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Birmingham City Council Bill

Volume 76: debated on Monday 1 April 1985

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Order for Second Reading read.

Before I call the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre) to move the Second Reading of the Bill, I should inform the House that I have selected instruction 7—

That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to amend Clause 15 so as to prohibit the Council demanding payment from occupiers or owners of dwellings which display advertisements.—
and instruction 9:
That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to amend Clause 11 to provide a scheme of preferential treatment for Birmingham ratepayers.
It may be for the convenience of the House to debate those instructions with the Bill.

7.1 pm

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

I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for what you have just said about the instructions.

It is well known that the great increase in oil prices, the world trade recession and the new industrial revolution have had a severe effect upon the economy of Birmingham and the west midlands. The decline of metal-based manufacturing compels us energetically to seek to strengthen the base of our continuing industries and, at the same time, to diversify our local economy and create new job opportunities by developing new activities and attractions. The Bill provides us with an opportunity to serve both purposes.

The Bill has two main aims. The first is to create a major annual international tourist attraction for Birmingham and the west midlands with a race through the streets on one day of the year—a bank holiday Monday — with preparation and practice runs on the previous day. The events would feature formula cars and historical racing cars. The races, which will have a saloon car focus, will take place through city streets, which, due to a unique post-war road development, provide a natural urban road-race circuit.

The second aim is to promote Birmingham as a motor city, which it most certainly is, and to give the motor industry of Birmingham and the west midlands, including its component manufacturies and the many thousands employed in different ways in connection with the industry, a feeling of encouragement and support which we believe enthusiastic public support for the event would ensure.

I shall emphasise the importance of several factors relevant to the proposals for the Birmingham motor race. Under clause 3 the one authorised day in each year will be the last Monday in August, now a bank holiday, or any other bank holiday Monday the city may by resolution appoint other than 26 and 27 December or 1 and 2 January. The first road race to be held under the Bill will be in August 1986, allowing plenty of time for preparation.

The race project enjoys overwhelming all-party support on the city council. On 16 November 1984, 90 members voted for it and 13 against, with five abstentions. It also achieved 93 per cent. support in a referendum conducted among the residents of the area in which the event will take place. The project has the support of influential organisations such as the Heart of England tourist board, Birmingham international airport and the national exhibition centre. In addition, it is supported by major companies such as Austin Rover, Shell UK Oil, Cadbury Schweppes, IMI; GKN and Davenports.

The proposed circuit is to be formed from lengths of a public highway near to the city centre. It will be almost 2·5 miles long. There are many areas of open space bordering the track and the stands for the spectators would be located there. Along this unique road formation there are adequate spaces for pits, and the wholesale market complex, which adjoins the circuit, will house all the competitors' support teams as the market complex is closed on bank holiday weekends.

Television film of the circuit will provide attractive views of a modern city, its buildings, open spaces and trees. In the careful choice of route and arrangements, great consideration has been given to environmental factors so as to minimise the potential effect on residential areas, any conflict with major traffic routes or interference with public transport. With regard to instruction 3, all trees will be safeguarded.

In all the planning for the projects, the greatest possible emphasis has been placed on safety considerations. Circuit safety precautions are designed to meet the highest international standards and to contain any potential accident and the resultant debris within the circuit perimeter from which all spectators are excluded. To safeguard competitors, all bends and corners will have run-off areas, tyre walls and impact absorbing protection incorporated in the construction. Every care will be taken to minimise the risk of accident during the proposed event.

A feasibility study, carried out by the Royal Automobile Club motor sport, the circuit licensing authority, has said that the proposed circuit can be adapted to comply with all current international safety regulations and requirements. The city was grateful to the RAC officials for their detailed work in that respect for more than two years. The city wishes to co-operate fully with the RAC motor sport authority in all arrangements for future events.

Was any idea of the cost given in that feasibility study?

Yes. I shall be coming to the cost in a few moments. I assure my hon. Friend that it was as a result of the feasibility study that accurate costing items could be calculated, and that was helpful to the city in the presentation of its case.

In some areas the highway will need to be slightly widened to meet the minimum width requirements. When carried out, they will improve existing traffic conditions in the streets affected. Before any racing can take place, streets must have safety barriers and debris fences erected. Both fences are to ensure safety and are made of steel motorway-type barriers and reinforced steel mesh on steel stanchions. It is intended that those structures would be erected from previously prepared foundations located within the highway and sealed with protective covers when not in use. That system is used in other countries where streets are used for motor racing and works entirely satisfactorily.

In the event of an emergency, whether connected with the racing event or not, the circuit design incorporates access points for the use of the emergency services and statutory undertakers. Those points have been chosen after consultation with all interested parties. Within seconds of the circuit control being made aware of any potential emergency, racing can be terminated by the flag marshals, situated round the circuit, and emergency vehicles can enter the circuit to deal with the problem.

All the details given by my hon. Friend suggest a considerable amount of work for the police. Can my hon. Friend say what the police have said about the matter?

I am glad to be able to tell my hon. Friend that the police authority has, of course, been consulted throughout the preparatory negotiations, and the police have approved the safety aspects of all the measures that I have mentioned. I think my hon. Friend will be very pleased to hear that.

The arrangements are being formalised in an agreed code of practice covering the emergency services for the event. The route chosen also allows safe spectator access to be maintained to all areas, even during racing. Obviously certain traffic routes have to be diverted during the event. Again, adequate diversion routes exist and have been used satisfactorily during a dress rehearsal for the event, which was the motor cavalcade held on 14 October 1984. It was a great success and attracted 100,000 to 200,000 spectators for events.

Special arrangements and facilities are to be made to assist disabled persons wishing to attend the event, as happened in the previous motor cavalcade event, and hope that that assurance will be satisfactory to the hon. Members who are supporting instruction 6, in the name of the hon. Member for Stockton, North (Mr. Cook).

Within a short distance of the proposed circuit there are car parking facilities to accommodate the estimated number of visitors—about 250,000 for the two days—who would attend the events. The city centre is well served with bus, rail and air services to cope with visitors travelling from further afield and from overseas. It is intended, in conjunction with the operators, that bus, rail and coach services would be increased over the race period to provide travel facilities for visitors.

All spectators would be accommodated in temporary grandstands, seated or in stand areas where the natural ground contours allow a good view of the event. Care would be taken, in siting spectator accommodation, to avoid interference with frontagers' normal rights and, as I have said, verges, trees and shrubbed areas would be protected.

In dealing with a further point raised by the RAC, I want to make it clear that Birmingham will take all steps to reduce disruption of traffic to the minimum. Clause 5 states that Birmingham shall not close any street to pedestrian or vehicular traffic except between 9 o'clock in the morning and 6 o'clock in the afternoon on the authorised day and the day immediately preceding that day. That deals with the two days of the event.

Under clause 2, the
"'relevant period', means the period commencing 10 days before and ending five days after the authorised day."
The traffic management arrangements to keep the traffic flow as normal as possible during that period will be as follows. The road works connected with widening, which I mentioned earlier, and which are required to achieve minimum track widths, will be carried out as a phased programme and are intended to be carried out in the months preceding the proposed event. The estimated commencing day for that work would be in April 1986. Those works are minor alterations to the carriageway and will necessitate only lane closures to carry out the work, and only for a limited period.

Fences, guard rails and the like are to be erected in preset foundations. The foundations will be constructed as a once-and-for-all exercise.

Clearly the precautions being taken by the city are praiseworthy, and will be extremely expensive. What is the likely turnover from the event? Is it likely that any new jobs will be forthcoming as a result of it?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising those points because I propose, in a few moments, to come to the city council's estimates in those respects. I think that I shall be able to show that a valuable flow of business and of job opportunities will be created by this endeavour.

The foundations will be constructed as a once-and-for-all exercise. Where possible, they will be constructed during road widening, which has been referred to before. Many of the remainder will be located in verges or footpaths. Again, only slight narrowing of the carriageway will be required to achieve working space for that construction.

Where foundation places are required in the carriageway, lane closures will be operated, and — I emphasise a point of practical importance—a restriction of working hours will be made to prevent any interference with peak traffic flows.

When the sockets and foundations have been constructed, the annual setting up and taking down of barriers will be carried out either by using lane closures or by working within footpaths, verges or central reservations. It is emphasised that working patterns will be tailored to minimise interference with traffic, and peak hour working will be prohibited on main roads.

Spectator stands will be brought into place and unloaded using routes which avoid lorries and cranes working from main roads, and stands will not be erected on the carriageway.

I can sum up the operation by saying that no works which are required for the preparation of the roads for motor racing will require any road to be completely closed during the erection or dismantling process. The powers are being sought to permit partial closure of a highway — that is, one lane of a carriageway—to permit works to be carried out. There are no powers to do that under existing legislation for purposes other than road widening. Special enabling powers have to be sought for works on a highway in connection with the proposed motor racing. The police authority, as I have said, has approved those arrangements from the point of view of safety.

I now refer to points raised with regard to capital and revenue expenditure by the city council in that connection, beginning with capital expenditure.

Since total local authority spending on land, buildings, roads and so on is controlled by the Government—and has been controlled by successive Governments — by capital spending allocations and restrictions on the use of capital receipts, the initial road alterations and setting-up costs would count against the city spending limits and would utilise resources which otherwise could be spent on other city services.

However, the capital expenditure envisaged, £1·5 million, in setting up the business is relatively small in relation to the city's total capital expenditure, and could in any case be spread over two financial years. It can be regarded as good value for money, in the sense that it would generate income from the motor race, which would improve the city's revenue position and thereby free resources to be spent on other services. In the long run, housing, education and other services could benefit significantly from the motor race, for which a relatively minor initial sacrifice in capital expenditure terms could be considered worth while.

My hon. Friend is outlining the advantages to Birmingham ratepayers of having such a race. Is there not a danger that other cities will want to emulate Birmingham, and before we know it we shall have many applications from cities that are not in the same state as Birmingham, in the sense that their road systems might not be so suitable?

I welcome the way in which my hon. Friend put that question. Natives of the city of Birmingham undoubtedly feel that other cities seek to emulate it. Birmingham has a unique road formation. It has been carefully chosen and avoids interruption with the main city centre traffic and difficulty with the bus services. It is just away from the city centre, and therefore has the least possible disadvantage. I believe that because of the fortunate chance of great investment in the road network in Birmingham and the fortunate fact that this part of the network can be taken out and treated specially, with all its safeguards, it is unique in the United Kingdom. I do not believe that any other local authority would be able to match it.

The city has not made provision in its capital budget for motor race expenditure and has therefore not pre-empted resources from other services.

I refer to revenue expenditure. Since the city envisages the motor race at worst breaking even in revenue or year-to-year operating terms, and probably generating significant income, there is no question of revenue resources being diverted from other spending areas. That is where a reference to leaking roofs may be made as one-off housing repairs are met from revenue resources. As I have said, such areas of city spending may well benefit from the motor race proceeding, and there is no conflict of priorities. As revenue spending is repeated annually, it would not take long for annual benefits to cancel out the initial capital contribution, so that should be seen as a major financial factor in the debate.

I am not sure whether something that the hon. Gentleman has just said is accurate. Does he not know that Birmingham city council capitalises its housing repairs? They are not done from revenue.

I am told that there is a technical distinction between certain forms of housing repair expenditure which is revenue and certain forms of housing expenditure which is treated on a capital basis. I realise that the hon. Gentleman specialises in the subject, and may have more particular knowledge of where the line is drawn between those two forms of expenditure on housing provision than I have. If so, I shall be interested to listen to him, although the argument that I am developing is that this relatively small expenditure based on municipal self-help will in due course be of great advantage to the city in creating extra resources.

It is the hope of the city council, based on careful study of all the factors involved, that besides promoting the city and encouraging tourism, the motor racing will generate income and so extra resources for the city. Even in the short term there are immediate benefits from spending by visitors to the event itself—tourists, sponsors, press and television crews, manufacturers' team support, tyre, fuel and oil companies, circuit and grandstand builders and celebrities. It is thought that on average at least £40 per day per visitor will be spent on hotels, food and drink, taxis, shopping, bus fares and entertainment. Direct income will come from gate receipts, sponsorship, television rights and franchise rights for wearing apparel, posters, brochures, market stalls, trade displays and food vendors.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the premier grand prix race around the streets of Monaco — obviously Birmingham will have considered that race — brings in about £8 million, according to current exchange rates? Is he further aware that the city of Monte Carlo, or Monaco itself, expects to lose money against that income each year?

I appreciate my hon. Friend's point, but the figure of about £8 million that he quotes would be enormously attractive to the city of Birmingham on the revenue side. I assure my hon. Friend that we provide services at a much better figure than Monaco.

Only five petitions have been deposited in respect of the Bill, and in none of them is any objection raised in principle to the Bill. Negotiations with the parties concerned are taking place. The points of detail involved require consideration in Committee.

I have referred to instructions 3 and 6, and I should like to deal with the remaining instructions. Following the reference to financial matters, it is appropriate to refer to instruction 4 in the name of the hon. Members for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett), for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) and for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis), in which they ask that detailed accounts be published. The answer is, "Yes, most certainly." All those details will be supplied by the city council on an annual basis. I agree entirely that that should be a proper provision by the city council.

Instruction 5, in the name of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) as well as the other three Birmingham Members I have mentioned, concerns the supply of equipment and materials. I assure those hon. Members and the House that the city council will wish to comply, subject to the EEC regulations, in that respect.

Instructions 1 and 2 relate to South Africa and cigarette advertising respectively and are in the names of the hon. Members for Erdington, for Perry Barr and for Hodge Hill, with the addition of the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) to the former. With regard to South Africa, I emphasise that the city council will of course honour and fully comply with the terms of the Gleneagles agreement, which applies in these circumstances. Tobacco sponsorship of sport in the United Kingdom has been restricted since 1977 by voluntary agreement. Again, Birmingham city council will strictly comply with the terms of any such agreement applying in the United Kingdom.

Instruction 7 relates to clause 15. I appreciate that Mr. Speaker referred specifically to that instruction. The Bill does not contain any provision that prevents people from putting advertisements on their own property, or requires such advertisements to be taken down, unless a fee is paid to the city council. However, in view of the concern that has been expressed, the city is considering rewording the clause in Committee to make the position absolutely clear and to show that no charge is payable by owner-occupiers in those circumstances. I hope that that will be entirely satisfactory.

Will the hon. Gentleman clarify that point? He referred to owner-occupiers. The instruction refers to "occupiers or owners", which implies tenants too.

I accept that point. The amendment would refer to "occupiers or owners".

In connection with instruction 8, all the vantage points around the proposed circuit are municipally owned properties. The council will let the tenants invite such guests as they wish, but full regard must be paid to the structural suitability and stability of the dwellings—for example, potential overloading of balconies — and the implications for other residents in the block. Access to the blocks will be arranged by means of a pass system involving the caretakers in each block. Similar arrangements were successful for the recent on-the-streets event, which also provided an attractive spectacle.

The answer on instruction 9 is also favourable in that as part of the council's existing "Passport to Leisure" scheme, used by 17,000 people, there will be some free and subsidised tickets — perhaps in the form of lottery prizes—for the folk of Birmingham. There is a desire to make specially attractive terms available to the citizens in general.

The vague letter that I received some time ago from the council left me unclear on that point. The letter referred to the existing scheme, which is used by 17,000 people. Instruction 9 refers to the generality of Birmingham ratepayers. It does not refer just to those in receipt of means-tested benefit, whose numbers have trebled since the Government came to power. Instruction 9 does not refer to the scheme operated at present. Is the proposed scheme one in which the generality of ratepayers will be able to participate?

That is a fair point. My view is that the "Passport to Leisure" scheme provides a framework and an administrative arrangement that demonstrates that it is possible to operate schemes of such kind. There has been definite reference to making some benefits available to all citizens, including the ratepayers. I assume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the families of ratepayers, too. They would be included in the lottery, which would be provided for the benefit of Birmingham people in general. I hope that the hon. Gentleman feels that such a proposal would deserve his support.

I am sorry to intervene again; this is the last time that I shall do so. The hon. Gentleman has told us nothing about the proposed price of tickets. I believe that 35,000 people will be expected to pay more than £17 a ticket. One cannot compare that with the price of attending an ordinary event or going to the local park. The other 100,000 people will be expected to pay at least £5 at 1984 prices. The hon. Gentleman has not given those prices, which would enable us to consider the instruction in the context of the prices that people would be expected to pay to see the race.

The hon. Gentleman mentions prices at the upper end of the likely spectrum — the possible prices for seats in glossy and convenient situations in the stands. There is a range of estimates of the revenue that might be gained through the sale of tickets for a whole day's substantial and attractive entertainment, including items of entertainment suitable for families. However, the hon. Gentleman is quite right to say that ultimately there will be a proper charge for tickets. The lottery will give the people of Birmingham in general a chance of a concessionary ticket.

I wish to quote from a leading article in Motor Sport of March 1985. The article states:
"The novelty of road racing would bring a great deal of news media coverage and also attract thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of new spectators who have never before witnessed racing. Mere parades of cars around Birmingham have attracted bigger crowds than the British Grand Prix. If the meeting was a good one then it would surely attract new spectators to regular motor racing. A Birmingham street meeting would be good for the sport.
The arguments for a street race meeting are simple and can be answered in personal terms. Would you stop going to your regular circuit because of a street race in Birmingham? Of course not. Would you like to see road racing in Britain? Of course you would. Would you welcome newcomers to the sport? Of course you would, for we would benefit by increased interest in motor racing. The case for a single annual street race in Birmingham is self-evident and overwhelming."
There was also a leading article in The Times on 29 January 1985, which stated:
"Objecting to the bill will spin out proceedings, waste scarce parliamentary time and conceivably doom a measure which merits the support of those on the left who favour municipal self-help and, on the right, advocates of competition and private business regeneration … What matters is that Birmingham, true to tradition, is realizing that prosperity requires the local economy to adapt".
In addition to Miami, Monaco, Detroit, Dallas, Hamilton in Ontario, and several other cities, Wellington in New Zealand has now held its first street car event. Adelaide in Australia is to follow in October, and Rome may well follow next year. British drivers take part in those events, but they have no opportunity to practise or to show their paces at home. I ask the House to give Birmingham a chance to provide the United Kingdom with a spectacle of international appeal.

7.38 pm

I wish to speak briefly in opposition to the Second Reading of the Bill. I shall do so along the lines advanced by the Royal Automobile Association in its memorandum to all hon. Members. There were two main points in the RAC memorandum. The first dealt with the general effect of such events upon traffic in big cities. However, in order to be brief, I shall concentrate upon the second point, which concerns the role of the RAC Motor Sports Association.

I declare a constituency interest. My constituency includes the Silverstone circuit. The points put to me by the Silverstone circuit represent the views of people from the purpose-built motor racing circuits in this country. This development will not stop with one race a year in Birmingham. The race may well be a flop. There is a fairly widespread view among motor racing experts that the estimates of the Birmingham city corporation are hopelessly optimistic. It is one thing to have people turn up to watch a free motorcade. It is another for them to pay the prices suggested by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker).

If it is a flop, that may be the end of the matter. If it succeeds, two developments will follow. The first is that Birmingham will want to promote such races more often. The second is that other cities and possibly rural areas will want to follow suit. Therefore, I suggest that the real debate is whether we want to depart from our traditional position whereby motor racing in Britain has been confined to purpose-built circuits.

I do not think it follows automatically that, just because one race is a success, there will be applications for more. It is not my understanding that, for instance, Monaco asks to run such races two or three times a year, even though the Monaco grand prix has been an established success for a long time.

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman before dealing with the intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight).

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. He has just referred to the traditional way. Is he not aware that motor racing here, as elsewhere, started on street circuits and not on purpose-built circuits such as Silverstone?

I accept that correction, but the development of the sport over many years — and certainly over the years since the second world war — and the success of Britain in the international racing world have been based upon the use of purpose-built tracks.

I accept what my hon. Friend the Member for Edgbaston said about Monaco. Monaco is in a special position. There, we are talking about a grand prix, and Birmingham is not. The grand prix started in Monaco a long time ago for historical reasons. It arose in a small state which had no other room outside its streets on which to build a circuit. There are special circumstances there.

The list of other cities quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre), again, should be looked at with a degree of scepticism. I understand that Rome is not going ahead with its plans. Some of the American cities have had to modify their plans and in other cases have encountered commercial failure. That is what I am told by the RAC.

I shall not give way to my hon. Friend. A number of hon. Members want to take part in the debate. There are several points of view on the Bill, and I want to detain the House for only a few moments.

I shall come to the argument about competition, but I beg my hon. Friend to listen, just as I shall listen to him if he catches your eye, Mr. Speaker, which is more likely if the rest of us make short speeches.

The Silverstone case was summarised in a statement issued on behalf of Silverstone Circuits Limited in January. It describes the way in which the permanent circuits have been built up by private investors, both individuals and organisations:
"Over many years they have ploughed their resources into purpose built circuits to cater for all the needs of the sport from club race level to Grand Prix. Additionally, the country's permanent circuits actively encourage all aspects of motor racing, helping the beginners, subsidising the enthusiasts events and providing training grounds for drivers, officials and marshals plus facilities for testing racing vehicles which would not be provided by temporary street circuits. The permanent circuits are able to provide the best, safest facilities for competitors and spectators alike. With two circuits in this country licensed to run Grands Prix and others catering for a wide cross section of events, we do not see the need for the law to be changed to permit street racing."
In support of that, I should like to advance a number of arguments, but I confine myself to three of them.

The first and most important argument in this discussion is the one about safety. In their statement circulated to hon. Members, the promoters of the Bill say that there would be safety barriers and a catch fence. I should hope so. Of course, there will be these precautions; it would not be permitted otherwise.

I say in parentheses that I do not argue this case on the ground of constituency chauvinism. I am proud and entitled to be proud that my constituency includes a great national asset such as the Silverstone circuit. But the arguments that I am advancing apply to all the other purpose-built circuits in the country and are designed to benefit the sport.

Looking at the Silverstone circuit vis-a-vis what is proposed in Birmingham, the first difference that one sees is that the track was designed with safety in mind for this kind of racing and not safety for ordinary traffic. The second difference is that the surface of the circuit is composed of a special material, Delugrip, which is designed for safety purposes, and that is not true of the roads of Birmingham. The third difference is that the track at Silverstone is 50 ft. wide. It is that width for general racing purposes, including the safety factor and the room that it provides for manoeuvre.

I remind the House that safety is not a static concept. It is not simply a matter of saying that here are some minimum requirements, such as putting up a fence. Every accident on any of the circuits becomes the subject of an inquiry both at the circuit and by the RAC sub-committee, and every possible lesson is taken into account: should there be a change in the angle of a corner; should this chicane be altered in some way; should there be some extra barrier at a vulnerable point? This is a constructive process going on over the years in which the toll of death and injury in this inevitably dangerous sport has been reduced. I suggest that that is a contribution that cannot be made on street curcuits.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that Mr. Robert Langford, the circuit inspector of the RAC who was asked to co-operate by Birmingham and made this feasibility study, concluded by saying:

"As a result of this inspection I see no insuperable problem regarding the actual track and feel that it would be possible for an event for the type of machinery discussed at the meeting to take place, provided always that the work is completed in a satisfactory manner."
In other words, the RAC's chief inspector was satisfied about the safety aspects of this proposed race.

I accept that, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept in turn that the final verdict of the RAC Motor Sports Association is against the project for the reasons that it has put to the House, including the safety factor. In other words, it recognises, as I know from my own conversations, the intangible element by which concepts of safety are growing continually and in which the safety of each of the circuits is revised constantly in the light of experience.

I want also to emphasis the argument about training. Silverstone is the site of the Jim Russell international driving school. A terrific amount of training is done there, not only initial training but more advanced training and the testing of the ability of young drivers to take part in less demanding races and then gradually to work their way into more difficult races such as formula 1 racing. There is a range of events there with enormous scope for training and for the development of the individual driver.

Because of what my hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green said about the relationship of this idea to industry in Birmingham, I must emphasise an important third aspect. I respect what my hon. Friend said, but there is nothing unique about it. At Silverstone, there is an industrial estate where at the moment 36 firms are working. Most of them are fairly small, but all of them work on aspects of motor racing, with a permanent track on which they can conduct testing. There is also a great deal of sophisticated machinery there which helps with the testing of their products. There is already this working link between Silverstone and other circuits and the relevant industries.

My hon. Friend the Member for Selly Oak made a sedentary remark about competition, and I take his point. Most of the time the majority of us would not argue against competition and would say that in most circumstances, whether we were discussing Silverstone or anywhere else, new forms of competition must be accepted.

There are, however, certain provisos. First, the competition should be fair. The road itself and many other facilities for the Birmingham project are paid for by the ratepayers. That is not necessarily fair competition in relation to circuits built by private individuals and organisations.

And I am very grateful, although I am sure that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will no more approve of what I have to say than the right hon. Gentleman will. If that is what he really believes, I look forward to his support in campaigning for better railways, which have to provide their own infrastructure while the road haulage industry takes advantage of facilities provided by other people.

I think that that is straying some way from the subject under debate.

I have considered carefully whether, as a matter of principle, competition should be defended regardless of type. As I have said, in this case the competition is not equal. Moreover, the permanent circuits plough back into motor sport all the advantages that I have mentioned—training, testing, safety and the rest.

Thirdly, and most important, even if the safety provisions for street racing meet certain minimum standards laid down by an inspector they will never be so stringent and constructive as they are for purpose-built circuits.

In conclusion, if the events in Birmingham are a success they will be copied in other areas, creating a totally new situation. We must ask ourselves whether we want to open the door to that and we should listen carefully to the views of the motor sport industry. I believe that the balance of argument, as summarised in the RAC memorandum, is against giving a Second Reading to the Bill.

7.52 pm

This is not a party issue. It is a matter of what is best for Birmingham. Nevertheless, I was amazed at the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice). By jove, we do change, do we not, depending on what the issue is and whence the wind bloweth? My right hon. Friend wants competition to fail in this instance, but he is afraid that it may succeed. That is a most unusual view for a Conservative, albeit a convert, to take. If the Birmingham project fails, Silverstone and the RAC will be able to say, "We told you so." Throughout its history Birmingham has always tried — and sometimes, though rarely, failed — to put its money, its power and its people behind new ideas. Why should it not be allowed to do this? My right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry has put the case given to him by Silverstone and by the RAC, with its usual lack of enterprise and its wish to be God over the whole of the motor trade. I thank God that the AA exists for those who do not like the RAC's head-in-the-sand attitude.

Conservatives should believe in competition. Birmingham is not asking for a grand prix. In the past few years Birmingham has suffered cruelly from the depression and the problems associated with it. To get over this by ourselves, we built a great national exhibition centre, with some help from the taxpayer and a great deal of help from the ratepayers. If we had taken the attitude of those who oppose this modest investment today, we should never have invested £40 million of ratepayers' money in the exhibition centre. Some say that that money should have been spent on council house repairs. As chairman of finance, I signed the contract on behalf of the city, and that investment by Birmingham ratepayers has brought in hundreds of millions of pounds in prosperity not just for Birmingham but for Solihull, Coventry, Warwick and all the surrounding areas. That is the kind of enterprise that Birmingham is prepared to undertake.

Another £40 million went into the airport. That, too, has brought in hundreds of millions of pounds for the whole area. The amount involved in the project now under discussion is a piffling sum for a great city, but the enterprise, publicity and uplifting of the spirit that it will bring to the city will mean that it will cost the ratepayers nothing. It will show MG, Metro, Jaguar and Talbot, all of which operate in the west midlands, that a further shop window is available through which all can prosper. If people fear competition from Birmingham, that is good. Birmingham has faced competition throughout the ages and it will have to face it again.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry seemed to think that if the project were a success races would be held in Birmingham every Saturday, but the Bill clearly limits the number of events to one per year held over two days. Will one bank holiday event per year in Birmingham be such a disaster for Silverstone? Is Monaco trembling in its boots? The project will be good for Birmingham and the west midlands. It will show that Birmingham is not a run-down, down-at-heel city.

The publicity for what Birmingham has done and is doing and for the spirit of enterprise of its up-and-going people will be a very good thing. Yet mealy-mouthed conditions are proposed by people who should know better. The hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) is not here, and I am not surprised. He probably does not even know where Birmingham is — he is too busy with his coal mines, those that are left—but he wants the Bill to founder. He suggests that there should be a clause prohibiting any citizen of South Africa from participating. That proposal bears the names of a number or other hon. Members, but I will not mention them. I do not wish to offend them. I want to get them into the Lobby with us.

I do not know about that, but I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. Is he just going over the top, or is he seriously suggesting that it is dishonourable for a Member of Parliament to suggest that South African sportsmen and sportswomen should not participate in sporting events in Britain?

If people are good enough for Silverstone or any other course, they should be good enough for Birmingham. It is unnecessary to lay down special provisions for Birmingham as though it were some kind of laager on its own. What is accepted by the nation should be good enough for Birmingham. It is wrong to put in special clauses.

There is then the advertising of cigarettes.

Order. I have allowed the hon. Gentleman to make his point. However, those instructions have not been selected and there is nothing in the Bill about cigarettes or South Africa. We should not be discussing those matters. Only instructions 7 and 9 have been selected by Mr. Speaker.

I am obliged to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for your advice. That is what I would have said had those instructions been chosen.

We recognise that there are those who can talk out this Bill, and that there are some Birmingham Members who wish to do so. I hope that they will let the Bill go through to Committee, as they should do, so that, once again, Birmingham can be given a fair chance. I hope that they recognise that those of us who are in favour of the Bill are concerned not to make a smart move over everybody else, but to help our city forward, to give it a good image and to support the motor industry and the people. I suggest that 93 per cent. of the people cannot be wrong. I should have thought that we could all support the Bill. I hope that this evening we shall find that, not on the road to Damascus, but on the road to New street, hon. Members who have said that they will vote against the Bill will change their minds and vote in favour of this excellent measure.

8 pm

I shall oppose this Bill. I want to make it clear that I am not speaking on behalf of any organisation that has petitioned against the Bill, of any business that has secretly lobbied against it, or of the RAC, Brands Hatch or Silverstone.

The idea of a motor race on the streets of the city of Birmingham is an exciting one, and well worth consideration. When I was first approached about this idea, in a letter from an organisation opposed to it, I replied that I would not be willing to commit myself to oppose something that I had not examined. I was then approached by the city council and replied in similar terms, saying that I wished to have more information before I made up my mind about how I would vote on the Bill.

We have now had a considerable amount of information, and I pay tribute to the patience, care and diligence displayed by councillor Marjorie Brown, who has replied on behalf of the city council to a number of questions that I, and some of my hon. Friends, have put to her. Nevertheless, I am not satisfied that the Bill should receive a Second Reading, and I shall opposite it on three grounds.

First, I am concerned about the financial implications. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre) said that the city council wishes to spend £1·5 million, based on an estimate described by the right hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) as optimistic. I am not making that point; I am prepared to accept the figures laid out by the city treasurer. If the race is held, and the results show that the estimate was optimistic, that will be the time to criticise the figures. In the meantime, I am prepared to accept the figures supplied by the city council.

As the hon. Member for Hall Green pointed out, the city council believes that if it spends £1·5 million it will make a profit of £1 million. A 40 per cent. net profit is a pretty good business operation. Therefore, I am impressed by that argument. I am also impressed that the hon. Member for Hall Green is a convert to municipal enterprise. I am delighted, and I look forward to his support on many other issues in future, when I and my hon. Friends will argue for the city council doing things to make a profit that will benefit the citizens of Birmingham.

I shall tell my right hon. Friend why. As the hon. Member for Hall Green fairly pointed out, it is not only a question of spending £1·5 million from the revenue account of the city council. The total amount of money to be spent by the city council is £3 million, and the other £1·5 million will be capital expenditure. It is to that I object.

The hon. Member for Hall Green pointed out, again properly and fairly, that capital expenditure by local authorities has been controlled by successive Governments. He could have added, even more fairly, that it has been not only controlled but cut by this Government, and that is the point. The hon. Member for Hall Green says that £1·5 million is a relatively small sum, which will generate income that will free resources for other services. That is true, but it is equally true that the use of £1·5 million of capital for his project means that £1·5 million cannot be spent in this or any other year on other capital projects needed by the citizens of Birmingham. That is my objection, and it is insurmountable because it has been confirmed by the city treasurer.

The hon. Gentleman will recall that my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre) spoke about that £1·5 million being spent over two years, so we are talking about £750,000 a year, and not £1·5 million in one year.

That may be so, but the city council is so pessimistic about the Bill that it has not budgeted anything to be spent in the year 1985–86. It will have to cut from other programmes if the Bill is passed. The hon. Gentleman's point is valid, but whether the money is spread over one or two years, it will still come out of a capital allocation that has been reduced by the Government and that is tightly controlled. The council will not be able to take the profit and use it for capital expenditure, and I did not see any Tory Members joining me and my hon. Friends in the Lobby when we were protesting about the restriction on the use of capital receipts by the city council of Birmingham.

We spent over £42 million on the national exhibition centre, so why were people like your good self not against that? We have just spent £35 million on the airport, so why were you not against that? Presumably it is because those projects were going to be, and have been, successful. Why are you against Birmingham making a success—

Order. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is not intending to involve me.

I beg your pardon, Sir.

Why is the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) against us making another successful investment which will help all the people in Birmingham, particularly the unemployed?

I take the hon. Gentleman's point, but neither he nor I were here at the time of the debates about the national exhibition centre. We might have agreed about that. I am not opposed to all capital works by the city council. I do not know whether we would have agreed or disagreed on the matter, but it is all in the past. It was at a time before this Government were elected and cut the capital allocation for the city of Birmingham. That is the point. We must now choose our priorities more carefully, and priorities are the language of Socialism, as I was taught to believe.

The hon. Member for Hall Green said that using the money this way would not affect housing repairs, but he withdrew that a little after an intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker). The hon. Gentleman was wise to do so, because this is a grey area. The city council move the line from year to year. One cannot say what the line between capital and revenue expenditure is, because for housing repairs the mix is changed every year. If the repair is small, it is financed by revenue expenditure. Replacing two slates on a roof is paid for from revenue, but a whole roof conies from capital expenditure. If this plan makes a profit, and money is available for more council house repairs, it will be available for the small repairs, and the people with the biggest need—those who need whole roofs replaced—will suffer as a result of this choice of priorities. This will not only affect tenants.

The improvement grants for owner-occupiers are also financed from capital expenditure. The hon. Member for Hall Green and several other hon. Members were present at a meeting which I attended, at city council house, a few months ago. The city council representatives complained to us about the inadequate amount of money being made available for improvement grants for owner-occupiers in Birmingham. That was capital expenditure.

There is also the problem of urban renewal, enveloping schemes and the block schemes, matters that we have also discussed with representatives of the city council. These schemes are all financed by capital expenditure. This is the aspect of the city's finances that causes most concern.

Other things also come from capital expenditure. In January, we all had a letter from councillor Knowles, leader of the city council, drawing our attention to the effects of Government cuts in capital expenditure. He complained about the reduction of more than £40 million in one year by the Government in the budget for the city council's capital expenditure. He drew our attention to the programmes that would suffer as a result. This is not my list. It has been prepared by the leader of the city council, with the advice of the city treasurer.

In fact, the list came with a covering letter from the leader of the city council, but the list itself was prepared by the city treasurer, who, to the best of my knowledge, is not a member of the Labour party. I am sure that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) will be the first to withdraw any allegation that the city treasurer is playing party politics.

I do not see how the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. Taylor) can take part. He is not from Birmingham. I shall give way later.

I want to read the list of things that the city treasurer told us were at risk. I know that Conservative Members do not like it, but, as a result of the Government's cuts in Birmingham city council's capital expenditure, the city treasurer said that next year, for the first time ever, the council would be unable to build any council housing, even for the elderly and disabled. The cuts would mean the decimation — the city treasurer's own word — of the city's essential major housing repair programme. It would wipe out planned preventive maintenance work, putting up to 500 jobs at risk. It would prevent structural repairs to dangerous high-rise blocks, which are fenced off to prevent injury from falling concrete. There will be no funds for improvement grants, including priority grants for the chronically sick and disabled. There will be no money for the replacement of inadequate outside school toilets. That will all be shelved for another year. Essential repair and fire precaution work to homes for the elderly will be dropped. A replacement home for the elderly will not now commence. The programme for the removal of asbestos from day nurseries is at risk. All those worthwhile and essential projects are at risk as a result of a reduction in the city council's capital expenditure budget. I object to using £1·5 million for a motor race.

Will the hon. Gentleman accept that a Member of Parliament for Solihull is as entitled to participate in this debate as an hon. Member for Wolverhampton, West Bromwich or Coventry? The hon. Gentleman has quoted a letter from the Labour leader of the city council, councillor Dick Knowles. Can he say whether he is in favour of this road race?

Yes, he is in favour of the road race. I apologise if I implied that the hon. Gentleman should not take part. I am happy to hear his views. It is true that councillor Dick Knowles is strongly in favour of the race and he is entitled to his opinion. I am entitled to point out that in January councillor Dick Knowles sent a letter to every Birmingham Member of Parliament — the hon. Gentleman will not have received that—together with a memorandum.

That is even more interesting. My hon. Friends from Birmingham and I may have something to say to councillor Knowles when we see him. He is sending out letters to Tory Members who are not from the city of Birmingham. That is incredible. If the hon. Gentleman catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, perhaps he will tell the House what he did about it. What I do not think he did was to support Birmingham Members of Parliament in the Division Lobby when we voted against those capital restrictions.

However, three Conservative Members of Parliament for Birmingham share a common problem with me. The hon. Members for Birmingham, Hall Green, for Birmingham, Yardley (Mr. Bevan) and for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. King) all share with me the appalling problem of the Smith houses. We know that the city council has not got the capital allocation to deal with the problem of Smith houses. I will not go to the Brandwood Home Owners Association and tell it that I support the expenditure of £1·5 million on a motor race by a city council that cannot find any money to deal with the problems of owner-occupiers who have been conned into buying defective council houses.

What does the hon. Gentleman feel about the purported £30 million of receipts from sales which will be available for his party to spend locally on Smith houses and other repairs as well as on the Perry Barr centre for recreational purposes?

I am not clear what the hon. Gentleman is referring to but I should be delighted to listen if he makes the point later.

I shall be pleased if the city council can find ways round the restrictions supported by the hon. Gentleman. I want it to spend more capital in Birmingham. My point is that when I go to the Department of the Environment with all-party delegations I do not want the Minister to say that the ground has been cut from under my feet as a representative of Birmingham because the council must have enough money so that it can operate a motor race.

The hon. Member for Hall Green referred to the effect of this project on jobs. He said that the expenditure of £1·5 million would provide jobs. Indeed, the council estimates that it will provide up to 20 jobs. I am told that those jobs would arise for employees of the city council, and I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman is impressed by that argument. I hope that in future he will support Labour party pleas for more public expenditure because it will create jobs. But jobs would be created, however that money were spent on capital projects. Jobs would be created if the money were used for urban renewal, day nurseries, old people's homes, improvement grants or any of the other items that are at risk according to the city treasurer.

The second reason for my objection to the Bill is the system of apartheid in South Africa. Unlike the hon. Member for Selly Oak, I make no apology for that. I am prepared to do everything that I can within the law to oppose apartheid and to protest against it and the policies of the South African Government on every possible occasion.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not stray into instructions which have not been selected for debate.

I have no intention of referring to instructions that have not been selected. I was about to reassure you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, on that point. The hon. Member for Hall Green referred to South Africa. Therefore, I wish to emphasise that that is one reason for my opposition to the Bill. Birmingham is a multiracial city and the proposed route of the motor race runs through a multiracial part of the city. I have made my position clear.

But there is another argument. I understand that the city council wishes to apply for the Olympics to be held in Birmingham in 1992. I wish it well. I shall support that project. I hope that the Government will support that project and I hope that the hon. Member for Selly Oak will come with me to ask the Government to put up the money for it. I am worried about the possibility that that project will be put at risk by South African racing drivers taking part in this proposed motor race.

I look forward to hearing my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) on that point. He has tremendous expertise and I shall bow to his opinions. If he tells me that there will be no risk to the Olympics from a South African racing driver taking part in the race or a racing driver from any other country taking part—that is a racing driver who has been put on the United Nations register of drivers who have taken part in sport in South Africa and who should therefore not be included in events elsewhere — I shall accept his assurance.

However, for the city council the position is confused. I raised the point with the city council, and it said in a long letter that it was unlikely that South African drivers will enter. Another letter to Members of Parliament for Birmingham explained that the Gleneagles agreement did not apply to professional motor racing drivers. A third letter arrived today from the chairman of the general purposes committee explaining that there was a mistake in a previous letter and that the Gleneagles agreement does apply to motor racing. I do not know where the city council stands on the issue, but I do know where I stand. The Gleneagles agreement says that any Government subscribing to it should
"combat the evil of apartheid by withholding any form of support for, and by taking every practical step to discourage contact or competition by their nationals with sporting organisations, teams or sportsmen from South Africa".
I discussed that with the anti-apartheid movement which told me that it hopes that Birmingham city council will ensure that no South African racing drivers take part in the race. It drew my attention to a much stronger declaration on southern Africa which has been adopted by several other local councils. It includes the provision that the council will:
"Seek to enforce the United Nations sporting and cultural boycott by withholding use of leisure facilities from any event involving participants coming from South Africa and Namibia, and from others who appear on the United Nations sporting and cultural registers."
If the city council had given me an assurance that it would apply that policy on organising the motor race, I should have accepted it. I am not asking the council to amend the Bill. We are not discussing the instruction this evening. If the leader of Birmingham city council will give me his assurance that no South African racing driver will take part in the race, I shall accept his word. I am disappointed that we have not had such an assurance.

I have strong feelings about apartheid and racial discrimination and I shall fight that discrimination at every opportunity. So will my hon. Friends, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath.

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for his kindness in acknowledging my involvement in this problem over many years; I refused permission for a South African cricket team to come here.

The Labour Government were not opposed to South Africans as people; nor are the present Government. We are opposed to apartheid, and that has been the basis of our legislation and of the Gleneagles agreement. I agree that the council got that agreement wrong in the first instance and I am glad that it has been put right. Under the Gleneagles agreement it would be inconceivable that any official representative of South Africa should come here and I am sure that I can say on behalf of the city council that it would uphold the Gleneagles agreement as created by the Labour Government and sustained by the present Government.

Order. I am finding it a little difficult to relate these remarks to the Bill. I remind the House that this is a short debate. I hope that we can stick to the Bill.

I am prepared to leave the subject. I accept what my right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath says. He is convinced that the city council will ensure that the Gleneagles agreement is honoured. I have never suspected otherwise, but I want it to go much further. I wish to ensure that no South African racing driver takes part in the motor race. Unless I get an assurance that that is the policy of the city council, I shall vote against the Bill.

My third objection concerns the advertising of cigarettes. The health authorities in Birmingham and the west midlands have a good record in campaigning against—

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but he seems to be coming to another instruction that has not been selected for debate. I am sure that he will be able to relate his remarks to arguments for or against the Bill.

I must point out to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that I had no intention of using the word instruction or of debating an instruction that you had not selected. However, the hon. Member for Hall Green mentioned tobacco advertising. I wish to reply to him, but if you feel that I should not do so, I shall leave it there. I do not wish to argue with the Chair.

I am not satisfied by what I have been told by the city council or by what I have heard from the hon. Member for Hall Green. Therefore, I shall oppose the Bill on those grounds.

8.22 pm

It may be helpful if I intervene now to give a brief indication of the Government's view of the Bill.

We are considering an unusual private Bill. It proposes, for the first time, a city centre motor race. Naturally, we are inclined to regard that with enthusiasm, because it is an exciting idea, and with caution, because it is new and safety is involved.

As the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath, (Mr. Howell) will verify, the Government are traditionally neutral in these matters, because no major matter of principle is involved. Today will be no exception. This is primarily a local matter and we do not oppose the principle of the Bill.

However, I should tell the House that last week I met the chairman of the RAC, the chairman of the general purposes committee of Birmingham city council and her Conservative opposite number to check out their views. I see the council's proposal as an enthusiastic, fun proposal — some might call it brash — and it is certainly ambitious. That is just like the average Brummie.

Against that background, I have to conclude whether the concept of a city centre motor race constitutes a precedent which would have adverse effects on national sporting interests. My Department, the Department of the Environment and the Home Office have all been involved in discussions with Birmingham city council since the proposal came forward. We have sought assurances from the promoters of the Bill about the construction of the circuit, the limited number of days per year on which racing would be permitted and the type of racing allowed.

The Bill's provisions are restrictive. As my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre) said, racing will take place on only one day a year—a bank holiday—with the previous day as a practice day. The circuit is essentially city streets — modified marginally — and there will be no grand prix type racing. I have seen the circuit from tall buildings in Birmingham and the ground on which stands would be erected.

The other duty of the Government is to oversee general matters of national concern. I include the effects of strategic traffic flows, pedestrian safety, access to property for people and vehicles, noise and pollution and planning and environmental matters, including advertising. The Bill includes clauses relevant to all those matters, and officials of my Department, of the Department of the Environment and of the Home Office have discussed the details with the promoters and several amendments have been incorporated in the Bill by the promoters to meet our requirements. We are grateful to the promoters for their positive attitude in achieving amendments which are in the general interest.

We are satisfied that strategic traffic flows will not be impeded by the proposals. The road network in the area allows good alternative routes to be provided, and motorists should not be substantially inconvenienced by the event. I understand that the local highway authority, the West Midlands county council, is also content.

However, I stress, as I have stressed to the chairman of Birmingham's general purposes committee, Mrs. Marjorie Brown, the importance, both before and after the event, of sound traffic management to minimise the disruption to traffic. I know that the promoters are well aware of the need for that, and on Friday I received from the chairman of the general purposes committee an assurance that if amendments were necessary she would be happy to discuss them with my hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green so that he could put them to the House if the Bill is given a Second Reading. Birmingham city council is obviously prepared to consider amendments.

We have been particularly keen to ensure that public safety is fully considered by those planning the motor race and that all reasonable measures appropriate to the Bill are included. We are satisfied that the type of barriers proposed for the circuit are suitable for the protection of spectators and that arrangements for the opening and closing of streets to be used for racing will not adversely affect the safety of pedestrians.

The promoters of the Bill have gone to some lengths to satisfy Government Departments about access for residents and visitors to properties alongside the circuit. It is inevitable that such an event will cause some inconvenience, but basic rights of access must be protected. Access for emergency vehicles is also vital and must be maintained. I hope that Birmingham city council will keep access and safety in mind in all the arrangements, if it is permitted to go ahead with the race.

The Bill provides a framework, but much will depend on the spirit of the enterprise and how the measures are carried through.

I should be interested to hear the Minister's comments on the point made by the right hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice), who said that the surface of a motor racing track is different from the surface of a city street and that it would be more dangerous to race on a street.

There is a difference between the sort of racing that takes place at Silverstone and that envisaged for Birmingham city centre. Delugrip is used on a number of road surfaces, and not exclusively on motor racing circuits. I would have to take advice on the matter, because I do not know the exact sort of surfacing material that is used on that sector in Birmingham. From what Birmingham city council has said, I know that if my officials from the Transport and Road Research Laboratory were not satisfied or if the council was concerned, measures would have to be taken until they were satisfied about the skid resistance of the surface. However, the surface may not need to be the same as that used on the professional circuits, such as at Brands Hatch, because there will not be any formula 1 racing.

The city council has other important duties to perform towards the environment. It must protect its residents from noise and pollution, as well as protecting the physical environment. We have received assurances from the city's representatives that noise and disturbance will be minimised, and the contracts let for the erection of barriers will specifically contain a clause to that effect.

I understand that the city has canvassed the opinion of local residents on the race and maintains that the very great majority are in favour. That weighs very heavily. We have also, however, sought assurances that provision will be made for those who do not wish to be in close proximity to a noisy motor race on a bank holiday, such as the frail and the elderly, to leave the area for the day at the expense of the race promoters.

My hon. Friend has made a very pertinent point. If the Bill is enacted and we have to rely purely on assurances, the House will not have an opportunity to build in the guarantees that some of us might like to have. Should not the Bill's promoters accept that, before any racing takes place, specific approval should first be obtained from the Department of Transport, and perhaps the local authority, the police and even the RAC, as the licensing authority for motor racing? We would then have more faith in assurances. If the Bill is enacted in its present form, we shall have to rely entirely on Birmingham city council.

It is not for me to answer for the promoters of the Bill. However, I distinctly heard my hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green say that arrangements would he made for all safety measures in a code of practice. From the information that has been given to me, I know that if it were desirable to make such amendments to the Bill, the promoters would ask for them to be made. If the Bill is given a Second Reading tonight, my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) can consult my hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green and put forward any ideas so that they can be considered further.

My hon. Friend has made an important point — [Interruption.] — which I should like to pursue, as some of us may not have an opportunity to speak in the debate. Is my hon. Friend asking us to give the Bill a Second Reading on the promise of a code of practice? Is she saying that that would satisfy the Government? What would be the Government's view if the RAC, which is the equivalent of the Jockey Club and is appointed by the Government to see that the rules are observed, decided that the rules and assurances were insufficient? Would the Government then stand by?

As I have said, it is for the promoters, not the Government, to ask hon. Members to support the Bill. From all the information given to us, I understand that Birmingham city council is prepared—I shall come to this point later — to meet the requirements of the RAC, whose chairman I met last week, in every way that it would seem to desire on certain points. Therefore, Birmingham city council and the RAC are now coming together, although that might not have been evident a week or so ago when some hon. Members were briefed by the respective parties.

I should like to point out, in reply to the interventions that have been made, that Birmingham does not renege on its undertakings. It never has done so. Birmingham is a great city. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre) and I were present at the meeting when the RAC was invited to run and supervise the race and to ensure that all the safety requirements were met. I am sure that I can now repeat that assurance on behalf of Birmingham.

I am delighted to hear that, as it clears the air.

I understand that officials from the Department of the Environment have been in discussion with Birmingham city council about the display of advertisements and that a suitable revision of the provisions in clause 15 will be suggested if the Bill receives a Second Reading. I understand that it would remove, as far as practicable, the possibility of duplicate control with the general advertisement control regime under the town and country planning Acts. There is no apparent reason why this difficulty should not sensibly be resolved by the discussions.

It would not be reasonable for the net expense, if any, of this local project to fall on the public purse. We have therefore sought details from Birmingham city council on the expected expenditure and income associated with the race. We have stated that we expect the project to be self-financing, and we accept that the estimates provided by the city council demonstrated that that is feasible. Within those estimates, we were anxious to see that adequate provision was made for compensation for those wile could be adversely affected on occasion by the race — for example, through any damage to property. I understand that that has been covered.

In response to interventions, I have already mentioned the comments of the chairman of the RAC. I know that the RAC has been writing to hon. Members malting observations for the debate. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Birmingham city council not only wants to work with the RAC but is fully prepared to do so. It will also undertake those safety measures considered necessary, whether by the RAC or by the Department, should we have any difference of opinion, which I believe is not the case at present.

The Government wish to encourage initiative and competition. Since we have received assurances several times, and the RAC has not petitioned against the Bill, I believe that the concern to ensure that the road race is a safe and good venture for Birmingham city council can be satisfied. I understand that the RAC, which looks after the 14 circuits in this country, may be a little concerned about competition. But one road race one day a year in Birmingham and the sort of event that I would gladly visit the constituency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) to see are two very different things.

That should be kept in the forefront of our minds. All the matters that have been raised in relation to the Bill are important. The Government have taken steps to ensure that they have been fully considered and that the best possible arrangements are made. We are content that the promoters of the Bill have their responsibilities fully in mind, and that, with good will, there need be no serious impediment to its implementation. We would, of course, wish to reserve our position about reporting to Parliament should any points of detail remain unresolved between the promoters and Government Departments.

Birmingham is often described as the home of the motor car. Last night I was in a neighbouring home of the motor car, Coventry. It seems appropriate that Birmingham should promote its name through a motor race in the city streets. Birmingham may not have the palm trees of Monaco—

I have not examined the trees of Monaco or the soil of Birmingham. But Birmingham is a city with many qualities. The council and all parties on it have worked in a vigorous and innovative way. We may not always agree with everything that they do, but they choose to market their very strong attributes through this Bill.

I know that the city council sees the proposals for motor racing in the city as one ingredient in its positive programme for creating an attractive environment in which regeneration and expansion of Birmingham's commercial base can take place. The Bill is an exciting local initiative, and it is certainly not one that I would wish to frustrate. I therefore hope that the House will feel able to give it a Second Reading and allow it to proceed in the usual way to Committee, where all its provisions and all the reservations expressed in the House tonight can be considered in greater detail.

8.41 pm

Like the Minister, the Opposition have no wish to put forward an official view about the Bill. Each hon. Member must make his own decision. Given the passions that the Bill has already aroused, it would be foolhardy of me, as an exile from Cheshire representing a black country constituency, to spend too much time in this very hot bath water.

Having made some fairly unwise, and I thought private, remarks some weeks ago about the centre of Birmingham which I have no intention of repeating tonight, I must say that I have found the debate fascinating. I was impressed, as I always am, by the cool, calm and comprehensive way in which the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre) presented the Bill. I was a little surprised to hear him refer to the Bill as a glittering example of municipal enterprise with such apparent approval. When the last Labour Government tried to allow some municipal enterprise in the direct works department in Birmingham, the right hon. Gentleman was among the most vociferous critics. It appears that on the subject of motor racing he is pleased to see some municipal enterprise.

There are more examples than that quoted by my hon. Friend. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre) and other Conservative Members voted against this proposal when it was previously before the House. Surely it was a municipal enterprise then. They appear to have changed their tune.

No doubt the reasons for changing their tune will become apparent as the debate continues. When it comes to tune changing, there can be no better pianist than the right hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice).

I shall not give way because the hon. Gentleman joined the debate only five minutes ago. If he wants to play the piano, he should be here for the full orchestral concert and not come in halfway through.

The right hon. Member for Daventry gave us a fascinating exposition of modern-day Toryism on the subject of competition. Once again, it appears that competition is a very good thing—but, O Lord, not in my constituency. The right hon. Gentleman has the Silverstone course in his constituency and defended the vested interest very well. That should be regarded as a compliment on the fulfilment of his constituency duties. But how strange for a Conservative—albeit a new found one — to say that if the project succeeds Birmingham will want to repeat it more frequently. That is a fine example of the Tory policy on competition, is it not? Presumably the right hon. Gentleman's version of competition is that it must be not too often and unsuccessful. I must confess that under the Government of whom he is now a supporter private enterprise has not done particularly well, whether in Birmingham or elsewhere. But it is still a surprising view to espouse as publicly as he has done tonight.

The case that I was trying to advance — to which neither the hon. Gentleman nor my hon. Friend the Minister have addressed themselves—is that British motor sport has attained very high standards in the international world. The foundation of that is all the work, investment and training in special purpose circuits. If we interfere with that and open the floodgates to a different sort of competition, we may dilute that quality and do great damage to the sport.

The Minister dealt in some detail with the question of safety. The more detailed points that she and other hon. Members have mentioned show that these matters can be dealt with more adequately in Committee than in the House. I realise that the right hon. Gentleman is a great admirer of the Royal Automobile Club. I do not accuse him of delivering a brief from that organisation, but it had certainly been in contact with him before he expressed his views tonight. It is surprising, if not positively poignant, to think that just over a decade or so ago I used to listen to the right hon. Gentleman in this House and outside advocating more fullblooded Socialism. That was in the early 1970s. I know that the right hon. Gentleman is not anxious to be reminded of that. Tonight he is espousing the views of those pillars of Socialism, the stewards of the RAC — people like Sir Carl Aarvold and the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. Ten years is a very short time in politics, to misquote someone else, but to find the right hon. Gentleman firmly in the camp of that organisation comes as something of a surprise.

One hon. Member mentioned the similarity between the RAC and the Jockey Club. A third organisation could be included—the Politburo. None of them is elected on a democratic basis. The right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends have seen fit to defend what I regard as the brief from the RAC, and I find that as pretentious and misleading as most of the propaganda that emanates from that organisation. If anything was guaranteed to get Members from the Opposition Benches into the Lobby to support the Bill, it is that appalling and arrogant letter from the RAC.

The hon. Gentleman can have his fun, but whether or not he likes the RAC it stands as the authority that controls motor racing in this country—

I agree with my hon. Friend. It has discharged that function with national and international distinction. Our record on safety and standards is second to none. Therefore, it has the same standing as the Jockey Club. Whether or not their members are elected is beside the point. Both the Jockey Club and the RAC have a duty that we do not want to usurp, which is to ensure that the standard of racing in their respective spheres is as high as it can be, and they deserve our approbation.

I am sure that the House and the RAC will be grateful for that impassioned defence. I dismiss the Jockey Club, but say in passing that we all know that the self-styled sport of kings is corruption free and that every nag that canters round a course does so in perfect fairness — and the Jockey Club never ceases to assure us that that is so.

On the question of the RAC, I can only suggest that the hon. Gentleman reads yesterday's Sunday People. The RAC has a committee that is responsible for speedway. I would not have thought that the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, the right hon. Lord Shawcross, Squadron Leader John Crampton or Sir Carl Aarvold were members of that committee, but according to the Sunday People they saw fit to dismiss some very detailed bribery allegations. Perhaps those self-perpetuating, if not self-appointing, organisations should be the subject of an inquiry by this House.

My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) gave three reasons why the Bill should be opposed. Two of them were mentioned by the hon. Member for Hall Green. Like my hon. Friend, I represent a multi-racial constituency, and my abhorrence of apartheid is as great as his. Indeed, an abhorrence of apartheid unites all on these Benches, and I hope that the same can be said of many Conservative Members. My hon. Friend spoke of cigarette advertising. As a reformed smoker, perhaps I had better not say much on that subject. I know how easy it is to lapse after one has enjoyed such a sin.

The main point with which my hon. Friend the Member for Hodge Hill was concerned was the financial implications of the expenditure under the Bill, and he said that £3 million, rather than £1·5 million, would appear to be involved on the project. As he put it, that money could be spent on other projects.

Understandably, he dealt passionately with the £40 million cuts in public expenditure that the Conservatives had undertaken since coming to power and he detailed other areas of priority where he would rather see public money spent than on a motor race. I appreciate my hon. Friend's view, but he did not say whether, if the project did not go ahead, all those other desirable priorities would benefit.

About £1·5 million would not go a great way to solving the problems, for example, of urban renewal, old people's housing and housing repairs generally in a city the size of Birmingham. My hon. Friend's point in that respect was not particularly valid, therefore, on that aspect of the Bill.

I am sure that my hon. Friend does not wish to misrepresent me. He may not have understood me when I said that the £3 million was the total cost, of which £1·5 million was revenue expenditure and £1·5 million capital expenditure. I was referring specifically to the capital expenditure, which could not be replaced.

When he refers to Government cuts in public expenditure of £40 million, that is a £40 million cut in capital expenditure this year, not since the Conservatives were elected. I was not suggesting that £1·5 million would cure all the problems and pay for all the projects listed by the city treasurer. It would, however, make a contribution.

I apologise to my hon. Friend for my getting the figure wrong. He said earlier that Socialism was the language of priorities, and I agree. Surely the priorities are better decided by those elected to make the decisions, the members of the city council.

My hon. Friend says that it is up to us tonight. For the last four months—though it has seemed much longer — I have been involved in the Committee stage of the Local Government Bill. From the Labour Benches we have argued day after day for greater autonomy for local government and have attacked the Conservatives for interfering with the expenditure priorities of local authorities. Is it not incongruous to argue the reverse tonight and say that we are better qualified to decide how £1·5 million should be spent?

We are here to give approval or otherwise to the Bill. The detailed arguments, however, should be conducted in Committee.

I will gladly give way to my hon. Friend, if she wishes to intervene. If, however, she keeps shouting into my right ear, I shall have difficulty trying to speak to the subject and trying to hear what she is saying.

First a minor point: I was shouting into my hon. Friend's left ear. Given that Birmingham must seek approval from the House for the Bill, it is our duty seriously to consider the measure to see whether it would benefit the people of Birmingham. We believe in local government. That is why it is our task to consider whether it will benefit the people of Birmingham.

I accept my hon. Friend's geographical correction in that she was shouting into my left ear. It is not just a question of deciding priorities on behalf of the city of Birmingham. I appreciate that my hon. Friend represents a Birmingham constituency whereas I do not, but I must remind her that the city council voted 90 to 13 in favour of the Bill. That was a substantial majority, and a vote of that magnitude means that the great majority of members of the Labour party there voted for the measure.

It is consistent for us to argue — as hon. Members who have served for any time in local government do argue—that there is too much interference from this House and from Whitehall as a whole in the decisions of local government—

I am grateful for that comment of assent from the hon. Member for Wealden (Sir G. Johnson Smith). I hope that I can rely on his support in the Lobby when the Conservatives decide to abolish democracy locally.

The fact that the decision was made by such a majority on Birmingham city council shows the depth of feeling in the city in favour of the scheme. While I accept, therefore, that my hon. Friend the Member for Hodge Hill adduced his argument with his customary sincerity and diligence, I suggest that those points can be more fully debated in Committee. I would not dream of making any recommendations on the issue.

I have expressed my own view, which is all that it is proper for me to do on a Bill such as this. I shall be voting for the measure tonight because I believe that Dick Knowles and his colleagues on the city council know what is best for Birmingham. Members of the Labour party who believe in local government democracy should support locally elected councillors when they reach a decision in the way that Birmingham has reached this decision.

8.57 pm

I listened carefully to the arguments that have been deployed tonight on both sides. In particular, I was persuaded by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre).

I listened with reassurance to the Minister of State when she said that note had been taken of the views of Birmingham, that discussions had been held, that dilligent consideration had been given to the question of safety, that the Bill would contain provisions in relation to safety and that undertakings on the subject would be given.

A spokesman for the Royal Automobile Club was reported today to have said that if the Bill was given a Second Reading, as I trust it will, the RAC would change its view and discuss the matter. That, in my view, would be an appropriate course for the RAC to take. The members of Birmingham city council did not take a sudden decision. I was a member of the council about 12 years ago and I met some today who were also members of the council at that time or who were in the gallery of the chamber when the issue was debated and the proposal was narrowly defeated. The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) was right to emphasise the vote in Birmingham's council chamber. It should be stressed that 90 were in favour of the Bill and 13 opposed it, with only five abstentions. Let us all remember, whether we represent Yardley, Erdington, Perry Barr or Hodge Hill, that 93 per cent. of the Brummies living in these constituencies have expressed themselves in favour of the Bill.

When their opinion has been tested, 93 per cent. have expressed themselves in favour of the proposition.

Many misconceptions have been expressed this evening. One of them came from my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice). It is obvious that he has not seen the roads that will be used. I have walked along them all my life and I know that they are different now from when I walked along them as a boy. They are broad, redeveloped roads. I hazard a guess that those that will provide about eight tenths or nine tenths of the circuit are at least 150 ft wide, about three times the width of the track which forms the Silverstone circuit.

The route of the race has been discussed for 12 years. Various routes have been disregarded and now the favoured course has been adopted. I have driven over it, and I was driven over it on the day of the rehearsal of the race. I do not recall seeing any of my right hon. and hon. Friends on that occasion, nor did I see any Labour Members, although I concede that they may have been there. However, I recall that there were about 250,000 citizens of Birmingham around the natural amphitheatre which slopes down to Bristol road and Belgrave road, or Middleway as it is now called, into Sherlock street. I recall that the occasion provided entertainment and an attraction for people of all ages. It was heralded by contributions from people of all ethnic origins. The race stimulated great support and was an undoubted success. It would be wrong if we failed to support the proposal in the way that we should.

The race is wanted by the Brummies. It has been fought for over a long period. The police invigilated when the race was run and there was not one complaint from them, and there has not been one petition against the Bill.

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman does not wish to mislead the House. It is right to remind the House that the race to which he refers was a free event for those who wanted to watch it. The hon. Gentleman should recognise that about 30 per cent. of those living in the inner area of Birmingham are registered as unemployed. The number who would be able to buy expensive tickets for a road race would be rather different.

Of course, any unemployment is regrettable. However, 90 per cent. or more of those who live around the area of the circuit, unemployed or not, have expressed themselves in favour of the race.

We have moved on over 12 years.

The race will contribute to the quality of life and to the take-up of employment in Birmingham by producing over 600 part-time jobs and 20 or more full-time jobs. It will generate a profit for Birmingham.

Despite the remarks that are being made by hon. Members from sedentary positions, we are debating a car race in Birmingham. We are not talking about housing or racism. The race has been asked for by the public. I was gratified when I heard my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Transport say that it should be supported by us all whatever the RAC's attitude, which I think will change quickly after we in the House rally to the support of the race.

My tie has on it the call sign of Birmingham international airport. I hope that the call sign to support another race will be supported by all hon. Members and that a chance will be given to the city that produced Herbert Austin, who started to make motor cars in the back streets of Birmingham and subsequently became an honoured Member of the House. I hope that note will be taken of Birmingham's association with the car trade and that Birmingham will become the first city to have its own on-the-street car race.

9.5 pm

The Bill will give Birmingham city council the right to provide a road race for as long as the legislation is operational. My hon. Friends have said that, because some terrible difficulties arise from the Government's policies — I agree — the decision should be rejected on principle. That is a most unattractive argument. We should vote on the principle of road racing. The immediate capital restrictions applying to Birmingham are a matter for proper debate by Birmingham city council. I should have hoped that the arguments in this Chamber would be more elevated than those that we have heard from some quarters.

Birmingham is a large and imaginative city, and this proposal must be seen in that context. Do we want Birmingham to be known, promoted and advertised around the world as an international city? I believe that we do. No one can gainsay the fact that if Birmingham is the only city in Britain to have a motor race, the advertising and promotion that Birmingham will get will be out of all proportion to this puny investment that seems to have bogged everyone down. There is no way that Birmingham could buy for £3 million the amount of international coverage that this race would give to it. My hon. Friends should think about that important aspect. How can we attract jobs and investment to the city unless we show that we are a 20th century city moving into the 21st century, capable of fulfilling our heritage and acting in accordance with the other great decisions that Birmingham has taken over many years?

Hon. Members have referred to the Birmingham international exhibition centre. I have to tell my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) that I was very much involved in that decision. I went to see the then Prime Minister, who is now Lord Wilson, to urge him to ensure that the centre would come to Birmingham and to argue that everything should not be in London. Birmingham got the international exhibition centre.

It is really an international centre. It has proved to be an outstanding success.

This race must be seen in that context. The developments at Birmingham international airport are in the same league of international thinking as this proposal. The proposal to set up an international convention centre has all-party support from people who are big enough to think big on behalf of Birmingham. Most of us expect that proposal to go forward, and we hope to receive EC funds for it. It will include a new concert hall for the internationally renowned city of Birmingham symphony orchestra, one of the most important orchestras in the country at the moment. This is what Birmingham is doing now. It is not sitting down accepting the fate that some people have mapped out for it. We should be singing Birmingham's praises loud and clear and saying that that is Birmingham's international significance.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) is aware, another decision was taken in Birmingham this week, in which I have been involved. All parties decided that the city would put into my hon. Friend's constituency the one and only international indoor stadium in this country. If the argument that we must not spend a penny on anything except housing is to be sustained, my hon. Friend will not be supporting that project, but I support it. [Interruption.] My hon. Friend does not want to intervene, but he is arguing that the number one priority must be housing—unless he wants to discriminate against one sport and another. The logic of his argument is that if Birmingham wants international sporting facilities it should have them, but that all resources should go into desperately needed housing. There is no dispute about that. He must, therefore, ipso facto, be against the indoor athletic stadium as well as the motor circuit. That is the logic of the case, and I do not want to stand logic on its head.

If my right hon. Friend takes his logic too far we shall spend all Birmingham's money on sport and nothing on housing.

Given the present depression in Birmingham, that might not be a bad thing. However, I am not going that far with my argument.

I should hate my hon. Friend the Member for Hodge Hill to be left out of this great assembly. I think he knows that the leisure resources committee which is talking about the motor race and the indoor athletic stadium is thinking of putting a major international swimming pool at the junction of his constituency and mine.

If the committee has not told him, perhaps I can, and he will be the first to welcome it.

What I do know, and my right hon. Friend knows perfectly well, is that the council is considering whether it can find money for urban renewal in his constituency and mine.

I do not know whether the leisure resources committee is finding money for urban renewal.

I was talking about the leisure resources committee.

The second argument in favour of the Bill is the financial one. Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Perr,y Barr I do not think that it is a scandal to spend money on this proposal. Although I fully accept what he says about the need to spend money on housing and the priority that it should have — I fully endorse his condemnation of the Government in that respect — I completely reject the argument that until we have cured all the social ills in our society we should do no social good. That is a misconceived argument, and we have to be careful where it takes us. In essence, it is a philistine argument, because it takes us to the proposition that we should stop spending any money on the arts, on sport or on the heritage of our city.

There has been some reference to Socialism as being the language of priorities. As we know, that came from Aneurin Bevan. [Interruption.] Yes, I was brought up on that, but I was also brought up on the passionate belief that Socialism is not really about economic circumstances; it is about warmth, colour and excitement in the lives of ordinary citizens. That is what the early Socialists believed, and that is what I believe. That is why I passionately believe that the quality of life in a city such as Birmingham is a matter of great importance. I do not believe that we enhance the quality of life of our citizens by using economic arguments against having any excitement, colour or warmth in their lives. I hope that my hon. Friends will understand that.

There is also what has come to be known as the municipal enterprise argument. I embrace that terminology for the purpose of the debate, although I prefer the term municipal Socialism. From the early Socialists — and from the Chamberlains — we had the concept of municipal activity. The gas, water and electricity services, and the municipal banks, were all examples of municipal Socialism. My hon. Friends, had they been alive in those days, would have embraced them. Therefore, I cannot see what is the argument against a municipal enterprise such as a road race.

I also embrace the argument about local democracy. Last week, we attacked the Government for saying that Whitehall knows best. When the Government proposed to abolish the metropolitan counties and the GLC and to set up joint boards, the Opposition said that it was wrong in principle to say that Whitehall knows best. Having said that, we cannot reverse the argument tonight and say that Parliament knows what is best for Birmingham. Even if I did not agree with the proposed motor circuit—even if I were passionately opposed to it — I would hold strongly that the Birmingham city council and the Birmingham people have the right to decide the matter for themselves. Therefore, I do not think that there are any merits in the objections to the Bill.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley (Mr. Bevan) got his figures wrong. I do not think that 90 per cent. of the people approved the proposal. But there was a referendum, carried out by the Birmingham city council of all the residents living in the vicinity of the proposed road race. There were 4,520 ballot papers issued through the post office, because Birmingham city council was determined to get the views of the people. In view of the turnout at local elections and the usual participation in referendums, it was staggering that 36 per cent. of the people who were polled returned their ballot papers. They produced a majority of 4½ to 1 in favour — 1,290 in favour and 283 against.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what percentage of the people living in the area were represented in that poll?

All of them. I made it clear that that ballot was conducted at the residences of all the people — every person living in that vicinity was polled — [Interruption.] I do not know what the hon. Gentleman's point is. I made it clear that Birmingham city council polled every resident in that area. I have given the figures—there was a 36 per cent. response and a majority of 4½ to 1 was in favour.

Therefore, on the grounds of the constitutional principle, practicality and the fact that the race, if it makes a profit, can provide money to be invested in the very things that my hon. Friends and I want, Birmingham should succeed.

That leaves us with one other objection, which comes from the RAC. Some of my hon. Friends and I are much concerned about the behaviour of the RAC in this matter. I would be less than frank if I did not say this to the House. The RAC co-operated with Birmingham. Its specialists were sent to Birmingham to co-operate with the city, and they advised the city that the road race was practicable, that the safety provisions would be adequate and that it should be approved. I do not know whether the RAC is an example of double standards, but, to our amazement, suddenly in January this year the RAC produced a new safety regulation after Birmingham had deposited the Bill with the House. That is not the standard of conduct that one comes to expect from such an organisation, which is not democratic in its make-up, but we all understand the difficulties in that area.

Does my right hon. Friend agree with me in saying that the best response of RAC members in Birmingham and the west midlands would be to tear up their membership cards and join the Automobile Association, which is in favour of the race?

I would be precluded from giving that advice because all the staff of the AA belong to the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff, with which I have been associated for a long time.

I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has come to this point because there has been some confusion about what the position of the RAC has been. What is the regulation that has been changed?

It is regulation D2.2.5 of January this year, which did not exist before. The object of the regulation is that there should be no racing on temporary circuits.

I shall not go through the lengthy dissertation that we received from the RAC except to deal with item 4, which states that the RAC
"cannot accept that the decision of Parliament should be influenced solely by the views of the Birmingham City Council".
That puts the point crudely, but I should like to make the reverse point. When we met representatives of the RAC, we said that if the House of Commons approves the Bill in principle, which gives permission to close roads for two days a year, it is a decision of principle that is for Parliament but not for the RAC. We had to make that point strongly because the RAC itself was saying that it would wear both its hats. This is the difficulty that it has got itself into. On the one hand, the RAC is a motoring organisation and on the other hand it is the governing body of motor sport. The RAC as a motoring organisation can properly object to the Bill, but if Parliament passes the measure we object to the RAC putting on its other hat and saying that it will use other powers in another guise to frustrate the motor race.

That would be most improper. I warn the RAC against persisting with that line. I note that Birmingham's response is that that would be a restraint on trade, and that an action would be brought in the courts at once. Furthermore, if the RAC sought to do that, it would be placing itself in a monopolist position which would require investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. That is not the first time that that point has been made. The hon. Gentleman and I both made it when we visited the headquarters of the RAC. I am sorry that the RAC has not responded to that point.

However hard pressed the citizens of Birmingham may be, they wish their city council to give a lead, to put the city on the international map, to create excitement and to give us something to be proud of. Civic pride is important to Birmingham. Many Birmingham citizens will gain a lot of pleasure from the motor race. Thousands of them will see it for nothing. One cannot black out miles of road. People will enjoy the spectacle from the windows of their flats. It will be a festive occasion, and a good investment for Birmingham in terms of jobs and the promotion of the city. I commend the Bill to the House.

9.27 pm

So far we have heard some very long speeches from hon. Members who favour the Bill and some very short ones from those who oppose it. I hope that that point will be borne in mind when those who have not had an opportunity to speak seek to ensure that extra time is made available.

One of the points made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) is specific to my constituency. He chastises me about the proposed indoor stadium in Perry park which is to be part of the complex in the park. There is a fine outdoor stadium — it is a premier stadium — and an all-weather pitch. The indoor stadium will provide facilities not only for my constituents but for those of my right hon. Friend, enabling adults and children to participate in sport. No one would oppose that.

My constituents who live round the park do not want a stadium at the proposed site, but I have said publicly to the city council and to my constituents that if the stadium is to be built anywhere, it should be built in the park. My duty is to get the best possible facilities that I can for north Birmingham. Capital spending on facilities for people to use is a different bag of chips from capital spending on digging up lamp posts and laying down safety barriers for one day a year. The stadium would be of great benefit to thousands of people in north Birmingham, even though my constituents who live nearby do not want it at the bottom of their gardens. I have put their case—it is my duty to do so—but I am not duty-bound to support them. I am a representative, not the delegate of a small clique.

My right hon. Friend has lectured us about democracy and our role as hon. Members. I recall a private Bill before the House that was supported by the city council and the county council, the Labour groups on both those councils, and the Labour candidate at the general election, but my right hon. Friend opposed it. I refer to the Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council Bill. My right hon. Friend took a different view on that occasion. In that case, he was able as a Member of Parliament to judge the situation on its merits, and he arrived at the correct decision. He did his duty as an hon. Member.

I do not disagree with that. No one says that my hon. Friends should not vote against the Bill if they so wish. The Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council Bill was designed to destroy the Shrewsbury Town football club. It was an entirely different matter. The present Bill is not designed to destroy anything. It is designed to give powers to Birmingham city council, if it wants those powers. It is a totally different kettle of fish.

Either we are in favour of local democracy or we are not. The argument is not one that my right hon. Friend can sustain.

In an intervention, I reminded the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Sir R. Eyre) that in the past he had voted against this proposal in the House of Commons, as did the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight) and the Minister of State, Department of Transport. They did not argue in favour of giving a fair wind to the Bill then under consideration and allowing the case to be argued in Committee. On 11 February 1976, they trooped into the Division Lobby, on what was the first recorded incident of a Conservative Whip on a private Bill, to vote down the West Midlands County Council Bill, part III of which was the mini-Bill to provide a grand prix road racing circuit in the centre of Birmingham.

I know that the hon. Gentleman does not want to be unfair. It is true that that Bill included a provision for motor racing. However, that formed no part of the Second Reading debate. The major parts of the Bill were concerned with what the hon. Gentleman described as the advancement of municipal trading. What is more, it was to promote municipal trading at the expense of ratepaying private traders. That was the principle on which the Bill was rightly defeated.

Yes, but it was not granted the privilege of a Committee stage so that the details could be considered — an exactly contrary argument to that advanced in respect of this Bill. What is more, it is not true that the Second Reading debate was concerned solely with municipal trading. It was not. The hon. Member for Edgbaston concentrated her remarks — as I did — exclusively on the proposed road race. On that occasion she spoke against it, as I did. There was an instruction to leave out part III, but as the Bill did not get a Second Reading the issue was never raised. I might add that I voted in favour of the Bill because I wanted it to have a Committee stage. Tonight, nine years later, we are going round the same circuit, but I see nothing to change my mind about the road race. The Bill concentrates on one issue, and I shall do what I would have done that night if the instruction had been selected and vote to leave out part III. I make no bones about that.

The argument centres on money. Other arguments are outlined in the instructions, some of which, Mr. Speaker, you have been good enough to select and others of which have been referred to. I shall not go into detail on any of them. If the Bill has a Committee stage and comes back here on Report, there will be an opportunity for hon. Members to table specific amendments to turn those instructions into reality.

The main issue relates to capital expenditure. There is no special Government grant for this project — or is there? There have been special Government grants for other projects that have been mentioned in the debate. The national exhibition centre, for example, would not have gone ahead unless central Government funds had been injected into the financial arrangements. But there is nothing for this proposal and, as far as I know, there is nothing on offer.

Birmingham city has suffered massive cuts since 1979. At the moment, the city Labour party is organising a citywide petition to Parliament trying to get back £125 million lost in rate support grant since 1979. The effect is £358 lost in rate support grant for each household since 1979.

Last week, the city council—not the Labour party—began to distribute a glossy leaflet outlining to the citizens of Birmingham the cuts that the Government have imposed. The message from councillor Knowles describes in stark terms the effects on citizens. It is being pushed through every door in the city. A city council cannot put out that kind of propaganda asking people to sign a massive petition to Parliament, and then say that there is £1·5 million spare that has been found and does not have to be used, so it might be an idea to promote a grand prix road race.

I shall not give way, in the hope that there will be time for at least two more Birmingham Members to participate.

On 5 February a report was put before the Birmingham city council by the housing officer, not about council houses but about housing generally—public and private. It was a real horror story. One dwelling in six in Birmingham is unfit, compared with one in 16 nationally. That is the scale of the tragedy. Curtailment of funds had not produced a situation of that kind when we last discussed this project. Moreover, on that occasion the House was not asked for specific consent to this project.

I have photos of a house in Willmore road in my constituency. There is only one tap on the sink because there is no hot water system. The toilet is outside. There is no photograph of the bathroom because there is no bath. The widow and three children who live there cannot even get the mandatory grants because of Government cuts. How can I advance that constituent's case with the city council and the Minister for Housing if I vote for £1·5 million capital expenditure on this project? The retort would be, "Where are your priorities as a constituency Member?"

I make it quite clear that my priorities are not the same as those of Tory Members who represent quite different areas of Birmingham. Things may look rosier in the constituency of the hon. Member for Hall Green where only 3·8 per cent. of dwellings lack exclusive use of an indoor toilet or bath, compared with 9 per cent. in my constituency and 9·1 per cent. in that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). That is a damned good reason for voting against this proposal. The constituency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath has 6·9 per cent. unfit dwellings. The figure for Hall Green may be low, but in Billesley ward it is 6·5 per cent. Moreover, there is nothing in the city's capital expenditure programme up to 1987–88 to deal with that problem. Councillor Fred Rose has pointed out that Hall Green is not all leafy suburbs. The problem may not be so great, but there is rotten housing there just as there is in the majority of Labour constituencies.

We are told that this project will not be a burden on the ratepayers and that it is guaranteed to make money, but I have not seen any guarantee. If someone can guarantee in writing that there will be no loss to the ratepayers and that all profits will go to the city, I will march into the Lobby to vote for the Bill and assist its passage as best I can, but no one can give that guarantee. When the city council's public relations advisers first got going on this, they put the following sentence into one of the documents:
"We will not be taking decisions on whether to repair leaking roofs or to support the race."
But that is simply not true, as they have since confirmed. No one now denies that the money will have to come out of the budgets of other city council departments.

Moreover, the project will not succeed unless the number of supporters is high. We are told that more than 200,000 people went to the free parades—not races—through the city. Many people have told me that they were happy to take the kids on a free day out to see the cars going past at 30 miles per hour, but that they would not take them to a race because they do not believe that it can be organised safely. That decision will be even firmer when they see the estimated ticket prices. The numbers vary.

The city council tells us that the top estimate for the two days is 145,000 people on race days and 65,000 on practice days, and the pessimistic view is 180,000 people for both days. However, we are now told by the parliamentary agents, in one of the worst parliamentary briefs that I have ever seen on a private Bill, that the council expects 250,000, and no qualification is given. I do not know where the extra numbers have come from, and we have been given no information.

It is estimated that 35,000 people will pay £17·50 or more at 1984 prices for a ticket. But it is estimated that the other 110,000 people will pay only a fiver each—not per family. Those prices will not commend themselves to the many unemployed people in our city.

We need some clarification on another point. I looked at some of the files relating to the Bill when it was first introduced in 1976. We are now told that Birmingham is not asking for a grand prix. However, we know that Birmingham cannot have a grand prix. Before it can have a grand prix it has to have two or three other races in previous years so that it can have a certificate to apply for a grand prix. The promoters' document says "No grand prix." However, other documents refer to no grand prix "at present." That point has not been clarified, and it should be. The absence of that clarification, despite all the time that we have had, is another reason for not allowing the Bill to proceed.

There is then the referendum. In documents published by the city council and in leaflets sent to hon. Members last week, although notably not to some Labour Members, it was said that 93 per cent. of the people who live in the area chosen for the race voted in favour of it. That is a lie. The city council people who wrote it know that it is a lie, as are all those propaganda leaflets making that claim. Everybody who looks at the figures will know that that is the case.

Only 4,520 ballot papers were printed and only 1,553 were returned, of which 1,270 were for and 383 were against. I make that 81 per cent. of those who voted were in favour, and, of those asked to vote, 2·8 per cent. were in favour. That is a somewhat different figure from 93 per cent. of all those living in the area being in favour. I do not go round saying that the vast majority of the people voted for the Government. As a percentage, fewer people voted in favour of this Government in 1983 than in 1979, or when the Conservatives lost power in 1964. Let us not lose the argument on the hype of a PR exercise. I have given the facts. Of those living in the area, only 1,270 voted in favour, and that is 28 per cent.

I shall not refer to the cigarette advertising, because I should be out of order to do so and there is not enough time.

How will this race be organised? Success is not guaranteed, and it has to be before I shall vote for the Bill, given the financial restraints on the city. The city council tells us that it will have no problem organising the race, because it has taken
"the advice of experienced road race organisers at all stages of development of the project."
The consultants are International Festival Services (UK) Ltd., Birmingham, whose managing director is Martin Hone.

I have only ever had a two-minute conversation with Mr. Hone, although we did correspond in 1976. I then referred to him as a night club owner in the city — a former racing driver pushing a line. He is not a night club owner now, and I remember that there was some embarrassment to the city council when I read out part of a letter that he had sent to me about all the occasions on which his advice had been sought by city council departments. I do not know whether he is qualified or not.

What I have to say next was said in front of witnesses. The leadership of the city council — the most senior councillors concerned in organising this matter — told me, in a room upstairs, with some of my hon. Friends present, that they wished that they did not have to deal with Mr. Martin Hone, as he did not have their confidence. It is no good arguing. Four or five witnesses were present at what was a calm and cool discussion. It is not scurrilous at all. The whole thing hangs on entrepreneurial skill and confidence in organising road races to make a profit. The city council may say that it has total confidence in everyone concerned, but that is not what it says in private. That must be said here because Birmingham ratepayers' money is involved. [Interruption.] I have made no accusations against anyone. I have only said that the most senior city councillors concerned with the road race have said that they wished that they did not have to deal with Mr. Hone and they do not have total confidence in him. It is as simple as that. He is said to have run races all over the world. That may be great, but I am concerned with what Birmingham city council tells me after three months of asking for private discussions on a partisan basis because we were not prepared to sit down on an all-party basis until certain points were clarified.

What international road races has that gentleman run in Britain, Europe and the United States?

I can only give the hon. Gentleman part of the brochure which went to all hon. Members and which lists certain events—for example, the Dubai grand prix, and he is mentioned as a consultant on the 50th anniversary of the Swiss grand prix. They may have been fantastic financial successes, but we must have a guarantee that the city council has confidence in the people that it employs.

Money is the key issue, and there is some doubt whether it can be recouped. There is no guarantee of a profit. Money will come out of other city council budgets. Therefore, I do not see how hon. Members can come to the House and truly represent their constituents in Birmingham and vote for the Bill.

9.46 pm

We have just heard a speech of the utmost pessimism. The debate and the Bill are not necessarily about the creation of a motor race but about the future of our cities and what we are to do with them. The development of cities today has been ever outwards, into new hypermarkets and supermarkets on the edges, away from the city centres. Through the Bill, Birmingham is doing something to recreate some of the life and dynamics that we need within our city centres.

The subject happens to be a motor race. No doubt if there were a great park in the city centre we would be discussing a Grand National-type horse race. The object of this motor race is not necessarily to beat the drum for the sport of motor racing, although that would be useful, but to concentrate attention on the city centre and on what Birmingham has to offer.

Hon. Members on both sides have already mentioned the national exhibition centre and the proposed convention centre. The object of a motor race is to focus the world's attention on Birmingham as a city. If one decided to advertise the city through the medium of commercial television, one advertisement and a few peak time slots would cost about £250,000. The city of Birmingham frequently advertises itself as the heart of the United Kingdom. Indeed, so successful has it been that it was given an award only last Thursday for the best campaign to attract people and tourists to the city centre. It is obviously part and parcel of the city's programme to concentrate on arousing people's interest in the kind of spectacle that we hope to stage with the motor race.

It is true that there are obviously a number of ways in which a given sum of money can be spent. As expenditure in Birmingham goes, 1·5 million is a small sum. I have the same share of houses in poor condition in my constituency as other hon. Members and I would very much like that £1·5 million to spend on housing in my constituency. However, we have to consider priorities. We want to create not only a place to live, but a place to work. There is no point spending money on an endless number of leisure centres and recreation grounds, useful as they are to the citizens of Birmingham, when a small proportion of that sum could create a focal point to bring people to the city and to attract attention in this country, Europe and overseas to our bold venture.

We have not had road racing in this country for many years and we have a number of purpose-built circuits, such as Silverstone, where I had my first experience of motor racing in my youth. I can vouch for the supreme safety standards offered by those circuits, but no one has yet mentioned the desire of the competitor. Hon. Members have spoken about the circuit owners, the RAC, the need for safety standards and so on, but the competitors make motor sport and 99 per cent. of them would welcome the chance to try their hand at road racing in Birmingham.

The proposed circuit in Birmingham is an interesting one. It has been tried out in a cavalcade of cars and been found wanting in some ways. The modest expenditure proposed will have to put many of the problems right. If the Bill goes through, the city of Birmingham will have to ask the RAC for permission to stage a motor race. The vast majority of potential competitors are members of the RAC or holders of its licence to race and they cannot take part in races that are not staged under RAC rules. The fact that the race will be run under RAC rules is an important safeguard for the city of Birmingham.

Is my hon. Friend saying that he expects the RAC to have to give its approval before the race takes place?

If the Bill goes through, the city of Birmingham will ask the RAC for permission to hold a race under its rules. We hope that, in the light of what the House will have agreed, and of representations made by the city council, the RAC will grant a permit for at least one race to see how it works out. The city wants only the opportunity to run a race under RAC rules. Any other form of race is not on the cards. For a start, we would not have many competitors.

People could be imported from the United States, could they not?

One could get round the problem, but we want to work with the legislative body of the sport and not against it. Without the RAC's approval, the race would not be part of the racing scene. The opportunity that the Bill offers is not merely to competitors and the city of Birmingham, but to motor racing generally.

9.53 pm

For the reasons outlined by my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape), I was reluctant to speak and vote against the Bill. The proposal has been put forward by Birmingham city council, which voted for it by a large majority, and, as my party controls that council, I had to think deeply before opposing the Bill.

The race will go through my constituency. I have talked to many of my constituents about it. I am aware, as everyone is—because it has been repeated ad nauseam—that there has been a so—called referendum, and that 28 per cent. of those consulted voted in favour of the road race. I have not met a single individual in Ladywood who is in favour of the race. I have not had a massive post bag. Most of those who live alongside the route are not aware that the road race is to take place. But the local Labour party, all of whose members live in the local area, oppose it and I have received several letters to that effect.

The RAC's comments are quite important and have been wrongly criticised. The RAC does not threaten to withhold approval for the road race. It says that, if the Bill is enacted, it will look at it again. But it says that it is its serious view that motor racing should take place on purpose-built circuits. I have been to only one motor race. I have heard all this talk about the glories of Socialism, and how motor racing will bring such great pleasure to the people of Birmingham. But my recollection is of standing at the side of the track with a few cars going past very fast. The only exciting thing to happen is perhaps that there is a great big crash. Ambulances come along and the spectator feels deeply upset and goes home.

That is what happened on the one occasion that I went to a circuit race. If those in the area who think racing might be fun turned up and witnessed such an accident—and they are inevitable—they might decide that it was no fun at all. Their children would not find it fun either. If we are talking about Socialism, and giving fun and pleasure to the people, all of us can no doubt think of something better than spending £3 million on that. We could spend the money on something in which all the people of Birmingham, including Ladywood, could participate.

I am sorry, but I do not have time to give way.

The tower blocks close to the circuits are deteriorating into slums. The lifts are usually full of urine. The ground around them is littered with rubbish. There are no caretakers, because when they leave others are not appointed. I have received complaint after complaint from those involved. Hon. Members may laugh at that, but it is a serious matter concerning my constituents' quality of life. It is more important to spend £3 million on improving the quality of their life all day and every day than to provide for one gimmicky little race.

In the brief time available to me, I should point out that I also oppose the road race because I do not like the way that the city council is approaching Birmingham's problems. Birmingham has massive unemployment as a result of the Government's policies. The Government have deliberately created unemployment and destroyed Britain's manufacturing industry. Consequently, the whole of the centre of Birmingham has a registered unemployment rate of 30 per cent. and it affects 300,000 people.

What is the answer for the proud and fine people of Birmingham? The answer is apparently a convention centre that will bring in some rich people from abroad. Our people may be able to pick up some of the crumbs from a road race. Wealthy people from other cities might spend a bit of money on beer and ice cream, so our constituents might be able to pick up a few crumbs there, too. I do not believe in that strategy. I believe much more powerfully—

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House divided: Ayes 188, Noes 73.

Division No. 175]

[9.58 pm

AYES

Alton, DavidCouch man, James
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)Crouch, David
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Crowther, Stan
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyDorrell, Stephen
Bermingham, GeraldDouglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Bevan, David GilroyDover, Den
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnDurant, Tony
Body, RichardEdwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)
Boscawen, Hon RobertEmery, Sir Peter
Bruce, MalcolmEyre, Sir Reginald
Budgen, NickFavell, Anthony
Butcher, JohnFenner, Mrs Peggy
Butler, Hon AdamFinsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S)Fookes, Miss Janet
Cartwright, JohnForrester, John
Chalker, Mrs LyndaForth, Eric
Chapman, SydneyFowler, Rt Hon Norman
Cockeram, EricFox, Marcus
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Franks, Cecil
Coombs, SimonFraser, J. (Norwood)
Cope, JohnFraser, Peter (Angus East)
Corbett, RobinFreeman, Roger
Corrie, JohnGale, Roger

Garrett, W. E.Neale, Gerrard
Gower, Sir RaymondNeubert, Michael
Grant, Sir AnthonyNewton, Tony
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)O'Brien, William
Grist, IanOsborn, Sir John
Ground, PatrickPage, Richard (Herts SW)
Grylls, MichaelPatten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Pawsey, James
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Pendry, Tom
Hanley, JeremyPowell, William (Corby)
Hargreaves, KennethPowley, John
Harris, DavidProctor, K. Harvey
Haselhurst, AlanRathbone, Tim
Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Hawksley, WarrenRees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Hayhoe, BarneyRhodes James, Robert
Hayward, RobertRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Healey, Rt Hon DenisRifkind, Malcolm
Heathcoat-Amory, DavidRoberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Henderson, BarryRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Hickmet, RichardRossi, Sir Hugh
Hicks, RobertRost, Peter
Hirst, MichaelRowe, Andrew
Holt, RichardRyder, Richard
Hordern, PeterSainsbury, Hon Timothy
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Howells, GeraintShersby, Michael
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Silvester, Fred
Hunt, David (Wirral)Sims, Roger
Hunter, AndrewSkeet, T. H. H.
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Jessel, TobySnape, Peter
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreySoames, Hon Nicholas
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Squire, Robin
Jones, Robert (W Herts)Stanbrook, Ivor
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithSteel, Rt Hon David
Kennedy, CharlesSteen, Anthony
Key, RobertStern, Michael
Kirkwood, ArchyStevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Knight, Gregory (Derby N)Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston)Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Knowles, MichaelStewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Knox, DavidStokes, John
Latham, MichaelStradling Thomas, J.
Lawler, GeoffreyTaylor, John (Solihull)
Lawrence, IvanTemple-Morris, Peter
Lee, John (Pendle)Terlezki, Stefan
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkThomas, Rt Hon Peter
Lester, JimThompson, Donald (Calder V)
Lightbown, DavidThompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Lloyd, Ian (Havant)Thornton, Malcolm
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)Tracey, Richard
Lyell, NicholasTwinn, Dr Ian
McCrindle, RobertWaddington, David
McCurley, Mrs AnnaWalker, Bill (T'side N)
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)Wallace, James
Maclean, David JohnWaller, Gary
McQuarrie, AlbertWard, John
Madel, DavidWardle, C. (Bexhill)
Major, JohnWatson, John
Mason, Rt Hon RoyWatts, John
Mather, CarolWells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Maude, Hon FrancisWheeler, John
Mawhinney, Dr BrianWhitney, Raymond
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinWood, Timothy
Mellor, DavidYeo, Tim
Meyer, Sir AnthonyYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Mills, Iain (Meriden)Younger, Rt Hon George
Monro, Sir Hector
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Tellers for the Ayes:
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)Mr. Roger King and
Murphy, ChristopherMr. George Park.

NOES

Anderson, DonaldBennett, A, (Dent'n & Red'sh)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)
Barron, KevinCampbell-Savours, Dale
Beckett, Mrs MargaretClark, Dr David (S Shields)
Benn, TonyClwyd, Mrs Ann

Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Cohen, HarryLloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Cunliffe, LawrenceLoyden, Edward
Dalyell, TamMcDonald, Dr Oonagh
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)McWilliam, John
Deakins, EricMadden, Max
Dixon, DonaldMartin, Michael
Dobson, FrankMaxton, John
Eadie, AlexMaynard, Miss Joan
Eastham, KenMeacher, Michael
Evans, John (St. Helens N)Michie, William
Fatchett, DerekMikardo, Ian
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)
Flannery, MartinNellist, David
Freeson, Rt Hon ReginaldParry, Robert
Fry, PeterPike, Peter
George, BrucePowell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Gould, BryanPrentice, Rt Hon Reg
Gourlay, HarryRandall, Stuart
Hamilton, James (M'well N)Redmond, M.
Hardy, PeterRichardson, Ms Jo
Harman, Ms HarrietRooker, J. W.
Harrison, Rt Hon WalterSheerman, Barry
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoySkinner, Dennis
Haynes, FrankThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Heffer, Eric S.Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Walker, Cecil (Belfast N)
Home Robertson, JohnYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Hoyle, Douglas
Janner, Hon GrevilleTellers for the Noes:
Kilroy-Silk, RobertMs. Clare Short and
Leighton, RonaldMr. David Ashby.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 202, Noes 68.

Division No. 176]

[10.11 pm

AYES

Alton, DavidFenner, Mrs Peggy
Archer, Rt Hon PeterFinsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)Fookes, Miss Janet
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Forrester, John
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyForth, Eric
Bermingham, GeraldFowler, Rt Hon Norman
Bevan, David GilroyFox, Marcus
Bidwell, SydneyFranks, Cecil
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnFraser, J. (Norwood)
Body, RichardFraser, Peter (Angus East)
Boscawen, Hon RobertFreeman, Roger
Bright, GrahamGale, Roger
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N)Garrett, W. E.
Bruce, MalcolmGeorge, Bruce
Budgen, NickGower, Sir Raymond
Burt, AlistairGrant, Sir Anthony
Butcher, JohnGregory, Conal
Butler, Hon AdamGrist, Ian
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S)Ground, Patrick
Cartwright, JohnGrylls, Michael
Chalker, Mrs LyndaHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Chapman, SydneyHamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Cockeram, EricHanley, Jeremy
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Hardy, Peter
Conlan, BernardHargreaves, Kenneth
Coombs, SimonHarris, David
Cope, JohnHaselhurst, Alan
Corbett, RobinHawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)
Corrie, JohnHawksley, Warren
Crouch, DavidHayhoe, Barney
Crowther, StanHayward, Robert
Dorrell, StephenHealey, Rt Hon Denis
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.Heathcoat-Amory, David
Dover, DenHenderson, Barry
Durant, TonyHickmet, Richard
Eyre, Sir ReginaldHicks, Robert
Favell, AnthonyHirst, Michael

Holt, RichardNeedham, Richard
Home Robertson, JohnNewton, Tony
Hordern, PeterOsborn, Sir John
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)Ottaway, Richard
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Howells, GeraintPatten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Pawsey, James
Hunt, David (Wirral)Pendry, Tom
Hunter, AndrewPowell, William (Corby)
Janner, Hon GrevillePowley, John
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)Proctor, K. Harvey
Jessel, TobyRandall, Stuart
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Rathbone, Tim
Jones, Robert (W Herts)Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithRees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Kennedy, CharlesRhodes James, Robert
Key, RobertRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Kirkwood, ArchyRifkind, Malcolm
Knight, Gregory (Derby N)Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston)Robertson, George
Knowles, MichaelRobinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Knox, DavidRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Latham, MichaelRossi, Sir Hugh
Lawler, GeoffreyRost, Peter
Lawrence, IvanRowe, Andrew
Lee, John (Pendle)Ryder, Richard
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkSainsbury, Hon Timothy
Lester, JimShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lightbown, DavidShersby, Michael
Lilley, PeterSilvester, Fred
Lloyd, Ian (Havant)Sims, Roger
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)Skeet, T. H. H.
Lord, MichaelSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lyell, NicholasSnape, Peter
McCrindle, RobertSoames, Hon Nicholas
McCurley, Mrs AnnaSquire, Robin
McKay, Allen (Penistone)Steel, Rt Hon David
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)Steen, Anthony
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)Stern, Michael
Maclean, David JohnStevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
McQuarrie, AlbertStevens, Martin (Fulham)
Madel, DavidStewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Major, JohnStewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Mason, Rt Hon RoyStokes, John
Mather, CarolStradling Thomas, J.
Maude, Hon FrancisTaylor, John (Solihull)
Mawhinney, Dr BrianTemple-Morris, Peter
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinTerlezki, Stefan
Mellor, DavidThomas, Rt Hon Peter
Meyer, Sir AnthonyThompson, Donald (Calder V)
Mills, Iain (Meriden)Thornton, Malcolm
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)Townend, John (Bridlington)
Monro, Sir HectorTracey, Richard
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Trippier, David
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)Twinn, Dr Ian
Murphy, ChristopherWaddington, David
Neale, GerrardWalker, Bill (T'side N)

Wallace, JamesWood, Timothy
Ward, JohnYeo, Tim
Wardle, C. (Bexhill)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Watson, JohnYounger, Rt Hon George
Watts, John
Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)Tellers for the Ayes:
Wheeler, JohnMr. Roger King and
Whitney, RaymondMr. George Park.

NOES

Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Barron, KevinLamond, James
Beckett, Mrs MargaretLeighton, Ronald
Benn, TonyLewis, Terence (Worsley)
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)Loyden, Edward
Campbell-Savours, DaleMcDonald, Dr Oonagh
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)McWilliam, John
Clwyd, Mrs AnnMadden, Max
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)Martin, Michael
Cohen, HarryMaxton, John
Cunliffe, LawrenceMaynard, Miss Joan
Dalyell, TamMeacher, Michael
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)Michie, William
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)Mikardo, Ian
Deakins, EricMorris, M. (N'hampton, S)
Dixon, DonaldNellist, David
Dobson, FrankParry, Robert
Eastham, KenPike, Peter
Evans, John (St. Helens N)Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Fatchett, DerekPrentice, Rt Hon Reg
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Redmond, M.
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)Richardson, Ms Jo
Flannery, MartinRooker, J. W.
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelSheerman, Barry
Freeson, Rt Hon ReginaldSkinner, Dennis
Fry, PeterSpearing, Nigel
Gould, BryanThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Hamilton, James (M'well N)Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Harman, Ms HarrietWareing, Robert
Harrison, Rt Hon WalterWeetch, Ken
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Haynes, Frank
Heffer, Eric S.Tellers for the Noes:
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Ms. Clare Short and
Hoyle, DouglasMr. David Ashby.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read a Second time and committed.

Business Of The House

Ordered,

That, at this day's sitting the consideration of Lords Amendments to the National Heritage (Scotland) Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour. — [Mr. Boscawen.]