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Rate Support Grant (Wales)

Volume 115: debated on Tuesday 5 May 1987

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8.4 pm

I beg to move,

That the Welsh Rate Support Grant Supplementary Report 1987–88 (House of Commons Paper No. 325), a copy of which was laid before this House on 30th April, be approved.

The main purpose of the supplementary report is to ensure that additional provision and grant in respect of the teachers' pay settlement is incorporated at the earliest possible opportunity within the RSG settlement for 1987–88. I do not intend to refer back to the details of the settlement. The House debated and approved the Welsh rate support grant report for the year as recently as 25 March.

The supplementary report increases provision for relevant expenditure by £30 million in respect of teachers' pay. It also increases block grant by £17 million on that account. That additional provision reflects the Government's view of the share of the increased expenditure incurred by county councils which should be borne by taxpayers and ratepayers. The Government consider it important that there should be a significant increase in teachers' pay, but hope that in return the teachers will accept that they have a commitment to play their part in restoring normality to the education service and putting the care and education of children first.

The pay increases will give teachers on average a 16·4 per cent. increase in pay, in two stages. That amounts to a 25 per cent. increase between March 1986 and October 1987, an increase that most other groups would be only too delighted to receive. The new pay arrangements will be attractive to young people seeking a rewarding and satisfying career. After two years' experience, the pay of a good honours graduate is £10,000. Without any promotion, that teacher's salary would increase to a maximum of £13,300. That is an improvement of nearly £3,000 on the present scale 1 maximum of £10,500. There are also significant rewards and incentives for the better teacher and for those taking on extra responsibilities. Those allowances range from £500 to £4,200. A teacher receiving the maximum allowance would have a salary of £17,500. I am talking not of head teachers or deputy heads, but of teachers doing a very good job in the classroom or as heads of department.

For the most outstanding entrants to the profession, the goal could be the headship of a large comprehensive school with a salary of £30,500 from 1 October. That is an increase of over £4,000. We believe that the management of our schools is a responsible job which requires skills of a high order. It is important that those responsible posts should carry the kind of salary which reflects this. Naturally, only a minority of teachers will become heads or deputy heads; but under the new pay arrangements some 85 per cent. of entrants to teaching could expect at least one promotion during their career. The teachers have received a fair and generous settlement, and I hope that we shall now see an end to disruption in our schools.

I have also taken the opportunity in this report to correct an over-estimate of £2·2 million in the specific grant allocated in the main report for housing benefit administration costs. The effect of that over-estimate was to reduce the level of block grant in the main report and I have, therefore, made a compensating increase in block grant of £2·2 million. I have also revised the estimates for a number of specific grants in the light of information now available from local authorities. As a result of all those decisions, including the teachers' settlement, this supplementary report increases aggregate Exchequer grant by £18·1 million to £1,175·1 million, and increases the amount available for rate support grant and block grant by £19·2 million, to £947·1 million and £920.9 million respectively.

I have made it clear on previous occasions that councils' grant entitlement now depends upon their own spending decisions, and that additional grant is available for those that reduce their spending. The latest available information is that the aggregate of local authorities' budgeted total expenditure exceeds provision in this supplementary report by £23·2 million. That means that £10 million grant remains unclaimed.

That £10 million remains available to Welsh local authorities. I have deliberately chosen not to reduce the level of aggregate Exchequer grant in this report to reflect that underclaim. I urge local authorities in Wales to examine the scope which undoubtedly exists — as successive reports from the Audit Commission have quite clearly indicated—to achieve savings and to bring their spending back into line with the realistic assumptions underlying the settlement. It is perfectly possible for them to do so. Some Welsh district councils have demonstrated this by restraining their spending and, consequently. they will receive additional block grant. Districts as a whole have budgeted to spend less than the level allowed for in the settlement and have therefore increased their grant entitlement by £0·7 million. Extra block grant awaits all councils which reduce their spending and this can only be to the benefit of local authorities and, most important, their ratepayers.

In recent years we have seen that with good will and good sense many Welsh local authorities of differing political complexions can work effectively with the Government and make good use of the instruments that we have given them and the initiatives that we have taken. Places as varied as Rhondda, Wrexham, Newport and Swansea have undertaken urban renewal and housing renovation programmes on a major scale. A number have shown that it is possible to provide first-class services and to hold down rates.

No authority has done this better than the city of Cardiff. The Conservative council in Cardiff has served its citizens well, undertaking not just the usual tasks of a district authority, but the special responsibilities called for in a capital city, undertaking major tasks of urban renewal and support for the arts, and yet it has kept its rates down. The Conservative-controlled Cardiff council is charging the same rate, 19·9p, as it did in its first year of office. With that splendid record, I am confident that it will be reelected, as it deserves, on Thursday to continue that task.

Before the Secretary of State carries on in this vein, will he tell the House and, presumably, people outside how many council houses have been built in the city of Cardiff since the Conservative party took control of the council and how many more people are on the waiting list there? May we have the figures?

It will be for the electors of Cardiff to decide on Thursday. Cardiff city council, working with the Government, have launched the most major programme of urban renewal to be undertaken anywhere in the country, which will include major housing programmes, both for those in the cheapest form of housing and for all other citizens. I can think of no more considerable contribution to the future housing needs of the people of Cardiff than the projects that Cardiff city council has set in hand with the Government for the redevelopment of that city.

I am interested that an hon. Member representing a Swansea constituency wishes to intervene and I am happy to give way to him, although I do not think that he will vote in the Cardiff elections.

In what may be his swansong in Welsh debates, I am sure that the Secretary of State would like to end on a note of his usual objectivity and fairness. Therefore, having paid tribute to Cardiff, will he pay tribute to the enormous co-operation of Swansea city council with the Welsh Office in the marina project and the enterprise zone, and generally, for the benefit of all citizens of Swansea?

If the hon. Gentleman had not been talking to his neighbour and had been listening to me, he would have heard me do just that. I said that several local authorities, including Swansea, had undertaken urban renewal and housing renovation programmes on a major scale. If he listens to me carefully for the rest of the debate, he will not have to intervene so frequently.

At St. Mellons, the local authority and private sector, with the Government's support, have launched one of the most major innovative schemes for the provision of low-cost housing for the citizens of Cardiff which has yet been introduced. I dare say it will be a pioneer for housing development in the rest of the country.

Will the Secretary of State give the simple figures showing the number of people on the housing list?

Order. We cannot have two hon. Members on their feet at the same time.

The hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) will have plenty of opportunity to make his speech.

If the hon. Gentleman will restrain his verbal diarrhoea for a second, he will have a chance to speak later in the debate.

All ratepayers are entitled to expect their local authority to provide effective and efficient services to the community. They are entitled to see services maintained and rate bills kept down through the pursuit of efficiency and value for money. That is exactly what Cardiff has done and what other authorities can do.

Earlier I referred to the Audit Commission. I commend its reports which have examined key areas of council expenditure and pointed to ways of using resources more economically. The increase of £47 million in capital allocations in 1987–88 should allow prudent councils to achieve revenue savings through capital schemes. I urge councils on behalf of their ratepayers to consider carefully all the options for reducing their spending and thereby increasing their grant entitlement.

I commend my proposals for the supplementary report to the House.

8.15 pm

My hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) suggested that this may be the Secretary of State's swansong and some of my colleagues, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) seemed to think that his comments were a dying swansong. Nevertheless, we wish him good health and a long, happy retirement in the City or wherever he chooses to spend his retirement years.

As I understand it, the main effect of the report is to adjust grant-related expenditure to take account of the teachers' pay settlement and in that sense it provides Welsh counties with an extra £30 million. The county councils would have liked, and certainly believed that they are entitled to, £35 million, mainly to keep pace with labour costs. Presumably their calculation is based on the settlement figure of 8·2 per cent. backdated to 1 January and a further 8·2 per cent. from 1 October.

It certainly makes good sense to pay decent salaries to attract and retain good teachers. Likewise, peace and calm must replace disruption and demoralisation in our classrooms. There is a need to make better provision for textbooks and even Her Majesty's inspectorate of schools has pronounced unfavourably on that matter.

The deterioration in the supply of books is a reason why parental contributions are on the increase and that in turn widens the differences between individual schools and pupils. The cuts in teaching staff are resulting in subjects being dropped from the curriculum and in those circumstances it makes no sense to pay teachers not to work. I shall be told that investing in education is a costly business, but failure to do so will be ruinous for Wales and, indeed, for the whole of the United Kingdom. The report stripped of its technical intricacies and jargon, is essentially about providing Government financial assistance to local government to administer the services which Parliament has authorised it to do.

This supplementary report, in the dying embers of this Parliament, cannot in any way be said to come to grips with the problems of Wales, which our local authorities are most anxious to tackle.

I note that a Welsh district council spokesman refers to the report as "low key", whereas our problems are enormous.

I have already referred to the problems in education, but the Secretary of State also touched on housing. The scale of the problem in this sector in Wales is outrageous and oozes of neglect, despite what the Secretary of State has said in order to try to keep Cardiff Conservative on Thursday. The White Paper on public expenditure demonstrates that, in reality, there is to be no increase in spending, despite the fact that there is a much higher proportion of older housing in Wales than in any other part of Great Britain. Over 40 per cent. of the housing stock, almost 450,000 houses, is more than 65 years old, compared with the figure of 30 per cent. in Britain as a whole. Many of those old properties lack basic amenities, so a considerable proportion of our people live in unsatisfactory housing conditions. I suppose that we have grown accustomed to the fact that the Government do not care.

Homelessness is on the increase. In 1985 the number of households that were accepted as homeless was 9,200 in Wales. That is 7·4 per cent. higher than in 1984. Newport is a black spot, with a rate of 10 households in 1.000 becoming homeless.

We need to improve existing homes and build new ones. Poor housing is a false economy. It merely stores up problems for the future; yet house building creates more jobs for every pound spent than any other form of Government spending. We have thousands of construction workers on the dole in Wales and a massive shortage of decent homes. The arithmetic is simple. Housing investment makes economic as well as social sense.

I now turn to the vexed question of mass unemployment. It has plagued Wales throughout the eight years that the Government have been in office. With proper Government backing our local authorities could do much about this matter. The Government are now claiming that unemployment in Wales is falling. The Labour party welcomes any improvement in the situation. The CBI says that there is buoyancy in the economy. It is worth reminding the House that it said the same thing before the last election in 1983 but the subsequent three years saw further massive job losses and economic decline. The utterances of the Government and the CBI on unemployment and the state of the economy contain as much truth and authenticity as those wartime broadcasts of Lord Haw Haw from Germany.

Has the hon. Gentleman noted that the Wales CBI, which often has been cautious in its statements and frequently critical of the Government, has seldom been as optimistic as it has recently? That is the Wales CBI, as opposed to the CBI for the United Kingdom.

The answer is simple. The last time that it was optimistic was on the eve of the 1983 general election. It is merely a case of history repeating itself.

The recent report of the Wales TUC is far more realistic when it points out that there are more people without what it calls "regular work" than there were a year ago. It says that there is an increase of 6,933, or 3·8 per cent. There is some difference between the two versions.

The difference in the two points of view is that so many thousands of people have been recruited on Government schemes of one sort of another. Mike Smith, the industrial editor of the Western Mail, clearly sets this out in an article on 4 May. It says:
"The latest figures for such schemes in Wales show that there are more than 21,000 people taking part in the Youth Training Scheme; 22,727 in the Community Programme; 5,000 taking advantage of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme and more than 4,000 in other employment schemes. This makes a total of more than 53,000 people.
In addition there has been a major attempt to encourage and help other unemployed people into regular jobs, training or special employment schemes under the Restart programme. So far more than 57,000 have been interviewed in Wales under Restart."
It does not say how many people have been put into employment as a result of those measures, but I understand that it is a tiny percentage.

Mike Smith goes on to say:
"In relation to the size of its population Wales would expect to have around 35,000 — not 53,000 — on these schemes.
This imbalance reflects the high unemployment levels in Wales, the concentration of such schemes in areas of most need and the consequent falls in unemployment rates."

I remind my hon. Friend of the many times, when the Conservative party was in opposition, that the Secretary of State for Wales criticised us for what he called "phoney jobs", saying that the Conservatives would create real jobs.

That is true. Those of us who were in the House during that period will remember the words of the Secretary of State very well.

I agree that some of these schemes may have limited value, but the vast bulk of them are not real jobs at all.

Another vital sector in which our local authorities have a major part to play is that of law and order. I have visited numerous housing estates in my constituency with Labour candidates in the local elections. On the Old Barn estate in St Julians, residents pleaded for more policemen on the beat. The same sentiments were expressed in the Broadmead and Moreland Park estates in Liswerry. One elderly couple in St Julians had their home burned to a cinder after petrol had been poured through the letter box. I remind the House that this was in Newport, Gwent, and not the riot-stricken areas of Liverpool, Birmingham and London. Yet when the police committee of Gwent put forward proposals to Gwent county council for 50 extra police constables they were attacked by the hon. for Newport, West (Mr. Robinson), the Under-Secretary of State, for putting up the rates to pay for such expenditure. None of us likes paying rates, but such attacks reek of opportunism.

The report could have been the springboard for the Government to make a fresh start and a real onslaught to tackle deep-rooted problems, with the help and active co-operation of local authorities throughout Wales. In the event the Government have opted for the status quo. Unemployment and decay will continue so long as this Government remain in office. They must be thrown out, and the quicker the better.

8.31 pm

The hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) is ever a pessimist. He tends to use terminology redolent of political disputes of many years ago. The circumstances which he has mentioned obtain in some matters and I should like to comment on some of them.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State pointed out, the supplementary grant is dominated by the provision for the increase in teachers' salaries. All parties agree that this is a desirable allocation. The Government have been right in giving priority to increases in teachers' and nurses' pay. Those were the two outstanding salary needs and I am glad that both have been honoured. The hon. Member for Newport, East said that major provision should have been made, but I think he will agree that the increase in pay is large proportionately. A correct decision has been made and it is not for us to understate such a significant increase in expenditure.

I hope that the teachers' dispute will now die away. Many teachers say that they feel almost as strongly, and some of them perhaps more strongly, about negotiation machinery. It would be out of order for me to elaborate on that but, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science has pointed out, he wishes the former Burnham machinery to be replaced by adequate machinery as quickly as possible and as soon as there is general agreement throughout the profession. I subscribe to that view. The main provision in regard to teachers' salaries is all to the good.

The hon. Member for Newport, East also referred to housing needs. We have housing needs which have been aggravated by unusual circumstances. Many of the worst cases with which I have to deal result from broken marriages. That is a real problem, which one cannot under-estimate. I hope that in the months and years ahead, the incoming Government will permit special attention to be given to the problems of one-parent families. The problems of one-parent families and broken marriages may be a sign of a social breakdown for which there are various reasons, but certainly they are serious in many parts of the country.

On housing in general, the hon. Member for Newport, East did not pay sufficient heed to the published statements of the leaders of housebuilders in Wales about their great contribution to the provision of jobs over the last few years. There has been a decided upturn in output by members of the House-Builders Federation and the Federation of Master Builders.

I am not entirely happy about the money which local authorities could use for repairs and renewals from the amounts that they have obtained from the sale of houses. I hope that this can be considered again and that the release of the money can be accelerated, particularly in parts of the country where people are unemployed in the industry.

The hon. Member for Newport, East also referred to unemployment; although it is not covered in the supplementary grant, part of the expenditure could be interpreted as being related to it. I do not quarrel with his reference to unemployment, but, when referring to provision for training, he said that these were not real jobs. Of course the training itself is not a real job, but the hon. Gentleman must appreciate the need to extend training in all parts of the United Kingdom, and not least in Wales where our traditional industries have been in decline and newer industries are taking the place of iron, steel and coal. Therefore, the need for the various training measures introduced by the Department of Employment is very real. We should not refer to these as being undesirable; they are very desirable.

As the CBI in Wales has pointed out, there are grounds for cautious optimism in the Welsh economy. Not for many years has there been such a long period when successive reductions in unemployment have been announced month after month. We can be encouraged by that. I should not like to overstate the case, but each time new figures are published there is cause for optimism. Even more impressive has been the increase in notified vacancies. Opposition Members often refer to the figures having been massaged. They may use that terminology but there cannot be massaging of notified vacancies.

The hon. Gentleman may think that, but the published figures of notified vacancies are increasing steadily. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Part-time jobs for women."] They are not all part-time jobs. In any case, the new industries that are coming into Wales will require new skills and different kinds of labour. To that extent, any increase in the number of vacancies is desirable. I hope that the hon. Gentleman does not think that we should be unhappy that vacancies are increasing. That is an encouraging factor. The provision that we have made is encouraging and, without being foolishly optimistic, we can take some consolation from the fact that the worst times of unemployment seem to be past, and that the decline in our major industries is probably now behind us. There are definite prospects of improvement in the months and years ahead.

8.41 pm

While we must welcome the additional money for Welsh local authorities in the supplementary report, I do not think that there is anything in it to make us sing for joy. All that I can see are adjustments in the main report to cope with matters such as teachers' remuneration, and so on. The local authorities are in the same situation as before—having to scrape around for enough money to fulfil their obligations, and getting into trouble if they overstep an impossible financial limit that has been imposed by central Government.

Nothing that we have heard from the Secretary of State tonight has persuaded me that the Government have any sympathy with local government problems. As with everything else, they see such problems as matters of profit and loss, and the element of service and care for the community is entirely missing from their calculations. Their whole attitude is one of criticism of local authorities and a desire to take away any powers that they have, so as to increase power at the centre. Local democracy means nothing to the Government and the whole operation seems geared to stifling local initiative. It does not seem to matter that a generous proportion of local people want improved services, better school buildings, more home help for the elderly and better facilities for the young and the old. We should not allow such services to run down by penalising councils, which are, after all, doing their best under difficult conditions.

The teachers' pay settlement is obviously to be welcomed, but I have no doubt that later in the debate we shall hear about the vexed problem of negotiating rights. The position in the education sector is a grievous one. Capitation allowances are often too low; books are in a tatty condition — I know that from my own children's experience; books are shared, and there is a lack of choice in school curriculums. That is a serious matter. We won the battle in Powys recently over the closures of small schools, and the county council voted in favour of keeping them open. It is noticeable that the Secretary of State for Education is now falling into line with the views of Powys on such matters. There is a huge sparsity factor in our rural communities, and I hope that the Secretary of State will take that seriously, as he is well aware of it.

We also have immense problems of infrastructure—roads, bridges and schools — and we need some recognition of the sparsity problems in these matters too. Housing has already been mentioned, and I wish to make one point about it. Councils and districts have had to sell council houses, and we are in favour of that. However, it is seriously wrong that they have not been allowed to build enough houses in the rented sector, or spend the amount of money that they have gained from selling council houses to invest in new housing stock. Of course, they have been allowed some of the money that they have received from council house sales, but only a small proportion of it.

The Government are imposing ever more centralised control. That can be seen clearly in their proposals for a poll tax, which they undoubtedly want to impose on us if they can. There are great problems in the present rating system but the poll tax will produce even greater inequalities and injustices, and further reduce local control over the revenue for local government. That is a serious undermining of local democracy. Much more feasible would be the replacement of domestic rates, a local income tax, with the rates determined locally, thus ensuring a great deal more accountability.

Will the hon. Gentleman inform the House what the rate of local income tax is likely to be in Powys and the rest of Wales? We have heard figures ranging from 8p to 13p. The Government have published detailed figures on the likely consequences of our proposals. I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman will enter the election with a clear statement of the figures and the additional burden of income tax that he intends to impose on the electors.

The right hon. Gentleman will read our election manifesto with interest and see our proposals laid out in it. They have been fully costed and responsibly audited by a national firm of accountants. I am sure that he will see that they are serious and responsible proposals.

Grants from central Government would then be based on an assessment of local needs.

I deprecate what the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) has said. We are not little Tories: We believe in investing in infrastructure and local government.

Local government would at least and at last be able to provide for its own communities with the full co-operation and consent of that community, which is our view of true local democracy.

8.48 pm

It is evident that the policies that we have heard expressed by Liberal hon. Members on local government will be as ruinous for ratepayers as those of the Labour party.

I shall be brief. I must register relief that the ending of the interminable teachers' dispute appears to be in sight. I shall be glad if my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education can knock away the one remaining and rather shaky leg in the teachers' argument—their preposterous claim to have been deprived of their negotiating rights. They have deprived themselves of those rights by their total inability to agree about anything.

This debate marks one of a series of farewell performances by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales. They are becoming as numerous as those of Dame Nellie Melba, and as melodious and agreeable to hear. We were probably also listening to the swansong of the hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) tonight. I am sure that some of us, at least, will miss his contributions to our debates immensely, but I shall not.

If the teachers' dispute has not hit my constituency as badly as it might have done, that is because local leaders of the teachers' unions and in particular of the National Union of Teachers have shown a commendable restraint that was in no way encouraged by the attitude of Opposition Members, who seemed to go out of their way to encourage the teachers' organisations to be as obdurate as possible. I wish to pay brief tribute to the president of the NUT in my area who died yesterday—Mr. Aelwyn Morgan, the headmaster of Ysgol y Castell. He led the National Union of Teachers in my area with immense restraint and responsibility, and he will be sorely missed.

The dispute is a shameful story and I hope that when the teachers' strike has been settled and they resume normal working, more and more of them will decide that they wish to be represented by a union such as the Professional Association of Teachers, which has consistently put the interests of pupils first.

Even those of us who have mixed feelings about welcoming the increase in teachers' salaries will have no such feelings about the corresponding increase in nurses' pay. It was won without any threat of industrial action arid seems to be a model of how these affairs should be conducted. On that note and with an affectionate farewell to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, I shall resume my seat.

8.50 pm

As one of the few Members present this evening who have had experience of sitting and standing in front of a class, I join hon. Members who have thanked the Government for this pay award. The teachers certainly deserve it. The role of the teacher in our schools has changed enormously in the 'a it few years. The mantel that they wear and the burden that has been imposed upon them are enormous. That burden was imposed not necessarily by the Government, but by the changes that have taken place in our society.

I shall mention a few of the things that any Government expects from the teaching profession. It is to teachers that Government seem to delegate an important role in health education. It is teachers who tell children about the dangers of cigarette smoking, of excessive alcohol consumption and of solvent abuse. The teacher is expected to inform his or her pupils about all kinds of problems affecting the health of our nation.

The Home Office provides an excellent pack about fire hazards in the home, and teachers are supposed to use it to explain to children the fire risks in the home to which they may be subjected. It is on the teacher that the Government put the important burden to explain to children the importance of road safety and the problem of deaths on our roads. When the Government decided to introduce the new general certificate of secondary education, they faced the teacher with the fundamental problem about the resources that are needed for the enormous amount of project work that the GCSE system will involve. Of course this is an excellent burden to put on the teacher, but will the teaching profession be able to respond to the challenge, especially in mathematics and physics where there is such a desperate shortage of secondary school teachers?

When did hon. Members last sit at the back of a classroom and observe the conditions in our schools? I am sure that some hon. Members have done that. By doing that and seeing what goes on, we see that the teaching profession is doing its utmost to get its message over. I am glad that money has been made available for this pay settlement, but there is a sting in the tail. It is that this settlement has been imposed on the teaching profession and the Government are unwilling to put a maximum size on the class that the teacher will have. The imposition of that settlement, the lack of future negotiating rights and the amount to be paid to teachers in a few years are at the heart of the concern in the teaching profession.

There is another fundamental point. A teacher finds it extremely difficult to stand in front of his class and transmit the cultural values that are expected of him. That is because he has to ask what those children can look forward to. What kind of society are the Government producing? The difficult question for our teachers to answer is, can the children who are now in our schools look forward to a life of individualism or will they face life in a society in which competition has reached such a level that conscience in terms of the community will almost have disappeared?

Will the Government look back on their term of office and say that they have succeeded in making the market and market values and materialism the prime focuses and determining driving forces of life in Britain? The values that are now being taught do not teach that there are things other than material benefit — much as that is important—that are fundamental to our society. I am extremely perturbed that the sense of community and neighbour helping neighbour and friend helping friend is extremely difficult to engender in our schools, given the values that the Government are building in.

The Secretary of State for Education has gone back on what he said about village schools. I am delighted that he has done so, and in the run-up to the election the more of his colleagues who go back on all kinds of things that they have said the better. I hope that the Secretary of State for Wales has exactly the same formula as the Secretary of State for Education and Science so that no longer will the numbers of children be a determining factor in deciding whether village schools will be closed. I hope he will ensure that resources are made available to local authorities in Wales to ensure that the same facility will apply in Wales as applies in England. He should not do what he did with executive houses and impose on the planning structure in Wales a settlement that the people of England would never put up with.

8.56 pm

For reasons that I think we all know well, this is not the best attended of Welsh debates on this important subject of the rate support grant settlement. I notice that at least 65 per cent. of the Welsh Conservative Members are present. The Welsh Labour party has managed 50 per cent., and for most of the evening even the Liberal party has had the same proportion present as the Welsh Conservative party. As the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Wardell) might well appreciate, I notice that the Welsh Nationalist party is conspicuous by its 100 per cent. absence from the debate. I especially remember the hon Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) lecturing me last Wednesday morning about how important it was that the House continue this week. We will see what happens.

As did the hon. Member for Gower, I want to comment on the pay settlement. It seems that there is now not so much talk about teachers' pay, although I could well appreciate any teacher saying to me that, even after the effect of the three pay increases by the autumn of this year which will achieve a cumulative total of about 25 or 26 per cent., he still wanted more. Instead, the argument now is about negotiating procedures or negotiating rights, call them what one may. With rights inevitably go responsibilities. All of us would say that usually there is no more responsible group than teachers. However, I feel that now teachers are doing themselves no service by dwelling on this point.

As with many people from Wales, I come from a family of teachers. There is a natural sympathy towards the position of teachers, but I have observed a widespread criticism of teachers, not least from schoolchildren. Parents have often said to me that children are losing, or have lost, respect for their teachers. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said, above all the dreadful discription in our schools must now come to an end. It has done nothing to help the teachers' case and, above all, it has threatened the whole end product about which teachers and everybody else must be concerned — the quality of the education of pupils when they leave school.

The cost of the teachers' pay settlement is the main part of the report, but it is not the only part. We all know that a council's grant entitlement is now dependent upon its own decisions on spending. As a result of the decision of Welsh local councils, there is now £10 million unallocated, about which I understand my right hon. Friend to have said that he is waiting to see what savings can be achieved by local councils which would entitle them to this unallocated £10 million. I suggest to my right hon. Friend that he should not wait too long before these savings become apparent, as it may be possible to recognise those who already play the role of the wise councils in Wales.

The most obvious example is Cardiff city council. Cardiff is a city that is moving forward. For years we have had a civic centre that rivals any in Europe. Rather more recently we achieved a glorious shopping centre in St. David's centre and, as the jewel in its crown, the new St. David's hall. When we have had an early night here, I have often gone back to the flat and put on BBC2 to find that I was reminded of Cardiff because I heard concerts from St. David's hall. St. David's hall has been far more successful than I think anyone anticipated.

In addition to the St. David's centre and St. David's hall is a very active plan for a world trade centre which is being considered with great enthusiasm. Next week, the centre point of the Cardiff chamber of commerce annual general meeting is to be a presentation by the developers of the new world trade centre.

Top of the list in Cardiff must be the south Cardiff redevelopment, a grand plan to transform 3,000 acres of largely derelict docklands. There is tremendous interest in this scheme across the world. Cardiff is truly an international city that is moving forward into the 21st century. I am confident that Cardiff will make other cities in the United Kingdom sit up and take notice—places like Bristol, which all too often has been patronising about the M4 and the Severn Bridge. Bristol regards the M4 west of it as merely a back road. Places such as Bristol will find Cardiff becoming the international centre for the south-western quarter of the United Kingdom, eclipsing many other places. This all comes about because of Conservative drive and enthusiasm.

The hon. Member for Caernarfon has at last arrived and made one of his more intelligent contributions.

It is vital that the drive and enthusiasm be maintained. I am glad that my right hon. Friend has set up a development corporation to ensure that the south Cardiff redevelopment goes through. The drive from the Conservative-controlled city council in Cardiff in recent years has been complemented by Conservative drive from the Welsh Office, which has brought about the south Cardiff redevelopment.

In the tributes that have already been paid to my right hon. Friend, I fancy that perhaps he would be happiest with the tribute that the redevelopment of south Cardiff will come about in the years to come. That will he a permanent monument to what he has achieved in his time as Secretary of State for Wales. I can assure the House that there is a great head of steam to see that redevelopment come about. It is true that we have a large measure of support from the other political parties, but I should be apprehensive if the Conservative drive and determination were to be lost. The redevelopment might still go ahead, but I fear that it would not go ahead as well or as quickly.

I shall return to the unallocated figure of £10 million that my right hon. Friend still has in rate support grant settlement. I can assure him that Cardiff would spend it, and spend it well. We have a tremendous record on housing. The Conservative-controlled Cardiff city council has spent three times as much as the previous Labour administration — £90 million since 1983, compared to £30 million in the four years before. Last year alone there were more houses built in Cardiff than had been built in any other year. As my right hon. Friend said, there is an innovation in housing development, with 600 new houses for rent being built in St. Mellons, that everybody else in the country ought to watch closely. Please let us not wait too long for the savings to come about. Cardiff could spend it, and we could make the House proud in the spending of it.

9.5 pm

One advantage of speaking a little later in the debate is that one can hear some of the attitudes of Conservative Members. What has appalled me is the pomposity of Conservative Members in congratulating the Welsh Office on the settlement. We see no value from the settlement in the valleys of south Wales.

As has been rightly said, the major part of the report is to do with the teachers' settlement. However, if one goes into the schools of Wales one will find a profession that has been demoralised by the Secretary of State for Education and Science. One will find that class numbers are on the increase, problems of discipline exist and that teachers are finding it difficult to cope.

The ultimate hypocrisy of the Secretary of State for Education and Science and Conservative Members is that they are prescribing for a system to which they do not send their children. They stand at the Dispatch Box and lay down a programme for our education system when they have no confidence in it at all. They send their children to public schools and tell us how our state schools have to be run. What utter and complete hypocrisy. That extends beyond the education system into the Health Service. They prescribe what health system we should have but at tilt same time they opt out and go for private medicine. They prescribe for others but they do not have the courage to participate themselves. Now they are sitting there squirming and ashamed of themselves because it is being pointed out to them.

Where did the hon. Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) go to school?

I have been told that my time is nearly up and that we are allowed only two minutes.

Indeed, not by you, Mr. Speaker.

I simply wanted to make the point that the pathetic posturing of the Conservative party will stand it in bad stead, not only in the local elections on Thursday, where it will get a drubbing even in the city of Cardiff, irrespective of the oily, treacly words of the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Jones) and it will get a drubbing in Wales in the general election.

9.9 pm

I want to make one of my characteristically brief, succinct and low-key contributions to this debate, so I will not pass much comment on the speech by the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers). It is interesting, as my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Robinson) said, that the Opposition education spokesman, in whom they take such great pride, is a Wykehamist. He had an independent education. It was interesting also to hear the hon. Member for Rhondda whistling to keep up his courage. Conservative Members know how depressed the members of the Labour party are. Whatever they may say in this Chamber, we know that they are calculating on a very heavy defeat, not just on Thursday but in a few weeks' time nationally.

The supplementary report is largely concerned with the pay of schoolteachers, enabling the Government to pay local authorities an extra grant towards their pay increases. The Government's pay proposals for teachers are extremely generous. They will give teachers a 16·4 per cent. pay rise which, added to the existing increases, will mean that teachers will receive an average 25 per cent. pay increase between March 1986 and October this year. That pay award is unique in its generosity. What other profession has received a pay rise of this dimension?

The Government have genuinely attempted to find a long-term solution which will be fair to all, especially to pupils. The Government had no alternative, after two years of ineffectual free collective bargaining, when the teachers could not agree on anything among themselves—as my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer) said — but to dispense with the existing negotiating machinery.

The Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act sets up an interim committee to advise the Secretary of State on these matters. I have been assured by my hon. Friend, the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Conwy (Mr. Roberts), that teachers' unions will continue to be involved in discussions about pay and conditions of service. The interim committee will take evidence and receive representations from teachers' unions as well as from local authorities. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State must consult both sides before issuing orders, which in turn will be subject to parliamentary approval.

As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State has said, the arrangements under the Act are interim, until 30 March 1990, by which time permanent arrangements should be in existence. There is absolutely no justification for renewed disruption. I, no doubt like other hon. Members, have received heartfelt letters from schoolchildren in my constituency who are extremely worried about the effects of renewed disruption on their examinations. I will quote from one letter, but I will not disclose which school it comes from as that might disclose the identity of the young boy. I will read it because I believe it is important. It states:
"I am a fifth year pupil …I am taking my O level and CSE examinations in June/July of this year. I have been informed …that I am to be the victim of yet another afternoon off school due to the selfish action of the NUT and the NAS/UWT. I am very worried that this could seriously damage my examination chances as I will not have the full assistance of my tutors.
I would be very grateful if you could do anything to prevent me losing too much schooling. I have spoken with my headmaster … who has said there is little he can do."
This is a genuine letter. [Interruption.] I am quite happy to show the letter to any hon. Member after the debate. I am as anxious as the pupils who have written the letters.

I, no doubt like many colleagues, spend at least one Friday in four visiting schools in my constituency. The hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Wardell) said that he did not know the last time that any of us had been at the back of a classroom. In my case it was last Friday morning in three of my junior schools. I always come away impressed by the commitment, the dedication, of the teachers I have met. I have the highest respect for them as a profession. I know that the vast majority of them put pupils first and would do nothing to harm their examination —and so their future—prospects.

No, I will not, because I am making only a few brief points.

I am dismayed that any teacher would take out his or her discontent on children, especially at this highly pressurised time when they are about to sit exams. I have tried to reassure those schoolchildren who have written to me and I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Conwy for telling me that the Welsh Joint Education Committee's monitoring of last year's exam results reveals that industrial action had no significant effect. I am also grateful to him for informing me that if a school considers that its pupils have been seriously affected by industrial action, that school can apply to the WJEC for consideration as a special case, for that action to be taken into consideration in the marking of its pupils' exams.

However, that should not be necessary. There should not be disruption. Schoolteachers have been given the best pay deal that they have ever had. I hope that those teachers who are considering disruption will think of their pupils and their profession. I hope that they will not continue their campaign so that they do not lose the further respect of parents and pupils.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State referred in his opening remarks to the Audit Commission's reports on how resources could be spent more economically by local authorities. I come back to the question of surplus places. How can it be sensible for a local education authority to spend £3·5 million a year to keep 22,300 school places empty? It is mad. Yet that is exactly what is happening in Clwyd with, I am sad to say, the strong support of both the real Labour party and its faded photostat, the Liberals.

The Government do not want to remove all those places because they know, as I and my hon. Friends know, that many rural schools are thriving, playing a vital part in the life of the community that they serve. But the Government know, as do my hon. Friends, that when a school becomes too small, with the few remaining pupils in single figures and different age groups, that is not in the interests of a child's educational or social development, nor is it the way to realise the full potential contribution of a teacher to his or her community.

Just think what could be done if the Government's target of removing two fifths of those places was to be reached in Clwyd. Just think what we could do with the £1·4 million that is currently wasted, and how that money could be redeployed with great advantage to the education of children in the county. I hope that all Opposition parties, including that represented by the hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) whom I now see in his place, will think seriously about that point. It is not just a financial point; it is an educational and social point. Just think what could be done with that money in our hard-pressed urban primary schools. As I said, I visited three last Friday morning. Some of them have classes of between 35 and 41. I am so sad that the Opposition parties, particularly the Labour and Liberal parties, forget about those hard-pressed urban primary schools. We must also think about them, their need for resources — and the need for a balance of resources between rural and urban schools.

Just think, too, what could be done with some of that £1·4 million for Clwyd's school library stock, which was slashed in 1985 from £75,000 to £15,000, where it has remained ever since. Just think too, what could be done with some of that money for the county's school maintenance budget which was cut, wrongly in my view, by £11,000 last year.

I am happy that Clwyd county council is looking at each school within the county on its merits, not just on its financial merits but on its educational and social merits. Every aspect should be taken into consideration.

With this supplementary report the Government have shown their generosity and the fact that they are determined to improve education and education standards—the quality of the teaching of our pupils. I hope that in return our local authorities, particularly my own in Clwyd, will respond by spending their resources more efficiently, and thus more effectively, to ensure that all the children in my constituency and the other constituencies within Clwyd have the best possible education and the best possible start in life.

9.18 pm

The hon. Members on the Conservative Benches form the opposition party in Wales. They will form the opposition after the local elections and after the next general election.

They had two themes this evening. First, there was a general attack on the National Union of Teachers, and, from one Conservative member, a plug for the Professional Association of Teachers. Do they not consider that the current troubles in our schools are due, at least in part, to the way in which the teaching profession has been used and abused by the Government over the years? Was there not something just a little Janus-faced in the comments of the hon. Member for Delyn (Mr. Raffan)? He talked about saving the money that goes on empty places in schools, yet praised the Government's new pre-election initiative on rural schools. We cannot have both.

Another theme from Conservative Members was a plug for the beleaguered Cardiff city council as it approaches the local elections. The hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Jones) told us of an array of achievements by the city council, but he did not respond to Labour Members' simple questions: how many houses have been built in the public sector in Cardiff in the past year, and by how much has homelessness increased? Surely those matters are of considerable interest to Cardiff ratepayers.

The Secretary of State's approach throughout his speech was that of a complacent accountant an — approach clearly ill suited to the many needs of Wales. That approach is reflected, too, in the attitude of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to our national problems. He claims that we have the most successful economy in Europe, and that is true if our economy is looked at purely through the eyes of a City analyst. It is not so if we examine the economy in broader terms, taking into account social questions, unemployment and related problems. I do not define the performance of the economy in terms of what is good for the City.

In much the same way, the Secretary of State stressed that local authorities in Wales can do a good job by reducing their spending and increasing their grant aid from central Government, to the benefit, as he said, of ratepayers. I remind the Secretary of State that ratepayers do not have as their sole and narrow concern the level of rates. Of course they are anxious for their money to be spent efficiently, and that is a proper consideration. However, ratepayers have parents who want to find places in residential homes and who need home helps. They also have children who may not be able to afford their own homes and face the consequences of the slump in house building.

Ratepayers realise that, in spite of our aged and declining housing stock in Wales, we still spend less proportionately on housing than other regions of the United Kingdom. Ratepayers have children who are looking for jobs. The hon. Member for Vale of Glamorgan (Sir R. Gower) talked about the increasing number of job vacancies, and we certainly welcome that. However, if we analyse the figures, we find that many of them are part-time jobs, relevant for women. They are frequently low-paid jobs. I invite the Secretary of State to provide an analysis of the new jobs. He will find that they are frequently low-wage jobs that do not add substantially to the economy of our communities.

Ratepayers are concerned not only with their rate bills but with the security of their homes and their estates and with the quality of their environment. Goldsmith—and not Sir James or Sir Walter Goldsmith—talked about a society where wealth accumulates and men decay. That process characterises much of Government policy today. Wealth is certainly accumulating—we can see that from escalating house prices in London and the profits and salaries in the City—but, but, in terms of their quality of public provision, the lives of our men and women are decaying.

I am confident that that strain of Government policy which is content to allow the City to flourish and to look narrowly at the bill for the ratepayer will be rejected by ratepayers in the local government elections.

It will be rejected in Swansea. Even in spite of what the Secretary of State and the hon. Member for Cardiff, North have said, I am confident that that basic strain in Conservative thinking will also be decisively rejected in Cardiff.

9.25 pm

With the leave of the House, I should like to reply briefly. I should like to ask the Secretary of State a question on which I stand to be corrected. Why are our county councils losing £12 million by the non-recycling of grant this year? They can do with that money.

I very much admired the noble sentiments expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. Wardell) in his defence of teachers and the important role that they play in society. By contrast, we heard the reactionary, scab-ridden remarks of the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer), who seemed to justify taking away the teachers' negotiating rights. I thought for a moment that we were back a century and a half with the disputes over the Combination Acts. Negotiating rights for our trade unions are basic to a free society. The sooner those rights are restored, the better it will be for all concerned.

I appreciate that there are nine district councils for whom the change in grant-related expenditure is equivalent to a rate increase of 1p or more. Then there are the seven district councils for which the change is equivalent to a rate reduction of 1p or more. We have noted that one of the authorities to benefit is South Pembroke—quite a coincidence, I am sure. Even with small changes, the difference in grant distribution shows that the Government's method of calculating payments to local authorities is inadequate. It certainly prevents our local authorities from engaging in long-term planning with any confidence. The report, even in a narrow context, does nothing to alter the essentially unsatisfactory nature of the 1987–88 settlement.

The fact remains that Wales has lost more than £650 million in rate support grant since the Conservative party came to power. I feel sure that the vast bulk of our local authorities are glad to get away from the diktat of the present Secretary of State and the ruthless, uncaring policies of the Thatcher Government whom he has supported.

9.28 pm

Presumably, the hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) opened and closed this debate because he suddenly realised that he has a marginal seat. The other day, the South Wales Argus proclaimed:

"Roy Hughes to lose after 21 years."

The hon. Gentleman opened the debate by questioning the £30 million increase and saying that the county councils would have liked £35 million. The allowance for expenditure was based on careful calculations using the best available figures for teachers' pay. I do not believe that the hon. Gentleman has any substance for his figure. The report only adjusts the 1987–88 settlement. A later supplementary report will cover the period from 1 January to the start of the new financial year.

The hon. Member for Newport, East referred to cuts in teaching staff. Pupil-teacher ratios have improved under the Government. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman, like so many others in this debate, called for a return to peace in our schools. He and others spoke of housing needs. He said that we did not care. He talked about housing investment making economic and social sense. The last Labour Government decreased growth capital expenditure by just over 50 per cent. We increased growth capital expenditure by 14 per cent. between 1985–86 and 1986–87, and there will be a £47 million increase in the allocation for 1987–88, with housing provision up by 19 per cent.

There was a lot of talk about the condition of the housing stock. The last Labour Government spent £143 million on improving the housing stock, whereas we have spent £615 million on improving the housing stock. The Opposition talk about it but have done nothing about it; we have.

Unemployment in Wales has been falling for 10 consecutive months, and in 11 of the last 12 months it has been falling faster than in any other region of the United Kingdom. The hon. Gentleman quoted Mike Smith, of the Western Mail, on the scale of schemes to train people and help the unemployed. He commented that those schemes were being concentrated on areas where help is most needed. I cannot think of a greater compliment. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman should criticise. Can I assume that it is the policy of the Labour party to cut such excellent programmes, or to target them less effectively?

The hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Livsey) welcomed, as did many other hon. Members, the additional resources to cover the teachers' pay increase, but he did not seem to understand that better care for the community also means making more effective use of resources. He spelt out the Liberal party policy for an additional tax on income, but he was characteristically unwilling to give any figures, although figures of between 8 and 13 per cent. have been frequently quoted and not denied by the Liberal party. That is interesting, if they are really proposing that income tax should go from 27p to 40p in the pound, but no doubt when their manifesto is published all things will be made clear.

We have been given that promise by the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor. We will examine that manifesto with great care and I will have more to say about his pronouncement in due course. He had better wait and see whether I have the opportunity to play any part during an election campaign in relation to the manifesto. I think I may find some time to devote attention at least to seeing that he does not continue to be my own Member of Parliament in Brecon and Radnor.

My hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer) made a plea for putting pupils first. Surely every hon. Member endorses that plea. The hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Wardell) welcomed the extra provision for teachers' pay, but I understand that he intends later tonight to vote against the order making the necessary resources available to local government. The hon. Gentleman spoke about a desperate shortage of teachers of maths and physics. I can tell him that, as one result of the settlement, there has been an increase in recruitment for teacher training, particularly for maths, up 42 per cent., and physics, up 80 per cent. That suggests that our policies are moving in the right direction.

The hon. Gentleman talked about neighbour helping neighbour and friend helping friend. That is very difficult to achieve at a time when he and his collegues have been encouraging a dispute to rumble on in the schools and the teachers have been disrupting the education service. My hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (Mr. Raffan) was right about rural schools and about getting better use of resources. He produced the balance to be found absolutely correctly: the need to cut the number of empty places in the schools but at the same time to take proper account of the needs of rural communities.

I believe that my hon. Friend was also right when he said that there was absolutely no excuse at all for renewed disruption in the schools. Surely on that point at least, there must be total agreement throughout the House.

Question put: —

The House divided: Ayes 186, Noes 134.

Division No. 155]

[9.35 pm


Aitken, JonathanForth, Eric
Alexander, RichardFraser, Peter (Angus East)
Ancram, MichaelFreeman, Roger
Ashby, DavidFry, Peter
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)Gale, Roger
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)Galley, Roy
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Garel-Jones, Tristan
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyGoodhart, Sir Philip
Bendall, VivianGower, Sir Raymond
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnGreenway, Harry
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnGregory, Conal
Blackburn, JohnGriffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Boscawen, Hon RobertGround, Patrick
Bottomley, PeterGrylls, Michael
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Boyson, Dr RhodesHampson, Dr Keith
Brandon-Bravo, MartinHanley, Jeremy
Bright, GrahamHargreaves, Kenneth
Brinton, TimHarris, David
Brooke, Hon PeterHawksley, Warren
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)Hayes, J.
Browne, JohnHayward, Robert
Bruinvels, PeterHeddle, John
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.Henderson, Barry
Budgen, NickHeseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Bulmer, EsmondHickmet, Richard
Burt, AlistairHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Butterfill, JohnHind, Kenneth
Chapman, SydneyHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Chope, ChristopherHolland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Churchill, W. S.Howard, Michael
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Clegg, Sir WalterHubbard-Miles, Peter
Conway, DerekHunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Coombs, SimonIrving, Charles
Cormack, PatrickJackson, Robert
Couchman, JamesJohnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Currie, Mrs EdwinaJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.Jones, Robert (Herts W)
Dunn, RobertKellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)Key, Robert
Evennett, DavidKing, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Eyre, Sir ReginaldKnowles, Michael
Fallon, MichaelKnox, David
Farr, Sir JohnLamont, Rt Hon Norman
Favell, AnthonyLatham, Michael
Fenner, Dame PeggyLawler, Geoffrey
Fookes, Miss JanetLawrence, Ivan
Forman, NigelLee, John (Pendle)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)

Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkPollock, Alexander
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf''d)Porter, Barry
Lightbown, DavidPortillo, Michael
Lilley, PeterPowell, William (Corby)
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)Powley, John
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Price, Sir David
Lord, MichaelProctor, K. Harvey
McCurley, Mrs AnnaPym, Rt Hon Francis
Macfarlane, NeilRaffan, Keith
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)Rathbone, Tim
Maclean, David JohnRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
McQuarrie, AlbertRoberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Madel, DavidRobinson, Mark (N'port W)
Major, JohnRoe, Mrs Marion
Malins, HumfreyRossi, Sir Hugh
Maples, JohnRowe, Andrew
Marland, PaulRumbold, Mrs Angela
Marlow, AntonyRyder, Richard
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Mather, Sir CarolSt. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Maude, Hon FrancisSims, Roger
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinSkeet, Sir Trevor
Meyer, Sir AnthonySoames, Hon Nicholas
Miller, Hal (B'grove)Stern, Michael
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Mitchell, David (Hants NW)Sumberg, David
Moate, RogerTemple-Morris, Peter
Moore, Rt Hon JohnThompson, Donald (Calder V)
Moynihan, Hon C.Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Neale, GerrardThurnham, Peter
Nelson, AnthonyTownsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Neubert, Michaelvan Straubenzee, Sir W.
Newton, TonyWaller, Gary
Nicholls, PatrickWatts, John
Norris, StevenWells, Bowen (Hertford)
Onslow, CranleyWhitfield, John
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.Winterton, Nicholas
Ottaway, RichardWolfson, Mark
Page, Richard (Herts SW)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Patten, Christopher (Bath)Tellers for the Ayes:
Pawsey, JamesMr. Tony Durant and Mr. Gerald Malone.
Percival. Rt Hon Sir Ian


Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)
Alton, DavidBuchan, Norman
Anderson, DonaldCaborn, Richard
Archer, Rt Hon PeterCallaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)
Ashdown, PaddyCampbell-Savours, Dale
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)Canavan, Dennis
Barnes, Mrs RosemaryCarter-Jones, Lewis
Barron, KevinCartwright, John
Beith, A. J.Clay, Robert
Bell, StuartClelland, David Gordon
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Bidwell, SydneyCocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)
Blair, AnthonyCohen, Harry
Boyes, RolandConlan, Bernard
Bray, Dr JeremyCook, Frank (Stockton North)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)

Corbett, RobinMcTaggart, Robert
Craigen, J. M.McWilliam, John
Crowther, StanMarek, Dr John
Cunliffe, LawrenceMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Cunningham, Dr JohnMartin, Michael
Dalyell, TarnMason, Rt Hon Roy
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)Maxton, John
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)Maynard, Miss Joan
Dewar, DonaldMichie, William
Dixon, DonaldMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Dobson, FrankMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Dormand, JackO'Brien, William
Douglas, DickO'Neill, Martin
Dubs, AlfredOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
Duffy, A. E. P.Park, George
Eadie, AlexPatchett, Terry
Eastham, KenPendry, Tom
Evans, John (St. Helens N)Pike, Peter
Fatchett, DerekPrescott, John
Flannery, MartinRadice, Giles
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelRandall, Stuart
Foster, DerekRedmond, Martin
Foulkes, GeorgeRees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Fraser, J. (Norwood)Richardson, Ms Jo
George, BruceRoberts, Allan (Bootle)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnRobinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Golding, Mrs LlinRogers, Allan
Gould, BryanRooker, J. W.
Hamilton, James (M'well N)Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central)Sheerman, Barry
Hancock, MichaelShields, Mrs Elizabeth
Harrison, Rt Hon WalterShore, Rt Hon Peter
Haynes, FrankShort, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Skinner, Dennis
Home Robertson, JohnSoley, Clive
Howells, GeraintStott, Roger
Hoyle, DouglasStrang, Gavin
Hughes, Roy (Newport East)Straw, Jack
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)Taylor, Matthew
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
John, BrynmorThompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)Tinn, James
Kennedy, CharlesWardell, Gareth (Gower)
Lamond, JamesWareing, Robert
Leadbitter, TedWelsh, Michael
Leighton, RonaldWigley, Dafydd
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Williams, Rt Hon A.
Lewis, Terence (Worsley)Winnick, David
Litherland, RobertWrigglesworth, Ian
Livsey, Richard
McCartney, HughTellers for the Noes:
McGuire, MichaelMr. Ray Powell and Mr. Tony Lloyd.
McKay, Allen (Penistone)

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the Welsh Rate Support Grant Supplementary report 1987–88 (House of Commons Paper No. 325), a copy of which was laid before this House on 30th April, be approved.