HC Deb 17 May 1978 vol 950 cc486-530

'In any case when the Secretary of State is notified of the intention to make regulations under section 36 and Schedule 5 to the Transport (London) Act 1969 he shall appoint a person to hold an inquiry in connection with the matter or the area concerned in accordance with the provisions of the said Schedule 5'.—[Mr. Norman Fowler.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Norman Fowler (Sutton Coldfield)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

With this, we may take Amendment No. 39, in page 9, line 6, leave out Clause 9.

Mr. Fowler

The new clause and amendment are important. They will have an impact upon thousands of motorists throughout the country. Perhaps I may sketch the background briefly.

The Government originally proposed two new forms of restriction on car parking. First, they planned to take powers to control private non-residential parking. What was proposed was that powers would be taken to control the private car park—the office car park. Once an area had been designated, virtually everyone parking in a private off-street car park would have needed a permit, and it would no longer have been enough for a firm to provide parking facilities at its own cost. The motorist who parked would have had to display a permit, to be bought at a local authority office. A new body of inspectors would be set up to check the system. That was the first stage of the Government's policy.

The Government planned in stage 2 to take powers for the control of privately operated public car parks. The typical example here is the sort of public car park operated by National Car Parks. In the event, however, the Government have decided to go ahead with only part of their controls at this stage. I emphasise "at this stage" because they still have both forms of restriction as part of their policy.

The public reason which the Government advanced for going ahead with only one part of their policy was set out in an article by the Secretary of State himself in a journal called Labour Councillor, for which, apparently, the right hon. Gentleman writes exclusively—a position of considerable influence, I am sure, somewhat akin to being Stock Exchange correspondent of the Morning Star. This is what he said: In a short Transport Bill in a crowded Session, it has not proved possible to find time for both these proposals. So the Government have decided to deal with privately-operated public off-street parking first. Thus, we see that the first controls, the controls on PNR, have not been abandoned but have simply been put on ice. What the Secretary of State really means is that the PNR controls were so utterly opposed by virtually everyone consulted that it was not considered wise in an election year to push the issue. Therefore, the immediate issue before the House is the control of public car parks.

Under the proposals in Clause 9, the Government will give local authorities power to lay down conditions upon public car parks—the hours of opening, the charges to be levied, how long a motorist may park—and all this will have to be policed, so once again, presumably, inspectors will have to be appointed.

By any standards, these are extensive new powers. Potentially, they allow a local authority to raise prices and to restrict parking. What, then, is the Government's case for them? The Secretary of State set out his argument on Second Reading some months ago: As someone born and brought up outside London, and representing a constituency outside London, I have never understood why the rest of the country should not have been given the powers that London is free to enjoy."—[Official Report, 19th January 1978; Vol. 942, c. 699.] I must say that the phrase "free to enjoy" is a curious one to apply to these new powers. Obviously, the Secretary of State is at heart a frustrated traffic warden. But what is even more curious about his argument is that in London—which is where the right hon. Gentleman goes for his model for the powers upon which he bases his case—those very powers have been abandoned by the Greater London Council. Thus, the right hon. Gentleman is saying that he will use powers which are now available only in London when in fact the elected council in London has itself abandoned those very powers.

Mr. Spearing

The Conservative council.

Mr. Fowler

Absolutely. It was certainly the Conservatives who abandoned them. That was done because, when the powers were used by the old Labour-controlled GLC, there was a public outcry against them. Therefore, when the new Conservative GLC took over, the schemes which had been started were scrapped.

The Opposition wish to see the powers go altogether in London. In Committee we moved an amendment to that effect, but, thanks to the vote of the Liberal spokesman, the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Penhaligon), the Government won in Committee. I hope that the self-employed and other interested parties will take full note of the Liberal Party's view on this issue.

At this stage, therefore, we have proposed that in relation to London there should at the very least be a right of inquiry in which all the issues can be examined, a right which the Secretary of State specifically refused in the London case many months ago.

I should make clear that we regard this debate and the vote at the end of it as being on the principle of these powers altogether, since what is now proposed is that the controls should be extended to the whole country. New parking controls could as a result be imposed in all our major cities, and we oppose that on the straightforward ground that not only has the case for such controls not been made out but that all the practical evidence points to the failure of such schemes as have been implemented over the past few years.

London is the case in point, but I suppose that the most extensive experiment so far attempted in this country was in Nottingham in 1975 and 1976. Elaborate controls were set up to prevent private traffic entering the city. What was the result? I here quote from the report of the Government-financed Transport and Road Research Laboratory. The report showed that the scheme largely failed to achieve its two main objectives—making travel by bus more attractive and discouraging travel by private car—and the scheme was discontinued after one year … the scheme reduced bus journey times between residential zones and the City Centre by less than one minute … no significant changes were observed in the mean of travel … the park-and-ride service had a negligible effect on traffic congestion … no significant change in accidents was detected. That was the evidence as a result of the Nottingham experiment. In addition, it should be noted that the total cost of that scheme was £280,000.

The House should take on board that these new powers will involve a financial consequence. If a local authority uses the powers, a loss will almost certainly fall on the private operator. Therefore, under the Bill compensation will be paid to him from public funds. In other words, the public will pick up the bill for controls of the kind which Mr. Daly sought to impose in London.

There is no question but that sensible policies of traffic control are necessary in city centres. There is no dispute about that. That is why there are parking meters and so on. But sensible measures of control should not be turned into a deliberate campaign against the motorist, which was what the Labour GLC did when using such powers as are here proposed—even to the point of reducing the number of available meters.

No one who has looked at the evidence would base a nation-wide scheme on the London model. As I say, that model scheme has been abandoned by the GLC, and the GLC itself has said that it does not want the powers in any event.

Nor is there any evidence that there is any public demand for these powers. The motoring organisations, the RAC and the AA, are flatly opposed to them and support the Opposition in their stand. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders also is totally opposed to the extension of the powers. The most that can be said of any of the local response is that the current proposals are less objectionable than PNR, which the Government have merely postponed.

I turn now to a point made by the Under-Secretary of State in Committee. He suggested that the Association of Metropolitan Authorities welcomed—that was his word, "welcomed"—these powers. I have checked with the AMA, and the response I have from Miss Shelagh Roberts, its planning and transportation committee chairman, is this: With regard to the question of car parking, the position is that the AMA took the same view as the GLC, namely, that they were opposed to both the proposal to control privately operated public off-street parking places and also to the proposal for controlling PNR. The AMA took the view … that if the Government were determined to go ahead with parking control, they should at least take note of various improvements which, in the light of the GLC experience, would make the proposals least obnoxious. When the various local authorities and Associations met the Secretary of State to discuss the proposals in the White Paper, there was vehement opposition to the proposal to control PNR parking and a more muted opposition to the proposal to extend the GLC powers for the control of public off-street parking. It may be that, because we were less fierce in our objections to this proposal, the Under-Secretary has got the wrong idea. Certainly, there is no question whatever of the AMA having favoured this proposal. I hope, therefore, that the Secretary of State will put the record straight on that, which was a major point used in the Government's argument in Committee.

The Government should think again. Too often, such schemes are based on the false assumption that they will help public transport. The theory is that people will abandon their cars and take to public transport. The fallacy here is that in cities such as London the vast majority of commuters—over 80 per cent.—already use public transport in any event. Many who use cars do so because they have no option—for business reasons and so on.

If we continue making life unnecessarily difficult in our city centres, firms will move out, totally against the general policy favoured by both parties. These are extensive powers for which the Government have failed to make a case. It would be dangerous to give powers on that basis, and I urge the House to support the new clause.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Ronald Atkins (Preston, North)

I am at a loss to understand what the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) is worried about. He agrees with the case for general controls. This country has been later than others in taking controls. America recognised in 1945 that parking places in city centres should be discouraged because they caused congestion. The then London County Council's attitude at the time was very different. It insisted on places being provided in new buildings, which has since been discovered to be a mistake. That is one of London's problems today.

The remarkable thing is that the hon. Member is judging the Bill by a party political controversy in London. The Bill only transfers powers from Government to local authorities. Obviously, the hon. Member has no confidence in local authorities—chiefly Conservative-controlled, let us remember—to operate these powers. If he is so certain that control will be unpopular locally, what is he afraid of? If he is so certain that the AMA represents the views of other authorities, he has nothing to worry about.

Conservatives have urged the devolution of central Government powers, particularly in education and other matters which local people understand better. They talk of powers being "enjoyed" These powers will be enjoyed by local authorities which are subject to pressure by citizens who find congestion in their cities impossible and want to deal with it quickly. The Secretary of State is adopting a progressive and liberal outlook in devolving his own powers. In other words, he does not want to be a dictator in matters best left to local authorities.

The hon. Member referred particularly to London. The London Conservatives, to help them win an election, campaigned against powers which it was assumed were excessive, but in the Greater London Council's debate yesterday the Labour transport spokesman described the increasing congestion in London as a result. I am sure that that is why the hon. Gentleman is worried. When the effect of the Tory proposal in London is generally realised, there will be a reaction against those reactionary attitudes.

I am certain that when these powers are devolved the local authorities will take greater powers than the Minister has so far taken. There will be greater control. That is what the hon. Gentleman fears. The controls will be operated by whichever party controls the local authority. It is the local authorities which suffer most from congestion and pollution, and they know best how to control the traffic in their streets. Therefore, this provision is long overdue and I congratulate the Government on introducing it at last.

Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)

I shall not attempt to follow the hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. Atkins) at any length, but he made it clear that he and his party favour a great cut in the number of cars coming into London and other cities.

Mr. Ronald Atkins

indicated dissent.

Mr. Burden

If not, what is the argument for the Government's proposals?

Mr. Atkins

I repeat that the Bill simply says that power should be given to local authorities. What use they make of it is up to them, but this is separate from a consideration of London alone.

Mr. Burden

That is an extraordinary argument. If Parliament gives powers, it must take responsibility and must know what the powers are for. I suggest that that was the intention when these powers were given under the Transport (London) Act 1969. It is extraordinary that in the following eight years the Act has not been completely implemented.

Eight years ago, the cost of petrol and of using a car for everyday trips was far lower. Thus, if people today find public transport cheaper and more convenient, they have a great incentive to use it. If the incoming Conservative GLC had seen real benefits to Inner London from the operation of the powers under the 1969 Act, even on political grounds, from their own point of view, they would not have reversed them. Yet, despite what happened in the past, after seeing the results of those powers, the new council decided to reverse them.

Now, those same powers are to be given to local authorities throughout Great Britain. They will have powers to license and control public car parks just as the GLC had. I wonder whether they will give the same careful consideration to them as the GLC did. If they do, I see no reason why they should not refuse to operate them. If it is not necessary and desirable in the great metropolis of London to operate such a scheme, why should it be necessary and desirable elsewhere?

This provision will license not only existing car parks but future ones. In their licensing terms, local councils will control the length, terms and times of parking—both long-term and short-term—and the number of places designated in each car park. The short-term proposal for London was for four hours, the same as on a meter in the streets. The long-term parking proposal was for any period beyond that. But if a person enters a car park for short-term parking, he, unlike a person who occupies a parking meter and can move from one meter to another, will have to leave the car park for a period of two hours before being readmitted.

Far from relieving congestion in the streets, I believe that this sort of operation will increase congestion. I understand that the local authorities may specify the charges for short-term and long-term parking. Is that desirable? Is that what we want? Surely it is up to the operator of the car park to decide what he considers to be a fair and proper charge for the time that he has cars on his premises. Indeed, if it is the aim—apparently it still is—to reduce and cut back on the number of cars entering our cities, one thing will result: the licence terms will demand charges which will deliberately discourage anyone from using his car to go into the city centre.

There is also a requirement for the keeping of records. Under the licence scheme, operators will be asked to keep a record of the number of cars, both short-term and long-term, using their car parks. I have no doubt that all these licence requirements will be used. In order to conform to the regulations, the registration numbers of short-term parkers must be taken when they first enter the car park and when they leave it. Therefore, if a driver applies for re-entry during the two hours in which he is banned, the operator will have to look up the record to see whether he has been in before. Indeed, if there is a change of person on the operating gate, that will have to be done each time a driver attempts to enter the car park. That will ensure that a person applying for a short-term parking permit does not come back before he is entitled to do so. Operators will have to refuse re-entry to a person who has not been out of a car park for the period required under the licence.

If these licensing terms are as stringent as I believe they will be, and if they are to carry out what I believe the Government have in mind, the public car park operators will always have a considerable number of their parking spaces unoccupied. We should remember that when these car parks were constructed at considerable cost the operator must have carried out a careful review into the likely requirement for the area. He must have based his costings, and even whether a car park should be built, on those assumptions. Those assumptions can be thrown out entirely by the licensing terms.

4.45 p.m.

If, however, car parks continue to be fully occupied, the Government's aim will have failed completely. That is not what they want. They want to stop cars coming into city centres and occupying the car parks.

There is also the power to provide compensation, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) referred. Who decides that? Who pays for it? Is it the ratepayers? What are the likely terms of compensation? If these measures denude public car parking operators of space, undoubtedly the proper compensation will be considerable. If the car parks continue for several years, the compensation could run on from year to year. In the end the ratepayers of the area involved will apparently pay for this compensation. The hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. Cohen) nods his head, but that is something which the ratepayers should consider.

What about the restrictions? They will be brought about by high-cost parking space. Do not the Minister and the Government realise that this will be angrily resented by car owners? There is likely to be angry reaction from people wishing to park their cars. That anger will be imposed upon the employees of the operator. Do not the Minister and the Government realise—it happens even now—the aggro and abuse that can arise and be heaped upon the unfortunate staff? Eventually the operators will be blamed for this aggro. But the operator will not be responsible. It will be the local authority which is responsible, because it will set the pattern and demand the charges.

Another aspect, which has not yet been raised, is that we are getting more and more foreign visitors to this country. More and more of them are bringing their cars. This will impose considerable difficulties on foreign visitors, many of whom may not speak or understand the language, in getting about the country. That is what we all welcome and want. But if parking fees are extremely high and visitors experience difficulty in parking, they might spread that message when they return home.

This whole idea and intention involves more bureaucracy, more licensing offices and licensing staff and the setting up of supervision and enforcement officers. People will have to go round to the garages to ensure that the obligations of the licences are carried out. The operation of this proposal will mean that any operator of a public car park intending, wishing or desiring to build a new public car park anywhere in the country will be dissuaded, because he will have no way whatever of determining whether it is a viable proposition.

I maintain that, in view of all the restrictions likely to be imposed as a result of licensing, natural justice demands—I use the word deliberately—that any operator of a public car park who considers that the terms of his licence are such that it could bankrupt him, impose great difficulties on the public and be against the public interest, has the right to be able to appeal against the requirements of the licence. This is nothing new. It is common practice in a great many of our industries and services to the public where there could be abuse. Abuse could arise here, because many local authorities will have their own car parks, and no one will tell them what to do. They will determine their own terms. By projecting their own interests, they could abuse their powers over the private operator of a public car park.

Therefore, I appeal to the Minister to give what I believe to be a reasonable right of appeal to the operator of a public car park against the licensing demands of his local authority if he thinks that they are against his interests and those of the public. Whatever we may feel about the Secretary of State, I have no doubt that he is a democrat. I feel that even at this late stage he will agree that it is only reasonable to accede to our request.

Mr. John Ellis (Brigg and Scunthorpe)

The hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) missed the point when he talked with such vehemence and declaratory force about natural justice, the right of appeal, and so on. People in the position which he described always have the right of appeal in that the local authority referred to in Clause 9 is the county council. Of course, the hon. Member was right to say that we in this House must accept responsibility for the legislation that we pass. However, it has been a well-known principle for many years that we in this House cannot govern all our affairs in detail and, consequently, that we pass down power to the local authorities.

Mr. Burden

My point was that there should be an impartial referee whom those feeling aggrieved should have the power to approach—not the county council, which is involved with the local authority.

Mr. Ellis

I am always willing to look to people's good sense. If members of a local authority do not behave impartially, it is for the electorate to change its membership. In any event, I am surprised to hear the hon. Member talk in those terms, bearing in mind that most of our county councils are Conservative-controlled.

I turn now to the remarks of the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler). Speaking from the Opposition Front Bench, he is responsible for enunciating Conservative policy. I thought that that policy came through very clearly in what he said. He referred nearly all the time to the position in London and, indeed, he mentioned National Car Parks.

When we get down to Conservative ethics, we find that the Opposition are really saying "We may have good friends on the county councils, but when we come to the profit motive, we have friends who are concerned with providing car parks." If there is money involved, it is in that direction that the Conservatives immediately lend their assistance.

I remember seeing somewhere that National Car Parks is a considerable contributor to Conservative funds. I am open to correction about that, but if that is the case, we begin to understand where the Opposition's interests lie.

Mr. Burden

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have no direct association with National Car Parks. When an assertion of that character is made, should it not be based on fact and not expressed in terms of "I think"? This is hardly the right sort of behaviour.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The comment was made in general terms by the hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Ellis). It was not aimed at any specific hon. Member.

Mr. Ellis

I merely asked the question, and I think that it is a fair question. The facts and figures are known, because the Labour Party insisted that all people making donations to the funds of any political party should be listed, and they are listed. Therefore, I do no more than invite the hon. Member for Gillingham to consult the lists, and I say merely that I should not be surprised to see that National Car Parks contributes to Conservative Party funds.

The hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield was very critical of Nottingham and other areas. He criticised the way in which they had used their powers in the past. I have no intimate knowledge of these schemes. However, with the advent of the motor car, the problems are immense, and there is no doubt that in different cities, towns and conurbations different solutions are applied. There is no one judgment which can be made in all circumstances. For example, my own borough of Scunthorpe has free car parking on a fairly generous scale, but it is redeveloping the town centre, and it is possible that its policy will change over the years.

If we consider a city such as Bristol, in the shopping area there we see that one of the largest stores has encompassed in its new building certain floors which are given over to car parking. When the company's trading returns became known, it discovered that the department which made the most profit was that which ran its car parks, and that it might find it more profitable to turn the remainder of its stores over to car parking. If that policy were pursued to the ultimate there would be a glorious bonanza, but the end result would be all car parks and no longer any reason for having them.

Another good example is the City of London, which has always been Conservative-controlled. At one time I was PPS to the late Stephen Swingler, a very fine Minister of Transport. I can remember going with him to the City of London after we had introduced regulations about on-street car parking with meters to finance the building of off-street car parks. We were told by City officials "We have done very well, and we have built off-street car parking. We find that we can build a lot more. But if we go on with it, the City of London will cease to exist as a commercial centre. Therefore, we shall stop, and we intend to embark upon a policy of deliberately excluding vehicles, starting with lorries in working hours."

There are many solutions. Some people wish to attract vehicles into their cities. Others wish to exclude them. Some people wish to have rigorous constraints. Others adopt a policy of free car parking. When the Opposition speak in the terms that we heard from the hon. Members for Sutton Coldfield and Gillingham they demonstrate—I make the charge—that they are motivated mainly by the fact that in certain areas of our big cities the provision of car parking is a very profitable business, without regard to the needs of the situation. I think that I have every right to put that interpretation on the remarks of the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield.

A point that has not been mentioned is that it is right for the House to give power downwards. We cannot hope to know all the circumstances in every city, town and hamlet and to be able to offer the best solution to each of them. From time to time there will be changes. People might follow policies with which we who live in those areas disagree. It is up to us to put the matter right at the next elections if those policies offend sufficient people.

5.0 p.m.

Is the county council the right body to decide what should be done? There are district councils, such as Scunthorpe, of considerable size. Scunthorpe has spent a considerable amount of money on car parks. It has a lot of expertise in this area. Other towns, perhaps bigger towns, run their own bus services and are heavily engaged in transport. Very often the district councils are responsible for the policies. There may be a conflict between the district councils and the county councils. This is a fear of the new larger authorities.

I have been on a number of local authorities. I was on the Bristol City Council. It was difficult there to know what happened in the various areas of the city. But supposing I was a county councillor representing the south bank of the Humber. That area takes in Beverley, Bridlington and others. It may be that a councillor over a period of years does not have occasion to go to such places. I do not know when I was last in Bridlington or Beverley, but those towns have their individual traffic problems that may require different solutions. When a solution is put forward at county hall, the great benefit of local government is that people speak for their localities, knowing them intimately.

I am not talking about a political doctrine. I am stating the broad principle. Many county councils are so big that their members cannot know or have visited many of the areas for which they are deciding policy. There is often a natural animosity over political differences, whether it is with a Conservative controlled county council and a Labour controlled district council or vice versa. They tend to be at loggerheads anyway.

I hope that the Secretary of State in his reply will devote some time to this matter. I do not support the argument of Conservative Members. On the question of off-street car parking being regulated, as in Clause 9, by the county councils, I have the greatest reservations. I would have preferred it to be the district councils who had control, even if it had been in consultation with the county councils or perhaps joint bodies. In my area and others, even those with Conservative-controlled district councils, people look to the local district councils.

The old parish councils in villages had to decide whether to have street lighting. Very often different villages decided to do different things. The provision that the Secretary of State is making misses this important point.

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)

I was interested in the observations of the hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Ellis). I know both places. I am tempted to go back there, having learned that car parking is free in Scunthorpe. I was never greatly attracted by Scunthorpe, but I quite like Brigg.

The hon. Gentleman illustrated interesting differences that exist across the country from one district council to another and from one town and one city to another. Sometimes the car parking facilities are an attraction. There may be an underground car park, a building or just a bomb site flattened out, as such sites are in my city of Canterbury, but with plenty of room for parking. The difference is in the treatment that one receives as one goes in or comes out—namely, how much one pays. Even in my county of Kent it is sometimes cheaper to shop in one town—I hesitate to mention the town because it is not Canterbury—rather than in, say, Canterbury, where car parking is relatively expensive.

I recollect the fun that I used to have as a young man travelling about the country by car or by train in being able to identify certain parts of the country by the different beer that one could get. What has that to do with car parks? Rather a lot: the simile is apt. Today we have a regulation in our beer pattern in this country. There are only about five different tastes of beer in the whole of the United Kingdom, and that is a pity. Tastes used to differ between town and village. I am worried that here we shall have over-regulation of our car parks. I was surprised that Clause 9 refers to regulation in the county areas by the counties. If anyone had to impose regulation, I would have thought that it would be those who would know most closely their detailed urban and town requirement, district councils.

In my small city—the smallest city in England—we have our parking problems. It is the prime cathedral city of England, with a population of fewer than 40,000.

Mr. David Penhaligon (Truro)

Is the hon. Member recognising at long last that Truro is not part of England?

Mr. Crouch

No, I normally have a golden rule of never giving way to the Liberals because they might lead one to the wrong place and one might end up in a car park or something like that. I am asked by an hon. Member to "get back to the beer". I shall not get back to the beer. I have made my point about the differences which used to be interesting in our travelling in this country and the beer that we could drink.

Differences exist also in the facilities in towns. I hope that we are not to have one national Government car park pattern across the whole of the United Kingdom. Where is the individuality that we could find expressed in Brigg, Scunthorpe, Canterbury or Tunbridge Wells? This individuality would be gone with over-bureaucratic control and with many more controllers or civil servants to exercise such control. It is not necessary. Truro is a place that I admire. Its cathedral is not greatly distinguished by my standards, but it is a nice place to visit.

In our small city of Canterbury we want to bring people in. We are a small city of about 40,000 people but we have a shopping population of about 300,000 people. We have a tourist population over the year running into millions. We are one of the main tourist centres of the country. Canterbury is also one of the main areas through which all those who go from this country to the Continent and vice versa have to pass. That is a separate problem but one with which we have to live and to contain.

We have to look to our off-street parking facilities. We must provide facilities for people who want to come and shop and for the tourists who want to visit the cathedral and see the old mediæal city. On a rainy day, we cannot tell people to keep out, to park outside the city walls and start walking. That is not the way to attract visitors from the Continent who come over by hovercraft especially to see Canterbury. That is not the way to attract the tourist in London who hires a car to visit Canterbury or Oxford or Cambridge and makes short sorties out of London. We want to encourage people to come to Canterbury. Therefore we must make provision for them to park their cars. The question is where.

I believe in regulation in this area, but not in regulation from the Department of Transport. We should leave the style, control and organisation of car parking to local authorities. We need some control in old cities such as Canterbury which are tourist attractions, and we have very strict controls exercised by the Department of the Environment.

Some years ago we decided in Canterbury to build our first multi-storey car park. We had a multi-storey row, not just in Canterbury and Kent but through the whole country. We had whole pages of articles in The Sunday Times, and the Economist, the Civic Trust descended on us with all the great weight it can use and even the Arts Council took an interest—quite right, too, because it was necessary to make provision for those who come to the city in their cars and to build the car park in a certain place, but at the same time it was necessary to exercise some control. It was necessary to have some regulations—which exist in our planning regulations—to ensure that we did not spoil the things the tourists were coming to see, such as the beautiful city and the vista across the city, by putting up a great multi-storey building which would obscure the view of the cathedral, the low mediæval buildings and the city wall. All these controls are used.

The Secretary of State will know that recently another proposition has been put forward by the local city council to build another multi-storey car park in a district known as Rose Lane beside the old castle of Canterbury, which is now a ruin, but, nevertheless, an ancient monument. There was an outcry by hundreds of my constituents against this and the Secretary of State for the Environment said "Let us have an inquiry". He did not appoint an inspector but set up a new-style inquiry, which was held locally. The citizens of Canterbury who were against the building of a car park, which they thought would spoil the amenities, the environment and the tourist attractions and create some harm in the middle of Canterbury within the city wall, were able to make their complaints and argue against the very strong arguments in favour of the car park.

Having listened to the complaints the city council decided, in committee and then in the whole council, that it wanted to proceed. The architects' plans were shown and they were very detailed. I think that safeguards for the real beauty of this part of Canterbury and its amenities were achieved by the architects' department.

However, we ran up against another problem with the county council, which is the authority concerned not with parking but with the flow of traffic. The county council said that the car park could not be built because a car park attracts traffic. There would have to be access and exit points from the car park and it would cause congestion in the main road, which, as the Secretary of State knows, is not a main road or a bypass but goes by the city wall.

The proposal was vetoed by the Secretary of State for the Environment because of the recommendation of the county council as the traffic authority. We have enough authorities intervening in such matters. Do we need to introduce yet another tier of control? Surely the burden of the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) and what my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) rightly said in his appeal to the Secretary of State was that we do not need these provisions.

5.15 p.m.

The hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe speaking to his own Government, said that perhaps they had got it wrong and that if there is to be control, this should be with the district authority. That is fair. I would not mind that, but to put this control in a county headquarters, perhaps 50 or 60 miles away where they do not know the details of problems, would be a mistake. This is a bureaucratic measure to encourage the bureaucrats and to produce jobs for the bureaucratic boys, which seems quite wrong to me.

We need some controls because we must safeguard our amenities. We have to live with the motor car and provide for it, but we do not want it to create congestion and disturbance. The traffic problems in Canterbury were examined by no less a person than Sir Colin Buchanan, who is a great authority in this country and internationally. He was able to point out that we cannot say that the motor car must be kept out because people are in motor cars and it is people who want to visit towns and cities and park their cars.

We have sufficient planning regulation in the Department of the Environment and sufficient provisions for local public inquiries and so on if parking facilities that have to be built might infringe upon the environment. I cannot see a case for Clause 9, which sets up a further bureaucratic paraphernalia.

Mr. Peter Temple-Morris (Leominster)

It gives me great pleasure to follow the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch). He made an interesting and ingenious contribution. He began with the beer pattern. We then had a fantastic survey of the merits of various cathedrals in his part of the world and the South-West. Through the Arts Council and the Civic Trust, we wound up walking down Rose Lane by the old castle of Canterbury, and my hon. Friend ended in the sturdiest terms of anti-bureaucracy which befit him and all of us on this side of the House.

We do not like this measure because it means much greater control of the sort that we tend to think belongs to the Government side. It is a control which is not democratic in the truest meaning of that word. One should not comment on anything that happens outside this House, particularly as far as Strangers are concerned, but it was perhaps an omen of the character of the proposal that when someone was kind enough to call the Secretary of State a democrat—and it was the first charitable thing to be said about him for some time during the passage of the Bill—the results were heard by all. For that reason, I give him no compliments in my few words.

It is for the Government, as they have proposed the measure, to make out the case for it. In a legal sense, they are put to proof. My hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) put this to the Secretary of State, and I hope that he will deal with it. He is bringing forward the proposal, but what can he point to other than the Nottingham experiment which, it seems, was disastrous?

Mr. Ronald Atkins

I have found the hon. Gentleman's remarks bewildering. Can he explain why it is less democratic to pass controls on car parking to the local authority? I should have thought that it was more democratic.

Mr. Temple-Morris

With respect, my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) dealt with this point when he said that it was for us to take the responsibility of making the decision about these proposals. We fear that all this talk about democracy being the handing over of powers to other bodies means that those powers may be used in either a democratic or an undemocratic way. I am sorry to disagree with the hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. Atkins). He and I have gone through the various stages of the Wales Bill in virtual total unanimity. I hope that before the end of this Report stage—and I dare say it will be a fairly long furrow—we shall agree with each other.

The hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Ellis) has made his reappearance in the Report stage. It was an encore, as we enjoyed him through 20 sittings of the Standing Committee. Therefore, we are not unfamiliar with his arguments. We note that every time he gets on his feet, within two minutes he is talking about profit motives. One wonders, from hearing him speak, how any wages or taxes are paid. We must put him in his place on this matter because the issue of off-street parking does not quite get us into discussions on the profit motive, or on contributions to the Conservative Party.

Of course I hope that National Car Parks does contribute to the Conservative party. I would be very disappointed if it did not. Equally, I expect that the hon. Member would be disappointed if the Transport and General Workers Union did not contribute to the Labour Party. The hon. Member addressed us on behalf of the district councils. We who served on the Committee on this Bill know that the Association of District Councils has as a vice-president the hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe. Knowing his natural modesty, I thought I should draw this fact to the attention of the House.

Mr. John Ellis

May I reply to the serious point made by the hon. Member for Chester (Mr. Temple-Morris)? He supports the local authorities' powers on planning, for example. I was asking whether the district councils should be involved alongside the county councils. After all, car parking is just another aspect of planning. Why should he refuse to give power to the councils in this respect?

Mr. Temple-Morris

Planning is a very good example of the reason behind my saying that the Secretary of State must prove his case. The presence of car parking spaces in general urban development is something that often the planners have demanded. It attracts private investment and sometimes public investment, as many of the parks are operated by district councils. Therefore, we are very concerned with the results, and we have a responsibility to see that democracy is exercised primarily from this House. The proposal should not leave this House without very good reason, and as yet we cannot see that reason. But we would not be over-dogmatic about this, if the hon. Member could convince us.

The substantive point about proving the case is my main argument. Of course, these powers that we are discussing are absolute if they are used. That is why, democracy or no democracy, we are concerned about their exercise. We have a responsibility to oppose vigorously this concept as it has been presented so far.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham has mentioned some of these powers and they should be underlined. There is the power to charge, as well as powers relating to periods of time and hours of opening. These are matters which can lead to all sorts of results. Take periods of time, for example. I cannot do better than my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham who revealed a nightmarish situation of short-stay parking with vehicles continually coming in and going out.

National Car Parks does not give so much to the Conservative Party that it has not got a little in reserve. If it had to implement this provision the company would have to employ those funds to buy a computer, because it is quite clear that information on parking could not be dealt with by staff operating the gates. The staff could not monitor the length of stay of cars without having automated assistance. Nobody in his right mind could suggest that the man in his kiosk on the gate is equipped to supervise anything. He is under considerable pressure with cars entering and leaving and he will not care how long cars stay in the park. One can imagine traffic wardens in their uniforms pacing up and down all levels of the car park, with all that that means to the average motorist.

On hours of opening, it is likely that someone will say that perhaps we should not encourage all-day-stay commuters, and should concentrate on shoppers. Therefore, the car park should not open till 10.30 a.m. or 11 a.m. One can imagine a frenzy of activity in the half hour before opening time with people going around in ever-diminishing circles waiting for the doors to open and banging on the portals to get inside. But I do not think that at the end of the day it will make much difference.

The motive in doing this would be to drive more people on to public transport, but in London one must consider the serious effects. There are a number of parts of London where bus services are not sufficiently efficient to get people to work on time. There are too many changes and different routes, and one is driven on to the Tube as a result. My part of London is firmly on the Northern Line and I know the horrors of fighting one's way on to the Bakerloo Line at certain times of the day. One wonders whether we are not just sweeping away one evil for another.

We consider the very spirit of this proposal to be anti-motorist. As we go into the Lobby tonight we shall vote with pride for the motorists of this country. We wait to hear any justification to the contrary from the Government. If the right hon. Gentleman considers the provisions of Clause 9 to be in the motorist's favour, we wonder why no motorists' organisation wants them. They have been clearly and strongly against the clause. The citizens of London were in opposition when they were threatened with the imposition of such control by the previous administration of the Greater London Council.

5.30 p.m.

When dealing with the motorist we are, perhaps, dealing with the most formidable method of travel in that it applies to us all. We debate road and rail in terms of freight, and to a certain extent in terms of passengers, but 80 per cent. of passenger journeys are made by the motorist. Leaving aside track costs, the motorist is paying more than twice his taxable debt for the use of the roads. In my view, and in the view of many of my hon. Friends, the motorist has a right to go to work in his motor car unless the contrary is established.

It seems that we are being presented with the thin end of the wedge. If we accept public car parking but not private parking, all that will happen it that some clever lawyer—perhaps an hon. Member—will be called upon to devise ways and means whereby public becomes private. I can imagine various plots being taken over and made into private car parks to overcome the proposals now before us. We shall reach a situation, if the clause is enacted, when one without the other is not sensible.

Much depends on which party forms the next Government. From what the Secretary of State has already said, it seems that if, heaven forbid, the Labour Party forms the next Government with a clear majority we shall be confronted at the first available moment with another Transport Bill that will include private non-residential provisions. The right hon. Gentleman has said as much, and the public may be firmly warned.

We are firmly for the motorist. We do not think that the Government have proved their case. We think that their proposals should be rejected.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson (Newbury)

We must wonder why the Government are so keen on Clause 9 and whether they are feeling that if only they could control the motorist's parking, let alone all the other controls that they are imposing on the motorist, conceivably they could persuade more people to return to using the public services that belong to the State, and so make those services more profitable and, theoretically, more effective. For what other reason can there be in the determination of the Government to stick to Clause 9?

I listened to the powerful speech of the hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Ellis). I could not help but remind myself that the hon. Gentleman is a member of the Transport and General Workers Union. Members of the Transport and General Workers Union drive the buses. The hon. Gentleman's speech must have sounded good to anyone who is interested in seeing the buses thrive. On the other hand, if we were debating British Rail it may be that the hon. Gentleman would not be so enthusiastic about ensuring that British Rail was successful. In that context his interests are different.

Although the Government are determined to control parking in urban areas, they seem awfully remiss about doing very much to remove a far greater curse from urban roads—the large lorries and vans that clutter up so much of the traffic.

Mr. John Ellis

In a spirit of fairness the hon. Gentleman should not put arguments in my mouth that are a travesty of the truth. I said that local authorities may need to have different policies. I said that it may be appropriate for some authorities to adopt a policy to encourage drivers to take their cars into their areas. I was not arguing for one policy or the other. My argument was based on who should have control.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

I leave the hon. Gentleman with his own words. I want to stick to my point about the motorist and the Government's intention of using Clause 9 as a means of forcing the motorist to do what the planner wants rather than what the motorist wants. Despite all the impositions placed on him, he still chooses to use his car as often as he can when it provides a facility that he cannot obtain from public transport.

The Secretary of State knows as well as I do that commuter trains are already full of passengers. There is no question of empty seats in those trains. However, the right hon. Gentleman will find empty seats on some bus services. The right hon. Gentleman should ask himself why the seats are empty rather than whether he should use the compulsion of Clause 9 to deny some people the opportunity to bring their cars into urban centres and so, hopefully, to put them on to bus services.

I suggest that when a nationalised industry improves its service it gets its own return. To use compulsion is to encourage nationalised industries to be less efficient than they can be with proper management and when they are up against the same disciplines that control commercial judgment in companies that run the risk of going bankrupt if they do not produce the service that the public want.

The motorist pays on average about £10 to £15 a week to run a car. The probability is that he has bought his car from a nationalised industry. He has probably listened to the Prime Minister's exhortation to buy British. We may find that British Leyland has been his choice, but it is conceivable that he has gone to Chrysler, which has also received an enormous tranche of public money.

Having bought his car, having been inflicted with that large expense, the motorist is told that certain equipment must be incorporated. Legislation states that it shall be incorporated. He is told that if he drives into a town or city he will find that some streets are marked with double yellow lines and others with yellow lines and that he may not park in those areas. He may find that some of the roads on which he drives have white lines painted on them and the words "bus lane" clearly marked. He will find that he may not drive on the roads that he thought he was financing through his road fund licence.

He is now to be told that some of the parking that is provided at no charge to the State will be taken away from him merely because the planner has said "I know a way to regulate traffic in urban areas. We shall do it by taking away some of the parking spaces at present provided for the wicked motorist"—the provider of so much resource to the Government and the Treasury—"so that he may not bring his horrid car into our city centres and our buses will become full of passengers."

The Secretary of State is a fair-minded man and I do not think that he will consider that that sort of power is necessary to persuade the public to use public transport services. I believe that he will want to see public transport services improved. In the new clause my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) suggests that Clause 9, as at present drafted, should go and that the new clause should be substituted with the machinery of an inquiry. Surely the Secretary of State will not find that that is an issue on which he wishes to divide the House.

Clearly, what my hon. Friend is saying is that there may be a case for some measure of regulation but that to use the sort of arbitrary power at present in the Bill is to take the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut. Not even to provide the right of inquiry into whether the restrictions on parking should be imposed is to deny essential freedom to those who wish to provide off-street parking and to place yet one more burden on the hard-pressed motorist.

Dare I just add that all of us who speak in this debate should remember that we have a privileged car parking facility? That is not enjoyed by everyone else. If we are to say that we are to have that privilege but that others may not, we shall be standing justice on its head.

I hope, therefore, that the Secretary of State will think again.

Mr. Roger Moak (Faversham)

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson) on introducing a rather novel feature into the debate. He actually referred to the new clause.

It is worth reminding ourselves that what we are debating is the provision of an appeals procedure, the provision of an inquiry, against the provisions of Clause 9. A very strong case has been made for this very modest provision to be put into the Bill. I hope that the Secretary of State will accept that there is a very strong case in natural justice for providing an appeal procedure against the imposition of new controls on existing parking arrangements.

I do not think, however, that the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) could have been interpreted as accepting a case for extra controls of this kind, subject only to an appeal procedure, because it seems to me that the powers embodied in Clause 9 are objectionable and unnecessary and should be resisted. But if all that we can do at this stage is to build in an appeals procedure, let us settle for that.

Mr. John Ellis

We are discussing Amendment No. 39, and I thought that the burden of the speech of the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) was more related to that amendment, the opposition in principle.

Mr. Moate

I am pitching my hopes only with regard to the new clause and hoping that the Secretary of State will at least have been persuaded by the arguments in favour of an appeal procedure. We are at least entitled to expect that.

What has been immensely valuable about the debate is that it has drawn attention to the very extreme nature of the powers that can be exercised. It is worth reminding the House—and the country should understand this—that if this sort of power is given to local authorities, it will mean very considerable extra burdens on the motorist. It could mean that at certain times motorists will find that car parks will be closed to them, at certain times of the day or night. It could mean that serious restrictions will be imposed upon the length of time that motorists can park in certain car parks. A motorist may drive into town to go to the theatre only to find that he must leave the car park before a certain time. It could mean that he will find himself facing penal charges imposed as a result of local authority pressure.

It not only could happen, but it nearly did happen with the GLC. This was a power that the GLC had and tried to exercise. This is the sort of burden that would be imposed upon the motorist.

Mr. John Ellis

Could be.

Mr. Moate

The hon. Member says "Could be". That is enough, surely, to stop us giving the power to local authorities.

Mr. Ellis

It depends upon the policies embraced by the particular county council, which may be different in different areas.

Mr. Moate

The question then is whether we in this House are prepared to give to local authorities a power that can be exercised upon the whim or ideological commitment of perhaps an anti-motorist local authority.

Mr. Ellis

They are elected.

Mr. Moate

I think that we should not do this. Furthermore, if the hon. Member is basing his case upon the democratic wishes of the local authorities, why are the local authorities not clamouring for this clause? I do not think that they are asking for this power. The GLC has the power and is willing to surrender it.

Here we have a marvellous situation in which a local authority is willing to give up power over the ordinary people and the Government do not want that. Not only do they want the GLC to have this power, but they want to give this unsought power to every other local authority throughout the land

No case has been made for this. Who wants these powers? The local authorities do not want them. The motoring organisations do not want them. Perhaps the National Union of Railwaymen is rather in favour of them. If it is, I would say that it is because it is under a misapprehension.

5.45 p.m.

Two reasons were given for these powers. One was that they might persuade more people to travel by train. The other was that they were a helpful adjunct to ordinary traffic management techniques.

On the first point, about trying to drive people on the trains and the buses, I believe that this is a total illusion. Let us take the case of London. We know that 80 per cent. of the commuters who come into London already come in by public transport. Those others who do not come in by public transport probably do not do that because they cannot do it. Only a tiny minority exercise a complete freedom of choice.

Therefore, what one is doing is restricting people's freedom. One is doing more than that. One is undermining the basic economy of city life, because the large number of people who come in by car have to do that. They are the commercial travellers or others who need to travel in and out for business reasons. All that one would do by this measure is to restrict people's freedom without any benefit to our public transport services.

The other argument is about traffic management. In Committee it was argued that these powers were needed in order to create sensible traffic schemes in city centres. Many examples were given of how this had been achieved. It was said that these great achievements had been secured without these extra powers. There are adequate existing powers held by planning authorities to control parking in our great cities and towns.

What we have here is a proposition to give extra, unsought, unnecessary powers over the motorists of this country. No case has been made for those powers and I believe that they should not be extended to the rest of the country.

I refer in conclusion to the speech by the hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe. Whenever the word "profit" is mentioned, he seems to regard that as a reason for suspecting any activity. He seemed to suggest that by making a profit out of providing car parking facilities for the British people, National Car Parks was somehow doing something dishonourable. Let us remind the hon. Member that there are 21 million people in this country who hold driving licences. That is probably a majority of the adult population capable of driving.

What the private car parking companies are doing, and the municipal authorities, is providing services to the people who want them and the people who need them. What the hon. Member is suggesting, and what the Minister is suggesting in Clause 9, is a deliberate attempt to frustrate the wishes of the people by making it harder for them to park their cars at a time at which they want to park them and at a price that they are willing to pay.

Clause 9 is quite clear in its intent. It is to place yet further frustrations and further burdens on the motorist, who is already paying his fair share for the roads and is already overburdened with restrictions.

Mr. David Mudd (Falmouth and Camborne)

I wish to intervene specifically within the context of Amendment No. 39. Within the rural areas of Britain there is certainly a growing belief that the power that the Greater London Council has to-day will be eagerly sought after by the county councils tomorrow and by the district councils the day after. Therefore, there is a very real fear on the part of the small private car park operators in the seaside resorts of Britain that these powers which are sought to deal with the problems of the urban areas will act against local private car park operators.

Therefore, I merely ask the Secretary of State to give his assurance that neither by implication nor by application will the powers under Clause 9 be used to act against the interests of individual private car park operators.

I refer specifically to the situation in Cornwall, where from May until October of each year, the village improvement associations or local village associations open their tiny car parks, with the invocation to the motorist to "park pretty". That is not Cornish. It means parking neatly. By parking pretty and paying their fees to the local improvement association, visiting motorists are making a direct contribution to the enhancement of the environment in the specific local community.

If the powers were extended so that district councils could take over the operation of the small car parks there would be over-manning, a disproportionate application of the maintenance costs and the revenue from them would be swallowed up into the everlasting throat of area demand rather than be used for specific local needs. Will the Secretary of State give an assurance that there is no threat to the local amenities and village associations which run their car parks in the interests of the local community?

Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East)

The point that the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Mudd) made is not covered by Clause 9 because that deals with the regulation of traffic in urban areas. The hon. Member's argument does not involve the definition of urban areas.

The hon. Member mentioned the anxieties of his constituents, but the Minister cannot be expected to give an assurance because the decision is made by county councils which are responsive to the urban problems within their areas. County councils know best the peculiar problems which he described. The assurance that the hon. Member seeks will be made through the normal democratic accountability of the county councils.

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. William Rodgers)

We have had a long debate, which has been amiable but sometimes it has been amiable nonsense. Many of the Opposition speeches reveal that there is a consensus that in no circumstances, at any time, anywhere and in any place should there be control of parking. Plainly, that is not so. It has not been so under successive Governments. I am sure that all hon. Members will acknowledge that in order to have effective traffic management schemes there must be controls over car parking.

What controls, how they are exercised and under what circumstances are legitimate questions for argument. But our starting point must be that there should be means by which democratically elected authorities have some say about where people park, how they park and how much they pay for it.

I am sure that had not this discussion come early in the debate the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) would have seen little merit in dividing the House on this issue. Opposition Members show a peculiar contempt for the idea of local option which lies at the heart of our democratic life and which most of us believe to be increasingly important.

A Minister sitting in his office in Whitehall does not know all the right answers. I cannot know all the special and local circumstances which might be affected by Government legislation. My view is that those who are properly elected in the localities, given our system and the possibility that councils will change in their political complexions, are those who, over an increasing range of policies, should decide the policies which should be adopted for the people that they represent.

Mr. Burden

I accept that the Minister does not know more than many other people, but when he is giving considerable powers in an Act to anybody he should know what he is giving them.

Mr. Rodgers

At least I know what powers are in the Bill. This is an important principle. I am not seeking to persuade the hon. Member for Sutton Cold-field that he has made a mistake or to admit it. There is no reason why I should seek to divert hon. Members from their foolish ways, but if the principle of local option is important and increasingly recognised, the House should be cautious of denying to local authorities powers which they might reasonably exercise in the interests of the local communities, subject always to the ability of those communities to turn them out if they make the wrong decision.

Mr. Norman Fowler

The Secretary of State has just made the point. That is exactly what is happening. The powers which he is seeking to make general have been overwhelmingly rejected in the only area where they have been tried—London. Will he answer that?

Mr. Rodgers

I am grateful to the hon. Member because he makes my point. The powers have been given to the Greater London Council by Parliament. The council has not asked for those powers to be removed. The council has said that it does not currently wish to exercise them and it is not pursuing the regulation which its predecessor chose to introduce. The previous GLC decided to use the powers which Parliament gave it. When it chose to exercise those powers it was entitled to do so. But because there has been an election in London, because there is local option and because the present ruling party in County Hall believes that these powers should not be exercised, it is not proposing to exercise them. That is the provision in the Bill.

I take on board what my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Ellis) said about the district councils, but I am proposing to give powers to the county councils which they might exercise if they wish but which they need not exercise. They can revoke the powers if there is a change in the political complexion of the council. I am simply giving them powers which are theirs to use if they think fit.

The GLC discussed the control of off-street parking and in particular privately operated off-street parking. I refer to the minutes of a meeting on 19th October 1977 and Report No. 1 of the planning and communications committee, It said: Although the Council has decided to take steps to revoke the regulations which were made for specific areas in London, other authorities might find it helpful in their own circumstances to have the powers that are available to the Council. The GLC is not exercising the regulations because of its right to change its mind. The council is not asking for the powers to be revoked. On the contrary, it has conceded that the powers that it possesses might be desired by other councils.

Mr. Norman Fowler

The Secretary of State should bring his Department up to date. On 14th March 1978 the leader of the GLC's transport committee, Miss Shelagh Roberts, made exactly the point which the Secretary of State is denying. She said specifically that the GLC, as controlled by the Conservatives, does not want these powers. The GLC is happy and willing that these powers be taken away.

Mr. Rodgers

I was referring to the minutes of the GLC. They are the firm record of the GLC's decision.

No one is arguing that we should revoke the GLC's powers. We are simply considering whether the powers should be extended. I should have thought that those who are most entitled to have a view are the county councils. I should have thought that if there were such a dogmatic view that the powers should not exist, the county councils, which are predominantly Conservative, would have made it clear that they do not want the powers.

The submission from the County Councils Association states: Provision of additional discretionary powers is generally welcomed. The county councils have said that they would like these powers. Of course I do not believe that the county councils will start exercising the powers tomorrow. Some might but others will not. They will exercise them in different ways, at different times and in different Places.

6.0 p.m.

The heart of the argument is that the traffic circumstances and the parking needs of Sutton Coldfield are different from those of Rugby. The traffic problems and parking needs of Gillingham are different from those of Dover. The same applies, for example, between Canterbury and York, and Preston and Black-pool. This is a plain fact. The county councils are the best people to judge what the locality needs, and therefore I shall enable them to have the power and to exercise it if they wish. They do not need to exercise it. If the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) believes that they should not be exercised in Canterbury, he simply asks Kent County Council, which is Conservative-controlled not to exercise those powers in his town. The hon. Members for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) and Sutton Coldfield could do the same. There is no imposition on the county council, and least of all am I giving powers from Parliament to predominantly Labour county councils to use against the public interest.

The hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson) referred to the question of the public interest. But who is the best judge of the public interest? First it is the elected bodies, and ultimately it is the courts. No one is saying that the powers of the courts will be diminished by these proposals. No one is saying that providing powers for elected local authorities in any way infringes, undermines or diminishes the democratic responsibilities of Government in this country.

Mr. John Ellis

The Secretary of State is making out an excellent case, but is the county council necessarily the best body? Where does the district council come into this? The huge authorities may not know the problems of particular towns in their areas. The district council should figure in this somewhere.

Mr. Rodgers

My hon. Friend made before and has made again a most powerful case. But his case is not against these powers existing outside London. It is not for leaving London in the privileged position of being able to control its traffic if it wants to. My hon. Friend is anxious for these powers to be exercised elsewhere by those who are the best judge of their merits and of how they should be exercised. I have a great deal of sympathy with his argument. As my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) pointed out, supported by the hon. Member for Falmouth (Mr. Mudd), the object is that the powers should be exercised in urban areas where the problems are acute. Of course, the county councils will show discretion. Why should they not? They will be open to strong local influence not to impose parking restraint if that would be unpopular.

I agree with the hon. Members for Sutton Coldfield, Faversham (Mr. Moate) and Newbury that more and more people are driving cars today and are enjoying them. I rejoice in that. It is a fact that has widened people's freedom. This is a measure of the rising standard of living. That is a good thing. I have been a motorist for 25 years and I have greatly enjoyed that time and experience. We should not see this issue in terms of conflict between the private and public sectors, any more than between road and rail. We want a composite transport system that meets people's needs in the best possible way.

Earlier today we debated the subject of cyclists. Both sides of the House acknowledged the cyclist's role today. He has a place in the transport system. All of us walk. More people walk to work today than ride in public transport, on bicycles or in motorcars. Therefore the needs of the pedestrian must be defended, too. I am not saying that I know how the balance should be struck in Nottingham, though some hon. Gentlemen who do not represent that city seem to think that they know. I make no claim of that kind. I am an agnostic. That is why I say that decisions should be made locally in circumstances which are attuned first to local conditions and secondly to local opinion. Nothing about this proposal is anti-motorist. It is designed to enable the elected local authorities to strike the right balance in the right way at the right time in their own localities.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

Does the Secretary of State not agree that, just as an individual has the right to appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment about questions of planning consent, an individual should have the same right of appeal, as is provided in New Clause No. 2?

Mr. Rodgers

I shall come to that point. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making it. I do not know whether by that intervention he implies that he accepts my argument so far and regrets his commitment to supporting the main proposal before the House. I should like to examine that at some length if that is the hon. Gentleman's position. That is a very honourable position. The hon. Gentleman is a very honourable man. But the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield said at the beginning of the debate that this was a question of principle—whether local authorities should exercise local options in the interests of their local communities by having full responsibility for traffic management. My response to that is to say that it is an obvious, necessary and highly desirable provision.

The Opposition have been getting unreasonably upset about these matters. Perhaps in the quiet of the night, when the heat of the debate is diminished, they may quietly say to themselves, although they will never admit to me, "By the Grace of God we were in error."

Mr. Crouch

What is the true reason the Minister believes we need these national regulations? If he introduces them and delegates them to county councils one result that will stand out like a sore thumb is that free car parking in Scunthorpe, for example, will go because there will be new legislation from that county council to see that parking there is brought up to the high standard of payment that applies in other parts of the county.

Mr. Rodgers

The reason is simple. I could develop it at great length. The hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield clearly does not want me to do so and therefore I shall desist. If I am allowed one reminiscence, however, let me recall that I was a member of the Marylebone Borough Council 20 years ago. We had limited powers. Mine was a lonely, modest and often silent voice faced with a large Conservative majority. That majority was dealing with the acute problem of traffic management in an inner urban area. It was the second local authority in the country to introduce parking meters. They were most unpopular, but that council, like Westminster shortly before it, believed that only by controlling parking could one have effective traffic management.

Of course the local authority can control the parking meters. It can control the rates of its own off-street car parking. But unless it has the potential power to control all car parking in some parts of the county it will clearly be unable to regulate the flow of vehicles so as to make sense of traffic management. If I am wrong, and I am prepared to concede that I might be, this clause will rest unused in the Bill year in and year out. I shall weep no tears. But surely, if that is the case, the Opposition should wait and see and be content with the Bill as it now is.

Mr. Burden

Has the Secretary of State had even one request from any local authority for powers such as this to avoid chaos in the streets?

Mr. Rodgers

Indeed. This has been the view, less, I agree, of the counties than of the districts, as my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe said. But even the Association of County Councils, on the basis of a consultation document, came out in this direction. It did not like, and there was no agreement on, measures for control of private residential parking. That was not a popular proposal. Because of the weight of business and the length of the Bill I decided not to include such provisions in it, but I included the provisions we are now discussing because I believed that they would meet with a large measure of consent.

I think that I have made clear my view about Amendment No. 39, and I hope that in a sober way the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield may now feel that in prudence, if for no other reason, it would be better not to pursue the amendment to-day. I believe that otherwise he will live to rule his decision. I have an affection for the hon. Gentleman and I do not want to put him in that position.

I understand that the hon. Member for Newbury intends to abstain on Amendment No. 39—

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson indicated dissent.

Mr. Rodgers

I said that the hon. Gentleman was an honourable man. I do not wish easily to amend my words, any more than I wish to see the Bill amended in this respect, but I would say that there was a certain deviousness in the hon. Gentleman's argument—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—gentle and fair-minded deviousness, when he suggested that perhaps Clause 9 was acceptable.

The proposal in New Clause No. 2 is very serious. I am not suggesting for a moment that it should be lightly dismissed, although I want to emphasise—and to me this is a considerable point, affecting all of our political life—that I believe that elected local authorities outside the courts are the best way of safeguarding the citizen's interests. I am not greatly in favour of the proliferation of ad hoc, quasi-governmental and administrative bodies responsible to nobody, except perhaps at the end of the day to the Executive.

Therefore, my best reply to the question of appeal is that we have an elected local authority. The GLC was, alas, turned out because the people of London took the view, for a variety of foolish and inadequate reasons, that it was time for a change. The best safeguard within the Bill is that one can turn out a local authority if one does not like what it is doing.

Beyond that, safeguards are built into the 1969 Act, which is the basis of what we propose. All proposed regulations must be advertised, and they must be copied to the Secretary of State together with all representations. The Secretary of State may or may not call in those regulations, and if he does not do so he is answerable to the House in the normal way. If he does, he may, with or without a public inquiry, disallow the regulations in whole or in part or consent to them as they stand or in a modified form.

Therefore, there are very large powers now residing, first, in the local authority and its obligations, and, secondly, in the Secretary of State, whoever he may be, and the need for him to answer to Parliament. In these circumstances, I must reluctantly ask the House to reject the new clause.

Mr. George Younger (Ayr)

We always greatly enjoy the right hon. Gentleman's vigorous speeches, but unfortunately, for all his skill, he cannot conceal that this afternoon his vigorous speech hid a very weak case. One has only to consider what the right hon. Gentleman's case is to see that it is very weak. It is a very superficial argument, which could be used to justify absolutely anything.

The Secretary of State studiously avoided justifying the use of the powers. He merely said "If anyone does not like them, do not worry. We have well elected local authorities to which we are giving the power, and they will decide whether they think that the powers are good or bad and whether they should be used." Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman is really asking the House to allow the Government to give local authorities a regulation-making power which the right hon. Gentleman has not taken the time to justify. He has merely said "If it is thought not to be suitable, we can rely on the elected local authorities to decide whether to use the powers."

Mr. Ronald Atkins

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that no powers should ever be taken on parking? That would be inconsistent with what his own party has done. If he admits that powers are needed, surely it is reasonable that the distribution of the use of those powers should vary from one geographical part of the country to another.

Mr. Younger

I am not saying that there should be no powers. We are discussing particular powers, and I am relating my remarks to those alone.

We suggest in the new clause that there should be an appeal procedure. I am not impressed by the right hon. Gentleman's argument that where the Secretary of State is dissatisfied with a scheme of which he is informed he would be able to hold a public iuquiry. That is not the same as giving the citizen a right of appeal. I still think that my hon. Friends should support the proposal at the very least to write in an appeal procedure.

As we are taking Amendment No. 39 with the new clause, I hope that the vote that we are about to have will be taken also as a vote on the principle of the matter. That is what the amendment is all about. Therefore, the vote should also be taken about the principle.

6.15 p.m.

What we are being asked to give to the Government, to give to local authorities, are powers that have hitherto been available only within the GLC area. For all the other areas, they are new powers. Everyone who may be affected by them must realise that they are not just a lot of old powers that are being tidied up.

The previous Labour GLC administration which had the powers for some time was extraordinarily slow to make use of them. We all understand why. It was because the GLC realised that they were highly dubious and unpopular powers. Not only that; the new administration which is now firmly in control of the GLC lost no time in abandoning the abortive proposals of its predecessors. That is an eloquent demonstration of what it and its electors thought about the powers.

I do not want to take too much time, so I shall not weary the House by quoting chapter and verse, but we have a good and clear statement by Miss Shelagh Roberts, the appropriate person in the GLC, that it does not wish to have the powers. She also makes it clear that, as has not been disputed, the Association of Metropolitan Authorities does not want them, either.

It is all very well for the Minister to quote from a GLC minute, but it is more than six months old. The view expressed by Miss Roberts is much more up to date, dating no longer than two months back.

Mr. Anderson rose

Mr. Younger

I am sorry not to give way. I normally do so, but I do not want to take too much time on this matter.

The Secretary of State has sought to take the line that because the local authorities will be in charge, all is well. It is very touching to find a Minister in this Government saying how much he trusts the decisions of the local authorities. He should send a copy of his speech to his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science. She might find it most instructive to read what her colleague thinks about these matters.

I am very pleased about the right hon. Gentleman's views. I was equally pleased to hear his tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) and to hear of his affection for my hon. Friend. That is not unnatural after the long Committee stage.

When new powers are produced by any Government they must be justified. No one has asked for these new powers with any conviction. No one has been produced who says that he urgently requires them and would press the Government to introduce them.

Therefore, we are led to the conclusion that this is merely the tail-end of the Minister's own ideas for a much more severe regulation of parking, including PNR. He feels that he must press on with it because he has been thwarted in his real aim to introduce PNR, which he cannot do because it is so unpopular.

What the motorist can expect to find when he wishes to drive into a town or city centre in the future, if the powers are granted, is that a bureaucrat in the local authority concerned—the county council, or the region if it is in Scotland—will be looking at the traffic flow and saying "This is getting too much for us to handle. We shall introduce higher parking charges in these car parks, we shall regulate the length of time people may park, or we shall introduce new regulations providing that drivers must move out of a car park and cannot move back for a certain time."

It will in no way be a matter of the bureaucrats looking at traffic flows and saying "Because more people want to come into this town or city, it is our job to try to make it easier for them to do so. It is our job to provide car parking space to get them off the streets and enable them to come in and use their cars as they wish." The regulation will prevent people coming in. It will prevent them doing what they want to do and what they are naturally inclined to do—what is convenient for them. That is the Department of Transport's message to the many thousands of motorists all over the country who want to use the transport facilities that they find most convenient. We should not lightly give this power either to the Government or to the local authorities.

My right hon. and hon. Friends would be well advised to vote in favour of the new clause, because it will at least give the motorist an appeal against and an opportunity to have a go at the local authority if he thinks that it is oppressing him. I hope that, in spirit at any rate, the vote will also be taken as a vote against the whole principle of trying to restrict the motorist in the form of parking that is most convenient to him.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

Division No. 214] AYES [6.20 p.m.
Adley, Robert Goodhew, Victor Nott, John
Aitken, Jonathan Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Onslow, Cranley
Alison, Michael Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Page, John (Harrow West)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Gray, Hamish Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Atkinson, David (Bournemouth, East) Grist, Ian Page, Richard (Workington)
Awdry, Daniel Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Parkinson, Cecil
Bell, Ronald Hamilton, Archibald (Epsom & Ewell) Percival, Ian
Bendall, Vivian (Ilford North) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Peyton, Rt Hon John
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Hannam, John Pink, R. Bonner
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Benyon, W. Haselhurst, Alan Price, David (Eastleigh)
Berry, Hon Anthony Hastings, Stephen Prior, Rt Hon James
Biffen, John Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Raison, Timothy
Biggs-Davison, John Hayhoe, Barney Rathbone, Tim
Body, Richard Hicks, Robert Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemplown) Hodgson, Robin Rees-Davies, W. R.
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Holland, Philip Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Braine, Sir Bernard Howell, David (Guildford) Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Brittan, Leon Hutchison, Michael Clark Rhodes, James R.
Brooke, Peter Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Ridsdale, Julian
Bryan, Sir Paul James, David Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Buck, Antony Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Budgen, Nick Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Bulmer, Esmond Kaberry, Sir Donald Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Burden, F. A. Kershaw, Anthony Royle, Sir Anthony
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Sainsbury, Tim
Carlisie, Mark King, Tom (Bridgwater) Scott, Nicholas
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Knight, Mrs Jill Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Channon, Paul Knox, David Shelton, William (Streatham)
Churchill, W. S. Langford-Holt, Sir John Shepherd, Colin
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Latham, Michael (Melton) Silvester, Fred
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Le Merchant, Spencer Sims, Roger
Cockcroft, John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Sinclair, Sir George
Cope, John Loveridge, John Skeet, T. H. H.
Costain, A. P. McCrindle, Robert Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield)
Crouch, David Macfarlane, Neil Speed, Keith
Crowder, F. P. MacGregor, John Spence, John
Dodsworth, Geoffrey MacKay, Andrew (Stechford) Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Drayson, Burnaby Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Sproat, Iain
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Stainton, Keith
Durant, Tony Madel, David Stanbrook, Ivor
Dykes, Hugh Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Marten, Neil Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Mates, Michael Stokes, John
Elliott, Sir William Mather Carol Stradling Thomas, J.
Emery, Peter Maude, Angus Tapsell, Peter
Eyre, Reginald Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Tebbit, Norman
Fairgrieve, Russell Mawby, Ray Temple-Morris, Peter
Farr, John Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Fell, Anthony Mayhew, Patrick Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Finsberg, Geoffrey Meyer, Sir Anthony Trotter, Neville
Fisher, Sir Nigel Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Mills, Peter Wakeham, John
Fookes, Miss Janet Miscampbell, Norman Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Forman, Nigel Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Moate, Roger Wall, Patrick
Fox, Marcus Montgomery, Fergus Walters, Dennis
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Moore, John (Croydon C) Weatherill, Bernard
Fry, Peter More, Jasper (Ludlow) Wells, John
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Whitney, Raymond (Wycombe)
Gardiner, Edwards (S Fylde) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Wiggin, Jerry
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Younger, Hon George
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Mudd, David
Glyn, Dr Alan Neave, Airey TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Goober, Rt Hon Joseph Nelson, Anthony Sir George Young and
Goodhart, Philip Newton, Tony Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.
Abse, Leo Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)
Allaun, Frank Atkinson, Norman Bidwell, Sydney
Anderson, Donald Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Bishop, Rt Hon Edward
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Blenkinsop, Arthur
Armstrong, Ernest Bates, Alf Boardman, H.
Ashley, Jack Bean, R. E. Booth, Rt Hon Albert
Ashton, Joe Beith, A. J. Boothroyd, Miss Betty

The House divided: Ayes 203, Noes 238.

Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Heffer, Eric S. Pardoe, John
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Hooson, Emlyn Park, George
Bradley, Tom Horam, John Parker, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Parry, Robert
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Pavitt, Laurie
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Huckfield, Les Penhaligon, David
Buchan, Norman Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Buchanan, Richard Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Price, William (Rugby)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Radice, Giles
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Hunter, Adam Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Canavan, Dennis Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Richardson, Miss Jo
Cant, R. B. Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Carmichael, Neil Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Robinson, Geoffrey
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Janner, Greville Roderick, Caerwyn
Clemitson, Ivor Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Jeger, Mrs Lena Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)
Cohen, Stanley Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Rooker, J. W.
Coleman, Donald John, Brynmor Rose, Paul B.
Conlan, Bernard Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Corbett, Robin Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Ryman, John
Cowans, Harry Jones, Barry (East Flint) Sandelson, Neville
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Sedgemore, Brian
Craigen, Jim (Maryhill) Kaufman, Gerald Sever, John
Crawshaw, Richard Kerr, Russell Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Cronin, John Kilroy-Silk, Robert Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Kinnock, Neil Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Cryer, Bob Lambie, David Silverman, Julius
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Lamond, James Skinner, Dennis
Davidson, Arthur Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Spearing, Nigel
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil Leadbitter, Ted Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Stallard, A. W.
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Lever, Rt Hon Harold Steel, Rt Hon David
Deakins, Eric Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Loyden, Eddie Stott, Roger
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Strang, Gavin
Dempsey, James Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Dewar, Donald McCartney, Hugh Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Doig, Peter McDonald, Dr Oonagh Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Dormand, J. D. McElhone, Frank Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Duffy, A. E. P. Maclennan, Robert Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Dunnett, Jack McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Edge, Geoff Madden, Max Tierney, Sydney
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Magee, Bryan Tilley, John (Lambeth, Central)
English, Michael Mahon, Simon Tinn, James
Ennals, Rt Hon David Mallalieu, J. P. W. Tomlinson, John
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Marks, Kenneth Torney, Tom
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Tuck, Raphael
Evans, John (Newton) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Mason, Rt Hon Roy Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Flannery, Martin Maynard, Miss Joan Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Fletcher, L. R. (likeston) Meacher, Michael Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Ward, Michael
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mendelson, John Watkins, David
Ford, Ben Mikardo, Ian Weitzman, David
Forrester, John Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Wellbeloved, James
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Mitchell, Austin Whitehead, Philip
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Whitlock, William
Ginsburg, David Morris, Rt Hon Charles R. Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Golding, John Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Gould, Bryan Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Gourlay, Harry Newens, Stanley Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Graham, Ted Noble, Mike Wise, Mrs Audrey
Grant, George (Morpeth) Oakes, Gordon Woodall, Alec
Grant, John (Islington C) Ogden, Eric Wool, Robert
Grimond, Rt Hon J. O'Halloran, Michael Wrigglasworth, Ian
Grocott, Bruce Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Young, David (Bolton E)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Ovenden, John
Hardy, Peter Owen, Rt Hon Dr David TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Padley, Walter Mr. Joseph Harper and
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Palmer, Arthur Mr. Peter Snape.

Question accordingly negatived.