SOCIAL SECURITY (No. 2) BILL (ALLOCATION OF TIME)

– in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 6th May 1980.

Alert me about debates like this

That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining proceedings on the Bill:—

Committee1.—(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2) below, the Standing Committee to which the Bill is allocated shall report the Bill to the House on or before 12th May.(2) Proceedings on the Bill at a sitting of the Standing Committee on 12th May may continue until 11 p.m. whether or not the House is adjourned before that time and if the House is adjourned before those proceedings have been brought to a conclusion the Standing Committee shall report the Bill to the House on 13th May.

Report and Third Reading2.—(1) The proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading of the Bill shall be completed in one allotted day and shall be brought to a conclusion two hours after Ten o'clock on that day; and for the purposes of Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) this Order shall be taken to allot to the proceedings on Consideration such part of that day as the Resolution of the Business Committee may determine.(2) The Business Committee shall report to the House their resolutions as to the proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, and as to the allocation of time between those proceedings and proceedings on Third Reading, not later than the fourth day on which the House sits after the day on which the Chairman of the Standing Committee reports the Bill to the House.(3) The resolutions in any Report made under Standing Order No. 43 may be varied by a further Report so made, whether or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) above, and whether or not the Resolutions have been agreed to by the House.(4) The Resolutions of the Business Committee may include alterations in the order in which proceedings on Consideration of the Bill are taken.

Procedure in Standing Committee3.—(1) At a sitting of the Standing Committee at which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion under a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee the Chairman shall not adjourn the Committee under any Order relating to the sittings of the Committee until the proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.(2) No Motion shall be moved in the Standing Committee relating to the sitting of the Committee except by a member of the Government, and the Chairman shall permit a brief explanatory statement from the Member who moves, and from a Member who opposes, the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.4. No Motion shall be moved to postpone any Clause, Schedule, new Clause or new Schedule but the Resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in the order in which Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are to be taken in the Standing Committee.

Conclusion of Proceedings in Committee5. On the conclusion of the proceedings in any Committee on the Bill the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.

Dilatory motions6. No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, proceedings on the Bill shall be moved in the Standing Committee or on an allotted day except by a member of the Government, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

Extra time on allotted days7.—(1) On an allotted day paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings on the Bill for two hours after Ten o'clock.(2) Any period during which proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under paragraph (7) of Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) shall be in addition to the said period of two hours.(3) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over from an earlier day, a period of time equal to the duration of the proceedings upon that Motion shall be added to the said period of two hours.

Private Business8. Any private business which has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock on an allotted day shall, instead of being considered as provided by Standing Orders, be considered at the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill on that day, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the private business for a period of three hours from the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill or, if those proceedings are concluded before Ten o'clock, for a period equal to the time elapsing between Seven o'clock and the conclusion of those proceedings.

Conclusion of proceedings9.—(1) For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or the Business Sub-Committee and which have not previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others), that is to say—

  1. (a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;
  2. (b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed (including in the case of a new Clause or new Schedule which has been read a second time, the question that Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill);
  3. (c) the Question on any Amendment or Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of any Member, if that Amendment or Motion is moved by a member of the Government;
  4. (d) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded; and on a Motion so moved for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.
(2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) above shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.(3) If an allotted day is one on which a Motion for the adournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) would, apart from this Order, stand over to Seven o'clock—
  1. (a) that Motion shall stand over until the conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion at or before that time;
  2. (b) the bringing to a conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion after that time shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion.
(4) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over from an earlier day, the bringing to a conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion.

Supplemental orders10.—(1) The proceedings on any Motion moved in the House by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order (including anything which might have been the subject of a report of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee) shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.(2) If on an allotted day on which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before that time no notice shall be required of a Motion moved at the next sitting by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.

Saving11. Nothing in this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee shall—

  1. (a) prevent any proceedings to which the Order or Resolution applies from being taken or completed earlier than is required by the Order or Resolution, or
  2. (b) prevent any business (whether on the Bill or not) from being proceeded with on any day after the completion of all such proceedings on the Bill as are to be taken on that day.

Re-committal12.—(1) References in this Order to proceedings on Consideration or proceedings on Third Reading include references to proceedings, at those stages respectively, for, on or in consequence of, re-committal.(2) On an allotted day no debate shall be permitted on any Motion to re-commit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment moved to the Question.

Interpretation13. In this Order—allotted day" means any day (other than a Friday) on which the Bill is put down as the first Government Order of the Day provided that a Motion for allotting time to the proceedings on the Bill to be taken on that day either has been agreed on a previous day, or is set down for consideration on that day; the Bill" means the Social Security (No. 2) Bill;Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee" means a resolution of the Business Sub-Committee as agreed to by the Standing Committee;Resolution of the Business Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.

Whatever emotions may have been expressed by the Opposition about this timetable motion, I guess that surprise was not among them. The Opposition have made it abundantly clear from the start that they are deeply opposed to the Bill and would use any legitimate parliamentary tactic to delay it. As the right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) put it near the start of the Committee stage: We shall not facilitate the passage of this Bill."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B; 22 April 1980, c. 18.]

That remark showed an uncharacteristic modesty of expression. The right hon. Gentleman has been as good as has word. By the time the Committee adjourned at 8.30 pm last Thursday, our achievement after 44 hours of debate was that we were still on clause 1. It is clear beyond a peradventure that without this timetable motion the Bill would have little prospect of reaching the statute book.

Yet it is essential that the Bill should become law. You would rule me out of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I were to launch into a lengthy exposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget strategy. Suffice to say for the purposes of this debate that that strategy requires a steady and sustained reduction in the burden of public expenditure over the next four years.

It is inescapable that the social security programme should make some contribution to those savings, and the provisions requiring legislation are contained in this Bill. The Bill was approved in principle by the House of Commons on 15 April by a majority of 55.

The savings to be achieved by the passage of the Bill will amount to £270 million net in the financial year 1981–82, rising to £480 million net in 1982–83. The Bill is short, and the six main provisions are contained in the first six clauses. They include provision for an abatement of the uprating of certain national insurance benefits which are not, but should be, part of taxable income: for the freezing of the earnings limit for retirement pensioners; for shortening the linking period used for incapacity and unemployment benefits; for reducing and subsequently abolishing the earnings-related supplement; for reducing the unemployment benefit payable to occupational pensioners over 60 with significant occupational pensions; and for reducing the supplementary benefit for the families of strikers.

While it is entirely right and proper for the Opposition to use every means open to them to hold up the Bill, it must be equally proper for the Government to take suitable parliamentary steps to make progress on the Bill so that eventually, if the House so wills, it reaches the statute book.

I anticipate that the Opposition may deploy three arguments in resisting the motion. They may argue that the Government are proceeding with undue haste. They may argue that lengthy debate is essential in view of the nature of the changes proposed and that debate so far has been responsible and restrained. They may argue that there is no precedent for a guillotine in circumstances such as these—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear".] I hope that the hon. Gentlemen who say "Hear, hear" will listen to the arguments I shall now deploy against those three points.

The Social Security (No. 2) Bill is a Budget Bill in the sense that the proposed changes in the law flow from decisions in my right hon. and learned Friend's Budget. It is not a Finance Bill and it is not, therefore, subject to the special rules relating to Finance Bills. In particular, it is debatable in another place to which the House has just voted to give another lease of life, and accordingly time has to be allowed for that.

Yet the Bill, affecting as it does the level of the uprating of benefits to take effect next November, has to be law in time to allow the necessary orders to be laid and debated before the House rises for the Summer Recess.

I will explain why that is so. The parallel systems of contributory national insurance benefits and non-contributory supplementary benefits exist alongside one another. Indeed, for people entitled to both kinds of benefit the benefits are often paid together. Despite having to make reductions in the social security programme, the Government are determined to maintain intact the supplementary benefits safety net, and the supplementary allowance is accordingly being fully price-protected.

There will, therefore, be a number of people—we put the estimate at about 30,000—who, because of the abatement of the national insurance benefits provided for in the Bill, will be entitled to supplementary benefit who would not otherwise have received it. In addition, there will be others already entitled to supplementary benefit whose entitlement will be a little higher.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether those people will be on long-term or short-term supplementary benefit rates?

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

If I understand the hon. Gentleman rightly, we are talking about people on the short-term supplementary benefit rate, because that is the short-term safety net for people on the benefits affected by clauses 1 and 4.

I am sure that I have the whole House with me—

Photo of Mr Jock Stallard Mr Jock Stallard , Camden St Pancras North

The right hon. Gentleman said that the Bill was required to allow for the necessary uprating. Is he saying that no uprating is already taking place? To my knowledge, books are already being printed with the uprating of 16½ per cent. provided by the Budget and the 11½ per cent., as well as the changes in the Bill. In that case, why is there such a rush for the Bill?

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

There has been for many years a convention which has been applied by Governments of both parties that, once a decision has been announced, because of the time factors to which I have referred, the necessary preparatory work takes effect before the statutory authority is finalised. In 1974, the supplementary benefit order books for the 1975 uprating started going out after only the Second Reading of the Bill on 21 November 1974. The Bill did not become law until 13 March 1975. This procedure is perfectly proper. In every year since then the benefit books have started to go out before the uprating order has been passed. Nothing new is happening this time.

I think that all hon. Members will agree that people who are entitled to the benefits should receive their supplementary entitlement by the due date in November.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North

Mr. David Ennals (Norwich, North) rose

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

No; I have given way once.

Those who follow these matters will be aware that supplementary benefit books are prepared in local offices.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

I am coming to the point that the right hon. Gentleman wishes to make.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

I read the right hon. Gentleman's mind like an open book.

He knows that supplementary benefit books are prepared in local offices, and that the preparation of the new books always starts during the summer. These books, showing the new rates of benefit payable in November, are sent out to beneficiaries week by week as they come round in the rota, and they are sent out during the summer and autumn months. That is the only way in which we can make sure that the benefits are payable at the appropriate rates by the uprating date in November.

That, of course, is the supplementary benefit rate. Because of that abatement of the national insurance benefits, the supplementary benefit rates for which the books need to be prepared are higher than they otherwise would have been. I am sure that it would be the wish of the whole House that we should take these steps in time to allow the higher supplementary benefit payments to be made by the due date.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North

The Secretary of State thought that he was able to read my mind, but he did not get it right. If he knew that he would have to proceed by this timetable, why did he not introduce this measure earlier, or why did he not include it in the Social Security (No. 1) Bill? Why did he produce it so late and force the House into this intolerable position?

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

With great respect, it need not have been an intolerable position. As the right hon. Gentleman recognises, and as many right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House have urged for some years, the House should consider expenditure and revenue at the same time. This year, for the first time, the public expenditure White Paper was published with the Budget Statement, and, as a result, these changes became Budget changes, and the Bill is, therefore, a Budget Bill. That is the way in which to deal with the matter.

Even in a normal year, the uprating would require some overtime by staff in the local offices. However, this year the position is complicated by the need to give effect to the first stage of the simplification of supplementary benefit provided for by the Social Security (No. 1) Bill. We also need to ensure that staff in local offices are familiar with the new regulations and instructions which that Bill makes necessary. These changes, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, arose out of reforms proposed in the review report entitled "Social Assistance"—the review that was carried out by our predecessors. All that is bound to put a heavier than normal work load on the staffs of the local offices.

I should like those staffs to know how much the Government appreciate the great efforts that they are making and will make to get the benefits paid at the new rates on time. However, despite those efforts, some people may receive their increases late, although the increases will, of course, be back-dated to 24 November.

I warn the House that it would add materially to the difficulties of those staff if we were not able to adhere to the suggested timetable for the Bill. We may have our differences about the amounts of benefit to be paid, but there can be no difference on the need to make sure that the increases that are to be paid are, so far as is humanly possible, paid to those entitled to them from the dates at which the uprating takes effect.

Any delay in the Bill leaving this House would greatly prejudice that objective. As I said, this Bill, unlike the Finance Bill, is fully debatable in another place, and time must be allowed for that. We consider it essential that the Bill should reach the statute book by mid July, since the uprating order, which requires an affirmative resolution of both Houses, cannot be dealt with until both this Bill and the Social Security (No. 1) Bill have received Royal Assent.

That is the case for making swift progress, and why it has been necessary to compress the debates into a shorter time span than perhaps the Opposition would have wished. This need not have entailed any cut in debating time, and that is why in Committee the Government proposed a fairly tough sittings motion. With sensible use of the time, I have no doubt that all the six main provisions of the Bill could have been properly debated and the Bill reported to the House in accordance with the timetable without need for a guillotine motion.

That brings me to the second argument. My reply to it, to put it bluntly, is that the Opposition have not chosen to debate the Bill responsibly. Instead they have engaged in lengthy, time-wasting filibustering in order to delay progress. The hon. Member for St. Paneras, North (Mr. Stallard) was perfectly honest about that when he referred to it as "stupid all-night charades". He was right.

Let me tell the House what has been happening in Committee. We started with a five-hour discussion—two morning sittings—simply on the constitutional propriety of sitting on three afternoons a week. During that debate the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) spoke for no less than one and a half hours—

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

It certainly seemed much longer. But that excludes all the helpful interventions from his hon. Friends. The debate was punctuated by interminable points of order, and even after the stittings motion had been passed the first 40 minutes of the third sitting were spent discussing further points of order. In ail, 42 points of order were raised, many of which were elaborated by Opposition Members. Also, many Labour Members made long speeches. Happily, only the hon. Member for Perry Barr managed to exceed 45 minutes, and he did so on no fewer than three occasions.

As the House knows, it is difficult to make long speeches on narrow amendments and to remain in order. Of course, the Opposition frequently failed to do that. I have only made a note of those occasions—

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it not a custom of the House that if a right hon. or hon. Member criticises the Chair, either in the House or in Committee, a motion must be put on the Order Paper?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I have not heard the Secretary of State criticise the Chair.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

I am not surprised at the sensitivity of the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett), because in my next sentence I proposed to refer to the number of times that Labour Members, in the course of their lengthy speeches, had to be called to order by the Chair. I have made a note only of those occasions when they had to be called to order twice or more during their speeches. Virtually every Labour Member of the Committee, with the notable exception of the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Ellis), who spoke but once, and then briefly and to the point, had to be called to order by the Chair. I see the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) laughing at his hon. Friend's discomfiture. I apologise if I embarrass him. The hon. Member for Blackley, in a prolonged speech during the third sitting of the Committee, had to be called to order by the Chair on no fewer than eight occasions. These prolonged speeches—remaining in order only with the greatest difficulty—characterised the 44 hours that we have spent in Committee.

Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr

That is because the right hon. Gentleman has no answers.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

What have we achieved? We have got through just 11 groups of amendments and we have still some way to go to finish clause 1. By no stretch of the imagination could this be called reasonable progress. These facts alone fully justify the motion.

The right hon. Member for Salford, West may ask for precedents. There are numerous precedents. It hardly lies in the mouth of the Opposition, let alone the Shadow Leader of the House, to demand precedents when the previous Labour Government introduced five guillotine motions on five Bills in one day. If the Opposition want a precedent that is close to the motion, I call their attention to the Selective Employment Payments Bill 1966.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

The Selective Employment Payments Bill arose out of the 1966 Budget. It was guillotined by the then Labour Government before one word had been spoken in Committee. They did not give the Committee a chance to make progress. That Government did not allow the Committee even to begin to consider the Bill before they tabled a guillotine motion. On this occasion, by providing for extended sittings from the outset, we gave the Committee every possible opportunity to debate the Bill without the need for this motion. The facts that I have given the House make it clear that a guillotine motion is now unavoidable.

If the motion is approved by the House, it will provide that the Bill must be reported by 11 pm on Monday 12 May. That will allow us to consider the Bill for at least another 26 hours. That will mean that the Bill will have been considered for about 70 hours overall. Had the Opposition chosen to use the time wisely, there would have been about 10 hours' debate on each of the six main proposals in the Bill. As it is, there will still be ample time for sensible debate.

Given the need to have the Bill on the statute book by the middle of July, and given the use that the Opposition have chosen to make of the time so far, the case for the motion is unanswerable. I ask the House to approve it.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West 5:03 pm, 6th May 1980

There is no point in debating the motion in detail. The Government are determined to press the Bill through the House. They have taken unprecedented steps to do so. They introduced a motion that forced the Committee to sit three days a week. That did not allow us to examine the Bill in detail. In effect, the Government did not allow us to see the Hansard report of the previous day's sitting. I make no apology to the House for saying that the Opposition would not facilitate the Bill's passage through the House.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

I intervene in fairness to the staff of Hansard, who have performed miracles. We have never had to meet in Committee without the Hansard report of the entire proceedings being available for our next sitting. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will put on record his praise of those who made that possible.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

It is no fault of the Hansard reporters that Hansard reports were not available. We had to interpret—I think that that is the right word—manuscript amendments to rough drafts which had been sent to the printers which for industrial reasons the printers have not been printing regularly.

We told the Government that time should be allowed and it was not. The Government introduced the Bill while the No. 1 Bill was in another place. They gave no indication that such measures were to be introduced. As the right hon. Gentleman has said, the Bill's passage is being dictated not by his Department but by the Treasury.

The Bill is unique. It abolishes certain social security benefits. I shall explain why the Opposition are not prepared to facilitate the Bill's progress and why we were correct to debate clause 1 in Committee at some length.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to some of my hon. Friends straying out of order. Several of my hon. Friends spoke for considerable periods without being out of order. I spoke about the important issue of industrial industry benefit, which will be cut if the Bill is inaccurate. Little is known about that outside the House. How many times was I brought to order when I was speaking during the all-night sitting? We believe that the Bill challenges the basis of the Welfare State.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

The right hon. Gentleman has challenged me. I draw his attention to pages 92 and 97 of the Hansard report of the Committee's third sitting. The right hon. Gentleman was called to order twice by the Chair.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

That happened twice in a speech that lasted one hour and 20 minutes. The Chair was correct in the attitude that it took. The right hon. Gentleman is making an indirect criticism of the Chair.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

I shall deal with some of the major clauses in the Bill. We are concerned not only with clause 6 and the removal of benefits from strikers' families; the Bill goes much deeper and wider than that. Clause 1 provides for the de-indexation of short-term benefits. In effect, the message contained in clause 1 is to say goodbye to the national insurance principle. It starts to break down a principle that has been established for over 30 years. National insurance benefits are paid to the sick, the unemployed, widows and pregnant women. About £2,800 million will be paid this year in benefits through the national insurance principle. However, there are proposals in the Bill that will lead to 50 per cent. net savings in payments of those benefits by 1982. That will be achieved by the removal of the national insurance principle in a number of areas.

The Bill will introduce a 5 per cent. reduction in real terms in unemployment benefit. The inflation rate that is forecast from November 1979 to November 1980 is 16½ per cent. Who believes that 16½ per cent. will be the inflation rate? In Committee the right hon. Gentleman began to cast doubt on the accuracy of the forecast and to make ready his excuses when that percentage is exceeded. If inflation is not held at that level, the gap between inflation and payments to the unemployed, the sick and the industrially injured will become wider. The Bill proposes a reduction in benefits in real terms, an event that has not taken place for over 50 years, since 1931. If a benefit does not meet the rate of inflation, it implies a cut in real terms.

The Government are using this Bill to make scapegoats of the unemployed. Not only will there be a 5 per cent. cut in sick benefit, but the Government have virtually turned the Green Paper into a White Paper. In future, an employer will have to pay the first eight weeks of sickness benefit. That represents another major breach of the national insurance principle. Many people consider it absolutely outrageous.

I remember the Secretary of State talking about the national insurance principle. We do not hear much about that now. Who would have thought that invalidity benefit would not be uprated in line with inflation? Of course, it will not be uprated in line with inflation. The reaction of the lobby representing the disabled has shaken even the Secretary of State.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

In Committee, the Secretary of State refused to meet that lobby. He said that he would meet them only after the Committee stage. When pressure mounted, he stated that, if economic circumstances were satisfactory in 1982, he would consider raising the invalidity benefit to the amount that it should have been. However, the disabled will have lost two years of benefit.

The facts should go on record. Currently, 600,000 people are in receipt of invalidity benefit. In 1978, 32,000 men over the age of 65 years deferred retirement and claimed invalidity benefit. In addition, 4,150 women over the age of 60 deferred retirement and claimed invalidity benefit. There were 157,000 men aged between 60 and 64 on invalidity benefit. Of women aged between 55 and 59, 28,000 were on invalidity benefit. Those aged between 60 and 64 represent the largest group of invalidity claimants. Some way behind, the next highest group is that of men aged between 55 and 59. In that group, 90,000 have claimed invalidity pension. Therefore, about 600,000 people will not get the uprating to which they are entitled. They will suffer a cut.

It was often mentioned in Committee that letters had been sent to Members of Parliament. In Committee, I read out letters from people on invalidity benefit. They are seriously ill. Many of them are ex-Service people who served this country for many years. They often served throughout the Second World War. They are absolutely staggered that the Government have not seen fit to increase invalidity benefits in line with inflation.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North

I agree with my right hon. Friend's point. However, does he not agree that the vast majority of people on invalidity benefits and of others who will suffer have not realised what the Government intend to do to them?

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

My right hon Friends should take note that the provisions concerning invalidity benefits and the 54-week period are now becoming more widely known. The 54-week period means that the Government will cheat beneficiaries out of two weeks' benefit this year.

I received a letter from a gentleman in Eastbourne, Sussex. I referred to it in Committee. He wrote: Like many others now severely disabled and elderly Ex-service personnel, I served in the Royal Air Force from 1939–1945 in defence of this country. It now seems that the best years of my life... given willingly and voluntarily, mean little in terms of fair treatment in adversity. Condemned to virtual immobility and constant pain for life, plus all the attendant problems and frustrations of such a situation—and through no fault of one's own—now to be penalised and discriminated against financially as well, makes a mockery of one's patriotism. That is one of many letters that I have received.

When I referred to another benefit, the Secretary of State said that I had been called to order twice in Committee. However, I spoke for over one hour. How many people realise that industrial injury benefit will be treated in the same way? It will be cut. It is a unique benefit and is unrelated to any other benefit. It is a national insurance benefit to which people have a right. Last year, 632,016 people claimed industrial injury benefit.

Despite improved conditions in offices, factories and mines, industrial injuries unfortunately occur. Indeed, they will continue to occur as technology increases and, with it, the speed of life. People are dependent on that benefit. Many people who are injured never return to their job on a full-time basis. Therefore, industrial injury benefits serve as a cushion. One can contrast the Tory Government's treatment of the sick, the unemployed, the disabled and the injured with their attitude to people such as Mr. Ian Mac-Gregor. Let us contrast those benefits, with the fact that about £2 million will be paid out in one form or another to one person for running a nationalised industry.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. While the thought of order is in his mind, may I ask him to relate his remarks to the motion? Will he explain why he thinks he needs more time? This is not a Second Reading debate.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

With respect, I am discussing that. We spent 40 hours in Committee on such issues. Every one of those issues is contained in clause 1. We were justified in spending that amount of time on them. My hon. Friends and I had wished to bring up many other issues. I respectfully suggest that I am using the time to prove that the guillotine has been brought in prematurely. It is not justified. We have a right to discuss many other issues. I am talking about the rights and benefits of millions of working people. Indeed, 22 million insured people will be affected by any change in the national insurance principle.

Clause 2 contains a freezing of the earnings limit of £52 for retirement pensions. The Government have not allowed the increase to £60·50 to take place. I do not know what the Under-Secretary thinks about that I had thought that we had reached a general agreement that the amount would be uprated in line with inflation. However, the Government have seen fit to stop any uprating. The right hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) gave a parliamentary answer in February to the effect that the Government were going ahead with the uprating. The Treasury has stepped in. Such a move is mean and despicable.

Clause 3 is a small but complicated clause dealing with the linkage of those qualified for invalidity and unemployment benefit. I have received a letter today which I expect the Secretary of State also received about those suffering from mental problems. Under the pressures of modern society, those people often need short periods off work. Clause 3 will prevent them from qualifying for invalidity benefit in the longer term, which is another petty move that does not save much public money. For the Government there are no exceptions. They are going right round the wicket. Those who suffer from schizophrenia and other mental problems will be penalised. They are a small but important group of people.

Clause 4 will phase out earnings-related benefit. That is without precedent. It is not often realised that that benefit is not only payable in addition to flat-rate unemployment benefit but covers sickness benefit, industrial injuries benefit, maternity allowance and widow's allowance for up to six months. To give some examples, on £50 a week the earnings-related benefit is £7·50, on £75 it is £11·35 and on £100 it is £15·25.

The Government are abolishing ERS without consultation. They are therefore undermining and destroying confidence in the national insurance scheme. When they paid their contributions, people expected that benefit to be available. The national insurance scheme operates on the principle that benefit entitlement in the relevant circumstances, such as sickness or unemployment, depends on an appropriate contribution record. Conversely, people expect to receive the benefits when they have paid their contributions. In fact, entitlement to that benefit depends on a contribution record in the previous income tax year, but that is merely a technical consideration for the general public. They are obliged to pay national in- surance contributions when they work, and they expect to receive benefits when ill or unemployed. Millions of working people have paid contributions since ERS was introduced in 1966 at rates set by the Government, expecting that the normal range of benefits—flat rate and ERS—will be payable in their time of need.

The TUC says that abolition of ERS will mean that all short-term claimants will receive only flat-rate benefits. That includes middle and higher paid workers who previously received higher rates of ERS than those with lower earnings. What would the Conservative Party say if private insurance companies such as the Prudential started to break their contracts in that way? The Government are breaching a principle that has been accepted in this House.

Photo of Mr Matthew Parris Mr Matthew Parris , West Derbyshire

My question is simple. The right hon. Gentleman is discussing clause 4 and will presumably move on to discuss other clauses. Does he agree that if the guillotine motion is passed we shall have a better chance of discussing those clauses in Committee?

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

The hon. Gentleman has not intervened during the 44 hours in Committee. That was his first intervention, and it was not very useful.

The Government are reneging on a commitment with regard to ERS which has been accepted by both parties for a number of years. I challenge the Secretary of State to show me the Government's proposal to cut this benefit or any other in the Conservative Party manifesto. That was not spelt out to the electorate. The right hon. Gentleman does not have a mandate for that policy.

Photo of Mr Allen McKay Mr Allen McKay , Penistone

The earnings-related supplement is part of the mineworkers' pension and redundancy schemes, and who will fund that part in future? I have asked that question on numerous occasions. I have been told by the Under-Secretary of State that the calculations are complex and will take time. That statement surely invalidates the guillotine motion.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

I say to my hon. Friends the Members for Penistone (Mr. McKay), Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Ellis) and Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), who are all involved in the matter, that mineworkers will suffer considerably as a result of the Bill. There is no commitment by the Government to make good any cuts. We were not aware of this problem originally; it arose only in Committee. We need some answers from the Government.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I can speak for the miners more than perhaps other groups, although almost everyone will be affected by the Bill, including people with occupational pension schemes and earnings-related benefits. The total effect of the Bill will be that the National Coal Board will lose over £50 million. The miners, who are the wealth creators in the pits, will suffer when their next wage claim goes in. That is one reason why on 14 May many miners will take part in the day of action to show what a lousy lot this Government are.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

I thank my hon. Friend. His comments are not unconnected with clause 5, and we know the Secretary of State's attitude there.

Consultation should have taken place if the Secretary of State wanted a change of policy because of new circumstances, especially one which affected the National Union of Mineworkers and miners' retirement benefits, but there has been no consultation on any aspect of the Bill. A day or two before it was presented there were some leaks, but we had no idea what the Bill comprised.

Clause 6 makes proposals with regard to trade unionists and their families. No savings will result. To put it bluntly, it is purely an attack on the trade union movement. Families of strikers who are in difficulty will be denied the right to benefits that have existed for a number of years. Those benefits have helped our industrial society and made changes possible; they have helped to moderate industrial strife. The Government are moving in the opposite direction, and the result will be a great deal of bitterness. They may achieve a short-term political advantage, but it will be strikers and their families who will suffer. That part of the Bill should be rejected without hesitation.

To sum up, what does the Bill involve? We must carry the message it contains to the millions of men and women in the country. The Bill breaks the national insurance principle.

The Government have forecast inflation at 16½ per cent. for these purposes. Even if it is only 16½ per cent., which I do not believe, millions of people will be 5 per cent. worse off. If it is above 16½ per cent. the position will be much more serious. There is no guarantee of the Government making good any shortfall, so the question of inflation is crucial. About 110,000 people will be moved from national insurance on to supplementary benefits and the means test. That is a simplification of the Government's proposals.

I have here a report of a survey that was carried out recently in Strathclyde. It was drawn up by officials from the social work department in Scotland's largest local authority. It reveals that in that area alone those on benefit stand to lose a total of £40 million next year, and the total annual loss of benefit is expected to rise steadily to £100 million in 1983–84—the last year of the Government's current economic policies. That £40 million will be lost in one of the poorer areas of the United Kingdom. What effect will that have on society? What effect will it have on young people who cannot get jobs? What about those people who are on benefit and struggling? Their benefits will be reduced in real terms. What does this mean in terms of law and order and the problems that will be created? These are questions that the Government must answer.

I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends not only to vote against the motion tonight, but to campaign outside on this matter. Between now and 14 May, my right hon. and hon. Friends should tell trade unionists that if they want reasons to oppose the Government and demonstrate that opposition on 14 May with all possible industrial power they can take this Bill as a major one. The Bill removes basic rights for which we fought for a generation and which we will not lightly give up.

Photo of Mr Peter Griffiths Mr Peter Griffiths , Portsmouth North 5:33 pm, 6th May 1980

I rise to support the timetable motion moved by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. He moved it in a courteous and helpful manner, which was in such marked contrast to the interventions from the Labour Benches. Throughout the consideration of this Bill in Committee the Government Front Bench spokesmen have deserved a word of praise because they maintained their courtesy despite the violent language that was used against them. In fact, that language was so violent at times that most people would have been stung to reply in kind. Fortunately my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, did not reply in kind.

The reasons why this timetable motion should be supported are many. First, my right hon. Friend has made it clear that there is a need to pass this motion to ensure that discussions in Committee take place on a reasonable basis with due regard to the division of time and the total time taken.

I would have thought that a relatively short Bill such as this, because it has a clear distinction of principle, could have been debated in Committee in a reasonable and rational manner with due regard to the need to bring the discussions to an end, not for the benefit of hon. Members but for the benefit of those who are to receive the payments we are discussing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not payments, cuts".]

From the beginning it was obvious that there was no likelihood of rational discussion. It was apparent from the moment the Committee began its first meeting that the right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) and his colleagues had no intention of initiating a debate on the substance of the Bill as it was submitted to the Committee.

It has been suggested that to draw attention to the length of speeches that Labour Members made in Committee might have been in some way a criticism of the Chair. I am sure that both the Chairmen who presided over our debates deserve our thanks, particularly the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Mitchell) who presided at the first sitting. In fact, he deserves an apology from the Opposition. Three Opposition Members were on their feet yelling and shouting at the top of their voices while the Chairman tried to conduct a Division.

Photo of Mr Reg Race Mr Reg Race , Haringey Wood Green

If the hon. Member is really concerned about the quality of debate in Committee and the extent to which we are debating the principles of the Bill, will he tell the House the number of contributions that he has made to the Committee debates about these principles?

Photo of Mr Peter Griffiths Mr Peter Griffiths , Portsmouth North

I am grateful to the hon. Member. Modesty forbade me from listing my own contributions, but as he has asked me about them I shall tell the House. I made three contributions to the Committee discussions. The first was in response to a direct question from an Opposition Member who asked whether those supporting the Government were volunteers who really supported the Bill in principle. I replied that that was so. Secondly, when the right hon. Member for Salford, West was getting into a mess over industrial injury benefits, I asked him, in my normal helpful manner, whether he thought that stress-related illnesses should be included in his points. He said that they should, but he forgot that the teachers, to whom I drew attention in my third contribution, who had breakdown pensions resulting from stress-related illnesses, are paying tax on those pensions whereas those on the benefits to which he referred do not pay tax on those benefits. The 5 per cent. abatement that my right hon. Friend is proposing is one step towards equality of treatment between those suffering from physical difficulty and those suffering from mental disability. Those were my three contributions to the debate, and they were all directly to the point under discussion at the time. Had all hon. Members confined themselves to such straightforward statements we would not have had to use three hours out of the time of the House today discussing this motion.

On the Opposition side there appears to be a view that it is necessary to use violent language to indicate sincerity of purpose. I accept without question that every Opposition Member on the Committee feels strongly about the Bill. So do I, and so do my constituents. I have discussed this Bill with many of my constituents and a large number have said that it is something for which they have been waiting for a long time. They include widows whose pensions are taxed and retirement pensioners whose pensions are taxed. They have often drawn my attention to the unfairness of benefits on which other people live not being taxed. They regard this as a step in the right direction.

I shall not follow the right hon. Member for Salford, West in detailing each clause of the Bill. I do not believe that this is necessarily appropriate now. When the time comes to resume discussions in Committee on a reasonable timetable, I shall enjoy debating some of these points with Opposition Members.

Another reason for passing a timetable motion to limit discussion is the inordinate length, not only of speeches, but of interventions by Opposition Members. I would not presume to disagree with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State when he said that only one hon. Member on the Opposition Benches had spoken for more than 45 minutes. I noted carefully, however, that the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. East-ham), on the third sitting, started speaking at 9.45 pm and did not complete his speech until 10.45 pm. I accept that he may not have spoken for more than three-quarters of an hour and that the rest of the time was taken up by lengthy and largely unnecessary interventions by his hon. Friends.

There were contributions by other hon. Members that I am sure the House would not wish me to list at length. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) listed the trade unions affiliated to the TUC with which he had had consultations. It would have been sufficient for the hon. Gentleman to say that he had spoken to 44 trade unions. Instead, he read out each one and explained its affiliations and origins.

The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) drew attention to matters of which the Committee was already fully aware. These included the fact that the hon. Gentleman is unenthusiastic about naval shipbuilding. That was interesting but not particularly relevant. The hon. Gentleman said that he would have liked to see a cutback, or ending, of a missile contract that would lead to hundreds being unemployed in my constituency. The hon. Gentleman also referred, in terms that I think most hon. Members of the Committee regretted, to the Royal Family. Such interventions make a timetable motion essential. Opposition Members will know that the length of time on each amendment and each clause will be limited and will thus stick to the point.

There is tacit agreement on both sides of the House that a timetable motion is necessary—[HON. MEMBERS: Rubbish.] Despite what Opposition Members say, there is evidence that, from the beginning, they were unable to sustain the pace that they had set themselves. [Interruption.] Hon. Members have every right to be amused. If, however, they were so keen to battle against the sittings motion and felt that it must be resisted at every step, why did only nine of the 11 Opposition Members on the Committee vote against a sittings motion? That does not suggest to me a burning desire to fight at every stage. The fact is that, from the beginning, Opposition Members were not filled with enthusiasm. Early in the proceedings, the hon. Member for St. Paneras, North (Mr. Stallard) said: I am a little befuddled".—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 22 April 1980; col. 7.] How right the hon. Gentleman was!

Photo of Mr Jock Stallard Mr Jock Stallard , Camden St Pancras North

We are all getting a little befuddled now. The hon. Gentleman has now spoken 10 times longer on the guillotine motion that he did on the guts of the Bill. Everyone has a right to be befuddled by the stupidity coming from the Government side of the Chamber.

Photo of Mr Peter Griffiths Mr Peter Griffiths , Portsmouth North

The hon. Gentleman did not deny that he used the phrase: I am a little befuddled. The second aspect of the question—

Photo of Mr Alan Clark Mr Alan Clark , Plymouth, Sutton

My hon. Friend might point out that the attendance on the Opposition side was notable by its diminution during the hours of night—

Hon. Members:

The hon. Gentleman was asleep.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I cannot hear what the hon. Gentleman is saying.

Photo of Mr Alan Clark Mr Alan Clark , Plymouth, Sutton

I was intending to draw the attention of the House to the fact that one of the Opposition Members of the Committee is a director of the Playboy Club. We assume that his absence during the hours of darkness was related to his looking after his interests in that sphere.

Photo of Mr Peter Griffiths Mr Peter Griffiths , Portsmouth North

I am grateful that my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Clark) did not steal the thunder of my last remark about attendance and the efforts of Opposition Members in their determined opposition to the Bill. We were discussing last Thursday an amendment that had been described, once from the Opposition Front Bench and once from the Opposition Back Benches, as " crucial ". Amendment No. 63, if anyone is uncertain to which amendment I refer, was said to be crucial and had to be fought. In the voting on this crucial amendment, the Government had 13 votes representing the full total of their membership. The Opposition had eight votes. This meant that eight Opposition Members had bothered to stay. If any hon. Member refers again to that amendment as crucial, I shall continue to point out that certain hon. Members were not present to cast their votes. I imagine that they were worried about the council elections.

The hon. Member for Perry Barr let the cat out of the bag when he said that the Opposition were not prepared to be reasonable. If Opposition Members are not prepared to be reasonable, a timetable motion, unfortunately, becomes necessary. The appalling behaviour of Opposition Members with whom I had to sit for 44 hours means that it is, unfortunately, necessary to limit discussion by the Committee. I, therefore, wish to support my right hon. Friend in pressing that the timetable motion be accepted by the House.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North 5:47 pm, 6th May 1980

I feel no need to follow the remarks of the hon. Member for Portsmouth, North (Mr. Griffiths) who has made virtually no contribution to the Committee. The Government Whips must have had quite a job getting people to support the disgraceful motion we are debating. Hon. Members were forced to meet in Committee for three days a week and at night. Now the Government introduce a timetable motion when a Bill is only in its second week. This brings derision on the House. The public will think nothing of a Government who decide they will conduct business, affecting millions of our population, in such a disrespectful fashion.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North

I am certain that the hon. Lady will wish to catch Mr. Deputy Speaker's eye later. I wish to congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) and my hon. Friends on their work in Committee. The motion that we are debating is unprecedented. The Bill is the first since 1930 that sets out deliberately to reduce national insurance entitlement. When my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) put this point to the Leader of the House on Thursday, the Leader of the House said: benefits will be increased. It is the rate of increase that is reduced ".—[Official Report, I May 1980; Vol. 983, c. 1623.] That was unworthy of the Leader of the House. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that when the inflation rate is running at over 20 per cent., when the Prime Minister has said that it will go higher, and when the Secretary of State and the Government must know that there will not be a 16½ per cent. inflation rate in November, an increase that is 5 per cent.—or that may turn out to be 8 per cent.—behind the inflation rate, represents a cut. This is the first time that such a Bill has been introduced into Parliament in the lifetime of almost any hon. Member.

What are the Government's reasons? If they had decided on such Draconian measures why did not they announce them earlier? If the Secretary of State is saying that they were forced upon him by the Chancellor of the Exchequer after he had announced other cuts in the first Social Security Bill, that is disgraceful. The Bill combines insult with injury. Conservative Members do not seem to be worried about the injury. Brick by brick the Government are undermining some of the basic principles on which our Welfare State is based.

Let us examine the injuries. The Government are trying to control industrial unrest by hitting at the wives and children of people involved in legal strike action. They are hitting invalidity pensioners, the chronic sick, the disabled and people with industrial injuries. I bet that none of them were queueing up, as the hon. Member for Portsmouth, North described, to express their support for the Bill. The Government are cutting unemployment benefit when unemployment is rising steadily, mainly because of Government action. The Government have decided to create a new 54-week year—a direct form of fraud. They are taking away two weeks' benefit from the range of benefits. There is plenty of injury to the public about which the Tory Party seems unconcerned.

It is a harsh, cruel and heartless Bill which seeks to make the sick and the unemployed pay for the tax reliefs of the rich. The Labour Government sought to ease the plight of the elderly, the sick, the disabled and the unemployed. When I look back at their record I am made angry beyond measure at what my successor is doing.

Photo of Mrs Peggy Fenner Mrs Peggy Fenner , Rochester and Chatham

When the right hon. Gentleman made great play of such a motion being unprecedented was he saying that it is unprecedented to sit three days a week in a Committee on a Bill? I seem to have spent many weeks doing just that. Who introduced pensions for the over-eighties and paid a bonus to the pensioners every year? We do not need to be educated by the Labour Party on caring for the elderly.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North

I was involved in the Crossman Bill. Except for the measure for the over-eighties, in the last 30 years I doubt whether there is a major social security reform for which the Conservative Party is responsible. Never once in the five-and-a-half years that we were in power did we seek to curtail discussion on the many Bills which the DHSS introduced. Can the Secretary of State give an example of a DHSS Bill being curtailed? He cannot, because there are no examples.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North

I shall give way in a moment. The measures that we introduced were beneficial, whereas the measures being introduced by the right hon. Gentleman do damage to the people who can least bear it.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

The right hon. Gentleman obviously is suffering from a lapse of memory. I referred to the last Labour Government introducing five guillotines on five Bills in one day. The right hon. Gentleman spoke in the debate on the Health Services Bill which was his Bill subject to the guillotine.

Hon. Members:

Withdraw.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North

I shall not withdraw. Anybody who was in the House at that time will recall that, because of the balance in the Committee and because the Committee itself refused to give adequate time, we had to come before the House, not to curtail time, but to spend longer on the Bill. Eventually we considered the Bill in less time than was agreed on the Floor of the House. During the whole of the five-and-a-half years of Labour Government it was not necessary to curtail debate on a DHSS Bill.

There is plenty of injury to the millions who are affected by the Bill. The insult is that elected Members of Parliament are being gagged in their arguments against measures which are being introduced to dismantle, brick by brick, the Welfare State which we created. The Government have no mandate for the measures. Thursday's election results were only a foretaste of public anger at the Government's handling of the issue. There will be mounting anger as we explain to the sick, the unemployed and the invalids the effects of the Government's action. There will be mounting fury at the way in which the right hon. Gentleman is fulfilling his responsibilities.

Photo of Mr Nicholas Baker Mr Nicholas Baker , North Dorset 5:57 pm, 6th May 1980

In supporting the motion, I concur with the view expressed from both sides of the House that we are discussing an unusual Bill which deserves constructive debate. My complaint is that we have lacked constructive debate in Committee so far. That is why, reluctantly, my right hon. Friend has introduced a timetable motion.

It is a fallacy to believe that anybody who receives a benefit from the State is poor by virtue of receiving that benefit. The supplementary benefits system is designed to look after the poor. I am delighted that in the Budget package the supplementary benefits system was preserved. That takes some of the heat out of the arguments expressed by the right hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Ennals).

The debate must take place in the context of the general economic position. I have some anxieties about the terms of the Bill. First, I am worried about the abolition of the compulsory uprating of the invalidity benefit. I was pleased when my right hon. Friend gave an assurance that invalidity benefits would return to the level of ordinary pensions when economic circumstances permitted.

Secondly, I am worried about the reduction and abolition of the earnings-related supplement and the addition. I know that my right hon. Friend will explain his proposals for dealing with how contributions are to be adjusted. Even after so many hours of discussion, we have not yet debated that issue. I should also like to discuss the abatement of unemployment benefit on account of payments of occupational pensions for the over-sixties. I have no doubt that all of us will wish to hear what my right hon. Friend has to say about that.

We started in Committee wishing to hear the issues discussed and recognising that most of the criticism would come from the Opposition. We hoped for short, and to the point, contributions. What did we get? The proceedings began with a barrage of points of order. One of the principal points of order—discussed for hours—was the inability of Opposition Members to read Hansard in the form in which it was then being produced. The Official Report was being produced in rough but readable type, though I agree that some of the pages were upside down. Some of the speeches that were made read much better upside down.

There followed a lengthy discussion about whether the tea ladies—who do important and useful work during the night sittings—had been informed of the time of the sittings. Bearing in mind that we spent five hours discussing the sittings motion, it is not surprising that my hon. Friends felt that our ability to discuss the issues were severely limited. My hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, North (Mr. Griffiths) picked up the leading quotation from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker), who told us in Committee that he had seen the film " Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid " no fewer than 12 times and giving us his " one-two ", he said that the Opposition were not prepared to be reasonable.

The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) told hon. Members to " Keep on chatting." I wrote down his words. That is how the first two full sittings of the Committee stage were conducted. I was shocked by the conduct of the hon. Member for Fife, Central during the taking of the vote at the end of those two sittings. Looking at some of the grey faces on the Opposition Front Bench I know that the hon. Member's conduct was not supported by them.

I pay tribute to the two chairmen of the Committee, particularly the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Mitchell), who maintained an unbelievable calm in the face of this appalling demonstration, which did no good to parliamentary democracy.

You may ask, Mr. Deputy Speaker—since you came to some of our deliberations—why we are still on page 2 and clause 1. I pay tribute to the considerable eloquence of Labour Members. I made a note of some of the more important basic topics which we discussed. You may or may not, Mr. Deputy Speaker, consider them central to the subject of social security but I hope that the beneficiaries, and potential beneficiaries, who are concerned about this Bill will take note of the important topics we discussed. There was a major attack on barristers and farmers. I had to make it clear in the face of this gunfire that I was neither but that I was almost as bad. However, that did not seem to me to be particularly central to the discussion.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was unwise enough to quote a comment by an American about the social security system in this country. That was an excuse for a general debate on the entire welfare system of the United States. We then moved—I am not a member of that particular establishment—to Brooks's club, which received a severe pasting.

Such is the ingenuity of hon. Gentlemen that we heard of a boy's public school at Rottingdean. All my researches indicate that the school does not exist. It seemed to have been invented specifically for the purposes of our debate.

We listened to a detailed discussion on defence expenditure, about which one or two Opposition Members felt passionately. That particular topic came up no fewer than four times during Committee. We heard a detailed price list of the weaponry available. None of us having enough spare cash, we were, unfortunately, not able to afford a Tornado, which we were assured was cheap at £10 million. Nor could we afford helicopters, which we were assured were—

Photo of Mr Nicholas Baker Mr Nicholas Baker , North Dorset

Quite right. We were told they were ten-a-penny at only £1·5 million each. We also hear of a nuclear submarine at £140 million. These debates—and a long debate about the use of the word " housewife "—were conducted among Opposition Members. They did not seem to me to be relevant or helpful in advancing the discussion of this important Bill.

I suspect—it may be because I am somewhat suspicious or became suspicious—that Labour Members did not want to reach a discussion on clause 6 because they knew that that was the clause dealing with the withdrawal of supplementary benefit to strikers and their families. That issue was fully discussed at the general election when people throughout the country had the opportunity to vote on it. It is a clause that we should discuss in detail.

At this rate an eight-clause Bill would not be finished before the end of this year. This is an important and controversial Bill and I believe that we need this timetable motion so that the Bill can be properly and evenly discussed clause by clause. That is why I support the motion.

Photo of Mr David Stoddart Mr David Stoddart , Swindon 6:06 pm, 6th May 1980

I was not a member of the Standing Committee, but I feel it necessary to attempt to take part in this debate because I find it absolutely incredible that the Government should seek to bring forward a guillotine motion on a Bill which went into Standing Committee only a week ago. That fact is so incredible as to be almost frightening and for that reason I felt impelled to say a few words today.

The duty of the Opposition is to oppose measures with which they do not agree—measures which they believe will bring harm to the people of this country. In my view the Government's action in bringing forward the guillotine motion for this Bill—after trying trickery over the timetable for sittings in Committee—seeks to undermine the rights, the duties, and the privileges of Her Majesty's Opposition in this House. We should be worried about that because the Government have shown a disturbing predilection—when they cannot get their own way—for bringing forward guillotine motions. They know that such motions will be carried because of the craven acceptance of the Government view by Conservative Back Benchers.

The Opposition have rights, privileges and duties. I believe, therefore, that it is right and proper that the Opposition should, today, seek to resist the Government guillotine on this important Bill. I have been in this House almost 10 years and one of the first Bills on which I served dealt with housing finance legislation. That Bill, similarly, sought radically to alter the principles which had, hitherto, been accepted an on all-party basis.

The right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) was in charge of that Bill. He is not known as a " wet " by his right hon. and hon. Friends but he is known as a Right-winger by the Opposition. The right hon. Gentleman did not bring forward a guillotine motion on that Bill within a week, two weeks, one month or three months. He was prepared to allow the Committee to discuss the Bill for five months before he brought forward a timetable motion. During those five months the Committee not only met all day but all night as well and it sat, practically, every day of the week.

At that time we had a Government who were mindful of the privileges, duties and rights of the Opposition. It now seems that we have a Government who have no measure and no consideration of those rights. I believe that the Government are entirely wrong and misguided—and will be shown to be misguided—in bringing forward this guillotine motion in so short a time.

I can only presume, since the Government are trying to limit discussion, that they are concerned that too long a discussion will alert the people of this country to just what the Bill means. As many of my right hon. and hon. Friends have said, it involves a fundamental alteration in the insurance principle and the whole basis of our social services. It marks a departure from the arrangement whereby we had virtual all-party agreement not to undermine those two principles. Therefore, I believe that the Government are concerned and worried to restrict and even stop discussion on this important Bill.

We have already heard that important benefits will be either reduced or entirely removed from people who have hitherto enjoyed them. We have also heard—and we must all agree because we know it—that these benefits have been based on the insurance principle that one pays for and gets the benefit that one expected to get. People who have been paying their insurance premiums over a long period in the expectation of getting wage-related benefits now find them willy-nilly removed from them. They are, in fact, being cheated, because they are not now to receive a benefit for which they have been paying and had expected to receive. If the Prudential, the Pearl or any other insurance company did that to its policy holders, all hell would be let loose in the House. Not only Opposition Members, but Government supporters would rightly be protesting at the cheating of the public.

What is more, we hear about the 5 per cent. reduction in unemployment, invalidity, maternity and injury benefits and so on. I was given to understand by the Chancellor, and on Second Reading of this Bill, that that 5 per cent. was to compensate for tax which the Government would have liked to raise this year from these recipients of benefits. But this is a new principle. Many of the people who will have their benefits reduced would not be paying income tax. Therefore, by this reduction of 5 per cent., the Government are levying a tax on people who are not liable to pay tax. That is a shocking betrayal of the poorest people in the land who are affected by this Bill.

Photo of Mr Alan Clark Mr Alan Clark , Plymouth, Sutton

I suspect that the hon. Gentleman—and who can blame him?—has not read the full text of the Official Report of our proceedings upstairs. But as he has raised the question of principle—which I agree is fundamental—perhaps he would turn his attention to the amendment moved and spoken to by his hon. Friends the Members for Wood Green (Mr. Race) and Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett), which asked that the principle of a reduction of 1 per cent., rather than 5 per cent., should be accepted by the Committee. They accepted the principle and argued for it.

Photo of Mr David Stoddart Mr David Stoddart , Swindon

I very much doubt whether my right hon. and hon. Friends would accept such a principle.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

If my hon. Friend were to consult the record he would see that all hon. Members who spoke to that amendment made it absolutely clear that they were fundamentally opposed to the principle. The difficulty for hon. Members is whether to vote against something or to seek to modify the worst effects of it. In tabling that amendment we were merely seeking to try to persuade the Government to see a bit of reason in their unreasonable proposals.

Photo of Mr David Stoddart Mr David Stoddart , Swindon

My right hon. and hon. Friends need have no fear. I knew precisely that that was what they were intending to do. I also understand that that modest amendment was thrown out by the Government because they were not prepared to move in any sense at all.

In the Bill and in many other respects the Government, by sleight of hand, are cheating a number of people out of benefits which they should have. For example, one would have thought that the old-age pensioners would have been left alone. But even they will find, not only that the uprating which comes into operation in November will fail to meet the rise in the cost of living, but that the Government have introduced a new calendar—a 54-week year. The hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mrs. Fenner) mentioned Christmas bonuses. The Government are making the pensioners pay for practically the whole of their Christmas bonus. If that is not a disgraceful move, I do not know what is.

Finally, the Government and many of their supporters are opposed to the TUC's day of action on 14 May. But, by Heaven, if there is one reason for a day of action on 14 May, this Bill is that reason, because every employed man and woman will be adversely affected by it. The Government cannot expect trade unions, trade union leaders or trade unionists to sit idly by while the Bill is rushed and forced through the House of Commons. I for one shall take the greatest pleasure in voting against the guillotine motion tonight.

Photo of Mrs Peggy Fenner Mrs Peggy Fenner , Rochester and Chatham 6:17 pm, 6th May 1980

Having been in the Lobby in which my Government were not situated last week, I do not take kindly to having it alleged against me by the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. Stoddart) that I cravenly accept what the Government are doing. Perhaps he will grant me that, as a past Labour Leader once said, every dog can have one little bark, which I had.

I rise to support the motion moved by my right hon. Friend. I am sure that hon. Members who are fair will admit that I spent most of the day and night listening most carefully to what they said for 44 hours. Before the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) asks " How many times did you contribute? ", let me say that I did not Nothing would have induced me to deny Opposition Members the maximum time to debate these items, about which I recognise they feel so strongly.

On many occasions when my right hon. Friend answered points made by Opposition Members throughout the day and night I made a note especially that he said that he was responding to their many points of substance. Therefore, I do not deny that hon. Gentlemen and the hon. Member for Barking (Miss Richardson), who has sat there throughout the debate today, but happens not to be present for the moment, made some points of substance, but I cannot applaud them for some of the deliberate wastage of time.

The speeches by the hon. Member for Perry Barr were the longest. To do him credit, he can generally be relied upon to be fairly pertinent to the subject, but even he had to wander off, as my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, North (Mr. Baker) pointed out, to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

I remind hon. Members about Brooks's club. What does the hon. Member for Barking know about Brooks's club? And what a waste of time it was on the part of the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. Stallard) to refer to the agreement at Brooks's club. I asked him where it was and what it did, but he did not take me up on that.

Photo of Mr Alan Clark Mr Alan Clark , Plymouth, Sutton

Can we get this matter out of the way?

Photo of Mrs Peggy Fenner Mrs Peggy Fenner , Rochester and Chatham

Does my hon. Friend want to get it out of the way? Does he know where it is?

Photo of Mr Alan Clark Mr Alan Clark , Plymouth, Sutton

The question of Brooks's has arisen many times, both in Committee upstairs and on the Floor of the House. Perhaps we should have the final definition of it. Brooks's is the club for which Aneurin Bevan was heading when he was kicked down the stairs of White's Club by John Fox Strange ways in the late 1950s. White's club is on one side of St. James's Street. Brooks's club—and Aneurin Bevan was not a member of that either, but he was going as a guest, and it was where he was heading that evening—

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. That is as may be, but it has absolutely nothing to do with this timetable motion.

Photo of Mrs Peggy Fenner Mrs Peggy Fenner , Rochester and Chatham

I accept that one is likely to wander from order on this matter. However, hon. Members are arguing that they used all of the 44 hours in earnest discussion of the Bill which they find—I quite understand—controversial and something that they wish to oppose. But it is a pity that, for example, in the two long sittings during which they debated the sitting motion they did not find it necessary to get on with main business of debating the clauses of the Bill.

I should like to correct my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, North. The school to which the hon. Member for St. Paneras, North referred was Roedean. He asserted that Conservative hon. Gentlemen went to Roedean. I believe it to be a girls' school. Like the hon. Member for St. Paneras, North, I went to a State school. That was totally irrelevant, and it just pointed to the fact that Labour Members were concerned yet again with fighting the old class war, and they did that throughout the debate. I recognise that the hon. Member for Perry Barr sees nothing else in life, but I have to tell him that a number of people who live outside this Chamber find the constant perpetuation of the class war not to their taste.

There were another two items which I found it extraordinary to hear introduced into this earnest debate on an important Bill. We had a dissertation on jumble sales. Labour Members said that it was our jumble and that they had to go to it. That is ridiculous. The hon. Member for Barking embarked upon a long dissertation about the correct nomenclature for " housewife ". At another time, and in another place, I might well have taken up that point, because I resent, as she does, the suggestion that I am married to a house and not to a husband. But it was hardy the time, and it certainly was not the place, and it was deliberately introduced simply to waste time. I do not think that anyone who listened to that debate could have made any other judgment on some of the topics that were introduced through those long hours of the day and night.

A number of hon. Members have said that if Opposition Members had been filibustering, or using up time, the Chairman would have drawn their attention to it. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has already listed the number of times that the Chairman drew their attention to the fact that they were wandering from the point of the amendment under discussion. Perhaps I may do so with just one illustration. The hon. Member for St. Paneras, North—I am sorry that he has left the Chamber—in a speech which covers several pages of the Hansard report, was called to order three times in 25 minutes. It is not surprising, considering his comments on Brooks's club, Roe-dean and so on, that the Chairman found it necessary to do that.

I have already made it clear that when we arrive at clause 2 in Committee I shall have something to say to my right hon. Friend. I shall seek some reassurances from him about the hiccup in the up-rating of the earnings limits for pensioners. Therefore, I do not cravenly accept my Government's policy. However, I accept that my right hon. Friend has given clear assurances in Committee with regard to the uprating of the invalidity pension as soon as resources allow.

I listened carefully to all the comments of all of the hon. Gentlemen and the hon. Lady through the long hours of the day and night—over 44 hours. Much of it was extremely interesting and pertinent, but far too much of it was merely to use up time. I cannot accept this charade, which one has seen from both sides of the House as soon as the Government have had to introduce a guillotine motion. We had the traditional charade, although I know that it was perfectly in order, perpetrated by the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) accompanied by the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) during business questions last week, of calling " I spy strangers ", when we sit here daily with strangers in the Gallery exercising their democratic right to come and listen to our proceedings.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

Does the hon. Lady agree that there is not only a democratic right to have proper discussions in this House, but a democratic right for people outside thoroughly to debate a Bill such as this when it goes completely beyond the Conservative manifesto and when the Government have no mandate for it? In rushing this Bill through the Conservatives are denying those democratic rights, and it is perfectly reasonable for Opposition Members to draw the country's attention to the fact that people are having their democratic rights to debate and to make representations on the Bill taken away by this guillotine motion.

Photo of Mrs Peggy Fenner Mrs Peggy Fenner , Rochester and Chatham

I could more reasonably accept that premise if the hon. Gentleman had not sat through two long morning sittings simply debating the sittings motion instead of getting on with the clauses of the Bill, which will all receive their publicity outside.

I support my right hon. Friend because it is clear that without this motion it is the earnest intention of Opposition Members to continue to debate the Bill endlessly and not to arrive at the law which the Government have deemed is to go ahead.

Photo of Mr Clement Freud Mr Clement Freud , Isle of Ely 6:26 pm, 6th May 1980

During the course of the proceedings of the Committee of this Bill we were told that progress was slow, which it inevitably was, because the normal or usual channels had broken down. But then this is because it is not a normal or usual Bill. It is an abnormal or unusual Bill to bring before Parliament. Those of us who oppose it have, I think by common consent, a deep-seated contempt for policies that seek to disadvantage those who are already disadvantaged.

I shall speak more specifically than generally to the timetable motion. Before doing so, however, I wonder whether the Secretary of State will at least tell the House whether he has any elasticity, whether any leeway has been allowed him by the Treasury, so that if he will not mitigate the abatement, arrangement. cuts—whatever he chooses to call them—with which the recipients of social security will be faced as a result of the Bill, he will at least listen to argument whereby some who are considered, by Opposition Members, to be more needy will be substituted for others. Does the Secretary of State have the right—I shall accept it if he nods—at least to change some of the benefits so that some of the recipients whom we consider to be more deserving will benefit at the expense of others? I see that the Secretary of State makes no sign.

I was not called to speak on the time-table motion on the third occasion, though I admit that we have discussed timetables for some seven of the 44 hours which were available so I felt less deprived than I might have done.

I do not accept the necessary delay in introducing taxability of invalidity benefit. I should dearly like to have had time to debate and consider amendments on that matter, for by putting invalidity benefit into tax the DHSS would receive all the money that it will receive when taxation is finally brought in and those who are least able to afford it will be no worse off. I do not believe that much harm will be done by charging tax to those invalidity pensioners whose spouses earn a modest sum.

It has been said on both sides of the House that what is being done in the Bill was not in the Conservative manifesto. I am sure that the Secretary of State has read what went on in another place. On a day when a Labour Member has sought to bring in a Bill to abolish the House of Lords, which the House voted against, it is only right to point out what has been said there. I understand why the Secretary of State is seeking to curtail debate, but in the time that he has left us there will probably be not more than about three hours' debate on each of the first five clauses and perhaps twice as much for clause 6.

Clearly, clauses 1 and 6 need more debate, but clauses 2 and 4 are equally important. Clause 2 does the opposite to the Conservative manifesto pledge to abolish the earnings rule. The clause will reduce the amount that pensioners will receive in real terms, whereas the abolition of the earnings rule would allow old people to earn extra in employment without having their pensions docked.

My noble Friend Lord Banks moved an amendment to the original Social Security Bill to abolish the earnings rule. In explaining why the Government have felt it right to curtail arguments on the Bill, I wish to quote from the Hansard of the House of Lords.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not read what a peer said in the current Session. That would be out of order.

Photo of Mr Clement Freud Mr Clement Freud , Isle of Ely

I have no intention of doing so, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I should like to state to this House what was referred to in another place in respect of statements made when the Government were in Opposition. I believe that that is in order. Lord Cullen of Ashbourne said: We are convinced that the case put forward by the Conservative Party for many years... is correct... We have concluded that there is no real cost involved in abolishing the earnings rule ", and Lady Young said: We believe that we have the support of thousands of people in the country, and certainly it is the wish of my right hon. Friend Mr. Jenkin ".—[Official Report, House of Lords, 6 March 1979; Vol. 399, c. 15–31.] The noble Lady was referring to the abolition of the earnings rule.

I believe that when the taxability angle was discussed, insufficient thought was given to the matter. I admit that there are all sorts of benefits on which there is abuse—and invalidity benefit is as open to abuse as are mileage charges, tax returns and so on—but there are cases in which it is vastly unfair and wrong to punish those in receipt of invalidity benefit.

I particularly wish to point the attention of the Secretary of State to those who suffer from Huntington's chorea. I have a number of such people in my constituency, and the right hon. Gentleman will know that it is one of the most tragic and debilitating diseases. It is hereditary and does not manifest itself until people reach the middle thirties or forties, which means that it will frequently have been passed on to others, with the awful attendant misery to those at risk.

Those who suffer from Huntington's Chorea need 24 hours a day attention. They are permanently and steadily vibrating and knocking things over. They are often unable to lie still and sometimes unable even to sleep. They are recipients of the benefit that the Secretary of State seeks to cut or, as he calls it, to abate. By all means let the benefit come into taxability. That will certainly sort out those who have to live solely on the invalidity benefit—which bears in mind the element of care which is required of the spouse of the beneficiary—from those whose healthier half is able to work for gain. It is wrong to curtail our debates on that matter.

The Bill has had a most miserable and unsatisfactory Committee. In the democracy on which we pride ourselves, the only weapon available to the Opposition is time. Many high-sounding phrases have been uttered about the importance of what we have done in Committee. It was inevitable that we would do what we have done, because that was the only way to remain in order. We have not discussed what has happened, because all that we can do in order to show our disapproval of something that must be disapproved of, is to waste time within the bounds of order. We have done our best. We spent seven and a half hours discussing the timetable. That was time wasting of a high order. All that the Conservative Members could do was to sit still. It must be infuriating for them. I pay credit to Labour Members on the Committee for their diligence and the way in which they went on carrying the message. However, I must also pay credit to Conservative Members for staying there at all times.

But there must be a more satisfactory way for Parliament to effect legislation than to go through the sort of charades that we have gone through and for which we are promised another 27 hours.

Photo of Mr Nicholas Baker Mr Nicholas Baker , North Dorset

I agree with many of the hon. Gentleman's comments, but surely he will agree that there is another way of effecting legislation. If either side, operating through the usual channels on the basis that a Bill will get through by a certain date anyway, can agree the amount of time that should be made available to each clause in Committee, we could discuss each clause in an even way.

Photo of Mr Clement Freud Mr Clement Freud , Isle of Ely

I am amazed at the ingenuousness of the hon. Gentleman, who has admittedly not been here long. At the beginning of my speech I asked the Secretary of State whether he had authority from the Treasury to concede a single penny of the amount that he was asked to get or even to vary those who will be hit by the abatements. I said that I would accept a nod, but nothing came. Does the hon. Member for Dorset, North Mr. Baker) believe that anything could have been achieved by Opposition Members speaking for shorter or longer times, when there was not one penny in the bucket with which to negotiate?

I was taken by the elegant intervention of the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Clark), who seems to come and go, and is currently gone. In one of the hon. Gentleman's club interventions, he referred to my connection with the excellent Playboy clubs. I am indebted to him for that free commercial, but not even the admirable Playboy clubs operate the sort of unsocial timetable which the Committee on the Bill has been practising. To suggest that I miss all-night meetings of Committee in order to perform a function for the Playboy club—and my only function with Playboy is to advise it on food and drink, in the most social hours—is some way from the truth.

My right hon. and hon. Friends will vote against the timetable motion because we feel that the Government have no mandate to introduce this legislation. Not only have they no mandate, because much of what they are now introducing was not in their manifesto, but, as I said earlier today, speaking in the debate on the House of Lords, only 33·3 per cent. of the people who have the vote voted for this Government. Therefore, I feel that to maintain that this gives them a right is already wrong; to insist on a right which was not even advertised in the manifesto is that much more wrong, and we shall oppose the motion.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Carlisle Mr Kenneth Carlisle , Lincoln 6:41 pm, 6th May 1980

I am a member of the Standing Committee on this Bill and therefore can claim to have some understanding of the importance of the Bill. Indeed, it raises many very important issues. The hon. Member for Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud) mentioned one when he discussed most movingly the incidence of Huntington's chorea. Any Bill which deals with issues such as the level of benefits, the earnings rule, earnings-related supplements, and supplementary benefit for strikers—which has not been mentioned yet—is important. These are serious matters and, as such, are deserving of considered debate. It must be recognised that there are many arguments to be put for or against this Bill, and certainly the country would expect this Bill, with its important issues, to be properly discussed, and certainly our constituencies would expect that.

From all the protestations and actions of the Opposition, we would expect them to take this matter seriously. Yet I am bound to say that because of their behaviour in Committee we have to question how important and serious these issues are to them. I am a relative newcomer to this House, and the Committee considering this Bill is only my second Standing Committee, but in no way can anyone say that our proceedings can be called a rational debate. The debate on the sittings motion, as the House has already heard, went on for two days. We then moved on to clause 1—or, rather, we meandered on, turning the subject backwards and forwards, with the Opposition being intent on wasting time. Indeed, it was a charade and we have to respect and wonder at the versatility and imagination of the Opposition members of the Committee, who managed so well to toss the subject from one to the other, to get up to ask the questions, to intervene and almost to inspire points of order.

My hon. Friends the Members for Dorset, North (Mr. Baker) and Rochester and Chatham (Mrs. Fenner) have already mentioned much of what has taken place. It is like some interminable fugue by Bach, with the themes being played over and over again, and, as with Bach, they often go on long into the night. It is quite clear that no serious debate has been intended. Certainly some points have been made, but that has not been the aim or thrust of the Opposition. Their main aim has been to waste time.

I have over some months acquired considerable respect for the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker), who I am afraid is not in his place. He is a doughty fighter for many causes, however ill advised, as we have learnt today from the discussion on his Ten-Minute Bill, but my respect for him has diminished during the Committee proceedings upstairs. He, as always, has been full of argument, but the arguments have been long-winded, evasive and full of sound. His interminable ramblings have lacked substance or any relevance to the Bill. Coming from a man of such calibre, this behaviour has one of two possible explanations: either he does not care about the issues of the Bill, or he is determined not to have a serious debate because that would mean making progress on the Bill. If we are to be charitable, as I think we have to be, we must accept that he, with many of his hon. Friends, cares very much about the issues. Therefore, the second explanation has to be accepted, that he and his hon. Friends are doing what they are doing just to prevent progress.

As I have said, this is a serious Bill and it deserves serious debate.

Photo of Mr Reg Race Mr Reg Race , Haringey Wood Green

I am most grateful to hear that the hon. Gentleman thinks that the Bill is serious and deserves serious debate, but could he explain to the House how it is possible to have a serious debate about an issue like the " Why work? " issue without a single contribution being made from the Government Back Benches about it and how the Bill relates to it?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Carlisle Mr Kenneth Carlisle , Lincoln

I rose to make one small and, as I believed, relevant intervention, but it provoked from the Opposition a debate which, with interventions and points of order, must have continued for at least three hours. It is precisely for this reason that I believe that if we are to have a serious debate we must have a guillotine so that the important issues may be given disciplined consideration. Surely that is what the right hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Ennals) and the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. Stoddart) are asking for. They are asking that the really important matters be clearly debated; they are asking that all the irrelevance we have had to suffer be ended.

Indeed, it would not be a bad thing if all Bills were guillotined from the beginning, but I am afraid that that leads me on to a question of constitutional procedures, discussion on which you would probably rule out of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Therefore, I shall resist the temptation, which certainly has not been resisted by the Opposition in Committee, of branching out into the question of constitutional reform.

The conduct of the Opposition on this Bill makes it imperative that this serious Bill should have the reasoned debate which it merits. For this reason, I support the motion.

Mr. Ken Easfham:

I was very interested when last week the Leader of the House announced the timetable motion for this week. He was very dismissive, saying that the Bill was only a six-clause Bill, as if it had no importance, no significance and no influence on the outside world. We, quite justifiably, feel very indignant about this.

I am making a prediction that when the electorate at large realises how it has been deceived, when it understands what the Conservative Government are really playing at, it will see what a shabby Bill this is, with the Conservative Government acting little better than pickpockets, taking away from the poorest to give to the rich, as they have constantly done since the day they were elected.

Earlier this afternoon the Secretary of State referred to savings. We deny this. We constantly say that these are cuts. The Government should not be making any excuses. They ought to tell the electorate clearly what they are doing; and if they will not do it, it is our intention to do so. We shall constantly say that we are debating a vicious Bill which makes cuts affecting the less-well-off. Because the Bill is so vicious, we are entitled to consider it in the greatest depth. The Leader of the House was dismissive in saying that it was only a six-clause Bill, but practically every clause will bring misery to many sectors of the community.

The Bill's title is " Social Security (No. 2) Bill ". We should call it the " Insecurity Bill ", because in order to feel secure people need to be free of fear. With my hon. Friends, I believe that the Government are trying to instill fear into people, trying to deny them benefits that they should receive. The Bill turns the clock back fifty years. It will have unprecedented effects on the poorest sections of the community.

During the debates in Committee I asked the Secretary of State whether the Government had made any inquiries of the TUC and the CBI. In their indecent haste to get this shabby Bill through, the Government are proceeding in stocking feet, hoping that no one will know anything about it until the day when the unfortunate people concerned are told " We are very sorry, but this is the law." The Secretary of State said many times, when trying to apologise, " I accept that there are one or two ragged edges." But we are talking about people, about the sufferings of the old, the infirm, invalids and mothers expecting to receive maternity benefits.

The poor underdogs are having to pay for the Government's massive handouts to the rich and for the indecent bank profits recently announced. There is no extra productivity from the rich and those making the profits. One Conservative Member said that savings had to be made because of the economic situation. Yet these cuts are being made only two or three weeks after we learnt that the banks had made astronomical profits—about £1,500 million. They have made no sacrifices. Yet Conservative Members say, with cant and hypocrisy, "We must make changes. We are very sorry. We should like to do better, but we must clobber the unfortunate in society."

The Tory manifesto was presented to the people only a year ago. I have referred to it many times in Committee. It is a joke. On page 23 we read of helping the family. Under the heading Making Sense of Social Security the Conservatives promise to bring more effective help to those in greatest need. I could go on quoting the sickening contents of a false manifesto that sold the Conservatives to the British people in the 1979 general election.

When the Bill was about to be published, it was thought that it would be a a simple trade union bashing Bill. The Government think that trade union bashing is very popular. They thought that people would not mind some of their actions, which they hoped to justify. However, there is only one clause dealing with trade union bashing, and there are several other clauses quite separate from vengeance on the trade unions. The trade union clause will give a possible saving of only £1 million. Yet clause 1 will involve £140 million, affecting people with maternity rights, invalidity benefit and injury benefit, the very benefits that people have been paying for.

When I think about paying a premium for benefits, I wonder what would happen if a motorist paying for a fully comprehensive policy were told by the insurers " We shall pay out only on third-party, fire and theft." Would that be acceptable? Here we have parallels. People have been paying for many years for the benefits that they are now to be denied.

Whom does the Bill attack? I could give many illustrations. We are indignant about the Government's rushing the Bill through, because, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) said at the first Committee sitting, we want time to digest some of the information that is fed back to us. As the weeks go by we are receiving many letters from many disadvantaged groups. Letters are now beginning to come in from the trade unions. Only this morning I received a long, detailed letter from the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, of which I am a member. The union is entitled to be considered, to have its thoughts expressed here. The writer of the letter says: What is the position of a trade unionist finding him or herself involved in a trade dispute by actions of the employers, such as a lock-out—should the £12 be deducted in lockout circumstances? One has to take into consideration some unions do pay dispute pay and some unions cannot afford to pay dispute pay; frequently it is dependent upon the constitution of the union concerned, but I can say no trade union could afford to pay out dispute or strike benefit to members being locked-out by their Employers. I hope that the Bill will not be rushed through because of this miserable guillotine motion. I hope that we can debate some of the information that is coming to us. There has been no debate in Committee. Conservative hon. Members have said nothing of any consequence about the Bill in this debate, but they have spoken 10 times longer than they have done in Committee. Yet they say that they want time upstairs to debate the Bill. We are desirous that they go on record and clearly tell the electorate how they justify this shabby little piece of legislation, this six-clause Bill. When the time comes they will pay a high price at the next election.

We are following a correct course. We are to the best of our ability earnestly fighting the Bill. It is the worst legislation since the 1930s. It completely lacks compassion. It is a Bill of shame. I hope we shall throw out the motion.

7 pm

Photo of Mr Michael Colvin Mr Michael Colvin , Bristol North West

I support the proposition for a timetable on the Bill. Having spent the first two Standing Committee sittings in meaningless argument about why Opposition Members could not meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, and having seen the second sitting end in complete disorder and uproar, with the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) bellowing like a wounded elephant, I began to appreciate that the Bill's passage through Committee might well be stormy. That being so, there would seem to be every reason for making the storm as short as possible and discussion on the measures contained in the Bill as constructive as possible.

From the way in which Opposition Members have been speaking, it was clear that with their propensity for hot air they would waffle on interminably, wasting the Committee's time and contributing little that could be described as constructive. I would not mind that too much were it not for the repetitiveness of their arguments, many of which are irrelevant. My hon. Friends and I can stand a certain amount of repetitiveness, but irrele-vancies are not acceptable in a Committee which has a great deal to discuss.

Much of the hot air generated by Opposition Members has been totally irrelevant to our discussions and it has been difficult for my hon. Friend and me to resist being drawn into meaningless discussions with Opposition Members. However, we can take credit for having resisted that temptation on many occasions.

There has been much talk from Labour Members, for instance, about the agricultural interests of some of my hon Friends and myself. There may be some tenuous connection between industrial injuries and agriculture—I accept that—but it is hardly enough to warrant a two-hour debate on how Conservative Members earn their living. Perhaps Labour Members should have done more research and homework on the subject. Only three on the Conservative side of the Committee have any agricultural interests. That compares fairly well with two on die Opposition side who have interests in or experience of agriculture. We are fairly evenly matched there.

It so happens that my hon. Friends who have agricultural interests also have industrial, commercial and trade union interests. We may not have the trade union interests that Opposition Members have. I have done some homework, and I know that every Opposition Member of the Committee is a member of a trade union and more than half are sponsored by trade unions. That explains why they had to spend another hour of the Committee's time in discussing why the TUC had not been consulted about the contents of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Reg Race Mr Reg Race , Haringey Wood Green

Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that one reason why the Government want discussion on the Bill to be terminated as quickly as possible in Committee is that he and his hon Friends have outside interests and need all the time they can muster to attend to them?

Photo of Mr Michael Colvin Mr Michael Colvin , Bristol North West

That is an irrelevant intervention. That is not so. We want meaningful discussion on the Bill because we have contributions to make.

I endorse what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mrs. Fenner) about earnings-related supplements. The Committee may hear more about that from the Government side of the Committee when we get to it.

Labour Members feel that they have some wonderful experience of industry which Conservative Members lack. It is interesting to look down the list to see what is their interest and experience. They are involved in planning, they have been chartered engineers, research officers, training officers and teachers. There is not much real industrial experience on the Labour side. There is even one hon. Member who is an architect.

The only person on the Opposition side to have been involved in industry is the hon. Member for Barking (Miss Richardson). She is the only one who has been near enough to industry before entering the House to get grease under her finger nails. She also happens to be a member of two trade unions, one of which is my union, so I have great pleasure in paying her a fraternal compliment on her experience.

I should not overlook the industrial experience of the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Ellis). As a miner, he is one of the few who have come face to face with industrial injury, and his experience in that connection is extremely valuable.

Experience of trade unions and agriculture, important though it may be in passing to the Committee's deliberations, is not the crux of the matter.

There have been other irrelevancies that we have been drawn into by Labour Members. The hon. Member for Fife, Central made two references to the Royal Family which were pointless departures on his pet hobby horse. We must give him credit where credit is due. Although he spent a lot of time discussing nuclear-powered submarines, he twice threatened to bring the Royal yacht into the debate, but showed masterly restraint in resisting that temptation. We may not have had a trip on the Royal yacht, but we have had to listen to many Labour Members departing on ideological trips in their speeches. It is as if they believe that they have a predestined and exclusive right to social conscience in Parliament. That is not true, and it is not borne out by the election result.

The only constructive contributions that Labour Members have made to the debate in Committee were those in which they have spoken to their briefs. I do not mean the briefs provided by their research officers, which I know are difficult to read. There have been pregnant pauses in the Committee's deliberations when hon. Members have been stuck on a word or two. I should like to pay tribute to the voluntary and outside groups which have supplied briefs to hon. Members on both sides of the Committee.

Some of the organisations which have contributed a great deal to the enlightenment of both sides and much useful and explanatory information are as follows: the Child Poverty Action Group, the Disability Income Group, the Council of Post Office Unions, RADAR—the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation—the Northern Ireland Council for Social Service, and Age Concern.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for supplying notes on the Bill in preparation for our debate, but the briefs produced by people outside have been more useful and easier to understand.

Labour Members spent another hour discussing the leaflet "Changes to the supplementary benefit scheme and how they affect you" which was produced to explain some of the contents of the Bill. I find it fairly difficult to understand, and yet it is supposed to be an explanatory leaflet. I think that I am fairly average when it comes to reading leaflets such as this. It is high time that the Government learnt to produce leaflets that are understandable to the average member of the public and are not veiled in the normal jargon to which they have become accustomed. We are all grateful for the help given to us by voluntary bodies, and we applaud their efforts on our behalf.

I do not think that any hon. Member enjoys discussing this Bill. No one, least of all politicians, enjoys making difficult and unpalatable decisions, even when those decisions are necessary. Those decisions have been avoided for so long that they are now much harder to take. However, action is overdue, and I am sure that the action proposed in the Bill will be most welcome. The worst burden that my hon. Friends and I had to bear in Committee was to listen to the self-righteous indignation of Labour Members, whose last spell in Government contributed so greatly to the problems currently facing the nation, particularly less well-off people.

There are many good reasons for supporting this motion, but few better than the old stricture that, if unpleasant action has to be taken, the sooner it is taken the better.

Several Hon. Members:

Several Hon. Members rose

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. I remind the House that it is hoped that the winding-up speeches will begin at 7.20 p.m.

Photo of Frank Field Frank Field , Birkenhead 7:12 pm, 6th May 1980

I have nine minutes in which to speak, during which time I wish to dwell on three of the welter of reasons why this timetable motion should be opposed, or, alternatively, why Labour Members need more time to discuss the Bill.

The first and perhaps the most important reason is that the policies that the Government are pursuing against the poor are at variance with all their other policies. If we look at the general trend of the economic policies of the Government, it can be seen that they believe in giving incentives to people to stand on their own two feet and to provide for themselves. This Bill provides the opposite to that for those on benefit. It contains the beginnings of an apartheid policy for the poor.

You, Mr. Speaker, will know better than most right hon. and hon. Members in the Chamber that when working people collectively began to provide for their well-being, they did so through friendly societies. That action was taken over by the building up of a national insurance scheme. The Bill attacks the principle of national insurance, and it attacks working people who try to provide for themselves when they are in need. That is one example of how this aspect of Government policy is at variance with the rest of their policies. Another example is the issue of child benefits. If we were moving towards a society that supported and rewarded people who were trying to improve their own and their family's lot by their own efforts, we would have had a real increase in child benefits, not a decrease.

The Government have tried to present the child benefit increase as a real increase. It is nothing of the kind. It devalues child benefit, because it is two years since most families received their last real increase in this benefit. Because there was no real increase in child benefit, and because the Government are concerned about the "Why work?" syndrome, they cut the children's rates in the national insurance benefit even more viciously than the adult rates.

Much has been said by my hon. Friends about the cut in unemployment sickness benefit and disability benefit. If I have time, Mr. Speaker, I shall return to that point. Whereas the Government are legislating for an 11½ per cent. increase in unemployment and sick pay, the increase in rates for the children of those who are unemployed or sick is about 6 per cent. That follows logically from the failure of the Government to meet their commitment on child benefits. So, the first reason why the Opposition need time to discuss the Bill further is that we want to convince Conservative Members that the poor are being unfairly treated and that the general trend of policies that are thought proper for the majority of the population are not being extended to the poor.

I shall mention the second reason only briefly because, rightly, it has been touched upon by a number of my hon. Friends. We are debating real cuts in benefits for the first time in 50 years. It is interesting to note the way in which the Government have tried to manage public opinion on this point. When they gave Adam Raphael the first news about the cuts in benefits, they were proud to say that they were cuts. Then they began to think that perhaps these cuts were not as popular as they had first thought. So we no longer hear talk about cuts. Instead, all the emphasis is about abatements. We are told that this is the first stage towards taxing benefits, but many of the groups who are affected would not pay tax if these benefits were brought into the tax net, so why should we abate their benefits? We have reached the absurd position, particularly regarding the disabled, where the majority of people would not pay tax, but under this Bill we are abating, or cutting, their benefits. That is the second reason why we need more time. We need to spell out the extent to which the Government are, as described in the book of Genesis, sewing fig leaves together to hide their nakedness. And abatement does make a very good fig-leaf. The Government are calling the cuts abatements—the first stage towards taxing benefits. They are nothing of the kind.

We cannot consider the Social Security (No. 2) Bill without considering the two Conservative Budgets. The hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mrs. Fermer) chided my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) for his language about class warfare. I put a question to her. If hon. Members have experienced two Budgets, the first giving the richest 7 per cent. of the community tax handouts of £1,560 million, and the second giving the richest 2 per cent. of the community 14 per cent. of all net tax reductions, and to help pay for those cuts we embark on real cuts in benefits for the first time for 50 years, who is right to say that we are witnessing class action—Labour Members or Conservative Members?

Photo of Mrs Peggy Fenner Mrs Peggy Fenner , Rochester and Chatham

Will the hon. Gentleman say which of the benefits is not subjected to this abatement of supplementary benefit? Does he agree that it is for the poorest and the most needy?

Photo of Frank Field Frank Field , Birkenhead

That is a valuable intervention. Had the Government been true to their philosophy they would have cut that benefit, rather than insurance benefits. I did not expect the Secretary of State to cut the insurance benefits for which people have paid.

I turn to the third reason why we shall oppose the guillotine motion tonight. Before voting, we need to spend a little time looking more carefully than hitherto at the arguments advanced by the Secretary of State. Hon. Members who have been present throughout the debates will recall that my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. Stallard) said when we were discussing the Social Security (No. 1) Bill that he had every voluntary organisation within his boundaries. He now says that benefit books are being printed in his constituency. I ask the Secretary of State to tell us why the order books are already being printed when we are still discussing the Bill and the guillotine motion.

The Secretary of State said " This is necessary. One has to get on with the work." I obtained the Hansard report of the debate on the Government's guillotine motion on the Social Security (No. 1) Bill. During that debate the right hon. Gentleman made three important statements. First, he said: If the Bill were delayed beyond the end of May, revised order books would already have been issued on the basis of changes contained in the Bill. In the following column he added: If the order books had been drawn up on the basis of the provisions in the Bill and, thereafter, the Bill was altered because it had been delayed, the order might well be wrong and it would have to be recalled and sent out again. In the next column he referred to complications and said: That is why it is essential for the Bill to becomes law by the end of May."—[OfficialReport, 25 February 1980; Vol. 979, c. 1030–32.] If that was right for the Social Security (No. 1) Bill, it must equally be right for the Social Security (No. 2) Bill. There is no chance of the Bill becoming law before the end of May. Either the right hon. Gentleman was right and he did not mislead the House on the first occasion, or he is misleading the House today. He cannot have it both ways.

There are three reasons why we seek more time to discuss this measure. One is to try to convince Conservative Members that the policy that they are pursuing for the poor is at variance with all their other policies. We wish to bring it in line. Secondly, we want to discuss at length and to probe the first real cuts in benefits since the 1930s. Thirdly, we are not prepared to take at face value the reasons that the right hon. Gentleman gave to the House for the need for the Bill to be rushed through. Either he misled the House today or he misled it on the earlier occasion when he introduced a similar motion.

Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr 7:23 pm, 6th May 1980

I have listened to most of the debate. I have missed only one speech. That was through no discourtesy on my part. I had to leave the Chamber.

On behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends I make no apology for the conduct of my hon. Friends in Committee. The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Colvin) has let the cat out of the bag. He had the brass face to thank all the outside pressure groups whose clients are helped by, interested in, affected by and attacked by the Bill. These are the groups that the Secretary of State refuses to meet while the Bill is passing through the House. The hon. Gentleman had the brass face to read out a list of pressure groups and to thank them. All that he has done—I accept metaphorically—is to put all their published material straight into the rubbish bin. On not one occasion has he advanced the case that the pressure groups have put to us.

Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr

No, I am not giving way. There is no time for me to do so. The only deal that I have done at any stage of the Bill's progress is to agree to resume my place at 7.30 pm. That is the only deal that I will make with the Government while dealing with the Bill. Therefore, there is no time for me to give way to the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West.

It is clear that the hon. Gentleman has not undertaken his research properly. If 25 years of instrument-making by my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) has not involved getting grease under his fingernails, I do not know what will. The hon. Gentleman implies that there is a lack of industrial experience among Labour Members. He is wrong on that score, as with many of his other comments.

The sittings motion was brought before the Committee without so much as a "by your leave." The Government made no attempt to allow the Committee to sit for conventional hours. That approach indicates that the Government are in the mould to which Lord Hailsham used to refer when in Opposition—namely, that of the elected dictatorship. They are not interested in hearing arguments advanced inside or outside the House. That is typified by the right hon. Gentleman's refusal to meet the outside bodies that are concerned.

What is wrong if a few hon. Members are called to order during their speeches? There is nothing disreputable about that. There were occasions when, because of the lateness of the hour, because we were forced to have two Chairmen during only three days of sitting, and because the chairmen have had to read annotated Hansard reports, points of order were subsequently shown to be points of clarification for the Chairman of the moment.

The amendments have been complex. The issue of national insurance benefits is extremely complex. If an hon. Member is called to order, that does not mean that he has strayed out of order deliberately. Conservative Members snigger, but the record proves that on a number of occasions hon. Members were shown not to be out of order.

We have had more speeches today from Conservative members of the Committee than in 44 hours in Committee. It would not have been so bad if we had had some decent answers from Ministers. The Secretary of State has served on Committee. He knows that his right hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security cannot cope with the necessary all-night sittings. We know that from the previous Bill.

I must give the Secretary of State his due. He has attended the Committee diligently. He missed a Cabinet meeting to do so. However, that has not made up for the triviality and paucity of some of his replies. That triviality and paucity were transcended by one of the replies of the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker), who treated the debate with a degree of contempt that was not expected of her by some of my hon. Friends.

The Secretary of State recited a long list of hon. Members who made long speeches. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman has had to be on his feet almost continually to answer our questions and our debates. He has had to do so because his hon. Friends have not given him any support. We make no complaint about that. However, on one occasion Conservative Members had difficulty in returning from the bars and dining-rooms in this place. The right hon. Gentleman found that he did not have his majority after the dinner break. He had to speak for 25 minutes longer than he anticipated. The Government Whip entered the Committee Room after he had been on his feet for over 20 minutes and put his thumbs up to indicate that the right hon. Gentleman could resume his place.

Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr

No, I am not giving way. It is on the record. The Under-Secretary of State will reply and she can offer an answer. I have seen the properly printed Hansard report in the past hour, and it is recorded that I said to the Minister that he could sit down as he had his majority. That was picked up and it appears on the record. The Whip knows that I am telling the truth.

It is said that there has been repetition in Committee. I and my right hon. and hon. Friends tabled several amendments that we considered were crucial. Is that repetition? I do not think that Conservative Members understand the depth of our opposition to the Bill. They will get the signs. In due course the Leader of the House will become involved. If Conservative Members think that all will be sweetness and light in the Chamber once they secure the guillotine motion and get the Bill out of Committee, they have another thought coming.

It is no part of my job to cause you any problems, Mr. Speaker. No hon. Member would wish to do that. However, the Opposition will not counsel Labour Members to co-operate in the normal running of business in the House. The Government have a large majority but it will not be possible on many days for them to do what they want when they want to do it. That will not be possible if Labour Members are so minded as not to let them have that facility. That is the only way left to Labour Members to indicate the strength of their opposition to the Bill.

The Bill is being bounced through the House by means of a guillotine motion. That is being done by a Government whose Back Benchers are not prepared to give their support. I am not surprised about that. Opposition Members have had to make speeches on behalf of the constituents of Tory Members to demonstrate how they are affected by the Bill. We have indicated how widows, the unemployed, the sick and the disabled will be affected in the constituencies of Conservative Members. We have done so because they have refused to do so.

The Secretary of State has borne the burden of the Bill. He has admitted that he has refused to meet pressure groups. We know why he has taken that attitude. He could have found the time to meet them. He could have done so between weekends and in the mornings. He found time to address meetings during the intervening weekends.

The Sunday Times recently did a big spread on the Government. In that report it is stated that the right hon. Gentleman is having a rough year. It has not finished yet. The article states that he is being keenly watched by Mrs. Thatcher for any signs of weakening under pressure from what she regards as bleeding heart pressure groups. It so happens that those are the very groups that the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West described. When the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary of State were in opposition they argued against the Labour Government from the Opposition Dispatch Box. That Government did not cut benefits. However, they criticised them for not doing enough. The hon. Lady is described in The SundayTimes as being a libertarian. Her description in The Sunday Times reads: Bright, blonde, votes for the rope. She is one of the senior spokesmen for the so-called bleeding heart pressure groups. It defies belief that she has the gall to stay in government and to defend the Bill after all that she has said. Any credibility that she might have had when she was in opposition, and spoke from this Dispatch Box, has disappeared. I would not be surprised if pressure groups saw the light of day about her attitude. It does not square.

We know that the Secretary of State is being keenly watched, and we would expect such an attitude from him. Perhaps the hon. Lady is taking a leaf out of the book of her right hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security. She is being egged on yet more to bash the underdog, the disabled and the unemployed. That is what this Bill is about. The Government seek to bash the work-wounded. The Secretary of State will rue the day that he ignored our warnings about cuts in industrial injury benefit. If anybody wants an excuse for joining the day of action on 14 May, he should know that 22 million workers are potential victims of industrial accidents. Their benefits will be cut. Their workmates' benefits will be cut if they are injured, or wounded at work. This Bill cuts the amount of benefit that a widow may receive if her husband is wounded at work. That alone is sufficient reason to throw out the Bill. Moreover, it is sufficient reason for the public to take the kind of action that this House cannot take.

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey 7:31 pm, 6th May 1980

The House is well aware—or will have become aware during the debate—of why the Government had to seek a timetable motion for the Social Security (No. 2) Bill. We know that it is a short Bill. The Government have never doubted that it would be controversial. However, it would be wrong to reiterate all the arguments in favour of the Bill, as if we were on Second Reading.

The House gave the Bill a Second Reading on 15 April, by a majority of 55. We are debating an allocation of time motion. The debate is not about the principles of the Bill, much as Opposition Members might like it to be. Nor is this a debate about the size of the Bill. Many right hon. and hon. Members know that this House has discussed far larger Bills in a much shorter space of time. The debate concerns precedents. Precedent does not allow the rules of the House to be misused. It does not entitle the Opposition to prevent due passage of the Bill through all its stages.

While we fully understand the Opposition's vehemence towards the Bill, that is not a sufficient reason to prevent its progress. Precedent does not entitle the Opposition deliberately to set out to frustrate the will of the House, which was expressed clearly on Second Reading.

I turn to guillotine motions of past years. Between 1975 and 1979 no fewer than 12 Bills were guillotined. Between 1970 and 1974 the Conservative Government guillotined five Bills. Since the subject has been raised I shall quote from a debate on a guillotine motion. The quotation states: Timetabling, whatever else may be said of it, at least prevents such tactics and it discourages interminable and excessive discussion which will always tend to bring Parliament into disrepute."—[Official Report, 18 July 1966; Vol. 732, c. 51.] It was not one of my right hon. or hon. Friends that made that comment, but the then Leader of the House, Mr. Herbert Bowden.

My hon. Friends have repeatedly told us that in Committee Opposition Member after Opposition Member set out to frustrate the will of the House, as expressed on Second Reading. They even tried to pretend that the guillotine motion on the Selective Employment Payments Bill had been agreed between the parties before the Committee stage. That was not so.

The strongest comment that I could make has already been made by the Shadow Leader of the House, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) He said: I do not believe that this House should proceed on the basis that a guillotine is a stranger to its proceedings. Indeed it is not. It is a legitimate part of our Parliamentary process and the reason for our timetable motion has been made quite clear.

The motion is about the Bill's rate of progress, but the debate has been about a lack of progress. There have been over 44 hours of debate in Committee, and two all-night sittings. We have dealt with about 10 groups of amendments to clause 1. The Committee is now discussing amendments to clause 1(3). We are about half-way through the first of six main clauses, and two subsidiary clauses. More than four more amendments have been tabled to clause 1. The motion is necessary not only because 24 further groups of amendments have been selected for debate, but because the Opposition are completely and utterly determined to delay reasonable progress.

At our first sitting the right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) said that the Opposition would not facilitate the Bill's passage. Opposition Members were so busy interrupting one another that it was remarkable that Hansard— with all its skill—managed to get the quotes right. A week later the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) discussed the Bill—not the amendment—again. He was busy stating his case, and claimed that the Opposition would deal with the six clauses as follows: If necessary, we will sit three days a week, open-ended, for the next two months."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B; 29 April 1980, c. 361.] I calculate that that will amount to a further 250 hours of discussion. That means that we shall spend over 40 hours per clause.

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

I shall come to the hon. Gentleman in a moment. [Interruption.] It is easy to see why the Opposition need so much time on each clause in Committee. They are not debating the amendments. They are still fighting the principles that the House has agreed. The right hon. Member for Salford, West made a Second Reading speech today. He referred to matters that have already been made perfectly clear. However, the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) spoke not only as if we were in the midst of a Second Reading debate, when we were well into a debate on clause 1, but as if the Second Reading had not taken place. He went back to the general election. He was busy re-fighting battles that had been fought years before. The attitude summed up by the hon. Member for Perry Barr has led to the need for this motion. After some debate on 1 May, he said that the Opposition were not prepared to be reasonable. That is what the motion is all about. He told us that the only deal that he was prepared to do with me concerned the time at which he should sit down, but he did not even keep to that. He was a minute late. We would not have got as far as we have in Committee if debate after debate had not been closured.

The hon. Member for Perry Barr is at least consistent in some of his actions. In 1976 he voted time after time in one night in favour of five guillotine motions. He did not demur in those days. However, the Bills were at least as controversial as that before us tonight. On that same night, one of the Bills being guillotined was the Health Services Bill. His right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Ennals) will recall that occasion. That Bill was guillotined after 42½ hours of debate. By that time, progress had been made on seven clauses.

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

I wish to speak for only a further two or three minutes.

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

It is a fallacy to think that the Opposition would facilitate progress on the Bill if there were unlimited time. I notice that the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale is not here. Perhaps he has taken the advice of my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice).

The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale was the bizarre author of five guillotines in one night. However, he has learnt. Only a few months ago the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale said: generally guillotine motions are required to get highly controversial party measures through the House. There is nothing wrong with highly controversial party measures. I am all in favour of them. They are some of the main transactions that have to be put through the House. Often, they can be put through only with the assistance of the guillotine."—[Official Report, 29 January 1980; Vol. 977, c. 1265.] A number of different accusations have been made during the debate, as one would expect. An accusation has been made about the order books. Right hon. Gentlemen are aware that no order books for future benefits have been dispatched. The will of the House has not in any way been frustrated. Some order books have been printed, but there is no way in which we can complete the operation—with which the right hon. Member for Salford, West is thoroughly familiar—unless we are prepared to start our internal processes in anticipation. Over the years Government after Government have done that.

Another accusation that was made continually concerned my right hon. Friend not meeting outside groups. He has not refused to do so. He said merely that he was unable to do so during the current stage of the Bill. During the past few weeks officials of our Department have met outside groups on our behalf. As Ministers, we shall be meeting those groups between the Committee stage and later stages of the Bill.

I can best sum up the debate by quoting from the late Iain Macleod, when, back in 1962, he said:

" The fundamental fact which we, as the House of Commons, have to consider is that with our procedures, which have grown up over so many years, any Bill... will, if it is sufficiently disliked by the Opposition, result in a situation in which the Government must ask for allocation of time powers or drop the Bill."—[Official Report, 7 March 1962; Vol. 655, c. 432.]

This Bill is an essential part of the Budget strategy. It is not for me to spell out why or wherefore. It could not be brought forward before the Budget, because it is part of the Budget strategy. I ask the House to accept the motion—

It being three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, Mr. SPEAKER put the question necessary to dispose of them, pursuant to Standing Order No. 44 (Allocation of time to Bills).

Question put accordingly:

The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 246.

Division No. 282]AYES[7.45 pm
Adley, RobertCarlisle, John (Luton West)Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh M)
Aitken, JonathanCarlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Fletcher Cooke, Charles
Alexander, RichardCarlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)Fookes, Miss Janet
Amery, Rt Hon JulianChalker, Mrs LyndaForman, Nigel
Ancram, MichaelChannon, PaulFowler, Rt Hon Norman
Arnold TomChapman, SydneyFraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Aspinwall, JackChurchill, W. S.Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Atkins, Robert (Preston North)Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Fry, Peter
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)Clark, Sir William (Croydon South)Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Cockeram, EricGardner, Edward (South Fylde)
Banks, RobertColvin, MichaelGarel-Jones, Tristan
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyCope, JohnGlyn, Dr Alan
Bell, Sir RonaldCormack, PatrickGoodhew, Victor
Bendall, VivianCorrie, JohnGoodlad, Alastair
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Costain, A. P.Gow, Ian
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)Cranborne, ViscountGower, Sir Raymond
Benyon, W. (Buckingham)Critchley, JulianGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Bitten, Rt Hon JohnCrouch, DavidGreenway, Harry
Biggs-Davison, JohnDean, Paul (North Somerset)Grieve, Percy
Blackburn, JohnDickens, GeoffreyGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds)
Blaker, PeterDorrell, StephenGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Bonsor, Sir NicholasDouglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesGrist, Ian
Boscawen, Hon RobertDover, DenshoreGrylls, Michael
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardGummer, John Selwyn
Boyson, Dr RhodesDunlop, JohnHamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'il)
Braine, Sir BernardDunn, Robert (Dartford)Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Bright, GrahamDurant, TonyHampson, Dr Keith
Brinton, TimDykes, HughHannam, John
Brittan, LeonEden, Rt Hon Sir JohnHaselhurst, Alan
Brooke, Hon PeterEdwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)Hawkins, Paul
Brotherton, MichaelEggar, TimothyHawksley, Warren
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)Elliott, Sir WilliamHayhoe, Barney
Browne, John (Winchester)Emery, PeterHeath, Rt Hon Edward
Bruce-Gardyne, JohnEyre, ReginaldHeddle, John
Bryan, Sir PaulFairbairn, NicholasHenderson, Barry
Buck, AntonyFairgrieve, RussellHeseltlne, Rt Hon Michael
Budgen, NickFaith, Mrs SheilaHicks, Robert
Bulmer, EsmondFarr, JohnHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Burden, F. A.Fell, AnthonyHill, James
Butcher, JohnFenner, Mrs PeggyHogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)
Butler, Hon AdamFinsberg, GeoffreyHolland, Philip (Carlton)
Cadbury, JocelynFisher, Sir NigelHooson, Tom
Hordern, PeterMiscampbell, NormanSmith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Speed, Keith
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)Moate, RogerSpeller, Tony
Hunt, David (Wirral)Monro, HectorSpence, John
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)Montgomery, FergusSpicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Hurd, Hon DouglasMoore, JohnSpicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)Morgan, GeraintSproat, Iain
Jenkin, Rt Hon PatrickMorrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)Squire, Robin
Jessel, TobyMorrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)Stainton, Keith
Johnson Smith, GeoffreyMudd, DavidStanbrook, Ivor
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelMurphy, ChristopherStanley, John
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithMyles, DavidSteen, Anthony
Kaberry, Sir DonaldNeedham, RichardStevens, Martin
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineNelson, AnthonyStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Kimball, MarcusNeubert, MichaelStewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
King, Rt Hon TomNewton, TonyStokes, John
Kitson, Sir TimothyOnslow, CranleyStradling Thomas, J.
Knight, Mrs JillOppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs SallyTapsell, Peter
Knox, DavidPage, John (Harrow, West)Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Lamont, NormanPage, Rt Hon Sir R. GrahamTaylor, Teddy (Southend East)
Lang, IanPage, Richard (SW Hertfordshire)Tebbit, Norman
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnParris, MatthewTemple-Morris, Peter
Latham, MichaelPatten, Christopher (Bath)Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)
Lawrence, IvanPatten, John (Oxford)Thompson, Donald
Lawson, NigelPattie, GeoffreyThorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Lee, JohnPawsey, JamesThornton, Malcolm
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkPink, R. BonnerTownsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Lester, Jim (Beeston)Pollock, AlexanderTrippier, David
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutand)Porter, GeorgeTrotter, Neville
Lloyd, lan (Havant & Waterloo)Prentice, Rt Hon Regvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Price, David (Eastleigh)Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Loveridge, JohnPrior, Rt Hon JamesViggers Peter
Luce, RichardProctor, K. HarveyWaddington, David
Lyell, NicholasPym, Rt Hon FrancisWakeham, John
McCrindle, RobertRaison, Timothy
Macfarlane, NeilRathbone, TimWaldegrave, Hon William
MacGregor, JohnRees, Peter (Dover and Deal)Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
MacKay, John (Argyll)Rees-Davies, W. R.Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Macmillan Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Renton TimWall, Patrick
McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)Rhodes James, RobertWaller, Gary
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonWard, John
McQuarrie, AlbertRidsdale, JulianWarren, Kenneth
Madel, DavidRifkind, MalcolmWatson, John
Major, JohnRippon, Rt Hon GeoffreyWells, John (Maidstone)
Marland, PaulRoberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Marlow, TonyRoberts, Wyn (Conway)Wheeler, John
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Rossi, HughWhitelaw, Rt Hon William
Mates, MichaelRost, PeterWhitney, Raymond
Mather, CarolRoyle, Sir AnthonyWiggin, Jerry
Maude, Rt Hon AngusSainsbury, Hon TimothyWilkinson, John
Mawby, RaySt. John-Stevas, Rt Hon NormanWilliams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Mawhinney, Dr BrianScott, NicholasWinterton, Nicholas
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinShelton, William (Streatham)Wolfson, Mark
Mayhew, PatrickShepherd, Colin (Hereford)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Mellor, DavidShepherd, Richard(Aldridge-Br'hills)Younger, Rt Hon George
Meyer, Sir AnthonyShersby, Michael
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)Silvester, FredTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mills, lain (Meriden)Sims, RogerMr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Mills, Peter (West Devon)Skeet, T. H. H.Mr. Anthony Berry.
NOES
Abse, LeoCampbell, lanDavis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)
Adams, AllenCampbell-Savours, DaleDempsey, James
Allaun, FrankCanavan, DennisDewar, Donald
Alton, DavidCant, R. B.Dixon, Donald
Anderson, DonaldCarmichael, NeilDobson, Frank
Archer, Rt Hon PeterCarter-Jones, LewisDormand, Jack
Armstrong, Rt Hon ErnestCartwright, JohnDubs, Alfred
Ashley, Rt Hon JackClark, Dr David (South Shields)Duffy, A. E. P.
Ashton, JoeCocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)Coleman, DonaldDunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Eadie, Alex
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Conlan, BernardEastham, Ken
Beith, A. J.Cook, Robin F.Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodCox, Tom (Wandsworth, Tooting)Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Crowther, J. S.English, Michael
Booth, Rt Hon AlbertCryer, BobEnnals, Rt Hon David
Bradley, TomCunliffe, LawrenceEvans, loan (Aberdare)
Bray, Dr JeremyCunningham, George (Islington S)Evans, John (Newton)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven)Ewing, Harry
Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)Dalyell, TamFaulds, Andrew
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)Davidson, ArthurField, Frank
Buchan, NormanDavies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Fitch, Alan
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Davies, Ifor (Gower)Fitt, Gerard
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)Flannery, Martin
Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston)McCartney, HughRowlands, Ted
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)McCusker, H.Ryman, John
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMcDonald, Dr OonaghSandelson, Neville
Ford, BenMcElhone, FrankSever, John
Forrester, JohnMcGuire, Michael (Ince)Sheerman, Barry
Foster, DerekMcKay, Allen (Penistone)Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)
Foulkes, GeorgeMcKelvey, WilliamShore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)
Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)MacKenzie, Rt Hon GregorSilkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Freeson, Rt Hon ReginaldMaclennan, RobertSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Freud, ClementMcNally, ThomasSilverman, Julius
Garrett, John (Norwich S)Magee, BryanSkinner, Dennis
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Marks, KennethSmith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)
George, BruceMarshall, David (Gl'sgow. Shettles'n)Snape, Peter
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnMarshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Soley, Clive
Ginsberg, DavidMarshall, Jim (Leicester South)Spearing, Nigel
Gourlay, HarryMartin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)Spriggs, Leslie
Graham, TedMason, Rt Hon RoyStallard, A. W.
Grant, George (Morpeth)Maxton, JohnSteel, Rt Hon David
Grant, John (Islington C)Maynard, Miss JoanStewart, Rt Hon Donald (W lsies)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Meacher, MichaelStoddart, David
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Mellish, Rt Hon RobertStott, Roger
Hardy, PeterMikardo, IanStraw, Jack
Harrison, Rt Hon WalterMillan, Rt Hon BruceSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Hart, Rt Hon Dame JudithMiller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyMitchell, Austin (Grimsby)Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Haynes, FrankMolyneaux, JamesThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Healey, Rt Hon DenisMorris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)
Heffer, Eric S.Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)Tilley, John
Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)Tinn, James
Home Robertson, JohnMoyle, Rt Hon RolandTorney, Tom
Homewood, WilliamNewens, StanleyUrwin, Rt Hon Tom
Horam, JohnOakes, Rt Hon GordonVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)Ogden, EricWainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Hudson Davies, Gwilym EdnyfedO'Halloran, MichaelWainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Hughes, Mark (Durham)O'Neill, MartinWalker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)Orme, Rt Hon StanleyWatkins, David
Hughes, Roy (Newport)Owen, Rt Hon Dr DavidWeetch, Ken
Janner, Hon GrevillePalmer, ArthurWellbeloved, James
Jay, Rt Hon DouglasPark, George
John, BrynmorParker, JohnWelsh, Michael
Johnson, James (Hull West)Parry, RobertWhite, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Johnston, Russell (Inverness)Pavitt, LaurieWhite, James (Glasgow, Pollock)
Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)Pendry, TomWhitehead, Phillip
Jones, Barry (East Flint)Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)Whitlock, William
Jones, Dan (Burnley)Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)Wigley, Dafydd
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldPrescott, JohnWilliams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Kerr, RussellRace, RegWilliams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Kilfedder, James A.Radice, GilesWilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Kilroy-Silk, RobertRichardson, JoWilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Kinnock, NeilRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Lambie, DavidRoberts, Allan (Bootle)Winnick, David
Lamborn, HarryRoberts, Ernest (Hackney North)Woodall, Alec
Leadbitter, TedRoberts, Gwilym (Cannock)Woolmer, Kenneth
Leighton, RonaldRobertson, GeorgeWrigglesworth, Ian
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)Wright, Sheila
Lewis, Arthur (Newham North West)Rodgers, Rt Hon WilliamYoung, David (Bolton East)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Rooker, J. W.
Litherland, RobertRoper, JohnTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Lofthouse, GeoffreyRoss, Ernest (Dundee West)Mr. Joseph Dean and
Lyon, Alexander (York)Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)Mr. George Morton.
Lyons, Edward (Bradford West)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Ordered,

That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining proceedings on the Bill:—

Committee

1.—(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2) below, the Standing Committee to which the Bill is allocated shall report the Bill to the House on or before 12 May.

(2) Proceedings on the Bill at a sitting of the Standing Committee on 12 May may continue until 11 pm whether or not the House is adjourned before that time and if the House is adjourned before those proceedings have been brought to a conclusion the Standing Committee shall report the Bill to the House on 13 May.

Report and Third Reading

2.—(1) The proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading of the Bill shall be completed in one allotted day and shall be brought to a conclusion two hours after Ten o'clock on that day; and for the purposes of Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) this Order shall be taken to allot to the proceedings on Consideration such part of that day as the Resolution of the Business Committee may determine.

(2) The Business Committee shall report to the House their resolutions as to the proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, and as to the allocation of time between those proceedings and proceedings on Third Reading, not later than the fourth day on which the House sits after the day on which the Chairman of the Standing Committee reports the Bill to the House.

(3) The resolutions in any Report made under Standing Order No. 43 may be varied by a further Report so made, whether or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) above, and whether or not the Resolutions have been agreed to by the House.

(4) The Resolutions of the Business Committee may include alterations in the order in which proceedings on Consideration of the Bill are taken.

Procedure in Standing Committee

3.—(1) At a sitting of the Standing Committee at which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion under a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee the Chairman shall not adjourn the Committee under any Order relating to the sittings of the Committee until the proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.

(2) No Motion shall be moved in the Standing Committee relating to the sitting of the Committee except by a member of the Government, and the Chairman shall permit a brief explanatory statement from the Member who moves, and from a Member who opposes, the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.

4. No Motion shall be moved to postpone any Clause, Schedule, new Clause or new Schedule but the Resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in the order in which Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are to be taken in the Standing Committee.

Conclusion of Proceedings in Committee

5. On the conclusion of the proceedings in any Committee on the Bill the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.

Dilatory motions

6. No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, proceedings on the Bill shall be moved in the Standing Committee or on an allotted day except by a member of the Government, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

Extra lime on allotted days

7.—(1) On an allotted day paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings on the Bill for two hours after Ten o'clock.

(2) Any period during which proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under paragraph (7) of Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) shall be in addition to the said period of two hours.

(3) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over from an earlier day, a period of time equal to the duration of the proceedings upon that Motion shall be added to the said period of two hours.

Private Business

8. Any private business which has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock on an allotted day shall, instead of being considered as provided by Standing Orders, be considered at the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill on that day, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the private business for a period of three hours from the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill or, if those proceedings are concluded before Ten o'clock, for a period equal to the time elapsing between Seven o'clock and the conclusion of those proceedings.

Conclusion of Proceedings

9.—(1) For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or the Business Sub-Committee and which have not previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others), that is to say—

  1. (a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;
  2. (b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed (including in the case of a new Clause or new Schedule which has been read a second time, the question that Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill);
  3. (c) the Question on any Amendment or motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of any Member, if that Amendment or Motion is moved by a member of the Government;
  4. (d) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded;

and on a Motion so moved for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.

(2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) above shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

(3) If an allotted day is one on which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) would, apart from this Order, stand over to Seven o'clock—

  1. (a) that Motion shall stand over until the conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion at or before that time;
  2. (b) the bringing to a conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to conclusion after that time shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion.

(4) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over from an earlier day, the bringing to a conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion

Supplemental orders

10.—(1) The proceedings on any Motion moved in the House by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order (including anything which might have been the subject of a report of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee) shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.

(2) If on an allotted day on which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before that time no notice shall be required of a Motion moved at the next sitting by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.

Saving

11. Nothing in this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee shall—

  1. (a) prevent any proceedings to which the Order or Resolution applies from being taken or completed earlier than is required by the Order or Resolution, or
  2. (b) prevent any business (whether on the Bill or not) from being proceeded with on any day after the completion of all such proceedings on the Bill as are to be taken on that day.

Re-committal

12—(1) References in this Order to proceedings on Consideration or proceedings on Third Reading include references to proceedings, at those stages respectively, for, on or in consequence of, re-committal.

(2) On an allotted day no debate shall be permitted on any Motion to re-commit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment moved to the Question.

Interpretation

13. In this Order— allotted day " means any day (other than a Friday) on which the Bill is put down as the first Government Order of the Day provided that a Motion for allotting time to the proceedings on the Bill to be taken on that day either has been agreed on a previous day, or is set down for consideration on that day; the Bill " means the Social Security (No. 2) Bill; Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee " means a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee as agreed to by the Standing Committee; Resolution of the Business Committee " means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.