Social Security

– in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 5 December 1996.

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Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish , Central Fife 5:45, 5 December 1996

I beg to move, That the Social Security (Disability Living Allowance and Claims and Payments) Amendment Regulations 1996 (S.1.. 1996. No. 1436), dated 4th June 1996, a copy of which was laid before this House on 7th June in the last Session of Parliament, he revoked. I oppose the regulations, and I hope that the whole House will support us in voting against them.

Unfortunately, this is another example of the Government trying to pass regulations after they have been implemented in the country. Equally important, it smacks of four characteristics of the Government.

First, the Government have a cavalier attitude to Parliament. They make and lay orders, but proceed to implement them without any Member—

Photo of Mr Robert Hughes Mr Robert Hughes , Harrow West

Will the hon. Gentleman give way on that point?

Hon. Members:

Sit down.

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish , Central Fife

On that cavalier attitude—

Photo of Mr Robert Hughes Mr Robert Hughes , Harrow West

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to mislead the House about what went on between the parties when, as everyone knows, Labour asked for the debate to be delayed? Thai is why the change was introduced before the debate took place.

Photo of Mr Michael Morris Mr Michael Morris , Northampton South

Order. Luckily, the Chair does not know any of these things.

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish , Central Fife

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I can understand Conservative Members' excitement.

The Government's cavalier attitude to the House means that orders are made and laid and six months later we have a debate on the regulations. That is a disgrace and a scandal.

The second characteristic is the Government's lack of courtesy towards, and lack of consideration of, voluntary organisations. Through the Social Security Advisory Committee those organisations are asked to make representations, but when they do, the Government ignore the volume of representations that have been made.

Thirdly, the Government show contempt for the Social Security Advisory Committee. It is charged with seriously considering some of the most important regulations that pass through the House. The committee does its job well, but in the case of the regulations before us —not for the first time —the Government have refused to acknowledge its wisdom and judgment.

Finally, we have the ultimate contempt—contempt for the people at the sharp end of the changes that have been made, who are some of the most vulnerable individuals in this country.

In my opinion, those are the characteristics of a Government who have been here too long and who now see only a process ahead instead of individuals who will be affected by the regulations.

It is important to place on the record the views that were expressed by many of the voluntary organisations. Of necessity, the debate will be brief, but that is due only to the procedures of the House. This is a vital matter. Under the former rules, disability living allowance was generally not affected by a hospital stay. On 31 July 1996, regulations came into force to the effect that the mobility component of the allowance generally ceases after a person has spent four weeks as an in-patient—12 weeks in the case of a child. Of course, those regulations are being debated on 5 December 1996.

We are discussing the mobility component of the disability living allowance. I want to distinguish that from the other part—the care component.

It is worth noting the process which led to today's debate. In January this year the Secretary of State sought the views of the Social Security Advisory Committee regarding the draft regulations. On 15 January, the SSAC invited representations from voluntary organisations, and 189 organisations and individuals responded. That information was imparted to the Secretary of State on 12 March, the orders were made on 7 June and they came into force on 13 July.

It is remarkable that the overwhelming majority of respondents did not like the Government's proposals and advanced a reasoned case on their behalf. It appears that the care in the community Scottish working group comprising Age Concern and many different councils—from the Scottish Council for Spastics to single parents and the Scottish National Federation for the Welfare of the Blind—was not consulted. I ask the Minister to explain today why a part of the United Kingdom much beloved by the Conservatives was simply ignored in the consultation process.

Photo of Dr Norman Godman Dr Norman Godman , Greenock and Port Glasgow

For some strange reason, the Department of Social Security also excluded the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland from the consultation process. Its director, Dr. Dyer, has pointed out to every Scots Member of Parliament that, by way of the Crosby report mechanisms, that money is spent constructively and imaginatively in the overwhelming majority of hospitals in Scotland caring for those with mental health problems.

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish , Central Fife

My hon. Friend, who takes an active interest in these matters, makes an excellent point. I hope that the Minister will respond to it, as it reinforces our belief that the measures are ill conceived, have been rushed through and will not assist those organisations which represent the vulnerable. Organisations such as Mencap and MIND—the National Association for Mental Health—are at the front line in defending the interests of vulnerable people. I could mention more such organisations, but time does not permit.

Sadly, the Government have failed to justify the regulations—and probably the nation is not surprised by their attitude. However, I hope that the Minister will try to justify their introduction today. I remind him of the comments of the Secretary of State for Social Security in his 1995 statement on the uprating of benefits. He said: It cannot be right to pay people who are unable to use the benefit for the purpose intended and who are already having most of their needs met by the taxpayer. That proposition has been completely and utterly demolished by every organisation that responded to the consultation.

The Secretary of State then moved to the real reason for the measures, when he said: We believe the move is justified in ensuring that taxpayers' money goes to those best placed to benefit from it. That same kind of targeting has led to a 40 per cent. lack of take-up of benefit—1 million British pensioners who are entitled to income support do not receive it. That is the sort of targeting that the Secretary of State is happy to pursue. The SSAC decided that it could not recommend proceeding with the proposals—that in itself is a damning indictment—and urged the Government to consider several points if they decided to go ahead. However, the Government accepted only one—that a linking rule should be introduced in determining the 12-month period for transitional protection.

Why are the regulations so objectionable? First, false assumptions have been made about the lack of mobility needs of long-stay patients and the meeting of those needs by the national health service. The fact-finding exercise carried out by the DSS was fundamentally flawed as it did not consult patients or those directly responsible for their day-to-day care. Secondly, long-stay patients in particular are often in hospitals in isolated areas and the mobility component can be used to enable them to make and receive visits. That is even more important when young children are involved.

Thirdly, there is evidence that in many cases the mobility component is used imaginatively and constructively to enhance the quality of life of long-stay patients. Unspent balances are evidence of poor organisation and provision rather than a lack of mobility need.

Fourthly, patients in NHS homes and hospitals will be worse off than those in homes provided by other bodies, even though care provision and needs may be similar. The proposals run counter to the efforts to transfer care from a hospital to a community base. That is an important consideration if we want community care to work.

The transitional protection does not include people who have been in hospital for less than a year and who will lose benefit at four weeks. Furthermore, the exclusion of those in special hospitals, secure units and those detained in low-security hospitals effectively puts them in the same position as convicted prisoners rather than patients. That is inexcusable—but it is a reflection of the Government's mindset.

The nation has spoken through its voluntary organisations to reject the proposal. The Social Security Advisory Committee has listened to their views and come to the same conclusion. I believe that the Opposition parties oppose the regulations, so why do the Conservatives continue to advocate the changes? Is the Minister aware that they are bad regulations? Is he aware that the lives of vulnerable people will be made worse by a decision taken behind closed doors which rejected other comments?

Even at this late stage—six months after implementing the regulations—the Government must think again. Their record is littered with disability living allowance-type measures. No thought has been given to the implications. At the end of the day, it is not Members of Parliament or Ministers who will have to pick up the pieces, pay the costs or suffer the problems. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) makes idle, mindless interruptions from a sedentary position. We are discussing an issue that may affect 45,000 people in the first year. The hon. Gentleman should repeat to his constituents at the sharp end of Government policy the sort of thing that he says here.

Photo of Mr Robert Hughes Mr Robert Hughes , Harrow West

Perhaps the difference between the hon. Gentleman and me is that I do just that. The hon. Gentleman simply makes promises without suggesting where the money will come from. That is dishonest.

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish , Central Fife

If Conservative Members read Hansard, they will see that no promises have been made. I have given a commitment to oppose the regulations today. In a short time from now we shall be voting against them—and rightly so.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security) 5:56, 5 December 1996

I shall set out for the House the reasons why we have taken the steps that we are debating today. This is undoubtedly a sensitive and difficult area and it is clear that some hon. Members have concerns. There are serious issues involved, and I shall deal with them by examining the detailed reasoning behind the decision. I hope to persuade the House that our decision, although difficult, is right and fair.

I shall pick up two points from the opening remarks of the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish). First, he referred to the Government's cavalier treatment of the House of Commons. I must take him to task on that point. As he knows, the regulations are subject to the negative procedure: they do not need the approval of the House unless someone prays against them, as occurred today. They are law until they are annulled. [Interruption.] I assure the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Griffiths) that the timing of the debate was agreed through the usual channels. He should know that we intended to discuss the regulations before the end of the Session, in July. However, following agreement through the usual channels, the debate was deferred until today. I make it very clear that there is no question of any cavalier treatment of the House.

Photo of Mr Alan Howarth Mr Alan Howarth , Stratford-on-Avon

The Minister observes correctly that it was originally expected to debate and decide the measure in the House at the end of July. Will he therefore explain why on 15 June the Department circulated leaflets—presumably to 1 million claimants of the mobility component—informing them that there would be changes in the law which might affect their disability living allowance? Why do the Government take Parliament's assent for granted?

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

As the hon. Gentleman knows, that matter was raised by the hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. Grant). At this remove I cannot remember precisely what the point was, but I assure him that the matter was dealt with at the time. We had no intention of playing fast and loose with the law. I have explained that there is no question of any cavalier treatment of the House because the decision was made through the usual channels—which include the Labour party.

Photo of Dr Norman Godman Dr Norman Godman , Greenock and Port Glasgow

Why was the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland excluded from the consultation process in 1995?

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

When we raised that matter with the Department of Health, we also raised it with the two territorial Departments, and it was discussed prior to the announcement made in 1995. If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to make some progress, I shall come to the points that he made about Scotland.

The hon. Member for Fife, Central made an allegation about cavalier treatment of the Social Security Advisory Committee. I can assure him that there is no question of that having taken place. We gave the SSAC's recommendations serious consideration. We responded in detail in Cm 3233, which was laid at the same time as the regulations. I recommend that the hon. Gentleman looks at that paper, because it sets out in great detail our comments about the views of the SSAC. It also, as he mentioned, accepted the recommendation to include linking periods for people afforded protection. I assure him that there was no question of any cavalier treatment of the SSAC.

The hon. Gentleman's third allegation—that this was an attack on a very vulnerable group—does not bear scrutiny. I will, if I may, take the House through the Government's thinking on the proposal.

In 1992, the Government introduced disability living allowance, which replaced and extended the help formerly available through attendance and mobility allowances. We carried forward existing entitlements and introduced two new lower rates of benefit, one for care and one for mobility. I am sure that the House will recognise and praise the fine record that we have on helping sick and disabled people. The figures make that clear.

Spending on benefits for sick and disabled people has quadrupled in real terms since 1979 from £5 billion to £22 billion. They form the second largest component in the entire social security budget, and spending is budgeted to continue rising. Planned spending on disability living allowance alone in 1995–96 is at £3.7 billion. Nearly 3 million people now get help with care and mobility needs, compared with just 420,000 in 1979. That is a sixfold increase in the number of people we are able to help and a record of which any Government can be justly proud.

Photo of Nigel Griffiths Nigel Griffiths , Edinburgh South

Organisations which represent people with disabilities such as the Action Group in Edinburgh, the patients council of the Royal Edinburgh hospital, and Enable, are saying— as Hugh Stewart, the depute director says in his letter, of which the Minister has a copy—that very vulnerable people who have been helped while in hospital to be supported by parents if they are mentally handicapped or to support themselves if they are mentally ill, have been helped by the mobility allowance component, allowing them to get out of hospital and to lead normal lives in an environment which in itself will be artificial. Had the Minister considered that, listened to those groups and made an exception, he would have had the agreement of the whole House, but the despicable decision to try to squeeze the budget and penalise those people means that he is alone with a few of his hon. Friends in pushing this measure through the House.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

It is a pity that the hon. Gentleman did not acknowledge what I was saying when he intervened. There has been a colossal increase in support for sick and disabled people. That was the point that I was making. I will deal with the other points that he made in a moment.

The figures for DLA are remarkable, and I should like to set them out for the House. At the time of the last general election, in 1992, we spent £2 billion on DLA. In 1993–94, that figure rose to £2.8 billion—an increase of just under £1 billion in that year alone. Last year, it increased again to £3.1 billion—up a further £350 million. This year the estimated outturn is £3.7 billion—a further rise of just over £550 million. Next year, planned spending is £4.4 billion—an increase of nearly £700 million. By 1998–99, DLA is expected to cost £5.5 billion. By any yardstick, the extra money that we are spending on DLA each year is immense.

No one should be in any doubt. This is not principally about saving money. We are prepared to spend money to assist disabled people where justified.

Expenditure is rising and on such a scale that it should be crystal clear to every hon. Member that without effective targeting we shall not as a country be able to continue affording DLA. My first point, therefore, is that this is about targeting DLA mobility and not about cutting disability benefits. But targeting effective support where it is most needed means taking a long, hard look at our priorities, across all benefits, and sometimes making difficult decisions. It is clearly unfair to exclude disability benefit from sensible scrutiny. We need to examine all aspects of current provision to be certain that decisions made about benefit entitlement and payability are still sustainable in the current financial climate.

As the House will appreciate, DLA is intended to help with the extra costs associated with disability. A re-examination of the arrangements by which payment of the DLA mobility component was unaffected by periods in hospital persuaded us that the extra costs associated with a disabling condition do change while a person is in national health service accommodation. I should like to say a little about our conclusions on that.

DLA forms an integral part of a disabled person's income. They are free to spend it as they choose. That seems to me to be a perfectly proper and reasonable state of affairs when someone is living in the community. We can all think of the extra costs that might be associated with limited mobility—for example, higher heating bills, higher laundry bills, paying someone else to do the shopping—but the same considerations do not apply while someone is in national health service accommodation. Patients in national health service accommodation have most of their needs met free of charge. Only a small proportion of patients receive DLA mobility component, but hospitals make no distinction between those who do and those who do not when identifying basic mobility needs and seeking to meet them.

As hon. Members know, it is a fundamental duty of the national health service that it meets the basic mobility needs of people in its care. In addition, I can tell the House that NHS trusts will take account of these changes and set their priorities accordingly.

I find it very hard to accept that mobility needs continue unchanged on admission to hospital, and it is certainly not clear what additional costs disabled patients have to bear. Admission to hospital already affects most social security benefits, and the DLA care component has always been withdrawn after four weeks in hospital. This change has brought payment of the DLA mobility component into line with that.

I wish to reassure the House that these changes do not affect a person's underlying entitlement to the DLA mobility component. When we are advised that a person has been discharged, DLA payments will automatically resume at the full rate of entitlement. The changes affect the payment arrangements of DLA that suspend benefit after four weeks in hospital, or after 12 weeks in the case of children receiving DLA. They reinstate the benefit once the person has been discharged and they provide special arrangements where a patient is temporarily discharged from hospital anticipating a return within 28 days, when payments will be calculated at the daily rate of a person's full entitlement for each full day out of hospital.

Mencap and others have criticised the proposals as confusing. I shall try to clear up that confusion. Simply put, those affected by the changes are people who, for benefit purposes, are treated as hospital in-patients. The key consideration is whether the national health service is responsible for maintaining the benefit recipient free of charge wherever they are accommodated. I make it clear to the House that that is nothing new. Exactly the same factors apply to other social security benefits.

In making the changes, however, we have sought to be sensitive to the needs of existing long-term hospital patients and people who choose to take part in the Motability scheme, by incorporating certain protections from the change. The protection acknowledges that existing long-term patients have reasonable expectations that benefit payments will continue, and that long-term patients have certain costs associated with restricted mobility, although basic needs are fully met by the national health service, but that they spend only a part of their benefit on those costs.

The protection arrangements also recognise that there is a unique relationship between the Motability scheme and payment of mobility benefits, and that withdrawal of the mobility component automatically terminates a Motability agreement. Unlike people with private agreements, Motability customers have no scope to make other arrangements to retain their vehicle should their benefit be withdrawn. We believe that the vast majority of people using the Motability scheme do so because they would be unlikely to be able to finance a vehicle or wheelchair any other way.

The overall impact of these changes is being carefully monitored. I can advise the House that, on their introduction, some 7,000 people in hospital were affected by the withdrawal of the DLA mobility component, and around 16,000 existing long-stay patients have benefited from the protection arrangements.

Photo of Mr John Hannam Mr John Hannam , Exeter

Does my hon. Friend recall that in July I discussed with him and with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State the hardship cases which may arise as a result of the new Motability arrangements? My right hon. Friend agreed to write to the chairman of Motability to ask him to show understanding and flexibility in the arrangements so as to help such hardship cases.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

My hon. Friend is right—I remember those discussions. As my hon. Friend knows, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has undertaken to keep the matter under review, and to discuss any difficulties with the chairman of Motability.

We anticipate that in any one year 5,000 people with Motability agreements will be protected. I am pleased to tell the House that Motability has advised me that there has been virtually no adverse impact on its customers since the changes were implemented. To answer my hon. Friend's specific point, in only three cases has there been a problem due to a breakdown in communication.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington , Aylesbury

My hon. Friend may recall that we exchanged correspondence about the difficulties experienced by people who are not part of a Motability scheme, but who have made private arrangements for the use of a car or wheelchair. Did his Department undertake research into the means of people with private arrangements when it was decided that they should be treated differently from those who are party to Motability agreements?

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

Yes, we carefully considered that precise point, which my hon. Friend has raised with me before on behalf of a constituent. For the reasons that I have given, the changes relate to the direct link with Motability and do not apply to private arrangements.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale , North Thanet

I appreciate that interventions are tiresome, but I assume that my hon. Friend wants us in the Lobby with him tonight. With regard to the private purchase of a vehicle through the mobility allowance, will my hon. Friend assure me and my constituents that the change will not be retrospective? He referred to people who have already entered into contracts, and I am sure that he shares my abhorrence of retrospective legislation. I fully appreciate that people may make different arrangements in the future, but does the change apply to people who have already entered into contracts?

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

I fully understand my hon. Friend's point. I assure him that current Motability agreements are protected.

In the current financial climate, we have to question the use of a social security benefit to enhance provision already made from public funds. Indeed, measures relating to the vast majority of benefits specifically exclude anything that smacks of double provision.

In closing, let me make it clear to the House that DLA is one of the fastest growing benefits in the social security system. The figures are on the record and show more eloquently than any words the full extent of our commitment. Spending on DLA alone has increased again this year, by £550 million. Following my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor's Budget, it is set to rise next year by a further £670 million. That takes us to more than £4.25 billion.

That level of extra support and help—which, as the House knows, is not means-tested—can be sustained only if we are clear-sighted about who should receive it. The Government have taken this difficult but fair decision, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State deserves credit for that. Because we have made such decisions, the growth in social security expenditure is now contained, and is less than the rate of growth in the economy as a whole. If we do not take tough decisions, we shall end up in the same position as France and Germany, where strikes and riots accompany welfare reforms, precisely because tough and necessary decisions were not taken at an earlier stage.

The Government are proud of the help that we are giving to 1.5 million people through the mobility component of disability living allowance. The changes have affected about 14,000 people, half of whom have received a degree of protection. I commend them to the House.

Photo of Mr Alf Morris Mr Alf Morris , Manchester Wythenshawe 6:13, 5 December 1996

It's nothing short of a scandal that this major reversal of policy should have taken effect without the opportunity for Parliament to debate these amending regulations: it's a betrayal of trust. They are not my words. They are quoted from a statement made to Ministers last summer by Lord Rix, whose long and distinguished services to disabled people, more especially those with severe learning difficulties, have won him the abiding respect of both sides of both Houses of Parliament.

As this House knows, I was the architect of the mobility allowance, from which the mobility component of the disability living allowance derives, when I became the first Minister for disabled people in 1974. That is my credential for intervening briefly in this debate. I do so with deep misgivings about the effect of the regulations in hampering the rehabilitative process, not least in the case of newly disabled people in special hospital units, and damaging the quality of life of patients more generally.

I ask anyone who wants to vote tonight on the merits of these regulations to reflect, before they do so, on their effects on the lives of two young disabled people. The first is a severely disabled girl in her teens, who lives with three other young people in a bungalow on a main road in an area south of London. She has never lived in a hospital. The mobility component of her DLA—which in her own word has now been "slashed"—enabled her mother to visit her and take her home every week, and the staff to take her on outings not covered by the funding of her residential home. But it so happens that the home is funded by the NHS, so she is one of the losers.

Only a few miles away a young woman, also severely disabled and in an almost identical home, but one funded by the local social services authority, still keeps her mobility money in full. How can such sharply contrasting treatment be defended? Merely to cite the two cases is to condemn the regulations, and I most strongly urge the Minister to stop piling handicap on handicap for extremely vulnerable youngsters solely because they are in accommodation funded by the NHS.

It is against natural justice for the two cases to be treated so differently, and it is demeaning of this House for the Government to seek, by the use of a three-line Whip, to force these regulations through tonight. For many long-term patients in NHS accommodation, the mobility component of the DLA, creatively used as I intended it to be when legislating for the mobility allowance 20 years ago, has been the only means of enhancing their mobility. My fear now, like that of the Disablement Income Group, is that, without recourse to the full mobility component, their quality of life will suffer, that they will have less contact with the outside world and become more isolated. How can anyone in this House possibly justify the imposition of a three-line Whip to achieve that result?

Ministers never tire of saying that they have improved the incomes of disabled people. They pat themselves on the back with a frequency that could endanger their health. But the overall impression they seek to create is phoney. It leaves out of account some huge cuts in spending on disability benefits, of which recent parliamentary questions have established the facts.

Take the example of a question that I tabled about the cost to disabled people of breaking the link I forged in 1975 between invalidity benefit and increases in average earnings. What the Minister's reply showed on 11 November—at column 90 of Hansard—was that, in the last year for which figures are available, 1994–95, disabled people lost over £1 billion in consequence of that one retrograde decision. The reply also showed that, since the decision to break the link first took effect in 1980, the cumulative loss to disabled people by 1995 was £5.99 billion. By now it must exceed £7 billion, which is more than three times the Government's total annual expenditure on the mobility component.

That figure was never volunteered to this House by Ministers. It had to be forced out of them by a parliamentary question, but they cannot be allowed to keep on throwing dust in people's eyes with selective information. These regulations are, in the view of all the organisations of and for disabled people, about cutting public expenditure, and not a logical tidying-up of the benefits system as Ministers so misleadingly claim. Far from being logical, the reversal of policy these regulations seek to confirm is insane; and Parliament should say so. Again, they are not my words. They, too, are from Lord Rix articulating, as he does so well, the depth of the concern of all the disability organisations to see these regulations rejected by this honourable House tonight.

Photo of John Stanley John Stanley , Tonbridge and Malling 6:18, 5 December 1996

I do not have any difficulty with the theory advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Gelding—[Laughter.] —I apologise to my hon. Friend the Minister. His constituency is, of course, Gedling. I also have no difficulty with the proposition that the Government should avoid double counting on any benefit. I fully endorse the policy that he enunciated, which is the concentration of benefit payments on those who most need them.

My concerns about the regulations stem, first, from the fact that the Government proceeded with them after a study of their likely impact, based on what appears to be a very limited sample of practitioners. In the Command Paper to which my hon. Friend the Minister referred, I was struck by the reference to the fact that only six national health service trusts were part of the Department's fact-finding exercise. That seems a limited amount of fact finding on such a sensitive and important issue.

I have conducted my own fact-finding study, as far as I can, in my constituency. I approached the four hospital trusts that cover my constituency—that represents a sample two thirds the size of that used by the Department—and the responses that I received are instructive. Two of the trusts are acute hospitals and two are in the non-acute sector.

Senior staff of the two acute NHS trusts—Kent and Sussex Weald NHS trust and Mid-Kent Healthcare trust—said that the regulations would not give them a problem in regard to the level of care for each patient. I got a different picture from the two non-acute trusts. The Weald of Kent Community NHS trust expressed concerns that a number of its patients, particularly those who had entered into long-term hire purchase or lease agreements for disabled people's cars—those commitments continue while a person is in hospital—would certainly be exposed as a result of the regulations and the withdrawal of the mobility component, unless they had a Motability agreement. There is great concern about that group of people, but my hon. Friend the Minister made light of it.

My most significant concerns were aroused when I spoke to the fourth trust—Maidstone Priority Care NHS trust—which has a number of long-term, severely disabled people in community care, including a number of quadriplegics. We discussed a unit that I know well in Brook street, Snodland, for extremely disabled young people.

I was struck by one sentence in the explanatory memorandum put out by the Department to justify the regulations. It features in appendix 3, paragraph 15 of Command Paper 3233, to which my hon. Friend the Minister referred, and states: Patients do not use their DLA for mobility purposes but use the money to buy tobacco, cigarettes, sweets etc. I most sincerely hope that that unqualified statement does not represent the general views of the Treasury Bench team, because it is not justified.

The severely handicapped people in the unit to which I referred regard that statement is complete bunkum. That severely disabled group of people use the mobility component to finance mobility helpers, who are critical as, almost without exception, all members of the group require one-to-one help every time they leave the unit. If they go anywhere by wheelchair along the pavement, or if they go to the local park or the shopping centre, they require one-to-one help, which means mobility helpers. If they go out in the minibus further afield, they still require such help.

The chief executive of the NHS trust confirmed, sadly, that as a result of the regulations significantly less money will be available to the trust to provide mobility helpers for severely disabled people. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will take careful note of that consequence of the regulations. I do not suggest for a moment that that is the generality of the situation, but among some small, but exceptionally deserving and vulnerable groups, that will be the consequence. If my hon. Friend wants to visit Brook street in Snodland, I shall be available to be there with him at any time, so that he can see for himself the situation and the consequences. The Government would have been well advised to conduct a much wider fact-finding exercise, as the Social Security Advisory Committee recommended, before proceeding with the regulations.

On the detail of the regulations, first, I do not accept the logic that the cut-off date for the withdrawal of the mobility component should be the same as that for the care component. The two are inherently different. I accept that when a person goes into hospital, it can safely be assumed that the hospital will, from day one, be responsible for his care. I can certainly understand why it is right to withdraw the care component within four weeks of an adult going into hospital.

Surely the mobility component is different. People can go into hospital, but have continuing liabilities—in terms of both mobility requirements and liabilities—particularly if they have entered into lease or hire purchase arrangements to purchase a disabled car or an electric wheelchair.

I do not see the logic of having different cut-off dates for children and for adults. What is the sense of that in regard to the mobility component? Indeed, one could argue that the cut-off date should be later for adults than for children. I can see no reason why it is only four weeks for adults, but 12 for children. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Minister will reflect that it would have been better to start with a common cut-off date of 12 weeks, if the Government intended to take that route.

Secondly, what is the relationship between the provisions of the regulations and the good scheme that the Government introduced to provide additional funding for electric-powered wheelchairs? That scheme commenced in April. As my hon. Friend the Minister is aware, under the scheme, which in west Kent will produce an extra £126,000 for the purchase of such wheelchairs in this financial year, it is possible for a severely disabled person to have the use of an NHS-provided electric wheelchair, or a voucher for the equivalent amount of money so that he or she can top up the amount.

If someone uses the voucher scheme to get an electric-powered wheelchair, surely that policy will run contrary to that set out in the regulations. If the person uses a voucher, he will incur additional liabilities for the extra costs of additional elements on his wheelchair, and presumably those will be continuing liabilities. The net effect of the regulations will be that, if such people find themselves in hospital, they will have continuing liabilities under the top-up arrangements, and then discover that they will no longer receive the mobility component on which they had relied before entering hospital.

I fully endorse what my hon. Friend the Minister said. The Government have an outstanding record on financial provision for the disabled, and they have an extremely good record on producing forward-looking new legislation to provide additional legislative help to the disabled. Against that background, it would be regrettable if one of the final legislative measures for disabled people that the Government produced in this Parliament resulted in suffering for some the most vulnerable people in the disabled community. Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friend will review the detailed operation of the regulations extremely carefully, and, if necessary, amend them if it is found that they are not working satisfactorily.

I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House agree that the absolute bottom line is that the disabled community —particularly its most vulnerable element —must not suffer because of the regulations.

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale 6:30, 5 December 1996

These regulations came into force on 1 August 1996 —four months ago. We were denied the chance then to debate them or to vote on them, although they are significant changes for a vast number of disabled people. Tonight we have the opportunity to vote against them, and I hope that hon. Members on both sides the House will consider doing so. The manner in which the regulations were introduced was disgraceful, and it was an absolute insult to disabled people.

It has been suggested that the regulations will affect those only with limited mobility, and that some people will be saving their allowances or spending them on other things. I can assure the House that organisations of and for disabled people say categorically that that is not the case. Even the Department of Social Security no longer feels that hospitals accumulating funds is a serious problem. In response to a parliamentary question from me, the Minister said: Departmental Officials had discussions with a number of NHS trusts throughout Great Britain last summer. These suggest that this was a considerable problem in the past but is now rare." —[Official Report, 19 March 1996; Vol. 274, c. 182.] Existing legislation could be used. Why are the Government not making use of it? The reason is that the Government are not enforcing the legislation as they thought that they would do. They are also ignoring the Social Security Advisory Committee, which stated in its report: Our primary recommendation is that these proposals should not proceed in their present form. We regard the care component of disability living allowance as serving a totally different purpose from the mobility component. Whereas care needs are taken care of in hospital and costs do not continue, mobility needs, in general. do continue and the cost of personal transport remains. The mobility component is essential for disabled people in long-term NHS accommodation —which is funded by the NHS —for their physical and mental well-being. The component helps individuals, particularly in community homes, to retain their independence, and it affects thousands of disabled people. It was a non-means-tested benefit, and it could be claimed during periods of work or periods of care.

Over the months, the Minister has argued that NHS trusts and general practitioner fundholders are providing necessary recuperation and rehabilitation, so the need should not be met by the DSS. If the regulations are expected to result in savings of £40 million —which is the figure that I heard at one time from the Government, although, today, the Minister said that it is not a matter of cost cutting —where will those savings come from, if disabled people are not to be denied their independence? If the NHS offers provision of the same mobility, surely costs will be transferred from the Department of Social Security to the NHS. One Department or another will have to pick up the bill.

If the Government say that the mobility component is being misused, where is the evidence of it? I have seen no evidence for that claim, and disabled people's organisations have seen none.

The other flaw in the regulations is that the mobility component was a right, whereas NHS services are not. Perhaps trusts will spend the money that they receive on other things. Another problem that I can foresee concerns mental health patients. If they will no longer receive the component after four weeks, will not they be encouraged to leave hospital before the end of that period, to ensure that they continue to receive it? Will that not be dangerous for some of those patients?

The regulations have already caused problems, and I sincerely hope that they will be revoked tonight.

Photo of Mr Robert Hughes Mr Robert Hughes , Harrow West 6:35, 5 December 1996

This debate on the disability living allowance is possible only because of its success. It would be wrong for the debate to end without paying an enormous tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir N. Scott), who introduced it. He has, regrettably, been mentioned in the news this week, but his record shows that he has been the most successful Minister for disabled people ever.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea persuaded the Treasury and his Government colleagues to devote enormous amounts of extra taxpayers' money to fund the allowance. I was his parliamentary private secretary during that time, and I think that I can accurately express his views by saying that, if one is to be successful —not only on that occasion, but on others —in persuading the Treasury and Government colleagues to spend extra money, it is essential to ensure that the money is carefully targeted. This measure, which my hon. Friend the Minister is struggling to introduce, is a difficult one, but it is designed simply to ensure that we target that money. Any Government who really care about people with disabilities and who are really determined to make concrete and measured progress will always take such action.

One difference between the Government and Labour Members —although I have no doubt that they care about disabled people as much as I do —is on their claim that they can be so proud of their record in government. It took them four years to phase in a mobility allowance scheme, from which only 5,000 people gained benefit. I do not think that they can hold up their heads today and say that the measure is callous. It is necessary, and it has been thought through. Obviously it is a difficult measure, and no one would like to take it if it were not essential for good government.

The Labour party's suggestion that this debate is taking place in December only because the Government wish to smuggle it through the House is a disgraceful example of playing to the Gallery, and it cheapens its case. On a night when many hon. Members were prepared to debate the regulations, it was clear to us that Labour did not wish to do so. I do not blame it for that decision, because it was based on many good reasons. However, one cannot make agreements through the usual channels, and then claim the moral high ground by saying that the Government did not want such a debate. The reality is that the Labour party did not want to have the debate. That is why it is happening now. The measure is not welcome but necessary, and my hon. Friend the Minister deserves the support of the House.

Photo of John Heppell John Heppell , Nottingham East 6:39, 5 December 1996

I will be brief, since every other hon. Member has tried to be.

The Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Gedling (Mr. Mitchell), should hang his head in shame for supporting the regulations. Later in my speech, I will give him some examples of how people —probably from his constituency —are suffering as a result of changes to the regulations.

Effectively, the regulations represent a cost-cutting exercise, and everything that the Under-Secretary says in trying to defend them is just not logical. They are based on false premises and supported by false information. The idea that people were spending the mobility component of their disability allowance on sweets and cigarettes is, quite honestly, insulting to disabled people, and as the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Sir J. Stanley) has said, to suggest that is disgraceful.

The idea that there is no need to enhance the mobility of people who go into hospital is an illusion. Section 73 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 allows benefits to be withdrawn where people cannot benefit from enhanced mobility, but the majority of people who are in hospital still need that mobility component. That was made quite clear at the beginning of the year.

As a member of the all-party disablement group, I received letters from the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, Mencap, the National Association for Mental HealthMIND —the disablement information and advice line, the Royal National Institute for the Blind, the Disabled Drivers Association, the Association of Disabled Professionals, the Disability Alliance Educational and Research Association, the Spinal Injuries Association, Age Concern, Arthritis Care and just about every group that represents people with disabilities. They all said that the Government were working on a false premise. Not only did they object, but the Social Security Advisory Committee received almost 200 responses on the issue and told the Government that the proposals were based on false information and should not be implemented.

How is the change affecting people? The Government make it sound like some administrative change, but it actually means that 40,000 people have had their mobility component stopped or reduced. That is the Department's figure, not mine.

Photo of John Heppell John Heppell , Nottingham East

The Under-Secretary shakes his head. Let me tell him about somewhere much closer to home: Highbury hospital. As the Minister who has special responsibility for Nottingham, I am sure that he has visited it. There are 90 patients at that hospital, 76 per cent. of whom have had their benefits reduced due to the regulations. The hospital is divided into houses. Denby house, where there are six patients, used to hire a Nissan Prairie six days a week but no longer does so, so patients do not get to go to swimming lessons or for music therapy any more. They cannot go shopping either. Once a week they used to be able to go shopping for toiletries. Now they suffer the indignity of somebody else buying their toiletries for them.

Hucknall house is in a slightly better position because it used the mobility component to buy two vehicles. The problem is that, although the house has managed to maintain one of them, it cannot be used because the mobility assistants there and at Denby house had to be sacked due to a lack of money to pay them. The Under-Secretary will have to go back to his constituency and tell his constituents why he is responsible for such events happening in Nottinghamshire.

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff , Worcester 6:44, 5 December 1996

I detect a certain enthusiasm on the Opposition Benches to move quickly to a Division, so I shall be briefer than I had originally intended.

The regulations are about choice —not necessarily a particularly easy one, I acknowledge. It comes as no surprise to me to discover that new Labour is not prepared to make such difficult choices. I freely admit that I would rather that we did not have to make such a choice, but it is right to do so and I admire the straightforwardness of my hon. Friend the Minister's approach. The Government and the House often have to choose. I have supported many such difficult choices, and am delighted to do so again.

Hon. Members often have to choose in a way that upsets individual special groups. Sometimes there is a genuine disagreement about objectives, sometimes there is simply a disagreement about the means, and sometimes, as under the regulations order, we have to make difficult decisions about using public money —that means taxpayers' money —wisely. My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) explained that very clearly.

We must acknowledge that the regulations reduce the incomes of some disabled people in hospital, but we should support them for four specific reasons. First, my hon. Friend the Minister made a powerful case for the logic of avoiding double provision. Every other benefit does that and I am not persuaded that we should make an exception for this particular aspect of the disability living allowance.

Secondly, the regulations will release resources for better use elsewhere in the system. We should always try to do that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West explained. Thirdly, the regulations are is sensitive to the particular needs of individual groups —the terminally ill in hospices, long-term cases and those with motability agreements for their wheelchairs or cars. Of course, they apply only to those whose stay in hospital exceeds four weeks.

Fourthly, and most important, the Government's general record on disability means that even if we have doubts about the regulations we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Spending on long-term sick and disabled people has quadrupled under the Government to £22 billion —virtually a quarter of the social security budget. That is a fine record of which the Government have every right to be proud. They should be proud of the success of the disability living allowance, which although it had teething problems when it was first introduced, was introduced rapidly —unlike its predecessor the mobility allowance, which was phased in over four years —to 60 times the number of previous claimants. To govern is to choose, and I believe that this choice is right.

Photo of Dr Norman Godman Dr Norman Godman , Greenock and Port Glasgow 6:46, 5 December 1996

Despite his promise, the Minister failed to answer my question concerning the exclusion of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland from consultation. I have been given an indication that he will answer the question.

In a letter that all the Scots Members of Parliament received, Dr. Dyer, the director of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, said about the regulations: The Mental Welfare Commission has information from Lennox Castle hospital, for example, which has 166 residents previously in receipt of the high rates of mobility component. The total loss of income to these patients as a result of the changes will be £181,272 per annum. The Commission does not know if every penny of the money was previously spent exclusively for mobility purposes, but it does know that good use was made of DLA for mobility purposes in this hospital. In another letter, Hugh Stewart, the depute director of the Scottish Society for the Mentally Handicapped, which does very fine work for people in Scotland who suffer from learning disabilities and other mental health problems, pointed out that the Scottish Office report —the Crosby report, which was published more than 10 years ago —encouraged hospitals to find ways of spending the benefits to improve the lives of their patients. In that sense, Scotland is different from England and Wales. The Department of Social Security typically failed to consult extensively throughout Scotland, and that is a matter for profound regret.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security) 6:48, 5 December 1996

If I do not answer all the points made by all hon. Members, I undertake to write to them after the debate to ensure that they have full answers.

The right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris), who has a very honourable mention on these occasions for the work that he has done for disabled people, should have recognised just how many strides the Government have made in helping the disabled people whom he has described over recent years. I make that point in all sincerity.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Sir J. Stanley) made several detailed points. I should like to pick up on some of them. I apologise to him if I do not pick up on them all. To some extent, those in long-stay hospitals whom he mentioned get protection at the lower rate. As he knows, 92 per cent. of long-stay patients have been in hospital for more than one year and get protection.

My right hon. Friend asked about the extent of consultation, as did the hon. Members for Rochdale (Ms Lynne) and for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) —I apologise to him for not having answered his question in my opening remarks. My officials looked in detail at eight hospitals as part of the fact-finding effort, including three in Scotland. In addition, the Department of Health and officials in the territorial Departments were consulted by Department of Social Security officials. The evidence from the Social Security Advisory Committee was consistent with the facts found by officials. Only the interpretation differed. I reiterate the point that I made in my opening remarks —this answers much of what my right hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling said —that when mobility is part of care, recuperation and rehabilitation, it is the responsibility of the national health service.

The private agreements referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale) and the excellent wheelchair scheme referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling are being kept under careful review by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. He has heard what has been said tonight. The House has our undertaking on that matter. The hon. Member for Rochdale made a point about balances. Balances were an issue at one time, but, as I made clear in my answer to her, we accept that they are no longer an issue. To some extent hospitals and patients have become adept at dealing with that problem.

In a characteristically well-informed speech on a subject on which he has immense expertise, my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) paid tribute to our right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir N. Scott). The whole House will agree with his comments.

The hon. Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. Heppell), who is a parliamentary neighbour of mine, if not quite an hon. Friend, said that this was a cost-cutting measure. I explained in some detail that that was not the case. Spending on the disability living allowance has increased enormously over the past five years. The hon. Gentleman will have noticed that those on the Opposition Front Bench were unwilling to give a commitment to replace the spending that we are discussing. If the Labour party is unwilling to make that commitment, what we have heard tonight is just political posturing and hot air.

I have visited Highbury hospital and have looked specifically at some of the cases that the hon. Member for Nottingham, East mentioned. On that visit, I heard nothing to undermine our conclusions. That is why I commend the regulations to the House.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 225, Noes 233.

Division No. 28][6.52 pm
Abbott, Ms DianeBell, Stuart
Ainger, NickBenn, Tony
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Bennett, Andrew F
Allen, GrahamBenton, Joe
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)Bermingham, Gerald
Armstrong, Ms HilaryBerry, Roger
Ashton, JosephBlunkett, David
Austin-Walker, JohnBoateng, Paul
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Bradley, Keith
Bames, HarryBray, Dr Jeremy
Barron, KevinBurden, Richard
Battle, JohnByers, Stephen
Bayley, HughCallaghan, Jim
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Hutton, John
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampst'd)
Campbell-Savours, D NJackson, Mrs Helen (Hillsborough)
Canavan, DennisJamieson, David
Cann, JamieJenkins, Brian D (SE Staffs)
Carlile, Alex (Montgomery)Jones, Barry (Alyn & D'side)
Clapham, MichaelJones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Jones, Dr L (B'ham Selly Oak)
Clelland, DavidJones, Martyn (Clwyd SW)
Clwyd, Mrs AnnJones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Cohen, HarryJowell, Ms Tessa
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Kaufman, Gerald
Corbyn, JeremyKeen, Alan
Corston, Ms JeanKennedy, Charles (Ross C & S)
Cousins, JimKennedy, Mrs Jane (Broadgreen)
Cox, TomKhabra, Piara S
Cummings, Johnkilfoyle, Peter
Cunliffe, LawrenceLestor, Miss Joan (Eccles)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try SE)Lewis, Terry
Dafis, CynogLitherland, Robert
Dalyell, TamLivingstone, Ken
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C)Lloyd, Tony (Stretf'd)
Davies, Chris (Littleborough)Llwyd, Elfyn
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli)Loyden, Eddie
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Lynne, Ms Liz
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)McAllion, John
Denham, JohnMcKelvey, William
Dixon, DonMackinlay, Andrew
Dobson, FrankMcLeish, Henry
Dowd, JimMaclennan, Robert
Dunwoody, Mrs GwynethMcNamara, Kevin
Eastham, KenMacShane, Denis
Etherington, BillMcWilliam, John
Evans, John (St Helens N)Madden, Max
Ewing, Mrs MargaretMaddock, Mrs Diana
Faulds, AndrewMahon, Mrs Alice
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Mandelson, Peter
Flynn, PaulMarek, Dr John
Foster, DerekMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Foster, Don (Bath)Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Fraser, JohnMartin, Michael J (Springbum)
Fyfe, Mrs MariaMartlew, Eric
Gapes, MikeMeacher, Michael
Garrett, JohnMeale, Alan
George, BruceMichie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Gerrard, NeilMilbum, Alan
Gilbert, Dr JohnMiller, Andrew
Godman, Dr Norman AMorgan, Rhodri
Godsiff, RogerMorley, Elliot
Golding, Mrs LlinMorris, Alfred (Wy'nshawe)
Gordon, Ms MildredMorris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Grant Bernie (Tottenham)Morris, John (Aberavon)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)Mudie, George
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)Mullin, Chris
Grocott, BruceMurphy, Paul
Gunnell, JohnO'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Hain, PeterO'Hara, Edward
Hall, MikeOlner, Bill
Hanson, DavidOrme, Stanley
Hardy, PeterPickthall, Colin
Harman, Ms HarrietPike, Peter L
Harvey, NickPope, Greg
Hattersley, RoyPowell, Sir Raymond (Ogmore)
Heppell, JohnPrentice, Mrs B (Lewisham E)
Hill, Keith (Streatham)Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Hinchliffe, DavidPrescott, John
Hodge, Ms MargaretPrimarolo, Ms Dawn
Hoey, Miss KatePurchase, Ken
Hoon, GeoffreyQuin, Ms Joyce
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)Randall, Stuart
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)Raynsford, Nick
Hoyle, DougRandall, David
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Hughes, Robert (Ab'dn N)Roche, Mrs Barbara
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)Rogers, Allan
Rooker, JeffThompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Ross, William (E Lond'y)Thumham, Peter
Rowlands, TedTimms, Stephen
Ruddock, Ms JoanTipping, Paddy
Salmond, AlexTouhig, Don
Sedgemore, BrianTurner, Dennis
Sheerman, BarryTyler, Paul
Sheldon, RobertVaz, Keith
Shore, PeterWalker, Sir Harold
Short, Ms ClareWallace, James
Simpson, AlanWalley, Ms Joan
Skinner, DennisWardell, Gareth (Gower)
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)Wareing, Robert N
Smith, Chris (Islington S)Wicks, Malcolm
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Snape, PeterWilliams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Soley, CliveWinnick, David
Spearing, NigelWise, Mrs Audrey
Spellar, JohnWorthington, Tony
Steel, Sir DavidWright, Dr Tony
Steinberg, GerryYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Stevenson, George
Stott, RogerTellers for the Ayes:
Sutcliffe, GerryMs Angela Eagle and
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)Mr. Clive Betts.
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)Cope, Sir John
Alexander, RichardCouchman, James
Alison, Michael (Selby)Cran, James
Allason, Rupert (Torbay)Currie, Mrs Edwina
Amess, DavidCurry, David
Arbuthnot, JamesDavis, David (Boothferry)
Amold, Jacques (Gravesham)Day, Stephen
Ashby, DavidDeva, Nirj Joseph
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)Devlin, Tim
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)Dicks, Terry
Batiste, SpencerDorrell, Stephen
Bellingham, HenryDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Beresford, Sir PaulDover, Den
Biffen, JohnDykes, Hugh
Body, Sir RichardEmery, Sir Peter
Bonsor, Sir NicholasEvans, David (Welwyn Hatf'ld)
Booth, HartleyEvans, Nigel (Ribble V)
Boswell, TimEvans, Roger (Monmouth)
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Evennett, David
Bowden, Sir AndrewFaber, David
Bowis, JohnFabricant, Michael
Boyson, Sir RhodesFenner, Dame Peggy
Brandreth, GylesField, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Brazier, JulianFishbum, Dudley
Brown, Michael (Brigg Cl'thorpes)Forman, Nigel
Browning, Mrs AngelaForth, Eric
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Bums, SimonFox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Burt, AlistairFreeman, Roger
Butler, PeterFrench, Douglas
Butterfill, JohnFry, Sir Peter
Carlisle, John (Luton N)Gate, Roger
Carrington, MatthewGallie, Phil
Carttiss, MichaelGardiner, Sir George
Cash, WilliamGamier, Edward
Channon, PaulGill, Christopher
Chapman, Sir SydneyGoodlad, Alastair
Clappison, JamesGoodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Clifton-Brown, GeoffreyGrant, Sir Anthony (SW Cambs)
Coe, SebastianGreenway, Harry (Eating N)
Colvin, MichaelGreenway, John (Ryedale)
Congdon, DavidGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Conway, DerekGrylls, Sir Michael
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F)Gummer, John
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Hague, William
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Patnick, Sir Irvine
Hampson, Dr KeithPatten, John
Hanley, JeremyPawsey, James
Hannam, Sir JohnPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hargreaves, AndrewPorter, David
Haselhurst, Sir AlanPortillo, Michael
Hawkins, NickRathbone, Tim
Hawksley, WarrenRenton, Tim
Hayes, JerryRichards, Rod
Heald, OliverRiddick, Graham
Heathcoat-Amory, DavidRifkind, Malcolm
Hendry, CharlesRobathan, Andrew
Heseltine, MichaelRoberts, Sir Wyn
Hicks, Sir RobertRobinson, Mark (Somerton)
Higgins, Sir TerenceRoe, Mrs Marion
Horam, JohnRowe, Andrew
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)Rumbold, Dame Angela
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)Sackville, Tom
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensb'ne)Sainsbury, Sir Timothy
Hunter, AndrewShaw, David (Dover)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)Shephard, Mrs Gillian
Jessel, TobyShepherd, Sir Colin (Heref'd)
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyShersby, Sir Michael
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Sims, Sir Roger
Jones, Robert B (W Herts)Skeet, Sir Trevor
Jopling, MichaelSoames, Nicholas
Key, RobertSpeed, Sir Keith
King, TomSpencer, Sir Derek
Kirkhope, TimothySpicer, Sir Jim (W Dorset)
Knapman, RogerSpicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs)
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Spink, Dr Robert
Kynoch, GeorgeSpring, Richard
Lait, Mrs JacquiSproat, lain
Lamont, NormanStanley, Sir John
Lang, IanSteen, Anthony
Lawrence, Sir IvanStephen, Michael
Legg, BarryStem, Michael
Leigh, EdwardStewart, Allan
Lennox-Boyd, Sir MarkStreeter, Gary
Lester, Sir Jim (Broxtowe)Sumberg, David
Lidington, DavidSweeney, Walter
Lilley, PeterSykes, John
Lloyd, Sir Peter (Fareham)Tapsell, Sir Peter
Lord, MichaelTaylor, Sir Teddy
Luff, PeterTemple-Morris, Peter
Lyell, Sir NicholasThomason, Roy
MacGregor, JohnThompson, Sir Donald (Calder V)
MacKay, AndrewTownend, John (Bridlington)
Maclean, DavidTownsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
McLoughlin, PatrickTrend, Michael
McNair-Wilson, Sir PatrickVaughan, Sir Gerard
Madel, Sir DavidViggers, Peter
Major, JohnWaldegrave, William
Malone, GeraldWalden, George
Mans, KeithWalker, Bill (N Tayside)
Marlow, TonyWaller, Gary
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)Waterson, Nigel
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Watts, John
Merchant, PiersWhitney, Ray
Mills, lainWhittingdale, John
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Moate, Sir RogerWilletts, David
Montgomery, Sir FergusWilshire, David
Nelson, AnthonyWinterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Neubert, Sir MichaelWinterton, Nicholas (Macclesf'ld)
Newton, TonyWolfson, Mark
Nicholls, PatrickYeo, Tim
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Young, Sir George
Norris, Steve
Oppenheim, PhillipTellers for the Noes:
Ottaway, RichardMr. Bowen Wells and
Page, RichardMr. Timothy Wood.

Question accordingly negatived.