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Local Government (Scotland)

Volume 84: debated on Tuesday 22 October 1985

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10.19 pm

I beg to move,

That the Rate Support Grant (Scotland) (No. 3) Order 1985, dated 2nd July 1985, a copy of which was laid before this House on 4th July. be approved.
The order has two purposes. The first is to adjust the amount of rate support grant payable to Scottish local authorities in respect of 1984–85, increasing it by £28·9 million. The second is to reduce the amount of grant payable in respect of 1985–86 by£126·6 million. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced his decision to make these changes in grant in his statement of 27 June and the order before us was laid a week afterwards. Before dealing with the details of the order, I should like to set out the background and the circumstances which make this order necessary.

Local authority expenditure accounts for half of the expenditure for which the Secretary of State is responsible. Control of such a significant part of his programme has always been an important task for a Secretary of State under any Government. Since coming to office we have made our policy clear: that public expenditure has to come down and that local authority expenditure as a major component of public expenditure has to be reduced. Despite this, no reduction has taken place in local authority expenditure. Although the rate of growth has flattened, in volume terms expenditure is still 1·8 per cent. above the level it was in 1978–79. In cost terms—measured against the inflation rate in the economy as a whole—the equivalent figure is 10·6 per cent.

As my right hon. Friend told the House in July, Scottish local authorities are planning to overspend in 1985–86 by £91 million, or 3·2 percent. This is less than the overspend against budgets in 1984–85 when authorities planned to overspend by £114 million, or 4·2 per cent. This is a welcome sign that authorities are gradually coming closer to our plans. However, it must be recognised that the main contribution towards closing the gap was made by the Secretary of State increasing expenditure provision for 1985–86 by £98 million—a move to which there was a disappointing response by many local authorities. The result is that the planned overspending, in 1985–86 is still much higher than we can accept.

In 1984–85 the total of grant penalties was 78 per cent. and no authority suffered a grant penalty of more than 100 per cent., however high its overspending. My right hon. Friend warned that penalties in 1985–86 would be more severe. This year the total of grant penalties is 138 per cent. of overspend, with grant penalties on individual authorities going up to 170 per cent. of overspend. I accept that these penalties are severe, but my right hon. Friend gave authorities ample warning, writing individually last year to every provost and convener. It was a warning that did not go entirely unheeded, since 30 authorities budgeted at guideline in 1985–86 compared with 15 in 1984–85. However, this throws into sharper relief the continued overspending of the remaining authorities. It is still, of course, open to the overspending authorities to reduce their overspending and produce a real benefit for their ratepayers. If their overspending is reduced at outturn, under the new arrangements that we introduced last year, the penalty will be reduced and grant paid back to authorities in direct proportion to their improvement.

I should now like to turn to the order and to the details of what I have been describing in general terms.

The order falls into two parts. First, it reduces the grant payable to all authorities which planned to overspend in 1985–86. That is done by reducing the total of aggregate Exchequer grant by £126·6 million, and within that the needs element has been reduced by the same amount. For the 35 overspending authorities, the needs element has been reduced according to a tariff which starts at a grant loss of 70 per cent. of overspend, rising to a 90 per cent. grant loss for a 1 per cent. overspend, 110 per cent. for 2 per cent. and on an increasing scale to a maximum of 170 per cent. for a 3·5 per cent. excess and above. Annex 2 of the report on the order explains the tariff and illustrates it with a graph. The individual authority penalties are shown in column 7 of page 8. The 30 authorities on or within guidelines suffer no penalty at all.

It has been suggested, and I suspect that it will be suggested tonight, that only small authorities can spend within guidelines. However, the 30 authorities within guideline include seven of the 12 regional and island authorities, among them Grampian regional council. Among the districts planning to spend at guideline, I was particularly glad to note that Stirling district council, which has in the past planned to overspend by substantial amounts, has this year budgeted within guidelines. So has Kirkcaldy district council, which was the subject of selective action in 1983–84.

Will the Minister acknowledge that Grampian regional council has pointed out that, if it is to meet the essential roads programme to deal with its traffic problems, the guidelines that are being allocated will be £30 million short? It has put in a special application and asks that the Government look kindly on the fact that it is Conservative controlled and deserves fairer treatment.

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that road construction is a capital item, and plainly we study closely the bids that authorities make to us at about this time of the year before we decide their capital allocations. We shall do so this year as we have in the past, in the light of the bids that are made to us by all authorities in Scotland and available resources.

The opportunity is there for authorities above guideline to think again about their expenditure even at this stage. There is a real incentive for authorities to look for savings in order to reduce their grant penalty at outturn. Some authorities have already realised that and are reducing their expenditure, and the second part of this order illustrates the value of this in respect of 1984–85.

The second part of the order revises the penalties for that year. At the request of the convention, it does that much earlier in the year than before by using provisional outturn figures and making an interim revision combining the adjustment for the previous year's penalties with the imposition of the current year's. Incidentally, that new arrangement is a clear illustration of the extent to which we do pay close attention to the views of COSLA during our regular consultation meetings. The second part of the order gives back to authorities almost £29 million of the £90 million penalty imposed in 1984–85 in recognition of the reduction in spending between budget and provisional outturn.

Will the Minister stop boring the House with all this financial gobbledegook and tell us something about the social and human implications of this devastating cut in local government expenditure? Is he aware that, a few days after the Secretary of State made the announcement in June, he went with Her Majesty the Queen to the opening of the new Mariner centre in Falkirk? Falkirk district council has told me that as a result of the cut in local government expenditure if it is to meet the Secretary of State's guideline on leisure and recreation it will have to close the Mariner centre, the Hallglen centre and the Grangemouth stadium. Is that not an insult to Her Majesty the Queen, Falkirk district council and the people of Falkirk district?

I am obviously delighted to hear of the new-found concerns of the hon. Member, but I have to say that for him to describe over six years in cost terms a 10·6 per cent. increase as a dramatic cut really does defy explanation. The simple fact is that local authorities in real terms, however they are calculated, are still spending more in Scotland than in 1978–79, and it was not a Conservative Minister who, as long ago as 1976, told councils that the party was over. The fact is that the party continued after that, and it is only just now being brought under control.

When my right hon. Friend announced the penalties for 1984–85, he urged local authorities to bring their expenditure down to guideline so that their ratepayers would benefit from the grant being restored. I was pleased to see that 14 of the 15 authorities which budgeted within guideline stayed within their budgets and a further 13 authorities which had budgeted above guideline brought their expenditure down within it. Most authorities spent less than they had budgeted for and part of the grant penalty is being restored to them. Members will find the list of authorities unaffected by penalties at both budget and provisional outturn stage in annex 3 of the report on the order, the revised penalties in column 6 of annex 4, the original penalty in column 7 and the difference between them in column 8.

Unfortunately, a few authorities actually increased their spending between budget and outturn, and that has increased their penalty.

On 10 October we issued current expenditure guidelines for 1986–87 to all authorities. I believe that these guidelines are fair and achievable. They give greater recognition to the client group assessments of relative expenditure need than in the past. The assessments continue to be refined in consultation with the convention. Twenty-one authorities will in 1986–87 have guidelines identical with their assessments, almost double the number in the current year. At the suggestion of the convention, we have retained an unallocated margin to ensure that no authority is expected to make an unrealistic cut from its present level of expenditure. We have also recognised the concern of authorities, also expressed in the House last year, whose guidelines remain below assessed need. Their guidelines will be set at 7 per cent. above their present level of spending, somewhat above the present forecast rate of inflation. Penalties for overspending these guidelines will be severe and I would strongly urge authorities, many of which will be at the formative stage of their budgets, to plan now to spend within the guidelines. We have no desire to impose large grant penalties in 1986–87. It is in everyone's interest to look for ways of bringing expenditure down to guidelines and thereby making penalties unnecessary. That is our wish and local authorities have it in their own hands to achieve it.

The aim of the order is to apply pressure to local authorities to bring their expenditure into line with the Government's plans, an aim which has been common to all Governments. The basis on which this is done is much fairer than the simple reduction in total grant used by the Labour party when it was in power and faced a similar problem. Increasing numbers of authorities are now budgeting in line with guidelines. There is a real incentive for them to do so. I hope that in 1986–87 the number will be still further increased. The order is designed to put pressure on authorities to spend in line with provision. It does so in a fair and increasingly effective way and I commend it to the House.

10.33 pm

The Minister made it clear that he is really seeking to reduce public expenditure. I thought it significant that he did not say that he is hoping to reduce income tax, because I wonder at times how a Government who have had the windfall of North sea oil, have creamed off more indirect taxation from VAT and the rating system and have had the benefit of the rake-off from the sale of public assets still cannot substantially reduce income tax. This state of affairs is a measure of the Government's industrial incompetence and social malevolence.

One of the points that emerges from these guidelines has been the difficulties facing education authorities in Scotland in meeting the guidelines that the men—and the women—in St. Andrew's house set down for them. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) will develop this point, but it would be useful if the Minister could tell us what consultation there has been with COSLA over the salaries settlement that the Government hope to achieve with the teaching profession in Scotland, so as to avoid a difficulty for authorities in the coming years over the operation of the penalty system that the Government have instituted.

We accuse the Government of deliberately destroying the working relationship that is essential to good dealing between Government and local authorities. There has not been a time in living memory when relationships between local authorities and the Scottish Office have been so bad. Matters reached the stage where there was a special meeting of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss the deteriorating relationship. I understand that COSLA is setting up a tribunal to inquire into the current state of local government in Scotland. There is a touch of irony in the fact that in the very month that that was announced Lord Wheatley announced that he was going to retire from the Court of Session. I do not know whether he will be invited to chair the tribunal, but I would not wish such a disappointing retirement on anybody.

Twenty years ago the Wheatley commission examined the structure and role of local authorities, recommending that they have the power to get on with the job, having the ability to do it effectively, looking after local democracy and at the same time involving local participation. It is significant that now all those things have been thrown to the wind and there is a terrible relationship between local authorities and the Government.

In the annual report issued by Strathclyde regional council I noted the words of councillor Dick Stewart, who I think the House will agree has had a lifetime of distinguished service in local government. He said:
"For 1986–87 the prospects for local government are even more grave with Government providing for an increase of only 3·9 per cent. in local authority spending in Scotland against an anticipated inflation rate of 5 per cent."
That is consistent with the Government's approach to rate support grant, reducing the percentage and lowering the indexation year after year. Moreover, it is significant that Dick Stewart says that the number of people on supplementary benefit has increased by 86 per cent. since the Government came to office, and the number of divorces has gone up by 50 per cent., with the havoc that that wreaks in many households.

I shall not give way.

We accuse the Government of shifting the burden of expenditure and the blame for their own policies on to the ratepayers and the local authorities respectively.

COSLA has provided us with some interesting figures. Had the Government maintained the level of rate support grant in 1980–81 the possible reduction in the average domestic rates bill would have been £97 in Dumfries and Galloway, where the average domestic rate bill for 1985–86 is £285. In north-east Fife the average domestic rates bill for 1985–86 is £422. That could have been £107 less had the Government sustained the same rate support grant that operated in 1980–81.

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that if Fife regional council had set a rate based on guidelines the ratepayers of north-east Fife would have had to pay 10p in the pound less in this years rates bill?

What would the rate of inflation be if there had been a free-for-all in local government expenditure?

Nobody has suggested there would be a free for all. The Government set the approved relevant expenditure and the rate support grant. I know that the hon. Member is delighted that he is getting a cross barrier in the A74, but he must accept that his own ratepayers are being done down as a result of the withdrawal of Government support. I will deal later with Eastwood. The average domestic rates bill there for 1985–86 is £663, and that could have been reduced by £147 if the Government had kept the same rate support grant. These are significant figures.

The hon. Member is quoting figures which have been produced for hon. Members for today's debate and which, as I am sure he realises, depend on the assumption that, if rate support grant were maintained at a steady proportion, expenditure would not increase. The history of local government finance does not suggest that is true. During the four years under the previous Labour Government when grant was held steady at 68·5 per cent., expenditure rose by £240 million in real terms. Those are the facts.

The Under-Secretary of State chose to intervene because he is so embarrassed by the figures I have quoted. The average ratepayer in Scotland would be £74 per annum better off if the Government had maintained the same rate of support grant as that which operated in 1980–81.

I am outraged at what the Minister has said. I have before me the minutes of the Scottish Affairs Committee which dealt with this question, and Councillor Fagan, who was the vice-chairman of COSLA at that time, asked the Minister and his officials about the £1,000 million that they filched from local government in the cutbacks on rate support grant. The Secretary of State for Scotland passed the buck to his officials. The right hon. Gentleman said:

"Could I ask Mr. Penman to say something about the £1,000 million figure you have quoted, Mr. Chairman."
Mr. Penman said:
"Could I say that I think that there is no disagreement between the Scottish Office and COSLA on the arithmetic."
That was the £1,000 million filched out of the Scottish economy by those gangsters on the Government Benches.

My hon. Friend has mentioned gangsters. The £1,000 million the Government took out of the system makes the great train robbers seem like petty pilferers. Had the Government sustained the rate support grant at its 1980–81 level, they would have done immense good to the commercial and industrial ratepayers as well as to the domestic ratepayers of Scotland.

The Government have determined the approved total of expenditure and the Government have to hand the disbursement among the 65 local authorities in Scotland of that rate support grant. The Minister talked about guidelines, but one of the concerns of COSLA is the way in which the guidelines have been fluctuating, not just from year to year, but among the various authorities. For example, he may be able to enlighten us as to why in Eastwood the fluctuation has been so considerable from year to year. It is going up by 16·4 per cent. next year, although it will give Glasgow only an extra 1·7 per cent. An angry Conservative association executive may have had a good deal to do with that. I hope that the Minister will tell us more about how these things come about because I suspect that the guidelines are more of an art than a science in the way in which they are operated at the Scottish Office.

We accuse the Government of vindictiveness in determining the scale of the penalties. Even Shylock wanted only a pound of flesh, but in many instances the Secretary of State for Scotland wants £1·70 and there is certainly no Portia at No. 10 Downing street. There is no explanation for the treatment of seven of the 34 authorities in which expenditure needs are greater than the guidelines and 10 of the 34 authorities in which expenditure is less in real terms than in 1978–79. The Government are ignoring the requirements for services that Parliament has laid down to be fulfilled by local authorities and it is astonishing that even the funding of voluntary bodies is now being affected because of the cuts in local authority expenditure.

The Minister quotes chapter and verse about local authorities keeping to guidelines, but perhaps he will tell us today how such miscalculations can occur at the Scottish Office in relation to a mere £50 million in terms of the revaluation relief package announced at the Conservative party conference in Perth. The Secretary of State would have done Paul Daniels out of a job with the scheme that he described at Perth. We understand that the take-up will be only £29 million. When one thinks of the song and dance act that the Chancellor did over that £50 million, one cannot see why he lost any sleep over it.

Here we are talking about £90 million in excess of the guidelines for more than £3 billion expenditure by the 65 local authorities in Scotland. The Minister should recognise the gross disparity between his own incompetence in relation to the revaluation relief package and the general approach of the local authorities in doing their damndest to keep within the guidelines. We know that from year to year the outturn is invariably lower than the authorities' original estimates. That is why the Minister can tell us today that £28·5 million in rate support settlement is to be repaid for last year.

We shall oppose the order, but we want to hear a bit less from the Under-Secretary of State about the great things to come in terms of reforming the system and a bit more about the inconsistencies between him and his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State who is to take the high road and produce a go-it-alone Scottish reform while the Under-Secretary of State works with the other two wise men and realises that he will have to keep in tandem with a United Kingdom approach.

The Government are not giving the ratepayers of Scotland a fair deal and they are not getting the best out of local authorities by the shameful way in which they are dealing with them on a day-to-day basis. Above all, the Government are not being open and honest with the public about the extent to which the culprit in terms of higher local authority expenditure is in fact the Scottish Office which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey) has said, has filched more than £1 billion from the system.

10.49 pm

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) did much name-dropping, from Portia to Houdini. He seemed to be remote from what the people in Scotland are interested in—paying less rates. The only thing on which I agree with him is that it is good that in the long term the Government will try to make local government finance more simple and to reform the system of rates. I am glad my hon. Friend has given the assurance that we shall have that legislation before us in the not too distant future.

Of course it has been a difficult year for local authorities and Government in regard to local government finance. It is easy to say, as the hon. Member for Maryhill is keen to, "Give them as much rate support grant as they want." It is more difficult to insist that public expenditure is kept within bounds to contain inflation. Many people fail to realise that local government expenditure is just as much public expenditure as central Government expenditure. If either goes up, inflation will rise. Opposition Members, who are in a hungry-looking mood tonight, will be only too glad to welcome the fact that inflation is so low, considering the roaring inflation they left with us in 1979.

Within the constraint of maintaining low inflation over the last few years, I want a fairer distribution of the rate support grant, particularly for rural areas. I have been critical of the elusive formula, which I do not understand, which produces guidelines for needs elements, for resources element, for the budget, and relevant expenditure, which are all seriously affected by revaluation. I am not surprised that few people understand local government finance.

The Government are moving in the right direction to get the formula right. The two districts that I represent within Dumfries and Galloway will be much happier in the coming financial year than they have been in the past. The formula for 1985–86 that was published the other day is much more favourable.

I share with the hon. Gentleman concern about the formula that is used for the guidelines. Since he is happy with the formula, can he tell me what percentage the Government have used for inflation in that formula? Until now I have been baffled. The Government do not seem to have taken account of the rate of inflation.

I am sure the Minister will be delighted to deal with that question. I did not say that I understood the formula; I said that I was pleased that it was more favourable for rural areas.

I am glad that the Minister was able to see Nithsdale district council representatives with my hon. Friend the Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Lang) and myself only last week to discuss the matter. Nithsdale was naturally disappointed that it was receiving only 83 per cent. of assessed need. Of the 27 authorities with guidelines below assessed needs, no fewer than 19 have been able to keep their expenditure within guidelines. It can be done. It is painful, but the penalties of which some authorities are complaining can be avoided. I hope that, after our constructive meeting with Nithsdale, it will achieve its guideline and avoid the penalties that it would have to make under the present scheme.

Beyond the difficulties of the current year I see a great deal of light and good news. I am glad that, next year, Nithsdale will have a 15·6 per cent. increase. That is far above the rate of inflation and no Opposition member can say that it is an unfair settlement. Annandale is to receive a 7 per cent. increase and the region. Dumfries and Galloway, is to receive a 7·4 per cent. increase. Authorities that husband their resources well receive good guidelines. All authorities should aim for that.

Even the hon. Gentleman must know that this has been the wettest August and September in living memory. I hope that he has been writing to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland asking for financial assistance to help an industry that is important to Scotland through a peculiarly difficult time. If the hon. Gentleman fails in his reponsibilities to his constituents, I am sure it will be reflected at the next election.

The Government have listened to the representations of COSLA and individual local authorities, and that is reflected in the coming year's settlement. We must all welcome that. It is wrong to say that the Government cut everything, because, in real terms, much more is being spent on health and other services. We all know that it is not true that they are being cut to ribbons, as Opposition Members say, weekend after weekend.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Minister have done a first-class job in difficult economic circumstances by presenting a settlement that helps the country. All public expenditure is counted in inflation, and reducing inflation is the best way in which to provide jobs in the long run—and that is what we are determined to do.

10.58 pm

I have made my views about this pernicious system of penalties clear many times and I do not intend to deal with the matter in any detail. I should like to concentrate on one aspect of the crisis in the relationships between the Government and local government in relation to the dispute about teachers' salaries, about which there were exchanges in the House earlier today.

The real crisis in the rating system and local authority finance has arisen because of the Government's continued cutting of the amounts and the rates of grant during the past six years. Irrespective of whether we reform the system, it will not operate satisfactorily unless a proper relationship between central and local government is established. The Government's crises and troubles are the direct result of their actions during the past six years.

I shall deal with teachers' salaries and the point of my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey) about inflation assumptions in the figures imposed in the Government's guidelines.

At one time Government disclosed the inflation assumptions, but now they are careful not to disclose them. From the little information from central Government, we know that in every year since 1979 the inflation assumptions have been less than the actual inflation outturn. That is the main reason why we have the so-called excesses of budgets over Government guidelines. It is all right for Government to talk about inadequate inflation factors, but local authorities which pay the bills must make realistic assumptions in the budgets they prepare.

A major budget item is the assumption about pay increases in the forthcoming year. Already, because of the agreement reached with local authority manual workers, Scottish local authorities are faced with additional expenditure in the current year. Expenditure for authorities which are suffering penalties is multiplied. For example, if an authority pays any group of workers 1 per cent. more than it has assumed in its budget and, like Strathclyde, has a grant penalty of 1·65 per cent., the extra 1 per cent. will cost the authority 2·65 per cent. —1 per cent. for the workers and the 1·65 per cent. deduction in rate support grant. That is one of the particularly pernicious effects of the system, which operates in relation to the teachers' dispute. Opposition Members judge the Secretary of State's anxiety to settle the teachers' dispute, and to get teachers back to school and education back to normal, in that context.

One of the ironies is that if the dispute is not settled in the current year — we must all profoundly hope that there will be a settlement—and local authorities do not have to pay any increase to teachers for which they have budgeted, those authorities will save the teachers' increase and receive penalties back. If no increase is payable, for example, in Strathclyde region, which may have assumed 6 per cent. for a teachers' salaries increase in the current year, it will get that 6 per cent. back with a further 10 per cent. It will get 16 per cent. back simply because there is no settlement. Could there be a more absurd system of local government than that? There is actually a financial incentive to local authorities, which I am glad to say they are not taking advantage of, not to reach a settlement in the current year. That is absurd.

The system is particularly pernicious when local authorities want to make a generous settlement with employees. Unless there is an increase in the relevant expenditure and unless the penalties are removed, any act of generosity towards the teachers or another group—by that I mean any act intended to be fair and just—will be penalised twice or three times under the order. Certainly the major Scottish authorities will all suffer penalties under the order.

It is nonsense to claim, as the Secretary of State claimed earlier, that he is not involved, because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) pointed out, he is a member of the negotiating committee. The right hon. Gentleman has his representatives there. In addition, he effectively controls the total offer made to the teachers, partly by his contribution through the rate support grant and even more because of the operation of the penalty system.

There was some justice in an arrangement under which the Secretary of State said, "I am willing to pay so much and if you wish to pay more you can pay it out of the rates." But local authorities do not now have that freedom. If they wish to pay more, they not only pay the extra, with no contribution from the Secretary of State, but they pay penalties on top of that. It costs them two or three times as much as it would under any sensible system of local government finance.

The Secretary of State pretended in the House this afternoon that the reason why he did not grant an independent pay review was that the teachers did not wish to include pay and conditions in the review. But even if they had done so. the right hon. Gentleman would have not granted an independent pay review, because he is frightened of the independence of a review and not its exact terms of reference.

The Secretary of State has come up with £125 million over four years, which is less than the penalties being imposed in one year under this order. If the £125 million were built up gradually over the four years, the sum involved in 1986·87 — the right hon. Gentleman is giving nothing for 1985–86 — would be trivial in comparison with the need of teachers. We are told that it would be about 2·5 per cent. on the going rate. But what is the going rate?

The Government have announced today that they will no longer have pay norms for the Civil Service and presumably they intend something similar for the rest of the public sector. The pay norms have been 3 or 4 per cent. and what is the use of saying to teachers, "You can have 3 per cent. and another 2·5 per cent." when the Government may decide that next year's pay norm will be nil or 1 or 2 per cent.?

No genuine negotiations are taking place anywhere in the public sector and they are certainly not taking place with the teachers. The order is another turn of the screw for local authorities and another example of Government interference in what they pretend are free negotiations between the management and the teachers.

In any case, the extra £125 million is not extra Government cash. It is only extra relevant expenditure, of which they are paying a decreasing percentage. They have decreased the percentage of grant in every year since they took office in 1979 and I have not the slightest doubt that they will do the same next year and the year after if they are still in power. The extra money could easily be siphoned away by reductions in grants, penalties and the rest.

If the Secretary of State continues in this way, the crisis in Scottish education can only worsen. I have never known a situation like the present one in which teachers have voted to ban participation in the SCE examinations.

The Secretary of State says, "Hear, hear," but he is the man responsible for driving teachers to that position. He has done it by a mixture of penalties on local authorities, over-control of local authority expenditure, insensitivity to the teachers' case and blatant dishonesty, which he displayed this afternoon, as he has displayed it on every occasion on which he has dealt with the teachers' pay claim.

The order is another nail in the coffins of local government democracy and Scottish education. It will have disastrous effects for many of our young people. In voting against the order, we shall be voting against the whole process of Government control over local authorities since 1979, which has produced such disastrous results. Unless the Secretary of State changes his ways —there is not the slightest sign that he will do so—he will do immeasurable damage to Scotland and particularly to Scottish education.

11.10 pm

The right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) displayed astonishing selective amnesia in his speech. I cannot recall exactly when he was Secretary of State for Scotland and I apologise for that, but under the Government of which he was a member teachers' pay was held back considerably compared with that of other groups of workers. When the Conservative Government came to power they had to put that right with a substantial award. The right hon. Gentleman raised that subject with characteristic boldness.

The right hon. Gentleman also seems to have forgotten that the bidding-up by one group of workers against another in pay rounds, with a consequential rise in the rate of inflation, further fuelled the inflation rate when his Government were in power. That helps no one. It creates paper increases in wages and increases dissatisfaction.

In the rate support grant settlement, although there were no negotiations this year on an annual pay increase for teachers because the EIS would not participate in discussions, provision was made for an assumed cash limit increase in teachers' salaries. Since no pay increases have been given to teachers this year what are the local authorities doing with the money? Are they spending it on something else or are they banking it for the day—not too far away—when a settlement is reached?

As the Minister said, the penalties arrangements which he introduced have persuaded Fife regional council to reduce its excessive expenditure. It is a pity that it did not reduce it much earlier. The amount by which it has reduced its excessive expenditure seems to be remarkably akin to the amount that it could have been spending on teachers' pay increases.

In the last 10 years Fife regional council has turned the lowest rated area in Scotland into the highest rated area. That has nothing to do with the rate support grant provided by the Secretary of State in that period. It is entirely the result of expenditure policy decisions by the Fife regional council as a consequence of which ratepayers this year —because of the overspend in guidelines last year and this year—will have to spend lop in the pound more than if the council had operated on guidelines.

As a result, instead of a rates increase which, even with revaluation, could have been within the inflation rate, Fifers will have to suffer a 25 per cent. or more increase in their rates bills. Many of the ratepayers are teachers. I hope that Ministers will continue to press Fife regional council to be more responsible in its expenditures.

Assessment of the resources element seems to exacerbate the unfairness in the way in which the rating valuation system operates. I hope that Ministers will bear that in mind next year when considering at what to set the various elements.

11.15 pm

I intend to be brief, because experience has shown me that the Government do not intend to listen to any representations on this subject but are simply carrying out the instructions of the Treasury. This order in one of the vindictive measures with which they intend to strangle local democracy in Scotland.

The decision to penalise Scottish local authorities to the tune of £126·5 million, which is £36·5 million more than the £90 million expenditure above guidelines, will mean a further reduction in essential local services. The whole exercise, apart from exemplifying the dictatorial centralism that typifies the Government, is one in hypocrisy. It is compounded when the Minister quotes the number of authorities that have met their guidelines and pretends that they have been convinced by a rational case put forward by the Scottish Office. Everyone knows that they are deeply resentful of what the Government are doing — cutting essential services that the people of Scotland have a right to expect.

Local authorities are expected severely to cut spending while central Government are unable to achieve that. Local authorities are forced to be the instruments by which the Government attempt to hold down public expenditure to target levels.

Even the total Scottish Office budget expenditure can be split into that incurred directly and that incurred via local authorities. Between 1983–84 and 1985–86, local authority spending is expected to rise by only 1·2 per cent. That incurred directly by central Government will rise by 11·5 per cent. Those figures are taken from Scottish Office figures published in February this year.

In other Government Departments between 1983–84 and 1987–88 the pattern is expected to be the same. Expenditure on defence will rise by 22 per cent. and on law and order by 21 per cent. Overall, between those years the total will rise by 18 per cent. Yet local authorities are expected by the Secretary of State to perform the miracles that central Government are quite unable to perform.

In Scotland the expenditure guidelines have not been increased in line with inflation and the guideline figures are wholly arbitrary. No one understands how they are determined. Local authorities throughout Scotland must curse the day that they were first introduced by a Labour Government. They have proved a useful and effective tool for the Tories in Scotland to manipulate and suffocate local government. My party is wholly opposed to that disgraceful treatment of local democracy.

Given indicators in recent elections and public opinion polls, the days of the Tory Administration are numbered. It gives me pleasure to say that the days of the British Administration are numbered. The other day there was a poll of 30 per cent. of people in Scotland who want a completely independent Parliament. They are now giving the issue a high priority, and that is the way that it should be. Scotland is waking up to the fact that a Scottish Parliament is absolutely necessary to protect local government in Scotland, the future of steel and coal industries and the whole of the Scottish economy.

11.18 pm

Listening to the Secretary of State and his team talking about Scottish local authorities, it would seem that they hold them in such contempt that I am surprised that they have not attempted to introduce legislation not only to abolish them but to have them shot. Listening to the Secretary of State, one would think that they were the devil incarnate.

We should not be here this evening discussing how little Scotland is to get; we should be sitting in Edinburgh discussing how much it should get. Even the Glasgow Herald, that mouthpiece of the Marxist-Leninist front, cannot be all that wrong in its recent publication.

I do not think that the electors of Scotland should look at the Secretary of State's stance on rate support grant this year in isolation. They should look at the position that he has adopted over the past four or five years. We are witnessing a deliberate downward spiral in public expenditure. Harry Truman summed it up when he remarked, "Save a buck and sacrifice the people." This situation has arisen at a time when not only was an increase in public expenditure desirable, but when it could easily have occurred in Scotland. It is nonsense for the Secretary of State to claim that there is a shortage of resources in Scotland. To the 5 million people of Scotland, that is clearly not the case.

The Conservatives have embarked on a strategy born of contempt for Scotland. Not only are they in a minority in Scotland, as they have been since 1945, but it looks likely that after the next election they will be in an even smaller minority. They also have a contempt for compassion. They have indulged this year, as they have in the last three or four years, in a basic arithmetical exercise in which need and compassion do not feature.

My hon. Friends have said, and I repeat, that embodied in the Government's proposals is a contempt for democracy. They talk about decentralisation and privatisation, but apparently such concepts apply only to those who agree with the Government. Those who oppose them have restrictions—called guidelines—imposed on them. They may be called guidelines, but they are mandatory dictates giving no room for manoeuvre.

I would not be surprised if at some time in the not too distant future a Minister at the Scottish Office, or at any rate in the Cabinet, adopted towards Scotland the attitude that has been taken towards the GLC and other local authorities that have had the audacity to oppose Conservative policies. Will the Secretary of State give an assurance that no such attempt will be made to abolish Scottish local authorities?

The Government have given up all pretence of matching rate support grant with inflation. Whereas we are talking about a 2 per cent. increase in Scotland this year, an increase of 6 to 7 per cent. is needed, and if there had been a 7 to 8 per cent. increase in the last five or six years we should nevertheless just be standing still. But many of us in Scotland, unlike the Conservatives, do not just want to stand still. We would like to expand and improve our services. Not only are the Government prepared to see services stagnate, but with banners flying and bands playing they are happy to march backwards, producing a level of services in Scotland that has not been as bad for perhaps 25 years.

The Secretary of State has been to the top of the mountain and had his dream turned into a nightmare, and the people are suffering. He dreamt of being strong with the weak and weak with the strong. He is strong with local authorities wishing to build council houses. They have hardly built one for five years, with the result that many young couples born and brought up in decent council houses have gone into the slums and old properties that their parents left 20 years ago.

In my local authority area, Renfrew district, 10,000 people, largely youngsters, are on the housing waiting list. We have an aging population in Scotland, so that we urgently need more home helps, especially for people in the poorer and more deprived areas. We need more people in the child care, adoption and fostering services, and more staff in children's homes. I should like to hear the Minister deny that there is a need for that sort of provision. I should like to hear him tell us that there is a need for fewer staff in these services. Is there or is there not a need for these services to be expanded?

As I have said, the Secretary of State is strong with the weak and weak with the strong. He is weak when it comes to the Barratts, Brasleys and Salversons, who have been jackbooting around our towns over the past two or three years showing a blatant and open contempt for town planning. They have filled a vacuum that was created deliberately by the Secretary of State when he cut the feet from local authorities by not giving them enough money to build decent council houses of the sort that the people wanted. He created the vacuum and let his friends fill it.

The Secretary of State has been at his weakest in confronting the Treasury and the Prime Minister. He has been a poor and pathetic voice for Scotland. He has done exactly what he has been told. All that we can say in Christain humanity is that we must hope that history is kind to him and forgets him. It might be appropriate when discussing Scottish affairs to remember the words of Robert Burns, who said that we were bought and sold for English gold. That is certainly true of the Secretary of State. The tragedy is that the price is so low.

11.27 pm

There is not much wrong with the Government that would not be put right by a fair voting system and a fair system of local government. [Laughter.] I note that the hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) chortles, but that is a fact. Such reforms would dramatically reduce the false and wasteful conflict between central and local government which has been referred to by almost every Member who has participated in the debate, a conflict which the Government have done much to fuel.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) mentioned the Wheatley report. Speaking as someone who served on the Wheatley Royal Commission between 1966 and 1969, I continue enthusiastically to endorse the proposition that with the creation of larger authorities, more resources and greater functional integration, local authorities would enjoy much greater independence from central Government. That was the Wheatley argument and it is depressing 20 years later to see the degree of central Government supervision growing daily, to the extent that one meets local councillors throughout Scotland who are beginning to say, "There is so little scope for us to make our own decisions, what is the point of continuing?"

There is little time left before the debate must end, so I shall continue with my remarks.

The hon. Member for Maryhill was right in spending time to draw attention to the deterioration in central Government and local government relationships.

I shall advance three short arguments, because I am aware that time is limited. First, I think that the Government are indicted by their failure to maintain local government support, especially over the past quinquenninum. The hon. Member for Maryhill referred to the sum of £1 billion. In fact, we are talking of a reduction of in support of relevant expenditure from 68·5 per cent. in 1980–81 to 56·6 per cent. at the beginning of the year. Each of the district councils in my constituency, according to the COSLA tables which were referred to by the hon. Member for Maryhill, has suffered a reduction in support of one third when compared with the 1980–81 level.

Secondly, I should like to know how the guidelines are set. This is an issue on which the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) touched and it remains to me one of life's great mysteries. The guidelines are supposed to be an aggregation of individual service assessments, but the assessments are not guidelines. It is the total of the assessments that is a guideline. I find that exceedingly difficult to follow, as does the Highland region. I recall the argument that it had with the Minister over the police. I presume that it is assumed that the Highland region, for example, is spending far too much on education.

Thirdly, many questions arising from Government cuts should be raised. Because of the shortage of time I shall raise only two. The teaching issue can be bypassed, because the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) made the points cogently. First, will the Minister say something about the relief on revaluation? What will happen to the underspend? Will the money just go back to the Treasury? What will happen next year? What will be the effect next year on the rates of small businesses? Secondly, the hon. Member for Paisley, North (Mr. Adams) mentioned housing, which is a source of ever-present worry for district councils. There has been much brouhaha about the sale of council houses, but only about 9 per cent. of council houses have been sold. Apparently this sale was a major issue, but what is being done for those who cannot buy their own houses and then cannot find rented accommodation either? The districts cannot build because of reductions in grant. That is scandalous.

The alliance will vote against the order. I agree with the statements made by every Opposition Member. I disagree especially with the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro), who practically made sycophancy into an art. The order is another step along the road to undermine local government.

I shall vote against this order, just as I have voted against every rate support grant order since I entered Parliament in 1970), irrespective of the side of the House on which I sat.

I speak from a strong position. I speak on behalf not only of the Labour party in Cunninghame, South but of the officials of the Cunninghame, South Conservative and Unionist Association who have told the Prime Minister that they will resign if the Government do not change the British Steel Corporation's decision to close Gartcosh and will not put up a candidate against me at the next election. I am happy about that. In the last two general elections I won more than half the votes in my constituency, and the 20 per cent. of votes that the Tories win in my constituency will make little difference to the result.

The officials of Cunninghame, South Conservative and Unionist Association have not taken this action solely because of the decision to close Gartcosh. That was the final straw, but there had previously been the fiasco of the rating revaluation which caused many problems for the Conservative Government and Scottish Ministers. Since the Conservative party took power in 1979 there has been one crisis and fiasco after another, until the Conservatives are no longer a political party in Scotland. They are nearly running neck and neck with the Scottish National party, and that is going down some way.

From listening to the Tory party conference it became increasingly clear that the Government were no longer considering reforming the rating system in the United Kingdom and that they were considering the publication of another consultative document. I do not know how many consultative documents I have seen on the reform of the rating system since I entered Parliament, but there will now be another one. It is becoming increasingly clear as the discussions continue between the three wise men, including the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland—the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Ancram)—that the Government have no intention of reforming the rating system because they see no satisfactory alternative to it.

I am disturbed not by the fact that the Government are to renege on their promises to the ratepayers but by what is happening in Scotland. The Secretary of State for Scotland, supported by the Under-Secretary, is saying, "We are going to go it alone. If the Government are not prepared to change the rules and reform the rating system, we shall reform the rating system in Scotland." We shall have a fiasco similar to the one that occurred when, under both parties, the Scottish Office decided to continue with revaluation when their colleagues in England and wales stopped it.

I do not know when Scotland will learn that, it we change the rules in Scotland but do not change them in England, Scotland suffers. Scotland is suffering now because we continued with revaluation in 1973 w hen England stopped it.

Is not the hon. Gentleman a bit rusty? Does he not remember that he and I fought against the 1978 revaluation when the increases in our area were considerably higher than they were this year? He received no support, money or help for ratepayers from the Labour Government, whereas the present Government have been generous in helping them.

I do not want to take up that point, except to say that when he and I took deputations to my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) he was in opposition. When I asked him this year, on the last revaluation, when he was in government, to come with me and make representations to the Government. he refused. When he is in opposition he is willing to take part in deputations to the Government, but when he is in government he is unwilling to take the actions he advocated when he was in opposition.

If the Scottish people are to be kidded again, and if the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Under-Secretary are to change the rating system in Scotland for a mixture of the present property tax and a poll or residence tax, the Scottish people will again find that they are subsidising the Exchequer in England. English ratepayers will be laughing at us. Scotland has suffered from continuous revaluations while there have been no revaluations in England and Wales. If we make changes in Scotland without making corresponding changes in England and Wales, Scottish ratepayers will suffer again. That is why I hope that the Secretary of State will withdraw the order and think twice about taking unilateral action to change the rating system in Scotland. We should have a system which covers the whole of the United Kingdom.

11.38 pm

The Secretary of State knows that Glasgow has done a great deal to help industry because it has a responsibility to do so. The fact that he is withholding money from Glasgow will cause it great difficulties.

In my constituency, BREL Springburn announced redundancies, and Glasgow district council said that it was prepared to undertake a feasibility study. I hope that the Minister will take on board the fact that BREL in Derby has refused to allow Glasgow district councils consultants on to its premises. BREL Derby has in effect refused to co-operate with a feasibility study designed to see what the future holds for the work force. This is shameful and absolutely scandalous because the Under-Secretary knows that if redundancies take place in what is the only railway workshop left in Scotland the local authority will have to pick up the pieces— and Derby says that it will not help.

I hope that the Government take this matter on board and make representations on behalf of the people in my constituency, to do something to help a local authority which is acting in a very responsible manner.

11.40 pm

It may be helpful if I answer some of the points that have been raised in this debate. Listening to the hon. Member for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie), it became clear to me that his views are so akin to those of the Conservative party that the Conservatives in his area see that within him.

The basic point arising from the debate is the suggestion, originally made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) in quoting figures, that, if the rate support grant proportion had been maintained, this would in some way have helped the ratepayers of Scotland and of particular areas of Scotland. As I asked the hon. Member to take into account. that assumes that if rate support grant is held proportionately at the same level, expenditure remains the same. I have to repeat that experience shows that when rate support grant has been so held, expenditure has risen.

The hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey) made the same point. While it is true arithmetically to say that a higher rate of grant—he mentioned certain figures—would mean more grant to local authorities, it would also historically mean higher local authority expenditure. The effect would be not only to increase the burden on the taxpayer, who is producing that rate support grant, but also to increase the burden on the ratepayer. The policy that the hon. Member advocated that the Government should follow would be precisely the opposite of that which the Government have sought to follow, of protecting ratepayers and taxpayers alike.

The other central question raised during the debate was also raised by the hon. Member for Maryhill. He looked at the provision which, he was quite rightly informed, is the figure from which the guidelines stem. He made the point that the provision this year had been increased by only 3·9 per cent. as against an inflation rate which is likely to be higher. It was a valid point to raise, but, if he thinks about it—since the Government's policy is to reduce local authority expenditure, and since we have set out the reasons why we believe that that expenditure is still too high—he will see that it would have been totally illogical to allow expenditure in real terms to continue at the present rate. It is. therefore, quite deliberate that the provision after the enhancement we made this year of £59 million will, in fact, require a real-terms reduction by local authorities across Scotland. Had that not been the case we would merely have been underlining the level of overspending that exists within local authorities at the moment.

My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Henderson) asked what authorities are doing with the provision for teachers' salary increases. The question was also put by the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan). Obviously, local authorities will have made provision for their estimate of teachers' salary increases this year, and equally clearly they will not have had to make us of it so far. It must be for them to decide what they will do with it at the present time. I would think, however, that at this stage of the financial year no prudent authority would have committed it elsewhere, in view of the uncertainty of whether it would or would not be required before the end of the financial year.

I must say to my hon. Friend that, as far as I am aware, Fife's reduction is the result of a sensible reappraisal of all its services. It shows in a major way the benefits that can be achieved for ratepayers by authorities which have been subjected to penalties. Given that Fife budgeted way over guideline to the disadvantage of its ratepayers, as my hon. Friend pointed out, and given that it is now seeking to reduce its budget and may, by next year have made a substantial reduction in its budget at outturn, it will be possible for the authority to make a return if it wishes—I am sure that my hon. Friend will press it so to do—of some 3·6p in the pound to the ratepayers of Fife. That shows other authorities in a similar position that there remain substantial benefits to be gained on behalf of their ratepayers, even at this stage of the financial year, if they can bring their budgets either down to guideline or as near to guideline as possible.

Following representations made to us by COSLA, which said that the return of penalty arrived too late in the financial year for proper use to be made of it, this year we introduced the new system whereby, on the provisional returns in June, which is just one quarter into the financial year. the benefits of reduced expenditure in the previous year would he made available in rate support grant returned to those authorities. Therefore, I hope that authorities that have been subject to the penalties that we are debating tonight will seriously consider that they should seek to reduce their expenditure and return the benefits to the ratepayers.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) rightly said that not only is the distribution of rate support grant increasingly being carried out on a fairer basis, as the client group approach is implemented, but equally the guidelines are being refined year to year, and those refinements are becoming increasingly clear.

The hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston) asked perhaps the most complicated question. He asked how the guidelines are set. It was said earlier that the guidelines seem to vary from year to year. Some of the major variations — indeed, those that benefited district councils in many areas of Scotland—were as a result of direct representations to the Scottish Office about the needs assessments in previous years, particularly in relation to leisure and recreation, where it was felt that the needs assessment did not accurately reflect the needs of authorities on the ground. If we look at the guidelines and needs assessments this year, we see that the district authorities have benefited from the refinement that has been made, which I believe to have been warmly welcomed.

The hon. Gentleman asked how the guidelines were arrived at. It is only right that I try to explain in reasonably simple terms. As in each of the past four years, the first step in arriving at guidelines is the calculation by means of the client group method of the relative expenditure needs assessments. That is the basis. However, as the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, if all authorities were brought to their needs assessments in terms of their guidelines, we would not only be requiring major and dramatic reductions by some that are way above their needs assessments at the moment, but equally, we would be allowing for expenditure increases for others that are below their needs assessments, which they would not be able to pay for in terms of rates. Therefore we have built various limits into the formula, which allow us to ensure that no authority is asked to make a reduction which is unachievable and that no authority receives such an enhancement of its guidelines that it would be impracticable.

Therefore, the order sets out to try to achieve the cooperation with local authorities that the right hon. Member for Govan was talking about. The best way of getting away from confrontation and achieving co-operation between local authorities and the Scottish Office is if authorities across Scotland this year do what 30 authorities, including seven of the regions and islands, managed to do last year —to budget within the guideline. If they do so, their ratepayers are served and the taxpayer is served, and they can make sure that the services that they wish to provide for their local electorates are provided.

The final point that arose during the debate—

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business).

The House divided: Ayes 296, Noes 170.

Division No. 296]

[11.49 pm


Adley, RobertFarr, Sir John
Aitken, JonathanFavell, Anthony
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelFenner, Mrs Peggy
Amess, DavidFinsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Ancram, MichaelFletcher, Alexander
Aspinwall, JackForman, Nigel
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)Forth, Eric
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Fox, Marcus
Baldry, TonyFranks, Cecil
Batiste, SpencerFraser, Peter (Angus East)
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyFreeman, Roger
Bellingham, HenryFry, Peter
Bendall, VivianGale, Roger
Benyon, WilliamGardiner, George (Reigate)
Best, KeithGilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Bevan, David GilroyGoodlad, Alastair
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnGow, Ian
Blackburn, JohnGower, Sir Raymond
Bonsor, Sir NicholasGrant, Sir Anthony
Boscawen, Hon RobertGreenway, Harry
Bottomley, PeterGregory, Conal
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaGriffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)Grist, Ian
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Ground, Patrick
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardGrylls, Michael
Brandon-Bravo, MartinGummer, Rt Hon John S.
Brinton, TimHamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Brittan, Rt Hon LeonHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)Hampson, Dr Keith
Browne, JohnHanley, Jeremy
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.Hannam, John
Buck, Sir AntonyHarris, David
Budgen, NickHaselhurst, Alan
Bulmer, EsmondHawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)
Burt, AlistairHawksley, Warren
Butcher, JohnHayes, J.
Butler, Hon AdamHayhoe, Rt Hon Barney
Butterfill, JohnHayward, Robert
Carlisle, John (N Luton)Heathcoat-Amory, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Henderson, Barry
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S)Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Carttiss, MichaelHickmet, Richard
Cash, WilliamHicks, Robert
Chalker, Mrs LyndaHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Chapman, SydneyHind, Kenneth
Chope, ChristopherHirst, Michael
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hordern, Sir Peter
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Howard, Michael
Colvin, MichaelHowarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Conway, DerekHowarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Coombs, SimonHowell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)
Cope, JohnHowell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Corrie, JohnHubbard-Miles, Peter
Couchman, JamesHunt, David (Wirral)
Crouch, DavidHunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Currie, Mrs EdwinaHunter, Andrew
Dickens, GeoffreyJackson, Robert
Dicks, TerryJessel, Toby
Dorrell, StephenJohnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Dover, DenJones, Robert (W Herts)
Dunn, RobertJoseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Durant, TonyKellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Evennett, DavidKing, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Eyre, Sir ReginaldKnight, Greg (Derby N)
Fallon, MichaelKnight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)

Knowles, MichaelRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Knox, DavidRidley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lamont, NormanRifkind, Malcolm
Lang, IanRoberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Lawler, GeoffreyRobinson, Mark (N'port W)
Lawrence, IvanRoe, Mrs Marion
Lawson, Rt Hon NigelRossi, Sir Hugh
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkRost, Peter
Lester, JimRowe, Andrew
Lightbown, DavidRumbold, Mrs Angela
Lilley, PeterRyder, Richard
Lloyd, Ian (Havant)Sackville, Hon Thomas
Lord, MichaelSainsbury, Hon Timothy
Lyell, NicholasSayeed, Jonathan
McCrindle, RobertShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
McCurley, Mrs AnnaShaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Macfarlane, NeilShelton, William (Streatham)
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)Shersby, Michael
Maclean, David JohnSilvester, Fred
McQuarrie, AlbertSims, Roger
Madel, DavidSkeet, T. H. H.
Major, JohnSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Malins, HumfreySoames, Hon Nicholas
Malone, GeraldSpeed, Keith
Maples, JohnSpeller, Tony
Marland, PaulSpence, John
Marlow, AntonySpencer, Derek
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Mates, MichaelStanbrook, Ivor
Mather, CarolStanley, John
Maude, Hon FrancisSteen, Anthony
Mawhinney, Dr BrianStern, Michael
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinStevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Mayhew, Sir PatrickStevens, Martin (Fulham)
Mellor, DavidStewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Merchant, PiersStewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Meyer, Sir AnthonyStewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Miller, Hal (B'grove)Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Mills, Iain (Meriden)Sumberg, David
Miscampbell, NormanTapsell, Sir Peter
Moate, RogerTaylor, John (Solihull)
Monro, Sir HectorTaylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Montgomery, Sir FergusTemple-Morris, Peter
Moore, JohnThomas, Rt Hon Peter
Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)Thompson, Donald (Calder V
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Moynihan, Hon C.Thornton, Malcolm
Mudd, DavidThurnham, Peter
Murphy, ChristopherTownend, John (Bridlington)
Neale, GerrardTownsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Needham, RichardTrippier, David
Nelson, AnthonyTwinn, Dr Ian
Neubert, MichaelViggers, Peter
Newton, TonyWaddington, David
Nicholls, PatrickWakeham, Rt Hon John
Onslow, CranleyWaldegrave, Hon William
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.Walden, George
Ottaway, RichardWalters, Dennis
Page, Sir John (Harrow W)Ward, John
Page, Richard (Herts SW)Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Parris, MatthewWarren, Kenneth
Patten, Christopher (Bath)Watson, John
Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)Watts, John
Pattie, GeoffreyWells, Bowen (Hertford)
Pawsey, JamesWells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Percival, Rt Hon Sir IanWheeler, John
Pollock, AlexanderWhitfield, John
Porter, BarryWhitney, Raymond
Portillo, MichaelWolfson, Mark
Powell, William (Corby)Wood, Timothy
Powley, JohnWoodcock, Michael
Proctor, K. HarveyYeo, Tim
Pym, Rt Hon FrancisYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Raffan, KeithYounger, Rt Hon George
Rathbone, Tim
Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)Tellers for the Ayes:
Renton, TimMr. Tristan Garel-Jones and Mr. Peter Lloyd.
Rhodes James, Robert


Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Haynes, Frank
Anderson, DonaldHeffer, Eric S.
Archer, Rt Hon PeterHogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)Home Robertson, John
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Howells, Geraint
Barnett, GuyHoyle, Douglas
Beckett, Mrs MargaretHughes, Dr. Mark (Durham)
Beith, A. J.Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Bell, StuartHughes, Roy (Newport East)
Benn, TonyHughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)Janner, Hon Greville
Bermingham, GeraldJenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)
Bidwell, SydneyJohn, Brynmor
Blair, AnthonyJohnston, Sir Russell
Boyes, RolandJones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Bray, Dr JeremyKaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)Kennedy, Charles
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Kirkwood, Archy
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N)Lambie, David
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Lamond, James
Bruce, MalcolmLeadbitter, Ted
Buchan, NormanLeighton, Ronald
Caborn, RichardLloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Campbell, IanLoyden, Edward
Campbell-Savours, DaleMcDonald, Dr Oonagh
Canavan, DennisMcKay, Allen (Penistone)
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)McKelvey, William
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Clarke, ThomasMcNamara, Kevin
Clay, RobertMcTaggart, Robert
Clwyd, Mrs AnnMadden, Max
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)Marek, Dr John
Cohen, HarryMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Coleman, DonaldMartin, Michael
Conlan, BernardMaxton, John
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)Maynard, Miss Joan
Corbett, RobinMeacher, Michael
Corbyn, JeremyMichie, William
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Craigen, J. M.Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Crowther, StanMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Cunliffe, LawrenceMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Cunningham, Dr JohnNellist, David
Dalyell, TamOakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)O'Brien, William
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)Park, George
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)Patchett, Terry
Deakins, EricPavitt, Laurie
Dobson, FrankPendry, Tom
Dormand, JackPenhaligon, David
Douglas, DickPike, Peter
Dubs, AlfredPowell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.Prescott, John
Eadie, AlexRadice, Giles
Eastham, KenRedmond, M.
Evans, John (St. Helens N)Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Ewing, HarryRichardson, Ms Jo
Fatchett, DerekRoberts, Allan (Bootle)
Faulds, AndrewRoberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Robertson, George
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Fisher, MarkRooker, J. W.
Flannery, MartinRowlands, Ted
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelSheerman, Barry
Forrester, JohnShore, Rt Hon Peter
Foster, DerekShort, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Foulkes, GeorgeSilkin, Rt Hon J.
Fraser, J. (Norwood)Skinner, Dennis
Freeson, Rt Hon ReginaldSmith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
George, BruceSnape, Peter
Godman, Dr NormanSoley, Clive
Gould, BryanSpearing, Nigel
Hamilton, James (M'well N)Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)

Stott, Roger

Hardy, PeterStrang, Gavin
Harman, Ms HarrietStraw, Jack
Harrison, Rt Hon WalterThomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Hart, Rt Hon Dame JudithThompson, J. (Wansbeck)

Thorne, Stan (Preston)Wilson, Gordon
Tinn, JamesWinnick, David
Torney, TomWoodall, Alec
Wallace, JamesYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Welsh, MichaelTellers for the Noes:
White, JamesMr. John McWilliam and Mr. Don Dixon.
Williams, Rt Hon A.

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the Rate Support Grant (Scotland) (No. 3) Order 1985, dated 2nd July 1985, a copy of which was laid before this House on 4th July, be approved.