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Research And Collection Of Information

Volume 82: debated on Monday 8 July 1985

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

" .—(1) A scheme may be made for Greater London or a metropolitan county by the constituent councils whereby one of those councils designated by the scheme has the function of—

  • (a) carrying out, or assisting in carrying out, investigations into, and the collection of informtion relating to, any matters concerning that area or any part of it; and
  • (b) making, or assisting in making, arrangements whereby any such information and the results of any such investigation are made available to any other local authority in that area, any government department or the public.
  • (2) Any such scheme shall require the other constituent councils to contribute as provided by subsection (3) below to the expenditure incurred by the designated council in carrying out its functions under the scheme.

    (3) The constituent councils shall be required to contribute to any expenditure of the designated council which has been incurred with the approval of at least two-thirds of the constituent councils; and the amounts of the contributions shall be determined so that the expenditure in respect of which they are payable is borne by the constituent councils in proportion to the populations of their respective areas.

    (4) For the purposes of subsection (3) above the population of any area shall be taken to be the number estimated by the Registrar General and certified by him to the Secretary of State by reference to such date as the Secretary of State may from time to time determine.

    (5) A scheme may provide that, if two-thirds of the constituent councils so decide, the designated council may require all or any of the constituent councils other than the designated council to carry out in respect of their respective areas an investigation into, or the collection of information relating to, any specified matter concerning the area covered by the scheme or any part of it; and where such a requirement is imposed on a council—

  • (a) that council shall comply with the requirement in such manner and within such time as may be specified in the requirement; and
  • (b) if that council fails to comply with the requirement the designated council may itself do what was required and recover the cost of doing it from that council.
  • (6) The expenditure which is to be borne as mentioned in subsection (3) above shall not include—

  • (a) any expenditure of the designated council which is recoverable by virtue of paragraph (b) of subsection (5) above; or
  • (b) if a requirement is imposed by virtue of that subsection on all the constituent councils other than the designated council, any expenditure incurred by that council in doing in respect of its own area what it has required the other councils to do in respect of their areas.
  • (7) Any information collected by the designated council, and the results of any investigation carried out by it, in the exercise of its functions under the scheme shall be made available, on request, to each of the other constituent councils.

    (8) A scheme shall not come into force before the abolition date but shall continue in force until the end of at least two financial years after that in which it is made.

    (9) A scheme may, in the absence of agreement between all the constituent councils, be made by a majority of those councils so as to be binding on all of them; but a council shall not be designated by a scheme except with its consent.

    (10) A scheme may contain such supplementary provisions as the councils making the scheme think necessary or expedient and, subject to subsection (8) above, may be revoked by those councils (or, in the absence of agreement between all of them, by a majority of those councils) with effect from the end of any financial year after that in which the decision to revoke the scheme is made.

    (11) The council designated by a scheme may be giving not less than twelve months notice to the other constituent councils withdraw its consent to act as the designated council with effect from the end of any financial year not earlier than the second financial year after that in which the scheme was made; and in that event the scheme shall terminate when the withdrawal takes effect.

    (12) For the purposes of this section the constituent councils are—

  • (a) in relation to Greater London, the London borough councils and the Common Council; and
  • (b) in relation to a metropolitan county, the councils of the metropolitan districts comprised in the county.
  • (13) Whether or not a scheme is made under this section a London borough council, the Common Council and a metropolitan district council shall have the power to exercise any of the functions described in subsection (1) (a) and (b) above.

    (14) The appropriate Minister with respect to any matter may require any such council as is mentioned in subsection (13) above to provide him with any information with respect to that matter which is in the possession of, or available to, that council in consequence of the exercise of any powers conferred by or under any enactment."

    Amendments thereto:

    (a) in line 1, leave out from beginning to end of line 4 and insert

    'It shall be the function of each Metropolitan authority established by Part II of Schedule 1 to this Act to make arrangements for—'.

    (b) in line 11, at end insert

    'in the area of the Metropolitan authority'.

    (c) in line 1, leave out from beginning to end of line 3 and insert

    'It shall be the function of the London Authority to make arrangements for—'.

    (d) in line 11, leave out subsections (2) to (14).

    Lords amendment No. 61, in schedule 1, page 86, line 38, leave out paragraph 18.

    Amendments thereto:

    (a) in page 86, line 38, leave out 'may' and insert 'shall'.

    (b) in line 38, leave out

    'at any time after the passing of the Act'

    and insert 'on the abolition date'.

    (c) in line 39, after 'body', insert 'in each metropolitan county'.

    (d) in line 39, leave out from 'known' to 'guidance' in line 40 and insert

    'by the name of that metropolitan county with the addition of the word "Authority" to prepare.'.

    (e) in line 40, leave out

    'Planning Commission to assist him in preparing'

    and insert 'Authority to prepare'.

    (f) in line 41, leave out `Greater London' and insert 'the relevant metropolitan county'.

    (g) in line 42, leave out 'him' and insert 'the Secretary of State'.

    (h) in line 43, leave out

    'for the appointment and terms of office of members of the commission'

    and insert

    'for the members of each metropolitan county authority to be elected by the local government electors of the relevant metropolitan county in accordance with this Act and the Representation of the People Act 1983'.

    (i) in line 45, leave out 'may' and insert 'shall'.

    (j) in line 46, leave out

    'for the appointment and terms of office of members of the Commission'

    and insert

    'for the members of the London Authority to be elected by the local government electors of Greater London in accordance with this Act and the Representation of the People Act 1983;'.

    (k) in page 87, line 1, leave out 'the commission' and insert 'each authority'.

    (l) in line 1, leave out 'Commission' and insert 'Authority'.

    (m) in line 4, leave out 'the commission' and insert 'each authority'.

    (n) in line 4, leave out 'Commission' and insert 'Authority'.

    (o) in page 87, leave out lines 5 and 6.

    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. With all due respect to you, Mr. Speaker, and acknowledging that London is a marvellous place, of the eight speakers called during the debate on the guillotine motion, including a Minister and a Front Bench Opposition spokesman, five were London Members and not one Member was called from a constituency which is part of a metropolitan county. With respect, Mr. Speaker, I ask you to acknowledge that millions live in the metropolitan counties that are affected by the Bill.

    I am well aware of that. Unfortunately, there was only an hour's debate on the guillotine motion.

    I shall describe briefly the four broad effects of the Opposition amendments to the main Lords amendments. First, they build on the concession which was forced on the Government in another place on Third Reading that there should be a joint planning committee for London. In the Opposition view, the concession did not go far enough. We believe that there should be a strategic body to advise on the planning of London.

    The Government amendment, which was considered in another place, was and is hopelessly inadequate in its powers and authority. It lacks any kind of democratic accountability. The first purpose of the amendments is thus to build on the small concession that was made by the Government and to make the joint planning committee for London, and the committees that we hope to establish in the metropolitan counties, more effective.

    The second purpose of our amendments is to establish an overall joint planning committee for all the metropolitan counties. We do not accept that there should merely be a planning committee or authority for Greater London. The shire counties represent smaller populations than are represented in the metropolitan counties and there is no reason why they should have an overall planning authority while the conurbations, which now form part of the metropolitan counties, have no such authority. We wish to establish a joint planning authority for each of the metropolitan counties to take further the Government's inadequate concession in accepting that there should be a planning authority for London. It is almost inconceivable to reject the advice of every responsible planning commentator that the great megalopolis should be treated as if it did not exist for planning purposes.

    The third purpose of the amendments is to invest each county-wide planning authority—we want to see one for every metropolitan county — with a power to give strategic guidance that must be taken into account when plans are drawn up for the counties. We want these planning authorities to be able to go much further than merely giving guidance or advice. It is no use having a joint planning committee, whether for London or for all the metropolitan counties, if it is a toothless talking shop. The Government's concession in another place would merely set up such a body.

    Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, the purpose of the amendments is to create an elected auhority for the Greater London council and for every metropolitan county to deal with the functions that we intend will remain on a county-wide basis. We want a democratically elected authority to continue as an interim measure to deal with planning, which is the main subject of the first two Lords amendments, highways, which remain a county function as a result of concessions elsewhere, traffic, waste disposal and research. We want also democratic accountability for the residuary body, which is assuming so many powers and functions to London. In other words, we want to put some democracy back into local government and the tangled web of functions that will remain after the Bill passes into law.

    In short, we are looking for more consistency in planning and more authority for joint planning committees for the counties. We want to allow the people to choose, by the democratic process, how their county functions are discharged. Ostensibly the Bill was about transferring power to the boroughs and districts but in reality that was not its purpose. It was designed to destroy seven powerful elected councils that had the inconvenience for the Government of being controlled predominantly by the Labour party. The real background to the Bill involves malice and the abuse of power, and the destruction of local government because it lay largely in the hands of the Labour party.

    5 pm

    Perhaps one should describe the Government's proposition as simple minded. On the face of it, the cities could be streamlined, but the Government's proposition means that Greater London will not really be Greater London at all. One can ignore it and treat it as 32 separate boroughs. One can ignore the conurbation implications of Merseyside, Manchester, the midlands, and so forth. On face value, that idea of streamlining is daft. I have authority for saying that the proposition is not workable. I quote:

    "It will be generally agreed that Greater London, an area of some 610 square miles containing seven million people, must continue to be more than an agglomeration of 32 boroughs with different degrees of urban disease".

    Those are not my words, but the words of the Minister for Local Government when he wrote about being a Londoner in 1977.

    The idea of streamlining the cities has turned out not merely to be daft—most commentators agreed at the beginning that it was daft—but to be impossible. The Bill is a great legislative lie. It does not deprive the counties of all the countrywide functions, it does not streamline the cities, it does not transfer many functions to the boroughs or the districts, and it does not give the districts and the boroughs the powers that the Government originally intended to transfer. The Bill defrauds people of their vote.

    One can sum up the Bill as it comes towards the end of its passage by saying that it does not streamline, it makes more complicated; it does not save money, it spends more; and it does not transfer powers and functions substantially to the boroughs or the districts. Above all, the Bill destroys an element of local democracy, and by doing so it adds chaos to the functions that remain countywide. It bears as much resemblance to streamlining as a Heath Robinson conveyance bears to Concorde. Carrying that

    analogy further, the only thing that it borrow s from Concorde is the cost. The original conception of abolition has not come about.

    The result of the Bill is the creation of 62 quangos consisting of joint boards, joint committees, a London planning committee, authorities for waste disposal, traffic and so on. The 62 quangos are part of the Government's plan to streamline the cities. It invests five Government Departments with quasi local government functions. It quite properly preserves the Inner London Education Authority as an elected body for all time and it gives to 127 boroughs, districts and shire councils functions relating to the government of part of the metropolitan counties.

    In London, the lie behind the Bill is illustrated because 60 per cent. of the GLC's expenditure will continue to exist as a countywide function. During the passage of the Bill in another place, 25 new county functions were devised for the counties as a whole instead of being transferred to the boroughs and districts. Incredibly, out of 80,000 staff working for the GLC, 71,000 will continue to work in services that will run countywide after the passage of the Bill. That underlines the lie.

    After the passage of the Bill a large number of people will be working for London and money will be spent on London and the other metropolitan counties, but the main difference between the government of London now and after the passage of the Bill is that there will be no democratic accountability. What will emerge is a share that is even more costly than the original—a municipal Byzantium, which, as was the case with Byzantium, has no democracy.

    The hon. Gentleman quoted figures of employees of the GLC and went on to say that there will be no democratic representation. Will he confirm that the figures included the entire work force and staff of ILEA? Under the Bill, the members of ILEA will be democratically elected. Therefore, the hon Gentleman is talking nonsense.

    I concede that the right hon. Gentleman is correct in saying that those who work for the ILEA will be controlled by a directly elected body. Why does the same principle not apply to every other county function that is being preserved as a result of the amendments made largely in another place under pressure from the Opposition? What is good for the ILEA and for countrywide local government at the moment should obtain in the future. Government supporters have the chance to vote for Opposition amendments, which would enable that democratic structure to be preserved. Otherwise, we shall simply have a distortion of local democracy. The main burden of our amendments is to give a democratic accountability to those functions which will continue not on a district or a borough basis, but on a countywide basis.

    The second main purpose of the amendments is to recognise the reality of planning our conurbations, and to give each metropolitan county a joint planning commission, which would be elected. One cannot plan a road system from one borough to another. One has to deal with land use on a conurbation basis. A magnificent change has taken place in the nature of south London as a result of the GLC financing over many years on a countywide basis, for example, with the creation of Burgess park. Much of south London was too densely populated and people were living with no green around them at all.

    It is impossible to have such a planning function simply on a borough basis. On such a basis, it is impossible to plan the skyline around our cities, planning that is very important both in London and parts of Yorkshire, where, without adequate planning, it is possible to destroy the skyline.

    The argument for planning our conurbations on a conurbationwide basis is made out in the Government's proposals on inner cities. The Government do not treat inner city policy as a subject merely for one borough or another. They recently set up, with a flourish from the Prime Minister, an organisation called City Action Teams, or CATs for short. As the Association of Metropolitan Authorities observed, what the country needs is not cats, but mice—more inner city expenditure.

    At any rate, when looking at the problems of the inner city, the Government did not choose to do so from borough to borough or district to district. They took a strategic overall view, and said that Government Departments and local authorities must come together to take a strategic view of the inner city. The inner city should be planned in that way. As my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) said, we shall repeal the Bill at the earliest opportunity. The further the Bill gets in its passage, the nearer the opportunity will come for a Labour Government to undertake that task.

    In the meantime, the amendments amount to no more than interim measures. They at least restore to planning some democratic accountability and sense. For that reason alone, I ask hon. Members on both sides of the House to support our amendments.

    I wish to speak to amendment (b)

    "to the words so restored to the Bill":—
    Page 3, line 12, leave out from 'London' to end of line 15 and insert
    'Authority, and the functions of the London Authority in respect of planning matters'.
    The Government made some concessions in the other place to various aspects of the Bill, but from the point of view of those in all parties who have opposed the Bill all the way through, and regarded it as a sad piece of legislation, to say the least, that has not been sufficient to repair the damage that is contained in many parts of the Bill. In the other place the Government lost some crucial amendments on significant occasions, but it was not enough to persuade them to depart from the central and still extremely unwelcome aspects of the Bill's structure.

    Amendment (b) deals only with aspects to do with London, but later amendments incorporate the metropolitan counties. At this late stage it is worth remembering that my hon. Friends and colleagues in all parts of the House still have an opportunity to do some useful repair work to the Bill's structure. The confusion and chaos in the original text has to some extent been made worse by the Government's concessions in an attempt to achieve a more rational structure. Despite their Lordships' interesting and heroic efforts—I pay particular tribute to Lord Plummer for his amendments — the position is more difficult than previously.

    With this amendment my colleagues and I suggest a significant adjustment to help the Government produce a much better structure. We do not seek to push them too far, or oblige them to depart from their original manifesto commitment, which is adhered to in the Bill. In some respects our arguments, fortuitously and felicitously, coincide with those of the Opposition Front Bench, but they are significantly and interestingly different. The substantial effect of the amendment is to put London's strategic planning, highways and traffic control, waste disposal and the important but often forgotten citywide research services into one directly elected London authority.

    Thus, we return to the theme of the body being directly elected. The body is not to be compared in any way with the existing Greater London council. It has no relationship to it and is wholly different. It would be a small body, which would meet the Government's objectives of saving costs, and would have the opposite effect to the present one. The Coopers and Lybrand report shows beyond all doubt that the whole exercise will cost a one-off £170 million. That may be the top end of its range of estimates of the extra cost.

    The amendment would transform the residuary body — which was supposed to be a marginal tidying-up body, but which has acquired more and more functions, which the Government's planners could not put elsewhere, as the text became more problematic—into a London authority. The amendment would also provide, together with related later amendments, that the London authority should nominate members of the London residuary body, instead of the Secretary of State.

    In the other place successful amendments transferred parts of highways and traffic to the London residuary body. As has already been said, the boroughs end up with only a small minority of the total activities and expenditure in gross terms, contrary to the original intentions of both the manifesto and the Secretary of State. Although my hon. Friends and I believe that the decentralisation proposed for the boroughs in the change for the residuary body is right, it is not appropriate to move the remaining overall Londonwide highways and traffic functions to a temporary nominated quango, such as the London residuary body or a joint board.

    The amendment is valuable in that it deals with direct elections, and immediately and specifically makes possible the co-ordination of those four important citywide services—planning, highways and traffic control, waste disposal and the research unit — into one London authority. Obviously, we want the authority to be directly elected because its powers and expenditure will be substantial, and it should be accountable to the ratepayers who will have to pay for its functions. We in this House and the other place will anyway have to return to the question of direct elections in separate legislation in due course.

    As the Secretary of State has often reminded us, the Conservative party election manifesto promised to abolish the GLC on the grounds that it was a wasteful body and an unnecessary tier of government. Those arguments have been rendered otiose by the passage of the Bill and the detailed examination of all the arguments for and against it. We shall be left with a yawning gap and major lacuna in London local government, unless this admittedly late-in-the-day adjustment is made.

    At the end of the Bill's passage — the Government will no doubt have a chance to refer to this later—there is little talk in official circles about saving large sums through abolition. All the evidence suggests that Londoners will face heavy one-off bills, and annually recurring bills for these regrettable changes. I do not exaggerate when I say that this is a tragic piece of legislation in every respect.

    5.15 pm

    The Londonwide tier of government will remain in a structural sense because the GLC's services have been distributed among various quangos, joint boards and joint committees, most of which will be under close ministerial supervision. Instead of the long-standing and solemn tradition of democratic co-ordinated government for London under whatever political control — elections come and go, to give all parties a chance—we have a muddle and a plethora of different bodies, which confuse everyone, including the Department, and none of which is directly elected. The boroughs will get about one third of the GLC's services in terms of gross revenue expenditure, excluding debt charges, according to the latest calculations, as opposed to most of the expenditure and functions, which was promised as the central rationale of the legislation when it began its unhappy passage.

    One of the worst features of the new scheme for London government is that the entire operation seems to be confused, botched-up and temporary. In a few years' time Parliament will have to return to the subject, and do a major repair job. All parliamentarians must find it tragic to think of all the hours that have been wasted on the legislation. I, therefore, ask the House, especially the Secretary of State, even at this late stage to rise to the occasion, to retrieve something secure from this confusion and chaos, to put the essential services together in one authority rather than into the proposed body, and to make it directly elected and wholly separate and different from the existing GLC, with none of the Left-wing hang ups that have rightly irritated Conservative Members. In that way, we would once again have sensible local government in London.

    I hope that the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes) will forgive me if I do not follow his comments in detail. He spoke largely about London, whereas my interest lies in south Yorkshire. So far London and the Greater London council have attracted most attention in this debate. The hon. Gentleman suggested that their Lordships have made some minor improvements, and that may be the case. Some noble Lords who may normally be solid supporters of the Conservative party put the country's interest before those of their party in a way which I should like hon. Members in this House to do. The hon. Gentleman may be rather relaxed about the matter because he foresees further legislation in a few years' time. Our worry is that hon. Members from south Yorkshire do not have the time or the opportunity for a leisurely view. The economy of south Yorkshire is appalling and is deteriorating day by day. We are losing more than 200 jobs a week. This is not the time for the Government to plunge the area into the costly chaos that is bound to develop.

    Conservative Members know that south Yorkshire metropolitan county has a vigorous, thriving and growing public transport system based on low fares. What has escaped their attention is the fact that ridership has increased. The Government dislike the system and, for no other reason, they have adopted an attitude of hatred towards the county council, and cheer its departure because they want to privatise bus services, which in our area are first class.

    I am especially interested in participating in the debate because of the other aspects of the South Yorkshire county council that deserve consideration. It has a high reputation for its environmental work. It commands respect for as intelligent approach towards strategic planning responsibilities, which are now to be changed at a time when the economic condition is critical.

    The Minister does not have responsibility for steel and coal, but if he had he would turn grey at what is happening to our special steels industry. The week before last, we heard of the decision to close the British Steel Corporation's relatively new works at Tinsley Park, which he may have visited when he was at the Department of Trade and Industry. Last week, the River Don works, Britain's only large heavy forging and casting capacity, lost 500 or 600 jobs. In the coal industry, 4,000 or 5,000 jobs have been lost within a matter of months. This has happened while the Government are destroying our strategic planning capacity. Within the planning operation and generally, the county council has developed a splendid, internationally commended reputation in environmental protection. That is well known. If the Secretary of State cares to check, he will see that I am making no false or extravagant claims. The county council has done enormous work in recognising and conserving the ecology of our county. It has achieved much in the reclamation of derelict land. The Minister may be aware, despite the contraction of our coal industry, that there is a continuing problem of colliery spoil. There is a continuing and growing need to maintain the current work of the county council in land reclamation. I fear that the measure and the Government's attitude to the modest amendments carried in the other place will be of enormous disadvantage to the county.

    I hope that the Secretary of State will not feel that I am being unfair, but the other day I heard him telling a substantial and important gathering how deeply committed the Conservative party was to conservation. He claimed that it is the party concerned with conservation in Britain. I am well aware of what the Conservative party is disposed to conserve.

    The Secretary of State made substantial claims on Saturday. However, I am patron of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. There may be other hon. Members from my region who subscribe to the organisation. It is a long-established and reputable body.

    I am glad to have the confirmation of the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Dr. Hampson). The West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire metropolitan county councils are the two most important financial supporters of the trust. If they disappear, the income they provide for the trust, which performs an important function in the county, will be imperilled. It is all right for the Minister to say that the quangos or the borough councils that will inherit the responsibility will be able to offer the same support, but hon. Members from Yorkshire, and perhaps other hon. Members, will be aware that, under the rate-capping arrangements and contracting central support for local government to which the Government continue to be committed, there is no possibility of maintaining the support currently given by the county councils. If the Minister pretends otherwise, he is doing his Department and the House a disservice. It worries me that at a time when we need to enhance our environment, to invest in the economy and the environmental infrastructure, to give our crushed and critical economy some chance, to give our young people some hope and to provide some decency for the leisure of those who have gone in huge numbers into the dole queues, one major area of leisure is put under a severe and unacceptable threat. I hope that even at this late stage the Minister will recognise that, whatever concessions he may be prepared to make for London, he is making far too few concessions for the metropolitan counties in the north. In my county, the economic position is grave. The environment will be seriously disadvantaged entirely as a result of this petty, politically motivated and grossly unattractive measure.

    I am glad to have the opportunity to follow my colleague from Yorkshire, the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy). It is undoubtedly true that there is anxiety about several of the changes that will result from the Bill, largely from the cash point of view. However, I do not understand why the matters that the hon. Gentleman raised, especially those relating to the environment, cannot be dealt with under a different structure, provided that sufficient resources are available. Today, we are dealing with the structures through which such services are carried out.

    Since the Government came to power in 1979, they have talked about the abolition or reform of the metropolitan county structure. The matter was discussed in the Department of the Environment early in the life of this Government. No report on local government recommended the present metropolitan county structure. It was a compromise. Some of us thought from the beginning that it was a botched compromise, because those authorities were large, had large bureaucracies and incurred vast expenditure on salaries, but had relatively restricted functions. There was no case for continuing them. It was not only Conservative Members or members of the Government in 1979 who believed that; most Labour city leaders believed that. Mr. Ken Livingstone in London and the leaders in Leeds, Birmingham and Merseyside believed that, because there was no balance of responsibilities at the county level as there was at the shire level. They were not responsible for education, but they were responsible for substantial transport systems, the police and the fire services.

    I do not accept that this legislation is tragic. It is bringing us back to the position in which we should have been from the start. Those authorities should never have existed, and are unnecessary. The Liberal party and the SDP today agreed that they are unnecessary. However, what they want in their place is equally horrendous, because I believe that the British people want powers pushed back down to a lower level, not the accumulation powers at a regional level.

    The hon. Gentleman must realise that the position is different in London. London has had directly elected, citywide government since the London county council was set up in 1889. Therefore, it is nothing new. If the metropolitan county councils are abolished, there will still be city government in Sheffield, Liverpool and Manchester, but there will be none in London. That is the difference.

    5.30 pm

    The point is that history moves on and structures do not remain absolute in value. In London the scale of responsibilities of the citywide authority has steadily diminished under all parties. Only about 10 per cent. of the resources spent on the individual citizen in London is channelled through the GLC. What is the value of the body? My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes) always emphasises the need for "a voice" for London. I have never understood whom that voice is for, or to whom it is addressed. I can understand the ceremonial function and that people from around the world might want to be received, but the City of London could do that as well as the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks).

    Can the hon. Member explain the intention of the person who gave money to the Horniman museum, over the door of which is the inscription, to which the Bishop of Southwark referred,

    "Given to the London County Council as Representative of the people of London in perpetuity"?
    What authority other than the GLC or a county council can take responsibility for all citizens and look after all their interests?

    City government thoughout the world varies enormously. Municipal authorities elsewhere manage because such gifts are given to parts of cities or to institutions. There is nothing sacrosanct about a particular representative body for a city such as London. London happens to have evolved in a way which is different from other cities. Paris has evolved in yet another way. It has an elected mayor who has almost absolute power, whereas other elected representatives have little or no say. Power there is centralised. Nothing decrees that a particular body should speak for London and have particular powers.

    If we had not transferred housing and other major responsibilities down the line the argument would be different. I should have thought that the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), since he represents the Liberal party, would argue in favour of passing responsibilities down the line. He seemed to say that powers should be passed up to a regional body, which is even more divorced from the citizen. Most of my constituents do not know who their county councillors are or what functions they have, so how on earth would they know who to turn to at regional level?

    Only inner London had a county council structure and it was called the London county council. The county of Surrey and the county of Middlesex represented many outer London boroughs. Previously most of the metropolitan areas were county boroughs, which were smaller, unitary authorities and therefore more understandable to the public.

    The people of Leeds wanted to remain within a county borough. No one recommended the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, although I am sad to say that a Conservative Government created it. It makes no sense. It is not a metropolitan conglomeration but a huge city with a number of other small towns.

    The hon. Gentleman's argument would make sense if the Government intended to pass back to the old county boroughs or districts the functions they lost, but they are not doing that. They are setting up unelected, undemocratic quangos with no responsibility or accountability to the people of Leeds or anywhere else.

    I am glad the hon. Gentleman has allowed me to return to my course. I want to deal with precisely those matters. People talk about the residuary body.—[Hon Members: "What is it?"] It is as described by definitiion. It is not intended to exist in perpetuity. Most of us believe that it is important to put the reorganisation on the road, to find out the rough edges and to resolve the problems.

    Some of the amendments are farcical. The residuary body is intended to find out how to deal with the functions and to farm them out to the appropriate quarter. Such a body should not be elected. We do not want the residuary body to be perpetuated by making it an elected body.

    The House of Lords has the notion that elections should take place for people who are to deal with tiny functions. My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East, for whom I have a great respect on a European level, wants a directly elected body to deal with waste—an important function—research agencies, libraries and museums. That is in the realms of farce. We do not have a tradition of direct elections to deal with specific functions.

    In other countries such activities are handled on a broader basis on behalf of others by a single elected authority. Even in Britain we have a strong tradition of one authority acting on behalf of another. In education, for example, children can cross a boundary and be educated at a neighbouring school and one authority pays the recipient authority. We have a long tradition of agency agreements. Research facilities, safety inspectorates, quality controls and consumer standards can be operated by one authority on behalf of another through an agency agreement. That is a long-standing practice. An elected body is not necessary to perform that function.

    I opposed that idea. I do not wish to be side tracked into that argument. At least I was, and am, consistent.

    If we trust the authorities and place responsibilities firmly on them, rather than allowing them to hedge and pass the buck up the line to a nebulous body such as the county council, they will get together and reach agreement.

    We tend to view government in the United States in terms of the Senate and Congress, but I have lectured on their history and politics and experienced local government there. Town planning is the responsibility of the town. Small communities and county-level government devise their own plans for their communities. Areas such as Texas deliberately might do little in the way of planning. Where they do, in the east coast states, for example, boundaries adjoin and yet agreements are reached. When I was there last week I found local officials meeting over breakfast. Perhaps that is a good thing because there is less disagreement likely at that time.

    The current proposition is not as absurd as some people think. We have accepted many tiers and people spend years making structural plans, decisions often overturned on appeal to the Secretary of State. In many ways the arbiters of planning proposals are the Secretary of State's regional officials. We do not need all the present tiers because people can get together at a planning level to resolve difficulties amicably.

    These proposals are long overdue. The present county and London levels are unnecessary and the more quickly that we get rid of them the happier I and my constituents shall be.

    The most revealing point made by the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Dr. Hampson) came at the end of his contribution when he claimed that the Government's proposals are not so absurd as many people think—an admission that the Government's argument is not getting across so well as Ministers claim.

    Hon. Members on both sides believe that this group of amendments provides the last chance of maintaining a minimal elected authority in each of the metropolitan areas and in Greater London. Unlike the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West, I believe that the powers proposed in these amendments are coherent and should be operated on a conurbationwide basis covering strategic planning, highways and traffic, waste disposal, central and support services and research and information. Those are all essential, practical services, not the high-visibility political issues which cause anxiety to so many people. The hon. Member for Leeds, North-West claimed that this was a minimal series of responsibilities for which to have people elected, but I believe that it entails a great deal more responsibility to exercise those powers across a metropolitan area or the Greater London area than is exercised by many elected district authorities.

    Is it not sensible that decisions on the important functions which affect neighbouring authorities should be taken by representatives from the directly elected district councils who have the interests of their communities at heart? The people on those joint bodies could then resolve the difficulties.

    Some of us have experience of trying to get this sort of agreement at local level when the interest of one borough or district is different from that of its neighbours. It is not easy to achieve. This is one area in which some hon. Members are sceptical about the Government's belief that co-operation and co-ordination will magically break out at district or borough level and that it will be all right on the night. This has not happened in practice because, for perfectly understandable and defensible reasons, local authorities fight their corner and for their people. They do not see the overall needs of the wider area, nor should they when they are elected to do a rather different job.

    The Government accept that many of these conurbationwide powers cannot be exercised by individual authorities because the Government have created an extraordinary patchwork quilt of joint boards, quangos and other authorities. Much of the expert evidence heard during the Committee stage gives the lie to the belief that there will be co-ordination and co-operation at borough and district level.

    Their Lordships went some way to recognise that key services are best carried out at metropolitan level. I welcome the idea of a joint planning committee for Greater London which will give elected borough councillors a chance to discuss planning issues, to represent their views to the Secretary of State and to send representatives to the south-east planning body. Having provided that committee for London, why will the Government not provide the same machinery for the other metropolitan areas, where the problems are the same and sometimes even worse—run-down inner city areas, declining industries, difficulty in attracting new developments and new jobs and problems with public and private transport? It is wildly illogical to provide that machinery for London and to deny it to the other metropolitan authorities.

    I endorse what the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) said about the need to view inner city problems on a conurbationwide basis. Our experience of metropolitan government has made it clear that it is impossible to solve inner city problems on the basis of inner city areas alone. One must take a wider view. For example, the Thamesmead new town development in my constituency is a highly imaginative scheme originally launched by the Greater London council. No one could possibly suggest that such a gigantic project could have been undertaken by one or two borough or district authorities.

    5.45 pm

    The philosophy of this legislation is in sharp contrast with commitments given by the Conservatives before they came to power in 1979. When the Labour Government were considering the question of organic change—the idea of giving powers back to some of the biggest of the former county boroughs—the present Secretary of State for Defence was reported in the Local Government Chronicle of 9 March 1979 to have told the Conservative party local government conference in March 1979 in his traditionally strong and robust manner that the Conservative party rejected the idea of a reform of local government structure. He said:
    "I do not believe for one moment that the British people are looking for a major upheaval in local government."
    He went on to say:
    "Change for change's sake or expensive experiments with the ratepayers' money must be ruled out and that must be the position of the Conservative party."
    The right hon. Gentleman announced that he had had discussions with the leaders of the Association of County Councils, the Association of District Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. He went on to make a clear declaration:
    "We are agreed that we do not seek another major reorganisation of local government because we are certain that change in this field is likely to be expensive and divisive."
    It has certainly been divisive, and from the Coopers and Lybrand studies it is clear that it will also be expensive. The GLC figure for the transitional costs is between £122 million and £167 million. Even on the most optimistic Coopers and Lybrand assessment it would take almost 12 years of annual savings to recoup that kind of expenditure.

    The present Prime Minister, speaking at the same conference, promised a close relationship between a Conservative Government and Conservative local authorities. She declared:
    "We've worked with you in Opposition. I want to say very strongly that we shall go on working with you in Government."
    Clearly, she felt that there was some scepticism on that point because she went on to say:
    "In case that comes as a shock to those of you with long memories—I repeat—we shall go on working with you in Government. Good Government rests on a partnership between Whitehall and town hall."
    She concluded:
    "We are going to give back to you more of the responsibility for running your own affairs."
    That will raise a very hollow laugh from many Conservative councillors up and down the country who are suffering even tighter control from the Department of the Environment. It would certainly get a short, sharp and rude response from those Conservative councillors whose councils will be abolished by the Bill. Conservative Members who believe in the traditional Conservative view of local government should support the amendments.

    This short debate has allowed the House to rehearse various arguments which have been extensively debated on previous occasions in this House and in another place. In those circumstances, it would not be right for me to go on too long. I shall therefore set out briefly the Government view on the points made by the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) and others.

    There seem to be three substantive issues. The first concerns planning in London. I was grateful for the welcome given by the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Cartwright) to the amendment accepted in another place. Lords amendments Nos. 1 and 2 and the consequential Lords amendment No. 61 provide for a joint committee of borough council representatives instead of the appointed London planning commission originally envisaged in the Bill. The purpose of the joint committee would be to consider matters of common interest relating to the planning and development of Greater London and to inform the Secretary of State and neighbouring planning authorities of its views. It is important to note that the joint committee will not itself be a planning authority but an advisory committee, as the originally proposed London planning commission would have been.

    The Lords amendments owe a good deal to the wisdom of my noble Friend Lord Sandford who has great experience in these matters. The London planning commission as an appointed expert body did not find much favour in another place. Instead, there was felt to be a need to co-ordinate the borough councils' approach to planning in and around London. The proposal for a joint committee has the support of the London Boroughs Association and of SERPLAN, the South East Regional Planning Conference. The Government are satisfied that that change made by the other place is an improvement, and I hope that the House will accept the relevant Lords amendments.

    The Opposition amendments to Lords amendment No. 2 seek to do two things. First, they seek to extend the joint committee concept to the six metropolitan counties. Secondly—the hon. Member for Norwood touched on this briefly — they would empower the London joint committee, but, strangely, not the metropolitan joint committees, to issue guidance to which borough councils must have regard in preparing their unitary development plans.

    I hope that the House will reject both Opposition amendments to Lords amendment No. 2. The Government remain unconvinced that there is any need for special planning machinery to cover the metropolitan county areas. In this context London is and always has been seen to be a special case. London has more than three times as many planning authorities as the largest metropolitan county and the impact of London's development on the surrounding area is far greater and more complex than that of any other conurbation in England. Our original proposal for a London planning commission recognised those facts and the decision to substitute a joint committee of the boroughs cannot alter the case against providing anything comparable for the metropolitan counties because there is simply no need for any such provision. Each of the metropolitan districts will be a powerful elected planning authority in its own right. To impose a joint planning committee would be an unnecessary bureaucratic top hamper and I advise the House to reject the amendments which call for it.

    The right hon. Gentleman may regard London's problems as quantitatively greater than those of areas such as Merseyside or Tyne and Wear, but under the Bill the powers granted to the joint planning commission for London will go to the Secretary of State in the case of the metropolitan counties. That is even more bureaucratic. Does the right hon. Gentleman envisage no possibility of conflict between district councils such as Liverpool and Sefton? Such conflict does not make for good local government planning. What advantage is there to the metropolitan counties in the system proposed in the Bill?

    In the case of town and country planning powers in the metropolitan counties the proposal has always been that strategic guidance would be drawn up by the Department of the Environment in response to planning conferences held within the areas concerned. The broad, strategic guidance is and always has been a function of central Government Departments. To try to interpose an extra layer between the powerful district and borough planning authorities and the strategic guidance — I emphasise the word "strategic"—which must inevitably come from central Government will merely create confusion and difficulty, as has already occurred when large bodies of that kind interfere with the planning functions of a large number of districts and boroughs.

    Thirdly, amendments to various parts of the Bill seek to provide for multi-purpose directly elected authorities either for London or for the six metropolitan counties or for all seven areas. A number of hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes), have spoken in favour of those amendments.

    I note with some relief that this really is the last opportunity to debate this issue. No one has ever denied its importance. It has been the central issue in the Bill. It has been debated time and again at every stage of the Bill—on clause 1 on the Floor of the House, on several occasions in the Standing Committee and again on Report. On that last occasion, on 27 March, the Voice for London amendment was defeated by 335 votes to 193. Now, undaunted — perhaps refreshed after three months' freedom from the need to debate the matter — hon. Members on both sides have returned to the charge yet again.

    The formation of the proposal is slightly different from those previously advanced, but the objective is the same. Whatever hon. Members may say, the objective is the retention in a different form of the GLC and the metropolitan county councils.

    The Secretary of State is destroying local government, but he will not give way to the chairman of the GLC.

    I know that a number of my hon. Friends are and always have been opposed to the abolition of the GLC, but I find the Opposition's stance puzzling. They have not put their names to the amendments relating to London, although they are supposed to be against abolition of the GLC. It is time that we were told what the Opposition policy for London really is.

    Do the Opposition agree with the Frankenstein horror of a report currently going the rounds at County hall which proposes to recreate not just the GLC but a body which could take unto itself a whole mass of additional powers, including powers over the London police, many of the functions of the London boroughs, stretching its tentacles right out into the green belt to commutor services and so forth?

    That report proposes to lop off a number of outer London boroughs so as to give the resulting body a permanent and undefeatable Labour majority. We need to know whether the Opposition support those proposals.

    As for the metropolitan counties, we were interested to see the press notice referring to a letter from the Leader of the Opposition to the leader of West Yorkshire county council, Councillor John Gunnell. The Leader of the Opposition was asked what was the Labour party's future commitment. We now know the answer to that question. The Leader of the Opposition wrote on 4 July:
    "With regard to the future commitment of the party I am quite sure that the strong case for strategic authorities in the metropolitan areas which you have advanced so well will influence our future policy considerations."
    That seems a less than wholehearted commitment to restore the metropolitan county councils.

    The Government view has always been clear. We oppose recreation of the GLC or the metropolitan county councils in any form. Those authorities do not have enough functions to justify their existence as separate directly elected tiers of local government.

    Although the amendments proposed today differ in some respects from those put forward on earlier occasions, neither they, nor, with great respect to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East, any of the speeches that we have heard today, begin to make out a case for successor authorities.

    Those who advocate directly elected authorities for London and the metropolitan counties have consistently failed to answer the following point. They know that the present arrangements do not work. They know that the boroughs and districts are now the major providers of local government services in those areas. They also know that major strategic planning and strategic transport decisions inevitably fall to central Government rather than to local government. That has always been so and will continue to be so in the future. Any attempt to stake out an area between the strong boroughs and districts and the central Government functions to be covered by an intermediate tier responsible for planning, highways, waste disposal and so on is doomed to failure. It is a very small area and certainly not large enough to justify a separate directly elected authority.

    At an earlier stage, my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East and other Conservative Members argued that we should abolish the GLC and establish a new body with most of the same functions. That was illogical. They now say that we should abolish the GLC and establish a body covering only a few of those functions. That is even more illogical. If the GLC itself does not have enough functions to justify its existence, how can a body with even fewer functions be justified?

    The case for directly elected countrywide authorities for London or the metropolitan counties does not stand up. Between the functions of the boroughs and districts, which are the major providers of services, and the functions of central Government, which are and always have been wider than those of individual boroughs and districts, there is simply not room for an intermediate tier. Acting jointly, the boroughs and districts can, with central Government, provide all the co-ordination that is necessary.

    I do not deny the importance of this issue, but it has been debated time and again in both Houses of Parliament and time and again the changes proposed in the amendments have been firmly rejected. I ask the House to reject them firmly today.

    I had hoped that while the Secretary of State was speaking, attempting to clear up in people's minds the commitments made from the Opposition Front Bench, he would clear up the confusion resulting from his statements. He said at the beginning of this exercise that 7,100 jobs and £100 million would go if we did not have democratically-elected authorities. Where are those jobs to go? What services? Which counties? What were the targets in the mind of the Secretary of State when he started making those statements one and a half years ago? In Committee and so far on Report we have had no explanation. The hopes and aspirations of working people in the metropolitan areas and the GLC and the security of their jobs—

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

    Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

    The House proceeded to a Division

    Order. Does the point of order relate to the Division?

    Yes. We have just had a speech from the Secretary of State for the Environment which lasted about 12 minutes, or one sixth of the allotted time in which the Government have forced the House to consider—

    Order. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman knows that this is not a point of order for me. I am not responsible for Ministers' speeches or their length.

    Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was trying to ask you to protect the rights of Members who want to raise points because you decide when an hon. Member will be called. Ministers who coerce the House in terms of the guillotine should not be given a disproportionate amount of time to speak.

    I understand the hon. Gentleman's point, but he will know that the House has passed the allocation of time motion and it is my job to ensure that the will of the House in that respect is carried out.

    Order. I have dealt with the hon. Gentleman's point. He is now getting close to arguing with the Chair.

    The House having divided: Ayes 319, Noes 177.

    Division No. 256]

    6 pm


    Adley, RobertBrown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)
    Aitken, JonathanBrowne, John
    Alexander, RichardBruce, Malcolm
    Alison, Rt Hon MichaelBruinvels, Peter
    Amery, Rt Hon JulianBryan, Sir Paul
    Amess, DavidBuck, Sir Antony
    Ancram, MichaelBurt, Alistair
    Ashby, DavidButcher, John
    Aspinwall, JackButler, Hon Adam
    Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.Butterfill, John
    Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)Carlisle, John (N Luton)
    Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
    Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S)
    Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Cartwright, John
    Baldry, TonyCash, William
    Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Chalker, Mrs Lynda
    Batiste, SpencerChapman, Sydney
    Beith, A. J.Chope, Christopher
    Bellingham, HenryChurchill, W. S.
    Bendall, VivianClark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)
    Bennett, Rt Hon Sir FredericClark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
    Best, KeithClark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
    Bevan, David GilroyClarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
    Biffen, Rt Hon JohnClegg, Sir Walter
    Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnCockeram, Eric
    Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterColvin, Michael
    Body, RichardCoombs, Simon
    Bonsor, Sir NicholasCope, John
    Boscawen, Hon RobertCouchman, James
    Bottomley, PeterCranborne, Viscount
    Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaCrouch, David
    Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)Currie, Mrs Edwina
    Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Dickens, Geoffrey
    Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardDicks, Terry
    Brandon-Bravo, MartinDover, Den
    Bright, GrahamDunn, Robert
    Brinton, TimDurant, Tony
    Brittan, Rt Hon LeonEdwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)

    Eggar, TimKennedy, Charles
    Emery, Sir PeterKey, Robert
    Evennett, DavidKing, Roger (B'ham N'field)
    Eyre, Sir ReginaldKing, Rt Hon Tom
    Fairbairn, NicholasKnight, Greg (Derby N)
    Fallon, MichaelKnowles, Michael
    Farr, Sir JohnLang, Ian
    Fenner, Mrs PeggyLatham, Michael
    Finsberg, Sir GeoffreyLawler, Geoffrey
    Fletcher, AlexanderLee, John (Pendle)
    Fookes, Miss JanetLeigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
    Forman, NigelLennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
    Forth, EricLewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)
    Fowler, Rt Hon NormanLightbown, David
    Fox, MarcusLilley, Peter
    Franks, CecilLloyd, Ian (Havant)
    Fraser, Peter (Angus East)Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
    Freeman, RogerLord, Michael
    Freud, ClementLuce, Richard
    Fry, PeterLyell, Nicholas
    Gale, RogerMcCrindle, Robert
    Galley, RoyMacfarlane, Neil
    Gardiner, George (Reigate)MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
    Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
    Garel-Jones, TristanMaclennan, Robert
    Glyn, Dr AlanMajor, John
    Goodhart, Sir PhilipMalins, Humfrey
    Goodlad, AlastairMarland, Paul
    Gow, IanMarlow, Antony
    Gower, Sir RaymondMarshall, Michael (Arundel)
    Grant, Sir AnthonyMaude, Hon Francis
    Greenway, HarryMawhinney, Dr Brian
    Gregory, ConalMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
    Griffiths, Sir EldonMayhew, Sir Patrick
    Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)Mellor, David
    Grist, IanMerchant, Piers
    Ground, PatrickMiller, Hal (B'grove)
    Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)Mills, Iain (Meriden)
    Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
    Hampson, Dr KeithMitchell, David (NW Hants)
    Hancock, Mr. MichaelMoate, Roger
    Hannam, JohnMontgomery, Sir Fergus
    Hargreaves, KennethMoore, John
    Harris, DavidMorris, M. (N'hampton, S)
    Haselhurst, AlanMoynihan, Hon C.
    Havers, Rt Hon Sir MichaelMudd, David
    Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)Murphy, Christopher
    Hawksley, WarrenNeale, Gerrard
    Hayes, J.Needham, Richard
    Hayhoe, Rt Hon BarneyNelson, Anthony
    Heathcoat-Amory, DavidNeubert, Michael
    Heddle, JohnNewton, Tony
    Henderson, BarryNicholls, Patrick
    Heseltine, Rt Hon MichaelNorris, Steven
    Hickmet, RichardOnslow, Cranley
    Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.Osborn, Sir John
    Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)Ottaway, Richard
    Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
    Hordern, Sir PeterPage, Sir John (Harrow W)
    Howard, MichaelPage, Richard (Herts SW)
    Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)Parris, Matthew
    Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
    Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
    Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)Penhaligon, David
    Howells, GeraintPercival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
    Hubbard-Miles, PeterPollock, Alexander
    Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Portillo, Michael
    Hunt, David (Wirral)Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)
    Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)Powell, William (Corby)
    Hunter, AndrewPowley, John
    Irving, CharlesPrice, Sir David
    Jenkin, Rt Hon PatrickPrior, Rt Hon James
    Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)Proctor, K. Harvey
    Jessel, TobyPym, Rt Hon Francis
    Johnston, Sir RussellRaffan, Keith
    Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
    Jones, Robert (W Herts)Rathbone, Tim
    Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelRees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
    Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithRenton, Tim
    Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineRhodes James, Robert

    Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonTaylor, Teddy (S'end E)
    Ridsdale, Sir JulianTebbit, Rt Hon Norman
    Rifkind, MalcolmTemple-Morris, Peter
    Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)Terlezki, Stefan
    Robinson, Mark (N'port W)Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
    Roe, Mrs MarionThompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
    Rossi, Sir HughThorne, Neil (Ilford S)
    Rost, PeterThornton, Malcolm
    Rowe, AndrewThurnham, Peter
    Rumbold, Mrs AngelaTownend, John (Bridlington)
    Ryder, RichardTracey, Richard
    Sainsbury, Hon TimothyTrippier, David
    Scott, NicholasTrotter, Neville
    Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)Twinn, Dr Ian
    Shelton, William (Streatham)van Straubenzee, Sir W.
    Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Vaughan, Sir Gerard
    Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)Viggers, Peter
    Shersby, MichaelWaddington, David
    Silvester, FredWainwright, R.
    Sims, RogerWakeham, Rt Hon John
    Skeet, T. H. H.Walden, George
    Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)Wall, Sir Patrick
    Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Wallace, James
    Soames, Hon NicholasWaller, Gary
    Speed, KeithWard, John
    Speller, TonyWardle, C. (Bexhill)
    Spencer, DerekWatson, John
    Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)Watts, John
    Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
    Squire, RobinWheeler, John
    Stanbrook, IvorWhitfield, John
    Stanley, JohnWhitney, Raymond
    Steel, Rt Hon DavidWiggin, Jerry
    Steen, AnthonyWolfson, Mark
    Stern, MichaelWood, Timothy
    Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)Woodcock, Michael
    Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)Wrigglesworth, Ian
    Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)Yeo, Tim
    Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)Young, Sir George (Acton)
    Stokes, John
    Stradling Thomas, J.Tellers for the Ayes:
    Sumberg, DavidMr. Carol Mather and
    Tapsell, Sir PeterMr. Donald Thompson.
    Taylor, John (Solihull)


    Abse, LeoConlan, Bernard
    Anderson, DonaldCook, Frank (Stockton North)
    Ashton, JoeCook, Robin F. (Livingston)
    Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)Corbett, Robin
    Bagier, Gordon A. T.Corbyn, Jeremy
    Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Cowans, Harry
    Barnett, GuyCox, Thomas (Tooting)
    Barron, KevinCraigen, J. M.
    Beckett, Mrs MargaretCunliffe, Lawrence
    Bell, StuartDalyell, Tam
    Benn, TonyDavies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)
    Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)
    Bermingham, GeraldDavis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)
    Bidwell, SydneyDeakins, Eric
    Blair, AnthonyDixon, Donald
    Boothroyd, Miss BettyDobson, Frank
    Boyes, RolandDormand, Jack
    Bray, Dr JeremyDubs, Alfred
    Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)Duffy, A. E. P.
    Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
    Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)Eadie, Alex
    Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N)Eastham, Ken
    Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)
    Buchan, NormanEvans, John (St. Helens N)
    Caborn, RichardEwing, Harry
    Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)Faulds, Andrew
    Campbell, IanField, Frank (Birkenhead)
    Campbell-Savours, DaleFields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)
    Carter-Jones, LewisFlannery, Martin
    Clarke, ThomasFoot, Rt Hon Michael
    Clay, RobertForrester, John
    Clwyd, Mrs AnnFoster, Derek
    Cohen, HarryFraser, J. (Norwood)
    Coleman, DonaldFreeson, Rt Hon Reginald

    Garrett, W. E.O'Brien, William
    George, BruceO'Neill, Martin
    Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
    Godman, Dr NormanPark, George
    Golding, JohnParry, Robert
    Gould, BryanPatchett, Terry
    Hamilton, James (M'well N)Pavitt, Laurie
    Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Pendry, Tom
    Hardy, PeterPike, Peter
    Harman, Ms HarrietPowell, Raymond (Ogmore)
    Harrison, Rt Hon WalterPrescott, John
    Hart, Rt Hon Dame JudithRadice, Giles
    Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyRandall, Stuart
    Haynes, FrankRedmond, M.
    Heffer, Eric S.Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
    Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Richardson, Ms Jo
    Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
    Home Robertson, JohnRoberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
    Hoyle, DouglasRobertson, George
    Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham)Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
    Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Rogers, Allan
    Hughes, Roy (Newport East)Rooker, J. W.
    Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)Rowlands, Ted
    Janner, Hon GrevilleRyman, John
    John, BrynmorSedgemore, Brian
    Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)Sheerman, Barry
    Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldSheldon, Rt Hon R.
    Kilroy-Silk, RobertShore, Rt Hon Peter
    Kinnock, Rt Hon NeilShort, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
    Lambie, DavidShort, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
    Lamond, JamesSilkin, Rt Hon J.
    Leighton, RonaldSkinner, Dennis
    Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
    Lewis, Terence (Worsley)Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
    Litherland, RobertSnape, Peter
    Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)Soley, Clive
    Lofthouse, GeoffreyStott, Roger
    McCartney, HughStrang, Gavin
    McDonald, Dr OonaghStraw, Jack
    McKelvey, WilliamThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
    McNamara, KevinThompson, J. (Wansbeck)
    McTaggart, RobertThorne, Stan (Preston)
    Madden, MaxTinn, James
    Marek, Dr JohnTorney, Tom
    Marshall, David (Shettleston)Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
    Mason, Rt Hon RoyWareing, Robert
    Maxton, JohnWeetch, Ken
    Maynard, Miss JoanWhite, James
    Meacher, MichaelWigley, Dafydd
    Meadowcroft, MichaelWilliams, Rt Hon A.
    Michie, WilliamWinnick, David
    Millan, Rt Hon BruceWoodall, Alec
    Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
    Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Tellers for the Noes:
    Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Mr. John McWilliam and
    Nellist, DavidMr. Allen McKay.
    Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon

    Question accordingly agreed to.

    MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER then proceeded to put the Questions on the remaining Lords amendments to be disposed of at that hour.

    Lords amendment: No. 3, in page 3, line 38, at end insert—

    "() The Secretary of State shall before the abolition date lay before Parliament a report on the steps he will take to secure the full adoption by metropolitan district councils and the London borough councils of those facilities, services, and responsibilities for the protection and enjoyment of the countryside and areas for urban nature conservation which serve the continuing needs of the wider county areas and neighbouring populations."

    Read a Second time.

    Amendments made to Lords amendment, (a) in line 4, leave out 'metropolitan district councils and the London borough councils' and insert

    'the councils to which functions are transferred by this section in Greater London or a metropolitan county'.

    (b) in line 8 leave out 'the wider county areas' and insert 'Greater London or that county'.— [Mr. Patrick Jenkin.]

    Lords amendment, as amended, agreed to

    Lords amendment No. 2 agreed to.

    Lords amendment: No. 4, before clause 7, insert the following new clause — Highway and Road Traffic functions

    " . The Secretary of State shall by order taking effect on the abolition date make provision for the London Residuary Body to exercise the following functions relating to highways and road traffic in London to the extent and in the manner that such order shall provide—
  • (a) that the Body shall have a duty to prepare, in consultation with the borough councils, plans relating to highways and traffic in Greater London and the Body and borough councils shall have regard to such plans when exercising their statutory functions;
  • (b) that it shall be a duty of the Body to establish and maintain an organisation for the purpose of assembling, disseminating and keeping up to date, information on road traffic and other transport in Greater London and that the Body may commission such research and carry out such surveys as they think fit in fulfilment of this duty;
  • (c) that the Body shall have the functions of the highway authority under the Highways Act 1980 in relation to metropolitan roads;
  • (d) that not later than 1st April 1987 the Body shall, in consultation with the borough councils review the existing network of metropolitan roads and prepare and submit to the Secretary of State for his approval proposals for the revision of that network;
  • (e) that, as respects metropolitan roads, the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 shall apply to the Body (for the purposes of traffic management and parking control) as they now apply to the Greater London Council;
  • (f) that the Body shall be a local authority for the purposes of section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 (power of local authorities as to giving of road safety information and training);
  • (g) that the Body shall be authorised, for the purpose of regulating traffic on metropolitan roads, to exercise the powers of a borough council under the said Act of 1984 as respects roads communicating with or adjacent to metropolitan roads in accordance with procedures to be prescribed by the Secretary of State;
  • (h) that, for the purposes of ensuring that the exercise by the London borough council of their powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 does not have any adverse effect on traffic on roads for which they are not the highway authority, the Body shall be given reserve powers similar to those given to the Secretary of State in Part 1 of Schedule 9 of the said Act;
  • (i) that the Body may exercise the powers of a London borough council or the Common Council under sections 6 and 9 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purposes of prohibiting or restricting such use of heavy commercial vehicles as the Body considers expedient for preserving or improving the amenities of Greater London or some part or parts thereof;
  • (j) that the Body shall have a duty to control, manage, maintain and, where appropriate, develop and extend the system of urban traffic control through traffic light signals established by the Greater London Council;
  • (k) that the Body shall be a 'London Authority' within the meaning of section 50 of the London Regional Transport Act 1984 (travel concessions on journeys in or around Greater London);
  • (l) that the Body shall be able to assist, by way of grant or loan, the provision of transport services by a voluntary organisation for the benefit of the public or any class of persons."
  • Read a Second time.

    I beg to move amendment (b) to the Lords amendment, in line 26, at end insert

    'provided that, if such revision contains proposals for the designation of existing metropolitan roads as trunk roads, a public enquiry shall be held before any such road shall be so designated by the Secretary of State.'.

    With this it will be convenient to take the following: amendment (c) thereto, in line 26, at end insert

    'and the Secretary of State shall not direct that a highway or proposed highway shall become a trunk road until he has considered the proposals submitted to him under this subsection.'.
    Lords amendment No. 5, before clause 7, insert the following new clause—