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Business Of The House

Volume 21: debated on Monday 5 April 1982

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That, at this day's sitting, the Local Government Finance (No. 2) Bill and the Reserve Forces Bill [Lords] may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. David Hunt.]

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

As I was saying, this does not mean that the Government are deaf to representations except, that is, to those from the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price). Of course, we shall listen to local authorities that feel that there are good reasons why they cannot meet targets. If there is a case that raises a general principle, it may be possible to consider exemptions. Indeed, exemptions were considered in the financial year 1981–82. Authorities will know how hold-back will be calculated before they set their rates. This is the main burden of the Bill. The abolition of the supplementary rate will mean that authorities will know exactly where they stand in relation to their main rate.

If an authority chose to ignore targets that others had been able to meet without disastrous effects on their services, it would not be able to claim in the middle of the year that hold-back came as a surprise. Provided that the authorities keep within the law, they will be able to maintain services at an acceptable level, but whether their ratepayers and electors will agree is another matter.

I urge the House to reject the amendment.

Not for the first time, I am totally disappointed with the Minister's reply. To be honest, he has not given any reply. As the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Cartwright) said earlier, by no stretch of the imagination can I now shout "Eureka!" What the Minister has said must concern every right hon. and hon. Member in the House. The Minister has said that when the dead hand of the Secretary of State touches local authorities, the will of the House and any legislation is at risk. If that is not a negation of democracy, I do not know what is.

It is good of my hon. Friend to give way to me. The Minister churlishly refused to do so. It would be right to put the record straight. When the Minister says that the adequacy of services is the length of a piece of string, the proper judge of whether services are adequate according to the law would, in the final resort, be the House of Lords, in a case brought to decide what that adequacy was. If the courts decided, for instance, that a local authority was not providing adequate education, there would be a problem if the Government had cut back grant to the local authority and prevented it from doing what the House of Lords told it to do.

My hon. Friend has put the case much better than I could have done. I do not need to comment further on that except to say that sometimes local government wished that it had something as long as a piece of string. It is important that the Government have not seen fit even to examine the wording of the amendment or to consider the implications. It is a sad reflection on a Government who came to power on a manifesto that promised more democracy to local government and, by every successive word and deed, have made sure that that is impossible.

I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will join me in pressing the amendment to a Division, because it is a fundamental issue that should be included in the Bill. The Minister has not given one inkling of the depth of sincerity with which the amendment was tabled or the importance of it.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 217, Noes 279.

Division No. 120]

[10.04 pm


Abse, LeoCallaghan, Jim (Midd't'n&P)
Adams, AllenCampbell, Ian
Allaun, FrankCampbell-Savours, Dale
Alton, DavidCanavan, Dennis
Archer, Rt Hon PeterCarmichael, Neil
Ashley, Rt Hon JackCartwright, John
Ashton, JoeClark, Dr David (S Shields)
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,)Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)
Bagier, Gordon A.T.Cohen, Stanley
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Coleman, Donald
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd)Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.
Beith, A.J.Conlan, Bernard
Benn, Rt Hon TonyCook, Robin F.
Bidwell, SydneyCowans, Harry
Booth,Rt Hon AlbertCraigen, J. M. (G'gow, M'hill)
Bottomley, Rt Hon A. (M'b'ro)Crowther, Stan
Bray, Dr JeremyCryer, Bob
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Cunliffe, Lawrence
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n)
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W)Dalyell, Tam
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S)Davidson, Arthur
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)
Buchan, NormanDavies, Ifor (Gower)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J.Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)

Davis, Terry (B'ham, Stechf'd)Mc Taggart, Robert
Deakins, EricMcWilliam, John
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Marks, Kenneth
Dewar, DonaldMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Dixon, DonaldMartin, M (G'gowS'burn)
Dobson, FrankMaynard, Miss Joan
Dormand, JackMeacher, Michael
Douglas, DickMikardo, Ian
Duffy, A. E. P.Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Dunn, James A.Miller, Dr M.S. (E Kilbride)
Dunnett, JackMitchell, R.C. (Soton Itchen)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
Eadie, AlexMorton, George
Eastham, KenMoyle, Rt Hon Roland
Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E)Newens, Stanley
Ellis, R. (NE D' bysh're)Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
English, MichaelO' Neill, Martin
Evans, loan (Aberdare)Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Faulds,AndrewOwen, Rt Hon Dr David
Field, FrankPark, George
Fitch, AlanParker, John
Flannery, MartinParry, Robert
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Pendry, Tom
Ford, BenPenhaligon, David
Forrester, JohnPitt, William Henry
Foster, DerekPowel, Raymond (Ogmore)
Foulkes, GeorgePrice, C. (Lewisham W)
Fraser, J. (Lamb'th,N'w'd)Race, Reg
Freeson, Rt Hon ReginaldRadice, Giles
Freud, ClementRees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)
Garrett, John (Norwich S)Richardson, Jo
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnRoberts, Albert (Normanton)
Golding, JohnRoberts,Allan (Bootle)
Graham, TedRoberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Grant, George (Morpeth)Roberts,Gwilym (Cannock)
Grant, John (Islington C)Robertson, George
Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)Rooker, J. W.
Harrison, Rt Hon WalterRoss, Ernest (Dundee West)
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyRowlands, Ted
Haynes, FrankRyman, John
Heffer, Eric S.Sandelson, Neville
Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll)Sever, John
Homewood, WilliamSheerman, Barry
Hooley, FrankSheldon, Rt Hon R.
Horam, JohnShore, Rt Hon Peter
Howell, Rt Hon D.Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)
Howells, GeraintSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Hoyle, DouglasSilvermanjulius
Huckfield, LesSkinner, Dennis
Hughes, Mark(Durham)Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Snape, Peter
Hughes, Roy (Newport)Soley, Clive
Janner, Hon GrevilleSpearing, Nigel
Jay, Rt Hon DouglasSpriggs, Leslie
John, BrynmorStallard, A.W.
Johnson, Walter (Derby S)Steel, Rt Hon David
Johnston, Russel (Inverness,)Stoddart, David
Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh'dda)Stott,Roger
Jones, Barry (East Flint)Strang, Gavin
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldStraw, Jack
Kilfedder, James A.Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Kilroy-Silk, RobertTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Kinnock, NeilThomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Lamborn, HarryThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Leadbitter, TedTilley, John
Leighton, RonaldTinn, James
Lestor, MissJoanTorney, Tom
Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW)Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Litherland, RobertWainwright, E. (Dearne V)
Lofthouse, GeoffreyWainwright,R. (Colne V)
Lyon,Alexander (York)Walker, Rt Hon H. (D' caster)
Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W)Watkins, David
McCartney, HughWeetch, Ken
McDonald, DrOonaghWellbeloved, James
McKay, Allen (Penistone)Welsh, Michael
McKelvey,WilliamWheeler, John
MacKenzie, Rt Hon GregorWhite, Frank R.
Maclennan, RobertWhite, J. (G'gow Pollok)
McNamara, KevinWhitehead, Phillip

Whitlock, WilliamWoolmer, Kenneth
Willey, Rt Hon FrederickWright, Sheila
Williams, Rt Hon A. (S'sea W)Young, David (Bolton E)
Wilson, R Hon Sir H. (H'ton;)
Wilson, William (C'try SE)Tellers for the Ayes:
Winnick,DavidMr. Austin Mitchell and Dr. Edmund Marshall.


Adley, RobertFairbairn, Nicholas
Aitken, JonathanFairgrieve, Sir Russell
Alexander, RichardFarr, John
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelFenner, Mrs Peggy
Amery, Rt Hon JulianFinsberg, Geoffrey
Ancram, MichaelFisher, Sir Nigel
Aspinwall, JackFletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N)
Atkins, Robert (Preston N)Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles
Atkinson, David (B'm'th, E)Fookes, Miss Janet
Baker, Kenneth (St M'bone)Forman, Nigel
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Banks, RobertFox, Marcus
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyFraser, Peter (South Angus)
Bendall, VivianFry, Peter
Benyon, W. (Buckingham)Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Berry, Hon AnthonyGardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Best, KeithGarel-Jones, Tristan
Bevan, David GilroyGilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnGlyn, Dr Alan
Blackburn, JohnGoodhart, Sir Philip
Blaker, PeterGoodhew, Sir Victor
Body, RichardGoodlad, Alastair
Bonsor, Sir NicholasGorst, John
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W)Gow, Ian
Bowden, AndrewGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Boyson, Dr RhodesGray, Hamish
Braine, Sir BernardGreenway, Harry
Bright, GrahamGriffiths, E. (B'y St. Edm'ds)
Brinton, TimGriffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)
Brittan, Rt. Hon. LeonGrist, Ian
Brotherton, MichaelGrylls, Michael
Brown, Michael (Brigg&Sc'n)Gummer, John Selwyn
Browne, John (Winchester)Hamilton, Hon A.
Bruce-Gardyne, JohnHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Bryan, Sir PaulHampson, Dr Keith
Buchanan-Smith, Rt. Hon. A.Hannam, John
Buck, AntonyHaselhurst, Alan
Budgen, NickHavers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Burden, Sir FrederickHawksley, Warren
Butcher, JohnHayhoe, Barney
Cadbury, JocelynHeddle, John
Carlisle, John (Luton West)Henderson,Barry
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hicks, Robert
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n)Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Chalker, Mrs. LyndaHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Chapman, SydneyHolland, Philip (Carlton)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n)Hooson, Tom
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hordern, Peter
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Howell,Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd)
Clegg, Sir WalterHowell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Cockeram, EricHunt, David (Wirral)
Colvin, MichaelHunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Cope, JohnHurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Cormack, PatrickIrving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Costain, Sir AlbertJenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Cranborne, ViscountJessel, Toby
Critchley, JulianJohnson Smith, Geoffrey
Crouch, DavidJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Dean, Paul (North Somerset)Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Dickens, GeoffreyKellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Dorrell, StephenKershaw, Sir Anthony
du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardKing, Rt Hon Tom
Dunlop, JohnKitson, Sir Timothy
Dunn, Robert (Dartford)Knight, Mrs Jill
Durant, TonyKnox, David
Dykes, HughLamont, Norman
Eden, Rt Hon Sir JohnLang, Ian
Eggar, TimLatham, Michael
Elliott, Sir WilliamLawrence, Ivan
Emery, Sir PeterLawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Eyre, ReginaldLee, John

LeMarchant, SpencerRoberts, M. (Cardiff NW)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Lester, Jim (Beeston)Rossi, Hugh
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Rost, Peter
Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)Royle, Sir Anthony
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Loveridge, JohnSt. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Lyell, NicholasScott, Nicholas
McCrindle, RobertShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Macfarlane, NeilShaw, Michael (Scarborough)
MacKay, John (Argyll)Shelton, William (Streatham)
Macmillan, Rt Hon M.Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)Shepherd, Richard
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)Shersby, Michael
Madel, DavidSilvester, Fred
Major, JohnSims, Roger
Marlow, AntonySkeet, T. H. H.
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Speed, Keith
Marten, Rt Hon NeilSpeller, Tony
Mates, MichaelSpence, John
Mather, CarolSpicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Maude, Rt Hon Sir AngusSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Mawby, RaySproat, Iain
Mawhinney, DrBrianSquire, Robin
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinStanbrook, Ivor
Mayhew, PatrickStevens, Martin
Mellor, DavidStewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Meyer, Sir AnthonyStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Miller, Hal (B'grove)Stokes, John
Mills, Iain (Meriden)Stradling Thomas, J.
Mills, Pete (West Devon)Taylor, Teddy (S' end E)
Moate, RogerTemple-Morris, Peter
Monro, SirHectorThatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
Montgomery, FergusThompson, Donald
Moore, JohnThorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Morgan,GeraintThornton, Malcolm
Morris, M. (N'hampton S)Townend, John (Bridlington)
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)Trippier, David
Mudd, DavidTrotter, Neville
Murphy, Christophervan Straubenzee, Sir W.
Myles, DavidVaughan, Dr Gerard
Neale, GerrardViggers, Peter
Needham, RichardWaddington, David
Nelson, AnthonyWakeham, John
Neubert, MichaelWaldegrave, Hon William
Newton, TonyWalker, Rt Hon P.(W'cester)
Normanton, TomWalker, B. (Perth)
Onslow, CranleyWalker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.Wall, Sir Patrick
Page, Richard (SW Herts)Waller, Gary
Parkinson, Rt Hon CecilWard, John
Parris, MatthewWarren, Kenneth
Patten, Christopher (Bath)Watson, John
Patten, John (Oxford)Wells, Bowen
Pattie, GeoffreyWells, John (Maidstone)
Pawsey, JamesWheeler, John
Percival, Sir IanWhitelaw, Rt Hon William
Pink, R. BonnerWhitney, Raymond
Porter, BarryWickenden, Keith
Prentice, Rt Hon RegWiggin, Jerry
Prior, Rt Hon JamesWilkinson, John
Proctor, K. HarveyWilliams, D. (Montgomery)
Raison, Rt Hon TimothyWolfson, Mark
Rathbone, TimYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)Younger, Rt Hon George
Rhodes James, Robert
Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonTellers for the Noes:
Ridley, Hon NicholasMr. Robert Boscawen and Mr. Peter Brooke.
Rifkind, Malcolm
Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey

Question accordingly negatived.