Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th July 1979.

Alert me about debates like this

Again considered in Committee.

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

Mr. Rees:

I turn to the intervention of the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston).

Photo of Mr Alex Lyon Mr Alex Lyon , City of York

I have been trying to do the sum posed by the Minister of State. On the basis of the information that he gave us, does it not mean that on a 10p increase per gallon the reduction in consumption will be minuscule? Does that not undermine some of the arguments for introducing a 10p increase?

Mr. Rees:

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman, but I should prefer not to respond to his figures. I will look at it more carefully if he wishes and write to him about it. I would not trust my own mathematics or faculties at this hour of the night.

It was inevitable that someone in this debate would ask how a rather similar debate was conducted a little more than two years ago, on 4 April 1977, when the right hon. Member for Leeds, East proposed increases in petrol duty. Liberal Members evidently detect a faint inconsistency between the position of the Conservative Party now and then. Let me endeavour to reassure hon. Gentlemen, if I can, by reading a short passage from Hansard of 9 May 1977, quoting from a speech by my right hon. and learned Friend now the Chancellor of the Exchequer: The Government have pre-eminently selected the wrong mix to bring before the House. We are not asking for motorists and petrol prices to be exempted altogether from the burden of indirect taxation. That would be to go back a long way. Nor do we ask that they should be exempt from the burden of taxation in a general switch from direct to indirect taxation. However the Government have brought forward a package in which motorists have been selected as the special victims of the switch. …"—[Official Report, 9 May 1977; Vol. 931, c. 990.] Hon. Members will see at once, therefore, the basis on which we can distinguish what we propose today and what was proposed by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East on that occasion. I hope that that goes some way to reassure my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest (Mr. NcNairWilson), who has a long and honourable record of opposition to increases in petrol duties. He will realise that the situation is not precisely the same and perhaps he will be able to reconsider his position on this occasion, recognising that we have not singled out motorists for a swingeing impost. It is part of a calculated shift from direct to indirect taxation.

I am tempted, though I do not think that the Committee would bear with me, to recall what the right hon. Member for Leeds, East said on that occasion. I could have quoted him almost word for word and that would, I believe, have supported what we are attempting to do now.

The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), courteous as always, asked me another question. I am always staggered by the range of his interest and knowledge. On this occasion we move from the corruption of the stone facades of West Lothian to the distribution of oil. I hope that the hon. Member will not think me discourteous if I do not respond to the question, which falls more within the responsibilities of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy. I do not think that I could do justice to the question, nor, if he will allow me to say so, is it directly relevant to the proposals that we are debating.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

It was a question that was put by no fewer than four Members, on both sides of the House, during the debate. I repeat that it is of great urgency to those of us who represent country areas.

Mr. Rees:

I entirely appreciate the motives that led the hon. Gentleman to put the question to me and led other hon. Members to raise it. I would only plead that my responsibilities are rather more limited. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will take note of the important points that have been made, and I do not doubt that the hon. Gentleman would prefer a more authoritative answer from my right hon. Friend to a perhaps not entirely considered response from somebody who has no particular responsibilities in that respect.

I return now to the amendments. The amendment moved for the Liberal Party by the right hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles is rather tentative. If Liberal Members are enamoured of the idea of indexation, I suggest that they should look with more favour on the Government's proposals, since they go a little further down that route than their amendment No. 7 does.

As for amendment No. 23 and new clause 10, spoken to so persuasively by the hon. Member for Gateshead, West, I suggest that the hon. Gentleman is perhaps following the interest that he pursued when at the Department of Transport and that on this occasion what we propose will be of more advantage to the country. Of course, it does not rule out proper consideration of a diminution or phasing out of vehicle excise duty, but it will be more to the advantage of the country as a whole, and of motorists in particular, for the Committee to approve the increases proposed by the Government instead of the rather tenuous proposals embodied in amendment No. 23 and new clause 10.

On that basis, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not be disposed to press his amendment to a Division, recognising that there will be an opportunity to consider all these issues again when my right hon. Friend has completed his review of the vehicle excise duty.

Photo of John Horam John Horam , Gateshead West

First, on a procedural point, Mr. Crawshaw, I hope that it will be possible to have a separate vote on amendment No. 23 after we have voted on the Liberal amendment No. 7.

As for the general tenor of the Minister's remarks, I can only say that he has not answered the central case which we have advanced. The point of that case is that it is wrong to impose this gratuitous tax increase when world prices are moving up as quickly as they are at the moment. Irrespective of the Budget increase, we had an increse, in effect, of 35p in the price of four-star petrol in this country over the past six months. The Government have now imposed a further increase of 10p of their own accord.

The Government argue that they are doing that to cut back demand. Indeed, this was the point made by the Prime Minister in response to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition earlier this week. But our argument is that OPEC is already doing that job for them. Moreover, this point has been made not just from these Benches. It was made by the hon. Member for New Forest (Mr. McNair-Wilson) and by other hon. Members on the Government side. OPEC is doing the job without further help from the British Government.

The pretentious of this tax to be a conservation measure are bogus. It is simply a revenue-raising measure, and as such it is on all fours with the increase in VAT to 15 per cent. It is made necessary by the Government's commitment to cut income tax by 3p in the pound. That is the logic of their position and that is how it remains.

It is a harsh impost. It will hit the poor. As was said by many hon. Members on both sides, the business man will not be affected by the increase. The persons most affected will be those who have no alternative but to go by car to work. They will be the heaviest sufferers from an impost of this kind. Moreover, it will fuel inflation and it will steepen recession. And it will do all these things without even fitting into the Government's philosophy, because, as the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) pointed out, it is not even an application of market forces; it is an interference with market forces.

I believe, therefore, that what the Government have done will begin to mobilise the men of this country against them, just as the VAT increases have mobilised the women. I am not surprised that this Government's political honeymoon has been the shortest in post-war history. The Minister of State has declined to reconsider his position on this tax, which many hon. Members on both sides have asked him to do, and we must therefore vote for amendment No. 23.

Photo of Mr Richard Wainwright Mr Richard Wainwright , Colne Valley

There are many topics debated in the House of Commons that illustrate the dangers and sometimes the hollow futility of adversary politics, but no subject illustrates the dangers and futility more than debates on petrol duties. During the past 35 years, for example, the alternating parties in Government have increased petrol duties only to be hotly opposed by the alternating parties in Opposition. Each party has in turn used virtually the same arguments against the adversary party. Tonight is no exception. I do not accept for a moment the Minister of State's claim that his action in increasing petrol duties this year is wholly consistent with the Conservative Party's opposition to Labour's increase of petrol duties in 1977.

The Minister of State had the cheek to say that in 1977 the Conservative Party objected to the motorist being singled out for punishment. However, that is exactly what the Government have done this year. There was no increase proposed in the excise duties on alcohol or tobacco—merely a heavy increase in the excise duty on petrol. One of the many ways in which we could reduce the sham of adversary politics would be to make provision for automatic indexation of the specific excise duties that my right hon. Friend the Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) emphasised when introducing amendment No. 7.

The Minister of State, who has a reputation for impudence in this Chamber, made the extraordinary statement that the Government were making a meritorious revalorisation of the petrol duties. That is to sidestep the whole argument of automatic provision for indexation according to a strict formula. The Government thought of a number, increased revenue and blamed revalorisation. That is a worthless argument. The Minister of State seeks to dress up the 10p increase as a revalorisation. The hon. and learned Gentleman thought of the number first and the excuse of re-valorisation subsequently.

The debate has been valuable in smoking out completely the false attribute claimed in the Budget Statement for this savage increase. It was claimed to be a meritorious, virtuous and pious weapon, designed to reduce consumption. I am sure that we are all indebted to the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) for effectively wiping out that argument. The right hon. Gentleman reduced the Minister to the feeble defence that perhaps market forces would reduce the consumption of petrol sufficiently, but at least this year's increase in duty would help to do it rather more quickly.

If that is the Government's defence of the 10p increase, it seems that the increase is merely an acceleration in the time scale of the reduction in demand. It follows logically that next year they will remove the temporary accelerator, as it will not be needed. According to the Government's gospel, market forces will have caught up, aided by the temporary boost that they claim skilfully to have introduced into the Budget. I hope that we can look forward confidently to the removal of the impost next year.

10.15 p.m.

As my right hon. Friend made clear, the amendment is based on the principle of automatic indexation. We argue that the additional revenue should be gained by the indexation of the specific excises on alcohol and tobacco. We tabled the amendment confident in the knowledge that the Treasury team, when in Opposition, was a group of fervent advocates of indexing the whole tax system. I do not wish to weary the Committee with more than one quotation, but regardless of the wishes of Conservative Members—I am sure that they know how embarrassing my quotation will be—they will get one.

On 25 July the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson), who was one of the Shadow Treasury team, said: I have time and again consistently stated that I am in favour of the same form of indexation being applied to specific duties. I have made no secret of it. If my hon. Friend will read the speech I made in the Budget debate, he will see that I dealt in specific terms with the"— indexation of the— petrol duty. If my hon. Friend will read the speeches of our right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East (Sir G. Howe) —the Shadow Chancellor— he will see that for some time he has been making powerful speeches pointing out the evils of an unindexed tax system."—[Official Report, 25 July 1977; Vol. 936, c. 109.] I was disappointed that exactly a week ago tonight in the debate on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill the Minister of State, although he could not deny his colleagues' enthusiasm for indexation, took refuge in an obscure sentence. He said: Formal indexation would create technical difficulties, and perhaps we can deal with that subject in Committee."—[Official Report, 27 June 1979; Vol. 969, c. 577.] I took the precaution of reminding the Minister of State of that by letter earlier this afternoon, yet tonight he refuses to return to the subject in Committee. He made an extraordinary excuse that we had spent a long time on this subject in Committee and that there was no time to go into the offer that he made a week ago. I hope that the Minister of State, on reflection, will feel that we are entitled to some amends for his extraordinary behaviour. The House and its procedures would benefit enormously from the automatic indexation of the various specific excise duties, just as it benefited enormously from the successful Rooker-Wise amendment for the automatic indexation of the personal allowances for income tax. The Liberal amendment proposes such an indexation. On those grounds, I commend it to the Committee.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 37, Noes 295.

Division No. 43]AYES[10.18 p.m.
Allaun, FrankCarter-Jones, LewisEvans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Alton, DavidClark, David (South Shields)Forrester, John
Anderson, DonaldConlan, BernardGrimond, Rt Hon J.
Bray, Dr JeremyCryer, BobHeffer, Eric S.
Canavan, DennisEdwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Howells, Geraint
Johnston, Russell (Inverness)Newens, StanleyWainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Kilfedder, James A.Prescott, JohnWeetch, Ken
Kilroy-Silk, RobertRobert, Gwilym (Cannock)Wigley, Dafydd
Lambie, DavidRoss, Ernest (Dundee West)Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Lamond, JamesRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Skinner, DennisTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mckelvey, WilliamStewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)Mr. A. J. Beith and
Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)Mr. David Penhaligon.
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Torney, Tom
NOES
Adley, Robertdu Cann, Rt Hon EdwardLamont, Norman
Aitken, JohathanDunn, Robert (Dartford)Lang, Ian
Alexander, RichardDurant, TonyLangford-Holt, Sir John
Amery, Rt Hon JulianDykes, HughLatham, Michael
Ancram, MichaelEden, Rt Hon Sir JohnLawrence, Ivan
Arnold, TomEdwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)Lawson, Nigel
Aspinwall, JackEggar, TimothyLee, John
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Elliott, Sir WilliamLe Marchant, Spencer
Atkins, Robert (Preston North)Emery, PeterLennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)Eyre, ReginaldLester, Jim (Beeston)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Fairgrieve, RussellLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Faith, Mrs SheilaLloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)
Banks, RobertFell, AnthonyLloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyFenner, Mrs PeggyLoveridge, John
Bell, RonaldFinsberg, GeoffreyLuce, Richard
Bendall, VivianFisher, Sir NigelLyell, Nicholas
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)McCrindle, Robert
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMacfarlane, Neil
Benyon, W. (Buckingham)Fookes, Miss JanetMacGregor, John
Berry, Hon AnthonyForman, NigelMacKay, John (Argyll)
Best, KeithFowler, Rt Hon NormanMacmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)
Bevan, David GilroyFox, MarcusMcNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnFraser, Peter (South Angus)McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Biggs-Davison, JohnFry, PeterMcQuarrie, Albert
Blackburn, JohnGalbraith, Hon T. G. D.Madel, David
Blaker, PeterGardiner, George (Reigate)Major, John
Body, RichardGardner, Edward (South Fylde)Marland, Paul
Bonsor, Sir NicholasGilmour, Rt Hon Sir IanMarlow, Tony
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)Glyn, Dr AlanMarshall, Michael (Arundel)
Bowden, AndrewGoodhart, PhilipMarten, Neil (Banbury)
Boyson, Dr RhodesGoodlad, AlastairMates, Michael
Bright, GrahamGorst, JohnMather, Carol
Brinton, TimGower, Sir RaymondMaude, Rt Hon Angus
Brittan, LeonGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)Mawby, Ray
Brocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherGray, HamishMawhinney, Dr Brian
Brooker, Hon PeterGrieve, PercyMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Brotherton, MichaelGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds)Mayhew, Patrick
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)Mellor, David
Browne, John (Winchester)Grist, IanMeyer, Sir Anthony
Bruce-Gardyne, JohnGrylls, MichaelMiller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)
Bryan, Sir PaulGummer, John SelwynMills, Peter (West Devon)
Buchanan-Smith, Hon AlickHamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll)Miscampbell, Norman
Buck, AntonyHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Budgen, NickHampson, Dr KeithMonro, Hector
Bulmer, EsmondHannam, JohnMontgomery, Fergus
Burden, F. A.Haselhurst, AlanMoore, John
Butcher, JohnHavers, Rt Hon Sir MichaelMorgan, Geraint
Butler, Hon AdamHawksley, WarrenMorris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)
Cadbury, JocelynHeddle, JohnMorrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)
Carlisle, John (Luton West)Henderson, BarryMorrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hicks, RobertMudd, David
Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)Hingins, Rt Hon Terence L.Murphy, Christopher
Chalker, Mrs. LyndaHill, JamesMyles, David
Channon, PaulHogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)Neale, Gerrard
Chapman, SydneyHolland, Philip (Carlton)Neubert, Michael
Churchill, W. S.Hooson, TomNewton, Tony
Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Hordern, PeterNormanton, Tom
Clark, Dr William (Craydon South)Howe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyNott, Rt Hon John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally
Cockeram, EricHunt, David (Wirral)Osborn, John
Colvin, MichaelHunt, John (Ravensbourne)Page, John (Harrow, West)
Cormack, PatrickIrving, Charles (Cheltenham)Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Corrie, JohnJenkin, Rt Hon PatrickParkinson, Cecil
Costain, A. P.Jessel, TobyParris, Matthew
Cranborne, ViscountJohnson Smith, GeoffreyPatten, Christopher (Bath)
Critchey, JulianJopling, Rt Hon MichaelPatten, John (Oxford)
Crouch, DavidJoseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithPattie, Geoffrey
Dean, Paul (North Somerset)Kaberry, Sir DonaldPawsey, James
Dickens, GeoffreyKellett-Bowman, Mrs ElainePercival, Sir Ian
Dodsworth, GeoffreyKimball, MarcusPollock, Alexander
Dorrell, StephenKing, Rt Hon TomPorter, George
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesKitson, Sir TimothyPrice, David (Eastleigh)
Dover, DenshoreKnox, DavidProctor, K. Harvey
Pym, Rt Hon FrancisSpeed, KeithViggers, Peter
Raison, TimothySpeller, TonyWaddington, David
Rathbone, TimSpicer, Jim (West Dorset)Wakeham, John
Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)Waldegrave, Hon William
Rees-Davies, W. R.Sproat, IainWalker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Renton, TimSquire, RobinWall, Patrick
Rhodes James, RobertStainton, KeithWaller, Gary
Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonStanbrook, IvorWalters, Dennis
Ridley, Hon NicholasStanley, JohnWard, John
Ridsdale, JulianSteen, AnthonyWatson, John
Rifkind, MalcolmStevens, MartinWells, John (Maidstone)
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway)Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)Wheeler, John
Rossi, HughStokes, JohnWhitney, Raymond
Rost, PeterStradling Thomas, J.Wickenden, Keith
Royle, Sir AnthonyTaylor, Robert (Croydon NW)Wiggin, Jerry
Sainsbury, Hon TimothyTebbit, NormanWilkinson, John
St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon NormarTemple-Morris, PeterWilliams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Scott, NicholasThomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)Winterton, Nicholas
Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)Thompson, DonaldWolfson, Mark
Shelton, William (Streatham)Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Thornton, MalcolmYounger, Rt Hon George
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)Townend, John (Bridlington)
Shersby, MichaelTownsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Silvester, FredTrippier, DavidMr. John Cope and
Skeet, T. H. H.Trotter, NevilleMr. Robert Boscawen
Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)Vaughan, Dr Gerard

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed: No. 23, in page 2, line 31, leave out '£0·0810' and insert '£0·0735'.—[Mr. Horam.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 251, Noes 299.

Division No.44]AYES[10.30 p.m.
Abse, LeoDavidson, ArthurHamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Adams, AllenDavies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Hardy, Peter
Allaun, FrankDavies, E. Hudson (Caerphilly)Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Alton, DavidDavies, Ifor (Gower)Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Anderson, DonaldDavis, Clinton (Hackney Central)Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Archer, Rt Hon PeterDavis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)Haynes, Frank
Armstrong, Rt Hon ErnestDeakins, EricHealey, Rt Hon Denis
Ashton, JoeDean, Joseph (Leeds West)Heffer, Eric S.
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)Dempsey, JamesHogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Dixon, DonaldHome Robertson, John
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Dobson, FrankHomewood, William
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Dormand, JackHooley, Frank
Beith, A. J.Douglas, DickHoram, John
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodDubs, AlfredHowell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm'H)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Duffy, A. E. P.Howells, Geraint
Bidwell. SydneyDunlop, JohnHuckfield, Les
Booth, Rt Hon AlbertDunnett, JackHughes, Mark (Durham)
Boothroyd, Miss BettyDunwoody, Mrs GwynethHughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur (M'brough)Eastham, KenHughes, Roy (Newport)
Bradley, TomEdwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Janner, Hon Greville
Bray, Dr JeremyEllis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)John, Brynmor
Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)Ennals, Rt Hon DavidJohnson, James (Hull West)
Buchan, NormanEvans, Ioan (Aberdare)Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Evans, John (Newton)Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Ewing, HarryJones, Barry (East Flint)
Campbell, IanField, FrankJones, Dan (Burnley)
Campbell-Savours, DaleFitch, AlanKaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Canavan, DennisFlannery, MartinKerr, Russell
Cant, R. B.Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Kilfedder, James A.
Carmichael, NeilFoot, Rt Hon MichaelKilroy-Silk, Robert
Carter-Jones, LewisFord, BenKinnock, Neil
Cartwright, JohnForrester, JohnLambie, David
Clark, David (South Shields)Foster, DerekLamborn, Harry
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)Foulkes, GeorgeLamond, James
Cohen, StanleyFraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)Leadbitter, Ted
Coleman, DonaldFreeson, Rt Hon ReginaldLeighton, Ronald
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Garrett, John (Norwich S)Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Conlan, BernardGarrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Cook, Robin F.George, BruceLofthouse, Geoffrey
Cowans, HarryGilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnLyon, Alexander (York)
Craigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill)Ginsburg, DavidLyons, Edward (Bradford West)
Crowther, J. S.Golding, JohnMcCartney, Hugh
Cryer, BobGourlay, HarryMcDonald, Dr Oonagh
Cunliffe, LawrenceGraham, TedMcElhone, Frank
Cunningham, George (Islington S)Grant, John (Islington C)McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven)Grimond, Rt Hon J.McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Dalyell, TamHamilton, James (Bothwell)McKelvey, William
MacKenzie, Rt Hon GregorParry, RobertStott, Roger
Maclennan, RobertPenhaligon, DavidSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
McMahon, AndrewPowell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, Central)Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
McNally, ThomasPrescott, JohnThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
McWilliam, JohnPrice, Christopher (Lewisham West)Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)
Magee, BryanRace, RegThomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)
Marks, KennethRadice, GilesThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)Richardson, Miss JoTilley, John
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)Torney, Tom
Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)U-win, Rt Hon Tom
Martin, Michael (Gl'gow. Springb'rn)Robertson, GeorgeVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Maxton, JohnRodgers, Rt Hon WilliamWainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Maynard, Miss JoanRooker, J. W.Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Meacher, MichaelRoss, Ernest (Dundee West)Watkins, David
Mellish, Rt Hon RobertRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)Weetch, Ken
Mikardo, IanRoss, Wm. (Londonderry)Wellbeloved, James
Millan, Rt Hon BruceRowlands, TedWelsh, Michael
Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)Ryman, JohnWhite, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)Sandelson, NevilleWhitehead, Phillip
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Sever, JohnWhitlock, William
Molyneaux, JamesSheerman, BarryWigley, Dafyd
Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Moyle, Rt Hon RolandSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Mulley, Rt Hon FrederickSilverman, JuliusWilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Newens, StanleySkinner, DennisWilson, William (Coventry SE)
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonSmith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)Winnick, David
Ogden EricSnape, PeterWoolmer, Kenneth
O'Halloran, MichaelSoley, CliveWrigglesworth, Ian
O'Neill, MartinSpearing, NigelWright, Sheila
Orme, Rt Hon StanleySpriggs, LeslieYoung, David (Bolton East)
Owen, Rt Hon Dr DavidStallard, A. W.
Palmer, ArthurSteel, Rt Hon DavidTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Park, GeorgeStewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)Mr. George Morton and
Parker, JohnStoddart, DavidMr. Thomas Cox
NOES
Adley, RobertBurden, F. A.Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)
Aitken, JonathanButcher, JohnFletcher-Cooke, Charles
Alexander, RichardButler, Hon AdamFookes, Miss Janet
Amery, Rt Hon JulianCadbury, JocelynForman, Nigel
Ancram, MichaelCarlisle, John (Luton West)Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Arnold, TomCarlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Fox, Marcus
Aspinwall, JackCarlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Chalker, Mrs. LyndaFry, Peter
Atkins, Robert (Preston North)Channon, PaulGalbraith, Hon T. G. D.
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)Chapman, SydneyGardiner, George (Reigate)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Churchill, W. S.Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Banks, RobertClark, Dr William (Croydon South)Glyn, Dr Alan
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyClarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Goodhart, Philip
Bell, RonaldClegg, WalterGoodlad, Alastair
Bendell, VivianCockeram, EricGorst, John
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Colvin, MichaelGow, Ian
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)Cormack, PatrickGower, Sir Raymond
Benyon, W. (Buckingham)Corrie, JohnGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Berry, Hon AnthonyCostain, A. P.Gray, Hamish
Best, KeithCranborne, ViscountGrieve, Percy
Bevan, David GilroyCritchley, JulianGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds)
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnCrouch, DavidGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Biggs-Davison, JohnDean, Paul (North Somerset)Grist, Ian
Blackburn, JohnDickens, GeoffreyGrylls, Michael
Blaker, PeterDodsworth, GeoffreyGummer, John Selwyn
Body, RichardDorrell, StephenHamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll)
Bonsor, Sir NicholasDouglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)Dover, DenshoreHampson, Dr Keith
Bowden, Andrewdu Cann, Rt Hon EdwardHannam, John
Boyson, Dr RhodesDunn, Robert (Dartford)Haselhurst, Alan
Bright, GrahamDurant, TonyHavers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Brinton, TimDykes, HughHawksley, Warren
Brittan, LeonEden, Rt Hon Sir JohnHayhoe, Barney
Brocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherEdwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)Heddle, John
Brooke, Hon PeterEgger, TimothyHenderson, Barry
Brotherton, MichaelElliott, Sir WilliamHicks, Robert
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)Emery, PeterHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Browne, John (Winchester)Eyre, ReginaldHill, James
Bruce-Gardyne, JohnFairgrieve, RussellHogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)
Bryan, Sir PaulFaith, Mrs SheilaHolland, Philip (Carlton)
Buchanan-Smith, Hon AlickFell, AnthonyHooson, Tom
Buck, AntonyFenner, Mrs PeggyHordern, Peter
Budgen, NickFinsberg, GeoffreyHowe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Bulmer, EsmondFisher, Sir NigelHowell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Hunt, David (Wirral)Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Skeet, T. H. H.
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)Monro, HectorSmith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)
Jenkin, Rt Hon PatrickMontgomery, FergusSpeed, Keith
Jessel, TobyMoore, JohnSpeller, Tony
Johnson Smith, GeoffreyMorgan, GeraintSpicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelMorris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithMorrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)Sproat, Iain
Kaberry, Sir DonaldMorrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)Squire, Robin
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineMudd, DavidStainton, Keith
Kimball, MarcusMurphy, ChristopherStanbrook, Ivor
King, Rt Hon TomMyles, DavidStanley, John
Kitson, Sir TimothyNeale, GerrardSteen, Anthony
Knox, DavidNeubert, MichaelStevens, Martin
Lamont, NormanNewton, TonyStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Lang, IanNormanton, TomStewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnNott, Rt Hon JohnStokes, John
Latham, MichaelOppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs SallyStradling Thomas, J.
Lawrence, IvanOsborn, JohnTaylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Lawson, NigelPage, John (Harrow, West)Tebbit, Norman
Lee, JohnPage, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)Temple-Morris, Peter
Le Merchant, SpencerParkinson, CecilThatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkParris, MatthewThomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)
Lester, Jim (Beeston)Patten, Christopher (Bath)Thompson, Donald
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Patten, John (Oxford)Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Lloyd, fan (Havant & Waterloo)Pattie, GeoffreyThornton, Malcolm
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Pawsey, JamesTownend, John (Bridlington)
Loveridge, JohnPercival, Sir IanTownsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Luce, RichardPollock, AlexanderTrippier, David
Lyell, NicholasPorter, GeorgeTrotter Neville
McCrindle, RobertPrice, David (Eastleigh)Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Macfarlane, NeilProctor, K. HarveyViggers, Peter
MacGregor, JohnPym, Rt Hon FrancisWaddington, David
MacKay, John (Argyll)Raison, TimothyWakeham, John
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Rathbone, TimWaldegrave, Hon William
McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Rees-Davies, W. R.Wall, Patrick
McOuarrie, AlbertRenton, TimWaller, Gary
Madel, DavidRhodes James, RobertWalters, Dennis
Major, JohnRhys Williams, Sir BrandonWard, John
Marland, PaulRidley, Hon NicholasWatson, John
Marlow, TonyRidsdale, JulianWells, John (Maidstone)
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Rifkind, MalcolmWells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Marten, Neil (Banbury)Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)Wheeler, John
Mates, MichaelRoberts, Wyn (Conway)Whitney, Raymond
Mather, CarolRossi, HughWickenden, Keith
Maude, Rt Hon AngusRost, PeterWiggin, Jerry
Mawby, RayRoyle, Sir AnthonyWilkinson, John
Mawhinney, Dr BrianSainsbury, Hon TimothyWilliams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinSt. John-Stevas, Rt Hon NormamWinterton, Nicholas
Mayhew, PatrickScott, NicholasWolfson, Mark
Mellor, DavidShaw, Michael (Scarborough)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Meyer, Sir AnthonyShelton, William (Streatham)Younger, Rt Hon George
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Mills, Iain (Meriden)Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'bills)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mills, Peter (West Devon)Shersby, MichaelMr. Robert Boscawen and
Miscampbell, NormanSilvester, FredMr. John Cope.

Question accordingly negatived.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Charles Morris Mr Charles Morris , Manchester Openshaw

I seek elucidation from the Minister of State about the impact that the clause may have on domestic users of oil for central heating purposes. Those with oil-burning central heating systems may have been encouraged when the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his Budget Statement: I am not, however, increasing the duty for burning oil and for domestic paraffin, which is the oil used most commonly in the home, particularly by pensioners."—[Official Report, 12 June 1979; Vol. 968, c. 254.] However, in the brief issued by the Treasury, that undertaking was interpreted to mean, in terms of clause 2, that the exception for the increase in duty is that kerosenes that include domestic paraffin and over two-thirds of oil that is normally used for domestic central heating are exempt.

Does it follow that one-third will bear the impost envisaged by the tax changes? Will the Minister indicate the burden that will be imposed on householders who have domestic oil-fired central heating systems? It should be borne in mind that those luckless householders have carried a burden of continuing increases in the cost of oil for domestic central heating over the past 12 or 18 months.

10.45 p.m.

A report in today's edition of The Sun indicates that these families might not he in a position to receive any such fuel during the forthcoming winter. It refers to warnings issued by Britain's oil distributors who have told the Minister of State, Department of Energy that shortages in paraffin and heating oil are more critical than the squeeze on petrol. Those householders could be affected if my interpretation of clause 2 is correct. Therefore, I should be grateful if the Minister could clear up that matter.

Will oil for central heating purposes be increased as a result of the clause? I hope that the Minister will bear in mind that many householders are obliged to use oil because they live in geographically isolated areas where other forms of heating are not immediately available.

Photo of Mr Peter Rees Mr Peter Rees , Dover and Deal

I shall respond briefly to the right hon. Gentleman's comments. The clause increases the duty on heavy oil that is not used as road fuel and furnace fuel that is used by approved persons from 0·55p per litre, or 2·5p per gallon, to 0·66p per litre, or 3p per gallon. The increase in kerosene applies only to aviation turbine fuel. The duty on other kerosene remains at 0·22p per litre, or 1p per gallon. I cannot be more specific, because various sorts of heating use various sorts of fuel. I hope that that answers with sufficient particularity the hon. Gentleman's point.

Photo of Mr Charles Morris Mr Charles Morris , Manchester Openshaw

The Minister's statement will not have encouraged householders with oil-fired central heating. I am not concerned for the affluent, but I am concerned for the lower-income householders who have already borne an increasing financial burden.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

To report Progress and ask leave to sit again.—[Mr. Biffen.]

Committee report Progress; to sit again tomorrow.