HC Deb 20 July 1988 vol 137 cc1215-35

Lords amendment: No. 335, in page 139, line 25, leave out from beginning to end of line 44.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 206, 339, 405 and 408.

Mr. Lang

Lords amendments Nos. 335, 339, 408 and 206 are drafting amendments to the structure of schedule 15, which presently consists of two parts. Part I contains amendments relating to England and Wales and part II refers to amendments relating to Scotland. However, several of the Acts amended in part I apply to Great Britain, and therefore it is preferable that a third part of the schedule should contain the amendments to those Acts. That is achieved by Lords amendment No. 408. No policy change is involved.

Lords amendment No. 405 is a technical one intended to clarify the wording of the power under the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987 to enable the Secretary of State to provide a grant "safety net" for local authorities so that the changes to the grant system that have been brought forward can be phased in rather than for the full effect to be felt within a single year. Again, no change of policy is involved.

Mr. Allan Stewart (Eastwood)

I do not wish to detain the House long because there are a number of other matters that we wish to consider.

If the amendments are purely technical, why are they being introduced at this stage? Why were they not spotted earlier? I understand that amendments Nos. 335 and 339 are taking sections of the Commonwealth Secretariat Act 1966 and the International Organisations Act 1968, as well as others, out of the Bill. Those sections are being replaced by amendments Nos. 405 and 408. Will my hon. Friend confirm that that is so?

I understand that the International Organisations Act 1968 relates to diplomatic exemption. That is a controversial matter in terms of taxation and criminal charges. Widespread concern has been expressed about those issues. How many organisations are covered by the International Organisations Act, which is the subject of the amendments?

Mr. Lang

With regard to amendments Nos. 335, 339, 408 and 206, I have already made it clear that part I of the schedule contains amendments relating to England and Wales and part II contains amendments relating to Scotland. Some of the Acts that are amended by part I apply to Great Britain and, as a result of the progress of the Bill through the House, it has been considered appropriate to redesign the schedule to clarify what applies to Great Britain and what applies to Scotland. If my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) can contain himself, we shall cover diplomatic exemptions in a later amendment.

Amendment No. 405 relates to the clarification of the safety net provision. Paragraph 2(4) was included in the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987 to allow the Secretary of State to provide a grant safety net. We were concerned that the changes in grant distribution among local authorities as a result of that Act—although not large in comparison with the total sums involved—might cause short-term problems for some authorities and obstruct a smooth transition to the new system of local government finance.

The intention is to allow the Secretary of State to phase the shifts in grant entitlement rather than to have a sudden change. The original paragraph 2(4) was confusing in that context. For the sake of clarification, we are proposing amendment No. 405. I hope that my hon. Friend will find that it makes the position much clearer.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 335 and 340 agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Lords amendments Nos. 336 to 339 agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 341, in page 141, line 8, leave out from "prescribe" to end of line 9 and insert—

  1. "(a) the manner in which and the principles, rules and considerations by reference to which the net annual value of lands and heritages is to be arrived at under subsection (8) above;
  2. (b) that the principles, rules and considerations referred to in paragraph (a) above or any of them shall be such as are determined in accordance with the regulations."

Mr. Lang

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 342 to 344, 346 to 349, 351 to 354, 409 and 410.

11 pm

Mr. Lang

The amendments deal with several aspects of rating and valuation. Amendment No. 341 provides power to prescribe principles of valuation, and it may be helpful to explain the purpose of the provision and outline the area in which the regulation-making power may be used.

The amendment provides a means whereby the Secretary of State may, if necessary, introduce measures further to harmonise valuation practice north and south of the border. We do not envisage that wide use will be made of the power, but there is one area of difference which requires to be brought into line before the 1990 revaluation and the power provided by amendment No. 341 may be used to achieve this. It is the decapitalisation rate used in the contractor's principle valuations in Scotland and the contractor's test valuations in England and Wales.

Amendments Nos. 342 and 343 deal with provisions for de-rating. Amendment No. 342 deals with the exemption from rating of certain church buildings. The broad intention underlying the amendment is to provide de-rating on certain buildings used for church administration, and there will be consultation before the relevant order-making powers are used. Amendment No. 343 deals with exemption of certain salmon fishings from ratings—[Interruption.]—on the same basis as the equivalent provisions for England and Wales. It prevents the element of double taxation which could arise in circumstances where fisheries board assessments are payable as well as local authority rates.

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

If no district fisheries board rate is assessed. will normal rates be paid by the salmon proprietor?

Mr. Lang

That will be the case. Our expectation is that the number of district fisheries boards will probably increase considerably, although special features apply to the Tweed and the Esk which may be of particular interest to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. John Home Robertson (East Lothian)

As the only representative of the impoverished aristocracy, may I say that we recognise that the Government are making an important concesssion to a needy group? Can the Minister give us some idea of the value of this concession and how many people will take advantage of it? Will they include people such as the Duke of Roxburghe? Can it be that this concession is being made on the same night as the Government resisted an amendment to benefit disabled people?

Mr. Lang

I cannot tell the hon. Gentleman the number of people involved, but I shall write to him if he wishes to pursue that matter. We estimate that the loss of income to local authorities may be in the region of £1 million to £1.5 million.

Amendment No. 344 increases the level of mandatory rate relief for charities to 80 per cent., in line with the increase proposed for England and Wales.

Amendments Nos. 348 and 349 are part of the same measure, and I shall explain them together. Amendment No. 348 requires a ratepayer to pay his rates bill in full, pending the outcome of his appeal, which is in line with the existing provisions in England and Wales. If the appeal is successful, amendment No. 349 requires the rating authority not only to repay the amount overpaid, but, where that amount is in excess of a prescribed limit, interest on that amount at a rate prescribed by the Secretary of State. The remaining amendments are technical.

Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)

It is late and many people are tired, but this is not a routine measure. The Minister has plodded through his notes haplessly with his characteristic elan and spirit, but for all that we should pause and consider what we are about.

I believe—and I speak for many of my hon. Friends—that this is not a routine or ritual occasion, but a serious one. Often in this Chamber there is anger and sometimes it is ritualised. It is often contained and formalised within the rules of the House. Tonight there is a very real edge to anger and discontent, because we are seeing in this thicket of amendments an abuse of process and contempt for the House that is made no more palatable by the fact that English colleagues have been treated equally badly.

We have in this group of amendments and in the others that we will be considering in the very short time available perhaps 70 or more amendments. Some may be technical, but others will raise matters of substance and of acute public interest. There is absolutely no way in which the House can look at them sensibly, in depth or in the sort of detail that the people of Scotland would expect of us when we consider a matter of this importance. The group that we are discussing deals with a whole range of matters—for example, the principles of valuation, harmonisation, the rating of charitable premises and, as the Minister has said, the concession to the owners of salmon fisheries.

The debate on salmon fisheries alone would take many hours in Committee, perhaps many sittings, yet we have been placed in the position where at the most we have a little more than an hour to consider this group. However, if we were to take that time, it would be at the cost of not debating a whole range of important amendments dealing with, for example, exemptions, joint and several liability, the severely mentally impaired and other matters which I know many hon. Members feel strongly about. It is a disgrace. That word is often used very lightly in political debates, but I use it with its full weight—it is a disgrace in every sense that we have been placed in this position. I am entitled—no, more than entitled, I have a duty—to protest about what is happening.

These amendments have not been debated before in the House. They were not debated in the Committee that considered the Bill, although a number of my colleagues were members of that Committee specifically so that they could deal with any amendments to the Scottish legislation. The amendments were introduced through the back door. They have been squeezed in almost by stealth and they make a mockery of any attempt at proper parliamentary scrutiny. Conducting our business in this manner makes a farce of our proceedings.

Mr. George Foulkes (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley)

And of the glorious revolution.

Mr. Dewar

My hon. Friend mentions the revolution of 1688. Ministers were in serried ranks upon the golden carpets this morning hearing about our essential liberties, while in the House of Commons we are proceeding in a way that makes a mockery of those very same liberties.

There has been a good deal of debate about the concession on salmon fisheries, and I will take that as an example—not because it is the most important, but because it is reasonably accessible even within this group of amendments. The Minister has said that about £1.5 million a year is being handed out to a very special and limited group of Scotsmen, Englishmen and foreign nationals of every description—a ragbag of humanity, whose only similarity is that they could not possibly be considered as needy.

The explanation for this concession comes in the note on amendments, which says that the amendments were introduced In fulfilment of undertakings given to Lord Moran and to Lord Kimball in another place—and I remember Mr. Marcus Kimball as he then was. We do not know the circumstances in which those undertakings were given, but I know that Ministers could not nave any idea of the opinion of the elected representatives of Scotland or other hon. Members, because amendments were not debated in the House, and cannot be properly debated tonight.

We are told that the amendments are being introduced to provide that salmon fishings which are subject to a fishery rate shall no longer be subject to a local authority rate".

Mr. Ernie Ross (Dundee, West)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I know that Conservative Members do not take this seriously, but is it in order for one hon. Member to be resting her eyes, and for another to be reading a novel with his feet up during the debate on this important group of amendments?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

I always assume that when hon. Members are reading they are preparing themselves for the debate.

Mr. Dewar

Your legendary reputation as an optimist will be reinforced by that assumption, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

We are told: salmon fishings which are subject to a fishery rate shall no longer be subject to a local authority rate, thus avoiding an element of what is arguably double taxation. In Scotland fishery rates are payable to district fishery boards constituted by the proprietors of fishing rights on particular rivers. Using a voluntary organisation constituted by the proprietors as a reason for exempting hereditaments from local rates is an extremely suspect principle. We shall not have time to probe and discuss this proposal, just as we shall not have time to probe and discuss many more important proposals, to which we might have been able to come, given decent time to work our way through the massive list of Lords amendments.

Mr. Allan Stewart

Will the hon. Gentleman concede that he and his colleagues would have had 30 minutes more in which to debate these matters if the Labour party had not insisted on two wholly unnecessary Divisions on the last group of amendments?

Mr. Dewar

That is insulting, and the smirk on the hon. Gentleman's face makes the point. He is suggesting that we could have had 30 minutes more to debate this massive group of amendments if we had not voted against some offensive, unpleasant and unwanted amendments. If that is his idea of how to expedite business in a democracy, I can only say that he is in the right party.

I recognise that many of my hon. Friends, and hon. Members in other parties, will want to speak to these amendments. I am glad to see that the Secretary of State is here, so that I can tell him that these proceedings reflect no credit on this Parliament and make it no easier to work the business of the House. They are bad for Parliament and for the democratic process. The House depends on a delicate balance. Its rules are often illogical and sometimes indefensible, but they are workable only when there is trust and Governments recognise the rights of the Opposition and of the electorate in Scotland. If the tacit agreement is to operate, it must not be put under the strain that this charade and farce are putting on our business.

We are concerned not only about this exercise tonight. I cannot go into the details, but I remind the House that this is just another chapter in a sorry story. We have no Select Committee—it was killed off because hon. Members like the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) have neither the commitment nor the sense of duty to serve upon it. They have shown a disgraceful abdication of responsibility.

Even during the negotiations on the Scottish Grand Committee debates, the Government showed no enthusiasm or willingness to go to Edinburgh to debate matters of central importance to Scotland. There was a perverse refusal at the end of the day. Now the Government are bulldozing through this tangled mass of amendments without giving the House the opportunity to debate them. That is a recipe for confusion, and it will bring down on the Government not only our anger but the anger of anybody who has at heart the interest of good government and the tidy creation of the body of the law in Scotland.

This may be a small point, but it is worth making. I hope that the Minister will at least be able to give an assurance that a new copy of the Scottish Act will be published soon, one that incorporates this extraordinary confusion of changes that we shall rubber-stamp in the next hour or so. It would be ridiculous if those who wanted to check on the law of Scotland could not do so in one Act, and had to chase their way through the labyrinth of English legislation.

The whole exercise is cynical and indefensible. Ministers often lecture us about the law, our duty and the constitution of the kingdom. But they, too, must recognise that they have responsibilities, and in flouting them, as they have tonight, they become the enemies of the very principles that they so often preach. I believe in making systems work. There is no secret in that. I talk unashamedly and as an individual. Opposition Members have had a lively debate about the best way forward. I advise Ministers that bully-boy tactics affect the balance of that argument for me and for many of my colleagues. If Ministers continue in that way, they do so at their peril.

11.15 pm

The amendments do nothing to alter or soften the bleak outline of the poll tax in Scotland. There is no attempt to tackle the basic objections to a regressive tax, with all its built-in administrative problems. Perhaps there is a tacit admission that it would be impossible to tackle the problems. The surgery would be so radical that it would be better to scrap the whole ludicrous exercise. We should like to do that. We know that we cannot do it tonight, but we certainly intend to continue the fight against a form of taxation that is unwanted and unworkable. We shall continue to argue the case for sanity and social justice. We shall do so responsibly and persistently, because that is what we were elected to do. I again warn the Government that if they continue to treat Opposition Members, the House and Scotland in that way, they will inevitably bring about friction and problems that they will regret.

Sir Hector Monro (Dumfries)

I do not know what the past 20 minutes have added to the debate. They seemed to consist of a tirade. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) talked about bully-boy tactics. If he had not used such tactics last November, we might well have a Select Committee. [Interruption.] That is what I said. If the hon. Member for Garscadden had not started dictating to Conservative Members about who should be a member of the Committee, we would probably have a Committee. The fact that we do not have one is entirely the fault of the Labour party.

I shall talk for a short while about salmon. I am quite open about the subject. I have no salmon fishing interest to declare, except the rights of my constituents and all others in Scotland who are interested in tourism and developing fishing for the many people who enjoy the most important recreation in the country.

Mr. Maxton

Many Opposition Members find it sickening that the hon. Gentleman, who went through the Division Lobby to ensure that blind and disabled people pay the poll tax is now supporting fishermen who can well afford to pay every tax that they must pay.

Sir Hector Monro

The hon. Gentleman is entitled to his view. There are many less well-off people in my constituency, and there are many such people in Scotland, who enjoy fishing at a cost of so much a day. The fact that it will be less expensive in future should be welcomed by all hon. Members, particularly those hon. Members who are interested in one of the largest recreational sports in the country.

Mr. John Home Robertson

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Sir Hector Monro

I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman. His constituency contains the largest stretch of the most important river in Scotland. He should know quite a lot about the subject that I am about to discuss.

Mr. Home Robertson

For that reason, will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Sir Hector Monro


I wish to refer to a subject about which the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) recently blatantly misinformed the Scottish Grand Committee. He tried to bring in the issue of rating relative to district boards and local authorities. His remarks were totally out of context and were made from great ignorance. It is important to get to the heart of harmonisation of sporting rates throughout the United Kingdom. I hope that, in the not-too-distant future, all sporting rates will be harmonised, including those for shooting, which are more expensive in Scotland than in England. [Interruption.] I shall not hurry if the Opposition natter away the whole evening.

It is important to be clear about what the Government are doing. They are removing one of two forms of rates imposed on all river fishing in Scotland where a district board is in place. Those hon. Members who have taken the trouble to read the debate on the Salmon Bill in the last Parliament will know that hon. Members, especially the Opposition, argued about the importance of high-quality fishing in Scotland to develop the tourist industry and thereby Scotland's economy.

One of the main thrusts of the Bill was to encourage the formation of district boards to improve the fishing, and thereby to encourage more angling, to the benefit of those interested in that recreation. If riparian owners pay high rates to local authorities, it seems unreasonable that they should also pay substantial sums to the district boards to improve the rivers. I am glad that the Government agree that it is important to separate the two issues and that the rates paid to the local authority will be paid only if a district board is not in place. We should do all we can to encourage district boards to promote the sport of fishing, which is so popular throughout Britain and so important to Scotland's economy.

The Opposition think that only wealthy people with titles own fishing areas. My local authority, which has a Liberal majority, owns stretches of river and netting. That authority has always been keen to promote fishing. The income goes to the common good and is dispensed to all local ratepayers. It is wrong to say that all fishing is owned by the wealthy.

Many stretches of Scottish rivers are owned by local fishing associations, which for a few pounds a day or a season let out water for salmon, sea trout or brown trout fishing. That should be encouraged, and the Government's actions are very satisfactory.

I want to come to one point of detail.

Mr. Foulkes

Sit down.

Sir Hector Monro

I shall not hurry just because the hon. Gentleman moans. If he would stick to looking after his constituency instead of everyone else's, we might make some progress.

My hon. Friend the Minister mentioned the River Tweed, which has always been given special consideration through the Tweed commissioners. As my hon. Friend knows, the River Esk in my constituency is managed by the North West water authority. I want to know whether special arrangements are being made because of the changes in valuation. Will my hon. Friend ensure that, in next year's water legislation, the National Rivers Authority will take account of the River Esk?

I am glad that my hon. Friend the Minister supports Lords amendment No. 433, because it will be of great value to angling in Scotland. Many thousands of people will benefit from the fact that fishing will be cheaper and of a far higher quality in the years to come.

Mrs. Ray Michie (Argyll and Bute)

One might have thought that everything that could have been said about the poll tax legislation had already been said, yet here we are discussing yet another bunch of amendments that has been foisted upon us. We cannot possibly discuss all the amendments, but we realise that the Bill remains fundamentally offensive. It is deeply resented in Scotland and it is alien to our sense of fairness.

It was accepted that the rates system needed to be reformed, but even fair-minded Conservatives feel a deep sense of unease and shame about the Bill. Even those who will benefit and who rightly urged the Government to reform the rates never at any time believed that one unfair tax would be replaced by another that was even more regressive and unfair.

I shall deal with Lords amendment No. 343. It is ironic that certain salmon fishing; are being exempted from the rates only weeks after the Government went for the salmon net fishermen by increasing the weekly close time. We did not want the poll tax, and we certainly do not want the amendments. How will the changes affect the process in Scotland? If the Government are intent on sticking to their timetable, and to the implementation date of April 1989, the changes are coming far too late. I would suggest that the Government give up that timetable. It is all very well their introducing legislation for England and Wales, but the Scottish authorities have only nine months' preparation time left. Surely the sensible thing to do now would be at least to delay the implementation of the poll tax.

To be introducing the amendments at this late stage and allowing less than two hours debate is disgraceful. Worse still, we are debating them late at night, and at the tail end of the debate—as usual with matters concerning Scotland. That shows once again the Government's disregard for the democratic rights of the Scottish nation and its people.

The Government have behaved like a demented octopus with its tentacles flailing uncontrolled in all directions and hitting out at all in sight. They have gone for the old, the young and the less well-off. They have gone for local government, for the crofters and the Churches. They have ignored the wishes of the people of Scotland and treated them with contempt.

The Government have demeaned not only themselves but the House. The Scottish people will never again believe that justice can emanate from here.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Mr. Allan Stewart. [Interruption.]

Mr. Allan Stewart

I am sorry that hon. Members are creating such a din; I have spoken once, on the previous group of amendments, for one minute, and I do not propose to speak for more than two or three minutes on these amendments.

First, I shall respond to the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie). In my constituency there is massive support for the community charge legislation and I very much hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will not be tempted by the hon. Lady's invitation to delay its implementation. The legislation is on schedule, and Opposition Members' campaigns of non-registration and delay have failed completely. That is why they are making such a din. The hon. Member for Argyll and Bute said that there was a lack of control by the Government. I should have thought that the events of this evening showed, from an early stage, that the Opposition were totally out of control of their tactics on the Bill.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) spoke with his customary authority and expertise about the amendment relating to salmon fishings, which perhaps is the most important in this group. I wish to ask the Minister one or two questions concerning other amendments in the same group.

11.30 pm

First, will my hon. Friend say a few words about amendment No. 351, which deals with the change in the method of calculating the base month for the retail price index formula? I am not sure that I quite understand it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am sure that Opposition Members do not understand it. In any event, I do not wholly understand what amendment No. 351 will mean in practice.

Secondly, I should like my hon. Friend to comment on amendments Nos. 342 and 344. My understanding is that amendment No. 342 continues the total exemption from rates of religious bodies, such as Churches. I do not want to widen the debate, but I am not sure whether one ought in principle wholly to exclude religious bodies from the rating system. However, my understanding is that that is what amendment No. 342 achieves.

Amendment No. 344 increases the remission of rates payable from charities and similar organisations from one half to 80 per cent. of the rates bill that would otherwise be payable. If that is so, it will benefit considerably a very large number of charities and similar organisations. Can my hon. Friend quantify the financial consequences for charities in Scotland—my understanding is that amendment No. 344 is limited to Scotland—of that concession, which will be widely welcomed? It will be helpful if my hon. Friend can quantify the positive effects of that considerable concession to charities and other bodies.

Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)

I suppose that we should all be grateful to the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) for proving categorically that an association with fish does not lead to brains.

I make no apology for dwelling on one aspect of these amendments. My position on the poll tax is reasonably well known. I believe that it is insidious and vicious, and there is no category of people against whom it is more insidious and vicious than the people of rural Scotland. Therefore, it becomes doubly insulting and offensive that at the very last moment in the House of Lords, without there being any debate in this House, any public notice, any intimation from the scribblers of the Scottish Information Office, or any attempt to stimulate public discussion on this matter, a clause has been slipped into the legislation giving a £1.5 million handout to the owners of Scottish rod salmon fishings. It has nothing to do with the poll tax. By the backdoor of the English and Welsh poll tax legislation, a small number of salmon rod proprietors in Scotland will be given this handout.

Lord Moran and Lord Kimball have been lobbying in the House of Lords for another concession. The Minister might tell us whether that concession will be slipped in as well. They are demanding yet another pot of gold for their vested interest—the abolition of shooting rates in Scotland. The Minister might care to tell us now whether that will be slipped in so that we do not have to read about it in a few days' time in the House of Lords Hansard.

The note on the amendment—this is the untruth that has to be nailed—says that the reason for giving the fishing proprietors of Scotland £1.5 million is that they are arguably subject to double taxation. That is nonsense. They pay a levy to district salmon fisheries boards. Those boards have a curious quasi-public status. However, the dominant force since the Salmon Act 1986 has to be the salmon proprietors themselves. To all intents and purposes, it is their private association. Because of a law—we cannot go into that tonight, but it should be swept away in any democratic society—the salmon fisheries boards are entitled to hire their own private police forces. The levies to the boards pay for those police forces. They are not used to construct roads or provide local authority services. They have nothing to do with local authority rates. There is no double taxation. One might as well say that, because hoteliers pay levies to their local hotel associations, they should be exempt from non-domestic rates. That is the exact parallel.

In the buffoonery of the hon. Member for Dumfries we are told that it is all about tourism. It has nothing to do with tourism. There is a salmon enterprise, about which I know a little, in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald). It is the syndicate of Grimersta estate and it has 20 members, including several of the jokers who turned up to vote against an ability-to-pay principle being introduced into the poll tax. Perhaps they are not such jokers; perhaps they are the bright lads. The Scottish peers who turned up to vote for that legislation receive a minimum £2,000 a head direct gain under the poll tax and, in addition, they are to get this little bonus thrown in.

That syndicate is not interested in tourism. Not one extra tourist comes to Scotland because of it. Yet if this provision had been in existence in the present financial year the members of the syndicate would have made a saving of £5,500. That would have been a reduction in income to the Western Isles council. I spoke to the assessor in the Highland region today. He said that rateable values of £230,000 will be wiped out by the amendment. That is roughly £160,000 in the Highland region that will not be paid in rates on salmon fishing but will be paid in rates from somewhere else. The same is true in Strathclyde, because there is plenty of salmon fishing in Argyll.

Who will compensate for the fact that those people will be given £1.5 million? It will be the poor, the disabled and all the categories of people who are being penalised under the poll tax. The Government have the effrontery to introduce an amendment that gives a £1.5 million handout to the salmon rod proprietors of Scotland. It is a disgrace with which people will be able to identify.

The people of urban Scotland, as well as the people of rural Scotland, know that the owners of those salmon fishings do not attract tourists to Scotland, but are the biggest deterrent to tourism in Scotland. They close off vast acreages of Scotland as their own private playgrounds, and for that service to the nation they will be given this additional handout. The people of urban Scotland know that the curse of rural Scotland is landlordism, yet at the same time——

Mr. Harris


Hon. Members

Sit down.

Mr. Wilson

At the same time as crofters are losing their 50 per cent. de-rating under the legislation and at the same time as the people living in the remotest corners of my constituency and in that of the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) are losing the rating advantage which reflected the remoteness of their homes and the services with which they are provided, the salmon rod proprietors of Scotland are being given another £1.5 million. That transfer of wealth is as comprehensible to those inner cities of Scotland as it is in the rural areas.

As I said in the Scottish Grand Committee—I advise the hon. Member for Dumfries that every word that I said in the Scottish Grand Committee has been proven true—in the great swathe of the highlands and islands, the Tories have been eradicated along with wolves and TB. Part of the reason is this kind of special pleading and offerings to the landowners of Scotland. That is part of the reason why there is no way back for them.

I finish on this note. When it suits them—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) wishes to intervene, I shall be delighted to give way to him.

Mr. Harris

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) for giving way. He knows that my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) cannot intervene, so I shall ask the question that he and every Conservative Member is dying to ask. In his strictures on landlords and those who own the fishing rights and who will get, according to the hon. Gentleman, this great handout, does the hon. Gentleman include his hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson)? If so, has the hon. Member for East Lothian told him whether he will give the money back?

Mr. Douglas

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wonder whether you can assist me. We have heard the hon. Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) say from a sedentary position that he cannot intervene in the debate. Can you keep him in order and restrain him from intervening in the debate, especially from a sedentary position?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Let us get on with the debate. Mr. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson

The hon. Member for Crawley does not bother me at all. When I hear him, I recall the old maxim, "All you expect from a pig is a grunt."

I shall conclude my remarks because I have no wish to turn the debate into a comedy show about Tory Members. The amendment is an affront to the people of urban and rural Scotland. In a real sense, it sums up what the poll tax is about. It is about taking away from those who have least and giving to the most privileged groups in society. It is perhaps not inappropriate that we finish these debates on such a symbolic note.

Mr. Harry Ewing (Falkirk, East)

I always listen to the speeches made by the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) with a great deal of sympathy—not with understanding and certainly not with agreement—because I understand that when a 16-year-old goes to New St. Andrew's house in Edinburgh for a job, the first test that that youngster is set is, "See if you can write a speech for Allan Stewart." The irony is that if the hon. Gentleman can read the speech, the youngster is regarded as being below the level of intelligence required for the Civil Service, and he does not get a job. Having listened to the hon. Gentleman, yet again it is clear that some other youngster's career has bitten the dust.

11.45 pm

I only wish that the Strangers Gallery had been packed with my constituents to hear the speech of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H:. Monro). I wish that old-age pensioners, the disabled and the blind, and others who will be clobbered by the poll tax. had been present to hear the hon. Gentleman pleading the case for those who have the privilege of owning the salmon rod fisheries. He laid open the real concept of the proposed legislation. When the Bill was introduced, we were told that those who use services will contribute to the cost of providing them. That does not apply to those who own the salmon rod fisheries. They will enjoy refunds. They will get back the money.

The hon. Member for Dumfries has pleaded for those who own shoots as well. That contrasts starkly with a decision that was taken earlier this evening, which the hon. Gentleman supported. It was supported also by the hon. Member for Eastwood. There will be no option for those on income support who are unable to pay poll tax, or who refuse to do so. They will not be asked for their agreement to have poll tax deducted from their benefit. For those on the lowest level of income, poll tax will be deducted from their benefit. They will not even be asked whether that money can be taken from them.

The hon. Member for Eastwood shakes his head. He should understand that there will be a few in his constituency who will suffer that form of deduction. I promise the hon. Gentleman that I shall make damned sure that those of his constituents who are on income support and who have their benefit abated because of poll tax will learn about his activities this evening.

I can understand that complaints have been made about the fact that we have divided the House on this issue. The hon. Member for Eastwood and others wanted to hide behind an absence of Divisions. We ensured that we divided the House because we wanted to expose the hon. Members for Eastwood and for Dumfries, who are frightened to death. We wanted to drive them out of their holes and place their names on the record, and we succeeded. We shall ensure that the record is read the length and breadth of Scotland, especially in the constituencies of the hon. Members for Dumfries and for Eastwood.

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Griffiths) has handed me a note, which I shall read out. I take strong exception to its terms. My hon. Friend was elected to this place at the last general election, and he is young and inexperienced. He is complaining bitterly to me, however, that I am being too hard on the hon. Member for Eastwood. My hon. Friend owes his seat to Michael Ancram, who was such an outstanding communicator on the poll tax. He was such a great communicator that the people of Edinburgh, South threw him out. My hon. Friend is here as a result of that. I will speak privately to my hon. Friend after the debate, but I must tell him in public that he needs a bit more of a cutting edge to him.

Having witnessed the conduct of the hon. Members for Dumfries and for Eastwood, it was right and proper for my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) and Opposition Back Benchers to express anger at the way in which the Scottish people are being treated with contempt by the Government. My hon. Friend the Member for Garscadden was right to express his anger about the way in which the House is being treated and the number of amendments that have been introduced at this late stage. He was wrong to express surprise about that, because the Government have treated the Scottish people with contempt since 1979. The Scottish people and the House of Commons do not mean anything to the Government. Had it not been for the restraint shown by Opposition Members, there would have been much trouble in the House. We have shown considerable restraint, but it has been taxed to its maximum. Tonight it has been taxed to its limit. The people of Scotland are of prime importance to Opposition Members.

Mr. McKelvey

All Opposition Members wish that they had had an opportunity to express their anger and frustration. My hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) is frustrated almost to the point of breaking, but will he join me and other Labour Members in not paying this tax?

Mr. Ewing

Like my hon. Friends, I am always open and honest. If any of my constituents send me a letter asking whether I will pay the poll tax, I will answer that I will. That must not be misinterpreted as my agreeing with what the Government are doing to the people of Scotland. Yes, I will pay the poll tax. I have always made my position perfectly clear to constituents who have written to me about this issue. It is for every individual to take his own decision whether to pay. I tell my hon. Friends the Members for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey), Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas) and Livingston (Mr. Cook) that I will not criticise anybody who says that they will not pay the poll tax. There is no possibility of my joining any campaign of condemnation of anyone who refuses to pay the poll tax.

Tonight, the Government have ensured that anyone receiving income support or state benefit will not have the same choice as I or my hon. Friends. My hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, West and I can choose whether to pay the poll tax. Nobody on state benefit can choose whether to pay it.

Mr. James Wallace (Orkney and Shetland)


Mr. Ewing

I am in danger of not speaking to the amendments, but I shall after I have given way to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace).

Mr. Wallace

The hon. Gentleman said that he will pay the poll tax; I agree with him, and I will also pay it. But does he accept that the arguments in favour of obeying the law become much more difficult to sustain when the Government ride roughshod over parliamentary democracy and limit time to deal with these important matters?

Mr. Ewing

I have always found that those who mouth platitudes about obeying the law are the biggest law-breakers. The Secretary of State and the Minister of State have put strains and stresses on the people of Scotland, and it is understandable that some people will adopt a position different from mine. That is why I will not join a campaign of condemnation.

My main point remains valid, and I shall repeat it because it should be heard. Vast groups of people in Scotland will not have the choice that we have of whether to pay. All on state benefits will pay the poll tax, whether they want to or not.

I come now to the amendments. The hon. Member for Eastwood compared the present 50 per cent. mandatory rebate for charities with a possible 80 per cent. rebate under this legislation. With that innocent air that he acquired during his time in the Scottish Office—which saw him out of its doors before his backside was on the seat—he asked the Minister of State for an assessment. I shall give him one: in almost the whole of Scotland—if not all of it—these charities enjoy the 50 per cent. mandatory relief, plus another 50 per cent. discretionary relief. So they pay no rates at all. Under this legislation and the amendments to it, they will pay the first 20 per cent. That is the answer to the hon. Gentleman's question, so the Minister need not answer it.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member will be able to return to his fine textual examination of the amendments in a second.

The proceedings tonight are undemocratic and farcical, and the Scottish National party would have liked to be able to say that in the course of them, especially as the non-payment campaign in Scotland is growing by the minute.

Mr. Ewing

I am not sure that it is. It is certainly not growing in east Angus or Perth and Kinross—and I see no evidence of it growing in Falkirk. The hon. Gentleman has made a good point on behalf of his party. It is entitled to be heard, the same as the rest of us. The hon. Gentleman will have other opportunities to discuss this matter.

Another amendment that the Minister mentioned almost in passing related to using the contractor's principle in assessing industry in Scotland for rating and valuation. The Minister is harmonising the systems of Scotland and England, which are different now. The Minister thinks that the contractor's principle has never been heard of. He is harmonising a bad system. Scottish industry, especially the chemical industry, wants to be rid of the contractor's principle in rating and valuation. Instead of harmonising it, we should get rid of it. But the Minister has no intention of doing that. He is harmonising a bad practice. Let no one think for a moment that he is doing industry in Scotland any favours. The amendments do nothing at all in favour of Scottish industry. Nobody will benefit from them except, as I said at the beginning of my speech, the owners of the salmon rod fisheries.

Mr. Home Robertson

People like me will benefit.

Mr. Ewing

My hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) is saying that he is all right. He can speak for himself. If all the owners of the salmon rod fisheries take the same view as my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian, they will vote Labour. I guarantee Conservative Members that whatever benefits——

It being Twelve o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order this day, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

The House divided: Ayes 287, Noes 201.

Division No. 437] [12.00
Aitken, Jonathan Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Alexander, Richard Chapman, Sydney
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Chope, Christopher
Amos, Alan Churchill, Mr
Arbuthnot, James Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Ashby, David Colvin, Michael
Atkins, Robert Conway, Derek
Atkinson, David Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Cope, Rt Hon John
Baldry, Tony Couchman, James
Batiste, Spencer Cran, James
Bellingham, Henry Currie, Mrs Edwina
Bendall, Vivian Curry, David
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Bevan, David Gilroy Davis, David (Boothferry)
Blackburn, Dr John G. Day, Stephen
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Devlin, Tim
Body, Sir Richard Dicks, Terry
Boswell, Tim Dorrell, Stephen
Bottomley, Peter Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Dover, Den
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Dunn, Bob
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Durant, Tony
Bowis, John Dykes, Hugh
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Emery, Sir Peter
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Brazier, Julian Evennett, David
Bright, Graham Fallon, Michael
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Farr, Sir John
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Favell, Tony
Browne, John (Winchester) Fenner, Dame Peggy
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Buck, Sir Antony Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Burt, Alistair Fishburn, John Dudley
Butcher, John Fookes, Miss Janet
Butler, Chris Forman, Nigel
Butterfill, John Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Forth, Eric
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Carrington, Matthew Fox, Sir Marcus
Cash, William Franks, Cecil
Freeman, Roger McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
French, Douglas Madel, David
Fry, Peter Major, Rt Hon John
Gale, Roger Malins, Humfrey
Gardiner, George Mans, Keith
Gill, Christopher Maples, John
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Marland, Paul
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Marlow, Tony
Gorst, John Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Gow, Ian Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Gower, Sir Raymond Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Maude, Hon Francis
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Gregory, Conal Mellor, David
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Miller, Sir Hal
Grist, Ian Mills, Iain
Ground, Patrick Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Mitchell, David (Hants NW)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Moate, Roger
Hampson, Dr Keith Monro, Sir Hector
Hanley, Jeremy Moore, Rt Hon John
Hannam, John Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Moss, Malcolm
Harris, David Moynihan, Hon Colin
Haselhurst, Alan Mudd, David
Hawkins, Christopher Neale, Gerrard
Hayes, Jerry Nelson, Anthony
Hayward, Robert Neubert, Michael
Heathcoat-Amory, David Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Heddle, John Nicholls, Patrick
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hind, Kenneth Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Oppenheim, Phillip
Holt, Richard Page, Richard
Howard, Michael Paice, James
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Patnick, Irvine
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Patten, Chris (Bath)
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Pawsey, James
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Porter, David (Waveney)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Portillo, Michael
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Powell, William (Corby)
Hunter, Andrew Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Redwood, John
Jack, Michael Rhodes James, Robert
Jackson, Robert Riddick, Graham
Janman, Tim Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Jessel, Toby Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Roe, Mrs Marion
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Rossi, Sir Hugh
Key, Robert Rost, Peter
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Rowe, Andrew
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Kirkhope, Timothy Ryder, Richard
Knapman, Roger Sackville, Hon Tom
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Sayeed, Jonathan
Knowles, Michael Scott, Nicholas
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Shaw, David (Dover)
Lang, Ian Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Latham, Michael Shelton, William (Streatham)
Lawrence, Ivan Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Lee, John (Pendle) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Sims, Roger
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Skeet, Sir Trevor
Lightbown, David Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lilley, Peter Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Lord, Michael Speed, Keith
Luce, Rt Hon Richard Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
McCrindle, Robert Stanbrook, Ivor
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Stanley, Rt Hon John
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Stern, Michael
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Stevens, Lewis
Maclean, David Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
McLoughlin, Patrick Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N) Waldegrave, Hon William
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Walden, George
Sumberg, David Waller, Gary
Summerson, Hugo Ward, John
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Watts, John
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Wells, Bowen
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley) Wheeler, John
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Whitney, Ray
Thorne, Neil Widdecombe, Ann
Thornton, Malcolm Wilkinson, John
Thurnham, Peter Wilshire, David
Townend, John (Bridlington) Wolfson, Mark
Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath) Wood, Timothy
Tracey, Richard Woodcock, Mike
Tredinnick, David Young, Sir George (Acton)
Trippier, David Younger, Rt Hon George
Twinn, Dr Ian
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Tellers for the Ayes:
Viggers, Peter Mr. Robert Boscawen and Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.
Waddington, Rt Hon David
Abbott, Ms Diane Duffy, A. E. P.
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Dunnachie, Jimmy
Allen, Graham Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Evans, John (St Helens N)
Armstrong, Hilary Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Fatchett, Derek
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Faulds, Andrew
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Barron, Kevin Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Battle, John Fisher, Mark
Beckett, Margaret Flannery, Martin
Beith, A. J. Flynn, Paul
Bell, Stuart Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Foster, Derek
Bermingham, Gerald Foulkes, George
Bidwell, Sydney Fraser, John
Blair, Tony Fyfe, Maria
Boateng, Paul Galbraith, Sam
Boyes, Roland Galloway, George
Bradley, Keith Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) George, Bruce
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Buchan, Norman Golding, Mrs Llin
Buckley, George J. Gould, Bryan
Caborn, Richard Graham, Thomas
Callaghan, Jim Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Canavan, Dennis Grocott, Bruce
Cartwright, John Hardy, Peter
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Harman, Ms Harriet
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Haynes, Frank
Clay, Bob Henderson, Doug
Clelland, David Hinchliffe, David
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Cohen, Harry Holland, Stuart
Coleman, Donald Home Robertson, John
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hood, Jimmy
Corbett, Robin Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Corbyn, Jeremy Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Cousins, Jim Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cox, Tom Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Cryer, Bob Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Cummings, John Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Illsley, Eric
Dalyell, Tam Ingram, Adam
Darling, Alistair Janner, Greville
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) John, Brynmor
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Dewar, Donald Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Dixon, Don Kirkwood, Archy
Dobson, Frank Lambie, David
Doran, Frank Lamond, James
Douglas, Dick Leighton, Ron
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Radice, Giles
Litherland, Robert Redmond, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Reid, Dr John
Loyden, Eddie Richardson, Jo
McAllion, John Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
McAvoy, Thomas Robertson, George
McCartney, Ian Robinson, Geoffrey
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Rogers, Allan
McKelvey, William Rooker, Jeff
McLeish, Henry Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
McNamara, Kevin Rowlands, Ted
McTaggart, Bob Ruddock, Joan
McWilliam, John Salmond, Alex
Madden, Max Sedgemore, Brian
Maginnis, Ken Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Mahon, Mrs Alice Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Marek, Dr John Short, Clare
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Skinner, Dennis
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Maxton, John Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Meacher, Michael Soley, Clive
Meale, Alan Spearing, Nigel
Michael, Alun Steinberg, Gerry
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Strang, Gavin
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Turner, Dennis
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Vaz, Keith
Morgan, Rhodri Wall, Pat
Morley, Elliott Wallace, James
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Walley, Joan
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Warden, Gareth (Gower)
Mullin, Chris Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Murphy, Paul Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Nellist, Dave Wilson, Brian
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Winnick, David
O'Brien, William Wise, Mrs Audrey
O'Neill, Martin Worthington, Tony
Parry, Robert Wray, Jimmy
Patchett, Terry Young, David (Bolton SE)
Pike, Peter L.
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Tellers for the Noes:
Prescott, John Mr. Ken Eastham and Mr. Robert N. Wareing.
Primarolo, Dawn
Quin, Ms Joyce

Question agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 341 accordingly agreed to. [Special Entry.]

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER then proceeded to put the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Lords amendment: No. 389, in page 147, line 28, at end insert—

".—(1) Section 24 of that Act (duty to provide for rebates from community charges) shall be amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph (a)—

  1. (i) for the words "local authorities" there shall be substituted the words "levying authorities"; and
  2. (ii) for the words from "community charges" to "this Act)" there shall be substituted the words "personal community charges and (except in relation to residence in premises which are special designated premises for the purposes of section 11(4B) of this Act) collective community charge contributions".

(3) In paragraph (b) for the words "local authority in respect of each year" there shall be substituted the words "levying authority".

(4) That section as so amended shall be subsection (1) and there shall be added the following subsection—

"(2) This section shall have effect only in respect of the financial year 1989–90."."

Read a Second time.

Amendment made to the Lords amendment: (a), in line 8, leave out '(except in relation to residence in premises which are special designated premises for the purposes of section 1 1(4B) of this Act)'.

Lords amendment No. 389, as amended, agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Lords amendment No. 390 disagreed to.

Lords amendments: Nos. 342 to 344, 347, 351, 355, 360, 361, 364, 366 to 369, 392, 393, 396,405,407,408, 189, 190, 192, 198, 202, 203, 410, 413 and 415 agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Lords amendments: Nos. 345, 346, 348 to 350, 352 to 354, 356 to 359, 362, 363, 365, 370 to 388, 391, 394, 395, 397 to 404,406, 186 to 188, 191, 193 to 197, 199 to 201, 204, 205, 409, 411, 412, 414 and 206 agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 389 agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Motion made, and Question put,

That a Committee be appointed to draw up reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendments Nos. 22, 171, 300, 302 to 304 and 390 to the Bill:

The House divided: Ayes 266, Noes 22.

Division No. 438] [12.17 am
Aitken, Jonathan Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Alexander, Richard Cope, Rt Hon John
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Couchman, James
Amos, Alan Cran, James
Arbuthnot, James Currie, Mrs Edwina
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Curry, David
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Ashby, David Davis, David (Boothferry)
Atkins, Robert Day, Stephen
Atkinson, David Devlin, Tim
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Dicks, Terry
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Dorrell, Stephen
Baldry, Tony Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Batiste, Spencer Dover, Den
Bellingham, Henry Dunn, Bob
Bendall, Vivian Durant, Tony
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Dykes, Hugh
Bevan, David Gilroy Emery, Sir Peter
Blackburn, Dr John G. Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Evennett, David
Boswell, Tim Fallon, Michael
Bottomley, Peter Farr, Sir John
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Favell, Tony
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Fenner, Dame Peggy
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Bowis, John Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Fishburn, Dudley
Brazier, Julian Fookes, Miss Janet
Bright, Graham Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Forth, Eric
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Fox, Sir Marcus
Browne, John (Winchester) Franks, Cecil
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Freeman, Roger
Burt, Alistair French, Douglas
Butcher, John Fry, Peter
Butler, Chris Gale, Roger
Butterfill, John Gardiner, George
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Gill, Christopher
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Carrington, Matthew Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Cash, William Gorst, John
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Gow, Ian
Chapman, Sydney Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Chope, Christopher Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Churchill, Mr Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Gregory, Conal
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Grist, Ian
Colvin, Michael Ground, Patrick
Conway, Derek Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Hampson, Dr Keith Nicholls, Patrick
Hanley, Jeremy Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hannam, John Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Harris, David Oppenheim, Phillip
Haselhurst, Alan Page, Richard
Hawkins, Christopher Paice, James
Hayes, Jerry Patnick, Irvine
Heathcoat-Amory, David Patten, Chris (Bath)
Heddle, John Pawsey, James
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Porter, David (Waveney)
Hind, Kenneth Portillo, Michael
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Powell, William (Corby)
Holt, Richard Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Howard, Michael Redwood, John
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Riddick, Graham
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Roe, Mrs Marion
Hunter, Andrew Rossi, Sir Hugh
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Rowe, Andrew
Jack, Michael Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Janman, Tim Ryder, Richard
Jessel, Toby Sackville, Hon Tom
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Sayeed, Jonathan
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Shaw, David (Dover)
Key, Robert Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Shelton, William (Streatham)
Kirkhope, Timothy Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Knapman, Roger Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Sims, Roger
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Knowles, Michael Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Soames, Hon Nicholas
Lang, Ian Speed, Keith
Latham, Michael Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Lawrence, Ivan Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Lee, John (Pendle) Stanbrook, Ivor
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Stanley, Rt Hon John
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Stern, Michael
Lightbown, David Stevens, Lewis
Lilley, Peter Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Lord, Michael Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)
Luce, Rt Hon Richard Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Sumberg, David
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Summerson, Hugo
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Taylor, Ian (Esher)
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Maclean, David Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
McLoughlin, Patrick Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Madel, David Thorne, Neil
Major, Rt Hon John Thornton, Malcolm
Malins, Humfrey Thurnham, Peter
Mans, Keith Townend, John (Bridlington)
Maples, John Townsend, Cyril D. (B heath)
Marland, Paul Tracey, Richard
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Tredinnick, David
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Trippier, David
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Twinn, Dr Ian
Maude, Hon Francis Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Viggers, Peter
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Waddington, Rt Hon David
Mellor, David Waldegrave, Hon William
Miller, Sir Hal Walden, George
Mills, Iain Ward, John
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Watts, John
Mitchell, David (Hants NW) Wells, Bowen
Monro, Sir Hector Wheeler, John
Moore, Rt Hon John Whitney, Ray
Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester) Widdecombe, Ann
Moss, Malcolm Wilkinson, John
Moynihan, Hon Colin Wilshire, David
Neale, Gerrard Wolfson, Mark
Nelson, Anthony Wood, Timothy
Neubert, Michael Woodcock, Mike
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Yeo, Tim
Young, Sir George (Acton) Tellers for the Ayes:
Younger, Rt Hon George Mr. Robert Boscawen and Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Lamond, James
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) McWilliam, John
Beith, A. J. Madden, Max
Callaghan, Jim Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Canavan, Dennis Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Cohen, Harry Parry, Robert
Corbyn, Jeremy Pike, Peter L.
Cryer, Bob Salmond, Alex
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Skinner, Dennis
Douglas, Dick
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Tellers for the Noes:
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Mr. Archy Kirkwood and Mr. James Wallace.
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw up reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendments Nos. 22, 171, 300, 302 to 304 and 390. That Mr. Secretary Ridley, Mr. Michael Howard, Mr. Peter Lloyd, Mr. William O'Brien and Mr. Jeff Rooker be members of the Committee. That three be the quorum of the Committee. That the Committee do withdraw immediately.—[Mr. Ridley.]

Reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords amendments reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.