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Commons Chamber

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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House Of Commons

Tuesday 12 May 1987

The House met at half-past Two o'clock


[MR. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Private Bills (Suspension)


(1) the Promoters of every Private Bill which has originated in this House or has been brought from the House of Lords in the present Session of Parliament shall have leave to suspend any further proceeding thereon in order to proceed with that Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session;
(2) the Agent for the Promoters of any such Bill intending to suspend any further proceeding thereon shall give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office not later than five o'clock on Thursday of their intention to suspend further proceeding thereon, or, if the Bill, having passed this House, is then pending in the House of Lords, of their intention to proceed with the same Bill in this House in the next Session: provided that all fees due upon any such Bill up to that day be paid;
(3) a list of all such Bills, with a statement of the stage at which they have been suspended, shall be prepared by the Clerks in the Private Bill Office and printed;
(4) every such Bill which has originated in this House shall be presented to the House not later than the third day on which the House sits after the next meeting of Parliament;
(5) there shall be deposited with every Bill so presented a declaration signed by the Agent for the Bill, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill with respect to which proceedings have been suspended at the last stage of its proceeding in this House in the present Session;
(6) every Bill so presented shall be laid by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office on the Table of the House on the next meeting of the House after the day on which the causes of Her Majesty's calling the Parliament have been declared thereunto;
(7) every Bill so laid on the Table shall be deemed to have been read the first time and (if the Bill has been read a second time before its suspension) to have been read a second time and—
  • (i) if such Bill has been referred to the Committee on Unopposed Bills in the present Session, it shall stand so referred;
  • (ii) if such Bill has been referred to an opposed Committee during the present Session and not reported by that Committee to the House, the Bill shall be committed and
  • (a) all Petitions against the Bill which stand referred to the Committee on the Bill shall stand referred to the Committee on the Bill in the next Session; and
  • (b) any minutes of evidence taken before the Committee on the Bill shall stand referred to the Committee on the Bill in the next Session;
  • (iii) if such Bill has been reported by any Committee, it shall be ordered to be read the third time unless it has been reported with Amendments in the present Session and has not been considered as so amended, in which case it shall be ordered to lie upon the Table: provided that if any New Clause has been added on consideration of a Bill as amended in a previous Session such Bill shall be ordered to lie upon the Table with that Clause;
  • (iv) if such Bill has been read the third time before its suspension, it shall be deemed to have been read the third time;
  • (8) paragraph (2) of Standing Order 166 relating to Private Business (First reading) shall not apply to any Bill brought from the House of Lords in the next Session and upon which the proceedings have been suspended in this House in the present Session;
    (9) when any Bill which has been brought from the House of Lords in the present Session, and upon which the proceedings have been suspended in this House, is brought from the House of Lords in the next Session, the Agent for the Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office a declaration, signed by him, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the House of Lords in the present Session and, as soon as a certificate by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office that such a declaration has been so deposited has been laid upon the table of the House—
  • (i) unless the Examiner has reported pursuant to Standing Order 74 relating to Private Business (Examination of bills brought from House of Lords, etc.), the Bill shall stand referred to the Examiners;
  • (ii) if the Examiner has so reported, the Bill shall be ordered to be read a second time, or. if it has been read a second time, it shall be read a second time and committed; but
  • (iii) if the Bill has been reported by a Committee with Amendments in the present Session it shall be committed to the Chairman of Ways and Means who shall make only such Amendments to the Bill as have been made thereto by the Committee in the present Session, and shall report the Bill to the House forthwith, and the Bill shall be ordered to lie upon the Table;
  • (10) where a Bill has been brought from the House of Lords in the present Session and the period prescribed by paragraph (1) of Standing Order 171A relating to Private Business (Petitions against private bills) has not elapsed before Friday, any Petition presented during the present Session in pursuance of that Standing Order shall be void, and the period of time prescribed by that Standing Order shall apply to any Bill brought from the Lords in the next Session in pursuance of this Order;
    (11) any Bill which under the provisions of this Order is deemed to have been read the first time, or the first and second time, or the first second, and third time, shall be recorded in the Journal of the House as having been so read;
    (12) without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph (7) of this Order, only those Petitions against any Bill which stood referred to the Committee on the Bill and which have not been withdrawn or have been deposited pursuant to paragraph (b) of Standing Order 126 relating to Private Business (Reference to committee of petitions against bill) shall stand referred to the Committee on the same Bill in the next Session;
    (13) in relation to any Bill to which this Order applies Standing Order 127 relating to Private Business (Right of audience before committees on opposed hills) shall have effect as if the words "under Standing Order 126 (Reference to committee of petitions against bill)" were omitted;
    (14) where any Standing Orders have been dispensed with in respect of any private Bill in the present Session or in the last Session, those Standing Orders shall be deemed to have been ordered to be dispensed with in respect of any such Bill presented or brought from the Lords in pursuance of this Order;
    (15) any Standing Orders complied with in respect of any Bill originating in the House of Lords upon which the proceedings have been suspended in that House shall be deemed to have been complied with in respect of such Bill if the same is brought from the House of Lords in the next Session, and any notices published or given and any deposits made in respect of such Bill for the present Session shall be held to have been published, given and made, respectively, for the Bill so brought from the House of Lords in the next Session.
    (16) no further fees shall be charged in respect of proceedings on a Bill in respect of which fees have been incurred in the present Session.

    That this Order be a Standing Order of the House.— [The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

    To he communicated to the Lords.

    Oral Answers To Questions


    Job Club Programme


    asked the Paymaster General if he will make a statement on the job club programme.

    Job clubs are a very effective means of helping longer term unemployed people back to work. Sixty per cent. of those who leave job clubs go into jobs, and 13 per cent. find places on the community programme, a training course or the enterprise allowance scheme. In order to build on this success we have recently expanded the number of job clubs to 1,000 and are opening a further 300 by September. This will enable around 175,000 people to enter job clubs this year.

    I thank my hon. Friend for that reply and note, as usual, the sneering comments from the Opposition Front Bench. Will my hon. Friend accept from me that the job clubs in Christchurch and Ferndown in my constituency already fulfil a valuable role in bringing together people who want to find work and employers who are looking for staff? Will he please be encouraged to continue with the scheme and let the Government give it every possible consideration and support?

    My hon. Friend is right. Job clubs are an excellent concept. The progress being made in Christchurch and Ferndown by the job clubs there augurs well for the future. I wish that Opposition Members had visited their local job clubs to see the good work that is being done. Perhaps they are at the job clubs already, because I suggest that after 11 June many will be using job clubs for real.

    Will the Minister explain why the Manpower Services Commission has been paying £37,000 a year to a luxury hotel in Bradford to house two temporary job clubs, when last week the MSC announced that it was going to withdraw a smaller amount of money from Fashion Services for the Disabled, which allows disabled people to play a more active part in the community, and that in December this year it will withdraw an even smaller amount of money from the Bradford Playspace scheme, which provides poor children with holidays that they would not otherwise receive and some activity for 40,000 poor children in Bradford? Will the Minister ask the chairman of the MSC to reverse those heartless decisions?

    I cannot comment on the project that the hon. Gentleman is talking about. Job clubs are a very effective concept. The total cost of a job club is about £23,000 per annum and, given the success rate of getting people into jobs, it is extremely good value for money.

    I confirm every word that my hon. Friend the Minister has said about the efficacy of job clubs. The one in my constituency, which we are very glad to have, has an immensely positive attitude. It is extremely well run and the atmosphere is very good. Many people go on to immediate employment, or very shortly thereafter get jobs.

    I am grateful to have the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman). I have not visited the Lancaster job club, but I have seen 15 or 20 on my visits round the country. They are an excellent concept, and one finds that the individuals are motivated to look for work.

    The Minister is right that job clubs are popular, because they assist a very small minority of people and give them intensive help in obtaining a job. Does he not understand that, as the numbers of job clubs grow, the percentage of those getting jobs will fall, because the problem is not that people do not know how to look for jobs, but that there are not enough jobs available? Under this Government, since 1979 1·6 million jobs have been destroyed in the British economy. Is it not time for the Department of Employment to concentrate on developing jobs and solving unemployment, rather than developing schemes and ways of fiddling figures to create a camouflage over the jobs problem?

    The hon. Lady talks about small numbers. I repeat that this year about 175,000 people will pass through job clubs. There is no indication that the numbers of those who go into employment are reducing. The 60 per cent. figure is a national average, and some job clubs have figures well above that.

    Is my hon. Friend aware that I have visited the Orpington job club and found it to be of inestimable value to the local unemployed, ending their sense of isolation and giving them practical help in the process of getting fresh jobs?

    Once again, I appreciate my hon. Friend's support in talking about his experience of the job club in his area.

    Labour Statistics


    asked the Paymaster General what is his latest estimate of the net loss of full-time jobs and net gain in part-time jobs since 1979.

    We estimate that between June 1979 and December 1986 full-time employment in Great Britain decreased by 1,359,000 and part-time employment increased by 719,000. Since 1983, however, the total employed labour force has grown by 1,130,000.

    Is it not a fact that, even now, full-time jobs throughout the country are disappearing? Yesterday, the written answer to my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) showed that in the northern region, for instance, in 1986, which is a comparable figure for any year from 1979, there were more than 19,000 redundancies. Does not the introduction and development of part-time jobs take away from the employee the rights of national insurance, unfair dismissal and wage protection?

    No. The hon. Gentleman's first assertion is definitely not a fact. He quotes figures for redundancies, and, unfortunately, some redundancies are still occurring. However, the rate at which jobs are now being created is exceeding the rate at which jobs are being lost. We have a process of industrial change and industrial revival. I am glad to say that, given that unemployment has now been falling strongly for eight months, it has been falling most strongly in the northern region.

    Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that the work done by the action for jobs team is to be welcomed? Could he arrange a new date for the team to visit Bolton? When the team does come, will it persuade Bolton council to let common sense prevail and stop its boycott of the new job training scheme?

    We find that the action for jobs programme is welcomed by those to whom it is presented, and I am delighted to say that when we present the full range of policies to local people up and down the country we get a much increased level of involvement from employers, local people and local authorities in helping us to deliver the schemes. I hope that the local authority abandons its ridiculous objection to the job training scheme. It is a pity that, in this pre-election mood, parts of the Labour party and the Trades Union Congress appear to be opposed to extending training to the unemployed. I trust that common sense will ultimately prevail.

    Does the Paymaster General accept that his announcement that every two full-time jobs lost since 1979 have been replaced by one part-time job is a searing indictment of eight years of this Government, who were elected to reduce, not treble, unemployment, and a further example of the fraudulent claims of Tory election promises? Can he now tell the House whether he accepts the common assessment that if the policies continue we will see more reductions of full-time manufacturing jobs, to be replaced by more part-time, low-paid, low-skill, skivvy employment schemes?

    I do not agree with that. The figures from 1979, of course, take account of the enormous job losses that took place in the recession of 1979, 1980 and 1981.

    No. A combination of international conditions and the policies of the previous Labour Government were responsible for that. It is absurd for the Opposition to ignore the fact that there has been a steady increase in the number of jobs in the British economy, since 1983 in particular.

    It is not true that they are part-time and low-paid. Between June 1983 and December 1986 there has been an increase of more than 250,000 full-time jobs; the number of part-time jobs has increased by more than 400,000; and the number of self-employed positions has increased by nearly 500,000. The Opposition are trying hopelessly to distort the figures by going back to 1979 to deny the strong recovery.

    Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that the picture painted by the hon. Member for Wansbeck (Mr. Thompson) of the north of England is completely out of kilter? Only today Nissan has announced that it is taking on 300 additional workers, and the National Coal Board has announced, for the first time for many years, that it is to take on 500 apprentices in the coal industry. We need no lessons from any Opposition Member about how well we are doing in the north of England.

    The Government are supporting that by putting money into the new northern development companies, setting up new urban development corporations, establishing new inner city task forces in the most depressed parts of the region and supporting a new spirit of enterprise and initiative, which is producing results in the northern region.

    Training Schemes (Liverpool)


    asked the Paymaster General if he will make a statement on the success rate of training schemes in Liverpool.

    The Government spent over £26 million in 1986–87 on a wide range of training schemes in Liverpool to enable young people and adults to acquire the skills that they need to compete for jobs. Well over half of those leaving YTS between March and September 1986 entered work or further training. Sixty-six per cent. of those leaving the job training scheme between April and October 1986 entered work or further training, and 74 per cent. of people leaving training for enterprise courses in the period April to October 1986 entered work, 58 per cent. of them in a self-employed capacity.

    Is the Minister aware that a Liverpool university survey showed that one third of all school leavers on Merseyside failed to find a job and that 60 per cent., as the Minister said, entered training schemes? Is it not therefore important that the quality of those schemes is maintained? Does he agree that schemes like that run by the North Liverpool Music Resource Centre have brought training schemes into some disrepute? While I thank the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment, the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee), who has helped to ensure the quality of that scheme and the prospects for the young people involved in it, does the Minister agree that it is important, if schemes are to be successful, that quality must be maintained and the people who run the schemes must be above the claims of disrepute that have been thrown around?

    I agree that we are searching for quality in all our schemes, particularly YTS and JTS. I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would start by referring to the figures that I gave in my substantive answer, although perhaps that is asking too much. However, I am sure he would agree that they are impressive. The percentage of those finding work, as a result of taking advantage of the schemes, is very high. There is no difference between the hon. Gentleman and the Government on the matter of quality.

    On the specific point about Liverpool, has my hon. Friend seen any sign of an increase in applications from ex-Militant Labour councillors for training places?

    Certainly in my region, the north-west region, we have seen a considerable number of applications from those Militants to be parliamentary candidates at the forthcoming election. We shall make hay of that come election day.



    asked the Paymaster General what information he has on the amount of income that has been generated by tourism in the East Midlands tourist board area in each year since 1978.

    In the East Midlands tourist board area, spending increased from £145 million in 1978 to over £375 million in 1985.

    A table giving full information has been placed in the Library.

    As Leicester currently has an underdeveloped potential as a major tourist area, it is not surprising that it still needs those grants. As I intend to be re-elected, may I ask my hon. Friend to ensure that Leicester receives the full status of a tourism development action programme area? That would bring additional jobs to the area and ensure that the 1·5 million jobs in the tourist industry would be increased, particularly in Leicester.

    After all the hard work that he has done, I am quite certain that my hon. Friend will be re-elected. As we all know, he is a very assiduous and able advocate for his constituents.

    My hon. Friend asked about the tourist development action programme. It is for the English Tourist Board to decide, but I can tell him that it welcomes applications of that kind.

    Is the Minister aware that women, including women in the east midlands, who represent two thirds of hotel and catering workers are being paid poverty wages? Full-time workers receive just over £80 a week and part-time workers receive £2·03 an hour. In view of the very high profits in the tourist industry—and we are not sorry about those profits—does the Minister agree that it is about time that some of those profits were directed towards the low-paid?

    It is important that the hon. Lady is heard loud and clear not to be knocking the tourist industry or the jobs in it. That is the last thing that we want when we are trying to raise its status.

    The hon. Lady referred to low pay. That is precisely the reason why, when we were considering the Wages Bill, now an Act of Parliament, that we decided to retain wages council protection. She obviously welcomes that protection, as do many Conservative Members, for those aged 21 and over.

    Job Release Scheme


    asked the Paymaster General if he will make a further statement on the operation of the job release scheme.

    The job release scheme enables older workers to retire early with an allowance on the condition that their employers agree and replace them with people who are unemployed.

    At the end of March, 24,000 people were supported under job release.

    Does my hon. Friend agree that the job release scheme is one of the best schemes for alleviating the present unemployment, in that it does not involve commitments when we return to full employment? Does he further agree that not nearly enough people are involved in it and that it should be expanded?

    My hon. Friend is right. It is an excellent scheme, and I am grateful for the constructive interest that he has taken in it. Expansion of the scheme would be expensive, but obviously all our schemes are under constant review.

    Will the Minister confirm that the job release scheme enjoys all-party support and is popular with employers and with those who participate in it? Can he explain why the Tory Government cut this scheme, and will he acknowledge, as his hon. Friend said, that the scheme should be increased and improved, not reduced?

    Over the years there have been a number of changes in the job release scheme and, if I remember correctly, some of them took place under the Labour Government. It is an excellent scheme, and I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman draws on the whole range of organisations that support it. As regards further expansion, as I have said, it is an expensive scheme; but I repeat that all these schemes are kept under review. I have heard what the hon. Gentleman has said.

    While agreeing that this is an excellent scheme, and hoping that Ministers in their review will look at the payments made to people who take advantage of it, may I ask my hon. Friend whether he is aware that there is some bitterness among people who have taken advantage of it, because payments have not increased in line with inflation? Will he please look again at this important point?

    We take that into account when we adjust the rates of allowance, and that is normally done annually. We also take into account the tax aspects, because some of the allowances are taxable whereas, others are tax free.

    Tourism (Job Creation)


    asked the Paymaster General how many jobs he estimates will be created by tourism in 1987; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government do not produce forecasts of future employment levels, which depend on many factors. However, if present trends in tourism continue, I would expect to see further significant growth in employment in 1987.

    Does the Minister agree that there would be more job creation in the tourist industry if the Government implemented the Select Committee's suggestion in its report of extending the tourist season? That could be done at low cost, or even negative cost. Does he further agree that the refusal to do this could only be interpreted as a sort of doctrinaire approach, because it would assist the regions in their job creation efforts?

    I agree that it is important that we should do all that we can to extend the tourist season. In fact, we responded positively to that when the Select Committee report came out. The hon. Gentleman should be careful not to quote too much from that report, because if we had implemented all it, recommendations, that would have been disadvantageous to Scotland.

    Does my hon. Friend agree that the Government have done a great deal to extend the season by encouraging especially business tourism and conference trade, and that the contribution of that to employment has been largely underestimated by Opposition Members? Does he share my hope that they will change their attitude in the next Parliament?

    My hon. Friend is absolutely right. In fact, one of the conditions that we have introduced alongside section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 is that those who apply for the grant should devise means whereby they can extend the tourist season.

    Does the Minister agree that many extra jobs would be created in tourism in Wales if the Welsh Tourist Board was able to advertise itself directly overseas as its Scottish equivalent does? Does he agree also that the promotion of Wales overseas should not be left to the British Tourist Authority? Will he urge the Government to bring forward the necessary legislation to enable that to happen?

    That would mean that Wales would get two bites at the cherry, because the principal job and responsibility of the British Tourist Authority is to bang the drum abroad and encourage inward tourism to the United Kingdom. The Welsh Tourist Board does have an opportunity from time to time to exhibit with the BTA at various exhibitions. I am certainly not averse to the hon. Lady's suggestion. However, I must point out to her that the principal responsibility for that must rest with the BTA.

    As my hon. Friend knows, the office of the East Midlands tourist board is in Lincoln, which is quite right, because Lincoln is the most historic and beautiful city in the region. Does he agree that, given imagination, professionalism and co-operation between the public sector and private enterprise, many thousands of jobs could be created by the proper development of the eastern tourist group of Cambridge, Peterborough, Lincoln, York and Durham, and that all of us should give our minds to developing that?

    I endorse what my hon. Friend has said and agree with him completely that the headquarters of the East Midlands tourist board is in the right location. We are trying to encourage areas further north of Watford to make application under section 4, given the new policy, so that we can try to assist the dispersal of tourists away from London and the south-east.

    The Minister, who has some knowledge of the north-west region, will know that the north-west is developing tourism. Everyone will welcome jobs in that area. However, does he accept that that is only scratching at the surface of the 300,000 people who have been thrown out of work in the manufacturing sector and the 32 per cent. reduction in jobs in that sector since the Government came to power?

    I love the back-handed compliment that the hon. Gentleman pays me by saying that I have some knowledge of the north-west. I was born, brought up and have lived there all my life. I dare say that I might know it better than he does.

    On tourism, again I caution Opposition Members not to be so quick in rubbishing this industry. I cannot find another sector of the British economy that is showing such an increase in wealth and job creation. That should not be discouraged. The hon. Gentleman knows very well that in manufacturing, in which we are seeing an increase in profitability the like of which we have not seen for a long time, it is possible for many companies to take on 10 per cent. more work without taking on one more person. We must look to the sectors that will produce the jobs.

    Does my hon. Friend, agree that job creation in tourism owes a great deal to sensitive developments? Will he congratulate and further encourage the English Tourist Board in its efforts to promote environmentally acceptable and international standard projects?

    Yes, I do. I am glad to have this opportunity to pay a warm tribute to my hon. Friend, who has specialised in this since he was elected to this House, and I am sure that he will continue to specialise in it in the next Parliament.

    Northern Region


    asked the Paymaster General how many people found work in the northern region in the first quarter of 1987.

    The Government have no means of knowing exactly how many people find work in any given period. But between 9 January and 6 March 1987, 23,600 people in the northern region were placed in jobs by jobcentres alone, and we estimate that jobcentres account for only about a quarter of all engagements.

    Will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm, before any electioneering starts, that more than 1 million people are in paid employment in the north-east, which is 29,000 more than in 1983, that self-employment has increased by 16,000 since then and that unemployment is falling fastest in the northern region?

    I would happily confirm that, both before and during the election period which is upon us. I am glad to say that the position seems likely to be sustained, because the number of unfilled vacancies at jobcentres in the region has increased by 24 per cent. on a year ago and our jobcentres are placing 12 per cent. more people in jobs than they were a year ago.

    Surely what is important is how many of those who find work find real jobs with permanency, as distinct from those who are on short-term, part-time, trainee operations?

    I am sure that the bulk of them did. At present there is a growth in the total amount of employment and a corresponding decline in unemployment. There are people between jobs, but the fact is that more and more people are finding jobs in the north and the number of those out of work is steadily decreasing.

    Will my right hon. and learned Friend take it from me that we in Cumbria are not aided in our job creation prospects by the doom and gloom coming from Opposition Members from further south, such as. Liverpool and Manchester? In Cumbria, unemployment is falling and in my constituency it is below 10 per cent., business is booming, we are creating jobs and we could do without the whingeing from the Opposition parties.

    I am sure that my hon. Friend could also add that the commitments of the Labour party, the Liberal party and the Social Democratic party to cut the Trident programme and stop our nuclear power programme pose the biggest threat to jobs in the northern region of any single policy of any party.

    Labour Statistics


    asked the Paymaster General what percentage of the total unemployed are aged 25 years or less; and what initiatives the Government are pursuing in order to provide full-time employment at average rates of pay for those affected.

    On 8 January 1987, the latest date for which figures are available, 34·4 per cent. of unemployed claimants in the United Kingdom were aged under 25 years. All of the employment, training and enterprise measures run by my Department and the Manpower Services Commission are part of the Government's strategy for encouraging enterprise and employment.

    Does the Paymaster General agree with the MSC report that of the 200 job training scheme contracts signed at the beginning of May, only 20, or 10 per cent., were with colleges or local authorities in combination with colleges? Is he further aware that the National Audit Office, in a report on the MSC training strategy, said that colleges of further education were good value for money? Will he ensure that there is more public involvement in these job training schemes?

    The new job training scheme is coming along well and we welcome the participation of further education colleges. One big problem is that some Labour-controlled councils are misguidedly refusing to allow further education colleges to take part, and I would be delighted to join the hon. Gentleman in asking them to change their policy.

    Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that British trade unionists have something to learn from their counterparts in Western Europe, who have not priced young people out of jobs?

    They certainly have. Although young people's pay in the United Kingdom is still high relative to adults' pay compared with the early 1970s, there has been some movement, so the relationship is rather more sensible. The recent fall in youth unemployment has followed from 1982, when youth wages dropped somewhat in relation to adult pay.

    Is the Paymaster General aware that youth unemployment is notably grievous in south Yorkshire, which has been transformed into a wasteland in recent years? Has he studied the latest report of the Child Poverty Action Group, which points out that high unemployment and low incomes have made the Yorkshire and Humberside region one of the poorest areas?

    Again, fortunately, the position is improving, most particularly for youth employment. The number of unemployed people under the age of 25 fell by 80,000 last year and has decreased by 120,000 in the past two years. The level of youth unemployment in the United Kingdom is well below the European average and our young people are starting to see the benefits of economic revival, partly because of our schemes, rather in advance of the rest of the population.

    Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that unemployment, whether in the west midlands or elsewhere, is too high? How is that allied with the fact that the Birmingham Evening Mail carries 20 pages of full-time jobs every Thursday and Friday? Does he agree with the West Midlands Industrial Development Association, which says that jobs in the west midlands are growing faster than anywhere in the country? How does that tally with Socialists trying to scare people about jobs?

    We all accept, as my hon. Friend has said, that unemployment is too high and poses considerable stress and hardship for individuals. That is why we are so pleased to see the growing number of vacancies advertised in local newspapers and jobcentres and the growing number of jobs in the community, all of which is derided by the Opposition, who are extremely concerned.

    Does the Minister know that making comparisons with Europe in that sense fails to recognise that many more apprenticeship schemes have been formed in Europe than in this country? What will the Government do about encouraging apprenticeships in the manufacturing, engineering and building industries?

    We do not have so many traditional apprenticeships as we used to have, but we are developing systems of training which are more akin to those in Western Europe, where one measures people's ability by the skill they can achieve, rather than the number of years they have served in a trade. Nowhere in Western Europe is there a training scheme as good as the YTS, and nowhere in Western Europe is youth unemployment coming down as rapidly as it is here.

    My right hon. and learned Friend will know that one of the Government's most successful initiatives is the creation of urban development corporations. My right hon. and learned Friend will not know that in Committee this morning the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) announced the Labour party's policy of abolishing them if, God forbid, that party was elected.

    I am grateful to my hon. Friend, because that was obviously an incautious slip on the part of the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon), who sits on the Opposition Front Bench—as he is now—as a member of the Opposition Whip's Office. We are waiting to hear from the Opposition which of our various schemes they would abolish. Would they abolish the JTS, the YTS or community programmes? What would they do about the measures which they have been deriding for the past year, which are now beginning to succeed?

    How the Paymaster General said what he has just said without blushing astounds most of us on the Opposition Benches. Almost 35 per cent. of the unemployed are aged under 25, which makes this the most exploited younger generation this century. We have a generation of people under 25 who, if they are not unemployed, are offered thin training schemes which do not lead to real skills, well-paid jobs or a secure future. The Government have offered rotten training, thin training, no skills and no jobs for this generation. The Labour Government, who will be elected in a month, will produce jobs, quality training and a future for young people as never before.

    We now have good quality YTS, which has reached the stage where no 16 or 17-year-old need be unemployed. We can guarantee them a place. The new job training schemes are aimed particularly at under-25s, in order to raise their skill levels and improve their prospects of employment. I wait to hear what the Labour party will say about those training schemes. The Labour party is encouraging the TUC to obstruct the schemes in the runup to the election. Will it abolish those schemes after the election?

    Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware of the substantial success of the Slough job club—which I opened officially earlier today—in finding real jobs for the unemployed, including those under 25? Is he further aware that I have found very substantial resentment at the attempts of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) to rubbish the success of job clubs?

    We now have over 1,000 job clubs. Just under two out of three people who go to job clubs get jobs and more of them go into training and further education. It is a positive disgrace that some unemployed people are deterred from joining those job clubs by the ill-informed and hostile remarks of people such as the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersely) and his colleagues on the Opposition Front Bench.



    asked the Paymaster General how many people are presently engaged in the YTS in Britain.

    On 31 March 1987, the latest date for which figures are available, about 318,000 young people were in training on YTS in Great Britain.

    Will the hon. Member recognise once and for all that youngsters who participate in a scheme finish up on the unemployment scrap heap? Will he also confirm that if, by some miracle, his party wins the general election—[Interruption.]

    That is the first time, Mr. Speaker, that I have been given a standing ovation.

    Will the Minister now confirm that if, by some miracle, his party becomes the Government after the next election, one third of those youngsters will be coerced into the scheme, and, if they do not allow themselves to be coerced, there will be nothing further at the end of the road?

    You see, Mr. Speaker, it does not matter what scheme we introduce for training, enterprise or self-employment in small businesses—Opposition Members seem to delight in knocking it. They do not want those schemes to succeed and until now they have not wanted unemployment to come down. I have news for the hon. Gentleman—it is.

    Will my hon. Friend confirm that the turnover of jobs among people under 25 is often rapid and that that provides considerable opportunities for promotion? Therefore, will he take steps to ensure that young people on youth training schemes understand that if they take a job, even at a comparatively low wage, their chances of rising quickly to a much higher wage are good?

    That is an important point. The differential between young people who are training, for instance, on YTS, and when they have completed that training—[Interruption.]

    and find their way into full-time employment is very important. But we start from the position that Britain lacks proper skills training, and we have met that need by introducing YTS.

    Local Employer Networks


    asked the Paymaster General how many local employer networks are now in operation.

    The response from employers, employer organisations and others to this important initiative has been encouraging. Contracts have been exchanged for the first six networks and a further 34 are expected to be in place by the end of June.

    Will my hon. Friend add yet another to his list, because the Southampton chamber of commerce signed a contract for a local employer network with the MSC today? Will he acknowledge that the Government have done more than any previous Administration for training in Britain and that local employer networks enable that training to be targeted where skills are in greatest need? I hasten to add that neither I nor any of my parliamentary colleagues in Hampshire, save perhaps the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock), intend to be a candidate for retraining following the general election on 11 June.

    Yes, Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend will not be a candidate for retraining. I welcome what he has said and the fact that contracts have been exchanged. He has been extremely kind in complimenting local employer networks. What is happening in his area means that there will be a real local voice, expressed by industry, in education and training.

    Manufacturing Industry


    asked the Paymaster General if he will make a statement on the trend in the number of employees in manufacturing.

    The number of employees in manufacturing has been decreasing since 1966. At the same time, the number of self-employed people in manufacturing has been steadily increasing. The downward trend in employees in manufacturing has slowed markedly since 1983.

    How do those figures square with the fact that a thousand jobs were lost in manufacturing employment in February and, in the three-monthly average to that date, 9,000 were lost compared with 2,000 in the three months to November? Does the Minister not recognise that unless he puts the same kind of energy and resources into investing in manufacturing industry as he currently puts into manipulating the figures, any reduction in the figures will be cruelly deceptive?

    That reduction of 1,000 is one of the smallest that we have had in manufacturing in any month for many years. Manufacturing output is up 15 per cent. since we hit the trough in 1981. Britain's productivity is up 33 per cent. since the previous election. Investment in manufacturing is rising. Our share of export markets is being held. But manufacturing is becoming more technologically advanced. If the hon. Gentleman were to visit, as I am sure he has, as I have, a computer-integrated manufacturing plant, he would see why jobs are not on the factory floor any more. The jobs are in design, marketing, sales and services, many of them serving our wealthier manufacturing industry. That is a pattern upon which we must expect to base policy for many years to come.

    Ec (Employment Statistics)


    asked the Paymaster General if he will place in the Official Report a table showing the percentage employment growth or reduction in each country of the EEC between 1986 and 1987 to date.

    The latest available information is for the fourth quarter of 1986. During the year to this quarter, the increase in civilian employment was 0·7 per cent. in the United Kingdom compared with 1·0 per cent. in the Federal Republic of Germany, 0·7 per cent. in Italy and 3·2 per cent. in Spain. I regret that figures for other Community countries are much less up to date.

    I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that unemployment in this country is now not only equal to the European Community average but is falling more quickly than in any other industrialised country in the world?

    My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The United Kingdom has a higher percentage of its adult population in employment than any other EEC country except Denmark. Sixty five per cent. of our adult population are in work.

    Prime Minister



    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.

    During the day, will the Prime Minister reflect on the fact that this Parliament could have run until 9 June 1988? Is there not something arrogant and impertinent about the leader of a party brazenly talking about a fourth term when she has been panicked into an election more than a year early?


    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

    Will my right hon. Friend find time today to consider the claim made in Moscow by the Labour party foreign affairs spokesman that the Soviet leaders are praying for a Labour victory? Does my right hon. Friend agree that if that were true it would be the best possible advertisement for the Government's strong and consistent defence policy?

    A Labour Government who would unilaterally give up Britain's nuclear deterrent would no doubt be the answer to the Kremlin's prayers. I am bound to say, however, that I do not think that much praying goes on in the Kremlin. I believe that people there are probably very realistic and realise that after the election they will probably have to deal with a Conservative Government, who will be standing up for Britain's defences.

    During the election campaign, will the Prime Minister debate with me face to face on television?

    No, Mr. Speaker. I fear that such a debate would generate more hot air than light. [HON. MEMBERS: "Frit."]

    The Prime Minister says that she is proud of her record and that she is fighting on her record, so why will she not debate it face to face with me on television?

    The right hon. Gentleman will find his own platform. I shall not give him one. I shall put across my record of achievements, this Government's record of achievements. We shall put positive policies—[HON. MEMBERS: "Frit."]

    in the way that all past Prime Ministers have recommended their policies to the electorate. I have done so twice and I shall do so a third time.

    Thinking of recent settlements of the teachers' and nurses' pay disputes, may I ask my right hon. Friend to tell us what the implications would be for public sector workers of income policies along the lines advocated by the Opposition?

    The last time the Oppostion were in government they introduced income policies. They are no part of our policies. They will always fail and they usually have a devastating effect, particularly on those who work in the public sector. Last time they had a damaging effect, especially on the pay of nurses.

    Does the Prime Minister recall the number of leaders of other countries—[Interruption.]

    who in recent years have proclaimed themselves as leaders for life? As the right hon. Lady is now aiming for the end of the century, is this what the Leader of the House had in mind when he warned on Sunday against the arrogance that comes with power? Does she agree with him, or are his days now numbered as well?

    The right hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten that I have just asked for dissolution so that we may submit ourselves to the electorate.

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that Gloucestershire county council, now under alliance domination, had a surplus this year of £4 million on its education budget, but rather than spend that money on books or on improving the schools, the alliance council decided to plunder that fund and spend the money on road improvements in the Cheltenham area? Does my right hon. Friend not think that it is absolutely despicable that the alliance councillors should plunder the education fund for motorists at the expense of the children?

    I note what my hon. Friend said, but I imagine that, like me, he is not surprised.


    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

    Does the Prime Minister know that unemployment in my constituency is the 28th worst in the country and has more than doubled to 24 per cent. during her time? Is this part of her Government's claimed success?

    Had we not pursued policies which have led to economic strength, to competitive industry and to large and expanding sunrise industries in the service sector, the prospects for unemployment would be infinitely worse than they are now. We have efficient manufacturing industry, excellent service industries, very good prospects for expansion and good prospects for the future.

    On a serious note, may I say to my right hon. Friend how much my constituents and many others appreciated her presence in Canterbury cathedral last month on the occasion of the memorial service to those who died in the Herald of Free Enterprise? On that occasion I had the honour of sitting beside my right hon. Friend. I have not had that distinction in this place. If I were returning here next time, I would be very happy to sit behind my right hon. Friend on this side of the House.

    I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I think that the occasion to which he referred was one that united the House.


    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

    When the Prime Minister prepares the list of successes that she will be parading round the country in the weeks that lie ahead, what place will be occupied by the doubling of unemployment, the increase in homelessness, the decline of the Health Service, the divided society—a more impoverished society, a society in which crime has risen—and the cases of drug-ridden cities? This has—been the evidence of eight years of Tory Government. Will she be telling the people exactly what that has meant to this country?

    I shall be telling them of the economic strength of Britain and the respect in which it is held, that under this Government the people have been able to produce economic growth for seven years, which has generated far more resources for the Health Service, and of a Government who have spread property ownership more widely than any previous Government. I shall point out the negative policies of the Opposition, so vividly set out by Mr. Kilroy-Silk in his book when he

    "The militants and their ilk in Liverpool are the biggest deterrents to job creation on Merseyside that there have ever been."

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that Scottish Conservatives are very much looking forward to seeing her in Perth on Friday? When she comes to Perth on Friday, will she confirm that it is the policy of the Conservative Government to serve the people and not be obsessed with the manipulation of power, as Liberals seem to be? Will she also tell the Scottish Conservatives that she has been meeting the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition across the Dispatch Box for four years and it still has not done him any good?

    I look forward to presenting our case in Perth, the case of a Government who have reduced the powers of Government by taking off many controls, liberated enterprise and reduced income tax, which has led to incentive and growth. I appreciate what my hon. Friend said in the latter part of his question.


    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave some time ago.

    Is the Prime Minister aware that since she has been in office two of the major growth industries within our inner city areas have been child prostitution and street crime? Is this what she meant by the restoration of Victorian values?

    As the hon. Gentleman is aware, this Government have tackled crime by increasing the numbers of police, where his party has held the numbers. We remember Wapping.

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that the figures that have come in from those companies returned to the private sector have shown that profits have more than doubled? Is she also aware that the dividends and corporation tax from those companies almost equal the amount of money that was coming from them when they were under state control? In view of this double bonus, will my right hon. Friend, after 11 June, please return even more activities to the private sector, to the benefit of the taxpayer?

    Yes. The industries that were nationalised by the Opposition and that have been privatised by us have done very much better since privatisation, not only in profits, therefore in contributing to tax and helping us to finance the Health Service and other things as well, but for the people who work in them. I noted a report in The Times today referring to the National Freight Corporation, which said;

    "An original £1 stake in NFC is now worth £46 and about 6,000 employees have holdings worth more than £12,000 each, with a sizeable number approaching £100,000."
    That is an opportunity for employees which the Opposition would love to deny to or take away from them.


    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

    Is the Prime Minister aware of the marked increase in unemployment in Wales during the eight-year period in which she has been in office, which shows no signs of receding? Does she appreciate that it will not be disguised, even by 19 changes in the unemployment statistics?

    As the hon. Gentleman is aware, unemployment in Wales has been going down and the standard of living has been going up—and, indeed, is higher than it has ever been. That is quite a tribute to the Government.

    Does my right hon. Friend agree that in this country ordinary parents, ordinary trade union members, ordinary ratepayers and ordinary taxpayers are praying for a Conservative victory?

    Given that the Prime Minister will accept that we in the north are looking forward to the election, will she tell the House why she, with her huge majority, has chosen 11 June as the election date? What has she to hide in the economic figures?

    It was the best day to choose, and most people are very pleased about it—except for those who are frightened to death of an election.

    Clerk Of The House

    3.30 pm

    I have a brief statement to make. I have to inform the House that I have received the following letter from the Clerk of the House :

    "After forty years in the service of the House, of which fifteen have been spent at the Table, may I let you know formally of my wish to retire on my 65th birthday, 1 September next.
    I count it a privilege to have held for the last four years the highest permanent position in the service of the House. To yourself as Speaker and to the other occupants of the Chair; to the Members of all parties in the twelve Parliaments I have known; and to the staff of the six Departments of the House, I tender my warmest thanks for the courtesy, kindness and consideration that has been shown me. Nor shall I quickly forget the warm welcome which, as a servant of this House, I have received from Members and officials of foreign and Commonwealth Parliaments.
    For all that, and for much else in the unique experience of serving this House, I am, and will remain, most grateful."

    The House will have heard your announcement with a mixture of emotions, Mr. Speaker. In a few months' time, we shall see the departure of a distinguished servant of the House, and on that account the whole House will have heard your announcement with regret. However, in the new Parliament and before the summer recess we shall have a welcome opportunity to express our appreciation. In accordance with custom, therefore, I suggest that we defer our fuller comments for that later day.

    Points Of Order

    The hon. Gentleman has given me notice of a point of order. I feel that he should raise it at the appropriate moment, when we come to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill.

    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. What opportunity will be provided for hon. Members who are not seeking re-election to bid their farewells to you—as has been the custom over a number of Parliaments—given the arrangements for Dissolution and Prorogation? There should be such an opportunity?

    I understand that there is to be no Dissolution ceremony. I hope to have a private opportunity of saying farewell to hon. Members who are my friends on both sides of the House, who will not have that formal opportunity to bid me farewell in the Chair.

    I do not think that I can take the hon. Gentleman's point of order. It concerns the selection of amendments, does it not?

    It is with a view to asking for your assistance over the selection of amendments, Sir. You are aware that we are to debate the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill. The following Act will make provision in Scotland for the recovery of proceeds. The long title of the Bill reads:

    "An Act to make provision for Scotland as regards the recovery of the proceeds of drug trafficking; to make further provision as regards criminal justice in Scotland; and for connected purposes."
    New clauses 1 and 2 that stand in my name are designed to create an offence, the offence being to acquire control of another company on the basis of an undertaking in an offer document that is not subsequently fulfilled. If the offence is confirmed, either by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission or by inspectors appointed to investigate the affairs of the company, the penalty would be the divestment of the company that had been thus acquired.

    You will be aware, Mr. Speaker, of my interest in what is commonly called the Guinness affair—that promises were made that Arthur Bell and Company would remain an autonomous company within the combined group, after Distillers had been acquired—

    Order. I am aware of the hon. Gentleman's interest, but what is his point of order for me?

    Because I know that you are aware of the seriousness of this matter, Sir, I am asking you to reconsider your decision so that this important and vital matter, its related circumstances and the possible offences and penalties may be properly debated in a Bill that relates to Scottish affairs.

    This morning, I went very carefully into the selection of the amendments. I undertake to look again at the matter and at the appropriate time my decision will be announced. However, because I went into the matter with great care, I cannot hold out much hope to the hon. Gentleman.

    I shall take first the point of order of the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours).

    When you reconsider these matters. Mr. Speaker, will you take on board the view of the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker), who has made it quite clear that it never was his intention to apply penalties to the new clause that he tabled, but that has been rejected? I am informed that the rejection of the new clause was because of an absence of reference—

    Order. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman can know what was going on in my mind.

    May I say, then, that, apart from being in your mind, it may equally have been in the minds of the Clerks with whom you discussed these matters, who may well have informed the hon. Gentleman? It is on that basis that, with knowledge of these matters, I rise to make my case.

    The new clause was referred to yesterday in questions to the Leader of the House. It provides hon. Members with the only opportunity to debate the Guinness affair on the Floor of the House of Commons prior to the general election. In so far as advice had been taken that this new clause was in order, we believed that it would have been selected. However, because of the selection process, Parliament has been denied the right to debate this highly important matter.

    I have said that I will look again at the matter; the hon. Gentleman must not bring further pressure to bear on me. Further to the earlier point of order, I call Mr. Faulds. Mr. Faulds. Mr. Faulds.

    Some of us, Sir, who have been in this place for quite a long time are profoundly concerned at the suspension of the proper Prorogation procedures. We find this unsatisfactory, because it means, among a host of other implications that this ghastly Government, who are running in funk a year early, have suspended the proper way of closing the House, or a Parliament. In addition, it is a very discourteous introduction of a change. It means that most of us who would wish to bid you farewell, in the happy expectation of seeing you again, are prevented from doing so. There have been previous Speakers, notably your predecessor, to whom we were happy not to bid farewell—

    I was merely saying, that it would be more healthy for the whole happy tradition of the way in which the proceedings of the House are conducted if this very bad introduction of the suspension of the ordinary Prorogation procedures was not repeated on future occasions. Most of us—and I speak for the youngsters who will disappear and for the old men who will he back—would like a reintroduction of the proper conduct of the House's abrogation at the end of a Parliament.

    I am well aware that 87 right hon. and hon. Members will not be standing again. Normally, we would have had a Dissolution ceremony and that would have given them and me the opportunity to bid each other farewell. I understand that that is not be the case on this occasion. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]. Order. But I share the hon. Gentleman's hope that this will not become a precedent.

    Further to the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours), Mr. Speaker. I am most grateful to you for saying that you will look at the matter again. If, as my hon. Friend suggested, a conflict of emphasis is involved, and the divestment is not the penalty that it was interpreted as being by the Table Office, it might help if your could indicate to us why it has been turned down so far, so that we can advise our hon. Friends on the further representations that they might make.

    Never in all our long history has the Chair given reasons for the selection or non-selection of amendments.

    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. First, I apologise for not giving you notice of this point of order. The reason was that I had to see the Table Office before raising the matter with you. You will recall that I submitted an application for an Adjournment debate which was ruled out on the ground that there was no Minister directly responsible. The case concerned one of my constituents, Mr. Noel Frank Smith and had to do with the National Health Service. My point of order is that that case was directly connected with a Minister, and I saw no reason whatever why my Adjournment debate could not be accepted in the formal way. I wonder whether it would be possible for you to look at the matter further to ascertain whether that Minister has direct responsbility so that my constituent can have his case heard in the House as is the tradition.

    I am not aware of the matter raised by the hon. Gentleman. I shall look into it. Was the hon. Gentleman asking for a second or third Adjournment? The daily Adjournment debates for the week have already been announced.

    I do not think that you should worry too much, Mr. Speaker, about not having a funny little procession at the end of this Parliament. As we have got rid of it this time, it would not be a bad idea to get it into "Erskine May" so that we do not have to repeat it in the future. I say that to counterbalance what some of my hon. Friends have said.

    On the more important question about the new clause and Distillers, you said that you would have a fresh look at the matter on the basis of the representations from both sides of the House. I think that you ought to look at it in the knowledge that, notwithstanding all the advice that you get from the Clerks, there are occasions on which they get it wrong. I think that the matter of the new clause should be studied carefully, with a view not to going over the old ground but to trying to fathom out whether a piece of mistaken advice has been given so that we can debate this slimy takeover bid.

    I often receive, and am grateful for, the helpful advice of the hon. Gentleman. I certainly accept the advice that he has given me today. I will look at the matter again.

    Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) and by my Member of Parliament my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner).

    Did the hon. Gentleman vote for the hon. Member for Bolsover?

    Yes, and I shall do so again.

    Will you reconsider your decision, Mr. Speaker? You said that more than 80 hon. Members from both sides of the House were retiring. Your reply was no consolation to those of us who are retiring. I suggest that you give us an opportunity to thank you by bringing back this function.

    I share the hon. Member's concern. Unhappily the decision is not mine. If it had been mine, it would have been in accordance with what I think is the general feeling in the House and not with the view expressed by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner).

    Business Of The House


    That, in respect of the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Bill, if the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House, further proceedings on the Bill shall stand postponed and that as soon as the proceedings on any Money Resolution come to by the House in relation to the Bill have been concluded, this House will immediately resolve itself into a Committee on the Bill.—[Mr. Maude.]


    That, at this day's sitting, the requirements of paragraph (5) of Standing Order No. 53 (Questions on voting of estimates, &c.) shall be dispensed with in respect of the Motion in the name of Mr. Norman Lamont relating to Estimates.—[Mr. Maude.]

    Proper Representation Of The People

    3.45 pm

    I beg to move,

    That leave be given to bring in a Bill to disqualify from membership of Parliament people with pecuniary interests which are incompatible with proper representation of the people; and for related purposes.
    In a few weeks, the people will have the opportunity to elect their parliamentary representatives. Irrespective of party political allegiance, I am sure that all are agreed that the people deserve parliamentary representatives who will put the interests of their constituents before their own selfish pecuniary interests. Unfortunately, the law of the land and the rules of the House do not place an absolute prohibition, or even a clearly defined limitation, on the outside interests that an hon. Member may have. Of course, there is the Register of Members' Interests, but registration on it seems to be purely voluntary, because the right hon. Member for South Down (Mr. Powell) has for years refused to comply with registration, yet he continues to sit in the House. I submit not only that registration should be made compulsory but that a mere declaration of interest is inadequate. After all, in local government, council members are expected to declare their interests when matters in which they have a vested interest come up for discussion or vote. Normally, those members would not take part in that discussion or vote. There is no parliamentary equivalent to that. There is nothing to stop Members of Parliament from voting to benefit their financial interests and there is no limit on the number of outside financial interests that they may have.

    Recently, there was the much-publicised case of two Tory Members who had made multiple share applications in British Telecom. I do not want to dwell too much on that example, because I realise that it is embarrassing to the Conservative party. But it was a example of hon. Members making a financial gain for themselves or their relatives by using their parliamentary vote. Perhaps it was an extreme example, in that the hon. Members who were responsible appear to have broken the law, although it remains to be seen whether they will pay the penalty. There is no doubt, however, that they voted for the legislation to privatise British Telecom and, therefore, were able to take advantage of their vote in Parliament.

    Apart from those two hon. Members, more than 100 hon. Members—91 of them Tories—bought British Telecom shares, and most voted for that legislation.

    Shareholding is not the end of the story. More than 50 per cent. of Tory Back-Benchers—155 to be precise—and almost a quarter of alliance Members are company directors. Thirty Tory Members are directors of or consultants to companies that are involved in public relations, including the professional lobbying of Parliament.

    Take the case of my own Member of Parliament. I used to have the privilege, or otherwise, of being one of my own constituents for a decade or so. The Boundary Commission came along just before the last general election, and changed the goal posts, so I find myself represented for the first time in my life by a Tory moonlighter, the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth).He has a company called Michael Forsyth Associates Ltd. which counts among its clients people intent on making profits from the privatisation of the National Health Service. The hon. Member, in his company's literature, openly boasts about using his position as a Member of Parliament to introduce clients and prospective clients to Members, including Ministers, to influence governmental or parliamentary decision-making processes.

    Lest anyone think that that is an exaggeration, I have with me, on headed notepaper of Michael Forsyth Associates Ltd., a recent annual review in which he refers to receptions, lunches and briefings for Members. The review states:
    "John Patten MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health, attended a CIC luncheon in January. As a result, it is understood that an internal department inquiry looked at problem district health authorities as outlined at that meeting."
    I do not think that I am alone among the hon. Member's constituents in beginning to wonder where on earth his loyalties lie. No man can serve two masters. Constituents are entitled to expect their Member of Parliament to put their interests first before any pecuniary interests of his own. I will not dwell entirely on my own Member of Parliament, because he is not unique in having more than one job. Many hon. Members have more than one paid job, while at present about 4 million people do not have any job at all.

    The register of interests discloses that the hon. Member for Shipley (Sir M. Fox) has 12 jobs, seven directorships and five consultancies. The hon. Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) has 10 directorships. The right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) has over 40 directorships, including over 30 chairmanships. I do not know how they find the time to represent their constituents properly. Is it any wonder that the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham is hardly ever here? Is it any wonder that the hon. Member for Stirling seems to find it very difficult to find time to hold a surgery in my home town of Bannockburn?

    The Bill proposes a five-point statutory code of conduct. At present, there is a code of conduct for Ministers of the Crown. It is not statutory, but they are not allowed to be company directors, for example. The first provision seeks to extend that to all Members of Parliament, so that there will be a ban on Members of Parliament being company directors or having any paid link with professional parliamentary lobbyists.

    The second provision is that there be a limit on the amount of outside income that Members of Parliament can earn. Most Members supplement their income in some way or another—for example, by writing the odd article for a newspaper, by a broadcast or whatever. Some Members donate their fees to their constituency party, or a charity. No doubt, especially during the next few weeks, most Members of Parliament would be prepared to appear on television for nothing.

    In countries such as the United States of America it is interesting that legislation exists that limits the percentage of outside income that a member of the House of Representatives or a Senator may earn. I propose that there be similar legislation in this country. Even if we limited the external income to 5 per cent. of parliamentary salary, that would enable Members to supplement their incomes by about £900 a year. If Conservative Members think that 5 per cent. is ridiculously small, they should remember that they recently patted themselves on the back for awarding a 5 per cent. salary increase to student nurses, claiming that it was a very generous increase indeed.

    The third provision is to make the registration of all other financial interests mandatory. The fourth provision is that, if an hon. Member has an interest, when the matter is under discussion or vote, the hon. Member should not be allowed to speak or vote on that matter. The last provision is that the registration of interests should be extended to parliamentary candidates as well as sitting Members, so that all parliamentary candidates must declare their interests at the time of their nomination.

    In a few weeks, the people of this country will have the opportunity yet again to elect their parliamentary representatives. They are entitled to know what interests various candidates have, and they are entitled to full-time representation of constituency interests in Parliament, without any possibility of conflict between the private pecuniary interests of an individual Member and the greater interests of the people we are elected to represent. After all, if Members of Parliament are allowed to use their position to line their pockets, parliamentary democracy will be the loser. Therefore, I ask the House to support my Bill unanimously.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Dennis Canavan, Mr. Max Madden, Mr. Ernie Ross, Mr. Robert Parry, Mr. David Winnick, Mr. Eddie Loyden, Mr. William McKelvey, Mr. Bob MeTaggart, Mr. David Marshall and Mr. Dennis Skinner.

    Proper Representation Of The People

    Mr. Dennis Canavan accordingly presented a Bill to disqualify from membership of Parliament people with pecuniary interests which are incompatible with proper representation of the people; and for related purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time tomorrow and to be printed. [Bill 157.]

    Finance Bill


    That Standing Committee B be discharged from considering those Clauses and Schedules of the Finance Bill which it has not disposed of and that those provisions be committed to a Committee of the whole House; that the Chairman do now report to the House those Clauses and Schedules the consideration of which has been completed by that Committee; that any stage of the Bill may be proceeded with at the conclusion of the preceding stage, notwithstanding the practice of the House as to the interval between the various stages of such a Bill; and that, on being reported from the Committee of the whole House, the Bill, including those provisions reported from the Committee on 30th April and those reported from the Standing Committee this day, may be taken into consideration as amended without any Question being put.—[Mr. Maude.]

    Orders Of The Day

    Finance Bill

    Considered in Committee

    [MR. HAROLD WALKER in the Chair.]

    3.56 pm

    I beg to move,

    That the order in which the remaining proceedings in Committee of the whole House on the Finance Bill are to be taken shall be Clause 37, Schedule 7, Clause 39, Clauses 41 to 44, Clause 46, Clauses 54 to 56, Clause 67, Clauses 138 to 146, Schedule 12, Clause 149, Schedule 14, Clause 150, Schedule 15, Clause 151, Clause 153, Schedule 16, Clause 154, Schedule 17, Clause 155, Schedule 18, Clause 156, Schedule 19, Clause 157, Schedule 20, Clauses 158 and 159, Clauses 161 to 163, Schedule 21, new Clauses, Clause 38, Clause 40, Clauses 47 to 53, Clauses 57 to 66, Clauses 68 to 137, Clause 148, Clause 152, Schedules 8 to 11, Schedule 13, Clause 164, Schedule 22 and new Schedules.
    It may be of help to the Committee if I explain the Government's position on the procedure motion and the clauses before us. We intend to proceed today with all the clauses up to clauses 161 to 163 and schedule 21. We shall not be moving the other clauses thereafter because we feel that those clauses will require further debate. However, I shall be moving clause 164 and schedule 22. Clause 164, as amended, will be the clause necessary to complete the Bill.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 37

    Time For Payment Of Corporation Tax By Certain Long-Established Companies And Building Societies

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    The purpose of the clause is to standardise the rules relating to the date at which corporation tax is payable. After a transitional period, corporation tax will, in all cases, be payable nine months after the end of the accounting period for which it is chargeable. As the hon. Member for Thurrock (Dr. McDonald) knows, there have been a number of publicised cases with potential tax avoidance in this area and that is one reason why the change has been made.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 37 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 7 agreed to.

    Clause 39

    Close Companies: Meaning Of "Associate"

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    The purpose of the clause is to amend the definition of "associate" that is used when determining whether someone has a material interest in a close company, and as it applies in the case where a trust is involved. In practical terms, the proposed changes will affect two areas of tax only—the approved employee share scheme legislation and close company interest relief on loans taken out by employees to buy shares in their companies. The changes have been made principally in connection with the former Their effect is to relax the rules that determine eligibility to participate in an approved share scheme.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 39 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 41

    Authorised Unit Trusts

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    This clause and the next three modify the tax treatment of the income and capital gains of unit trusts. They do not change the substance of the existing treatment. The purpose of the modifications is to take account of the new regime for unit trusts provided by the Financial Services Act 1986.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 41 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clauses 42 to 44 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 46


    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    The clause is designed to improve the effectiveness of the business expansion scheme for film production companies. Film production is already a qualifying activity, but to meet the conditions a company must have engaged in film production throughout the three-year qualifying period. In future, a company will qualify if it is engaged throughout the period either in the production of films or in the distribution of films produced during the period. The change will apply to shares issued on or after 17 March. I hope that this change will be of assistance to the industry.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 46 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clauses 54 to 56 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 67

    Retirement Relief

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 67 increases the maximum amounts of retirement relief from £.100,000 to £125,000. The increase in the maximum amount is yet another example of the Government's continuing policies to assist small businesses and unquoted trading companies. In particular, the clause will provide encouragement for business men to plough back profits instead of investing for retirement by way of' other savings. We have increased the figure above indexation. The proposal will he a major help for entrepreneurs.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 67 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 138

    Unit Trusts

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 138 and the following seven clauses make minor and technical adjustments to the stamp duty and stamp duty reserve tax provisions, including adjustments that are necessary to accord with definitions in the Financial Services Act 1986.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 138 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clauses 139 to 146 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 12 agreed to.

    Clause 149

    Securities, Other Business Property And Agricultural Property

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 149 and schedule 14 provide for shares in a company dealt in on the unlisted securities market to be treated for inheritance tax purposes like shares in companies that have a full stock exchange listing. They also increase the rate of business relief for substantial minority holdings in unquoted companies. In addition, they introduce minor changes to the treatment of agricultural relief. I hope that they will commend themselves to the House.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 149 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 14 agreed to.

    Clause 150 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 15

    Maintenance Funds For Historic Buildings Etc

    I beg to move amendment No. 44, in page 151, line 6, at end add—

    '( ) If the value of the property when it becomes held on the trusts referred to in subsection (1)(b) above is lower than so much of the value transferred on the death of the person referred to in subsection (1)(a) as is attributable to the property, subsection (2) above shall apply to the property only to the extent of the lower value.'.
    The amendment proposes to insert a new subsection into new section 57A which provides an exemption from inheritance tax in respect of the charge arising from the death of a person who has an interest in possession in settled property if within a specified period of that death, the property is put into a heritage maintenance fund. Subsection (4) specifies a number of situations in which the new exemption is to be denied to prevent exploitation of the exemption. The new subsection covers a further situation where manipulation could otherwise occur.

    I want to explain the provision that is amended. Clause 50 and schedule 15 make two changes to the rules that provide exemption from inheritance tax from endowment property put into a trust known as a maintenance fund to support qualifying heritage property, commonly historic houses.

    First, there is an exemption from inheritance tax in respect of the charge arising on the death of a person who has an interest in the possession in settled property if within a specified period of that death—generally two, but in some cases three years—the property is placed in a heritage maintenance fund.

    Secondly, consequential changes have been made to the rules governing tax changes when property entering a maintenance fund from an interest in possession trust leaves the maintenance fund for non-heritage purposes. The revised rules will apply irrespective of whether the property entered the maintenance fund from an interest in possession trust under the new facility or under the existing exemption facility. Changes are to take effect from Budget day. The purpose is to encourage more people to put heritage property into maintenance funds. That has been difficult to encourage in the past. I am sure that everyone will agree that that is a worthwhile objective.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Schedule 15, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 151

    Acceptance In Lieu Waiver Of Interest

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 151 inserts a new subsection into section 233 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984. The new subsection allows property offered in lieu of inheritance tax to be accepted on terms providing that the tax will cease to carry interest from a date earlier than the date when the property is formally accepted if the acceptance of the property is based on its value at that earlier date.

    We very much hope that this clause will enable us to retain more works of art in this country and in our galleries. As hon. Members will be aware the acceptance-in-lieu system recently enabled us to acquire Constable's "Stratford Mill". I hope that the House will welcome the proposal as it has been welcomed by the art world in general.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 151 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 153

    Nomination Of Disposals And Appropriations

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 153 and schedule 16 provide for the establishment and operation of a crude oil nomination scheme for petroleum revenue tax. Under the scheme, a participator in an oilfield may nominate proposed sales at arm's length of crude oil that he has produced himself and proposed appropriations of transfer of such oil to associates for refining purposes. The nomination is to be made within two business days to the Revenue—in practice, the oil taxation office.

    As the House may know, the scheme has been introduced in response to developments in the oil market that have enabled participators to pick and choose with hindsight which of a range of contracts and prices should form the basis of their PRT liabilities. There is provision for modifications to be made to the scheme by regulation, thus enabling it to be adapted to meet any significant change in the market.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 153 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 16 agreed to.

    Clause 154 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 17 agreed to.

    Clause 155 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 18 agreed to.

    Clause 156 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 19

    Relief For Research Expenditure

    I beg to move amendment No. 50, in page 162, line 12, after 'purpose', insert

    'which, subject to subsection (IA) below, are'.

    With this it will be convenient to take Government amendment No. 51.

    The new relief for oil-related research expenditure set out in schedule 19, specifically excludes expenditure on exploration and appraisal. It achieves this by excluding any expenditure for purposes specified in section 5A(2) of the Oil Taxation Act 1975, namely exploration and appraisal activities in the territorial sea and the continental shelf. It was also intended that the new relief should exclude onshore exploration and appraisal expenditure but, following the Finance Act 1975, onshore expenditure is no longer included in the section 5A(2) purposes. The two amendments therefore ensure that the objective of excluding all exploration and appraisal expenditure from the scope of the new relief is achieved, by deeming, for the purposes only of this provision, the territorial sea to include also the United Kingdom.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Amendment made: No. 51, in page 162, line 21, at end insert—

    `(1A) For the purposes only of subsection (1)(d) above, any reference in section 5A(2) of this Act to the territorial sea of the United Kingdom shall he taken to include a reference to the United Kingdom itself.'

    Schedule 19, as amended agreed to.

    Clause 157 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 20 agreed to.

    Clauses 158 and 159 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 161

    Regulation Of Financial Dealings

    Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

    I have a question about clause No. 161. It seems that the definition of foreign currency in that clause excludes the ecu. Why is that?

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause 161 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clauses 162 and 163 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 21 agreed to.

    Clause 38 disagreed to.

    Clause 40 disagreed to.

    Clauses 47 to 53 disagreed to.

    Clauses 57 to 66 disagreed to.

    Clauses 68 to 137 disagreed to.

    Clause 148 disagreed to.

    Clause 152 disagreed to.

    Schedules 8 to 11 disagreed to.

    Schedule 13 disagreed to.

    Clause 164 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Schedule 22


    Amendments made: No. 52, in page 176, line 28, at end insert—

    `1983 c. 28.The Finance Act 1983.Section 7(4).'

    No. 53, in page 177, leave out lines 14 to 18.

    No. 54, in page 177, leave out lines 32 and 33

    No. 55, in page 177, leave out lines 46 and 47

    No. 56, in page 177, leave out lines 56 and 57

    No. 57, in page 178, leave out lines 19 to 147.

    No. 58, in page 181, column 3, leave out lines 28 to 38.

    No. 59, in page 181, column 3, leave out lines 44 and 45.

    No. 60, in page 179, line 43, column 3, leave out `Sections 511 and' insert 'Section'.

    Schedule 22, as amended, agreed to.

    Bill reported, with amendments; as amended, considered.

    Clause 20

    Charge Of Income Tax For 1987–88

    4.15 pm

    I beg to move, To leave out Clause 20.

    Congratulations are in order on the way in which you conducted the Committee stage, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I do not know how many words per minute you uttered, but I am sure that the speed exceeds most records and perhaps it should be checked for the "Guinness Book of Records".

    We went rather quickly through many technical or unexceptional clauses in the Finance Bill and it is not necessary for us to comment at length upon them. However, I should like to make one small point. In the final version of the Finance Bill, clause 58 was left out. That clause spoke about the Inland Revenue's response to Lloyd's of London and it caused Lloyd's underwriters severe anxieties because it looked as if the Inland Revenue would be more assiduously after them than before. One can only express regret—I shall leave it at that—that the clause was left out of the Bill.

    Over the last few weeks, I seem to have done endless reading on the Budget and the Finance Bill. A comment in an article in the New Statesman of 13 March seems to sum up the whole debate that preceded the Budget and the debate itself on the Finance Bill. The comment fits the Chancellor rather well. It says:
    "The art of the successful pickpocket lies in diverting the victim's attention at the right moment."
    In the run-up to the Budget and during the debate on the Finance Bill, the Chancellor and the Government conducted a successful propaganda operation and diverted the attention of the victims, many taxpayers, at the right moment.

    Far from the presentation in the Budget that most taxpayers would be better off as a result of that Budget and the changes in the Finance Bill, we know that that is not the case. Those on average and below-average incomes will find that the 2p off the standard rate of tax on or after 18 May, depending on their pay, will make virtually no difference to the proportion of their incomes taken in tax and national insurance contribution.

    Much as I hate to keep reminding the Financial Secretary of the extremely detailed and most useful answers to my written questions, I am afraid that I must do so. I received a written answer on 27 March, which occupied a number of pages from column 311 onwards and it makes the Government's position on tax and national insurance quite clear. The tables show for 1978 to 1987–88 the proportion of income taken in tax and national insurance contributions from those on half average earnings, currently £113 a week, from those on three quarters of average male earnings, that is to say £170 a week, and from those on average earnings. Most of those people have suffered a substantial increase in the tax take. That substantial increase ranges from about 4 per cent., but it is sometimes even higher.

    It is only when we move on towards the end of those pages of tables and look, for example, at a married man with two children who earns 700 per cent. of average male earnings—that is someone earning £1,500 a week this year—that we see that in 1978–79 the proportion of his income that was taken in tax and national insurance contributions was 58 per cent., but that it has now fallen to 48 per cent. That is a 10 per cent. fall, which is a huge drop for those whose incomes are well above average. However, the average taxpayer or someone on below average incomes is now paying more in income tax and national insurance contributions as a proportion of his gross earnings, in terms of the Financial Secretary's figures. I am sure that he read the parliamentary answer most carefully before he signed it and allowed it to go forward in his name.

    Would not the hon. Lady's case have greater credibility if it were not for the fact that she is now seeking to remove clause 20 from the Finance Bill? If that clause is removed, she will injure still further those on average incomes whose champion she claims to be.

    I do not think that the hon. Gentleman has been following the argument. The point is that even the changes proposed in the Finance Bill, which we are now finally considering and voting on, will make virtually no difference to the proportion of income taken in tax and national insurance contributions last year and this year.

    To help the hon. Gentleman, I shall give those figures. Before the changes in the Budget, or rather in the Finance Bill, a married man with two children who is on 50 per cent. of average earnings would find that 16·7 per cent. of his gross earnings were taken in tax and national insurance contributions. Assuming the changes that we are discussing, in this financial year 16·6 per cent. of his gross earnings would be taken in tax and national insurance contributions. Therefore in proportional terms, which I am sure the hon. Gentleman understands, there is virtually no change.

    No, I would like to continue my argument. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have plenty of time to study the matter.

    No, I shall not give way. I wish to continue. I have already made it perfectly clear that if one is talking about the proportion of earnings taken in income tax and national insurance contributions, the figures are all there.

    I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way. Apart from the percentages to which she has referred, has she not overlooked the fact that many millions of retired persons will benefit from the 2p drop in the standard rate of tax? National insurance contributions do not come into that calculation.

    I was going to consider such matters, so I shall incorporate my answer to the hon. Gentleman into that. The question I was asked just now—

    The hon. Gentleman should not be so impatient. The point that I was making was that withdrawing the 2p cut, or abandoning the changes that the Government have proposed, would make little difference to most earners who pay tax and national insurance contributions. If one makes those changes, and especially if one requires the higher rate taxpayer to make a fairer contribution to the Exchequer than he or she has been making during the past eight years, we shall use those resources, as the hon. Gentleman knows full well is our policy, to raise pensions by £8 a week for married pensioners and by £5 for single pensioners. We shall also ensure that a heating allowance of £5 per week is paid from December to the end of March to all pensioners on supplementary benefit.

    All that would be far more beneficial to the majority of pensioners than 2p off the standard rate of tax. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that if I take as an example—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman is completely out of touch with the way in which most people live. In my constituency, for example, 4,000 pensioners are on supplementary benefit, and a heating allowance during the winter months would be far more beneficial to them than 2p off the standard rate.

    If the hon. Gentleman does not understand, I suggest that he goes away and does some homework on that matter.

    On tax, a Conservative Member mentioned from a sedentary position the increase in earnings after tax and national insurance. I should like to point out to Conservative Members that the poorest wage earners have seen only a 2·9 per cent. increase in their real earnings between April 1979 and April 1986. However, the top earners have seen a 21 per cent. increase in their post-tax earnings.