Amendment of Section 39 of the Social Security Act 1973

Orders of the Day — National Insurance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10 April 1974.

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Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury 12:00, 10 April 1974

I beg to move Amendment No. 5, in page 4, line 24, after 'word', insert 'adult male industrial'.

This is a probing amendment, but it is important because it enables us to try to find out in a little more detail exactly what lies behind the decision taken by the Secretary of State to replace prices by earnings in the section of the 1973 Act with which we are dealing. Section 39 of the 1973 Social Security Act leaves it to the Secretary of State to estimate general levels of prices and earnings in such manner as he considers appropriate. That refers back to the issue under discussion. It is true that it is not too difficult to assess how prices may be fixed, because we have the retail price index.

Now that the emphasis is to be on earnings, there appears to be a problem. The Secretary of State said in the Budget debate on 28th March that we must link pensions increases in future to the movement in average national earnings so that pensioners can be guaranteed a continuing share in our increasing national prosperity. Today the right hon. Lady has reiterated that claim. It is an important part of what the Government are setting out to do in the Bill.

In practice, the use of earnings as a yardstick is not new. It is a fact that between 1970 and 1974, the period of the previous Conservative Government, pensions went up faster than both prices and earnings. Between June 1970 and January 1974 the level of prices was up by 37 per cent., earnings for all workers were up by 45 per cent. and pensions were up by 55 per cent. Therefore, over that period the increase in pensions was greater than the increase in both earnings and prices.

The first purpose of our amendment is to clarify exactly what is meant by "earnings", which is to replace "prices" in Section 39(3)(a) of the Social Security Act 1973. Section 39 states at the end that the Secretary of State shall estimate general levels of prices and earnings in such manner as he considers appropriate having regard to the objects of the review. I wonder whether we should not now be rather more specific, given the importance of the new proposal. I assume from the Secretary of State's words in the Budget debate that the right hon. Lady has in mind that pensions should be linked to all earnings, as opposed to male industrial earnings. I submit that that entitles us to ask exactly what yardstick the Secretary of State proposes to use in assessing the level of earnings. It might be the so-called new earnings survey. It might be the October earnings inquiry, or it might be the monthly earnings inquiry.

I remind the House that those three surveys have different characteristics. The new earnings survey is an annual survey taken in April based on returns from employers concerning a random 1 per cent. sample of employees. Both manual and non-manual employees are covered. Separate figures are obtained for adult males of 21 and over, adult females of 18 and over, and juveniles, and a distinction is made between full-time and part-time employees. That is the first of what seemed to me to be the possible yardsticks.

The second is the Department of Employment's October earnings inquiry. Since the introduction of the annual new earnings surveys, the departmental inquiry has been taken only in October of each year. The survey covers manual workers only, but the results are published separately for adult males, adult females and juveniles, with a distinction being made between full-time and part-time employees.

Thirdly, there is the monthly inquiry into average earnings. Actual earnings figures are not published, but a monthly index is compiled from the information obtained from employers in the production industries, transport and communication and certain miscellaneous services. Manual and non-manual employees are covered and no distinction is made between males and females, or between full-time and part-time workers.

8.45 p.m.

There are three possible criteria that the Secretary of State may have in mind. It is important to try to establish for the record the basis of calculation. It is also important to ask at what time of the year the calculation will be made as the increases now are to be in July. These surveys are taken at different times of the year and a particular time may have a considerable bearing on their meaning when we consider that July is to be the moment of the increases.

I understand that hitherto when information has been given in reply to Parliamentary Questions, and so on, about the relationship between average earnings and social security benefits the measure invariably used has been adult male manual earnings from the October inquiry. Our amendment suggests that adult male industrial earnings should be the yardstick. I am not arguing that this is necessarily right. We simply put it forward because it is necessary to put forward some proposition to have the matter debated. The yardstick that we have put forward corresponds most closely to the October inquiry, but we are not pressing that it should necessarily be that one, nor that it should necessarily be tied to male earnings. We want the Government to define what they have in mind.

There is another point on which we would like some elucidation from the Government. Despite the high-flown words which have been spoken about this new commitment to keep pensions rising relative to average earnings, it seems to us that the clause is largely window dressing. I should like to explain why this is so. It is essentially because it amends only Section 39(3)(a) of the Social Security Act 1973, which provides: In the course of a review of social security benefits under this section, the Secretary of State shall consider—(a) the extent to which current rates appear to him to have retained their value in relation to the general level of prices obtaining in Great Britain from time to time since the beginning of the year in which this section first came into force or, as the case may be, the end of the period to which he had regard for the purposes of the last review under this section". The proposal is to delete "prices" and to substitute "earnings".

I understand that subsection (3)(b) will remain in the Act. That provides: apart from the considerations of paragraph (a) above, whether any of the rates ought to be increased having regard to—

  1. (i) the general level of prices and earnings obtaining in Great Britain at the time of the review,
  2. (ii) the national economic situation as a whole and the general standard of living, and
  3. (iii) such other matters as the Secretary of State thinks relevant to his review of benefits".
If subsection (3)(b) remains in the 1973 Act it is evident that we already have power to take into account the general level of earnings obtaining in Great Britain. That power is specifically conferred by the subsection that I have just read.

It is also evident that there is what might be called a get-out clause— the national economic situation as a whole". I think that the Minister ought to be prepared to say that the fine words that we have heard about the level of pensions being tied to the level of earnings is subject to that qualification.

Experience has shown that under a Labour Government economic situations are liable to get out of hand. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] We all recall what happened in the past to the notion of a free health service. Prescription charges had to be brought in. The Labour Party cannot claim that its record in these matters inspires confidence.

I should like the Minister to explain to the House whether the national economic situation as a whole still applies and whether it is there to qualify the proud commitment to keeping pensions in line with earnings about which both he and the Secretary of State have boasted. It must apply.

My intention is to probe two important points: first, how earnings are to be defined, and, secondly, the validity and meaning of Section 39(3)(b) of the 1973 Act.

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison) for moving what he described as a probing amendment and also for making a speech from which I learned something. His speech was fuller than my brief and I appreciate the work he has put into it. If the amendment would bring about an additional guarantee or improvement for retirement pensioners and other beneficiaries through a tightening of the definition—for example, through removing the word "earnings" and replacing it by "adult male industrial earnings"—we should be glad to accept it. But that is not the case.

The phrase "adult male industrial earnings" refers to the index which is generally used and means the average gross earnings of full-time male manual wage earners in manufacturing and some of the principal non-manufacturing industries. Those average earnings, with some of the corresponding figures for women, are taken from the inquiry conducted by the Department of Employment every October. The industries covered include nearly 10 million employees, but the principal industries not covered are agriculture, coal mining, nationalised and port transport, shipping, distribution, catering, commerce, banking and domestic services.

If this index is to be used as a basis for assessing pensions, there are obvious defects. If it is written into the Bill the Department of Employment will be restricted if in the future it proposes to improve, make more sophisticated or further develop the provision or bring in additional groups. The hon. Member for Aylesbury raised a valid point. As he said, it is an October index but the uprating next year, for example, will be in July. Presumably the October index should be used. The Department is considering precisely this matter. The October index is not the only one, and no one is saying that it is ideal for the purposes of the estimates. There are also the monthly index and the new earnings survey which are carried out each April. These could prove to be more favourable yardsticks.

Photo of Sir Albert Costain Sir Albert Costain , Folkestone and Hythe

Is overtime taken into account in calculating the index? Is it based upon a standard hour which takes account of overtime?

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

It takes account of that factor. Nevertheless, as with all the indices in this sector, we do not suggest that it is the most satisfactory and sophisticated for the purposes of our calculations.

In moving the amendment the hon. Gentleman has spotlighted a problem which the Department has regarding the July uprating in 1975. However, I recommend that we should not write in the words "adult male industrial" in addition to simply "earnings". To do so could fossilise that particular index as it stands at present. It could exclude the use of other indices which may be more favourable or more suitable in future. It is likely that women's earnings, for example, will move faster than men's at a time when as a nation we are moving towards the concept of equal pay, although I suspect that that may be a somewhat lengthy process.

We should leave the word "earnings" in a general form in this legislation as it has been in other legislation when there has been need to refer to an earnings index of some kind. To do this does not preclude the use of the index mentioned; nor does it exclude in future the use of more sophisticated indices or other indices which could be more favourable to retirement pensioners and other long-term beneficiaries.

Photo of Mrs Elaine Kellett Mrs Elaine Kellett , Lancaster

I hope that the Secretary of State does not subscribe to the hon. Gentleman's comments about equal pay for women.

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

I would always be most aware not only of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State but also of the hon. Lady in that matter. I made an assessment of what may turn out to be the situation. I hope that as a result of legislation and long-term trade union pressures there will be a much speedier movement than at present towards equality of income and opportunities for women.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I am grateful for what my hon. Friend has said about the amendment, but I remain a little disturbed. Perhaps he will forgive me if in my ignorance I probe the matter a little. I have always argued that pensions should be linked to earnings and I have assumed, rightly or wrongly, that this would enhance pensions. What disturbs me are the figures used by the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison), which were not challenged. He said that pensions were better related to prices during the office of the Conservative Government and that if this had not been done—

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

That was not what I said. My point was that during the period of the last Conservative Government pensions were raised more than prices and more than earnings. Whichever yardstick one chooses to use, we did better.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Surely the basis of the hon. Gentleman's case was an argument as to whether pensions should be related to prices. HANSARD will prove this tomorrow morning.

9.0 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman argued also that pensions rose higher than wages—[Interruption.] Let me get this clear. There is no reason why I should not be able to ask my hon. Friend in all innocence whether earnings include premium time payments but exclude days lost through industrial disputes. If that is so, there is no earthly reason why the pensions, as a percentage of earnings, should not have risen faster than earnings themselves under the Tory Government, because their three years in office saw the biggest explosion of loss of earnings that we have had since 1926.

When Tory Members make these comparisons they should tell the whole story. The truth is not that they did well for the pensioners but that they pursued a confrontation policy in industry which made the earnings figure much lower than it should have been. In 1972 we lost more working days and, therefore, more earnings than in any year since 1926. In 1971 and 1973 also, astronomical numbers of days were lost and, therefore, earnings were lost.

Tory Members fake every possible figure they use. They can laugh—

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

They fake every figure they use. If we relate pensions to earnings, whether male industrial earnings or overall earnings, those earnings would have been substantially reduced because of the loss of man hours through their industrial policy. Hon. Members opposite are tricksters of the worst kind.

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

I will not be drawn by the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin), who did not understand what I was saying. He has not understood what this little debate has been about. If he wants the facts, he was quite wrong. According to the October earnings inquiry, the index of male industrial earnings rose between 1971 and 1972 from 110 to 127 compared with 1970. That undermines what he said.

The Minister started encouragingly by saying that my research had been greater than his brief or his research, but I am not sure what I was meant to deduce from that. He totally failed to answer my second point. He produced an acceptable answer, although an uninspiring one, to the question of what earnings index should be used. I appreciate the difficulties which he has put forward. We do not believe that the yardstick that is included in our amendment is necessarily the right one, so we will not press him on that.

But at least the Minister owes the Committee some comment on my point about Section 39()(b) of the Social Security Act 1973. I should be grateful if he would at least acknowledge that that provision gives the power to override the link between earnings and pensions of which he and his right hon. Friend have made so much. Would he at least acknowledge that the national economic situation can be used as a reason for not granting a pensions increase based on earnings?

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

This situation existed before Section 39 of the 1973 Act which deals with the annual review of benefits, and talks about November and the end of November rather than October. However much the hon. Gentleman wriggles, this is the first time in legislation that there has been a commitment that pensions should rise and move with national average earnings.

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

What I am putting to the hon. Gentleman is that the very next subsection in the 1973 Act produces a clear qualification that whether any of the rates ought to be increased should have regard to the national economic situation as a whole If the national economic situation as a whole is very grave, as I believe it may well be under a Labour Government, can that be used as a reason for the Government not increasing pensions in line with earnings?

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

From behind the hon. Gentleman's elegant language, I now understand what he is asking. He is asking whether we shall rat on our commitment. A previous Secretary of State of a Conservative Government gave him- self the opportunity to do so and presumably deliberately put this kind of commitment into the 1973 Act. We shall not do that.

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

But the fact remains that the Government have not removed this provision. The Government are proposing to amend the rest of Section 39 and to make changes there. They could perfectly well have changed this subsection if they so desired. There is no reason why they could not do so. The Minister has said that he will not rat and that this is a firm commitment. If that is so, why did he not strike out this commitment in subsection (3)(b)?

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

The hon. Gentleman is asking why one specific section of the Social Security Act 1973 was not changed. What we have done in the Bill is to make the minimum changes necessary in legislation to achieve our own objective. As the hon. Gentleman is pressing for changes in the 1973 legislation, may I say that I think that he will get changes?

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

The Minister cannot get away with this. Clause 5 is specifically designed to amend Section 39 of the 1973 Act. There would have been no difficulty in adding another small amendment to get rid of that section if the Government so desired. I am not saying that the Government should have done it. I am saying that the Government are showing signs of hypocrisy in stating categorically that they will tie pensions increases to earnings when they are quite deliberately retaining this get-out clause.

The Minister's arguments do him no credit. It would have been very much better if he had done his homework on this matter. I see that he is about to receive a note. Perhaps something has arrived from Job to help him out. Secondly, it would have been better if the hon. Gentleman had come clean. As I have said, while we do not believe that our amendment is appropriate, the Minister's answers do him no credit.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Hon. Members:


Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

Hon. Members on the Opposition benches have to try to laugh about something, for in their present position they can find little to laugh about. What I find fascinating is that the hon. Gentleman—

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

On a point of order, Mr. Murton. I have begged to ask leave to withdraw the amendment. Is it proper for the debate to continue?

The Deputy Chairman:

I think that I should explain to the Committee as a whole that if after an hon. Member has asked leave to withdraw his amendment another hon. Member rises and speaks, the only way of dealing with that matter ultimately is by putting the Question, when possible it could be negatived.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Further to that point of order, Mr. Murton. When the hon. Gentleman begged leave to withdraw the amendment, I objected. Therefore, he cannot withdraw his amendment.

The Deputy Chairman:

The hon. Gentleman's objection was sustained.

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

It ill becomes the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison) to start criticising this Government about legislation which was introduced by the previous Conservative Secretary of State. The criticisms, which I do not accept, that we might intend to rat on our earnings dynamism because of that provision of the Act, can come only from a guilty conscience felt by Conservative Members who know that when the previous Government were making their famous pledges about price protection they were reserving to themselves, tucked away in a principal piece of legislation, the right to say "We shall promise the electorate price protection, but if we want to get out of that promise we shall do so, because this subsection in the Act gives us an escape route."

We shall not use that escape route. When the Act is revised, as it will be, along with the whole of the social security structure, the hon. Gentleman can apologise to the Labour Government for the unjustified remarks he has made tonight. The fact that his Government would act in that way is no reason to suggest that we shall.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey

That is not the point. The point is one of some gravity and responsibility, to which I should like the Minister to address himself. The Secretary of State said on 15th March: We shall also ensure … that pensions thereafter are increased annually in proportion to increases in average national earnings."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th March 1974; Vol. 870, c. 524–525.] In his reply so far, the Minister is plainly conceding that the continued existence in Section 39(3) of the 1973 Act of paragraph (b)(ii), providing that the Secretary of State shall have regard to the national economic situation as a whole", entitles the Secretary of State as a matter of law not to fulfil the pledge which the right hon. Lady gives to ensure that link.

It may well be wise for any Government to retain that obligation to look at the national economic situation. It may well be particularly wise for the present Government to do so, in the light of their failure to keep pensions ahead of prices when they were last in office.

I should like the Minister to concede that that provision continues to exist as a qualification of the right hon. Lady's pledge, that it exists although the Long Title of the Bill gives power to amend Section 39, and that it would be the simplest matter in the world to include a repeal of that subsection.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

As the right hon. and learned Gentleman has called my words into dispute, I should like to answer that point.

I do not for a moment concede that the paragraph lends itself to the interpretation the right hon. and learned Gentleman has put upon it. If, however, the pledge given by the Conservatives that they would ensure that pensions were reviewed annually in line with prices was one that they made under Section 39, that had as much validity as, and no more than, my pledge to substitute the word "earnings" for "prices" in the subsection.

Therefore, I think that it is pretty despicable of the right hon. and learned Government, who should know better and who has forensic authority at stake, to turn this kind of legal innuendo into a political attack. It is unworthy of him.

When the right hon. and learned Gentleman asks me why we do not seek the oportunity to amend a Conservative Secretary of State's wording, what the Opposition are implying, which I am not, is that that wording gave their Secretary of State an escape route from his electoral commitments. I do not, and never have, put that interpretation upon it. But it in no way alters the validity of our pledge in relation to the pledge given by the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph).

9.15 p.m.

All that we are doing is to amend Section 39(3) of the 1973 Act, which says that In the course of a review of social security benefits under this section the Secretary of State shall consider—"— this is the vital part, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows it perfectly well— (a) the extent to which current rates appear to him to have retained their value in relation to the general level of prices… We propose to amend retained their value in relation to the general level of prices to read: retained their value in relation to the general level of earnings". That is the statutory distinction that we are making. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman now tries to suggest that subsection (b) has a different authority—

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

No, I shall not give way. The hon. Lady will only further darken counsel. I repeat that paragraph (b), with which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is now trying to make such play, is of a different level of authority. Whatever interpretation he tries to put on subsection (3)(b), he is retrospectively blackening the name of his right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-East. His right hon. Friend put in an escape clause. Thus the right hon. and learned Gentleman's allegation has no validity. I find it highly amusing that Opposition right hon. and hon. Members now say "If you want to keep your election pledge, you should take out this naughty escape route from our clause that we put in. You should give the country firmer guarantees on earnings than we did on prices." That is an absolute piece of political irrelevancy which is designed to cast unwarranted doubt on our pledge, which has all the strength which the pledge of our predecessors did not possess.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey

The right hon Lady is obviously rattled, but the point that I make—

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

—not rattled—angry and contemptuous.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey

Perhaps the right hon. Lady will cool it for a moment. She referred to the opening words of subsection (3) and said that the words "shall consider" apply with equal force to the matters set out in paragraph (b). We are anxious that the Government should retain the qualification in paragraph (b) to their pledge, if qualification it be. We have not yet been told whether it is a qualification.

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

It is the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Act.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey

The Committee is now debating a Bill that makes provision for amending Section 39 of the 1973 Act. We ask the Minister—so far he has failed to answer—whether the reference to the national economic situation qualifies the pledge which was given by the right hon. Lady. The country wants to know the answer, because between June 1970 and the beginning of this year, under the Conservative Government, pensions rose faster than prices and faster than average earnings. The previous Labour Government made their initial increase, which took effect in March 1965, and thereafter, until June 1970, the single pension rose by 25 per cent. compared with a greater rise in prices of more than 27 per cent. and a 44 per cent. rise in average earnings. It is because of the lamentable failure of the previous Labour Government to keep pensions rising in line with earnings and prices that we want to know whether the Government accept that the paragraph in any way goes behind the pledge which the right hon. Lady has given.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Having listened to the right hon. and so-called learned Gentle-man—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—I am not surprised that this country was plunged into such disaster following the Industrial Relations Bill which he piloted through the House.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I will. I repeat what I said earlier, and I am glad that I am a better legal expert than the right hon. and learned Gentleman. If only he had read the whole of Section 39 and in particular subsection (4), he would have found that that subsection makes it clear that subsection (3)(a) predominates and that the provisions of subsection (b) are at the discretion of the Secretary of State. [Interruption.] The illiteracy of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) is painful to watch.

What subsection (4) says is that If on his review the Secretary of State concludes that current rates have not retained their value as mentioned in subsection (3)(a) above, he shall prepare and lay before each House of Parliament …"— That is where the instruction lies. It is further to subsection (3) of Section 39 that the Secretary of State is bound to consider the extent to which current rates appear to have retained their value in relation to prices. That is the key point. We are bound, and intend to be bound, to place upon ourselves a statutory obligation which we cannot evade and which we have no desire to evade.

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

If the question which I put fairly and calmly to the Minister earlier had been properly answered, it would have saved a great deal of heat and a certain amount of ill temper on the part of the Secretary of State. The Minister completely ignored my question. I do not think that it is very much to the credit of the Government. On an important matter like this they should have done their homework rather than wait for succour from the Official Box at the last moment.

Photo of Mr Brian O'Malley Mr Brian O'Malley , Rotherham

What is perfectly clear is that the hon. Gentleman and the right hon. and learned Gentleman—who presided over the Industrial Relations Act—are continuing the campaign of filth and smear which we have had from the Conservative Party during the election campaign. It is precisely that kind of technique which they are using on this occasion, attempting to cast doubts on the good faith of the Government's intention to move pensions in future with the movement in national average earnings. We promised to do that and that we shall do.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey

I beg to move Amendment No. 7, in page 5, line 4, at end insert: '(3) In subsection (3)(b) of the said section 39, after sub-paragraph (i) there shall be inserted the following sub-paragraph—(ia) the relationship between the rates of social security benefits and the impact on benefits of income tax and the pattern of allowances for tax purposes under the Finance Acts,' I hope that we may proceed to debate this important amendment with a little more tranquillity from the Government Front Bench than we have just experienced. This is a proposal to insert a new sub-paragraph in Section 39(3)(b) of the Social Security Act 1973. The amendment does not achieve all that we would wish. It does not go as far as we would like. Its intention is to discover the Government's position in relation to possible progress towards a tax-credit scheme or something of that kind.

It was not possible for us to draft an amendment that was in order within the terms of the Bill and which would have required the Government to lay before the House their proposals for the implementation of a tax-credit scheme. I hope that this amendment will provide the opportunity for a short debate on the Government's intentions. The amendment requires the Government to have regard to the relationship between the rates of benefit and the impact on benefits of income tax and tax allowances.

I know that the right hon. Lady, as a member of the Select Committee, has given a great deal of thought to this subject. We were concerned by the absence from the Queen's Speech of any reference to the preparation or implementation of a tax credit scheme. We have remained concerned by the notable lack of enthusiasm and silence on the part of the Government about any such scheme since they came into office. We want to press further to discover their intentions about this and go as far as we can to make them accept some obligations in relation to it.

As the right hon. Lady said on Second Reading, she is concerned with progress towards the elimination of poverty, notably, perhaps, the elimination of family poverty. That is why we, and others outside the House of Commons, have been concerned, at the absence, so far, of any provisions in relation to family allowances.

We welcome the continuance of the family income supplement scheme as the interim scheme it was inevitably originally designed to be. It is possible to do much more with the £500 million, for example, which is to be spent on indiscriminate food subsidies, by the introduction of something like a tax credit scheme. Surely by now it is universally acknowledged that something more is necessary than the continuation, either of the present network of means-tested benefits or progress simply by an extension of general benefits by categories rather than by reference to families.

It is now generally recognised that there is a good case for integrating the tax system and the benefit system. It is generally recognised that only in this way shall we respond to the universally accepted need to roll back the carpet of means tests of which the right hon. Lady spoke.

The truth is that the tax system and the benefit system are inextricably interwoven. The amendment enjoins the Government to recognise that specifically; and we hope that they will do so by indicating their willingness to make progress by something like a tax credit scheme. The arguments in favour of this kind of approach have been voiced in the House of Commons by spokesmen on both sides under successive Governments for 10 or 15 years. I recollect reading speeches by the former Member for Kettering, Mr. Gilbert Mitchison, who was at one time the Labour Party spokesman on these matters. He was arguing in favour of an approach of this kind in the days when "receive as you need" was the jargon description of a scheme of that sort. Then he was followed by Douglas Houghton, again from the Dispatch Box, arguing for the Labour Government in favour of a minimum income guarantee which was part of the 1964 programme of the Labour Party.

Since then, the jargon has rolled on and we talk now of a negative income tax. But, whatever one calls it, we believe that there is an overwhelming case in favour of making progress with the work under-taken by the last Government towards the introduction, in stages if necessary, of a tax credit scheme. That has the merit that it would involve great simplification of our social and taxation system. It has the merit that automatically it would bring more help to families and individuals in real need without the need for individual application and, more importantly, without the need for means testing.

The right hon. Lady, or it may have been her hon. Friend, spoke about the strategy which either side wants to adopt to get ordinary retirement pensioners off means-tested benefits. We certainly want to do that as far as it is possible. We believe that the quickest, simplest, fairest and most expeditious way of doing that is by making progress on the foundations laid by my right hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber) in his Green Paper published in October 1972, Cmnd. 5116.

9.30 p.m.

I know that the right hon. Lady adopted a different approach, but the majority of that Committee was in favour of making progress on those lines. I know that other members of the Committee now sitting on the Front Bench opposite took yet a further variation in their approach, and I think that to some extent Douglas Houghton was running a one-man approach of his own. [Interruption.] That right hon. Gentleman did yeoman service to the Labour Party as well as to the House for many years. It is odd that it should need me to pay tribute to that.

I do not see myself how, fast enough and effectively enough, we are going to make the kind of progress that we all want towards the elimination of most means-tested benefits, towards the purposive and effective relief and conquest of poverty as far as it can possibly be done, without individual application, unless something in the nature of a tax credit scheme is proceeded with and brought forward by the Government.

It is because we want to place an obligation upon the Government to do that and to explain their attitude towards it now I have moved the amendment.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

As the right hon. and learned Gentleman has admitted, this is what I think is called a technically defec- tive amendment in the sense that, in the first place, its meaning is far from clear. Secondly, if the amendment were accepted by the Committee and included in the Bill it would merely be another of those considerations which the Secretary of State at his discretion had to take into account in making the annual review under Section 39 of the 1973 Act. In view of our last fracas it is pertinent to point out that this would come within the discretionary subsection 3(b), and therefore it would merely become one of those considerations that the Secretary of State should, without commitment, have in mind.

On the sheer merits of the content of the amendment I do not think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would press it very hard. I realise his difficulty in keeping within the terms of the Bill, and I am not trying to make any point out of that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was frank with the Committee and said that he merely wanted to use the amendment as something on which to hang what he hoped would be a short discussion on the tax-credit scheme in order to get our views on it.

Both my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and myself in previous debates have made clear the Government's attitude to the tax-credit scheme which I had the pleasure of studying in the Select Committee under the chairmanship of the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Clark). As the Chancellor said during the Budget debate, we do not have any objection in principle to a negative income tax. Indeed, as has been said, the Labour Government initially started the exploration of it.

As the right hon. and learned Gentleman looks a little puzzled, perhaps for his benefit I should read what the Chancellor said in his Budget speech: We believed, as we explained at length in opposition, that there are serious drawbacks to the tax credit scheme proposed by the previous administration. They were fully described in the Minority Reports of the Select Committee. We have not taken any decision against the principle of a negative income tax, which was the subject of considerable study under the previous Labour Government, but our immediate priority has been to carry out the major increase in national insurance benefits".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th March 1974; Vol 871, c. 312.] I remind the Committee of that point.

We have serious criticims of the tax credit scheme that was examined by the Select Committee, and perhaps I may state briefly two of our objections. The right hon. and learned Member for Surrey, East (Sir G. Howe) said that was to be a way of reaching an objective that we all share—that of rolling back means testing—but the trouble with the tax credit scheme is that it did not begin to tackle the problem of means testing. As the Green Paper which the previous Government produced pointed out, if the scheme had been introduced in October 1972 about 1 million national insurance beneficiaries would have had their incomes raised above the supplementary benefit level. That would have been 1 million out of 2¾ million people, and that would not even be half way towards getting rid of supplementary benefits. Indeed, apart from taking 800,000 pensioners above the supplementary benefit level, it would get rid of only one means test, the family income supplement. And whether it would achieve even that would depend on the way it was financed.

Another of our objections was that the previous Government never at any time gave any indication of how they proposed to raise the illustrative figure of £1,300 million. Unless one knows how it is to be raised, one does not know the value of the so-called increase in benefits. Indeed if the Government, sticking by the argument that they made in the Select Committee and the House, were to contemplate financing this out of growth—that is fiscal drag—without any increase in tax rates, as the calculations of experts to the Committee made clear, people could be worse off.

The one point on which there was unanimity among the members of the Select Committee, and I think that there is unanimity in the House, was in respect of the child credit. As a result of strong representations, the proposals for the child credit were, on the recommendation of the Select Committee, to be altered in such a way that they hardly became part of the tax credit scheme at all. We unanimously agreed that one could strike a blow against family poverty by sufficiently adequate cash allowances for all children, including the first, allowances which all agreed must be payable to the mother. In this way the allowance would not come as a credit to offset the tax through the father's wage packet.

It is possible to detach such an idea from the complex context of the tax credit scheme outlined by the Government. That is what we would propose to do, and that is what is meant by our child endowment scheme. On those lines, therefore, we should presumably be marching in harmony.

We believe that more generous longterm pension proposals of the kind that we are now working out will be far more effective in taking pensioners off supplementally benefit than, on the previous Governments' own admission, the tax credit scheme would have been. This is an extremely complicated and fascinating matter. I hope that we shall have opportunity to discuss it in detail in the House. It is important and I believe that we should probe it. We should certainly be willing to examine whether it is possible to find some alternative form of tax credit system without the disadvantages we foresaw in the system proposed in the Green Paper, the defects of which my hon Friends and I have outlined in our minority report.

It is, therefore, in my opinion a subject which we should continue to discuss and to probe. It is extremely complex. With all respect to the Committee I suggest that it does not arise on this uprating Bill. It is part of the long-term policy that we shall be discussing in all its facets in the months to come. Certainly if the amendment were to be adopted today it would add nothing to the substance of the considerations that the Secretary of State would have to have in mind during an uprating.

Photo of Mr William Clark Mr William Clark , Croydon South

In moving this amendment my right hon. and learned Friend said that he accepted its technicalities and deficiencies. However, there is no question but that the idea behind the amendment is to get the tax credit system started. The right hon. Lady says that in their minority report the Government Members rejected the scheme. I remind her that they put in two minority reports, one by the right hon. Lady and one by the hon. Gentleman who is now the Chief Secretary. I am not trying to create party rancour, but it is fair to say that even in a Select Committee the Socialist Party would split three ways, for the right hon. Member for Sowerby, as he then was, Mr. Houghton. voted for the majority report.

The right hon. Lady has got the wrong angle on this subject. We are arguing in this context that if we take our tax system as it is and one takes any Chancellor from any party and he increases tax allowances, that is splendid only if one has sufficient income to absorb any increase in personal allowances. A tax credit system, however, would mean that such an increase was a positive benefit to the person entitled to it.

The right hon. Lady is less than fair when she says that there are better methods, that abolishing family allowances and introducing a child credit is a good idea. That is only half of the story. If we are to have a child credit, it means that the child allowance, as we now know it, disappears out of the window, for one cannot have both.

All the Chief Secretary was arguing in his minority report was lack of flexibility. But now he is in the Treasury he probably realises a little more clearly that there is as much flexibility in the tax credit system as per the majority report as there is in our present tax system.

Another respect in which the right hon. Lady is less than fair is that she glibly says that if we are endeavouring to get rid of as much poverty as possible by the tax credit system, if the marriage allowance or the single allowance is increased, one can float off more and more people from supplementary benefit. The tax credit system would abolish FIS; it would increase the pension for the retired; and it would help the single-parent family.

It would also help a person trying to buy his own house, for under the tax credit system he would get what is known as a tax credit mortgage and instead of paying 11 per cent., he would get 33 per cent. automatically knocked off. I make that about 7½ per cent. So here, at a stroke, we could help the owner-occupier. But I am sure that you would not want me, Mr. Thomas, in the context of a National Insurance Bill, to talk about house ownership, important though it may be.

I think that the right hon. Lady should think about this again. I hope my right hon. and learned Friend will press the amendment, because the Conservative Party has gone on record as producing a report, albeit there were two minority reports. The Liberals voted with us, and I am sorry that they are not here to enjoy this debate, because they always profess so much concern for those in poverty and a desire to help all people. I regret that they are not here, but no doubt they are carrying on their community politics somewhere else.

The tax credit system should not be put off, and I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will press this to a vote. As I have said, the Conservative Party accepted the majority report. My right hon. Friend the then Chancellor of the Exchequer accepted our report in toto. We put it in our manifesto, and I think we ought to show at every opportunity that we intend, when next we get into office, to introduce a system which will automatically take many thousands of people out of poverty and away from means-tested benefits. In time we will make the system more sophisticated and get more means-tested benefits brought into the tax credits system.

For those reasons, I hope that my right hon. Friend will press this amendment and I regret that the right hon. Lady has not seen fit to accept it.

9.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey

I am grateful to have had the opportunity of listening to the authoritative comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Clark) about the arguments that we have advanced during this short debate. They are forceful arguments and strongly favour continued progress towards a tax credit scheme.

Of course, I listened with interest to what the right hon. Lady said. Manifestly, as was implicit in what my hon. Friend said, there may be scope for changes in one direction or another in the pattern, shape and financing of the tax credit scheme as it emerged from the last Select Committee analysis.

To some extent the child credit part of such a scheme can be regarded as a first step. The fact that by no means all, indeed only a minority, of retirement pensioners would take a means test on that analysis indicates why it deserves further examination. I do not believe that if Beveridge's original conception of means-tested assistance as a safety-net for the tiny minority is to be fulfilled we should ever get close enough to that without a redesigned tax credit system. That is the underlying argument, and it is for that reason that we attach high importance to this scheme and intend to press it for so long as this Parliament may last and thereafter in our own policies.

We are grateful for the willingness of the right hon. Lady to examine possible alternative approaches. I am grateful that this is a measure on which, to some extent, the historically bipartisan approach to the problem in the House of Commons appears to be surviving. I do not think that the Conservative Party in opposition can regard the statement by the right hon. Lady as sufficiently acknowledging the importance we attach to this. My hon. Friend urged me to press this to a Division. I recognise that those who study the reports in the OFFICIAL REPORT hereafter may have some difficulty in seeing how far the amendment takes us towards the objective. In this case people are entitled to

see why we have moved the amendment, why we speak in support of it.

I am delighted to welcome the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Dr. Winstanley) on his brief visitation. We have been commenting in his absence on the absence of representatives of his party.

Photo of Dr Michael Winstanley Dr Michael Winstanley , Hazel Grove

We are not often absent from the Lobby and we are not always accompanied by hon. Members on this side.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey

It is nevertheless significant that on this important matter, which goes to the heart of the pattern of social provision, the Liberal Party has been unrepresented by voice. We are glad that the Liberal Party is now represented in this form.

For the reasons I have stated, I invite my hon. Friends to support me in the Lobby.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes, 253, Noes 282.

Division No.12.]AYES[9.49 p.m.
Adley, RobertClarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Gorst, John
Aitken, JonathanClegg, WalterGow, Ian (Eastbourne)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Cockcroft, JohnGower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Cooke, Robert (Bristol, W.)Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Ancram, M.Cope, JohnGray, Hamish
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)Cordle, JohnGrieve, Percy
Atkins, Rt. Hn. Humphrey (Spelthorne)Cormack, PatrickGrist, Ian
Awdry, DanielCorrie, JohnGrylls, Michael
Baker, KennethCostain, A. P.Gurden, Harold
Banks, RobertCrouch, DavidHall, Sir John
Beith, AlanCrowder, F. P.Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Bell, RonaldDavies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. JamesHampson, Dr. Keith
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Fareham)Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)Hannam, John
Benyon, W.Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Berry, Hon. AnthonyDixon, PiersHarvie Anderson, Rt. Hon.
Biffen, JohnDodds-Parker, Sir DouglasHavers, Sir Michael
Biggs-Davison, JohnDodsworth, GeoffreyHawkins, Paul
Blaker, PeterDouglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir AlecHayhoe, Barney
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.)Drayson, BurnabyHeath, Rt. Hn. Edward
Body, Richarddu Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardHeseltine, Michael
Boscawen, Hon. RobertDurant, TonyHiggins, Terence
Bowden, Andrew (Brighton, Kemptown)Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnHolland, Philip
Boyson, Dr. Rhodes (Brent, N.)Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Hooson, Emlyn
Braine, Sir BernardElliott, Sir RobertHordern, Peter
Bray, RonaldFairgrieve, RussellHowe, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Surrey,E.)
Brewis, JohnFenner, Mrs. PeggyHowell, David (Guildford)
Brittan, LeonFidler MichaelHowell, Ralph (Norfolk, North)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Finsberg, GeoffreyHowells, Geraint (Cardigan)
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh, N.)Hunt, John
Buchanan-Smith, AlickFletcher-Cooke, CharlesHurd, Douglas
Buck, AntonyFookes, Miss JanetHutchison, Michael Clark
Budgen, NickFowler, Norman (Sutton Coldfield)Iremonger, T. L.
Bulmer, EsmondFox, MarcusIrvine, Bryant Godmen (Rye)
Burden, F. A.Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford&Stone)James, David
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Gardiner, George (Reigate&Banstead)Jenkin, Rt. Hn. P. (R'dgeW'std&W'fd)
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertGilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)Jessel, Toby
Chalker, Mrs. LyndaGlyn, Dr. AlanJohnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Channon, PaulGodber, Rt. Hn. JosephJohnston, Russell (Inverness)
Chataway, Rt. Hn. ChristopherGoodhart, PhilipJones, Arthur (Daventry)
Churchill, W. S.Goodhew, VictorJopling, Michael
Clark, A. K. M. (Plymouth, Sutton)Goodlad, A.Kaberry, Sir Donald
Clark, William (Croydon, S.)
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. ElaineMorris, Michael (Northampton, S.)Skeet, T. H. H.
Kershaw, AnthonyMorrison, Charles (Devizes)Smith, Dudley (W'wick&L'm'ngton)
Kimball, MarcusMorrison, Peter (City of Chester)Spicer, Jim (Dorset, W.)
Kirk, PeterMudd, DavidSpicer, Michael (Worcestershire, S.)
Kitson, Sir TimothyNeave, AireyStanbrook, Ivor
Knight, Mrs. JillNeubert, MichaelStanley, John
Knox, DavidNewton, Tony (Braintree)Steen, Anthony (L'pool, Wavertree)
Lamont, NormanNicholls, Sir HarmerStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Lane, DavidNormanton, TomStodart, Rt. Hn. A. (Edinburgh, W.)
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnNott, JohnStradling Thomas, J.
Latham, Michael (Melton)Onslow, CranleyTapsell, Peter
Lawrence, IvanOppenheim, Mrs. SallyTaylor, Edward M. (Glgow, C'cart)
Le Merchant, SpencerOsborn, JohnTaylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Lester, John (Beeston)Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)Tebbit, Norman
Lewis, Kenneth (Rtland & Stmford)Page, John (Harrow, W.)Temple-Morris, Peter
Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)Parkinson, Cecil (Hertfordshire, S.)Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Loveridge, JohnPattie, GeoffreyThomas, Rt. Hn. P. (B'net,H'dn S.)
McAdden, Sir StephenPercival, IanTownsend, C. D.
MacArthur, IanPink, R. BonnerTrotter, Neville
McCrindle, R. A.Pym, Rt. Hn. FrancisTugendhat, Christopher
Macfarlane, NeilRaison, TimothyTyler, Paul
MacGregor, JohnRathbone, Timvan Straubenzee, W. R.
McLaren, MartinRedmond, RobertViggers, Peter
Macmillan, Rt. Hn. M. (Farnham)Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)Waddington, David
McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)Renton,Rt.Hn.SirDavid(H't'gd'ns're)Wainwright, R. (Colne Valley)
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Renton, R. T. (Mid-Sussex)Wakeham, John
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonWelder, David (Clitheroe)
Marten, NeilRidley, Hn. NicholasWalker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Mather, CarolRifkind, MalcolmWall, Patrick
Maude, AngusRippon, Rt. Hn. GeoffreyWarren, Kenneth
Mawby, RayRoberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.-W.)Weatherill, Bernard
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Roberts, Wyn (Conway)Wells, John
MayheW, Patrick(RoyalT'bridgeWells)Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Meyer, Sir AnthonyRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)Wiggin, Jerry
Miller, Hal (B'grove & R'ditch)Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Winstanley, Dr. Michael
Mills, PeterRost, Peter (Derbyshire, S.-E.)Winterton, Nicholas
Miscampbell, NormanSainsbury, TimWorsley, Sir Marcus
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Scott-Hopkins, JamesYoung, Sir George (Ealing, Acton)
Moate, RogerShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Money, ErnieShaw, Michael (Scarborough)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Monro, HectorShelton, William (L'mb'th,Streath'm)Dr. Gerard Vaughan and
Moore, J. E. M. (Croydon, C.)Shersby, MichaelMr. Richard Luce.
More, Jasper (Ludlow)Silvester, Fred
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.Sims, Roger
Abse, LeoConcannon, J. D.Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Allaun, FrankConlan, BernardFlannery, Martin
Archer, Peter (Warley, West)Cook, Robert F. (Edinburgh, C.)Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Armstrong, ErnestCox, ThomasFletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Ashley, JackCraigen, J. M. (G'gow, Maryhill)Foot, Rt. Hn. Michael
Ashton, JoeCrawshaw, RichardFord, Ben
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)Crosland, Rt. Hn. AnthonyForrester, John
Atkinson, NormanCryer, G. R.Fowler, Gerry (The Wrekin)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Cunningham, G.(Islington,S&F'eb'ry)Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Cunningham. Dr. John A. (Whiteh'v'n)Freeson, Reginald
Barnett, Joel (Heywood & Royton)Dalyell, TamGalpern, Sir Myer
Bates, AlfDavidson, ArthurGarrett, John (Norwich, S.)
Baxter, WilliamDavies, Bryan (Enfield, N.)Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodDavies, Denzil (Llanelli)George, Bruce
Bennett, Andrew F. (Stockport, N.)Davies, Ifor (Gower)Gourlay, Harry
Bidwell, SydneyDavis, Clinton, (Hackney, C.)Graham, Ted
Bishop, E. S.Deakins, EricGrant, George (Morpeth)
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Dean, Joseph (Leeds, W.)Grant, John (Islington, C.)
Booth, Albertde Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir GeoffreyGriffiths, Eddie (Sheffield, Brightside)
Boothroyd, Miss BettyDelargy, HughHamilton, William (Fife, C.)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. A[...]urDell, Rt. Hn. EdmundHamling, William
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)Doig, PeterHardy, Peter
Bradley, TomDormand, J. D.Harper, Joseph
Broughton, Sir AlfredDouglas-Mann, BruceHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Brown,Bob(Newcastle upon Tyne,W.)Duffy, A E. P.Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Brown, Ronald (H'kney,S.& Sh'ditch)Dunnett, JackHattersley, Roy
Buchan, NormanDunwoody, Mrs. GwynethHatton, Frank
Buchanan,Richard(G'gow,Springbrn)Eadie, AlexHealey, Rt. Hn. Denis
Callaghan, Jim (M'dd'ton & Pr'wich)Edelman, MauriceHeffer, Eric S.
Campbell, IanEdge, GeoffHenderson,Douglas (Ab'rd'nsh're,E)
Cant, R. B.Edwards, Robert (W'hampton, S.E.)Hooley, Frank
Carmichael, NeilEllis, John (Brigg & Scunthorpe)Horam, John
Carter, RayEllis, Tom (Wrexham)Howell, Denis (B'ham, Small Heath)
Carter-Jones, LewisEnglish, MichaelHuckfield, Leslle
Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraEvans, Fred (Caerphilly)Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Clemitson, IvorEvans, Ioan (Aberdare)Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Cocks, MichaelEvans, John (Newton)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, North)
Cohen, StanleyEwing,H.(St'ling,F'kirk&G'm'th)
Coleman, DonaldFernyhough. Rt. Hn. E.
Colquhoun, Mrs. M. N.
Hughes, Roy (Newport)Mayhew,Christopher(G'wh,W'wch,E)Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (L'sham D'ford)
Hunter, AdamMeacher, MichaelSilkin, Rt. Hn. S.C.(S'hwark, Dulwich)
Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (L'p'l,EdgeHilll)Mellish, Rt. Hn. RobertSilverman, Julius
Irving, Rt. Hn. Sydney (Dartford)Mendelson, JohnSkinner, Dennis
Jackson, ColinMikardo, IanSmall, William
Janner, GrevilleMillan, BruceSmith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Jay, Rt. Hn. DouglasMiller, Dr. M. S. (E. Kilbride)Snape, Peter
Jeger, Mrs. LenaMitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, lichen)Spriggs, Leslie
Jenkins, Hugh (W'worth, Putney)Molloy, WilliamStallard, A. W.
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (B'ham, St'fd)Moonman, EricStewart, Donald (Western Isles)
John, BrynmorMorris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Stewart, Rt. Hn. M. (H'sth,Fulh'm)
Johnson, James (K'ston uponHull, W.)Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberayon)Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Jones, Arthur (Daventry)Moyle, RolandStott, Roger
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)Mulley, Rt. Hn. FrederickStrang, Gavin
Jones, Dan (Burnley)Murray, Ronald KingStrauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)Nowens. Stanley (Harlow)Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)Oakes, GordonSwain, Thomas
Judd, FrankOgden, EricTaverne, Dick
Kaufman, GeraldO'Halloran, MichaelThomas, D. E. (Merioneth)
Kelley, RichardO'Malley, BrianThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Kerr, RussellOrbach, MauriceThorn, Stan (Preston, S.)
Kilroy-Silk, RobertOvenden, JohnTierney, Sydney
Kinnock, NeilOwen, Dr. DavidTinn, James
Lambie, DavidPadley, WalterTomlinson, John
Lamborn, HarryPalmer, ArthurTorney, Tom
Lamond, JamesPark, George (Coventry. N.E.)Tuck, Raphael
Latham, Arthur(CityofW'minsterP'ton)Parker, John (Dagenham)Urwin, T. W.
Lawson, Goorge (Motherwell&Wishaw)Pavitt, LaurieVarley, Rt. Hn. Eric G.
Leadbitter, TedPearl, Rt. Hn. FredWainwright, Edwin
Lee, JohnPendry, TomWalden, Brian (B'm'ham, Ladywood)
Lester, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Perry, Ernest G.Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Lever, Rt. Hn. HaroldPhipos, Dr. ColinWalker, Terry (Kingswood)
Lewis, Arthur (Newham, N.)Prentice, Rt. Hn. RegWatkins, David
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Prescott, JohnWatt, Hamish
Lipton, MarcusRadice, GilesWeitzman, David
Lomas, KennethRees, Rt. Hn. Merlyn (Leeds, S.)Wellbeloved, James
Loughlin, CharlesReid, GeorgeWhite, James
Loyden, EddieRhodes, GeoffreyWhitehead, Phillip
Lyon, Alexander W. (York)Richardson, Miss JoWhitlock, William
Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
McCartney, HughRoberts, Gwilym (Cannock)Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
McElhole, FrankRobertson, John (Paisley)Williams, Alan Lee (Hvrng. Hchurch)
MacFarquhar, RoderickRoderick, Caerwyn E.Williams, Mrs. Shirley(H'tf'd&St'nge)
McGuire, MichaelRodgers, George (Chorley)Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Mackenzie, GregorRodgers,William (Teesside,St'ckton)Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
MacLennan. RobertRooker. J. W.Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
McMillan, Torn (Glasgow, C.)Rose, Paul B.Wilson, William (Coventry, S.E.)
McNamara, J. KevinRoss, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)Wise. Mrs. Audrey
Madden, M. o. F.Rowlands, EdwardWoodall, Alec
Magee, BryanSanderson, NevilleWoof, Robert
Mahon, SimonSedgemore, BryanWrigglesworth, Ian
Mallalieu, J. P. W.Selby, HarryYoung, David (Bolton, E.)
Marks, KennethShaw, Arnold (Redbridge, Ilford, S.)
Marquand, DavidSheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Marshall, Dr. Edmund (Goole)Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter(S'pney&P'plar)Mr. James Hamilton and
Mason, Rt. Hn. RoyShort, Rt. Hn. E. (N'ctle-u-Tyne)Mr. John Golding.

Question accordingly negatived.

It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress.