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Rent Officers: Additional Functions Relating To Housing Benefit Etc

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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6.30 pm

I beg to move amendment No. 6, in page 36, line 23, leave out Clause 64.

The amendment would delete an obnoxious clause relating to housing benefit, which is supposed to deal with the likelihood that high rents in the private sector might become an excessive burden on the housing benefit system. One might expect a mechanism to be provided to enable the rent officer to restrict rents in such cases and, to stop unscrupulous landlords from profiteering at the expense of tenants on low incomes in the housing benefit system, but that is too much to hope for from this Government. Instead, they propose to penalise the tenant if the landlord forces him to pay an excessive rent.

Rents are certain to increase under the Bill. That is the deliberate strategy of the Government. Indeed, such rudimentary controls as used to exist to prevent rent increases of more than 25 per cent. in any one year are being swept away elsewhere in the Bill.

The innovation is taking place against the background of the drastic cuts in social security and housing benefit to be introduced in a few weeks' time. We are indebted to Edinburgh city district council for making figures available showing exactly how the new system will bear on those claiming housing benefit in the city of Edinburgh. Of a total of 24,000 housing benefit claimants, no fewer than 19,000 will be worse off as a result of the changes to be introduced next month. Some 2,000 of those claimants will lose housing benefit altogether, while 17,000 will lose a proportion of their benefit. The average loss to the 19,000 who will be worse off will be £6·42 per week.

If any of those people happen to be private sector tenants in a house which, strictly speaking, is bigger than they need, or in a house of good quality in a high value area of the city, the landlord will be able to force the rent up under the assured tenancy system that the Government have so generously provided. The Government talk about "freely negotiated rents" and the assured tenancy system. We know what that really means : in areas where there is a shortage of housing—in most areas of Scotland, that is—the landlord will be able to dictate the rents and tenants will find themselves having to offer a high rent or do without housing.

The local authorities, which act as the Government's agents in the housing benefit system, will be obliged to take direction from the rent officer on the level of rent that can be subsidised. The rent officer will have no power to restrict the rent, regardless of the quality of the housing or the means of the tenant. He will, however, have a duty to assess whether a tenant is living in a house which is too good or too big and in those circumstances he will have no option but to direct the district council to restrict the payment of housing benefit accordingly.

I was interested to read the advice given by the director of housing for East Lothian, my own district council, to members of that council:
"People in situations of severe housing stress such as the homeless are liable to agree to unaffordable rent levels in order to put a roof over their families' head. Without the fairness introduced into the rent fixing process by the Rent Officer they may quickly find arrears building up. If the rent is considered too expensive they may not even be entitled to full Housing Benefit and the new legislation will speed up the eviction process."
My local authority is right to fear the prospect of an increasing number of evictions under the assured tenancy system.

The East Lothian director of housing continues:
"It is intended by government that Housing Benefit will be restricted if applicants are living in accommodation considered too large or too expensive for their needs. Any excess Benefit paid over fixed thresholds will only be subsidised by central government at a rate of 25 per cent. compared to the standard rate of 97 per cent. The Council will therefore have to devote extra resources to these cases and it is not yet clear how such actions will be viewed by auditors.
Consequently it is possible that an elderly widow in a three bedroom house no longer occupied by her family will not receive full Housing Benefit and will be forced to move to smaller accommodation perhaps in another town or village."
Presumably it is indeed the Government's intention to force people on low incomes into ghettos of cheap housing. I was interested to read in the Edinburgh evening newspaper on Tuesday 8 March that Edinburgh city district council has found a private sector landlord who had acquired some property designed not to house people but to house pigs — a pigsty on a farm — which he intended to convert into bed-sits for the unemployed, who would then benefit from the housing benefits system. That is an example of the kind of landlord that the Bill will encourage. Such activity would be deplored by any responsible Government, but unfortunately this Government cannot be described as responsible.

I am especially worried about the position of elderly or disabled people who have moved into sheltered housing on the understanding that their rent will be covered by the housing benefit system. I suspect that more and more of them will find themselves in difficulties, as has happened already under recent changes in the housing benefit system.

A further clear illustration of the Government's twisted thinking on the subject is to be found in the Scottish Development Department consultation document "Deregulation of the Private Rented Sector: Consultation Paper on the Implication for Housing Benefit", which was issued in December 1987. Paragraph 3 of that document says:
"With an increasing proportion of rents in future not subject to statutory rent control, it will be particularly important to ensure, where a tenant's rent is being met, in whole or in part, by public funds through housing benefit, that the rent which attracts such support is not unreasonable."
So far, so good. One might conclude that it would be logical to do something about excessively high rents, but that is not going to happen.

Paragraph 5 of the consultation paper says:
"The Government also intend to provide, as soon as the necessary information for setting limits is available, that benefit should not be payable in full on the rents for the most expensive privately rented properties in each local authority area. The Government will introduce further limits on benefit should that prove necessary."
That seems to us to be the wrong way of approaching the problem.

Paragraph 23 states:
"In due course it is intended that regulations will he made by the Secretary of State for Social Services specifying where the necessary limit will be set. Once such regulations are made, in cases where the rent is above the limit, the local authority will calculate benefit on rent only up to the limit specified."
But here comes the rub:
"If the claimant chooses to remain in accommodation with a higher rent, he will have to make up the difference from his own resources. Subsidy will, of course, only be paid on benefit awarded on rent up to the limit."
One can imagine a father desperate to house his family finding that his only choice was to avail himself of overpriced private rented housing. Within weeks of taking on that commitment he could find that his rent was not covered by housing benefit. He would then be in terrible trouble because he would not be able to pay his rent and his family would face the prospect of homelessness all over again. That would be tragic and the Government should be ashamed of themselves for creating circumstances in which that kind of thing can happen.

It is all too cruelly clear that tenants who depend on the housing benefit system will not have the means to pay higher rents and will therefore face the prospect of losing their homes. Clause 64 is a vicious clause which should be taken out of the Bill, and I sincerely hope that the House will find ways of compelling the Government to think again.

I fully support everything that my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) has said about the clause, which is offensive even judged by the standards of the rest of the Bill. As I understand it, two sets of circumstances will be dealt with by the clause. I hope that the Minister will not just read out from the bits of paper in front of him when he replies. That is exactly what he did last night in speaking to new clause 16, which is closely related to this amendment. Had new clause 16 been accepted, there would be no need for clause 64, even on the Government's arguments. I hope that the Minister will answer the points put to him.

Clause 64 is offensive in two respects. First, it provides for a judgment about whether accommodation is excessive. There is no such judgment in relation to mortgage interest relief. When one applies for mortgage interest relief no one asks whether one really needs such a big house and whether one should not perhaps move into something smaller and cheaper and have one's mortgage interest relief reduced.

Many private tenants live in very poor conditions— they will continue to do so under the assured tenancy system—and I find it very offensive that they should be asked to justify the accommodation in which they live, given that the desperate shortage of rented accommodation means that many of them will have been forced into the houses that they occupy. That is offensive enough, but what the Government intend to do with rent levels is more than offensive—it is a scandal.

The clause can operate in terms of rents only if the rent officer determines that the rent is excessive. One would imagine that there would be a mechanism for reducing rents. Why should an unjustifiably high rent, as determined by a rent officer, continue to be paid, irrespective of whether the tenant is on housing benefit? The Government, however, propose that, if a rent officer decides that the rent is too high, housing benefit should be reduced accordingly, but the rent should remain the same. There will then be a gap between the housing benefit payable and the rent. As we are talking about poorer people, the difference obviously cannot be made up out of income. Tenants will therefore be pushed out of their homes.

Clause 64 protects taxpayers in that housing benefit is controlled. It protects landlords with a vengeance, because even when it is seen that they are taking an unjustifiably high rent, that rent will remain in force. The power of the clause is directed against tenants. We did not get anything like a satisfactory explanation from the Minister last night. He talked about a free market and a willing landlord and a willing tenant negotiating rents on equal terms, but that is a travesty of the facts.

I have experience of these matters from my constituency. We had an unscrupulous and crooked landlord in my constituency. I am glad to say that he is now serving a prison sentence. Tenants are often on social security, and many are vulnerable for other reasons such as physical or mental disability. In those circumstances, and when there is a desperate shortage of housing, it is ludicrous to pretent that there can be free negotiations between a willing landlord and a willing tenant.

This scandal has been exposed time and again, but the Government have done nothing about it. Now they are doing something about it, the changes are at the expense of tenants rather than at the expense of landlords. We must have a proper explanation of the clause. Regardless of any explanation, however, the clause is so deeply offensive that I shall vote against it.

I entirely agree with what has been said about clause 64. If the amendment is pressed to a Division, I shall support it and recommend that my right hon. and hon. Friends do the same.

I also am worried about the judgment that is to be made by the rent officer. Nothing can amend that power adequately. The only way forward is to remove the clause. The clause embodies a worrying principle, which could be extended. If private tenants are to be affected, what is to stop the principle being extended to private owners who may receive housing benefit but live in mansions? The Government seem to be treating tenants and private owners differently.

6.45 pm

I am worried about subsection (4), which extends the power of rent officers to make investigations and seek information or evidence to determine a claim. We are all familiar with the housing benefit and social security system and section 51 of the Social Security Act 1986. I served on the Committee which considered that Bill, and we spent some time on section 51 because it provides some far-reaching and unconstrained powers for the DHSS concerning inquiries into people's personal circumstances.

The House should be careful about extending such powers to rent officers. We are involving a new type of public official in far-reaching investigations into personal lives. We should not do that lightly, not least because rent officers are not trained in the same way as social security and adjudication officers.

Subsection (3) worries me because it involves the Secretary of State for Social Services in the rent allowance subsidy paid to local authorities in Scotland for housing benefit. The Secretary of State for Social Services will find it difficult to discover what happens in Scotland, where special conditions prevail. How does the Minister envisage subsection (2)(b) being implemented? It refers to making
"different provision for different cases or classes of case and for different areas".
What will that mean in terms of the power available to the Secretary of State? These are far-reaching powers. We discussed them in Committee, but the Government have not yet made it sufficiently clear what they mean in practice.

I should like to repeat the now familiar point about the negative resolution procedure provided for in subsection (2)(a). Such regulations should be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Clause 64 gives the Secretary of State wide powers. It is wrong to give powers willy-nilly by statutory instrument when it would be perfectly easy to set out on the face of the Bill what the Secretary of State wants to achieve. There are several real difficulties with the clause. There are plenty of bad clauses in the Bill, but clause 64 is probably the worst in that it empowers rent officers to make judgments about what level of housing benefit tenants should be entitled to.

I agree that clause 64 is the most detestable in the Bill. The very idea of a public official being sent around to label people as unfit to occupy their accommodation is thoroughly offensive.

The clause really has all the hallmarks of stigmatising poverty that I thought society was beginning to leave behind. When local authorities used to have the power to clothe children whose parents were too poor to provide clothing for them, some local authorities were insensitive enough to make those children go to one particular retailer to get one particular type of clothing. Therefore, those children were easily spotted at school and were stigmatised for being poor. That was deeply resented by poor people. Clause 64 will also be deeply resented if the Government do not back down.

Will the Minister clarify the point that I raised with him in Committee? During Second Reading, the Secretary of State for Scotland was very clear about how he interpreted clause 64. He said:
"a local authority will be required to refer to the rent officer every rent for which it has received an application for housing benefit. The rent officer will then determine whether the rent payable is appropriate for the property."
The rent officer will consider whether
"the tenant is … over-accommodated or … the accommodation is of a quality that few people could ordinarily afford."
That seems quite clear, but the Secretary of State for Scotland qualified that by saying:
"We are talking not about existing tenants, but about a new tenancy."
That suggests that clause 64 will apply only to those tenants who move into new assured tenancies and short assured tenancies that will be prevalent in the private rented sector.

In Committee, when I pressed the Minister on that point, I used as an example my parents who live in a council house and receive housing benefit. The house used to accommodate all my family, but now it accommodates only my mother and father. Therefore, they would be over-accommodated. The Minister assured me that it would not apply to them.

On Second Reading my hon. Friend the Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith) gave the Secretary of State for Scotland the example of his parents, who also live in a council house in which they brought up their children. My hon. Friend asked the Secretary of State for Scotland:
"If one of them should die, the other would be left occupying a house with three bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen and a sitting room. Will that be gross over-accommodation for the partner who is left?"
If the Secretary of State had known what he was talking about, he would have said that it would not apply to my hon. Friend's parents because they are renting in the public sector and clause 64 does not apply to the public sector. However, the Secretary of State did not say that. He said:
"I will not try to give a definition … For the simple reason that Opposition Members would attack any definition that I might give as showing an indefensible rigidity and inflexiblity of approach." — [Official Report, 11 January 1988; Vol. 125, c. 50–53.]
The Secretary of State's answer implied that clause 64 will apply equally to the public sector and the independent rented sector.

Will the Minister make absolutely clear to which sector clause 64 will apply and will he explain why the Secretary of State for Scotland did not know what he was talking about on Second Reading?

I can tell the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion) straight away that clause 64 has nothing to do with public sector tenants and with registered rent tenants in the private sector. When the Secretary of State was asked that general question, I think that he was thinking in terms of the definition of over-accommodation. I shall come to that later in my remarks.

The right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Milian) obviously disagrees with the policy. I respect his point of view, but I must say that the premise upon which the Bill is based is that the private rented sector will he substantially increased. The right hon. Gentleman may find it offensive that the market should play a part in this matter, but if a landlord imposes an excessive rent, in future there will be increased opportunities for tenants in the private rented sector. I will be happy to be reminded of these remarks in a few years' time, when the effects of the Bill will be seen very much more clearly.

The hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) asked about qualification. I will look into the matter, but my interpretation of the subsection to which he referred is that account must be taken of particular special circumstances. That certainly should happen.

I appreciate the active imagination of Opposition Members about clause 64. The Government's intention is certainly not sinister; it is simple and reasonable, and seeks to prevent abuse of the housing benefit system.

I invite the House to consider the scope for abuse in the system as it now operates and as it would operate in future without the protection of the powers to be taken under clause 64. In future, a tenant who applied for housing benefit would have his application assessed according to his ability to pay the rent for the accommodation where he has chosen to live. The actual level of rent would not affect his entitlement.

The rent could be for excessively large or expensive accommodation, or quite ridiculously high for the accommodation itself, but the rent would be paid in full or in part from housing benefit unless the local authority decided to restrict the benefit. The system would he wide open to abuse. I challenge Opposition Members to adduce any good reason for the taxpayer, through the State, to pay rents which are obviously excessive or rents for people living in accommodation which is far beyond their needs.

The Minister must realise that single parents and unmarried mothers have children at university who come to stay with them when the universities are in recess; therefore, they keep a spare room for their children. Under the Bill, many people would be deemed to have over-provision in their homes because they wanted to keep a spare room for one of their kids to join them during the holidays. That could happen under clause 64.

In relation to over-accommodation, I am pleased to tell the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McTaggart) that we are aware of the difficulties which might arise in such circumstances —for example, if someone dies or if relatives move out because they are students or for some other reason. That is one of the many subjects which are now being carefully considered in the discussions with local authority associations. I can say no more than that at this stage.

No. I should like to move on to my next point.

Clause 64 gives the Secretary of State the power to require rent officers to perform such functions as he may specify by statutory instrument. The intention — I am talking about the procedure—is that rent officers will make an assessment of rent whenever a tenant of a private landlord applies for housing benefit. If the rent officer considers that the rent may be unreasonably high, he will carry out a valuation. If that establishes that the rent should be lower, the maximum rate of Exchequer subsidy will be paid only on housing benefit in respect of the assessed rent.

However, local authorities will still have the discretion to pay benefit in respect of a higher rent, but I should make it quite clear in this connection that local authorities will have the flexibility to assist in special cases — for example, with higher rent for a few weeks to give the tenant the time and opportunity for the situation to be sorted out. It is quite possible that local authorities might wish to use that flexibility, but there will be no Exchequer subsidy on the excess.

Rent officers will assess reasonable rents on the basis of guidance issued by my right hon. and learned Friend. A reasonable rent will be the market rent. Where there is insufficient evidence of market rents for comparable properties, the rent officer will make an assessment by taking account of appropriate yields which might be expected from investment in the private rented sector.

When they assess the rent, will the rent officers make sure that the money that the tenants receive from the Government will be decreased? The local authorities will have the right to assist for a couple of weeks until things are sorted out. What does that mean? Who sorts out what? A landlord can charge whatever he wishes, so who sorts out the difference between what the Government will pay and what the tenant has to pay the landlord?

A local authority will have the flexibility to assist in special circumstances—for example, if a tenant's circumstances change. We believe that the provisions will act as a brake on excessive rents and make it very much harder for rents to be increased.

Will the orders that the Secretary of State will be able to make under clause 64 make clear the procedure that is available to aggrieved tenants who wish to appeal against a rent officer's decision?

7 pm

The answer is probably no, but I shall look into the matter and write to the hon. Gentleman.

The rent that is set by a rent officer will not be the maximum rent that can be charged for a house. The landlord will be able to charge a higher rent if he can find a tenant who is willing to pay it, but in practice we believe that these provisions will act a serious brake on private sector rents generally, because tenants receiving housing benefit will continue to be a very significant proportion of all private sector tenants.

When examining a claim for housing benefit, the rent officer will also have to consider whether the tenant is over-accommodated. Again, the rent officer will apply the criteria to be laid down by my right hon. and learned Friend. If, according to these criteria, the claimant is found to be over-accommodated, housing benefit subsidy will be restricted to the rent that would have been payable on a house of a size that is appropriate to the claimant's need.

Opposition Members have expressed concern about the position of somebody who is living in over-large accommodation, purely because the house was a family home but the other members of the family have moved away or died. I fully understand that point and it is being considered in the discussions that are taking place between Government Departments and local authority associations.

The Minister is telling us that if an old person is living in a house or apartment that is too big for him, the adjudication officer will be able to say that, rent-wise, that person, in his opinion, requires different accommodation and should be evicted.

That is not what I am saying. The matter is being discussed with the local authorities. The points that were raised in Standing Committee and in the House will be taken into account.

I am now in a position to give an authoritative answer to the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood). It is that this matter is under consideration. I shall make certain that he knows what the final outcome is.

Contrary to what has been suggested, there is nothing draconian about the new tests of excessively large or expensive accommodation. The tests will be applied fairly and with discretion. They are necessary because the Government are obliged to support tenants and also to prevent the abuse of public funds.

I think that that was a plea of guilty, but it was a confused plea of guilty. The answer to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Dunnachie) is that it must be the bailiff who will have to sort out the problem. If a tenant were in an assured tenancy, he would have no security if he was unable to pay his rent. He would be put out into the street. That is the serious answer to the serious question that was asked by my hon. Friend. Not for the first time during our deliberations, the Minister refused to answer the question and to face up to the consequences of his legislation.

Surely my hon. Friend is wrong to suggest that it would be up to the bailiff. However, it is for the Minister, with all the knowledge that he has displayed at the Dispatch Box, to rise and contradict him.

I should be very happy to give way to the Minister if he would like to refute that point, but I am afraid that there is absolutely no way in which he can do so. It is irrefutable. That is what the Government are legislating for, and the Minister knows it. He must be even deeper into cloud cuckoo land than we thought he was if he is suggesting that the private rented sector will produce a large amount of low-priced rented accommodation to deal with Scotland's tragedy of over 30,000 people becoming homeless every year.

Because of the present shortage of rented housing in Scotland, a shortage that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, the Minister knows that it is a seller's market and that the market rent is likely to be high. Desperate people will have to pay rents that they cannot afford. As they will have no housing benefit to help them to pay the rent, they could face the prospect all over again of being homeless.

The Government recognise that landlords may try to extract high rents from claimants, but it is bizarre that, instead of penalising landlords, they intend to penalise tenants. That says all that needs to be said about this Government's philosophy and about the sick minds of the unrepresentative, minority regime in the Scottish Office. Clause 64 is an affront to the people of Scotland. I invite the House to delete it from the Bill.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 198, Noes 226.

Division No. 243]

[7.07 pm


Abbott, Ms DianeFoulkes, George
Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Fraser, John
Allen, GrahamGalbraith, Sam
Archer, Rt Hon PeterGalloway, George
Armstrong, HilaryGarrett, John (Norwich South)
Ashdown, PaddyGarrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Ashley, Rt Hon JackGeorge, Bruce
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Godman, Dr Norman A.
Barron, KevinGolding, Mrs Llin
Beckett, MargaretGordon, Mildred
Beith, A. J.Gould, Bryan
Benn, Rt Hon TonyGraham, Thomas
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bermingham, GeraldGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Bidwell, SydneyGrocott, Bruce
Blair, TonyHardy, Peter
Boyes, RolandHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Bradley, KeithHealey, Rt Hon Denis
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)Heffer, Eric S.
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)Henderson, Doug
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)Hinchliffe, David
Buchan, NormanHogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Buckley, George J.Home Robertson, John
Callaghan, JimHood, Jimmy
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Campbell-Savours, D. N.Howells, Geraint
Canavan, DennisHoyle, Doug
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clay, BobHughes, Roy (Newport E)
Clelland, DavidHughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Clwyd, Mrs AnnHughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cohen, HarryIllsley, Eric
Coleman, DonaldIngram, Adam
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Janner, Greville
Cook, Robin (Livingston)John, Brynmor
Corbett, RobinJones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Corbyn, JeremyKinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Cousins, JimKirkwood, Archy
Cox, TomLamond, James
Crowther, StanLeadbitter, Ted
Cryer, BobLestor, Joan (Eccles)
Cummings, JohnLewis, Terry
Cunliffe, LawrenceLitherland, Robert
Dalyell, TamLivingstone, Ken
Darling, AlistairLivsey, Richard
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H't)Loyden, Eddie
Dewar, DonaldMcAllion, John
Dixon, DonMcAvoy, Thomas
Dobson, FrankMcCartney, Ian
Doran, FrankMacdonald, Calum A.
Douglas, DickMcFall, John
Dunnachie, JimmyMcKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethMcKelvey, William
Eadie, AlexanderMcNamara, Kevin
Evans, John (St Helens N)McTaggart, Bob
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)McWilliam, John
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)Madden, Max
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Marek, Dr John
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Flannery, MartinMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Flynn, PaulMaxton, John
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMeacher, Michael
Foster, DerekMeale, Alan

Michael, AlunSkinner, Dennis
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Millan, Rt Hon BruceSmith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)Snape, Peter
Moonie, Dr LewisSoley, Clive
Morgan, RhodriSpearing, Nigel
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Steinberg, Gerry
Mullin, ChrisStott, Roger
Murphy, PaulStrang, Gavin
Nellist, DaveTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonTaylor, Rt Hon J. D. (S'ford)
O'Neill, MartinTurner, Dennis
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyVaz, Keith
Parry, RobertWall, Pat
Patchett, TerryWallace, James
Pendry, TomWalley, Joan
Pike, Peter L.Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)Wareing, Robert N.
Primarolo, DawnWelsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Quin, Ms JoyceWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Radice, GilesWilliams, Rt Hon Alan
Randall, StuartWilliams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Richardson, JoWilson, Brian
Robertson, GeorgeWinnick, David
Robinson, GeoffreyWise, Mrs Audrey
Rogers, AllanWorthington, Tony
Rooker, JeffWray, Jimmy
Ruddock, JoanYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Salmond, Alex
Sedgemore, BrianTellers for the Ayes:
Sheerman, BarryMr. Frank Haynes and
Sheldon, Rt Hon RobertMr. Ken Eastham.
Shore, Rt Hon Peter


Adley, RobertCarlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Alexander, RichardCarrington, Matthew
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelCarttiss, Michael
Allason, RupertCash, William
Amess, DavidChannon, Rt Hon Paul
Amos, AlanChapman, Sydney
Arbuthnot, JamesChope, Christopher
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Ashby, DavidColvin, Michael
Atkinson, DavidCoombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)Cope, John
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Cormack, Patrick
Baldry, TonyCran, James
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Critchley, Julian
Batiste, SpencerCurrie, Mrs Edwina
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyCurry, David
Bendall, VivianDavies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Davis, David (Boothferry)
Benyon, W.Devlin, Tim
Bevan, David GilroyDorrell, Stephen
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterDover, Den
Bonsor, Sir NicholasDunn, Bob
Boscawen, Hon RobertDurant, Tony
Bottomley, PeterEggar, Tim
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaFallon, Michael
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Farr, Sir John
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Favell, Tony
Bowis, JohnField, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir RhodesFookes, Miss Janet
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardForman, Nigel
Brandon-Bravo, MartinForsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Brazier, JulianForth, Eric
Bright, GrahamFowler, Rt Hon Norman
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterFox, Sir Marcus
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Franks, Cecil
Browne, John (Winchester)Freeman, Roger
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)French, Douglas
Budgen, NicholasFry, Peter
Burns, SimonGale, Roger
Burt, AlistairGarel-Jones, Tristan
Butler, ChrisGill, Christopher
Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Glyn, Dr Alan

Goodlad, AlastairPatten, Chris (Bath)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr CharlesPawsey, James
Gorman, Mrs TeresaPorter, Barry (Wirral S)
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)Porter, David (Waveney)
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)Portillo, Michael
Grylls, MichaelPowell, William (Corby)
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)Price, Sir David
Harris, DavidRaffan, Keith
Haselhurst, AlanRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hayward, RobertRathbone, Tim
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence LRedwood, John
Howard, MichaelRiddick, Graham
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Hunt, David (Wirral W)Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Hunter, AndrewRoberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Irvine, MichaelRossi, Sir Hugh
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineRyder, Richard
Kilfedder, JamesSackville, Hon Tom
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)Scott, Nicholas
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)Shaw, David (Dover)
Knapman, RogerShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Knight, Greg (Derby North)Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Knox, DavidShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lang, IanShersby, Michael
Latham, MichaelSims, Roger
Lawrence, IvanSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lee, John (Pendle)Soames, Hon Nicholas
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkSquire, Robin
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)Stanbrook, Ivor
Lightbown, DavidSteen, Anthony
Lilley, PeterStern, Michael
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Luce, Rt Hon RichardStewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)
Lyell, Sir NicholasStradling Thomas, Sir John
McCrindle, RobertSumberg, David
Macfarlane, Sir NeilSummerson, Hugo
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)Taylor, Ian (Esher)
McLoughlin, PatrickTaylor, John M (Solihull)
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Madel, DavidTemple-Morris, Peter
Malins, HumfreyThompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Mans, KeithThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Maples, JohnThornton, Malcolm
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Tracey, Richard
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Tredinnick, David
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Twinn, Dr Ian
Mawhinney, Dr BrianVaughan, Sir Gerard
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinWaddington, Rt Hon David
Mellor, DavidWakeham, Rt Hon John
Meyer, Sir AnthonyWaller, Gary
Miller, HalWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Miscampbell, NormanWarren, Kenneth
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Watts, John
Mitchell, David (Hants NW)Wells, Bowen
Moate, RogerWheeler, John
Monro, Sir HectorWhitney, Ray
Montgomery, Sir FergusWiddecombe, Ann
Morrison, Hon Sir CharlesWilkinson, John
Moss, MalcolmWilshire, David
Neale, GerrardWolfson, Mark
Nelson, AnthonyWood, Timothy
Neubert, MichaelWoodcock, Mike
Nicholls, PatrickYeo, Tim
Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)Tellers for the Noes:
Onslow, Rt Hon CranleyMr. Alan Howarth and
Oppenheim, PhillipMr. David Maclean.
Page, Richard

Question accordingly negatived.