By moving new clause 10 and discussing with it amendment No. 53, the Opposition are attempting to amend clause 11. I preface my remarks by saying that we recognise that millions of workers who are paid by cheque through their banks find it a completely satisfactory method. We do not propose to change that procedure. All we say is that workers should be given a choice.
The Bill gives employers all the options. The employee has virtually no say about the way in which he shall be paid. The Bill deals not with highly paid workers but with the lowest paid. It affects 2,750,000 workers. A total of 41 per cent. of workers covered by wages councils are below the European decent wage threshold. Four out of five workers in wages council industries are women. Often people say that women work just for pin money, but that is not so. Low-paid workers are desperately in need of their jobs and reasonable pay.
In our earlier debate we reminded the Minister that the Government are turning the clock back more than 150 years to the time of the Truck Acts. They were introduced to counter the dishonesty, greed and malpractices of some employers. If the Government have their way I fervently believe that once again corruption will occur. We say not that all employers are corrupt or bad, but that some are unscrupulous and must be controlled by legislation.
On Second Reading the Minister tried to justify taking away payments in cash. He said that better security would result. That is a fact. Security will be greater because no cash handling will be involved. The Minister said that employers would save up to 50p per payment if transactions went through the banks. The employer will save money, but no consideration has been given to providing matching benefits for the employee.
In the two and a half months that we considered the Bill in Committee, we were furnished with numerous documents. One of them was from the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux dealing with this aspect of the Bill. It is not a political organisation and it is therefore fair to quote some of its comments. It has an unbiased opinion in the interest of the people to whom we are referring.
The document states:
In 1984–85 the Citizens Advice Bureaux service dealt with over 6 million enquiries: of these, 600,000 related to employment problems. A substantial proportion of employment enquiries concerned deductions from pay, non-cash wages and low pay.
Dealing directly with the right to be paid in cash the document continues:
Citizens Advice Bureaux deal with a considerable number of people working in low-paid employment and dependent upon weekly cash wages. Many such people are unable to open a bank or building society account and even if it were possible they would find the cost of running such an account prohibitive … employees should retain the option to be paid in cash.
The document makes some further worthy observations. It states:
Bureaux throughout the country have urged us to repeat the recommendation made in our original evidence paper for all employees to have the option to be paid in cash. Bureaux' experience has shown that serious practical problems do arise for people on low incomes when they no longer receive their wages in cash.
The main points made by the bureaux are as follows:
As a matter of principle, … all employees should be free to use the method of payment best suited to their needs. Many CAB clients do not have a bank account and few have post office savings or building society accounts. A direct change to payment into one of these can cause particular difficulties.
Those who have had problems in the past with regard to credit and are perhaps on a black list, may not he able to open a bank account. Many clients, particularly in rural areas, do not have any easy access to banks, post offices and building societies. They may be far away and only open during working hours.
Many clients without accounts have experienced hardship because of the difficulty in trying to cash cheques or crossed giros … The cost of getting to and from the place where cash can be drawn may be high …
In several cases salary cheques have not been met when presented for encashment because the employer did not have sufficient cash in his account. This can be costly for the employee who will be charged for a returned cheque and consequently may incur additional bank charges. In addition an employee will suffer hardship if wages are not received on time.
There may also be some delays between payment being made by cheque and it being cleared, which can cause hardship ….
Some clients would have difficulty in operating a bank account. People on low incomes may depend upon cash-in-hand to maintain their budget and earn too little to allow flexibility.
In cases where transition to credit transfer has been made employees may be forced to move from weekly to monthly payments. Where the employer does not make provision for the change, the effect upon the household budget can be drastic. The attitude shown by banks towards credit can push people on low incomes into debt; there are two aspects of this:
The ease with which credit can be obtained has forced many clients into debt, often for the first time.
Banks may take unfair advantage of their creditor status and may make direct deductions for overdraft and loans. This can cause hardship, especially to those trying to clear several debts.
Those are some of the submissions and objections expressed by citizens advice bureaux throughout the country. They make a logical and compelling case and support our belief that the worker should be allowed to choose.
One or two points have not yet been mentioned in the debate. It is not uncommon for mistakes to be made in wage calculations, whether computerised or manual. Employees paid in cash can go to the wages office and have the mistake rectified immediately. The cashier will usually hand over any deficiency in the pay packet. If employees are now to be paid by bank transfer, it will take time to authorise an additional payment to rectify a mistake, and that will cause problems for employees.
It is worth emphasising that some worker groups, especially the low paid, are not familiar with banking methods and may find it difficult to keep tabs on their bank statements. Low-paid workers may not be as conscious of deficiencies in their wages. In Committee, the Minister admitted that wages inspectors had discovered underpayments of £11·9 million over a five-year period. He hastened to add that 80 per cent. of that had been retrieved. However, the number of wages inspectors is to be reduced by as much as 50 per cent., so I fear that underpayments will not be discovered and retrieved.
There is a possibility—even a probability—of further and greater underpayment as a result of the banking method that workers are to have forced upon them.
The hon. Gentleman is becoming thoroughly confused when talking about underpayments and mistakes in calculations. The anomalies that the wages inspectors found were deliberate underpayments by employers and contraventions of wages councils' rules. Mistakes in calculation computing do not total £11·9 million.
Whether it is a mistake in calculation or a deliberate underpayment, the suffering is the same for low-paid workers. I am concerned not about the reason for any deficiency, but about workers receiving their full entitlement.
When genuine mistakes are made in the wages of workers in wages councils industries, where employees are paid weekly in cash, they are put right within a week. The system proposed in the Bill allows employers to use monthly bank transfers, so mistakes would take a month to rectify.
With respect, we are not talking about that. It does not help the hon. Gentleman's case to make false statements. This legislation covers everyone's cash payment up to any figure—it does not cover only low-paid workers. The hon. Gentleman must please get this right.
I accept that the Bill covers all manual workers, but I am emphasising the position of the low-paid. Hardship is greater among them than among those earning £160 or £170 a week. We must concentrate our attention on that.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) said, the switch from weekly to monthly pay will be agonising for some groups of workers. The difficulty will be compounded because of low wages and the difficulty of even trying to earn a living. All fair-minded people must be concerned about the effects of the Bill, and especially about this clause which will cause extreme hardship to the low paid.
Does my hon. Friend agree that many shift workers, especially those paid late on a Friday night, will find the proposed system very difficult? Currently they receive cash in the hand, which they can give to their wives for the week-end shopping.
Does my hon. Friend further agree that no one—the trade unions, industry, the CBI or the banks—wants the course proposed in the Bill? Does it not show the illiteracy of the Government in dealing with industry?
My hon. Friend is correct in all that he says. The Minister said in Committee that facilities were available for those who were unable to get to the bank before it closed. He said that, for example, they could go to the Post Office. However, the Post Office has now said that a charge of 50p will be made to cash cheques on a Saturday morning. People may be faded with all sorts of charges when trying to obtain their wages. At present, a worker receives his pay packet on pay day and he faces no charges. Conservative Members may say that free banking is available provided one stays in credit, but there is no guarantee that the banks will not change their policy. A banking crisis might result in a charge of 25p for every withdrawal, which will mean that the low paid will suffer a wage reduction.
It seems that the Government are intent on giving rights only to employers. Employers will be able to tell their workers, "From next month you will be paid through the bank, and not in cash." A worker's bank may be 12 miles from his village, he might find that after six months he incurs bank charges in obtaining his wages and the employer may decide to introduce monthly pay instead of weekly pay. There is no provision in the clause to oblige the employer to make compensatory allowances to tide over the worker who is to receive no wages for three weeks. Employees are being denied a choice, and that is why we have tabled the clause.
The Bill deteriorates clause by clause. It is a Robin-Hood-in-reverse Bill. The Government are seeking to rob the poor to give to the rich. The emphasis is in one direction, and certainly not towards employees. For these reasons, I hope that the House will support the clause.
I support strongly the arguments advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham). It is a modest new clause. The Bill—especially clause 11, which will abolish the Truck Acts—will cause heartbreak in many tens of thousands of families. In working-class households there is something almost mystical about the pay packet. The employee has worked for the week, and has worked hard. He has put in his hours and as a reward he receives the coin of the realm in a packet. The pay packet has a great significance to many working-class families. The new clause does not provide that all workers should be entitled to payment in cash. It provides merely that those who have been paid in coin of the realm throughout their working lives shall continue to be paid in that way if they so desire.
I have no doubt that the Government will say that there are many anomalies in the Truck Acts, some of which go back to 1831. That may be. It may be right that the anomalies should be ironed out, but we must not throw away the baby with the bath water, which is what the Government are trying to do in clause 11.
My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry South-East (Mr. Nellist) talked about the pay packet and mistakes or otherwise, but I do not wish to talk about the employer who tries deliberately to mislead and to defraud his employee. Let us say that a mistake is made by someone in the accounting department and a man or a woman receives the wrong wages. When the employee receives his pay packet, he will open it and read the statement. If there is an error, he will be in the pay office within 10 minutes of receiving the pay packet. He will not be able to do that at the end of the month when he receives his bank statement, and he may well be in that position as a result of the Bill.
I am not clear how monthly payments have come to feature in the debate. There is nothing in the Bill to suggest that payments will be made monthly. Surely it is open to an employer to pay weekly or monthly.
I have never suggested that the employee will be paid monthly. I do not know the hon. Gentleman's bank, but I receive a monthly statement. I am never supplied with a weekly statement. I have no doubt that I would be supplied with a weekly statement if I requested it, but it would be necessary to ask specifically for that arrangement. The banks will not want the scheme that is envisaged in the Bill if it will involve the issuing of weekly statements.
Experience and practice tells us that when employers move to cashless pay they seek to move also to monthly pay. That is the way in which employers move in the real world. That has been the experience in retailing and local government, for example. Employers do this because they can make two sets of savings at the same time.
Yes, that is practice and experience in the real world. Unfortunately the Government do not understand the real world and what happens in it.
In many areas—I have no doubt that what I am about to say will be endorsed by my hon. Friends the Members for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), for Wigan (Mr. Stott), and for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short), and by many Conservative Members—it is traditional for a man, especially an older working man, to take his pay packet home and give it to his wife. There is nothing sexist about that. The man does so because his wife is the controller of the household. She will know how much she has to pay for children's shoes and she knows the price of meat, for example. She has to plan and to budget, poor woman. The man merely hands over his pay packet. Imagine what the position will be when that pattern of a lifetime changes and the man returns to his wife and says, "I have no pay packet. My money is in the bank."
The Truck Acts were designed to protect the worker against employers' abuses. They prevented employers and their pals paying in the form of tokens that could be exchanged only in shops owned by them, their brothers or their brothers-in-law. The Government may say that that can no longer happen, but it can. Banks can exploit their customers, and they can do so mercilessly. If a bank account is opened by someone who has never had one previously, I have no doubt that the bank will invite him or her to have a credit card. It will say, "You are entitled to a credit card and perhaps you would like to apply for one." It may even supply one gratuitously.
I attended a lecture last week at which a distinguished theologian was talking about the modern world. She made a good point about credit cards being a misnomer. They are debt cards, not credit cards. Those who supply the cards want the holders to get into debt; they do not give them anything. Think of the misery that can be created by someone who is not used to the credit card system. He or she might well be used to having cash in the cupboard to pay the rates or the rent. Suddenly this individual is given unlimited finance through a credit card. The Government cannot say that the banks do not do this because we know that they do. My hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch) has a thick dossier on the banks' treatment of students. They advance ludicrous sums to students who are receiving only a pittance in the form of grants. These ludicrous sums cannnot possibly be repaid. I have no doubt that the banks would treat ordinary working people in the same way.
If the Paymaster General or I live some distance from a bank and we find on arrival that the cash till is closed and it is necessary to go to the next branch, or if we find that there is no dispenser from which we can obtain cash on a Saturday or Sunday, we can drive to a branch where we know that there is a cashpoint. The ordinary working person we are talking about will not have a car. He will not be able to travel as easily as the right hon. and learned Gentleman or myself to a branch where there is a cash dispenser.
This is a retrograde step. The Truck Acts were intended to defend the right of working people to be paid what they had earned in the coin of the realm. The Government claim to believe in choice, but they are denying workers the choice to be paid in real money. I envisage endless difficulties resulting from the repeal of the Truck Acts. I envisage much hardship in many homes because many people will not understand that the pattern of a lifetime has been changed.
Nobody wants change. Neither employers, the banks nor trade unions want it. The Government will listen to nobody. They insist on pushing the change through in the face of universal opposition. The Under-Secretary of State for Employment represents a constituency in the northwest. He should know how things work in working-class households. I hope that the Paymaster General, whose roots are in the working class—his is a significant title in this context—will realise that this is the wrong way in which to treat working people.
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way and I appreciate that he referred to my right hon. and learned Friend and me in pleasant terms. Does he not know that he is absolutely wrong to say that employers do not want the Bill? Even ICI, which is represented in his constituency at Blackley, cannot wait for it to be enacted—
It is not a case of money for them. They are sick to the back teeth of robberies of the cash that is brought through the factory gates. Many employers want the Bill.
I can understand that some employers do not like paying a security firm to bring the wages in. We should take account of that, but we should also take account of the working person's right to be paid in real money. The employee should be able to choose whether to put the money in the bank. Many people dislike banks. If hon. Members do not believe me, they should consider how many families put their savings in a building society. Building societies are open when people are out shopping. When people are off work, the banks are shut. They cannot go in and argue. They can use cashpoints if there are any and they are working, but they might be miles away.
I ask the Paymaster General to think again and to exercise his office.
Throughout the Committee stage, I have been fairly consistent in my inconsistency with my own side. When I talk to people, I discover that they find the House of Commons a strange place. They consider that it is noisy, that people do not debate properly, that items are introduced for discussion but that hon. Members go off at a tangent. I therefore thought that I would find out what the Opposition had done on this matter. They have learnt from their lesson upstairs. An amendment which we debated in Committee proposed that all wages and salaries should be paid in money. The Opposition have obviously listened and learnt as they have now brought forward a much more reasonable amendment.
I am sorry that I have to withdraw the credit that I was giving the Opposition.
It is easy to pass legislation that is favoured by a small number of large firms and which will have a direct bearing on the daily lives of many people. Payment in cash is intrinsic to English working life, and has been for as long as I can remember. It is not unreasonable to suggest that it should continue unless people consent to change. To lose that right as a result of arbitrary Government action is not very good.
I understand the Government's argument that we are in the technical age of the computer and that everything can be done differently, but being paid in cash is desperately important to many people. I fear that, if everybody is paid by bank credit transfer, overdrafts will become the norm rather than a rarity and that many people will get themselves into debts which they will never be able to get out of. By abolishing the worker's right to be paid in cash, the Government are abolishing the discipline that the worker imposes on himself because he knows that he cannot spend more than the cash in the pay packet.
When customers come into one of my establishments, they pay in cash. My staff are frequently asked for a little credit, but they know that they will be fired if they give it. Amazingly enough, the cash always turns up. The Government would do well to heed the new clause. It does not preclude a shift from cash payment by consent. That element of consent should be considered closely, as it is not unknown for trade unions to negotiate such a right away, although the worker may not agree with it and might be disadvantaged as a result.
Mistakes in pay packets have been mentioned. If pay is short, the employee quickly knows and nips down to the wages office to get it rectified. If there is an overpayment which is discovered but not declared, the employee is guilty of theft and can be taken to court. It might not be so easy to assess whether the pay is right from a computer printout, but an employee who inadvertently keeps £22 when he is entitled to only £21 is still guilty of theft. The Bill could lead more people into that trap. The change has not been asked for—indeed, many people say that they do not want it—and it is unnecessary. Only a few people want it.
The Government have impaled themselves on trying to do something unnecessary by imposition when it could have been done by persuasion. I am sure that most people could eventually be persuaded that it is not unreasonable to be paid in a form other than cash. It is unnecessarily harsh, however, to take the right away by law. That is especially true for the people in the north of England, such as my constituents, who are used to cash and unused to computer printouts. Perhaps the two systems could run in parallel for a while. But to enshrine it in law that an employer—against the wishes of all his employees, or a majority, or even a significant minority, of them—can remove their rights will do the Government's reputation no good.
The Government are the only people to be out of step on this measure. The Minister visited ICI Gillingham and assumed that ICI Blackley and everyone else took a similar view, but almost everyone is against the measure. My right hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Mr. Oakes) made the point with which I wished to begin. We have been told for years that the Conservative party is the party of choice. The new clause follows that principle. The Opposition are giving the people the opportunity to choose.
Some of my colleagues may not agree with me, but I believe that people should be paid by cheque. That is common sense. I have done exactly what the hon. Member for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt) said, although I did not remove the rights of my trade union members. When I was a union official, I negotiated many agreements whereby workers were paid by cheque. It was always done by consent, because it was a democratic decision. We always negotiated agreements whereby the workers got something in return for giving away that right. Some did not wish to do it, and their rights were observed.
The Conservative party seems to have lost its connection with the rural worker. Two examples taken at random—Ryedale and West Derbyshire—show that the Government are out of touch with the circumstances of the rural worker. He does not have a banking network and, because of the Conservative policy of closing rural post offices, he often must travel miles to the nearest post office.
We must live in the practical world, about which we hear from only one Conservative Member—the hon. Member for Langbaurgh. Although we do not always agree with him, and he does not always follow his comments by voting in our Lobby, from time to time he talks practical common sense. That is what my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) meant when he talked about citizens advice bureaux being at the sharp end. Those are practical examples of what happens in our society.
Although I agree that, for safety and many other reasons, people should be paid by cheque, it should be done by negotiation and with consent. That is what the new clause says, and I am surprised that the Conservative party does not wish to be associated with its spirit.
The Truck Acts, which the new clause would in part retain, give workers the right to be paid in cash. The Paymaster General recently described that method of payment as archaic and anachronistic. He meant that protection is not needed in his perception of modern-day Britain.
Most of the people who will be affected if the Bill is passed unamended will be lower-paid workers. They have the most to lose from such a transfer. All the costs of shifting from cash pay to bank transfer, and from weekly to monthly payments, will be borne by the workers, and all the benefits will be gained by the employers. It has been estimated that, especially in large companies, when the transfer to a banking system rather than a cash system is run through the Bankers' Automated Clearing Services Ltd—the chairman of the Conservative party has put the benchmark on that—every change would cut costs by £30 a person per year. In Committee, we heard some examples from Sheffield city council and British Telecom, which estimated savings of £31 and £35 per person respectively.
That will not be a one-off saving to the company, but an accrued saving every year. When the change from cash to bank payment is coupled with the change from weekly to monthly payment, especially in large companies, employers will effectively borrow workers' wages for four weeks, and leave it in their bank accounts to attract interest before paying it to the workers who have earned it. If workers are paid in arrears, the problem becomes worse.
I disagree with some of my comrades about the position of banks. I have just discovered that 7 million workers are paid in cash and that only half of them have bank accounts. The high street banks, considering the prospect of 3·5 million new accounts, must welcome this legislation because of the extra profits that those accounts would generate.
I accept that they say that they do not want customers by compulsion, but, faced with the possibility of 3·5 million new customers, they must welcome the legislation.
The clause would create many disbenefits and difficulties for workers. In Committee, we were told that there would be fewer muggings and robberies and more security, but cash can be stolen only once. A cash card or cheque book, once stolen, can be used many times. I question whether there would be more security for workers. We have heard about the difficulty of access to banks, especially in rural areas, the difficulty of opening a bank account, the fact that those aged under 18 would not normally be given cheque guarantee cards, the difficulties of workers with literacy and language problems and the danger of delays in cheques being transferred into the bank.
A law centre brought to my attention the case of a worker paid by bank transfer who had an overdraft. The money coming from his firm was poured down the black hole of the overdraft and he had no money on which to live. He was not entitled to supplementary benefit because he was receiving a wage, so he had to rely on charity handouts to buy food for his family.
The movement from weekly to monthly pay would pose many problems for workers in bridging the gap between surviving on weekly pay and having to wait perhaps two or three weeks before the cycle of monthly pay comes round. On bank charges, the Minister said in Committee that almost every bank operates free banking. That is often true only if an account is in credit—in some cases in credit by £100. For many workers, £100 is two weeks' wages. It may not be much to Tory Members on hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. Hon. Members smile. The hon. Member for Brighton and Hove (Mr. Sainsbury) and his brother and father net £160,000 a week from their ownership of the grocery chain Sainsburys. They can keep their bank accounts in £100 credit and not incur bank charges. It is rather different for those who work for such a grocery chain and who are paid only £50 a week.
I do not have enough time to read out a letter from a full-time official of the Transport and General Workers Union in Coventry detailing the problems in the factories in Coventry, especially for the workers on piecework. Earlier, I said that if a mistake is made in a weekly wage packet, the worker can run to the wages office and get a payout on the Thursday or Friday afternoon to compensate. If he is paid monthly, he will have to wait for at least a month to have the mistake rectified. In the factories in Coventry, and no doubt in the few manufacturing centres that are left after seven years of Tory Government, some workers still carry out piecework or work on bonus schemes. The variations in their wages, which are calculated in the wages office, could cause problems on a monthly basis.
Time does not permit me to raise points about the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers and the difficulties which its women workers in rural areas are experiencing. They cannot shop on a Friday night because, by the time they finish work, the banks and building societies are shut. I received a letter from the district secretary of the Tailors and Garment Workers in Belfast informing me that the banks shut between 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm in the city. How are workers supposed to go out during their lunch break and collect money from a bank., if the legislation is passed? But I cannot cover all those details in my short speech tonight.
Many workers have negotiated the right to transfer to a monthly or bank transfer. Coventry city health authority made a once-and-for-all £30 payment to workers for that. In Leicester, Marconi increased the status of manual workers to staff status. In Southwark, that meant that staff were entitled to London weighting worth £6·20 a week. Leeds council provided more holidays. In those cases trade unions, having discussed the matter and probably having balloted their members, negotiated a transfer of payments.
If this provision is unamended by new clause 10, it will remove that choice from working people, and at the end of the day many workers will be out of pocket. I hope that all my comrades will support the new clause and that the hon. Member for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt), who spent three months in Committee parading his conscience before us, as he has done tonight, and then sat on his hands and registered a No vote, will also support the new clause tonight and put his money where his mouth is.
I wish to raise two important points which have been omitted from the debate.
I have received serious representations from ethnic minorities, including the Sheffield Asian Welfare Association. They say that they will face new difficulties if cashless pay is agreed to. Because of the Government's attitude toward immigrants, they are afraid, and have great difficulty registering with an authority. If the Government are not prepared to accept the new clause, and if cashless pay is agreed to, it will have a major effect on our ethnic minorities. Therefore, I ask the Government seriously to consider accepting new clause 10. It is reasonable.
People who have been dealing with the trade union side of industry have agreed that we would all like to move toward cashless pay, but without being forced to do so I hope that the Government will take that advice from industry. The Minister has been able to mention only one company which is in favour of this proposal—ICI. Even the CBI is against it. I suggest that the Minister should bear that in mind when he replies.
The hon. Gentleman has raised one matter which has not so far been mentioned, and I hope that the Paymaster-General will deal with it when he replies. In talking about ethnic minorities and the abolition of the Truck Acts, we are talking about payment in the coin of the realm. There is a possibility that ethnic employers will pay in ethnic money which can then be exchanged only at ethnic shops and through ethnic banks. It will not be against the law for employers to pay in that way. The Government are opening that door by abolishing the Truck Acts without concerning themselves with the coin of the realm.
I have never before had the pleasure of listening to the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) speak from the Opposition Front Bench. It may be that this is his first time, and I congratulate him on that. I should like to have begun by replying to him on a new clause or amendment which I could accept on behalf of the Government, but I am afraid that in urging this new clause he is on a somewhat ill-conceived mission.
Several hon. Members have mentioned that this part of the Bill repeals a provision which was first introduced by the Truck Act 1831. In a speech during the last debate, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) was a little critical of my, apparently, scornful views of the legislation, and the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) reminded me that I had described the legislation on Second Reading as archaic. Like any good Conservative, I treat old legislation with suitable veneration, and the fact that the first Truck Act was passed in 1831 is, in itself, not a reason for repealing it.
The description of the Truck Acts given today, confirms my impression that the trade union and labour movement is extremely old-fashioned and backward-looking. Its veneration for a slowly vanishing society can sometimes be taken to extremes. I shall illustrate that first by reminding the House of the basis of the Truck Act 1831, which remains the basis of the present law until this Bill repeals it.
As many hon. Members will know from their modern history lessons in school, the origins of the Truck Act go back to the pernicious system that sprang up in the early 19th century when some labourers began to be paid in truck instead of in cash. It usually took the form of tokens, which could be cashed only at a company shop, and, obviously, the company could dictate the price of the goods exchanged for the tokens. That is the basis of the legislation, and it has dictated the form of legislation which has come down to us 150 years later. The provision about which hon. Members have been speaking provides that manual workers have the right to insist on payment in cash.
All hon. Members will appreciate that a great deal has happened since 1831.
That was when the measure was last consolidated. The right of manual workers to be paid in cash has come indirectly through various subsequent provisions from the Truck Act 1831.
A great deal has changed since then. First, the business of paying in truck has ceased to be a social problem. Secondly, we no longer make the distinction between manual and non-manual workers for most pay purposes. In both cases we expect the important aspects of pay and remuneration to be decided by agreement and discussion and, where necessary, by contract. There is no distinction between the way in which manual and non-manual workers arrive at agreements over important matters, such as rates of pay, bonuses, overtime rates and holiday entitlement. The law is the same for both manual and non-manual workers, except that manual workers have the right to insist on being paid in cash. That has meant that some employers and trade unions have found that where there is a desire to consider non-cash payment for manual workers, a handful of people, who insist on their legal rights to be paid in cash, can hold up and prevent the whole transition.
For non-manual work we have seen all sorts of non-cash payments which are fringe benefits and much coveted by others, such as company cars. It would be illegal to give them to manual workers because it would be in breach of the Truck Acts, which are being so passionately defended. On the other hand, a manual worker can insist on payment in cash.
Both the hon. Members for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) and for Blackley appear to imagine that they are talking about the low paid. The law which they are defending has nothing to do with the low paid. Many low-paid workers are not protected by the Truck Acts and are exposed to this misery and hold this great grievance.
I will in a second.
This provision, which is being defended so eloquently, is of benefit only to manual workers—the labourers of 19th century England who had its protection. Shop assistants are not protected by it.
I am open to correction, and if the hon. Lady has found an authority, obviously I shall look at it. I understand that the whole provision depends on the definition of manual and non-manual workers. Clerical workers or shop assistants are not protected—[Interruption.]. There are plenty of low-paid non-manual workers who are not protected by the Truck Acts. No non-manual worker has ever lobbied me to extend the benefits of the Truck Acts in order to protect him from the fearful exploitation to which Opposition Members believe that he will be exposed.
Perhaps I could see the Library briefing, as I am not sure that the hon. Lady is very certain of her facts. But if she is right, I shall accept that correction. I have not looked up the authorities, but I should be surprised if shop assistants were included in the definition of manual workers to be paid in truck.
I see that shop workers are included for the purposes of deductions for fines, damaged goods, materials or services. The right to be paid in cash does not extend to shop workers. It extends to manual workers. A well-paid manual worker digging a ditch and earning £150 to £200 a week—and plenty of manual workers are paid that much—is covered by the Truck Acts. However, a shop assistant or clerical worker—I am on very sound ground when it comes to clerical workers—who is paid £40 or £50 a week is not protected by the legislation.
I shall come to that point. The Government take the view that this provision, which is designed to stop labourers being paid in tokens, is perhaps not the most pressing cause at present. However, it is undesirable that a handful of people should be able to stop a change towards a more cash-free society. We propose repeal. But the Opposition think that in 1831 the provisions did not go far enough. They think that in today's social conditions any workers who are now paid in cash should be protected in law. They are moving in a direction that is a little out of touch when it comes to legal reform.
Saying that the 1831 Act has no validity ought to stick in the craw of a Government who are supposed to be taking us back to Victorian values. The Minister accused us of talking about the Act as if it applied only to low-paid workers. Of course it applies to manual workers on £150 or £200 a week. But if they were given the choice, those workers might well go over to cashless pay, because they would not have to worry about keeping £100 in their bank accounts to avoid bank charges. They might even have cars, so they would not have to rely on the poor bus services in rural areas to reach a bank, building society or post office when it is open. The low-paid will be hurt most if they lose the right to be paid in cash, because they will, by definition, have the most problems if this Bill is enacted.
In defending part of the Truck Acts, the hon. Gentleman is not defending Victorian values, because we are talking about pre-Victorian legislation. The provisions that he so passionately defends were almost out of date before the great Queen died. It has taken us a long time to get round to repealing them. It has been frequently said that employers and employees do not want this change. But if nobody wants it, there will not be any change. Nothing in the Bill obliges an employer or employee to stop cash payments if that is what he prefers.
Opposition Members may have noticed that an increasing number of people have bank accounts. The banks are beginning to reverse their appallingly anti-consumer behaviour of a few years ago and are opening once more on Saturdays. There are also automatic paying-out services. More and more people have building society accounts. People are also paid in Giro, and we are moving towards a more cashless society.
We propose to repeal the legislation because the bulk of employees might be quite content to go over to non-cash payments—and good luck to them if they can negotiate some share of the savings—but it would need only a handful of people in the company to say that they are protected by the Truck Acts and that they will not agree to being paid in a different way, for that change to prove impossible. We have heard some amazing hyperbole and tales of agony and grief. If we repeal this provision, we shall move towards being a cashless society in line with other modern societies that we should consider to be our rough equivalent.
The proportion of payments made by cash in this country compared with the proportion made by cash in other countries is relevant. In Britain, 39 per cent. of wage payments are made in cash. In America 1 per cent. of wage payments are made in cash. In the Federal Republic of Germany 5 per cent. are paid in cash. The Truck Acts have stopped that drift towards a cashless society.
There are two advantages to making it much easier for the bulk of the population and their employers to move into the late 20th century and further towards a cashless society. First, it is much more efficient and less costly. Substantial savings can be made per employee. That is why various bodies such as local authorities as well as many private sector employers are anxious to move to cash-free payments. If substantial sums can be saved—
Collective bargaining cannot waive legal rights. If neither the employer nor the employee is interested in non-cash payments, I assume that they will not be made. But if a trade union wanted to negotiate changing to non-cash payments and had the support of the employees—perhaps there is some deal that will share out the savings—it would need only a couple of employees to say, "Blow that. We shall insist on our legal rights under the Truck Acts," for that process to be brought to a halt, unless our Bill is enacted and the Truck Acts are repealed. Unions cannot negotiate away the legal rights of their members.
The hon. Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans) is defending archaic law. In this country there is a high proportion of wage payments in cash, which means that costs are imposed on industry. In many industries, both the employer and the employee are deprived of the chance to participate in the savings that can be made from going over to a cashless system of payment.
A cashless system of payment would also reduce the opportunities for crime. I spoke about that on Second Reading, so I shall not dilate about it again. In this country, wage snatches are a profitable form of criminal activity. Very large sums of cash are moved about in order to pay people under our old-fashioned system, and that means a high security risk. In 1984, there were almost 450 armed robberies at factories and offices or on the public highway. Many of them were wages snatches. It is a totally unnecessary credit risk to have security lorries stuffed full of banknotes going in and out of factories every week because we are such a traditional society that we have not got round to repealing the legislation.
Savings can be made, and there are obvious implications for crime prevention. The Bill would enable us to make social changes, in line with more modern societies, which most people would regard as perfectly predictable in today's age. I am told that people do not have bank accounts, that they cannot open them, or that they are costly. But the position is steadily changing. I am told that 75 per cent. of adults have bank accounts. Almost 90 per cent. have accounts at some deposit-taking institution.
There are more credit cards, and more people are accustomed to taking advantage of automated banking facilities.
When the hon. Lady replies, she will obviously launch into an attack on the whole concept of the banking society. She feels that credit cards and cheque books worry hon. Members. I can only assume that the hon. Members who have spoken in the debate and the hon. Lady, who is about to do so, keep their savings in an old sock at the bottom of their bed and pay their bills in pound coins. The fact is that three quarters of the adult population have a bank account. We are plainly moving towards a society in which less cash will be used and more convenient non-cash transactions will take place. There are small, vulnerable groups which for years have been accustomed to taking payments in forms other than cash.
I conclude on what I regard as a telling point. The Opposition's claims about the low-paid employed presumably do not apply to the unemployed. For years, the unemployed have not been paid the unemployment benefit by cash. They have been paid by Giro. All social security benefits are paid by Giro. I am astonished that the Opposition have not thrown in that all-embracing clause, that march back to the great days of William IV of 1831, and the equivalent legal protection for the unemployed and those who receive social security benefits. The Opposition have not thought through their proposal.
An extraordinary and impassioned debate has been aroused around a quite insignificant repeal provision. The Opposition's new clause would have the preposterous effect of extending a legal protection, which became outmoded a century or more ago, to many people to whom it does not apply at the moment.
The Paymaster General and Minister for Employment insulted low-paid workers by pretending that the Bill which will damage them so severely is about giving them cards. That was not funny. We are talking about workers who run out of money at the end of every week. Each week, they must decide whether to spend their money on food for their children or on clothes that they might need. Too many people live like that. The Minister insulted the unemployed when he talked as though they do not have plenty of time to go to a post office or a bank to get their money. That is just whey they do have—too little to do, and too little money. To say that we are holding back the low paid from the conditions enjoyed by the unemployed is a joke and insensitive.
Neither the Labour party nor the British people are opposed to cashless pay. In fact, in the recent past, there has been a massive shift towards cashless pay by negotiation, agreement and freedom of choice. In 1969, 75 per cent. of all employees were paid in cash. Now, the figure is below 40 per cent.
We are in favour of massive progress by agreement, consent and free choice. Our new clause and amendment say that those who are currently paid in cash shall continue to be paid in cash unless they give their consent to a change. We advocate freedom of choice to people, and not legislation that forces them into something that they do not want.
The repeal of the Truck Acts is not required to introduce cashless pay. The Central Policy Review Staff, the old think tank, said in its study that it was not a major barrier. The movement has been going on, in any event. The repeal of the Truck Acts means that people can be forced into such a position in an inconvenient way, without sharing the benefits of the savings to employers. Until now, employers who have moved in that respect have had to negotiate. They have known of the benefits to themselves from such a change. They have told workers, "We shall give you part of the benefit. We are moving to monthly pay. We shall help you in the process of change." None of that will be necessary now. It can, and indeed will, be forced on workers whether they like it or not.
My hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) has already received a complaint from shop workers who have been told that, with the legislation, they will be moved on to cashless and monthly pay. Those shop workers are women on low pay. They are worried because, after finishing work, they spend their money on shopping for their families.
I intervene because the hon. Lady is being carried away, again, into error. The legislation and the Opposition's new clause have nothing to do with changes to monthly pay. As to a change being made without agreement, if it is a term of the contract of employment, nothing in the legislation enables an employer to overturn, unilaterally, the contract of employment. The example cited by the hon. Lady was miles wide of the mark with respect to the effect of the Bill or the new clause.
The Minister said that my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) was in error. I corroborate everything she said about what is happening in Blackburn. The information came from me. I am certain about it. Whatever the Minister says about a particular national firm—I shall not name it because the employees fear for their jobs—[Interruption.] Oh, yes. The Minister knows about unemployment in Blackburn. The company is moving towards cashless pay only because of the legislation and the fear that it can generate in the minds of workers.
It is inconvenient for some workers to be paid in a non-cash form. Women who earn a small amount, who perhaps work part-time, like to get their money and go out shopping. They find it inconvenient to receive cashless pay because they must go to a bank to withdraw the money.
I shall give way before I am finished, but not yet. I understand that the Truck Acts extend to shop workers. I understand that the Under-Secretary of State has looked up the legislation. The Minister and I shall have to look it up in detail. There is a general understanding that shop workers are covered by the protection of the legislation.
The Opposition do not care about what is happening in the United States of America in the way that Government Members passionately do. We care about what is in the interests of workers in Britain. We want those workers to have freedom of choice. We want those workers who are currently paid in cash to continue to be paid in cash or to negotiate agreements that suit themselves.
The hon. Lady said that she would give way to me before she resumed her seat. I am not talking about the facts of the Blackburn case. I point out to her that the law to which she referred applies to manual workers' rights to be paid in cash. She is not talking about the real world. She is talking about the 1831 law. The debate has nothing to do with weekly or monthly payments and part-time women workers, because hardly any of them are manual workers. It has nothing to do with the low-paid, because it protects some low-paid workers and not others. Does the hon. Lady concede that she has actually got the legislation to which she referred fairly thoroughly around her neck?
|Division No. 179]||[8.29 pm|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Golding, John|
|Anderson, Donald||Gould, Bryan|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Gourlay, Harry|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Hamilton, James (M'well N)|
|Ashton, Joe||Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central)|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Hardy, Peter|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Harrison, Rt Hon Walter|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith|
|Barnett, Guy||Healey, Rt Hon Denis|
|Barron, Kevin||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Bell, Stuart||Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Home Robertson, John|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Hoyle, Douglas|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Blair, Anthony||Hughes, Roy (Newport East)|
|Boyes, Roland||Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Janner, Hon Greville|
|Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)||John, Brynmor|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N)||Kilroy-Silk, Robert|
|Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)||Lambie, David|
|Buchan, Norman||Lamond, James|
|Caborn, Richard||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)||Leighton, Ronald|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Lewis, Terence (Worsley)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Litherland, Robert|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Clarke, Thomas||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Clay, Robert||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Clelland, David Gordon||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||McKelvey, William|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Cohen, Harry||McNamara, Kevin|
|Conlan, Bernard||McTaggart, Robert|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton North)||Madden, Max|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Marek, Dr John|
|Craigen, J. M.||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Martin, Michael|
|Dalyell, Tam||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)||Maxton, John|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Deakins, Eric||Meacher, Michael|
|Dewar, Donald||Michie, William|
|Dobson, Frank||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Dormand, Jack||Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)|
|Douglas, Dick||Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)|
|Dubs, Alfred||Nellist, David|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.||O'Brien, William|
|Eadie, Alex||O'Neill, Martin|
|Eastham, Ken||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)||Park, George|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Parry, Robert|
|Ewing, Harry||Patchett, Terry|
|Faulds, Andrew||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Pendry, Tom|
|Fisher, Mark||Pike, Peter|
|Flannery, Martin||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Prescott, John|
|Forrester, John||Randall, Stuart|
|Foster, Derek||Raynsford, Nick|
|Fraser, J. (Norwood)||Redmond, Martin|
|George, Bruce||Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Godman, Dr Norman||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)|
|Robertson, George||Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)|
|Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)||Thorne, Stan (Preston)|
|Rogers, Allan||Tinn, James|
|Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)||Torney, Tom|
|Rowlands, Ted||Wareing, Robert|
|Sedgemore, Brian||Weetch, Ken|
|Sheerman, Barry||Welsh, Michael|
|Sheldon, Rt Hon R.||White, James|
|Shore, Rt Hon Peter||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Silkin, Rt Hon J.||Wilson, Gordon|
|Skinner, Dennis||Winnick, David|
|Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Spearing, Nigel||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)||Mr. Don Dixon and Mr. Frank Haynes.|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Alexander, Richard||Critchley, Julian|
|Alton, David||Crouch, David|
|Amess, David||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Arnold, Tom||Dickens, Geoffrey|
|Ashby, David||Dicks, Terry|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Dover, Den|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Durant, Tony|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)||Dykes, Hugh|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)|
|Baldry, Tony||Evennett, David|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Eyre, Sir Reginald|
|Batiste, Spencer||Fallon, Michael|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Farr, Sir John|
|Bellingham, Henry||Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey|
|Bendall, Vivian||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Benyon, William||Forman, Nigel|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Forth, Eric|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Fox, Marcus|
|Blackburn, John||Freud, Clement|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Fry, Peter|
|Body, Sir Richard||Gale, Roger|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Galley, Roy|
|Bottomley, Peter||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Gow, Ian|
|Bright, Graham||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Brinton, Tim||Grant, Sir Anthony|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Gregory, Conal|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)||Griffiths, Sir Eldon|
|Browne, John||Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)|
|Bruinvels, Peter||Grist, Ian|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Ground, Patrick|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Grylls, Michael|
|Budgen, Nick||Gummer, Rt Hon John S|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Burt, Alistair||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Butler, Rt Hon Sir Adam||Hancock, Michael|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)||Hannam, John|
|Carlisle, John (Luton N)||Harris, David|
|Carttiss, Michael||Harvey, Robert|
|Cash, William||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hawkins, C. (High Peak)|
|Chope, Christopher||Hawkins, Sir Paul (N'folk SW)|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hawksley, Warren|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hayes, J.|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Hayward, Robert|
|Clegg, Sir Walter||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Cockeram, Eric||Heddle, John|
|Colvin, Michael||Hickmet, Richard|
|Conway, Derek||Hicks, Robert|
|Coombs, Simon||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.|
|Cope, John||Hind, Kenneth|
|Couchman, James||Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)|
|Hordern, Sir Peter||Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
|Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)||Sackville, Hon Thomas|
|Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Howells, Geraint||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Hubbard-Miles, Peter||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Hunter, Andrew||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas-||Shields, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Irving, Charles||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Jackson, Robert||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Speed, Keith|
|Jones, Robert (Herts W)||Speller, Tony|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Spencer, Derek|
|Kennedy, Charles||Spicer, Jim (Dorset W)|
|Kershaw, Sir Anthony||Squire, Robin|
|Key, Robert||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'field)||Stanley, Rt Hon John|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Knight, Greg (Derby N)||Steen, Anthony|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)||Stern, Michael|
|Knowles, Michael||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Knox, David||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Lang, Ian||Stewart, Ian (Hertfdshire N)|
|Latham, Michael||Stokes, John|
|Lawler, Geoffrey||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Sumberg, David|
|Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)||Taylor, John (Solihull)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Lilley, Peter||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Livsey, Richard||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter|
|Lloyd, Ian (Havant)||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Maclean, David John||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)|
|Major, John||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Maples, John||Thurnham, Peter|
|Marlow, Antony||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Trippier, David|
|Meadowcroft, Michael||Trotter, Neville|
|Mellor, David||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Merchant, Piers||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Miller, Hal (B'grove)||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Viggers, Peter|
|Moate, Roger||Waddington, David|
|Neale, Gerrard||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Newton, Tony||Walden, George|
|Onslow, Cranley||Wallace, James|
|Osborn, Sir John||Waller, Gary|
|Ottaway, Richard||Ward, John|
|Penhaligon, David||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Porter, Barry||Watson, John|
|Portillo, Michael||Watts, John|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Powley, John||Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)|
|Rathbone, Tim||Whitfield, John|
|Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Wolfson, Mark|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Wood, Timothy|
|Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas||Yeo, Tim|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Roe, Mrs Marion|
|Rossi, Sir Hugh||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Rost, Peter||Mr. Tim Sainsbury and Mr. Michael Neubert.|