§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)
A large number of hon. Members wish to take part in this short debate. I hope that speeches will be relatively brief.
§ The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Kenneth Baker)
I beg to move,That the draft Precept Limitation (Prescribed Maximum) (Inner London Education Authority) Order 1988, which was laid before this House on 29th January, be approved.I shall try to follow your injunction, Mr. Deputy Speaker, by being reasonably brief, because I understand that many hon. Members wish to contribute to the debate. I am sorry that my opposite number, the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), has been ill for the past few days. I hope that he can soon return to the House and to Committee upstairs.
Last Thursday, I announced the Government's intention to wind up the Inner London education authority and to secure the transfer of education responsibilities to local councils from 1 April 1990. Today's debate concerns the financing of the authority in the forthcoming year. This order limits the precept which may be made by ILEA for the financial year 1988–89.
The precept maximum set out in the draft order has been arrived at after careful consideration. It is the product of a six-month process during which I have taken full account of the representations put to me by the authority, both in writing and in person. In a moment I shall briefly summarise that process, but before I do so I think it may assist the House if I set the order before hon. Members in its wider context.
ILEA is the largest education authority in the country. Like other inner-city authorities, it caters for communities which face a wide range of social and economic problems. However, the Government's assessment of need to spend takes account of such factors as concentrations of ethnic minorities, one-parent families, poor housing conditions and low family income, yet ILEA's budgeted spending in 1987–88 is a massive 75 per cent. above its grant-related expenditure assessment.
A comparison of ILEA's unit costs with those of other city authorities highlights its inefficiency. According to the latest figures from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the outer London boroughs are spending on average £1,100 per primary pupil. So are Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool. Birmingham is spending just £900 per pupil. ILEA is spending £1,700 per pupil. The outer London boroughs are spending £1,700 per secondary pupil. Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester are spending between £1,750 and £1,950 per pupil. ILEA is spending £2,600 per pupil. No other authority has unit costs which approach those of ILEA.
ILEA secondary schools on average have five more support staff than schools in outer London boroughs. They have nine more than schools in metropolitan areas as a whole. ILEA spends four times as much per pupil on school meals as the outer London boroughs on average and more than three times as much as metropolitan districts. It employs twice as many administrators and inspectors per head of population than the outer London 454 boroughs and more than three times as many as the metropolitan districts. This shows that ILEA is a massive bureaucracy.
ILEA has become a by-word for high spending. It is by no means a by-word for high performance. Survey research suggests that ILEA ranks 86th among LEAs—practically at the bottom — in terms of the straight percentage of school leavers achieving five or more 0- levels at grades A to C or CSE grade 1, but is at the top of the league for spending per pupil. How best to allow in the assessment of performance for socio-economic factors is acknowledged to be a thorny issue, but the point is that however one does it ILEA's performance is disappointing. In other words, London's ratepayers are not getting good value for money.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)
The Secretary of State has made a number of extremely contentious points. Will he tell us about the exam results? What proportion of ILEA pupils spend all their time from the age of five up to the age at which they take the exams in ILEA schools? Is it not true that London has a large turnover of population and many of those children spend only part of their time in ILEA schools? It is extremely difficult to judge the performance of an authority on exam results when pupils move in and out of the area.
§ Mr. Baker
The hon. Gentleman is not right about that. He specifically mentioned pre-five schooling. ILEA has some very good nursery schooling of which it is proud. But however one looks at the results—whether one tries to put a gloss on them or doctor them—the plain fact is that the results from ILEA are very disappointing by any standard.
§ Mr. Baker
If the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I shall continue, because I know that several hon. Members wish to speak.
Since taking powers to limit precepts for selected authorities in the Rates Act 1984, the Government have sought to protect the inner London ratepayer from the high rate levels which are a result of ILEA's overspending. But ILEA has made precious little attempt to get control of its cost base. It has eroded its reserves and resorted to measures that impose further burdens on ratepayers in the longer term rather than tackle the root causes of its overspending. The authority spent £55 million more than its expenditure level set by the Government in 1986–87. Its budget for the current year is £80 million more than the implied expenditure level for the year — that is more than 8 per cent. So in the last two years alone, overspend has reached some £135 million.
ILEA is automatically designated for precept limitation in 1988–89 under section 68 of the Local Government Act 1985, as it has been for the past two years. But even if designation had not been automatic, ILEA's continued high spending would have brought it well within the criteria for selective designation. —[Interruption.] If hon. Members who do not represent ILEA areas wish to speak on ILEA matters, we should welcome it. I am glad that —[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. This is a short debate and there is too much comment from a sedentary position from both sides of the House.
§ Mr. Baker
It is a short debate. Most of the interruptions seem to be coming from the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours). As I was saying, against the background of overspending that I have outlined, the Government are clear that a firm approach is needed to limit the burden that ILEA is placing on London householders and businesses alike.
Members should note that I have been prepared to listen and respond to the representations that ILEA has made to me. I have been prepared to—[HON. MEMBERS: "You have not."] I say to hon. Members who say that I have not listened that I have listened. I have listened carefully to representations. I increased the expenditure level——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I realise that the House feels strongly about this matter. However, it is a short debate, and it will be very much better if we have short speeches without interruptions.
§ Mr. Corbyn
Will the Secretary of State tell the House how many parents of ILEA children he consulted before introducing this monstrous order and why he feels that he has the power to impose an undemocratic diktat on the children and parents of all inner London schools?
§ Mr. Baker
I can tell the hon. Gentleman, who keeps shouting from a sedentary position, that I have consulted ILEA representatives and the chairman of ILEA as I am obliged to do. I have listened to their representations and have met them on several occasions. They put their views to me and I listened most carefully. Having listened to those representations, I decided to increase the expenditure level by about £15 million.
In December, I announced a redetermined expenditure level of £970 million with a requirement that the additional £15 million should be used only in connection with the one-off costs to which ILEA had drawn my attention. It said that it would put forward proposals, and I acknowledged the point made by the authority that in order to secure substantial savings from reductions in staffing levels it would need to incur one-off redundancy costs. It asked, would I please help with them? I increased the expenditure level by £15 million because, being a reasonable person, I listened to reason and responded.
456 At the same time I proposed a precept maximum of 80.56p to enable the authority to raise the £970 million. In so doing I assumed that the authority would end the current year with revenue balances of about £30 million. I made no allowances for the drawing down of balances to relieve the precept.
§ Mr. Baker
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would allow me to continue.
In January the authority rejected the proposed precept maximum. It sought to raise an additional £73.5 million. That is £100 million less than its original demand. It made the demand and said that unless I agreed to the higher figure education in London would be ruined. Next time round the authority's demand had been reduced by £100 million, and that in itself is interesting. Nevertheless, as a result of its reduced demand, it required a precept increase that was 6p higher than my proposal.
I again considered carefully all that the authority had to say, including arguments about upward pressures on spending and the difficulty of securing savings in the first year of a programme of reductions. I decided to add to the precept maximum that I had originally proposed to allow the authority to raise another £15 million, or £985 million in total. The revised precept maximum is 81.8p, and that is 2p or 2.5 per cent. higher than the current year's precept.
§ Mr. Baker
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to continue.
Then I laid before the House a draft order which would, if approved, enable me to prescribe a precept maximum of 81.8p. I did so because I am concerned to have the final outcome fixed by 15 February, the date set out in the Rates Act 1984 to avoid the uncertainty associated with the use of interim procedures, and so that there is no cause for ILEA to delay in implementing the measures necessary to live within the precept income that the maximum would raise. I made it clear that I was prepared to withdraw the order if agreement on the precept could be reached. However, the authority has rejected my revised figure.
§ Mr. Baker
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not give way.
As a result of the moves that I have made, the precept maximum in the draft order will allow the authority to raise £30 million more than the original expenditure level and £42 million more than the current year's expenditure level. The authority has said that this precept maximum will damage the education service in inner London. I do not accept that. In absolute terms, the redetermined expenditure level is over 50 per cent. above ILEA's GREA for 1988–89. The authority should be more than able to provide an adequate education service within that sum.
I recognise that the scale of reductions implied by the precept maximum —involving a cash cut of £40 million compared with the authority's budget for 1987–88 —represents a tough challenge.
§ Mr. Baker
I shall give way in a moment.
The effect on the service will depend on how the authority responds to that challenge, on whether it acts 457 quickly to implement a savings package and manages that package effectively. I am satisfied that the precept maximum is reasonable and achievable, given responsible action by the authority.
§ Mr. Dobson
In view of the Secretary of State's announcement of the intended abolition of ILEA, does he think that ILEA will incur any expenditure in the next financial year because of the break-up of the authority? If so, what allowance has he made?
§ Mr. Baker
I do not think that in the next financial year ILEA will incur any expense in its break-up. I shall invite ILEA and the different London boroughs, whether Conservative, Labour or Liberal-controlled, to come and speak to my Department. I have set up a unit to do that so that there can be a proper, controlled transfer of education responsibilities. Costs will be incurred in the second year and the year of transfer.
§ Mr. Simon Hughes
The Secretary of State said that he consulted colleagues and officers. Can he tell the House why his colleagues on ILEA did not endorse yesterday the precept rate that he brings to the House today?
§ Mr. Baker
I have spoken to virtually all groups, although not to the Liberal group. Conservatives came to make representations to me. [Interruption] They must make up their own minds. They made their view clear to me when I saw them that substantial savings could be made in ILEA without any reduction in the service in inner London. They all strongly supported my statement last week to abolish the ILEA within two years.
I have given thought to the effect of the precept on ratepayers in inner London. The maximum is 2–5 per cent. higher than the current year's precept, and it will add about 1 per cent. to the average rate bill. The authority's original estimate of its needs would have added 18 per cent. to the current precept and nearly 8 per cent. to rate bills. That would have meant £75 more in rates for the owner of a three-bedroomed, semi-detached house in Camden and £300 more for the average shop. Its subsequent proposal for the precept would have added nearly 9 per cent. to the precept and an extra 4 per cent. to rate bills. It would not be right to impose those increases on ratepayers who are already overburdened as a result of ILEA's past overspending.
For those reasons, the draft order has been laid before the House and I ask the House to approve it. It is now up to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) to make the case for ILEA and increased spending. That case rests on the need for extravagance, the importance of waste and the virtue of incompetence. I leave it to him.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)
First, I apologise on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) who is ill; he would have liked to be here to make this case.
Last Thursday the Secretary of State came to the House as the messenger from the knackers' men to announce the slaughter of ILEA. He has returned tonight to announce that not content with slaughter, he wants to torture it. Will he come next week to inflict some further punishment to please his masters in the Tory party who seem to have a paranoid hatred of ILEA? It would be worrying enough if it was a hatred of a democratically elected body, but it 458 is worse, because it is an attack on the education of 280,000 London children. His proposals to abolish ILEA and to penalise it financially this year will have a devastating effect on the education of those children. When he claims, as he did in the general election, that the Conservative party is anxious to raise standards, he should think hard about how he will lower standards of education in ILEA over the next two years.
I shall be brief because many of my hon. Friends feel angry and wish to speak. Can the Government guarantee that all those ILEA schoolchildren will not suffer over the next two years as a result of these cuts? What did the Secretary of State's professional advisers tell him about the practicality of imposing the cuts, not over 12 months but over six months? We must always remember that a school's financial year starts part way through the year, and commitments cannot be varied until the following September. The Secretary of State is imposing the cuts on schools from September. The professional advice from Mr. Rigg, the director of finance, and Mr. Stubbs of [LEA is that it will be impossible to do it.
The least that the Secretary of State could have done would be to say that he had received professional advice which suggested that the cuts were possible. But he has insisted that his officials keep quiet, because they cannot come up with advice on how to impose the cuts in the time scale envisaged.
About 75 per cent. of ILEA's expenditure is on staffing, and it will be extremely difficult to impose such cuts without harming the curriculum for pupils in ILEA schools.
The Secretary of State claimed that ILEA was profligate. He criticised its school meals expenditure, but he should remember that almost 50 per cent. of ILEA pupils take free meals. That shows the deprivation in the ILEA area. The Secretary of State should be proud of the fact that the authority wants to ensure that children get enough to eat and can benefit from their education. He should remember that the free school meals service was introduced because children could not benefit from their education. It looks as though he wants to return to the days when children could not learn properly because they were not properly fed.
The Secretary of State mentioned the expenditure on secondary school places. But through the assisted places scheme he is happy to pay sums that are far in excess of the money that ILEA spends on places such as those at Westminster school. If it is good enough to spend money on the assisted places scheme, why is it not good enough to spend money on all secondary pupils in ILEA? Why should they be penalised so that the Government can confer a privilege on the small group of children who obtain assisted places?
Since 1981, ILEA's expenditure has increased by about 45 per cent. The expenditure of the outer boroughs has increased by about 40 per cent., so ILEA has not done well compared with them. But the shire counties' expenditure has increased by 46 per cent. Let us consider the model of someone who should have shown financial propriety—the Secretary of State and his Department. During the same period, the Department's expenditure increased by 51 per cent. If it is so bad that ILEA's expenditure has increased by 45 per cent., is it not appalling that the Department's has increased by 51 per cent.? No doubt the right hon. Gentleman can justify his expenditure. I suggest that ILEA can justify its expenditure.
459 The Secretary of State has had clear warnings from his professional advisers that if the cuts are imposed standards will fall. The Minister of State who will reply to the debate must prove to the House that standards in ILEA will not fall. Instead of continually running down ILEA, the Secretary of State should have recognised that ILEA has good nursery education and that it was involved in curriculum innovation long before the Government thought that it was fashionable. The Hargreaves report and the Thomas report not only discuss curriculum innovation, but demonstrate that many ILEA schools have been doing that for many years.
The Secretary of State should recognise ILEA's record on access by mature students to higher education. The White Paper on higher education pays lip service to the importance of attracting back mature students, but the Government do little about it. ILEA has a record second to none in attracting back mature students from working-class and ethnic minority backgrounds, and the Secretary of State should have paid tribute to it. It has an extremely good record on special education. The right hon. Gentleman has given us no evidence that the cuts are practical.
My hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) said that the cuts were announced two weeks ago. Since then, the Government have completely reversed their policy on ILEA and decided to abolish it. It will be almost impossible to impose the cuts. Even if there was a smooth running organisation to carry out the cuts, there would be great difficulties and hardship. However, the Secretary of State will not have that smooth organisation. He has thrown the organisation into complete turmoil. As ILEA is broken up, almost all the middle ranking officers in the authority will be considering their futures. They will not be sure that they will get jobs with the new borough authorities and they will be tempted to move out of ILEA. There will be great uncertainty. The Secretary of State is imposing two problems on ILEA— the problem of the abolition of the authority and the massive cuts in the first period.
Why on earth did the Secretary of State not take the order back to the Department and say that the Government have created a completely new situation with the proposal to abolish ILEA and that they would have to revise the order? That would have been the only honest thing for the Government to do. However, he is ploughing on with his paranoid hatred of the authority.
We have still not discovered what the Conservatives have against ILEA except that, on the whole, ILEA has been a beacon for good education standards —[Interruption.] It is all very well Conservative Members laughing, but if they visited the schools, they would find high-quality education in the vast majority. Perhaps ILEA should have proceeded with some of its reorganisation of the secondary schools to take account of falling rolls, but on many occasions it was the Government who delayed those logical reorganisations. The Government interfered when ILEA tried to go ahead with proposals for tertiary education. If there is any blame for ILEA being slow to take account of falling rolls, the Secretary of State and his predecessors must share some of the blame.
I ask my hon. Friends to express their anger at the Government's behaviour towards ILEA and to vote against the order.
§ Sir Brandon Rhys Williams (Kensington)
I think that Opposition Members who are very wound up about this order tonight and about the Government's decision to end the inner London education authority rather imagine that something very sudden has developed and that this is the result of a new initiative which is quite unfounded and rather too hasty.
I would like to remind the House of the debate and the questions and answers that took place as long ago as 1981 when the Secretary of State for Education and Science at that time — Mr. Mark Carlisle as he was — after an extremely careful review, decided that the Inner London education authority should be permitted to continue. It was a very difficult balance of argument at that time. But I would like to remind the House of one of the things that he said in his statement on 4 February 1981:It is up to ILEA to put its house in order. It must recognise that the right to precept entails the obligation to spend responsibly. If ILEA systematically abuses the rating system by unchecked extravagance, additional financial controls will be needed. The Government are now considering what further measures they would take to meet that situation.There could not have been a more sincere or clear warning from my then right hon. and learned Friend. I think that in retrospect he was being too trusting and too optimistic as things have turned out.
I spoke in the questions after the statement and among the things that I said was:will he proceed at once to place an upper limit on ILEA's expenditure in the coming year and not merely to rest on threats that if it overspends the Government may reconsider their position at some future date?"—[Official Report, 4 February 1981; Vol. 998, c. 297–300.]I cannot say that I received from my right hon. and learned Friend a very satisfactory reply. So a few weeks later I and a number of other hon. Friends representing areas within the Inner London education authority brought in a Bill—the Inner London Education Authority (Expenditure Control) Bill—on 13 April 1981. It was signed by my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley), my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Mr. Scott), my hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Shelton), Martin Stevens, the former Member for Fulham, my hon. Friend the Member for Westminster, North (Mr. Wheeler) and myself. The Bill's long title said:The Bill provides that the expenditure limit of the Authority shall be calculated by reference to the average cost of education per child in the remainder of England and Wales plus an element for London weighting to be determined by the Secretary of State.I want to take the opportunity of the debate to pay tribute to many of the people in ILEA who are extremely dedicated, high quality educationists who do their utmost for the children. But we must recognise that ILEA is an enormously expensive authority for the results that it is achieving. I believe that is because its whole structure was misconceived from the start. It was always too large and unmanageable, bound to become a heavily bureaucratic organisation and bound to be an oppressive weight on the ratepayers.
The hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) asked what the Conservatives have got against ILEA. What we have against ILEA is the hundreds and hundreds of pounds per ratepayer that have to be paid 461 because of the precept, when we believe that the results we are getting for our money are not sufficient to justify the expense. This is why there is such an outcry for reform.
There is another side to the question. It is not simply a question of providing lavish and wonderful education for London. We have to think of where the money is coming from. In the case of my borough it is coming often from people who can ill afford the rates that they have to pay and who are building up a bitter resentment against ILEA because they feel that their money is being taken from them and wasted. This is not a situation that my right hon. Friend can allow to continue.
I entirely support my right hon. Friend's move to place an upper limit on ILEA's expenditure. I do not think that ILEA will be handicapped if it has these millions to spend. I think that my right hon. Friend has got the balance right. On behalf of my ratepayers, I hope that the order will be well received and will be passed by a substantial majority.
§ Mr. Brian Sedgemore (Hackney, South and Shoreditch)
I have been telling the Secretary of State in Committee that he is a very special person. Indeed, he seems to me to come into that category which The Times was referring to in an editorial in 1967 when it said:High politics are unsuitable for the ordinary man. Great Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and William Pitt were sociable drinkers; Lloyd George and Palmerston could not be trusted with women; Chatham, perhaps the greatest of all, was actually mad.Having heard the Secretary of State talk about the precept tonight, and having listened to his proposals on the abolition of ILEA, I confidently predict that the right hon. Member for Mole Valley (Mr. Baker) will be even madder than Chatham.
To describe the Secretary of State's attitude towards ILEA as vindictive would be to utter a pathetic euphemism and to fail to invest in the richness of the English language which would allow us to pour hatred, scorn, venom, ridicule, derision and loathing on his many absurdities.
The first part of the right hon. Gentleman's plan is to create financial and administrative chaos, and in the process to ignore the advice of the two people who have statutory responsibilities in this sphere, that of the director of finance, whose responsibility comes under section 73 of the Rates Act 1984, and that of Mr. William Stubbs, the education officer, whose responsibility comes under the Education Act 1944. I am slightly surprised that the Secretary of State is prepared to ignore the advice of Mr. Stubbs since he is about to give him a prestigious post as head of the funding council for the polytechnics. If he thinks that Mr. Stubbs is such a brilliant man, perhaps the Secretary of State can explain why, when Mr. Stubbs presents such an honest view of the ILEA budget, he utterly ignores that view.
The Secretary of State's problem is that he moves from false premises to false conclusions by a logic that is not merely faulty but positively mystifying. Therefore, I am led to believe that the argument is not about logic but that we are talking about a brute political batte. Unfortunately, the firepower is not evenly distributed. Indeed, it reminds me of the battle which took place between the Rawalpindi and the Scharnhorst in November 1939. I know about that battle because my father died aboard the Rawalpindi. The Rawalpindi was a little merchant ship with a bit of tinplate and peashooters which masqueraded as guns. The 462 Scharnhorst was the pride of the German fleet, a massive battleship which blew this little boat out of the water. I liken the Secretary of State to the captain of the Scharnhorst and Neil Fletcher, the leader of the I LEA, to Ludovic Kennedy's father, who was the captain of the Rawalpindi.
The force that the Secretary of State has is the political force of an arrogant majority in the House. It is the votes in the Lobby, the right of all Secretaries of State not to answer awkward questions in the House; it is the ability, if necessary, to produce guillotines in the House to get their measures through. Poor Neil Fletcher has one thing only. The only thing he has on his side is the moral authority that ILEA exercises and which is backed up by parents, children and teachers. Unfortunately, in this world, moral authority does not carry one very far and I suspect that Neil Fletcher will end up like Ludovic Kennedy's father—dead.
I have seen the papers that ILEA has presented to the Secretary of State and, in my view, it has argued a powerful case. However, the Secretary of State's response illustrates the substantial disadvantages in according to the Secretary of State centralised powers over local matters and powers that he is exercising without responsibility. The power to fix the precept rests with the Secretary of State but the responsibility rests with the two chief officers in ILEA. Effectively, the Secretary of State is telling David Riggs and William Stubbs that he is going to usurp and arrogate to himself executive powers that ILEA's officers should hold.
I have spoken to the officers at ILEA and they said that they have been talking not to the Secretary of State but to civil servants at the Department of Education and Science. When those civil servants have been pressed by ILEA's officers to say where the extra cuts can come from, they said, "The Secretary of State has looked at this"—I use their words—"in the round." Of course, the phrase "in the round" is a euphemism for the fact that the Secretary of State does not know what the hell is going on in ILEA.
The Secretary of State seems to think that one can close down schools rather as one can close down a factory at British Leyland or a British Coal pit. I do not pretend that it is easy to close down a British Leyland factory or a British Coal pit. However, if one starts to close down schools, which is inherent in the proposed huge cutback, the Secretary of State has to ask himself about the processes involved in dealing with 1,000 schools and colleges. How is ILEA supposed to offer a core curriculum to 1,000 separate institutions and then start to close some of them down without extraordinary rearrangements? First, there has to be lengthy negotiation with the staff of those institutions; by statute, there have to be extraordinary negotiations with the Department of Education and Science, there has to be a reorganisation of the remaining schools, one has to rejig the pupil-teacher relationship and reorganise the core curriculum. The Secretary of State has ignored every practical problem. Therefore, ILEA wins the argument and tonight the Secretary of State wins the votes.
However, things will get worse. I shall end on this point because many people want to speak. Phase two of the awful mechanism that the Secretary of State is putting into effect comes next Wednesday when we shall witness one of the constitutional outrages of the post-war years. —[Interruption.] Perhaps the hon. Member for Flarrow, West (Mr. Hughes) can tell me when this last happened. 463 We are to have a Second Reading debate next Wednesday and we do not have available any of the new clauses that will be debated. There will be a debate on new clauses that will be produced on a subsequent day, probably Friday week, and they cannot be amended. My question to the hon. Member for Harrow, West is, when did the House last have a Second Reading debate on a major political issue without having any clauses before it and when the Bill could not be amended? I am not the one who is caught praying in aid the House of Lords, but if the House of Lords wishes to consider a constitutional issue, it is that we shall not be able to debate the Bill next Wednesday, and we shall not be able to amend clauses. That is an outrage and something of which a basically liberal, decent Secretary of State should be thoroughly ashamed.
§ 11 pm
§ Mr. John Bowis (Battersea)
The hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) is a little confusing. One moment, he predicts that we shall have a Chatham on the Government Front Bench, and the next minute he tries to close pits. We have enjoyed and been edified by the hon. Gentleman's membership of our Standing Committee. We have grown used to his predictions for the future of hon. Members and, indeed, members of ILEA and so on. I am amazed that the hon. Gentleman, who had such a distinguished career at the Bar and in the Civil Service, and had wealth and influence, should while away his evening years on Opposition Benches. We welcome him and enjoy his contributions. [HON. MEMBERS: "Get on with it."] I should like to extend the courtesy to other Opposition Members.
It is said that the best form of defence is attack. I do not suggest that the Opposition's defence is attack. There is no question of the Government attacking inner London education. The Government and Parliament are defending ratepayers and, ultimately, the education of children and students in inner London. That is what the measure is about. The Labour party knows that it cannot defend the indefensible—ILEA's expensive bureaucracy—so it tries to attack the modest restriction on overspending by that education authority.
§ Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)
The hon. Gentleman referred to the modest measure. Does he agree that it represents an 8 per cent. cut in ILEA's expenditure for next year? Will he address the logistical problem that the Secretary of State did not mention, which is that roughly five twelfths of the cut will apply to the school year that will finish in August? Therefore, the effective cut will be around 14 to 15 per cent. for the next school year. Does that not pose a threat to children and ratepayers, for whom he expressed concern?
§ Mr. Bowis
I entirely accept that there is a cut. It will come as a great relief to the ratepayers of inner London, who would otherwise have had to pick up the tab. I agree also with the hon. Gentleman's implied criticism of ILEA for, over the years, getting itself into this position, having had the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams). The only explanation for overspending that the Opposition have given is that there is a degree of deprivation in inner London. If there is deprivation, and if it justifies ILEA's double spending on education, why, why are ILEA's results so poor?
464 I represent a constituency in division 10 of ILEA. That division covers the Wandsworth borough. By all the criteria of deprivation, Wandsworth is not as badly off as its neighbouring boroughs. One would expect the results in the boroughs to be better. There is less deprivation than is to be found in other boroughs, but unfortunately the results are worse than in many other areas. That does not add up, even in ILEA's terms.
§ Mr. Chris Smith (Islington, South and Finsbury)
Will the hon. Gentleman apply precisely the same argument to the expenditure of the Metropolitan police? Even if we remove the national functions of the force from our consideration, it still costs twice as much per head of population as any other force in the country. Furthermore, it has a worse success record than other forces. "Why, why", to quote the hon. Gentleman, does that occur?
§ Mr. Bowis
A national force with diplomatic and other special responsibilities cannot be compared with other forces. The hon. Gentleman should not knock the Metropolitan police, because in the area which I represent its result are getting better year by year. Let us defend the police as well as the education service.
In inner London there is twice the spending on education that is to be found in the rest of the country. The number of young people in inner London leaving school with five 0-levels or more, or CSEs grade 1, has reached the dizzy height of 10 per cent. Only 10 per cent. reach that standard or level before they are sent out into the job market, and the national average is 20 per cent.
Let us take the other side of the coin. In inner London, 20 per cent. of school leavers have no qualifications, which is twice the national average. At the same time, twice the national funding goes into ILEA schools. It is unfortunate that the results of school leavers within the area are only half as good as the national average.
Money alone is not the criterion by which we should judge ILEA. The key factor is the way in which money is spent. Funds must be redirected with a view to maximising the help that is given to ILEA schoolchildren. That will be done only if we enable the boroughs to spend on behalf of the children in their own areas. Money must be targeted to where it can be used most effectively.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
In which and how many of the schools in the hon. Gentleman's constituency does he foresee staff being lost?
§ Mr. Bowis
I shall continue because I know that many hon. Members wish to contribute to the debate.
There are many ways in which money that is directed to ILEA is misspent or badly spent. If we are to get the right education in inner London, we must get the funding and the ethos right. I read stories in the press about schoolboys being encouraged to dress in girls' clothes as part of a scheme to eradicate sexism. I read that boys aged up to seven years dress in skirts and petticoats and carry handbags. It seems that they are taught embroidery and play with dolls while girls play with engineering sets and toy cars as part of ILEA's scheme to combat sexism and 465 stereotyping. This is happening — [HON. MEMBERS: "What is wrong with it?"] Presumably money is being paid to people to go to the ILEA schools to tell the staff to follow this course. That is an example of the way in which moneys are being wasted and misdirected. I accept that that may have been done a year or two ago.
§ Mr. Corbyn
The hon. Gentleman obviously did not hear the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett). Will he now tell us which schools, and how many teachers in his constituency, he proposes to axe, so that they can know what he is voting for tonight?
§ Mr. Bowis
The hon. Gentleman did not listen to the answer I gave before. I spoke of raising standards by directing funds into the schools and away from bureaucracy. That does not necessarily mean teachers. It means getting rid of the bureaucratic nonsense that I have been talking about.
As another example, I shall quote from a letter I received this week from the department of environmental design at the North London polytechnic, in the school of architecture, Holloway road:I confirm that the above named student is at present engaged in the preparation of a major design project for the final year of the diploma in architecture (Hons.) course. Therefore any appropriate assistance you will be willing to render to this student will be very greatly appreciated by the school of architecture"—and so on. The letter from the student reads:I am a student in my final year at the polytechnic of North London, studying for a postgraduate diploma in architecture. For my final comprehensive design, I have chosen to design a brothel. Although it is a hypothetical exercise the aim is to make our projects as realistic as possible in preparation for the real world after college. I therefore need to collect as much information as I can on my subject in order to form a thesis to support my scheme.That is ILEA—[HON. MEMBERS: "Tell us another.]" No doubt there are many others.
Not only does ILEA vastly overspend in the wrong ways, its children and schools—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Bowis
The answer is clear. In the long run—I hope it will not be too long—we must remove our children and students from ILEA's care. In the meantime, we must certainly pass this modest measure to ensure that costs to inner London are reduced, and to direct spending on education to the chalk face — to the children and students—because that is where it belongs.
§ 11.8 pm
§ Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)
The hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) complained about education to avoid stereotypes; he might have benefited from that himself.
We should not approach this subject by giving silly examples, such as those that the hon. Gentleman produced. Even if the letter he read out was serious, which is highly unlikely, the hon. Gentleman should have addressed the real issue. ILEA is an education authority in inner London, with the most deprived concentration of population in the country. It is the largest education authority in Europe, and everyone in it accepts that improvements can be made. No one is uncritical of it. But what will be the effect of this financial order?
466 Although there is certainly room for improvement in ILEA, the Secretary of State cannot say that it is the worst authority in the country. Some Tory education authorities have academic standards below those of ILEA. The Secretary of State says ILEA costs a great deal. As the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) told him, the Metropolitan police, with the lowest clear-up rate in London, costs relatively more. Inner London's health services, with the longest waiting lists, cost more. They are run by political appointees of the Government, not of the Opposition. Personal social services in inner London cost much more than those of any other local authority.
The authority, with a budget of £1,000 million, is being asked to lop off about £100 million. With no argument to back up his case, the Secretary of State is saying that that can be easily accepted. Even the right hon. Gentleman's party colleagues yesterday, in the building across the river, did not vote for his proposal. They abstained when it came to it because the people at the chalk face, as the hon. Member for Battersea described them, Tories elected to run education in London, elected directly by the people of London—the parents and ratepayers—know that LEA cannot cope with that cut and properly survive.
The reality is that £120 million must be lost. Seventy per cent. of costs are staff and 14 per cent. are fixed. ILEA is already committed to sums for this school year. Many savings could not begin until next year. Cuts take time to work through. It is an impossible requirement. Last year the Secretary of State said that a 7 per cent. cut would be a tough target to meet, yet this year, on top of that, there is this further cut.
ILEA has not said that it will not talk or is not willing to make savings. It has said that it accepts that the Conservatives, with their 41 per cent., won a general election, even though in inner London they won hardly any seats. It has said that it accepts that it must reduce its budget. —[Interruption.] The Conservatives may have won one seat, but the majority of ILEA members are not Tories. As hon. Members well know, the vast majority belong to the Opposition. The electors of inner London, who voted specifically for this education authority, by an overwhelming majority gave that trust to members of a party other than the Secretary of State's.
The reality is that there will be cuts not just in administrators but in people at the chalk face. That is why the hon. Member for Battersea should begin facing up to where the cuts will fall. They will fall on the children of the families whom he represents. They will fall on the students who hope to continue their education after 16. They will fall on people who have trained to be teachers and will no longer to be able to be teachers in the part of Britain that most needs qualified and competent teachers. They will fall on people who at the moment benefit from what is recognised as one of the best special education local authorities, not just in Britain but in the western world. The cuts will fall on the mentally and physically handicapped, who will not be able to have the resources they need and on the nursery schools for single-parent families that will not be opened. The hon. Member for Battersea deceives himself if he thinks that the people of inner London do not value education more than that.
Worse than that is the fact that the Secretary of State proposes that education should go to the boroughs—the same boroughs that he, when he was Secretary of State for the Environment, regularly condemned. He will be 467 handing on to them a rundown education service, starved of funds, with a lack of repair, staff and commitment. He knows what happened when the GLC was abolished. Long before it went, senior officers left. Long before it went, many people jumped ship for the sake of their careers. At the end, the GLC no longer had key officers.
As has been made clear, the rate has been set by the Government with no suggestion from the Secretary of State of where the cuts should be made. He has suggested no budget but has simply said that ILEA must accept this cut.
The esimates do not even agree with the estimates from officials of ILEA of what is required and committed. There has been no proper consultation, in spite of what the Secretary of State would say.
Matters are even worse in London — for three reasons. First, in London three quarters of the money comes from the business rate, none of it from the taxpayer. The ratepayers have paid for the lot.
The domestic rate in London for ILEA has gone up only 78p per week in the past seven years. That is not a massive increase charged to the ratepayers. That is not vast additional expenditure. I wonder whether the ratepayers in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mrs. Barnes) or in my constituency would consider that that was too much to pay for the education service in inner London.
In ILEA there has been a 45–1 per cent. increase in spending between 1981–82 and 1987–88. In the whole of England, including ILEA, spending has increased by 45.3 per cent. Spending in ILEA has increased less than the average for the whole country, in spite of the need and the deprivation and in spite of the fact that some primary schools in my constituency have 28 different mother tongues. Comparatively, ILEA spends less than other services.
ILEA has been funded by the ratepayers. The Secretary of State is determined not to listen to the facts. That is why he received no support in county hall yesterday. Perhaps the red sky on the south bank, sadly because of the fire at St. Thomas's hospital, symbolises Baker's delight at the demise of education in London.
The Secretary of State once was committed to education. Now he is committed to undermining it for the people who most need it. It is disgraceful. The order will be resisted even if we cannot win the vote.
§ Mr. George Walden (Buckingham)
I wish to do something that has been almost unprecedented in the Chamber recently and base my comments on some of the remarks made by Opposition Members. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) stressed that ILEA is a democratically elected authority. The hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) considered that Mr. Neil Fletcher has a one-man moral majority—I believe that the hon. Gentleman said that he had moral force. The hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) stressed that the funding of ILEA and its abolition were inseparable. The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) asked whether there would be any extra expenditure by ILEA in the next year— —[Interruption.] I am trying to help hon. Members by summarising their cases.
468 I shall draw together those points. We must remember that the Government, Conservative Members and Opposition Members share one fundamental problem about London — parental apathy. That is linked with what has been said by Opposition Members. The hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch spoke about the moral force of Mr. Neil Fletcher. I remind the hon. Gentleman that the turnout in those direct elections was 44–04 per cent. of the population. In the hon. Gentleman's own constituency the turnout was 33.89 per cent. What sort of representation, moral force and democracy can be based on a turnout which, in my opinion, is not even a quorum of the electorate? What does that mean? It means that coupled with the degeneration of the Labour party —some obvious examples of that are present—ILEA is run by a doubly unrepresentative clique of people. That is not the fault of the Labour party—
§ Mr. Walden
No, I shall finish my point. It is the fault of parental apathy. Over the next few years, ILEA, because it is an unscrupulous organisation, will need extra money to spend on campaigning to perpetuate itself in the face of the Government's decision to abolish it. The Government must use every legitimate means at their disposal to communicate directly with parents in inner London and explain to them not the points that will be better explained by The Sun and other newspapers, or spending details, but the facts about education standards.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State should let parents know about the relative underachievement of ILEA compared with the rest of the country. He should also let them know how disgruntled London employers are about school leavers who are not fit to hold down jobs. He should also let London parents know, in simple, understandable language, that comparisons can be made between the underachievement of ILEA, after account has been taken of all the social problems with which it has to deal, and comparable European countries that provide a better education service.
Unless the Government show imagination during the wind-up period, the people of London will not agree with the Government's decision. They have been conditioned to accept low education standards. Unless the Government do their best to win the propaganda war, they will have a difficult political dispute on their hands. The Opposition will do their best to draw attention away from the central point of low education standards. That has already happened. Mr. Neil Fletcher is no longer speaking as he did two months ago. He no longer talks about the inadequacies of ILEA schools; he talks about how wonderful they are. I advise my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science to recognise that that will be the key to the winding up of ILEA.
§ Mr. Paddy Ashdown (Yeovil)
The hon. Gentleman lectured us a few moments ago about the need to put the Government's case to London parents. There is to be a survey of the opinion of those parents. If their opinion is massively in favour of the retention of ILEA, would the hon. Gentleman recommend the Government to scrap this measure, or would he advise them to override the opinion of London parents?
§ Mr. Walden
I have already answered the hon. Gentleman's question. I made it clear that the 469 Government will have a political problem on their hands in trying to convince some London parents. There is educational apathy in London, which is reflected in the figures that I have given. I could give more. This is not necessarily a party political point. An analysis of the turnout in the different boroughs shows that the opinion of London parents is not related directly to prosperity. It is a social problem that is caused by educational apathy. If the hon. Gentleman will listen for a moment, he will be completely convinced by what I have to say.
I am suggesting that the Government ought to try to overcome that apathy. There are people who live in this capital city who are culturally accustomed to low expectations and whose attitude has been hardened by ILEA's policies. I thought that the hon. Gentleman would have understood, from what I said earlier, that that was my point.
§ Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)
I suppose that I should declare an interest, in that I went to a London county council school, my children went to an ILEA comprehensive school, my wife works for an ILEA school and I have been the governor of several ILEA schools. I wish that Conservative Members, especially Ministers, would declare their interests in these matters. If they were to declare the kind of schools which they attended and to which most want to send their children, we would understand the gulf between the thinking of the people who impose this order on ILEA and that of those who have to suffer its effects.
The hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) was asked about the design of a brothel. I do not know why the letter was written in those terms, but if such a letter were addressed to the Secretary of State, it would invite his opinion on the design of a slaughterhouse. He should hang his head in shame. He comes to the House with a view to decimating ILEA, which is what he is doing in the order by taking away one tenth of its resources, and next week he will propose to the House ILEA's destruction.
The Secretary of State came to the House with no enthusiasm for ways in which ILEA could be reorganised to accept the 10 per cent. cut, but with a vicious enthusiasm for the cut without any constructive suggestions on the way in which it should be imposed. There will be a cut across the board. We have heard how difficult it is to impose a 10 per cent. cut in expenditure in the middle of the school year. It will mean a cut of 4,400 in the number of teachers. It will mean the closing of 100 schools and the cutting of 4,800 support staff or, put another way, the abolition of every second nursery school place in inner London. That is the nature of what the Secretary of State asks us to approve.
The Secretary of State is not asking ILEA to slim down. He is asking it to amputate a limb, because he is asking for cuts that are so sudden and deep in their surgery that they are bound to cause irreparable harm to ILEA through shedding staff, depleting the number of teachers and causing redundancies. The only thing in which the right hon. Gentleman took pride was the £15 million allocated not for employing staff but for sacking them.
The order represents an act of class warfare. It is an act of class warfare in the punning sense of the word, in that it attacks the child in the class. It is also an attack by the privileged, the affluent and those who, on the whole, have no experience in ILEA against those who have to struggle 470 against the drudgery of poor, unskilled jobs and the even worse drudgery of unemployment. The Secretary of State is asking my constituency in the borough of Lambeth not only for cuts in ILEA but for cuts by the local authority.
What have the Government done to us? They have given us 25 per cent. male unemployment—I use the expression "male unemployment" because it is an effective measure of unemployment across the board—and taken away tax revenue by increasing rates, VAT and insurance contributions. The Government have taken away our jobs, homes and housing benefits. Act after Act of this Government has increased the deprivation and despondency in and instability of the inner city area that I represent.
Many children in the outer London boroughs who are leaving school face a 4 or 5 per cent. possibility of unemployment. In inner city areas such as mine, because of the background and tradition of housing, deprivation and poverty, the risk of unemployment for youngsters is probably sometimes as high as 50 per cent. There is only one way to climb the ladder and escape from the cage of the inner city—usually through the chance of education. Conservative Members, from the Secretary of State downwards, try to convince us that the way to improve the chances for those children to escape is to cut resources, not increase them.
§ Mr. Fraser
If the hon. Gentleman can defend Dulwich, I shall defend Brixton. This is a bitter attack by the privileged on the deprived, which we shall vole clown tonight.
§ Mr. Gerald Bowden (Dulwich)
Opposition Members should recognise that for the past 10 years the Conservative group on ILEA has presented an alternative budget, costed by the finance staff of ILEA, which showed a rational reduction in expenditure. If that had been accepted, ILEA would not now have to face these rather harmful cuts. The suggestions would have reduced the support staff and the extravagant and cost-inefficient services that back up ILEA—but not to the benefit of children — and would not have reduced the efficient delivery of an education service. Whenever a Socialist authority is faced with the need to make a cut it looks at the broom and cuts the bristles—the working edge—when it could take two inches off the handle.
§ Ms. Mildred Gordon (Bow and Poplar)
The Inner London education authority has been accused of being a high-spending authority. As hon. Members have already pointed out, London is a special case. The Metropolitan police spends double the amount that other police authorities spend to less effect. The social services too spend more. But I want to ask Conservative Members how much per child they pay for their children's education in private schools. The most grubby little private school with unqualified teachers is charging £2,000 per head, and public schools charge double that. The other day I telephoned a tutorial college to which people from all over the country—and, indeed, from other countries—send their children for intensive coaching if they fail their 0 and A-levels. That costs £8,000 to £10,000 a year. Therefore, I reckon that we are getting very good value from ILEA.
ILEA has been attacked over its examination results. A recent survey by Sheffield university showed that ILEA's examination results are on a par with those of many other authorities. And examinations are only one side of the picture. We get a high-quality comprehensive service from ILEA. Adult education and education for special needs are used and much appreciated by adults and children living within a wide radius of London. I get letters from constituents who have never had the chance of further education who want to know what is to happen to Morley college. I would like the Minister to answer that, because people are very worried about that centre of excellence.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Walden) has made his speech. It is clear that the hon. Lady does not intend to give way and time is now getting very short.
§ Ms. Gordon
The research and development carried out by ILEA has been used all over the country. Its initiatives include the Hargreaves report on secondary education, the Thomas report on primary education and the Fish report on special needs. Those reports were all valuable additions to educational knowledge and are useful to educationists throughout the country.
When we talk about standards of education we cannot ignore social conditions. The ILEA serves seven out of the 10 most deprived areas in Britain. I was a teacher and I know about children who live in overcrowded conditions and who sleep, sometimes six to a room, head to feet on the floor. They do not get a decent night's sleep and however well money is spent, however good the teachers and the standard of education, it is hard for children to learn when they are tired. Many children have no quiet place in which to do their homework. That is another disadvantage that the Secretary of State is not taking into account.
Many children have no books at home and do not get a head start. —[Interruption.] Conservative Members should listen to this because it is important. Children often come to school in the morning without food having been put in their mouths. Government policies mean that for many families the money runs out halfway through the 472 week. Thousands of teachers in London and in other parts of the country keep a packet of biscuits in the cupboard. When the children come to school in the morning the teachers give them milk and a couple of biscuits because they know that the children are hungry.
ILEA should be given more than the amount of money needed to keep up with inflation. The money should not be cut. More should be provided and school breakfasts should be given to children who need them. That is what we should have in a civilised society. The Government will please their friends in the City of Westminster by keeping down rates at the expense of London's underprivileged children. They are using the same shameful tactics on ILEA as they are using on the Health Service. They are using the tactic of starving an organisation of resources in order to reduce services with which the public have been more than satisfied. If they reduce those services to a standstill, it will pave the way for the destruction of the Health Service and the abolition of ILEA.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mrs. Angela Rumbold)
Year after year the Inner London education authority has claimed that the sky will fall as a result of precept limitation. I should like to quote from an ILEA committee paper that gives advice from ILEA's finance director and its education director about the prospects for balancing the budget given the precept maximum that my right hon. Friend was about to set. It says:Although on paper such a budget might balance, in practice it would rely on such a combination of financially favourable factors as to be incapable of achievement.That paper is dated 9 January 1987. The budget in 1987–88 was balanced. The issue of overspending was barely tackled by ILEA. Its spending is outstandingly high relative both to the grant-related expenditure and in comparison to any other authority.
However, in determining the expenditure level and the precept maximum my right hon. Friend took into account all the factors relevant to the authority's circumstances. He listened to oral and written representations by ILEA on both matters and on each occasion made a positive response. Opposition Members have accused him of being vindictive, but that is not the action of a vindictive man.
The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) took issue with my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) because my hon. Friend quoted from a letter which he had received from a young lady studying at the North London polytechnic and designing a brothel. Today I went to the polytechnic to make a speech to the students and this young woman showed me her design for a brothel. My only sadness was that I was not competent to advise her on whether it was a good or bad design.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
Will the Minister give way? Mrs. Rumbold: ILEA's assessment of the reduction in spending required in 1988–89—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The House expects the Front Benches to set a good example. Mrs. Rumbold.
§ Mr. Soley
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. On several occasions recently members of the Government have made allegations which have turned out to be untrue. Is it in order for the Minister to make an allegation which is probably untrue and then not to give way to have it tested in the normal way of this House?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. That is a matter for argument, not a point of order for the Chair. I call Mrs. Rumbold.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. This is an important debate. There are strong feelings about the matter and we have only a few minutes left. I hope that hon. Members will give the Minister an opportunity to answer the debate properly.
§ Mr. Bennett
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of State has made a serious accusation against ILEA. She should answer this simple question: was that course financed by ILEA or was it financed by the Government?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
It is for the Minister to say what she wishes, and she has only two minutes in which to do it.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
Opposition Members should listen to the Government's arguments and the reasons why they set such a precept for the Inner London education authority. There is a justification for it. The authority's assessment of required spending has come down from 15 per cent. to about 11.4 per cent. as the process continued, partly as a response to my right hon. Friend's representations. The reduction for which we are asking need not be as steep as ILEA claims, but much will depend upon the way in which the authority controls its upward pressures on spending.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State took full account of the authority's estimate of its base line for spending in 1988–89 in reaching his decision on expenditure and on the precept maximum. Its estimates were among the matters in front of him when he increased the proposed precept to allow ILEA to raise an additional £15 million—
§ It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted Business).
§ The House divided: Ayes 285, Noes 153.476
|Division No. 179]||[11.45 pm|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Fox, Sir Marcus|
|Allason, Rupert||Franks, Cecil|
|Amess, David||Freeman, Roger|
|Amos, Alan||French, Douglas|
|Arbuthnot, James||Gale, Roger|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Gardiner, George|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Atkins, Robert||Gill, Christopher|
|Atkinson, David||Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Baldry, Tony||Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles|
|Batiste, Spencer||Gorman, Mrs Teresa|
|Bellingham, Henry||Gorst, John|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Gow, Ian|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Green way, Harry (Ealing N)|
|Body, Sir Richard||Greenway, John (Rydale)|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Gregory, Conal|
|Boswell, Tim||Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Grist, Ian|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Ground, Patrick|
|Bowis, John||Grylls, Michael|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes||Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Brazier, Julian||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Bright, Graham||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Hannam, John|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Harris, David|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Hawkins, Christopher|
|Burns, Simon||Hayes, Jerry|
|Burt, Alistair||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney|
|Butcher, John||Hayward, Robert|
|Butler, Chris||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Butterfill, John||Heddle, John|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)|
|Carrington, Matthew||Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)|
|Carttiss, Michael||Hill, James|
|Cash, William||Hind, Kenneth|
|Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Hordern, Sir Peter|
|Chapman, Sydney||Howard, Michael|
|Chope, Christopher||Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)|
|Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)||Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)|
|Colvin, Michael||Hunt, David (Wirral W)|
|Conway, Derek||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Hunter, Andrew|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Cope, John||Irvine, Michael|
|Couchman, James||Jack, Michael|
|Cran, James||Janman, Timothy|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Jessel, Toby|
|Curry, David||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||Jones, Robert B (Herts W)|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine|
|Day, Stephen||Key, Robert|
|Dorrell, Stephen||King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Dover, Den||Kirkhope, Timothy|
|Dunn, Bob||Knapman, Roger|
|Durant, Tony||Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Knowles, Michael|
|Evennett, David||Knox, David|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Lamont, Rt Hon Norman|
|Fallon, Michael||Lang, Ian|
|Farr, Sir John||Latham, Michael|
|Favell, Tony||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Fenner, Dame Peggy||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)|
|Forman, Nigel||Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Lightbown, David|
|Forth, Eric||Lilley, Peter|
|Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Lord, Michael||Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)|
|Luce, Rt Hon Richard||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|McCrindle, Robert||Shersby, Michael|
|Macfarlane, Sir Neil||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Maclean, David||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Speed, Keith|
|McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)||Speller, Tony|
|McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)||Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)|
|Major, Rt Hon John||Squire, Robin|
|Malins, Humfrey||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Mans, Keith||Steen, Anthony|
|Maples, John||Stern, Michael|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Stevens, Lewis|
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)|
|Mellor, David||Stokes, John|
|Mills, Iain||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)||Sumberg, David|
|Mitchell, David (Hants NW)||Summerson, Hugo|
|Moate, Roger||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Montgomery, Sir Fergus||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Morris, M (N'hampton S)||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Morrison, Hon P (Chester)||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Moss, Malcolm||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Nelson, Anthony||Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)|
|Neubert, Michael||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Newton, Rt Hon Tony||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Thurnham, Peter|
|Nicholson, David (Taunton)||Townend, John (Brldlington)|
|Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Page, Richard||Tracey, Richard|
|Paice, James||Tredinnick, David|
|Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil||Trippier, David|
|Patnick, Irvine||Trotter, Neville|
|Patten, Chris (Bath)||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Patten, John (Oxford W)||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Pawsey, James||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Porter, Barry (Wirral S)||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Porter, David (Waveney)||Walden, George|
|Portillo, Michael||Waller, Gary|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Walters, Dennis|
|Price, Sir David||Ward, John|
|Rattan, Keith||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Warren, Kenneth|
|Rathbone, Tim||Watts, John|
|Redwood, John||Wells, Bowen|
|Renton, Tim||Wheeler, John|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Whitney, Ray|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Widdecombe, Miss Ann|
|Riddick, Graham||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Ridsdale, Sir Julian||Wilshire, David|
|Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Wolfson, Mark|
|Rossi, Sir Hugh||Wood, Timothy|
|Rowe, Andrew||Woodcock, Mike|
|Rumbold, Mrs Angela||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Ryder, Richard||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Sainsbury, Hon Tim|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Scott, Nicholas||Mr. Robert Boscawen and|
|Shaw, David (Dover)||Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd.|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Beith, A. J.|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)|
|Allen, Graham||Bermingham, Gerald|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Blair, Tony|
|Armstrong, Ms Hilary||Blunkett, David|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Boateng, Paul|
|Ashton, Joe||Boyes, Roland|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Bradley, Keith|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)|
|Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)||Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)|
|Battle, John||Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)|
|Buckley, George||McAllion, John|
|Callaghan, Jim||McAvoy, Tom|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||McCartney, Ian|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||Macdonald, Calum|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||McFall, John|
|Clay, Bob||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Clelland, David||McLeish, Henry|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Madden, Max|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Marek, Dr John|
|Cousins, Jim||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Cox, Tom||Martin, Michael (Springburn)|
|Cryer, Bob||Meacher, Michael|
|Cummings, J.||Meale, Alan|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Michael, Alun|
|Cunningham, Dr John||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heelsy)|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Darling, Alistair||Morgan, Rhodri|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Morley, Elliott|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)||Mowlam, Marjorie|
|Dixon, Don||Mullin, Chris|
|Dobson, Frank||Murphy, Paul|
|Doran, Frank||Nellist, Dave|
|Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)||O'Neill, Martin|
|Faulds, Andrew||Patchett, Terry|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Pendry, Tom|
|Fisher, Mark||Pike, Peter|
|Flannery, Martin||Prescott, John|
|Flynn, Paul||Primarolo, Ms Dawn|
|Foster, Derek||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Fraser, John||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Fyfe, Mrs Maria||Robertson, George|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Robinson, Geoffrey|
|Garrett, John (Norwich South)||Rooker, Jeff|
|Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)||Rowlands, Ted|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Ruddock, Ms Joan|
|Gordon, Ms Mildred||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)|
|Haynes, Frank||Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Snape, Peter|
|Henderson, Douglas||Soley, Clive|
|Hinchliffe, David||Spearing, Nigel|
|Holland, Stuart||Steinberg, Gerald|
|Home Robertson, John||Stott, Roger|
|Hood, James||Strang, Gavin|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Howells, Geraint||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Hoyle, Doug||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)||Wall, Pat|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Wallace, James|
|Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)||Walley, Ms Joan|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Illsley, Eric||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Janner, Greville||Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)||Wilson, Brian|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Kennedy, Charles||Worthington, Anthony|
|Lamond, James||Wray, James|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Lewis, Terry||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Livsey, Richard||Mr. Ken Eastham and|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Mr. Ray Powell.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That the draft Precept Limitation (Prescribed Maximum) (Inner London Education Authority) Order 1988, which was laid before this House on 29th January, be approved.