the people of the country as a whole. The intention is not in any sense advanced by the kind of analysis which the right hon. Gentleman put forward; namely, that it is trying to separate consumers from workpeople, that their interests can be pitted against each other. The Bill is not trying to separate the interests of consumers and workpeople as one group against the interests of the Government as another. The Government are taking this action, which is intended to be effective across the board, to produce a standstill period for the benefit of the people, be they consumers, workpeople or anybody else. It is on that basis that the legislation in this form commands the support of the nation and deserves the support of the Committee.

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman deal with Amendment No. 70? Little has been said about it, yet it is a key amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman is now the Minister responsible for consumer affairs. Does he not consider it insulting that constituencies outside London should have to ring up the Department of Trade and Industry in London rather than go to the local authority? Does he seriously believe in what he is saying about prices in a statutory policy? Is it not akin, if my house were burgled in Lancashire, to my ringing up New Scotland Yard instead of going to the local police station? As Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs why cannot he accept at least Amendment No. 70?

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

It is clear from the debate that the clause was drafted in haste. One need only refer to the matters explored in the last debate to see how true this is. However drafted in haste it may be, I think that my right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) was correct in pointing out the symptoms of permanency which can clearly be seen there. It is because of these symptoms of permanency that the matters explored in the last debate are of great importance.

One of the symptoms is the fact that only Clause 2 is guillotined. It is the only one that comes to an end after 90 days plus a possible extension of 60 days. Although the Bill is called the Temporary Provisions Bill, at the end of this period of 90 days, with a possible extension of 60 days, the Act will remain on the Statute Book. Therefore, there is conceivable content for Clause 4 to be enacted as Section 4 as it then would be. It is for that reason that I think the Committee is correct in exploring the meaning of the clause with great care and attention.

In replying to the right hon. and learned Gentleman I should like to stress to the Committee not the meticulous detail into which he sought to divide these amendments but the sense of the amendments. The sense of each of the amendments is quite clear. Amendment No. 70 deals with enforcement. Amendment No. 51 deals with information. The amendments are intended to convey our anxiety on this side of the Committee, which I am sure is shared by hon. Members on the Government side, concerning the need for enforcement of any attempt to hold down prices on the one hand, and on the other, the need for accurate information if anything effective is to be done to counter inflation in the long term. I ask the Committee not to be beguiled or sidestepped by the honeyed words of the right hon. and learned Gentleman but to go to the kernel of the matter.

With regard to enforcement, the Bill is sadly lacking. I regret that owing the guillotine we did not have time to discuss Amendment No. 57, which suggests the most useful possible method of support for enforcement to any attempt at countering inflation by giving to each consumer the power to recover the excess of any charge which is illegally imposed upon him. The power is absent from the Bill. Therefore, as a next best thing the Opposition have sought to bring some degree of enforcement into this information clause by virtue of Amendment No. 70.

The Government spokesman on Tuesday spoke of antennae; that was the analogy he used. He said that the Bill gave antennae which presumably were meant to operate in some way to assist in keeping down prices. Antennae are entirely confined to information, and what is needed, if there is to be effective consumer protection, is teeth. Teeth can bite—not just feel, but bite. Instead of cockroaches wandering around in the dark feeling with their antennae, we can have teeth that bite. Each consumer would be able to take one step on his own to ensure that he was not subjected to undue increases in price. Surely that is the way to proceed, even with a temporary Bill, rather than the half-baked way presented in the Counter-Inflation Bill.

I turn to the subject of information. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol South-East (Mr. Benn) mentioned the Skelmersdale case. He might also have mentioned the British Lion case. That is another example in which it is quite obvious that were information of the quality and nature sought in this Amendment available, but not only would industrial relations be improved but the consumer—which, as was pointed out, is every one of us—would be informed; and we would know what was being perpetrated upon us and what was the true

cause of the inflation that bedevils the economic life of the country.

The purpose of Amendment No. 51 is to show the need not simply for temporary powers about information but for permanent lines of communication which will provide communication between the two sides of industry and between the producer and the consumer. Only provisions for permanent lines of communication will be effective in the battle against inflation. For these reasons I advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to divide in support of the Amendment.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 267, Noes 292.

Division No. 13.]AYES[9.0 p.m.
Abse, LeoDavis, Terry (Bromsgrove)Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Deakins, EricHughes, Mark (Durham)
Allen, Scholefieldde Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir GeoffreyHughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)Delargy, HughHughes, Roy (Newport)
Ashley, JackDell, Rt. Hn. EdmundHunter, Adam
Ashton, JoeDempsey, JamesIrvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)
Atkinson, NormanDoig, PeterJanner, Greville
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Dormand, J. D.Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Barnes, MichaelDouglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Douglas-Mann, BruceJenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)Duffy, A. E. P.John, Brynmor
Beaney, AlanDunn, James A.Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodDunnett, JackJohnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull. W.)
Bennett, James(Glasgow, Bridgeton)Eadie, AlexJohnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Bidwell, SydneyEdelman, MauriceJones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Bishop, E. S.Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Blenkinsop, ArthurEdwards, William (Merioneth)Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Boardman, H. (Leigh)English, MichaelJones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Booth, AlbertEvans, FredKaufman, Gerald
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurEwing, HarryKelley, Richard
Boyden, James(Bishop Auckland)Faulds, AndrewKerr, Russell
Bradley, TomFernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.Kinnock, Neil
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne,W.)Fisher, Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)Lambie, David
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)Lamborn, Harry
Brown, Ronald(Shoreditch & F'bury)Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Lamond, James
Buchan, NormanFletcher, Ted (Darlington)Latham, Arthur
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Foley, MauriceLawson, George
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Foot, MichaelLeadbitter, Ted
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)Ford, BenLee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Cant, R. B.Forrester, JohnLeonard, Dick
Carmichael, NeilFraser, John (Norwood)Lestor, Miss Joan
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)Freeson, ReginaldLewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)Galpern, Sir MyerLewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Castle. Rt. Hn. BarbaraGarrett, W. E.Lipton, Marcus
Clark, David (Colne Valley)Gilbert, Dr. JohnLomas, Kenneth
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)Ginsberg, David (Dewsbury)Loughlin, Charles
Cohen, StanleyGourlay, HarryLyon, Alexander W. (York)
Coleman, DonaldGrant, George (Morpeth)Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Concannon, J. D.Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Conlan BernardGriffiths, Eddie (Brightside)McBride, Neil
Corbet, Mrs. FredaGriffiths, Will (Exchange)McCartney, Hugh
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)McElhone, Frank
Cronin, JohnHamling, WilliamMcGuire, Michael
Crosland, Rt. Hn. AnthonyHannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)Mackenzie, Gregor
Crossman, Rt. Hn. RichardHardy, PeterMackie, John
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)Harper, JosephMackintosh, John P.
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Maclennan, Robert
Dalyell, TamHart, Rt. Hn. JudithMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Darling, Rt. Hn. GeorgeHattersley, RoyMcNamara, J. Kevin
Davidson, ArthurHealey, Rt. Hn. DenisMahon, Simon (Bootle)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)Heffer, Eric S.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield. E.)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Hilton, W. S.Marks, Kenneth
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Horam, JohnMarquand, David
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)Houghton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMarsden, F.
Huckfield, LeslieMarshall, Dr. Edmund
Mason, Rt. Hn. RoyPrice, J. T. (Westhoughton)Strang, Gavin
Mayhew, ChristopherPrice, William (Rugby)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Meacher, MichaelProbert, ArthurSummerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Mellish, Rt. Hn. RobertReed, D. (Sedgefield)Swain, Thomas
Mendelson, JohnRees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)Thomas, Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Mikardo, IanRhodes, GeoffreyThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Millan, BruceRichard, IvorThomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Miller, Dr. M. S.Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Tinn, James
Milne, EdwardRoberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)Tomney, Frank
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)Robertson, John (Paisley)Torney, Tom
Molloy, WilliamRoderick, Caerwyn E. (Brc'n&R'dnor)Tuck, Raphael
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)Urwin, T. W.
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Roper, JohnVarley, Eric G.
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Rose, Paul B.Wainwright, Edwin
Moyle, RolandRoss, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)Walden, Brian (B'm'ham All Saints)
Mulley, Rt. Hn. FrederickRowlands, TedWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Murray, Ronald KingSandelson, NevilleWatkins, David
Oakes, GordonSheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)Weitzman, David
Ogden, EricShore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)Wellbeloved, James
O'Halloran, MichaelShore, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
O'Malley, BrianShort, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Oram, BertSilkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)Whitehead, Phillip
Orme, StanleySilkin. Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)Whitlock, William
Oswald, ThomasSillars, JamesWilley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)Silverman, JuliusWilliams, Alan (Swansea,W.)
Padley, WalterSkinner, DennisWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Paget, R. T.Small, WilliamWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
Palmer, ArthurSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Pannell, Rt. Hn. CharlesSmith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Pardoe, JohnSpearing, NigelWoof, Robert
Parker, John (Dagenham)Spriggs, Leslie
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)Stallard, A. W.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Peart, Rt. Hn. FredSteel, DavidMr. James Hamilton and
Pendry, TomStewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)Mr. John Golding.
Perry, Ernest G.Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Prescott, John
Adley, RobertChichester-Clark, R.Gibson-Watt, David
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Churchill, W. S.Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Clark, William (Surrey, E.)Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianClarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Glyn, Dr. Alan
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)Clegg, WalterGodber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Astor, JohnCockeram, EricGoodhart, Philip
Atkins, HumphreyCooke, RobertGoodhew, Victor
Awdry, DanielCoombs, DerekGorst, John
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Cooper, A. E.Gower, Raymond
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Cordle, JohnGrant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Balniel, Rt. Hn. LordCorfield, Rt. Hn. Sir FrederickGreen, Alan
Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyCormack, PatrickGrieve, Percy
Batsford, BrianCostain, A. P.Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonCritchley, JulianGrylls, Michael
Bell, RonaldCrouch, DavidGummer, J. Selwyn
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Crowder, F. P.Gurden, Harold
Benyon, W.Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Biffen, Johnd'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryHall, John (Wycombe)
Biggs-Davison, Johnd'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen.JackHall-Davis, A. G. F.
Blaker, PeterDean, PaulHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Hannam, John (Exeter)
Body, RichardDigby, Simon WingfieldHarrison, Brian (Maldon)
Boscawen, Hn. RobertDixon, PiersHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Bossom, Sir CliveDodds-Parker, DouglasHaselhurst, Alan
Bowden, AndrewDrayson, G. B.Hastings, Stephen
Braine, Sir Bernarddu Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardHavers, Sir Michael
Bray, RonaldDykes, HughHawkins, Paul
Brewis, JohnEden, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnHay, John
Brinton, Sir TattonEdwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Hayhoe, Barney
Brocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherElliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)Heseltine, Michael
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Emery, PeterHicks, Robert
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Eyre, ReginaldHiggins, Terence L.
Bryan, Sir PaulFarr, JohnHiley, Joseph
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N&M)Fell, AnthonyHill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Buck, AntonyFenner, Mrs. PeggyHill, James (Southampton, Test)
Bullus, Sir EricFidler, MichaelHolland, Philip
Burden, F. A.Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)Holt, Miss Mary
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesHordern, Peter
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn)Fookes, Miss JanetHornby, Richard
Carlisle, MarkFortescue, TimHornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertFoster, Sir JohnHowe, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey
Cary, Sir RobertFowler, NormanHowell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Channon, PaulFox, MarcusHunt, John
Chapman, SydneyFry, PeterHutchison, Michael Clark
Chataway, Rt. Hn. ChristopherGalbraith, Hn. T. G. D.Iremonger, T. L.
Gardner, EdwardIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
James, DavidMorgan-Giles, Rear-AdmSpeed, Keith
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Morrison, CharlesSpence, John
Jennings, J. C. (Burton)Mudd, DavidSproat, Ian
Jessel, TobyMurton, OscarStainton, Keith
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Nabarro, Sir GeraldStanbrook, Ivor
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Neave, AireyStewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithNoble, Rt. Hn. MichaelStodart, Anthony (Edinburgh. W.)
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. ElaineNott, JohnStoddart-Scott Col. Sir M.
Kershaw, AnthonyOnslow, CranleyStokes, John
Kimball, MarcusOppenheim, Mrs SallyStuttaford, Dr. Tom
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Orr, Capt. L. P. S.Sutcliffe, John
King, Tom (Bridgwater)Osborn, JohnTapsell, Peter
Kinsey, J. R.Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Kirk, PeterPage, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Knight, Mrs. JillPage, John (Harrow, W.)Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Knox, DavidParkinson, CecilTaylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Lambton, LordPeel, JohnTebbit, Norman
Lamont, NormanPercival, IanTemple, John M.
Lane, DavidPike, Miss MervynThatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnPink, R. BonnerThomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Le Marchant, SpencerPounder, RaftonThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)Price, David (Eastleigh)Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon,S.)
Loveridge, JohnPrior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.Tilney, John
Luce, R. N.Proudfoot, WilfredTrew, Peter
MacArthur, IanPym, Rt. Hn. FrancisTugendhat, Christopher
McCrindle, R. A.Raison, TimothyTurton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
McLaren, MartinRamsden, Rt. Hn. Jamesvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Maclean, Sir FitzroyRawlinson Rt. Hn. Sir PeterVaughan, Dr. Gerard
McMaster, StanleyRedmond, RobertVickers, Dame Joan
Macmillan, Rt.Hn.Maurice(Farnham)Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)Walder, David (Clitheroe)
McNair-Wilson, MichaelRees, Peter (Dover)Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Rees-Davies, W. R.Wall, Patrick
Maddan, MartinRenton, Rt. Hn. Sir DavidWalters, Dennis
Madel, DavidRhys Williams, Sir BrandonWard, Dame Irene
Marples, Rt. Hn. ErnestRidley, Hn. NicholasWarren, Kenneth
Marten, NeilRidsdale, JulianWeatherill, Bernard
Mather, CarolRippon, Rt. Hn. GeoffreyWells, John (Maidstone)
Maude, AngusRoberts Michael (Cardiff, N.)White, Roger (Gravesend)
Maudling, Rt. Hn. ReginaldRoberts, Wyn (Conway)Wiggin, Jerry
Mawby, RayRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)Wilkinson, John
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Winterton, Nicholas
Meyer, Sir AnthonyRost, PeterWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)Russell, Sir RonaldWood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Miscampbell, NormanSt. John-Stevas, NormanWoodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)Scott, NicholasWoodnutt, Mark
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Scott-Hopkins, JamesWorsley, Marcus
Moate, RogerShaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Molyneaux, JamesShelton, William (Clapham)Younger, Hn. George
Money, ErnieSimeons, Charles
Monks, Mrs. ConnieSinclair, Sir GeorgeTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Monro, HectorSkeet, T. H. H.Mr. Michael Jopling and
Montgomery, FergusSmith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)Mr. Hamish Gray
More, JasperSoref, Harold
Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)

Question accordingly negatived.

It being after Nine o'clock, The CHAIRMAN proceeded pursuant to Order [14th November], to put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the Business to be concluded at that hour.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.