§ 10.12 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Michael Heseltine)
I beg to move Amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 14, leave out from 'State' to end of line 16.
§ This Amendment removes from the Bill, as amended in Committee, an Amendment which was inserted in Committee. I hope that when the House has had an opportunity to consider the case that surrounds this particular controversy it will feel it right to reconsider the decision of the Committee.
§ Perhaps it will help the House if I set in context the Amendment and give the reasons that the Government feel it necessary to ask the House to accept it this evening. We are dealing with the Fund set up by the Mineral Workings Act, 1951, with the intention of reclaiming 2,500 acres of land made derelict by open-cast working in the Midlands ; and also to anticipate the future and to prevent fresh dereliction by securing that future workings shall be closely followed by suitable restoration.
§ The reclamation of past dereliction was a voluntary operation arranged between local authorities, operators, land owners and occupiers and financed from the Fund set up, according to individual agreements. Reclamation of current and future workings was to be covered in two ways. First, by the imposition of planning conditions requiring the back-filling and 1178 levelling of worked land and the stripping and re-spreading of top soil. Under the 1951 Act operators are entitled to payments from the Fund for work carried out in compliance with these conditions in so far as the cost of the work exceeded the "standard rate", which was fixed under the 1951 Act at £110 per acre. In addition to this mandatory work, the Fund is used to pay for additional work over and above that required for the conditions, carried out by operators and local authorities ; for measures to improve the management and fertility of agricultural land carried out by owners and occupiers ; and also for afforestation.
§ These provisions are not affected by the Bill and the essential purpose of the Bill is merely to up-date the figures which were introduced following the 1951 Act.
§ The figures are built up of two elements : first, the standard rate which I have mentioned ; secondly, the contribution on a per ton extraction basis. Ironstone operators, on extraction, pay, in old currency, 2¼d. per ton of ironstone extracted, except in the special case I have already mentioned.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Perhaps I might here say for the convenience of the House that in all the figures I shall give I shall deal in old currency, because it would take rather longer to talk in the complicated decimal equivalents. Everyone who has involvement in the affair has come to accept the old figures, and to accept and understand what they mean.
§ Operators pay in to the Fund 2¼d. per ton of ironstone extracted, and to this the exchequer puts ¾d. In general, operators may recover half of their 2¼d. from the royalty owner so that, in effect, each operator and royalty owner pays 1⅛d. No owner's contribution is paid, first of all, where the ironstone is covered by a full restoring lease, and secondly, where the land from which the ironstone is extracted is owned by a charity. In those cases the operator pays 1⅛d. instead of 2¼d. and is therefore in exactly the same position, because he recovers nothing from the owner. Operators are required to pay their contribution to the Secretary of State each April, in respect of ironstone production in the previous financial year. They may deduct the owner's share from their royalty payment.1179
§ That is the historical situation as to the purpose of the Fund ; and an outline of how the Fund is built up in two ways.
§ The situation today, when the Fund has been in operation for some 20 years, is that there was a balance of some £425,000 at 31st March, 1971. There are, however, substantial liabilities in respect of land which has been worked over but which has not been claimed for, and work shortly to be carried out, which is likely to exhaust the fund within a year or two.
§ It will be quite apparent, without spelling out all the reasons, why the Fund is now approaching insolvency. First of all, the 1951 Act contained no power to vary the contributions. Their value in real terms has therefore fallen over the years since 1951. Similarly, the 1951 Act contained no powers to vary the standard rate, over and above which the operator was entitled to claim from the Fund. Therefore, as time has gone en and as the cost of doing the work has increased, so the operators have claimed from the fund a higher proportion of the cost of reclamation, and it follows that they therefore have borne a lower proportion themselves——
§ Mr. Eddie Griffiths (Sheffield, Brightside)
Will the hon. Gentleman indicate the morality of the situation? He says that the 1951 Act could not legislate as he says, but he is now introducing legislation which, in effect, introduces a very strong element of retrospection.
§ Mr. Heseltine
That was not quite the point I was making. The 1951 Act dealt with a future situation, and provided for in the prevailing conditions of 1951, a standard rate of £110 which operators had to pay themselves but over and above which they could claim on the Fund, and it provided for a 3d. per ton extracted payment, so to speak, or charge, to go into the Fund to build up against future contingencies. The 1951 Act did not give any Government the right or power to change those two sets of figures The Government could not update figures, and it was not possible to keep inflation relevant to the changing circumstances.
This is the problem which we are now, and have been throughout our discussions on the Bill, having to deal with. It has nothing to do with restrospection——
§ Mr. Heseltine
I do not believe that there is an issue here between us. There were various conditions in, for example, the Redundancy Payments Fund, set up by the former Government, which included the same method of dealing with the situation. But that takes us no further in the argument. There is a certain situation, and all that the House is now being asked to consider is who is to pay for clearing up the situation. That is what it is all about. Only three lots of people can pay—the owners, the operators or the taxpayer.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I said clearly, the operators, the owners or the taxpayer. Whether they are private or public owners does not affect the morality of the situation one way or the other.
§ Mr. Griffiths
May I add a fourth category? The owners of the steel holdings prior to nationalisation.
§ Mr. Heseltine
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that his Government, in working out compensation terms, omitted to take into account this factor and that his Party now want retrospective legislation to take some money off the people who received compensation?
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am saying that the Under-Secretary misled the Committee. I will not say that he did so deliberately. But in so doing he has misled the House regarding the amount of land to be reclaimed prior to the Nationalisation Bill, 1967.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I can well understand that the hon. Gentleman wishes to intervene on a quite different point from the one on which he was previously questioning. I was not impressed by the distinction between public and private morality and the retrospective proposal for the people who sold out to the British Steel Corporation. I do not believe that that is a serious contingency.
I will come to the figures. There has been a difference of opinion between those who have spoken in the debate as to what amounts of land are still outstanding. It does not affect the situation one way or the other, but I will willingly come to the figures. We are now faced 1181 with a situation of £425,000 in hand at 31st March, 1971, and a situation of approaching insolvency because the 1951 Act had on power for subsequent provisions to update to keep in line with the declining value of money the figures fixed either in respect of the contributions made or the £110 per acre which was the standard rate.
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)
Would the hon. Gentleman say at what point is the tonnage payment made? Is it paid on monthly extractions or over a longer period?
§ Mr. Loughlin
The hon. Gentleman knows that there is a system whereby a holding company can set up a small company at the end of the day, of limited capital, and can force it into a position in which it can go bankrupt. I merely raise this on the question of the time factor for the payments. Would it not be possible, instead of yearly in arrears, for them to be paid for a limited period?
§ Mr. Heseltine
That would improve the cash flow but it would not improve the overall balance on the account. To help the hon. Gentleman, the whole burden of the argument of his hon. Friend, with which he immediately associates himself and is right to do so, is that the people who will have to pay the increased charges should not be paying them at all, and that the idea that they should pay them even faster should not gain acceptance.
§ Mr. Loughlin
I was raising an entirely different point. It is no good making debating points. I merely wanted information.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I am sorry that it should appear that I was making debating points in answering a serious question in what I thought was a serious way. Hon. Members opposite are trying to suggest that payment should not be made and not that it should be made faster. That would not improve insolvency but it would improve the cash flow situation.
The remedies of the Bill are provided in the three Clauses which contain the most important provisions. First, there are to be new rates for operators' contributions to be fixed by Order. They 1182 would apply, first, to contributions payable in April, 1972—in other words, in arrears—for production on or after 1st April, 1971. There would be a new full rate to replace the existing 2¼d. and a new reduced rate to replace the present 1⅛d. which applies to charities. Clause 2 provides for the owner's share of the contributions, which the operator may recover against royalty payments, to be fixed by Order. Different deductions may be necessary in the case of different classes or dates of lease.
§ Clause 3 empowers the Secretary of State to revise the standard rate from time to time to take account of the changes in the cost of labour and materials. We have an Amendment which was requested by hon. Members and which I hope they will find acceptable.
§ Full consultation with the owners is to take place so that everybody shall understand the full implications of what the Government have in mind and the figures that the Government are likely to recommend to the House.
§ The most controversial issue which has arisen during the course of the entire debate on this matter has been about the amount of land that is still to be restored, when it was operated, therefore, who it was operated by ; and who should now pay the cost thereof. I would be the first to say that there has been a certain amount of confusion.
§ Mr. Griffiths
When I made great play of this in Committee the hon. Gentleman practically called me a liar and accused me of making points out of something that was not substantial. The hon. Gentleman is now about to tell us that there are inaccurate figures, but he has not got the grace to apologise to hon. Members on this side for misleading the House with the figures he has already given.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I thought I was making at least a passable effort at telling the House that there had been some confusion with the figures. I am the first to say that there has been during the course of the discussions, for some reason or 1183 other, some confusion. I hope that the hon. Gentleman did not think that I was suggesting that I thought that he was a liar. I do not think that about him. I never did. Misguided, yes. A liar, no.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has reached one firm conclusion. I only regret that it is the wrong conclusion that he has reached.
I will now seek to clarify the figures as I understand them and also try to clarify why I believe that there has been this element of confusion. I am sorry if it appears that I have in any way tried to take upon myself the assumption that there has been no confusion. I would not want in any way to suggest that I think there has been a deliberate attempt on anybody's part to mislead anybody. I do not think that there has. I think that there has been an element of confusion as to precisely which lot of figures certain negotiations which involved these figures were referring to. This will become clear in a minute.
First, the National Council of Associated Iron Ore Producers estimated that as at 31st March, 1968, there were 1,420 acres which had been worked by the private owners for which claims were therefore entitled to be made and which were outstanding at that date. I would have given the impression—I have no intention of making this other than clear—that as a very similar figure had been restored up to 31st March, 1971 there was a prima facie case for assuming that the land that had been worked by the private sector had been fully restored.
There was a doubt. The hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) raised it by saying that it was his belief that a figure much closer to 3,000 acres was outstanding at 31st March, 1968. Therefore, there was an interesting discussion as to how this discrepancy in figures could have arisen. I think that I can explain why it arose.
It is true that there were 1,420 acres on which at 31st March, 1968, claims under Section 9 of the 1951 Act were outstanding and in respect of which there were liabilities. There were, in addition, potential claims for voluntary work by operators under Section 18(2) of the 1184 1951 Act, in other words in respect of land which had been improved to agricultural or afforestation standards. These accounted for some 279 acres which did not come into the calculations. There was further land excluded by the National Council because the costs expected in reclaiming the land were less than the standard rate at that time. In other words, there would be no claim on the Fund in respect of this land because the cost of reclaiming it was less than the amount which the operator would have had to find out of his own pocket. This accounted for some 640 acres.
There was a third category, land available for restoration only on the closure of quarries, and this amounted to 442 acres. In other words, this land was not brought into account because as a result of the inquiries which we made as to the land currently likely to be the subject of costs, it was considered that the date was too far in advance.
I would not wish to do other than make clear that I believe that this puts a different slant on my submission that there was a prima facie case for saying that the land taken over from the private sector and outstanding at 31st March, 1968 had been approximately reclaimed by now, since there are these three other classes of land which, when added to the figures, make it clear that all the land in the private sector has not been reclaimed. I hope that hon. Members opposite will feel that that is a full explanation——
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian) I was not in the Committee which considered the Bill, but I am interested to ask how the Department will make sure that this situation—which may have arisen for a very good reason—will never arise again. This is a question that I have been asked by a constituent.
§ Mr. Heseltine
That is a perfectly fair question. All of us who have been involved in this matter from the Department's point of view—and I am sure that this applies also to the National Council of Associated Iron Ore Producers— 1185 will be aware that in the dialogue that has gone on there has been an area in which the two different groups of people were apparently working to different figures. I would not want to suggest that that has not happened. It has happened and I wish it had not. However, it does not change the proposals.
§ Mr. Heseltine
It does not change the proposals. It might change the hon. Member's assessment of the merits of the proposals, but the proposals are as valid today as they were before.
§ Mr. Griffiths
The Minister brought this Bill to the Committee stage on false figures. He stuck dogmatically to those figures throughout the Committee stage. He now makes a very modest effort at apologising to the House for misleading it, and the mistake is with his Department. The hon. Gentleman is not man enough to admit it.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I assure the hon. Gentleman that man enough I undoubtedly am, if I believed it. But I do not believe the mistake is with my Department. I believe there is a genuine confusion, and I believe it is the sort of confusion that can easily rise when one person asks a question and somebody else believes that the question meant something slightly different. This is in no way a reproach to anybody. I believe there has been genuine confusion on both sides.
§ Mr. Alan Williams (Swansea, West)
During the Committee stage the hon. Gentleman made great play of the suggestion that the fault was with the industry and not with his Department. Surely his Department, or a Department, has been administering this Fund for 20 years, and should at least understand the terminology relating to the fund that it is operating?
§ Mr. Heseltine
That is a legitimate observation to make, but, in the context of what we are dealing with here, although the Department has overall responsibility, the fact is, as we all know, that this fund has not been treated with, perhaps, the surveillance which we would all have wanted, by either Government. [HON. MEMBERS : "Oh."] It is fair to say that, although one must refer to the 1186 Department, throughout all this time there have been politicians in charge of it, and, if there was any responsibility, it was the responsibility of the politicians, not the Department. It is a nice point, and we can argue at length about who is responsible. The fact is that the fund has not been subjected to political scrutiny for a long time, by either Government.
All the detailed and technical figures relating to the amount of ore extracted are in the hands of the industry, either the British Steel Corporation, which is now, virtually, the industry, or the National Council of Associated Iron Ore Producers. They are the only people who really know what is going on on the ground. In reply to certain questions from the Department, which may or may not have been properly phrased, certain answers were produced, which may or may not have been completely comprehensive. I do not think that it adds anything to have a postmortem now, particularly in the light of the very full explanation which I have given of what has happened.
§ Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)
The hon. Gentleman has told the House that his Department did not know about these acreages. They axe about double the number actually given, so the Department missed half the acres outstanding. The hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) may quarrel with this, in a sense, but the effect of the Bill as drawn was to cause the operator, the British Steel Corporation, to pay for the restoration of the land. Since half of the land outstanding was, apparently, not known about in the Department when the Bill was drawn up, may we now take it that there was no intention, and there is no intention, on the part of the Department or enshrined in the Bill to insist that the British Steel Corporation pay for the restoration of this land which was completely lost sight of?
§ Mr. Heseltine
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, because that brings me to my last point in support of the Amendment. That is the crucial question. Would it have made any difference if we had been talking about the figures which I have now produced, about figures halfway between the two, or about the figures which I was originally talking about? In the Government's view, our arguments 1187 would not have been changed in any way. The case is based on a simple point. In our view, the Government's original intervention in 1951, when they agreed that the taxpayer would contribute ¾d. per ton extracted, was that that should be seen to be part of the old clearing up problem which existed pre-1951, to which they were committing the taxpayer at that time. There is no doubt about that.
The Government are now saying that there is no doubt that the entire pre-1951 problem—give or take an acre or two—has been cleared up. As it is now a contemporary problem, within recent years, there is no reason to distinguish between this industry and this facet of it and any other industrial pollution or dereliction which might be developing. That is the essence of the Government's case.
It is our view that the industry must be responsible for clearing up its own dereliction. If hon. Members opposite were to suggest that the Government should in some way increase the ¾d. for this industry, would they then go on to say that we should make equivalent grants available to all other industries to clear up all other forms of dereliction which one sees around?
Let there be no doubt about it. The amount of clearing of dereliction going on under this Government is equal to, if not superior to, any efforts by any previous Administration. But there is no specific grant for clearance of the sort that this industry attracted in 1951. Therefore, we have to decide whether in some way to continue to single out this industry by providing that this sort of dereliction shall attract enhanced contributions from the tax payer. That is the argument that we have heard from hon. Gentlemen opposite.
Originally, the Government decided that the ¾d. contribution that the Chancellor of the Exchequer pays towards the fund should come to an end. Broadly speaking, my arguments are those which influenced the Government in deciding that the original ¾d. should no longer be paid from the Exchequer because the pre-1951 dereliction had come to an end. When the consultative processes took place, the Government were persuaded to continue to pay the ¾d. in respect of the continuing clearing up of the situation ; 1188 in other words, they decided to remain involved to the extent of the fixed figure of ¾d. per ton extracted, but they would not enhance the level of contribution and single out this industry for special treatment. The industrialist must be responsible for the dereliction that he creates. That is the simple issue before us.
We believe that this matter is urgent, and that the figures must be up-dated. We can see no reason why this industry should be given further special preferential treatment over and above that agreed upon in 1951. For those reasons, we say that these words should be deleted from the Bill.
§ Mr. Alan Williams (Swansea, West)
I find it disappointing that no Minister from the Department of Trade and Industry has seen fit even to appear in this Chamber. No one was present on Second Reading, and no one was present in Committee. The Department is the sponsoring Department for the steel industry, and one would expect at least some form of demonstration of interest from the Department. It may be that the sheer lack of interest displayed by Ministers and, we assume, echoed by the Department, is one reason why we are confronted with this shoddy little Bill.
§ This Amendment is the basis of the central dispute between the two sides on the Bill. While we disagreed substantially in Committee, we had a reasonably amicable discussion, and we made it clear that with our Amendment the Bill was non-contentious. The Amendment was carried in Committee. Tonight, having lost the argument in Committee, the Government will use their whipped Tea-Room majority and reinstate their intentions in the Bill.
§ The Government are taking their vendetta against the steel industry one more stage. They began by depriving the industry of its £100 million of investment. They continued by denying it the 7 per cent. price rise that it felt to be necessary. Now they are reduced to picking the odd £1 million from the industry where they can.
§ The basic objective of the Bill is to make the British Steel Corporation pay for a deficit on the Ironstone Restoration Fund for which the Corporation is in no way responsible and for which all existing legal obligations have been met 1189 fully. The hon. Gentleman says that the Government see no reason to differentiate between this and other industries. The fact is that this industry was covered by statutory obligations, and it fulfilled them. What the hon. Gentleman is doing is trying retrospectively to alter the obligation despite the fact that the industry has paid all the contributions required of it under the previous legislation. That is why we say that the Bill is retrospective in the worst sense.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Let us establish the background facts. There is no great contention about them. The Ironstone Restoration Fund was set up in 1951 to receive contributions from the iron ore operators to pay costs over and above the standard rate of restoring land. At the turn of this financial year, about 3,100 acres remained unrestored, but the contributions on those acres had already been paid into the fund. The average cost of restoration is about £545 an acre for levelling and for spreading, plus about a further £100 for restoration of fertility and the erection of fences and so on. We are thus talking of an average cost of about £650 per acre for full restoration to agricultural or other uses. Therefore, the total possible call on this fund as a result of past dereliction is £1.6 million. The total assets of the fund are £400,000. So we are faced with a total deficit as at the beginning of this financial year of £1.2 million. This is what the argument is all about.
§ How did this deficit arise? The hon. Gentleman has rightly pointed out that, after the fund was established in 1951, in 1951 and 1955 decisions had to be taken on the standard rate of contributions. These were set at 3d. a ton on extractions and £110 standard rate per acre. But the important factor was that at a time when the cost of restoration work was rising sharply and when social and public expectations of standards of restoration were also rising, there was built into the Bill—and both sides of the House have certain responsibilities for this—no power to vary these charges. Yet this is fundamental. Whereas £110 per acre was adequate to meet the full cost of restoration in 1955, we are talking today of £645. The fund is still operating an historic, totally out-dated contribution level.
§ We have to understand that it was the Department which administered the fund. 1190 It was the Department which was responsible for financial control. It was the Department which failed to realise the full significance of escalating costs at a time when there were fixed contribution rates. It was the Department which failed to call a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Ironstone Restoration, certainly for 10 years and possibly for as long as 15. So it never even had the advice of the industry on the situation which was arising. It was the Department which failed to bring forward amending legislation to vary the standard rate or the rate of contribution. These were the Department's responsibilities and its failures.
§ The industry, on the other hand, fulfilled all its legal obligations meticulously. The Department fell down on its job, and the industry is today being asked to pay for it—and the present owners are not even the same owners as before. The Government's remedy, faced with this deficit of £1.2 million—which is not the responsibility of the B.S.C.—is to levy a charge on the future workings of the operators, which virtually means the Corporation, in order to pay the past deficit, most of which arose under different ownership.
§ The hon. Gentleman has been singularly coy throughout the proceedings of the Bill in giving information. It would have been better if more information had been given at the beginning ; we had to fight to get any information from the Department. That is one of the causes of the difficulty about interpretation of the consequences. I am sure that some hon. Members opposite have felt this difficulty, too. Like us, they could only speculate about the impact of the Bill on the industry. It may well be that the hon. Gentleman could have eased its passage had he given more information at an early stage.
§ Mr. Eddie Griffiths
The Under-Secretary has seen fit, both in Committee and again this evening, to alter the figures which were the basis of our deliberations, and this makes the Bill worthless.
§ Mr. Williams
My hon. Friend is indulging in his gift for understatement, but broadly I agree with his proposition. In Committee on 29th June the Under-Secretary indicated—in column 55—that he was thinking in terms of a new standard rate of £220 per acre, which is 1191 double the existing standard rate, and a new contribution rate of 3p. I recognise that he is not to be held firmly to those figures, because he was trying to give us an idea of the change he was envisaging.
The Government contribution was to remain at its present low figure of three farthings. So the Government share was to fall from 25 per cent. to a mere 10 per cent. of the contribution. But the net effect of the change is that, whereas the standard rate will already have doubled on the figures proposed, the contribution rate for the operators will virtually treble.
It is easy to see that this is intended clearly to eradicate the pre-April 1971 deficit. In the next 10 years the B.S.C. plans to work 2,520 acres according to its own figures, yielding 84 million tons of minerals. The average yield per acre works out at about 33,300 tons. The charges which will have to be met for restoration by the industry will be £220 standard rate per acre, plus about £1,000 contribution, from which can be deducted approximately £100 to be given by the Government. About £1,100 or £1,200 per acre will be charged to the industry for the dereliction it creates. But the average cost of restoring the land, including the extra £100 fertility and fencing allowance is only £645. It is clear, therefore, that the figures that the Under-Secretary has in mind are intended to meet the deficit, which is not the responsibility of the current owners of the industry. The Bill would give power to increase these contribution figures even more during the next decade.
On Second Reading I accepted that lack of flexibility in the original legislation was a great mistake and that there had to be flexibility in the new Bill. I am sure that the Under-Secretary will not deny that these charges are to meet the deficit which, we would argue, already existed.
§ Mr. Heseltine indicated assent.
§ Mr. Williams
I am glad to have the hon. Gentleman's acceptance.
After our Amendment had been carried, the hon. Gentleman could not charge to meet that deficit, and the Government as seeking now to restore the 1192 Minister's arbitrary discretion to charge the B.S.C. for what we regard as the past obligations of the Department.
How do the Government justify their intentions? My hon. Friends who were on the Standing Committee will confirm that we have had a permutation of assorted and abandoned arguments. This evening we have heard the hon. Gentleman say that the Bill is merely to update the figures of the 1951 Bill, but he forgot to point out that it up-dates it merely for the Steel Corporation and not for the Government. If the deficit is to be cleared, our objection is that the Government are not to pay their share, that their share is to fall, another point which is not in dispute.
The argument in support of the Amendment is that that is perfectly legitimate because the Government intended to contribute only to the clearing up of the pre-1951 dereliction, an opinion to which the hon. Gentleman is welcome, but an assertion which he has never managed to document and for which he has never managed to produce the slightest evidence.
In Standing Committee, at column 31, I produced a quotation from the Minister of Town and Country Planning of the time, who said :The financial details of this policy are now being worked out, but, in general terms, the Government intend that, in future, 75 per cent. of the cost of restoration should be borne by the producers and royalty owners, and 25 per cent. by the Exchequer."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th July, 1950 ; Vol. 477, c. 232.]We argued that the hon. Gentleman's protestation that this was to apply only to pre-1951 dereliction was a legitimate view for him to take, but was not proved, for he had not produced any evidence to substantiate his claim.
At another stage it was argued that it was reasonable to charge the B.S.C. for this deficit because the B.S.C. benefited from undercharging in real terms. So did the Government. They were supposed to pay 25 per cent., but they were not paying 25 per cent. when the alleged undercharging took place.
Lord Sandford in another place spoke of the B.S.C. asthe proper successor to the industry and heir to its liabilities as well as its assets. It is right that the responsibility should pass 1193 squarely on to the shoulders of the corporation…."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 1st April, 1971 ; Vol. 316, c. 1510.]I have already shown that there were no liabilities. The liabilities as established in law had been completely fulfilled. It was the Department which fell down on its administration, not the B.S.C. or even the previous steel owners. The fund was not properly administered.
I am not making political capital of tht, because various Governments were responsible. In Committee I made it clear that this was not a matter of Conservative Party versus the Labour Party about who was responsible. The responsibility rests on both sides of the House to some extent, but one has to recognise that the Department has not fulfilled its administrative obligations.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mr. James Scott-Hopkins (Derbyshire, West)
If I understand correctly what the hon. Member is saying, he is saying that the taxpayer should bear this burden and not the British Steel Corporation. Why? Surely the liability taken over by the Corporation on vesting included this liability? Surely my hon. Friend was right when he said that it was up to the industry to restore land which it has degraded in the not-so-distant past. I do not see why the taxpayer should come into this.
§ Mr. Williams
I will come to that a little later. In Committee the hon. Gentleman made the legitimate point that if this charge had been imposed before it would not have been upon the industry, but would only have been passed on in prices. What he was saying was that the general public got the benefit of this, not the Corporation. The fact, is, and hon. Members can make political points if they wish, that the existence of this deficit in the fund was not known. It has only recently been discovered. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will admit that this seems to be the case. In Committee the hon. Gentleman switched to trying to impose a moral obligation on the Corporation and used words similar to those used tonight. He said :… the polluter must be made responsible for the pollution which he creates. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 29th June, 1971 ; c. 58.]1194 As the basis of this case he produced figures which have been mentioned this evening and claimed that :… the land still to be reclaimed is, very largely, land which has been extracted by the British Steel Corporation since its creation in 1968."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E. 24th June. 1971 ; c. 38.]Later he said :It is our judgment that the bulk of the land under discussion is land which was worked post-nationalisation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 29th June, 1971 ; c. 54]He justified his position on 24th June by saying :… a few months after the British Steel Corporation took over—there were about 1,420 acres worked by the companies"—that is the privately-owned companies—and, at that stage, unrestored."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee. E, 24th June, 1971 ; c. 38.]The hon. Gentleman went on to adduce the argument that since 1,300 acres had been restored by the fund in the three relevant years, virtually the whole of the remainder—namely, 3,140 acres—must be the responsibility of the Corporation.
At the next meeting of the Committee I challenged the hon. Gentleman's figures. He then "discovered", or his Department "discovered", another 600 acres relevant to the private operators. He then blamed the industry for this error, not his Department or himself. He said :I accept no responsibility on the part of the Department for that, because the figures all came from the industry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 29th June, 1971 ; c. 59.]Bear that in mind because I want to read a letter in a moment. He later went on to say, in column 60 that it had nothing to do with his officials.
Let me quote from a note I subsequently received prepared by the Corporation. I will substitute the phrase "Under-Secretary" for the hon. Gentleman's name. It says :The figure of 1,420 acres quoted by the Under-Secretary in column 38 on which all his subsequent argument was based was not provided by the industry—only by the Department. The area of 1,420 acres quoted by the Under-Secretary was arrived at by his Department without consultation with the industry.1195The Under-Secretary made a number of references to the mistake made by the industry and said that he could accept no responsibility on the part of the Department. The Corporation has complained strongly to the Department about this and asked that the Under-Secretary should put the record right on Report.The hon. Gentleman has done that but not over-enthusiastically. The note goes on to say :The Under-Secretary stated or implied, a number of times, that the industry had not given figures to the Department. The industry have given all the figures they have been asked for, but have seldom been asked.I am not making a personal attack upon the hon. Gentleman and I hope that he will not interpret it in that way. Anyone can end up giving information to the House in good faith.
§ Mr. Williams
This has come to me via the C.B.I. Minerals Committee. I will gladly make copies available if the Minister or hon. Gentlemen would like to see it. There is no secret about this.
§ Mr. Heseltine
The hon. Member would, I am sure, agree that there was confusion. I tried to explain it in my opening speech. Information was also provided by the National Council of Associated Iron Ore Producers. It was on the basis of that information—not information supplied by the British Steel Corporation—that I made my original statement.
I must, however, clarify the point. As I clearly said, questions were undoubtedly asked and I have no doubt that in the precise language of the questions answer were given. It is as to whether the questions were correctly interpreted, and to what extent one could consider whether further and fuller information could have been provided in the light of those questions, that the confusion arose. I believe that there is genuine confusion.
§ Mr. Williams
Cannot the hon. Gentleman see the point that we are making? It is astonishing that his Department was able to produce a brief for Ministers which went all the way through the Cabinet committee structure, which went through the briefing procedures for this House, without the officials ever getting 1196 the accurate figures on which to base the proposal. That is the essence of it. That is why we feel that the hon. Gentleman has not made his case. He spent virtually the whole of one Committee sitting arguing the matter, trying to substantiate his claim, on the basis of the responsibility of the British Steel strate that there was no such responsibility.
§ Mr. John Farr (Harborough)
Would it not be the fact, however, that the B.S.C. would not necessarily be consulted as it was not the only extractor? Quite properly, the right body to which to go would be the representatives of all the extractors, who would, no doubt, include the Corporation.
§ Mr. Williams
I certainly would not argue with the hon. Member on that point. All I am trying to say is that in his argument tonight, when talking of the industry, when the Under-Secretary spoke of the Corporation he was virtually speaking of the industry.
§ Mr. Heseltine
In following that argument, perhaps the hon. Gentleman will realise that he is quoting denials from the British Steel Corporation. At no time did I suggest that the Corporation provided the figures that we were talking about. I said that the figures, about which there was confusion, were produced by the National Council of Associated Iron Ore Producers. If the hon. Gentleman would like to quote from anything that that body has said to him, I should be interested to hear it.
§ Mr. Williams
The hon. Gentleman cannot wriggle away from the fact that his Department, wherever it went for its figures, was unable to give a true and accurate presentation of the situation as it existed. My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Eddie Griffiths) has a legitimate sense of grievance that at the first sitting of the Committee he was to some extent taken to task by the Under-Secretary for daring to suggest that the bulk of the outstanding restoration was attributable to the private owners, whereas the figures now make it clear, as I shall demonstrate, that it is attributable to the private owners, because in 1968, 1969 and 1970, the three operating years of the Corporation—and it was responsible for only part of 1968—the Corporation occupied 1,134 acres.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Will my hon. Friend accept that unless the Minister can answer this fairly convincingly, there are serious people outside, of whose party politics I am unaware, who feel that what is at issue is the whole validity of Whitehall statistics? This casts serious disrepute on the way that Whitehall does its business.
§ Mr. Williams
My hon. Friend has a valid point. It must be a matter of public concern that a Bill can be presented on the foundation of a set of statistics which are subsequently shown to be not only inaccurate but utterly erroneous, and yet, because that piece of legislation has got into the pipeline, it is inconceivable for the Government to say that they will take it back out of the pipeline. This point should be a matter of concern to both sides of the House, whichever party is in office. The residue of private dereliction in 1968 was not 1,420 acres, as the Under-Secretary of State told us on 24th June ; it was not 2,000 acres as he told us on 29th June ; but, in fact, it was 2,900 acres—more than double the amount originally admitted to by the Department.
§ Mr. Williams
The hon. Gentleman says it is not true. All he has to do is to look at column 38, where the Under-Secretary of State gave the figure of 1,420 acres. The B.S.C. figure now is 2,900 acres, which I do not think the hon. Gentleman is disputing. I do not think we are arguing about the total figure ; he has arrived at virtually the same figure.
§ Mr. Heseltine
The hon. Gentleman will know, if he followed my speech with his usual care, that he is greatly distorting the situation. The fact is that of the difference of 1,500 acres between the 1,420 and the 2,921, it was expected at the time the consultations took place that 640 acres would attract no charge because they were reckoned to be capable of being put right below the standard rate. This is an example of the distortions that have arisen. In respect of 640 acres, nearly half of the disputed area, it was assumed that there would be no claims at all.
§ Mr. Williams
Yes, but we are dealing in averages, and it is equally possible 1198 that some of the 1,100 acres worked by the B.S.C. will not qualify for claims from the fund, so the argument can work both ways.
The hon. Gentleman has argued that the polluter must be made responsible for the pollution which he creates. Yet private industry was responsible for 2,900 acres of pollution, whereas the maximum for which the B.S.C. could be responsible is 1,100 acres ; yet the B.S.C. will be responsible for a total of 3,140 acres. This is a dubious application of the principle that he who creates the pollution shall be responsible for clearing it. It does not meet the requirements which the hon. Gentleman has set himself, the Government and the industry.
For this reason we feel, with some justification—I do not make this a personal case against the hon. Gentleman ; he takes the brief he gets from his Department—that, since the whole basis of his case has clearly disintegrated, this is a statistically meaningless exercise. His Department has been astonishingly inept in the presentation of the case, and, as a Minister, he has a legitimate grievance. I should have felt highly embarrassed if I had had to come to the House with figures that chopped and changed every time I referred to them. I should have felt I was standing on a quicksand. It is to his honour if he does not feel this way, but he could have a legitimate grievance that his Department has served him less than well. That is between the Minister and the Department, but the country can feel it has been served less than well, and so can the industry.
A whole mountain of legislation is being built on the basis of a set of figures which is utterly erroneous, and for that reason the Bill should be withdrawn. At the very least the Minister should withdraw the Amendment which he has had the impudence to move tonight in the light of the evidence which is available. He should withdraw it because this legislation, if it is amended in the way he suggests, will be arbitrarily retrospective. It will mean that the B.S.C. will pay for the slipshod departmental financial control within Whitehall. It will mean that B.S.C. will pay for land which it did not work, and for land on which existing legal obligations have been fulfilled.
1199 This is a shabby, disreputable little Bill, based on an inability to interpret or even understand facts, and it is being pressed forward because of an unwillingness to admit that an error has been made.
§ 11.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Lawson
The present situation is just as was anticipated in Committee, when it became perfectly clear that the Under-Secretary did not know his Bill. It has been demonstrated that on this point he was very badly briefed indeed. His case, which has been effectively countered by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams), is based on a misapprehension of the situation.
The hon. Gentleman was also badly informed on other features of the Bill. He was so badly informed that he said "I will explain these things when we come to Report." We had a lengthy discussion in Committee as to whether the proper place to deal with these complex matters was in Committee or on Report. It was pointed out to the hon. Gentleman that the possibilities for debate on Report were far more circumscribed than in Committee. However, the hon. Gentleman did know his Bill. On that question, as on other questions, he could not give any explanation.
We did not want to hold up a Measure whose principle we accept ; we accept the principle of the polluter paying for his pollution. Our quarrel was that on this occasion this particular polluter was being compelled to pay for somebody else's pollution and, as we considered, in a most unfair way.
I remind the House that twice during Business questions in the past two weeks I have raised the question of the proper time for the Bill to come before the House on Report. We know that the Report stage began this evening after ten o'clock and it is now a quarter past eleven. We could discuss this Bill for some hours, but it is clear that the pressure is upon us. Members are already hanging around and asking "When are you going to get this matter finished because we know there is to be a Division?"
This is abusing the facilities of the House and is not giving Members a 1200 proper opportunity to discuss a Measure that ought to be discussed, a Measure which has been presented to the House by the Under-Secretary in a most inadequate way. The hon. Gentleman took it for granted that the Bill would pass through the House without any bother at all.
I will not repeat the arguments advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West. He presented his case admirably, and I congratulate him on the effective way in which he exposed the inadequate way in which the Bill has been prepared and presented.
The hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) contradicted me, indeed challenged me on one occasion. I would have been prepared to accept the challenge had the Minister substantiated it. The Minister said that the fund with which we are concerned was the British Steel Corporation ; he said there were two other small extractors, so small as to be insignificant. When we were considering who was to pay for restitution, it was always the B.S.C.
§ Mr. Farr indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Lawson
The hon. Member for Harborough shakes his head, but if he looks at the Committee's proceedings he will see that what I am saying is borne out there.
§ Mr. Farr
It is rather tiresome when hon. Members opposite seem to think that the B.S.C. will be the only people to suffer. In fact, the royalty owners will pay just as much as the operators. The British Steel Corporation is only the majority operator, so the royalty owners together will be paying far more than B.S.C.
§ Mr. Lawson
The hon. Gentleman must have been nodding quite considerably in the Committee, or he would have heard the Under-Secretary of State refer tothe need before reaching final decisions to have consultations with the owners about how precisely the apportionment may turn out to be made in the future. These leases "—that is, the leases under which the royalty owners operate :are binding contracts, and they have been drawn up on a basis which may not make it possible for the owners of the leases, for example, to contribute more without actually 1201 subsidising the operation from other sources of revenue.The Under-Secretary then went on to talk about the possibility of the royalty owners going bankrupt. He justified this method of charging by saying that the British Steel Corporation would simply pass on the charge to the customer. When we asked for an explanation, he could not give it to us. What has emerged more than once was that there is an exceeding great doubt, I put it no higher, that the royalty owners will be charged nothing extra whatsoever. The hon. Gentleman said :The British Steel Corporation is very largely the Fund."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 29th June, 1971 ; c. 72–73.]What is now emerging is that the British Steel Corporation will be charged for the restoration of land long since worked over.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Scott-Hopkins) butted in on the question of principle and asked my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West who was to pay : was my hon. Friend suggesting that the taxpayer should pay? The suggestion is that the taxpayer is not already paying for pollution. It is not particular industries that are paying for the pollution we see all over the countryside.
I can give the hon. Gentleman one example of the polluter not paying for and not being expected to pay for his pollution. Only in the last Session we had a Scottish Bill which completely exempted from any rates—not taxes—people engaged in intensive farming. In many cases they have put up what are factory buildings, crowded with animals and causing intense pollution from noise, nuisance, smell and the rest. Yet those people are not expected by the Government to pay one penny in rates. Here is an example of where the principle does not apply. If my hon. Friends feel that because it happens to be the British Steel Corporation it is being made to pay, can they be blamed if they suspect that had it not been a nationalised industry it would have been treated differently, when they have the excellent example in which those engaged in intensive farming are excused entirely from paying rates?
I used to think that the Under-Secretary was one of the very bright young men of the Tory Party. He should rise 1202 and admit that there has been quite inadequate preparation and that the Bill was based on an understanding which has since been proved to be false. He should admit that his Department was unaware of how much land was to be reclaimed and that the figure which the Department accepted was only half the true figure—and that he brought forward the Bill on the basis of a false figure. His claim that the Steel Corporation should be made to pay for restitution was based on the view that to all intents and purposes all the old work had been done and that the Steel Corporation would be asked to pay only for work which had been done since it came into existence. We now know that that is completely wrong, and the Under-Secretary should withdraw the Bill. If he does not, then I state that it is scandalous that we should be forced to go on with the Bill. At least we should conclude our consideration now and be given a more appropriate opportunity to discuss the Bill.
§ Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)
I intervene only for a moment, and without taking sides. Are there no auditors or accountants in the Department to ensure that everything is going on correctly? Why has all this gone on for so long without someone realising that something should be done? It sounds peculiar to me that this situation could occur in a Government, of either party. What has happened to the accounting section of the Department or Departments over the years? Are not these matters checked year by year?
I am not good at figures, but I have always had great faith in the fact that in all Government Departments and enterprises—nationalised or private enterprise—there were auditors and accountants who checked these figures. Who has the responsibility in Government Departments to give advice that matters of this kind are correctly audited? District auditors examine local authority accounts. From the point of view of departmental efficiency, someone should have been keeping an eye on the situation.
§ 11.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Eddie Griffiths
I return to the point made by my hon. Friends and Members for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) and Motherwell (Mr. Lawson), that we do not object to the point of view 1203 that the polluter should put right his pollution.
If the Under-Secretary had proved categorically that the arrears of reclamation were the responsibility of the British Steel Corporation we should have been perfectly happy to see that debt being accorded to that Corporation. But during the Committee stage the hon. Gentleman practically crucified me as a political heretic for suggesting that part of this pollution was the responsibility of the private steel barons prior to nationalisation. He has amended his figures on at least three occasions. If the hon. Gentleman would bother to listen, I suggest that his political credibility in the House has evaporated this evening, never to return, because he is guilty of one or two crimes. He is guilty either of incompetence, in that before bringing a Bill to the House he should have said to his Department, "Check your figures and check them again to make sure that you are absolutely correct"—which he obviously did not do—or of deliberately misleading the House. I hope he is guilty of the former and not the latter.
If the hon. Gentleman has any political integrity, and if his Government have any credibility, I suggest that in view of his admission that his figures have been completely erroneous, the least he can do on behalf of the Government is to withdraw the Bill and bring it forward later in a state of greater credibility.
§ 11.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Heseltine
I will not deain the House long because we have covered ground covered many times before. It is more important to take the point first raised by the hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) and referred to by various hon. Members opposite, and to deal with the question of the confusion, which I referred to in opening, and how it arose.
The House cannot ever allow itself the luxury of blaming officials and Departments for mistakes which lie at the feet of politicians. With respect to the hon. Member for Swansea, West, I found slightly offensive the way in which his party, which was responsible for managing the Fund from 1964 to 1970, should have put the blame once again on the officials. The politicians in charge of 1204 Departments are responsible for administering the political instruments within those Departments. If the questions were not asked, the failure is that of the politicians and not of the Department.
§ Mr. Alan Williams
The hon. Gentleman is adducing a principle that I would not challenge had he not gone to great lengths in Committee to say that the fault was not with the politicians or the Department but with the industry, which is equally incapable of defending itself in the House.
§ Mr. Heseltine
That was not the point I was putting. What I said in Committee and what I now want to make clear is that we can only work on the basis of the information with which we are provided. We must ask how the confusion, which I have freely admitted existed, came about. It is a simple confusion. I can explain what happened. When the Department was examining what steps needed to be taken to deal with the situation, the question was asked, not of the British Steel Corporation—that is why the letter quoted by the hon. Member for Swansea, West is not relevant—but of the National Council of Associated Iron Ore Producers, what the Council thought would be the likely acreage of land over the next five years which had to be reclaimed. It was the answer to that question that produced the figures on which many of our earlier debates were conducted. But what the National Council did not say was that there were two groups of acres which had liabilities attached to them but which, in its judgment, did not come within the answer to that question.
It was a confusion—I put it in no other way—that the Council did not say, "There are certain acreages, in fact 442 acres, which will be the subject of liability only if the quarries are closed." Nor did the Council say, "There are another 640 acres which we do not believe have any liability attached to them." That explains why 1,082 acres of land which undoubtedly strictly should have been brought into account were not discussed. This is a totally legitimate confusion, one arising simply because a question was interpreted literally and because the information which was provided in answer to that question was the subject of our 1205 earlier debate. That is where the confusion arose. It was a genuine one.
All this talk of misleading the House or deliberately trying to make a party issue about the pre- or post-nationalisation period is nonsense. It is also irrelevant to the far bigger issue which is involved, which is that there is a major question of dereliction in this industry, as in many other industries, and who is to pay for it? The position of this Government is clear, and this is why I shall ask my hon. Friends to vote for the Amendment. Our position is that dereliction is the responsibility of the industry that caused it. If an industry is nationalised and the private companies are taken over, the liability is taken over at the time of nationalisation. That is the situation in this industry.
There is an urgent problem here. We can see no reason why we should single
§ out this industry for continued preferential treatment, which would be the very last thing that hon. Members opposite would want to give to all other industries. In other words, this industry has had special treatment since 1951. We are continuing its preferential treatment at the existing level, but in future it will be expected to bear precisely the same responsibility as I believe the House will consider right in respect of industry at large. No further special taxpayer concessions can be made towards the British Steel Corporation in this respect.
§ For that reason, I have pleasure in asking my hon. Friends to vote for the Amendment.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made :—
§ The House divided : Ayes 155, Noes 139.1207
|Division No. 437.]||AYES||[11.37 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Gurden, Harold||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Normanton, Tom|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Haselhurst, Alan||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Awdry Daniel||Havers, Michael||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Hawkins, Paul||Percival, Ian|
|Baker, W. H, K. (Banff)||Heseltine, Michael||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Hicks, Robert||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Benyon, W.||Hiley, Joseph||Pym, Rt Hn. Francis|
|Biffen, John||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Redmond, Robert|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Holland, Phillip||Rees-Davics, W. R.|
|Boscawen, Robert||Holt, Miss Mary||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Bray, Ronald||Hordern, Peter||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Howell, David (Guildford)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Buck, Antony||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Burden, F. A.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||James, David||Scott, Nicholas|
|Carlisle, Mark||Kilfedder, James||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Chapman, Sydney||Kimball, Marcus||Sharples, Richard|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Simeons, Citarles|
|Cockeram, Eric||Kinsey, J. R.||Soref, Harold|
|Cooke, Robert||Kitson, Timothy||Speed, Keith|
|Critchley, Julian||Knox, David||Spence, John|
|Crouch, David||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Sproat, lain|
|Crowder, F. P.||Le Marchant, Spencer|
|Curran, Charles||Loveridge, John||Stainton, Keith|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Luce, R. N.||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Dean, Paul||MacArthur, Ian||Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Mr. Crindle, R. A.||Stokes, John|
|Eden, Sir John||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Maginnis, John E.||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carstialton)||Mather, Carol||Tebbit, Norman|
|Eyre, Reginald||Mawby, Ray||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Fidler, Michael||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Trew, Peter|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surhiton)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C.(Aberdeenshire, W)||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Fookes, Miss Jarret||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Fortescue, Tim||Moate, Roger||Waddington, David|
|Fowler, Norman||Molyneux, James||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Fox, Marcus||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Wall, Patrick|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Monro, Hector||Walters, Dennis|
|Goodhew, Victor||More, Jasper||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Gower, Raymond||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Warren, Kenneth|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Green, Alan||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Mudd, David||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Wilkinson, John||Worsley, Marcus||TELLERS FOR THE AYES :|
|Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.||Mr. Walter Clegg and|
|Woodnutt, Mark||Younger, Hn. George||Mr. Bernard Weatherill|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hamling, William||Murray, Ronald King|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Hardy, Peter||Orme, Stanley|
|Ashton, Joe||Harper, Joseph||Oswald, Thomas|
|Atkinson, Norman||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T,||Hattersley, Roy||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Horam, John||Pendry, Tom|
|Booth, Albert||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pentland, Norman|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Prescott, John|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Cant, R. B.||John, Brynmor||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Rose, Paul B.|
|Cohen, Stanley||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Coleman, Donald||Kaufman, Gerald||Sandelson, Neville|
|Conlan, Bernard||Kerr, Russell||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Kinnock, Neil||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Lambie, David||Sillars, James|
|Davidson, Arthur||Lamond, James||Silverman, Julius|
|Davits, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Latham, Arthur||Skinner, Dennis|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Lawson, George||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Leadbitter, Ted||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Deakins, Eric||Lestor, Miss Joan||Stallard, A. W.|
|Dempsey, James||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Loman, Kenneth||Strang, Gavin|
|Dunnett, Jack||Loughlin, Charles||Taverne, Dick|
|Eadie, Alex||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|McBride, Neil.||Torney, Tom|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||McElhone, Frank||Tuck, Raphael|
|Ellis, Tom||Mackenzie, Gregor||Urwin, T. W.|
|English, Michael||Mackintosh, John P.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Evans, Fred||McNamara, J. Kevin||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mahon, Simon (Rootle)||Watkins, David|
|Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E,||Mallalieu, J. P. W.(Huddersfield, E.)||Weitzman, David|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Marks, Kenneth||Wellbeloved, James|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Marsden, F.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Foot, Michael||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Ford, Ben||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Whitlock, William|
|Forrester, John||Meacher, Michael||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mendelson, John||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Golding, John||Millan, Bruce||Woof, Robert|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Miller, Dr. M. S|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES :|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Mr. James A. Dunn.|