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Report On Provision For Adult Education

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 3 March 1992

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  • '.—(1) The Secretary of State shall, for each calendar year, lay before both Houses of Parliament a report on provision for the education of adults, following consultation with the higher and further education funding councils, local education authorities, designated institutions, appropriate voluntary organisations, training and enterprise councils, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector and such other persons as the Secretary of State may determine.
  • (2) Any report under subsection (1) above shall set out—
  • (a) the allocation of resourses for adult learning;
  • (b) what adult education opportunities are available in each local education authority area and in the area served by each further education corporation;
  • (c) the numbers of people progressing between sectors, and other agreed outcomes of adult learning programmes, by local education authority and further education corporation catchment area;
  • (d) the numbers of participants, and the extent to which the participants in educational programmes for adults reflect the whole population served by each local education authority, further education corporation and designated institution;
  • (e) the Secretary of State's judgement on the extent to which the educational needs of the population are served by higher and further education institutions, by designated institutions and by local education authorities;
  • (f) the Secretary of State's judgement on the quality of provision and the effectiveness of resource allocation;
  • (g) the capital programmes committed to the education of adults; and
  • (h) plans for the development of adult education in subsequent years.'.—[Mr. Fatchett.]
  • Brought up, and read the First time.

    5.12 pm

    I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

    The one positive outcome of our debates on the Bill has been to raise the profile of adult education as an issue and a service. That has been important, as millions of our fellow citizens benefit from the adult education classes organised by local education authorities and voluntary organisations, and often on a self-help basis.

    In Committee, many of my hon. Friends referred to their immediate and direct experience of adult education and the way in which it had provided them with a ladder, leading to new employment, education and help in their self-interest. They also spoke as people who had taught in the service and realised the benefits that they, as adult educators, had provided for others in society. Adult education is an important service.

    The new clause would impose a responsibility on the Secretary of State to prepare a report each year, and to provide Parliament with that report, so that we could understand the extent to which the adult education service was secured and guaranteed under the legislation.

    None of my hon. Friends would go along with the Further Education Funding Council mechanism as the best way of providing for adult education. In that context, we are looking for a way to lessen what we see as damaging provisions affecting the service. The amendments that we attempted to secure in Standing Committee were all designed with the one purpose of securing the funding of adult education. We listened to the thousands of voices throughout the country, and read the many letters that we received during the Committee stage, expressing unhappiness with the provisions of the Bill. The main fear is that there are no guarantees for the future of the adult education service.

    All our amendments were rejected. They were turned down not because our arguments lacked strength but because we have in power a Government concerned only with the general election timetable. They are not concerned to take note of the debate on education issues or about the future of adult education. When we debate the next education measure, with Labour in power, there will then be a Government who will listen to people concerned about the adult education service.

    I will give way later. We are operating under a tight guillotine. The hon. Gentleman voted in favour of it. Having done that, it is remiss of him then to try to disrupt our proceedings, albeit in the best natured way.

    Within a few weeks, we shall have in power a Government who will listen to the voices of students, teachers and administrators. I promise them that that Government will be sensitive to the needs of adult education.

    All members of the Standing Committee, including Conservative members, appreciate the importance of the adult education service. The difference between us is that my hon. Friends recognise, and want to secure, the value of the service, while the Conservatives recognise its value but do not appreciate the consequences of this legislation.

    In that context, I will take the House through the complex system of funding that the Bill provides. The Secretary of State has created a division in adult education provision, some of which will be deemed to be schedule 2 work. In Committee, the Minister of State referred to schedule 2 work as "national priority work". It was clear from his words that while the Government had dropped the rhetoric suggesting a split between vocational and leisure courses—because they realised that it was insulting to hundreds of thousands of people—they had continued with their assumption that some courses in adult education should have greater priority than others.

    That is what schedule 2 is about. It contains the notion, as the Minister of State put it in Committee, that there can be some guarantee of resources for schedule 2 courses. But courses which fall outside schedule 2 will no longer be regarded as national priority courses.

    indicated dissent.

    The Minister may not have used those words, but that is the logical implication of what he said. Clearly, if he believes that some courses are a national priority, others cannot have that priority. So some provision will find itself in extreme difficulty.

    The Secretary of State goes on to say in this extremely complicated system—presumably it would be equally complicated in practice, although it will never become practice—that non-schedule work should be the responsibility of the LEA. That is where the Government's argument runs into trouble. LEAs are under no statutory responsibility to provide for adult education.

    Conservative authorities throughout the country have been making cuts in their adult education services. For example, last year there were substantial cuts in Hampshire's budget, so we already know that at local authority level the Tories give a low priority to adult education. Deep cuts in the service are being made in Warwickshire this year. The Secretary of State is not keen to defend such cuts.

    That all goes to show that the system relies on non-schedule work being provided but of LEA resources. The first weakness in that argument is that LEAs in many parts of the country, sometimes for ideological reasons, are not prepared to make the resources available. The second weakness is that, because of the poll tax and standard spending assessments, many LEAs are faced with particularly tight budgets. Anyone who has been reading local papers in the past few weeks will have seen that Labour and Conservative authorities have been battling to set a budget and work out their poll tax. That shows the downward pressure on local authority expenditure.

    The Secretary of State asks us to believe that, once individual authorities have lost control over further education colleges and schedule 2 work has been transferred to the further education funding council, local authorities faced with scarce resources will then make money available to support adult education. That is a fanciful notion. We already know what has happened in Tory authorities and about the squeeze on budgets in all parts of the country.

    The Government's notion then runs into real difficulty. Who will fund schedule 2 and non-schedule 2 work? Will it be funded by local authorities, which are tight for resources?

    If the Secretary of State is now looking for schedule 2, that is an improvement on Second Reading, when he did not even know that it existed.

    I covered schedule 2 on Second Reading. I am looking up clause 11, because I shall shortly remind the hon. Gentleman of the statutory duty on local education authorities to provide adult education. It is one of the several errors that he has made in his speech so far. He should not make such basic errors, having spent so long debating the measure.

    The Secretary of State falls into a trap in his own legislation. He knows that the duty under clause 11 does not mean that individual local authorities have to provide an adequate or satisfactory service. The provisions of the clause can be met in minimalist terms. If the Secretary of State says that clause 11 provides that local authorities such as Hampshire must expand their adult education services after last year's cuts, that will be real progress.

    Clause 11 sets out the statutory duties on local government as they are now and as they have been during the period of expansion of adult education in the past few years. When we were drafting the Bill, I took care to ensure that, although the existing statutory duties will be divided between the funding councils and the local education authorities, no statutory duty was removed. The hon. Gentleman's claim that there is no statutory duty on local authorities is therefore nonsense. The same statutory duty lies on them now as in the past, and it has enabled a general expansion across the country.

    Naturally, the different local authorities can make different judgments. Hence Labour-controlled Lancashire is currently cutting back on adult education, and Labour-controlled Nottinghamshire cut back savagely on its grant for the Workers Educational Association in the current year, although its resources for education as a whole have risen by 16 per cent.

    Despite all the words, the Secretary of State's answer to my question seems to be no.

    If the hon. Lady will listen, I will tell her what the question was. The Secretary of State will not have the power, under that provision, to make a judgment about Hampshire or Warwickshire. His final comment reinforces my argument. He recognises that individual local education authorities will be totally free to make cuts in their adult education services.

    One of the arguments that the Minister of State often used was that local education authorities should be essentially written out of post-16 provision because they could not be trusted with the strategic and detailed role of providing it. In Committee, the whole of the Government's rhetoric and argument amounted to an attack on local education authorities. The growth in adult education occurred under the control of local education authorities under a system which the Bill will abolish.

    The hon. Gentleman talks about local authorities' success in expanding adult education under existing statutory provisions. We are restating the statutory provisions in their entirety. We are merely dividing them between the funding councils and the local authorities. Yet the hon. Gentleman says that the same statutory provisions are inadequate to allow expansion in future.

    The point that the Secretary of State has just made reinforces my argument: there is no consistent system. The Bill changes the system by bifurcating the responsibilities. Local education authorities will be responsible for non-schedule 2 work and the funding councils will be responsible for schedule 2 work. It is extremely difficult to see how the Secretary of State can maintain the pretence that that is the same system which existed before the introduction of the Bill. The Bill proposes a change.

    We have been promised that the Government will give some reassurance on local authorities' spending on adult education and on standard spending assessments. The Minister of State promised us that by Third Reading a DES survey of local education authorities would be available—

    Yes, he did. He said that the survey would be available by the end of February, showing that adult education would be secure. Because of the rush with the Bill, the House has been denied the prospect of seeing that survey. We do not know how much money will be available or the current expenditure. All we know is that the Government are offering sweet words but no guarantees to secure an adult education service.

    We have a complicated, bureaucratic system which divides responsibility and considers some courses as being of national priority while others have a lower status. The system depends on local education authority funding at a time when local education authorities are squeezed for resources and under the Bill will lose the ability to manage their total post-16 provision. The Secretary of State asks for an act of faith when he says that the system is secure under the Bill.

    I suspect that all hon. Members will have received letters from adult education centres in places such as Devon. Such adult education centres will be larger in terms of adult education provision than the neighbourhood further education colleges. What will happen to those institutions? If they have schedule 2 work, they can ask the neighbourhood further education college to make a bid to the further education funding council, but they cannot make that bid in their own right. Thus they are dependent, despite being successful institutions, on the further education college's willingness to submit a bid to the further education funding council. The institution cannot do that on its own.

    Dr. William Waterworth, who chairs the management committee of the St. Clare's centre in Devon, says:
    "the system is difficult to understand and will be complicated.
    He draws attention to the quality of provision at St. Clare's, an institution which may be familiar to hon. Members. He says:
    "Despite operating in a scattered rural area, St. Clare's has built up a comprehensive adult education programme over the last 21 years. We enrol 1,500 students a year and 25 per cent. of these join courses leading to academic or vocational qualifications. Our overall pass rate for GCSE A-levels, RSA and City and Guilds is over 90 per cent. and about a third of our candidates are awarded grade As or distinctions. All of this is now threatened by the legislation as it now stands."
    That letter shows the dangers that exist in the Bill. I will take the House through it stage by stage.

    I have made a careful note of what the hon. Gentleman said. He said that adult education colleges will be dependent on the further education colleges being willing to submit a claim to the funding council. Those were his precise words. That point was raised with me by my adult education college, so I took the trouble of discussing the matter with the chief executive designate of the funding council. He said that he would not permit any further education college simply to try to sweep under the carpet a bid from an adult education college. He said that, if the college did not forward the bid to him, he would want to know why. If there were a dispute between the college of further education and the adult education college, it would be reasonable in the circumstances for him or one of his team to go to the college and discuss the matter in extenso. He said that there would be no question of further education authorities being allowed simply to bin the applications of adult education colleges.

    5.30 pm

    I am grateful to the hon. Lady for making that point, and I do not deny the words of the chief executive designate of the funding council. He makes almost the same point as Dr. William Waterworth, and shows up the cumbersome nature of the procedure.

    I will explain what would happen. The individual adult education centre would have to ask the further education college to submit a bid to the funding council. Time scales are important. The college may well refuse to do so. Let us set that up as a hypothesis and presume that the college is not co-operative. In those circumstances, presumably the adult education centre will take the problem to the Further Education Funding Council, and Mr. Stubbs can then intervene.

    Previously, the system would have been that the matter would have been resolved locally by the local education authority. Now there are at least three distinct parties: the funding council, the further education college, and the adult education centre. That is no way to increase the efficiency of the system.

    I will take the argument further. We have been talking about an adult education college. In my county there is an adult education service—a countywide service—with a range of individual colleges and services. My county is divided between north and south Humberside, with different further education colleges. There are problems about which college will make a bid and how the bid is to be made for a complete service, not just one college. If the system is bureaucratic in relation to one college, it will be almost impossible in terms of a complete service.

    My hon. Friend makes much the same point as has been raised in many letters to us. The system is likely to be inefficient and to lead to a reduction in the overall provision.

    The letter from St. Clare's is important. That successful adult education centre is providing a range of schedule 2 and non-schedule 2 provision. How will that centre be funded in future? It could ask a further education college to make a bid to the funding council for schedule 2 provision—the first mechanism. Let us assume that there are no difficulties there. Some of the work—I calculate about one third—will be through the funding council. The other two thirds will need to go to the local education authority to seek permission and resources. That is a messy system.

    As the committee chairman says, at present Devon local education authority, which has a substantial commitment to adult education, for which I praise it, is able to devise a programme and a set of resources to help St. Clare's run an expanding programme. What sense does it make not to listen to those powerful arguments and not to produce an efficient system based on them?

    In Committee, we tabled an amendment that would have dealt with some of the problems and circumvented some of the administration. We moved an amendment to allow the individual adult education centre to make a bid to the Further Education Funding Council. The amendment was voted down by Conservative Members. It would have helped to alleviate some of the problems raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) and would have helped many of those who have written to us about what has happened to their service.

    As a result of the guillotine, I do not have time to mention all the letters, but I refer the House to some of them. They do not come from just one part of the country and are not merely a lobby organised by the Labour party or a trade union, which is how the Secretary of State often dismisses such opposition. They come from people in all walks of life, from all parts of the country and represent important views on adult education. We have letters from Reading, Leicester, Chelmsford, Essex, Derby, Devon, Yorkshire and Humberside, all reflecting deep anxiety about the provisions.

    If, in Committee, the Secretary of State or the Minister of State had listened to the arguments and voices, the adult education centres, of which there are many up and down the country, could have had automatic designation so that they could have tendered the bids to the funding council. That would have helped the position. That system would not have been ideal as it would have created a divided responsibility, but at least we could have made some progress, rather than being faced with the existing position.

    Do not a vast number of individuals, companies, education and arts bodies, and institutions of all sorts obtain funding from more than one source? Is that not perfectly normal in this country? That is not normally seen to threaten the future of those organisations or individuals, provided that the sources of finance are sound?

    The Government claim that there has been an expansion—an expansion funded under the existing arrangements.

    The hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) should have listened to what some of his colleagues said on Second Reading about adult education and, more broadly, in terms of further education. They made the simple point that, if something is working, we should not mend it or change it. The system is working at present. If the hon. Gentleman were the principal of an adult education centre and were told that he might now have to make bids in two or three different directions to raise money for a programme previously financed from one source, he would have some difficulty being persuaded that that was the most efficient way of making progress. That is what we said throughout the Standing Committee. That was what was said in our amendments and by many thousands of people up and down the country who are worried about long-term provision.

    That is said in the constituency of the hon. Member for Twickenham. The flourishing adult education centre in his constituency is much better served by the existing arrangements than it would be under the change that is likely to come about under the legislation.

    The flaw in the hon. Gentleman's argument is that he predicates that all except Conservative-controlled local authorities are well intentioned towards adult education. However, the snag is that local authorities' standard spending assessment money is never earmarked, but always at large. The money going to the funding council is categorically to be used for one purpose, and cannot be taken away—it is much more certain. In my county, I would far rather trust my adult education students and the funding council, directly or indirectly, than leave the matter to Lancashire county council which has just completely cut off discretionary allowances to those aged 19 and over for a whole year.

    In a sense, the hon. Lady has taken the argument half way. I will take it a stage further. I agree with her that the money for the further education funding council is ring-fenced, so it may be guaranteed. We do not know how much money there is, but we cannot criticise that, as Government programmes are coming forward. However, the other part of the funding for non-schedule 2 work—the bulk of the work of an adult education service in a county such as Lancashire—has to come from the local education authority. The hon. Lady is absolutely right in terms of her argument when she says that there can be no guarantee that individual local education authorities will spend the full amount.

    But that is the weakness, not in my argument, but in the Secretary of State's, because to make his proposed system work he has to rely on individual local education authorities picking up the bill. [Interruption.] The Secretary of State may find that amusing, but millions of adult education students do not. LEAs have to pick up the bill in circumstances of a tight SSA and a tight budget and in which the local authority, Labour, Conservative or Liberal, will have just lost control of its further education college.

    The weakness in the Secretary of State's argument lies in the fact that, with the best will in the world, it is difficult to see how local education authorities can pick up the bill and meet the demands for an adult education service.

    Following the comments of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman), does my hon. Friend agree that the funding council will probably enjoy the same guarantee of funding under this Government as training and enterprise councils did?

    That is a good point; anyone from Bradford or Leeds will know of the large cuts in TEC budgets.

    Once it is clear that the schedule 2 work is crucial work that will be funded through the Further Education Funding Council the signal sent to local authorities will surely be that their other work is of secondary importance.

    We debate the new clause against a backcloth of anxiety about the future of the adult education service. That anxiety has not been whipped up for political purposes—

    I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's attribution to me of power to influence millions of people throughout the country. The fact remains that people who do not vote Labour or Liberal but vote Conservative are worried about this Bill—although they are less likely to vote Conservative in the future as a result of its provisions.

    The new clause is all about putting the Secretary of State's word to the test. Let us set up a highly unlikely hypothesis: that the Government win the election and the Bill is passed, whereupon the proposals are implemented. I do not know whether the Secretary of State wants to remain in his office if there is a Conservative victory, but he has said that the proposals will work. New clause I merely builds into the Bill the necessity to find out whether they will. That is a reasonably modest responsibility to impose on the Secretary of State.

    I know that the hon. Gentleman is seeking to improve the Bill, although he has taken a long time to get to new clause 1. He has just mentioned it for the first time in a quarter of an hour. Can he give us any idea how much the new clause would cost? As I read it, it will provide for an army of additional civil servants. It would be—untypically—dishonest of the hon. Gentleman if he did not provide the House with that information.

    The costs will be minimal. The information, however, is crucial and it would allow us to make judgments on issues about which I know that the hon. Gentleman is concerned. This is a modest measure —certainly not so draconian as the hon. Gentleman's amendment No. 7 which would have written out clauses 1 to 61. Our ambitions are much more modest—we are merely trying to get from the Government some information about the future of the adult education service. We need this information. We believe that the Government's proposals for a new system of funding will not work. They will lead to a reduction in the service, which is why the new clause is designed to elicit the truth in the unlikely event that these proposals are implemented, although I doubt that they ever will be.

    I am pleased that the new clause gives us the opportunity to debate education for adults. The Government have an excellent record of presiding over a great expansion of provision. The Bill gives us an opportunity to improve on that record, and I welcome the chance to respond to the fears continually being raised —that somehow the Bill threatens to check progress of the service or to restrict local education authorities' ability to provide the sort of adult courses about which the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) expressed anxiety.

    At one point, the hon. Gentleman rather disingenuously denied that the national campaign on this subject was politically motivated. I do not accept that; it has been sustained for quite some time, although I would not pay the hon. Gentleman the compliment of saying that he had organised it all. I do not think that the women's institutes have been involved for purely political reasons, but I do see the hand of the Labour-controlled Association of Metropolitan Authorities behind the campaign.

    5.45 pm

    A great number of ridiculous fears have been whipped up. Many who take these courses have been alarmed by what they have been told will happen: it is all total nonsense. It has been one of the sillier campaigns with which the Labour party has been associated in recent months—a highly competitive field that has been, too. The Bill in no way reduces the legal responsibilities of various public bodies to provide adult education of all kinds; nor does it reduce the availability of public funds from the Government for such education.

    The Bill is expressly designed to extend opportunities further. I shall make one final effort to persuade Opposition Members of the basic principle underlying the Bill. The hon. Member for Leeds, Central claims that the purpose of the new clause is to offer some basis, in the form of reports, on which a future Parliament might be able to determine how well adult education has fared under Conservative rule. I certainly agree that in these debates we should be judged by those outside on our respective records, so let us look at the Conservative Government's commitment to adult and further education over the past decade.

    During the past 10 years, the number of enrolments in adult and further education of all kinds has risen by about 27 per cent. and the numbers now taking part have increased by more than a quarter. The numbers in further education colleges alone have increased by more than 50 per cent. and approach 1·5 million enrolments a year in England.

    Access courses, preparing adults for entry to higher education and virtually unknown 10 years ago, are now available. There are more than 700 in England alone. Partly as a result of those courses, the number of mature students in higher education rose by 55 per cent., or to 216,000 by 1990.

    The Secretary of State talks about an expansion, but all of it has taken place under the existing system administered by local education authorities. Will he take this chance of congratulating those authorities on their success: and will he answer the question asked by a number of his hon. Friends on Second Reading: if the system is working, why bother to change it?

    I accept that the expansion has been achieved by LEAs and colleges and by all engaged in adult education—and all with the active and practical support of the Government, who have provided increased expenditure leading to the expansion.

    Let me underline the practical support that we have given and show what has happened to spending on adult and further education services. First, expenditure on adult education centres increased between 1979–80 and 1989–90 by 31 per cent. in real terms. Spending on further education colleges—here I cannot give figures which disaggregate adults—increased in real terms by 16 per cent. in the same 10 years. That is a substantial increase in public spending on adult education centres and further education colleges and is in stark contrast with the record of the last Labour Government. When Labour last had an opportunity to act, it neglected that whole area.

    I shall not dwell for long on the period many years ago when Labour was last in power. I trust that many years will pass before we see a Labour Government again, because we do not want a repeat of the shocking record of the last Labour Government. Between 1975 and 1979, spending on adult education centres went down by 12 per cent. in real terms, and spending on further education colleges rose by only 1 per cent. above inflation.

    Under the last Labour Government, adult education was declining and further education colleges were stagnating. In the past 10 years under this Government, further education and adult education of all kinds have been expanded. The Bill's purpose is to improve on that.

    Given the appalling record of the last Labour Government, does my right hon. and learned Friend find it extraordinary that Opposition Members rise as the defenders of further education colleges?

    They do it without shame. When that sector of education was declining, it was apparently the fault of Conservative local authorities, but when it expands it is apparently because of Labour local authorities. Labour's partisan bias on this supposedly non-political campaign is becoming utterly childish and simplistic. When Labour was in office providing the resources and setting priorities, this part of education was neglected and declining. It required a Conservative Government to give priority and resources, and we have presided over a period of dramatic expansion. That is accelerating, because enrolment rates at further education colleges are high this year. The Bill seeks to expand education, and the vast majority of principals agree with us that it is likely to enable them to expand opportunities even faster than before under the Government.

    Labour's dramatic contribution to the debate is, "If it works, don't fix it." For the past 10 years, England has had the only left-of-centre party in western Europe which is against changing anything. On most social issues, Labour has no policy worth the name. It occasionally invents a quango, but it resists any reform at the behest of some vested interest. That is about Labour's only contribution. Labour's years in power are a history of neglect of the subject, but our years in power have been marked by expansion, and all that Labour can say is, "Don't change anything. We prefer to keep the present arrangements."

    The broader discussions on the Bill have shown that its purpose is to speed progress and expand opportunities. We want to build on our record and improve further the education opportunities that are available to adults. Schedule 2 sets out, for the first time, a list of the courses which we want to see available all over the country and for which we propose national funding. Access to those courses should not depend on where a person lives, as often happens at present. Therefore, we are making the Further Education Funding Councils responsible for securing adequate provision of those courses.

    The courses are not, as some people claim, solely vocational. They go a long way beyond that and include academic, access and basic skills courses, courses for those who need to improve their English and courses for the disabled. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State has said, schedule 2 describes our national priorities. They are national, because we shall provide national funding for them and we wish to guarantee access to such courses to everyone who can benefit from them.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) rightly said that such funding is a positive advance for that part of further education because at the moment it is possible for funds that are intended in part for further education to be used by local authorities for something else. The principals of sixth form and further education colleges are anxious to have the provision whereby money will be made available to a funding council for a specific purpose and cannot be filched by councils such as Labour Nottinghamshire and Labour Lancashire for other purposes. That money will have to go into further education. Principals know that we are following for funding councils the pattern that we established for polytechnics, which have had expanding resources and growing provision, and there has been a tremendous growth in education.

    I accept what my right hon. and learned Friend says and congratulate him on his admirable desire to provide wider education opportunities. However, I should like my right hon. and learned Friend to deal with the more specific point of Devon's local community colleges where the existing machinery works well. Does he agree that such colleges would respond better to local needs in rural areas if they operated on a manageable timetable? I fear the problems of an appeal taking overmuch time while courses are being structured. Our community colleges reinforce the Government's successful implementation of the local management of schools. Because they are locally based, community colleges can suss out exactly what is needed locally for adult education. I agree that funding should come from the centre outward to rural areas, but it need not come via the local sixth form college, which might have a tendency to abstract.

    My hon. Friend takes me to my second point—courses which will still normally be funded locally. Under clause 11, community colleges will get funds from the local authority for some courses, and schedule 2 will provide funding council funds. The hon. Member for Leeds, Central tried to describe that procedure as complicated, slow and threatening. I know that there are concerns about that in Devon, Leicestershire, Richmond and elsewhere. I sought to address those concerns on Second Reading and I shall repeat the process.

    It is a simple debating device for the hon. Member for Leeds, Central to read out the provisions in as complicated a way as possible and to say that this is a wholly complicated way to get funds. My hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Speller) spoke about concerns in Devon and the fear that the timetable would be elaborate and slow. The Further Education Funding Council has made it quite clear that it will have to establish a timetable for dealing with clause 6(5) applications to ensure that there is no chance of worthwhile applications being lost because of delay.

    The hon. Member for Leeds, Central could benefit from the initiative demonstrated by my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster. He could visit the chief executive-designate, who is well respected on all sides, to go over the mechanics. As my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jesse]) said, countless education facilities are used to getting funds from more than one source. Almost every further education college principal does that already when obtaining funds for various courses. Dual funding is not necessarily complicated. The Labour party continues to speak about such funding as if it is some arcane new discovery, in an unnecessary attempt to sound alarm bells in rural areas. It says that the funding council will not be able to cope with dual funding, but there are perfectly adequate facilities to ensure funding.

    The Secretary of State can continue to insult the Labour party because that is par for the course. Why is it that, after Second Reading, Committee and proceedings in the other place, he has still failed to persuade the principals of colleges and their governing bodies in places such as Devon and Leicester? Is that a policy failure or a failure of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's eloquence?

    I think that it is as a result of continual campaigning by those who wilfully fail to follow the explanations, and set out to fan the fears again.

    I am being somewhat aggressive towards the Labour party because I do not think that Opposition Front Benchers genuinely believe in the case that they are advancing. They have known all along that there is no threat to the less formal adult education classes, but they have invented legalistic and other arguments that have aroused understandable fears among those who take the courses and those who provide them.

    Although debate on this important Bill is timetabled, Opposition Members are devoting a large part of it to an attempt to fan those fears yet further. They have not adopted the simple expedient of doing Ministers the courtesy of listening to their arguments—presented on the Floor of the House and, repeatedly, in Committee—rather than constantly misrepresenting those arguments. Moreover, had they taken the elementary step of consulting the chief executive of the funding council and asking for reassurance about the practicalities, they would have dispelled most of their fears.

    Opposition Members do not want to listen to the arguments. It is easy to lark about on the Floor of the House, misreading the Bill and getting the issues slightly wrong in the hope of securing cheap votes. Labour does that because it is devoid of any sensible policies on further or adult education: on this and every other subject, the party is entirely wedded to bureaucratic control by local authorities.

    6 pm

    I am anxious to do all I can to support my right hon. and learned Friend. Given the rate at which we are progressing and the strict timetable by which we are governed, it is possible that we shall not reach new clause 7, which deals with a specific worry affecting my constituency in Leicestershire. Under the new clause, colleges of further education, and the basic adult education system, would remain untouched, and further education colleges would have the right to apply directly to the funding councils.

    I will not go into detail, but my right hon. and learned Friend knows what we want in Leicestershire. We have a splendid system there: Her Majesty's inspectorate has visited the area and praised it. Will my right hon. and learned Friend at least tell me that he recognises that that system works, and that it will therefore be allowed to continue to work as effectively as it does now?

    I have given my hon. Friend such an assurance before, and I now give it to him again. I realise that the point is addressed more directly by new clause 7 —tabled by my hon. Friend, among others—but the hon. Member for Leeds, Central has drawn us back to it, and it is partially relevant to the report that is being discussed.

    I have just been covering the procedure whereby the moneys will be pursued. In my opinion, closer examination not only of the Bill but of the declared intentions of the funding council and its chief executive make it clear that there is no threat to the system in Leicestershire, the system in Devon or the position of Richmond college, or to the service provided in Humberside.

    I shall make one further attempt to explain matters—first, the local authority powers, because they have been challenged, and then the procedures applying to an adult education college wishing to pursue funding council money for the part of its work that falls within schedule 2 to the Bill.

    I am not convinced by what the Secretary of State said. The anxiety that I have encountered has been expressed by professionals in the adult education system —who provide a first-class service—rather than by members of the Labour party, or any other party.

    The Secretary of State has not addressed this point. We are not talking about just one adult education college; we are talking about—in some cases—a full service, with many centres all around the country. How can those colleges bid for the element of funding that they will lose: funding for basic education, access courses and award-bearing courses? How can they plan to maintain the full structure of their services, when they have no idea whether they will receive the money? If they do not receive it, the infrastructure—small centres in rural areas—will collapse, and the service will deteriorate.

    Those colleges will obtain a large part of their funding in the ordinary way, from the local authority. It will fall within the part of further education provision —adult provision—that continues to be determined locally. That does not mean that it will be given a lower priority, as was suggested by the hon. Member for Leeds, Central. Given the variety of less formal courses that exist, it is much better to judge the position at local level.

    To deal with that part of the funding—50 per cent. in the case of the Humberside service, according to the hon. Member for Leeds, Central—the local authorities will retain the powers that they have now. Those powers will be re-stated: they will not be lessened at all. As we have always made clear, the funding will be based on what the colleges spend now. Not only will we maintain the local education authority's duty to provide the courses for adults that are not the responsibility of the funding council; as we have said repeatedly, we will ensure that local education authorities have—through the revenue support grant system—at least as much money in real terms, allowing for inflation, to fulfil their duties in 1993–94 as they had in 1992–93.

    Let me repeat that the 50 per cent. that will continue to be provided locally will not be affected by the Bill. That aspect of adult education will not change. Campaigns about what have been described as leisure courses have been organised. The Bill, and the Government's policy, will not affect the present position; nor will it affect funding for such courses in any way. The case made in regard to the so-called leisure courses was entirely misconceived—and remains misconceived, where it continues to be made.

    Because local provision and local authorities are involved, authorities will have discretion either to increase or to reduce provision—to raise fees, or to lower them. Some LEAs are raising fees now, and seeking somehow to attribute that to the Government's reforms. The fact is that those reforms make no difference to so-called leisure courses, or to the many other vital adult courses that lie beyond the funding council's remit.

    If a service is being cut or the fees are being raised, that is because local councillors are making their own determined judgments, for their own reasons. There is no point in bringing in party politics—some Labour-controlled local authorities have a poor record of either sustaining or expanding expenditure in that regard.

    Another point that gives rise to concern is the fact that adult colleges providing services that fall within the provisions of schedule 2 will look to guaranteed funding council money. As was made clear at length on Second Reading, clause 6(5) explains how a college or service will have access to funds if it is not designated under other provisions in the Bill. Under clause 6(5), institutions maintained by local education authorities that make provision for adults should be able to apply, through the further education colleges, for funds to support that part of their work that falls within the funding councils' remit. The further education colleges must forward their applications to the councils where the provision in question would not otherwise be adequate in the area.

    The whole purpose of clause 6(5) is to enable community providers to have their schedule 2 work considered by a funding council. We have not merely stated that as an intention; a number of safeguards have been provided to ensure that it happens. If the procedures are to work effectively, a clear framework will of course be needed. We do not want complications, inefficiency or delay, for—as my hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North rightly says—that would threaten essential provision in some places.

    The Government will assist by giving guidance on the procedures for schedule 2 applications. A circular letter issued recently by my Further Education Funding Council unit includes the initial guidance for institutions on clause 6(5), and we shall follow it up with further guidance on procedures as soon as possible.

    As we said on Second Reading, the Further Education Funding Council will lay down a timetable which will allow plenty of time for the clause 6(5) procedures to work. Local education authorities—and through them, their institutions or services—will be given good notice of when applications should be made. The colleges will be asked to prepare for the applications by making sure that they are well acquainted with all the existing schedule 2 provision in their areas.

    The colleges will be given time to consider the applications and, certainly if the descriptions given to me by my hon. Friends the Members for Harborough (Sir J. Farr), for Twickenham and for Devon, North are correct, I am sure that in most cases where relationships are perfectly satisfactory, the colleges will put them to the council. However, if they do not and if all the suspicions that have been fanned are correct, my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster is right and they will have to notify the council. The council will not tolerate further education colleges ignoring the provisions of clause 6(5) and failing to put forward well judged applications for services that are accessible either because they are in rural areas or because they merely happen to be convenient in urban areas and people wish to pursue them.

    Where a bid is not put forward, the provider—the college or the service—will approach the council. In England it will approach its regional office which, as Mr. Stubbs apparently said in the meeting with my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster, will seek to resolve the conflict. It is not necessary to write that into the Bill. There is one overriding protection in the Bill to which the council will have regard when deciding what to do. The council has a statutory duty to ensure that adequate provision is made in different parts of the country.

    I am sure that Mr. Gunn, the chairman-designate, Mr. Stubbs, the chief executive-designate, and the people appointed to the Further Education Funding Council will not stand by if people in Devon or Leicestershire start saying that the colleges are not forwarding well-judged applications for schedule 2 funding. The funding council will be under a statutory duty to secure adequate provision in different parts of the country. I do not believe that the procedures that I have described are overly complicated or will cause delay. If for some reason they do not work and if the community provider is still unsatisfied, it is open to the college to appeal to the Secretary of State on the ground that the further education college or the council has acted unreasonably or has failed in its statutory duty.

    We can return to these issues, if we wish, when we debate new clause 7. There are perfectly clear mechanisms which people will follow but they can be made to sound complicated. When we discuss on Report a Bill which has necessarily been drafted in legal language, it is easy to debate it in terms which sound unfamiliar to the layman. With the greatest respect, I have been in the House for a long time—unlike most Conservative Members, I can remember being in opposition—and I confess that I have probably played that trick of making something sound frightfully obscure and complicated. But there is no point in alarming people in Devon or Leicester and making them fear that there is no perfectly straightforward procedure to get the funding council and the Secretary of State to sort things out if a local further education college starts messing about and not forwarding applications. We can deal with that when we debate new clause 7.

    If there is a countywide service, could that service make an application through one particular college, bearing in mind that some of the other colleges in the county would have annexes which would include part of the adult education service?

    Again, I am sure that we can correct this later if I am wrong, but a service would not have to go to the nearest further education college. If there were a countywide service, it would go to one within the county but a college would not have to go to the nearest FE college if it feared that the FE college might regard the adult college as a rival. It must go through a further education college in the locality to get the college to hand on the application to the funding council if the college is satisfied that there is a legitimate claim.

    I hope that we have covered that issue adequately at this stage. I accept that it is important. My hon. Friend the Member for Harborough, who is very experienced in these matters, is very concerned about the state of affairs in Leicestershire, but I believe that repeated debates will at least satisfy people that a procedure exists which will maintain the worthwhile provision needed to maintain an adequate service in all parts of the country.

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    Where there is split funding for an adult college and a request for capital provision, can my right hon. and learned Friend throw any light on who would be responsible for the funding where incorporation had taken place?

    It depends on what the funding is for—that is my first reaction. Again, I shall write to my hon. Friend. For most purposes, if the capital bid is to provide schedule 2 funding, it is plain that one will look to the capital provision that we have made for the Further Education Funding Council. If it is for local services, one will look to the local authority. However, just as money from two sources will not defeat the flow of revenue, split provision will not defeat the flow of capital.

    The Secretary of State is opening up an interesting new part of the Bill. If a bid from an adult education centre is for capital, largely in relation to schedule 2 work, is the Secretary of State saying that the centre would have to make that bid through a further education college, or can it make its bid separately? If it can make its bid separately for capital, why cannot it do so for revenue?

    If a further education college is incorporated with the funding council, it will make its capital bid to the funding council. If the adult college remains a local authority college, it will look to the local authority for its capital provision. It is the sector that will largely determine the source of capital. Of course, there are provisions under which colleges that do not automatically become incorporated as further education colleges within the funding council's ambit can apply to be incorporated if they so wish, but it is the sector that will largely determine their capital bids.

    I think that the Secretary of State is finding out more about the Bill as we go along. Is the answer to the question asked by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) that if the work is predominantly schedule 2 work and that, if there is a need for capital expenditure on the adult college in, for example, Richmond, that bid must be made through the local education authority—yes or no?

    It would, if the college had decided not to seek incorporation; but if it had chosen to concentrate on schedule 2 work, it would perhaps be a straight decision by the college not to seek incorporation. The sector would determine the application.

    We have covered the same ground again. This debate is becoming well-trodden ground. It is a popular Bill with a non-contentious purpose—the expansion of further education, of sixth form opportunities and of adult education. Most of our debates have eventually come to rest in the narrow area of complication with the procedures for schedule 2 funding for adult colleges. That is because there is so little real dispute about the Bill among people genuinely concerned about the subject. The Opposition are ideologically committed to local authority management of this matter as they are in almost every other part of education. They know that most people involved in further and adult education disagree with them fundamentally.

    The new clause is a red herring. It covers issues of genuine concern in some parts of the country, but I hope that the fact that we have debated it at great length yet again at the behest of the Opposition at the start of the timetable motion will enable us to put fears to rest. The Bill will expand opportunities for young people and for adults in all parts of education and training. I ask the House to accept that, to reject the unnecessary new clause and to enable us to move a step nearer to putting these new opportunities in place.

    The Secretary of State referred to the success story of adult education under this Government, although he acknowledged when pressed that that may have had something to do with the local education authorities. That is typical of the Government, who like to claim success as a Government success, but who see failure in terms of local authority failure. We do not see that only in education.

    It was rightly said that every amendment tabled in Committee was defeated. That was not because Ministers did not accept some of the arguments, but simply because the Government want to get the Bill through before the general election. They can then claim that they did well to get it on the statute book.

    Hon. Members have received many representations regretting the haste with which the measure is proceeding. The representations have come not only from councillors, but from the providers and users of adult education and further education. They regret very much that the timing of the measure means that debate will be curtailed and that there may not be the right atmosphere for a considered discussion of the issues.

    There may be support from further education college principals for the aim of getting the measure on to the statute book quickly, but they represent only a small fraction of those who have an interest and an active involvement in using and providing the services. I counsel that the wider view, not simply the view of a narrow group, is heeded.

    As we know, schedule 2 work is to be transferred to the funding councils, and adult education colleges may apply through the further education colleges to the funding councils for their schedule 2 work. Would it not have been sensible to allow direct application from adult education colleges as many are larger than the FE colleges through which they may have to apply? It would also have been sensible to allow consortia of adult education centres to combine in applying directly for schedule 2 funding.

    The same applies to whole county adult education services, which should not have to go through FE colleges. Although the Secretary of State has spoken at great length today to try to reassure people that there is not a valid worry, there is a genuine worry that some further education colleges may be a little less likely to apply promptly if they see the threat of competition from another source.

    Since the White Paper was published last summer, hon. Members of all parties have received shoals of letters from people who are concerned about the proposal—from users and providers of adult education. The hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) referred in his inimitable way in Committee to the pile of environmental refuse around him, much of which was no doubt letters that he had received on the subject. We all received such letters. The fact that Ministers have made many attempts—

    I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not implying that letters from constituents or from any one else were lying on the floor in Committee. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman agrees that correspondence from constituents is far too important and far too valued to be treated in such a cavalier fashion.

    I agree entirely. I did not seek to imply that the hon. Gentleman treats his constituents' letters with contempt. I know that that is not the case. I merely referred to the mountain of material, whether on the floor or on the Benches, as evidence of considerable correspondence on the matter. I trust that the hon. Gentleman accepts my explanation.

    Many letters have been received. Before I came into the Chamber, I talked briefly with my hon. Friend the Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes). He told me that he had received more letters on this matter than on any other since he became a Member of Parliament. Only this morning, he met pensioners in his constituency. The two matters uppermost in their minds were the future of libraries and the future of adult education classes. Ministers have not yet convinced the public, many of whom have written since the completion of the Committee stage, that all is well.

    If the new clause were accepted, it would show the people who have written to hon. Members and those who are concerned that the Government's words of reassurance mean something. I strongly support the new clause, and urge the Government to accept it.

    From listening to Opposition Members, their new philosophy seems to be, "If it works, don't fix it". That seems to be a powerful argument for no change and no innovation. The hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett), in whose speech I sought to intervene, referred to what he described as the first Bill on education that an incoming Labour Government would introduce. If he had given way—I was a little surprised that he did not—I would have asked him whether he would confirm that the first Bill on education introduced by a Labour Government would be an abolitionist Bill—a Bill to abolish the grammar schools, the grant-maintained schools, the assisted places scheme and the city technology colleges.

    I would have asked him how he would reconcile his "If it works, don't fix it" philosophy with those abolitionist policies. Everyone agrees that the grammar schools certainly work, that the grant-maintained schools certainly work, that the city technology colleges certainly work and that the assisted places scheme certainly works. The problem with Opposition Members is that they cannot see excellence when it stands up and hits them in the face.

    There were many comments about the success of local education authority policies. I remind Opposition Members that the polytechnics were part of the local authority empire. They have been freed up, and no one seriously argues that the polytechnics should return to the LEAs.

    I was interested in the speech of the hon. Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Carr). Has he had an opportunity to read an article in The House Magazine by his hon. Friend the Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor)? I accept the commitment of the hon. Member for Ribble Valley to higher education and especially to further education. I listened to him with interest in Committee and I felt that he developed some interesting points. Can he tell me why—I will give way—in the whole of the article by his hon. Friend the Member for Truro, I cannot find a reference to FE colleges or to further education?

    My hon. Friend expresses surprise. I was equally surprised. If the hon. Member for Ribble Valley wants to answer the point and to tell me why his hon. Friend the Member for Truro failed to mention further education, I will give way.

    I do not presume to answer for my hon. Friend the Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor) on that. He was invited to write an article for The House Magazine, which he duly did. I suggest that the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) writes to my hon. Friend, who will answer him directly.

    Will the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) acknowledge that his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science in a equivalent article did not mention adult education—an ignorance amply revealed in the debate?

    When I read the contribution by the hon. Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) in the same magazine, the only reference I could find was this:

    "Adult education has already been hit very hard by government-imposed cuts in local authority expenditure and poll-tax capping. The House should block this new assault."
    I find that remarkable, given the figures that my right hon. and learned Friend cited earlier. What did that "assault", as it was described by the hon. Member for Oxford, East consist of? It was an assault with money. There was an annual real decrease in expenditure on adult centres of 4 per cent. between 1975–76 and 1978–79, compared with an annual real increase of 3·1 per cent. between 1979–80 and 1989–90.

    6.30 pm

    I hear my hon. Friend asking, from a sedentary position, "Who was in power?" I suspect that that is something of a rhetorical question. My hon. Friend knows that it was the Labour Government—the same Government who had to bring in the International Monetary Fund to sort out the problems that they had caused. That was the only time in the nation's history when it was necessary to bring in the outside bankers.

    Let me continue on the same theme. There was an annual real increase in spend on further education colleges of less than 0·5 per cent. between 1975–76 and 1978–79, compared with an annual real increase of 1·6 per cent. between 1979–80 and 1989–90. If that is Opposition Members' idea of an assault, I wish that people would assault me in the same fashion and pour money over my head as the Government have poured money into adult education.

    The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the quality of adult education very much depends on the local education authority and on whether it is Conservative or Labour-controlled. Would he like to explain why, in my county of Humberside, there was recently a scandal involving people from Lincolnshire giving forged Humberside addresses because they wanted to make use of the superior adult education facilities—facilities that are virtually non-existent in Lincolnshire?

    I suspect that I should leave questions of forgery to Opposition Members.

    The present Bill is another important education Bill which continues the main thrust of the Government's policy—a policy designed to reduce bureaucracy and give additional powers and responsibility to those involved in the running of the nation's institutions. It is a policy that is in marked contrast to that of the Opposition, to whom only the grey uniformity of LEA control is acceptable. I have never been able to understand the socialist reasoning that the only good state education is LEA education.

    Just as the Education Reform Act 1988 gave additional powers to parents and schools, and the Education (Student Loans) Act 1989 freed up the polytechnics and cut the apron strings that secured them to the LEAs, so this Bill frees the 450 colleges of further education. I am convinced that power and responsibility should reside more closely with those who are involved in the day-to-day administration. Such a system will enable them to respond that much more quickly to the demands and challenges of students, employers and local communities.

    I am delighted that I have the support of my hon. Friend on that point.

    It should also be remembered that the LEAs are not always the colleges' best friends. Let me call in aid The Independent—not always regarded as the friend of the Conservative party. On 5 November last year, it said:
    "There is a tendency for LEAs to reduce funds to further education sector and put them into schools. But the provision of funds directly to a further education funding council will mean the funds being ring-fenced."
    The Independent may not normally be sympathetic to Government policy but on this occasion the newspaper certainly has it right. Under the Bill, funding for further education will be protected and—not before time—the unwelcome interference by LEAs in the running of colleges of further education will become a thing of the past.

    The Government now provide some £2 billion a year for further education in England and Wales. That funding will henceforth be protected. Money intended for further education will reach further education, to the benefit of all those studying in that sector.

    The Bill certainly cuts bureaucracy. At present, principals of colleges of further education must fight their corners every year with the officials at shire hall. They must take their place—often a lowly place—in the priority queue for funds with schools and administration. In future, all that will change.

    From the visits that I have made to the East Warwickshire college of further education in my constituency, I am aware that there is a wealth of talent in staffrooms and classrooms. The Bill will free up that talent and broaden the vision. It will do for colleges of further education what the 1988 Act did for the polytechnics.

    Let me give the House a couple of examples taken from the East Warwickshire college of further education. The principal tells me that he has plans to extend the college's courses—and not just for local people locally participating. He is going national and will seek to attract students to a much wider range of courses. Already he has pioneered a unique money-back guarantee to any part-time student who is not satisfied with his course. The principal is prepared for his college to be placed on a commercial rather than an institutional footing, and he welcomes the challenge the Bill will present. The freeing up of the colleges will result in a substantial increase in the variety and number of college courses so that they become more attractive to a much wider range of students.

    I many ways, the liberation of polytechnics from local authority control will serve as a blueprint for this latest transfer of control from LEA to individual institution. Given the success of that operation, no one now argues that the polytechnics should be returned to LEA control.

    In Committee, it was argued with some justification that adult and further education had been something of a Cinderella. Funds had either been sucked into the schools or directed to advanced education, sometimes at the expense of colleges of further education which had become poor relations. The Bill changes that. If, in the past, we have not done enough for young people leaving school at 16, or for adults who, for whatever reason, require additional education and training, the Bill helps to remedy that defect.

    At present, the further education colleges take about 360,000 full-time students and 700,000 part-time day students, with another 700,000 part-time evening students. Those students are spread among 450 institutions. The hon. Member for Leeds, Central has sought to dismiss those figures on the grounds that a substantial percentage do not receive a qualification at the end of the course. Although certificates are undoubtedly desirable, the fact that not everyone receives one on completion of a course does not mean that either the student or the course was unsatisfactory. In many cases—particularly in the case of short courses for adults that are designed to improve the quality of life through general education or leisure pursuits—certificates would be inappropriate. The absence of a certificate does not mean that a student has not benefited from the course that he has attended or that he has been wasting his time.

    In Committee, much emphasis was placed on the need to continue and extend adult education provision, whether for leisure or for learning. The Committee appreciated that good and useful courses do not always depend on certificates to justify their existence. Do I see the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) looking at me quizzically? I shall willingly give way to him if he wishes me to.

    The hon. Gentleman does not wish to intervene. I am sure that the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) will agree with me that, when control of the colleges is transferred, as it surely will be when the Bill is enacted, from the office of the director of education to the college principals, we will see a change of attitude and a substantial growth in opportunity.

    I said earlier that Opposition Members seem to believe that the only good education is that provided by the local education authority. Grant-maintained schools show that that is not true. That trend, which was continued with the polytechnics, will now grow into a flood with FE colleges.

    I was disappointed to learn that the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) said recently in a speech to principals of FE colleges that, were there to be a Labour Government—God forbid—Labour would repeal this legislation. No wonder the principals who bothered to listen to the hon. Gentleman looked shell-shocked. They were looking forward to developing a spirit of enterprise. Instead, they were promised stagnation—not so much liberation, more a case of renationalisation. No wonder the hon. Gentleman uncharacteristically remained silent in Comittee when I challenged him specifically on that point.

    Did the hon. Gentleman issue a press release of his remarks before he made his speech?

    I never issue press releases of my speeches, because they are always so good that the press always pick them up anyway.

    When the hon. Member for Leeds, Central opened the debate, he said that new clause 1 was a probing new clause. I believe that it is mischievous, and I hope that the House will reject it.

    I am delighted but rather surprised to be called next to follow the eloquent and modest comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey), because I would have expected more Opposition Members to be present to participate in this important debate.

    We are not participating in the debate because we are quite happy that our local authorities are doing the job. The hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) forgot to point out that the local authority which is so obnoxious in his area is Conservative-controlled.

    Order. One intervention at a time, please.

    I will come back to the local government point, but of course I will give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey).

    I must tell the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) that I was a member of Warwickshire county council for about six years, from 1974 to 1979 or thereabouts. I do not believe that Warwickshire county council is in any way obnoxious. Had the hon. Member for Rhondda been present for our debate on 4 February, he would have learnt that I spoke strongly in defence of my county. It is all there in Hansard. I happen to think that in many ways—

    6.45 pm

    I feel like a letter box, but I am honoured to pass the message from my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth to the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers).

    Perhaps I can now declare two interests as I am an adviser to the Association of Colleges for Further and Higher Education and the Association of College Management. As a former governor of the polytechnic in Kingston, I entirely endorse what my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth said about the experience of polytechnics moving from the local authority nursery to independence.

    I also want to pay tribute to the local authorities that nurtured the polytechnics in their early days and so allowed them to become independent. As a former governor of an FE college in the royal borough of Kingston, I pay tribute to the role of local government in Kingston and elsewhere in respect of the way in which local government has brought up our FE colleges so that they are not ready to become independent.

    I must tell the hon. Member for Ribble Valley that it is not just the college principals who are in favour of the Bill. It has received endorsement throughout the further education sector. My colleagues have been urged over the past few years to introduce such a measure and they have responded to that urging. The college principals, governors, teaching staff and other staff members as well as people in local authorities working with the colleges have supported the measure. As my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth said, they are dismayed at the possibility that the Bill might be undone were the unthinkable to happen and a Labour Government elected who reneged on this forward-looking measure.

    New clause 1 relates to adult education, and I am pleased to have an opportunity to refer to that subject. I am a great believer in continuing education, which I believe lasts from the cradle to the grave. No doubt some hon. Members will say that it goes way beyond the grave. Up there, in the wide blue yonder—I stress the blue—no doubt there are former educationists and Secretaries of State for Education and Science who are busy providing continuing education beyond this life—and that is as it should be.

    Adult education is a crucial part of overall education, and it should be encouraged. I know of many people who, as a result of adult education services, have found new opportunities in life. Many people have discovered quite late in life that they have the ability to benefit from further education as a result of their introduction to education through the adult service.

    New clause 1 paragraph (2)(c) refers to
    "the numbers of people progressing between sectors".
    We should be considering that important point. I have said before in this place that I have been impressed by people of all ages who have taken tip adult education courses even in fairly innocuous pastimes such as cake decoration. I was impressed by the fact that some people who took cake decorating courses progressed to FE courses in how to set up their own businesses. Other people who had been kept out of education because English is not their first language have found a welcome mat at adult education and gone on to courses in English as a second language.

    Is my hon. Friend aware that there is an adult education centre in my constituency called the Percival guild house? I recently visited the house and witnessed the courses available, which ranged from local history and the way in which the canals and railways emerged to practical courses in French, German and other languages. I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree that it is critically important that such centres are maintained. Under the Bill, matters will be easier, not harder.

    My hon. Friend is right. New clause I is useful because our debate has sent a message to local education authorities that there is nothing to stop them providing the excellent provision that they provided in the past. Some people have been concerned about the apparent divide between leisure and vocational work, but there is no reason why that should be anything more than an imaginary barrier, because there are different ways of achieving funding. The message from the debate should be that we expect our local education authorities, good as we may deem them to be, to continue to provide that excellent range of and access to education.

    Although everybody appreciates and welcomes the efforts by local authorities in adult vocational and further education in particular, does my hon. Friend recognise that there is widespread concern about the future funding of adult education and what appears to be the intrinsic contradiction in the current legislation in relation to the funding and composition of regional councils?

    I accept that funding is important. The hon. Member for Leeds, Central also referred to funding. In future, there will be various methods of funding adult education. The size of resources does not necessarily equate to the quality of provision. I recently handed out certificates at the annual prize-giving ceremony at I he Wandsworth adult education college. In its first year, having been liberated, to use the term that was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth, from the clutches of the ILEA, that college has not only enabled adult education to thrive but has taught record numbers of students a far wider range of subjects than would have been possible under the ILEA. It was not a matter of resources: it was a matter of the efficient use of available resources for local education authorities to spend on adult education.

    When I think of the quality of those courses, I think of the range of students who undertook GCSE art, all of whom managed to attain an A grade. Their ages ranged from 18 to 85. I think also of the quality of the work being done for special needs students. I am glad that my right hon. and learned Friend has made provision for that. Some students never thought of being able to achieve a certificate, but their receiving certificates is another sign of quality adult education within existing resources. Of course we want resources to be expanded. They are available if they are efficiently used.

    My hon. Friend mentions adult education. He will know that there has been much concern in many local authorities about the distinction between vocational and non-vocational courses. All resources necessary for vocational courses are coming through from our right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State. Local authorities are receiving funding for non-vocation courses through the Department of the Environment, but they are not making that clear to their local people. People are being told that a reduction in funding is the reason why their non-vocational courses are being cut. That simply is not true. Will my hon. Friend address that point?

    My hon. Friend is correct. As a former governor of an FE college and a former chairman of an educational committee of the ILEA, I know the pressures that one is under as chairman of education when it comes to resources which, in theory, are being passed down the line from the Government and which other departments of a council are all too quick to snatch up. That is one of the main reasons why we have had pressure from the colleges for this measure. They believe that, with a future separate funding council, that money will be put directly into the sector and not be hived off for the management expenses of an authority or for whatever dubious works a council may have in mind, often according to its political persuasions, or its preferences for spending money on a traffic management scheme rather than on education.

    As a sector, FE will have its own financing system through the funding council. As a result, we will give adult education the opportunity to benefit. It is not a matter of not allowing all adult education into the funding sector. We are saying to adult education, "We will permit you to benefit from the funding system that is coming into further education." My hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) rightly pointed out that, if funding does not come through as the result of an application through an FE college, a system of appeal can be used to ensure that the decision is vetted. At the very least, there is a possibility that the college would be overruled in its refusal to pass on the application.

    Does my hon. Friend recognise that, in the case of community colleges, there is a problem about direct access to funding councils? There may be a contradiction between further education colleges and community colleges apparently bidding for exactly the same money from the regional council.

    I hear what my hon. Friend says. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister of State has also heard it and will respond. I do not have community college experience in my constituency or indeed in my LEA, but I take note of the problem in Devon, Leicester, Richmond and elsewhere.

    I hope that the Government will look carefully in future at the way in which adult education colleges have or have not the right to apply directly for funding. Under the Bill, there is a way in which they can apply for direct funding if they succeed in obtaining incorporation, but that is not the most simple or straightforward way of achieving it. Some adult education colleges are concerned that the Government should keep that point under review and see whether there are ways in which colleges can get a direct connection. We must not allow education colleges which are doing FE work which is comparable to that done by FE colleges to be regarded as second-class citizens.

    I ask my hon. Friend the Minister of State also to consider concern in the FE and AE sectors about the transitional period. That may well be a matter for regulations rather than the Bill, but there is concern that, in the coming year, local education authorities will not spend as much as they might otherwise spend on the sector for the obvious reason they are making a commitment which will be paid direct next year by a funding council. I hope that that point will be taken into account and that those concerns can be put at rest.

    The new clause is unnecessary and expensive, as my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir J. Farr) mentioned. It is ineffectual because, apart from anything else, its forward planning is based on figures that nobody has seen. It is Government interference in the running of local councils. For these reasons, I oppose it.

    I endorse the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis). [H0N. MEMBERS: "Speak up."] I have been asked to speak up, and I am trying to do so, but several colleagues are making their own speeches. We have far too many reports. We have stacks and stacks of them. There is far too much reading matter. Most of it is unread and wasted. We need fewer reports. We should remember the philosophical principle of Occam's razor—do not multiply entities beyond necessity. I shall therefore vote against the proposal that we should have one more annual report.

    The new clause gives us the opportunity to debate the merits of adult education and to raise our anxieties about adult education in our constituencies. The growth in adult education under the Conservative Government has been tremendously impressive. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State said, if I heard him right, that there had been a 55 per cent. increase in the number of mature students in Britain in the past 10 years. The figure is now 215,000 or 216,000. That is a substantial number. It reflects well on the adult education departments of local authorities, of whatever political hue, which have sponsored and supported mature students.

    7 pm

    My constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) are well served by the Richmond-upon-Thames adult college, and we are both tremendously proud of it. It is a first-class college which offers an excellent range of courses. Last year, my hon. Friend and I were glad to sponsor an excellent art exhibition from the college in the Upper Waiting Hall of the Palace of Westminster. Conservative and Opposition Members alike will have been delighted to see that exhibition. It was to a high standard, as is much else that the college produces. It provides a great deal of enrichment and fulfilment of the lives of many of our constituents, both in the arts and on the vocational side—I share the view that it is often difficult to draw the line between the two.

    If I thought that anything in the Bill threatened Richmond-upon-Thames adult college, I could not support the Bill, but I do not see any such threat, despite a great deal of scaremongering. Some of the scares have gained some credence among gullible people, but it seems to me that the college is in no jeopardy.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes and I have received many letters reflecting the anxieties of some people in our constituencies. My hon. Friend the Minister of State met my hon. Friend and me in the Department on the morning of II February before the debate on Second Reading, and we expressed those anxieties. During the debate, in response to a question from me, my hon. Friend the Minister referred at some length to the particular case of Richmond-upon-Thames adult college. He said:
    "It is widely recognised that that is an excellent college which serves the local community well. I am well aware of the concerns felt in Richmond about the future of the college, and I wish to put them at rest."—[Official Report, 11 February 1992; Vol. 203, c. 903.]
    He went on to outline two ways in which the college could be funded in the future. The second was under clause 6(5), whereby the college would apply for funds through another college. I for one, regard that second option as undesirable—indeed, unacceptable—and I believe that it should be ruled out. It is not right that that excellent college should obtain its funding by applying through another college.

    My hon. Friend the Minister had outlined earlier the first option, which to my mind is the preferred one—that the college should be incorporated under clause 16, which my hon. Friend said was expressly designed to cover cases such as that of Richmond upon Thames adult college. Under that option, the college would apply for its basic funding to the Further Education Funding Council to be set up under the Bill. The college would he incorporated so that it received its basic funding from the FEFC.

    There is no need to amend the Bill to enable the college to receive that basic funding because that is already provided for in the Bill. However, the other part of its funding would continue to come from Richmond upon Thames borough council. That council, under Conservative control until 1984 and since then under Liberal control, has done its best over the years to uphold and advance the highly valuable and useful work of the college. The council's record has been good under both administrations, and I have no doubt that that good record will continue.

    There is no reason to believe that the council's intention to uphold the work of the college would diminish. First, we understand that the Bill places a statutory duty on the council to uphold the work of the college. Secondly, there is enormously strong and vociferous local public opinion in favour of adult education. It would be politically impossible for Richmond upon Thames borough council, under the control of whatever party, to desert the cause of adult education. Thirdly, the council has always upheld the college and there is no reason to think that it would stop.

    There is therefore no threat to the second part of Richmond college's funding, let alone to the first part of its funding through incorporation under the relevant clause of the Bill. Those who, for whatever motive, try to foment false fears in others act dishonourably. The college has provided an extremely impressive range of courses and an excellent service. I am happy that its future is safe and I am sure that the college will step forward with confidence into the future. I know that that is also the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes.

    I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on the new clause because Opposition Members, and especially the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett), made certain assertions which he said were the background to new clause 1. He said that the background to the new clause was that Conservative education authorities were cutting their further education budgets and that the whole system under which the Bill was introduced would therefore come apart.

    I draw the attention of the hon. Member for Leeds, Central to Labour-controlled Lancashire local education authority, for example. Its budget was increased by 16 per cent., but it has nevertheless cut its further education budget. But I especially wish to draw the attention of Opposition Members and in particular the hon. Members for Leeds, Central and for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) to Labour-controlled Birmingham education authority. Last year, Birmingham city council was awarded £456 million by the Government for education. It spent only £392 million. It chose to spend the remainder on such things as marrying up statues, marble steps for the council building and Caribbean night clubs.

    This year, Birmingham city council has been awarded £5 million by the Government and apparently plans to spend only £423 million. It then has the gall to seek to persuade the people of Birmingham that it has increased spending by £30 million. Of course, the richly deserved award to teachers will take up the majority of that increase in any case. The real increase is nearer £2 million. Once again, it will not spend the full amount that the Government have given it to spend on education.

    Therefore, the hon. Member for Leeds, Central cannot assert that new clause 1 is necessary because Conservative-controlled councils have cut their budgets for further education and therefore the Bill will come apart. It is perfectly obvious that Labour-controlled local education authorities have treated further education in a scandalous fashion. Birmingham is a good example.

    The hon. Member for Leeds, Central also made much play of the number of representations that he had received from various people involved in further education and adult education. He might be interested in the example of my college of further education—Hall Green college in my constituency.

    I rang the principal and the deputy principal to ask them their views on the Bill, and they said, "We pray you get it through as soon as possible." I have just given the House the reason—they do not trust the local education authority in Birmingham to give them the money which is theirs by right.

    My hon. Friend can scarcely be surprised that his colleges do not trust the local education authority, when it is not prepared to spend the funding that the Government make available. The catalogue of wasteful expenditure that he describes is truly appalling. The sooner that the city of Birmingham rejects that Labour administration and brings in a sensible council the better.

    I must agree with my hon. Friend. I hope and pray that the people of Birmingham will take that decision in the forthcoming local elections.

    In the meantime, principals in charge of further education colleges throughout Birmingham will he looking forward to the passage of the Bill and its implementation as soon as possible.

    It might be interesting for my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) to know that the underfunding has continued for some years. Birmingham city council has underspent the money which the Government have awarded it for education in the past four years. In each of those years, the Government have given it a substantial increase over and above inflation.

    When the hon. Member for Leeds, Central asks why we do not trust local education authorities, I tell him to look at Birmingham. Then he will see why we are trying to do something to set further education colleges free, and to give them the opportunity to thrive in the same way that polytechnics have been given that opportunity. New clause 1 is totally otiose in that process. It would merely add a huge army of civil servants. What would be their purpose —to act as some form of unpaid research assistants for the Labour party? I think not. The new clause would serve no purpose.

    The funding council will ring-fence expenditure on further and adult education—as my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) said—to the further education colleges, where it should go. It gives them the surety that they will get the funds that they have been awarded by central Government. That is the purpose of the Bill, and that is why I commend it to the House.

    New clause 1 is utterly against all the interests of my constituents. We have a long tradition of community colleges in Devon. While I am utterly opposed to any report being submitted annually by the Secretary of State to the House, as new clause 1 provides, I have concerns about the funding of further education in Devon.

    Paignton community college broadly welcomes the Bill. It will do a great deal for adult education. However, there is continuing concern about the funding council. I hope that community colleges will be allowed direct access to funding councils.

    I shall not stray off new clause 1 on to the subject of the composition of the funding councils, as I hope that there will be time to discuss that later, but it is important that vocational and non-vocational courses should continue to be offered in Devon colleges. Furthermore, I hope that there would be an element of ring fencing to funding from central Government.

    The key issue is who will benefit from the Bill. If it were just the staff, I would certainly oppose it. The Bill will benefit everyone who has the option of further or adult education, whatever the subject of the course they take. It is important that those courses should be maintained, and that naturally boils down to money. I hope that the Minister will take another long hard look at access to the funding councils, which is the key.

    7.15 pm

    In Paignton and Torquay, adult courses are extremely popular. However, there is great anxiety, especially among staff, that, if there were to be some kind of competition for the limited funds, one college might be able to offer one set of courses and thereby poach students from another. Devon is such a widespread community that we do not have the same opportunities as the metropolitan areas to provide a variety of courses. It is essential that money be provided for those courses, and that the staff who teach them have confidence that what is happening to them does not mean an ultimate reduction in funding.

    There is concern about the funding councils, but my hon. Friend the Minister could get around that problem by arranging for community colleges—which are not unique to Devon but are certainly helpful—to be able to apply directly for funds.

    Nothing in new clause 1 will be helpful to students or staff of community colleges in Devon. I hope that the House will reject it and will thereby find time to discuss new clause 7, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Sir R. Maxwell-Hyslop) and is an extremely important contribution to the Bill. Paignton community college has done sterling service—

    Order. We are not on new clause 7. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would hold his comments until that time.

    Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker. We are discussing new clause 1, and I am especially concerned about subsection (2)(a)—

    "the allocation of resources for adult learning".
    That is my prime concern, and that of many of my constituents and the staff and students of Devon colleges which will be directly affected by the Bill.

    Broadly speaking, the Bill is welcome. New clause 1 would not be welcomed, because implied within it is a level of bureaucracy which would make life more complicated, rather than easier, for students and staff.

    Reports to the Secretary of State are not the key: the key is the confidence of staff that they have access to the money and that they will not have to compete with other colleges in the same area offering the same courses. Accordingly, I urge the House to reject new clause 1.

    I am grateful for the opportunity to make a short contribution, and I apologise to the House for being unable to attend the earlier part of the debate.

    There has been a resurgence of interest in adult education during the past few years, as there has been in many other areas. The adult education school in Bury has a long and proud history. My mother and grandmother attended courses there. The importance of the college was emphasised to the local community last year, when it was under threat of closure by the local authority. A tremendous campaign was organised against the closure, and it was prevented.

    Following that success, however, people in the town became concerned about elements in the original White Paper upon which the Bill is based and about threats to the future of the college. At the time, I made representations to the Minister and to his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State, with my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, South (Mr. Sumberg).Since then, I believe that developments in adult education have been more encouraging, and I have no doubt that adult education has put itself more firmly on the map as a result of the various representations made to my hon. Friend. I see from his wry smile that he acknowledges the impact which various campaigners have had upon him.

    I pay tribute to Molly Smith, who has led students of the adult education school in Bury extremely well, and to Cliff Baxendale, the principal, who, supported by colleagues in other parts of adult education in Bury, has also mounted an extremely good campaign.

    Pleased as I am with the responses, there are other problems affecting adult education. Hon. Members will note that my name appears on new clause 7, which will be debated later. However, new clause I will not deal with the problems adequately. It merely contains an element of gloss, as it simply requires a report to be made on adult education; it has no substance behind it.

    As so often, new clause 1 reflects the Opposition's view that they need not make a solid commitment. It is all a ploy; they raise an issue and dress it up, but they avoid the commitment to further expenditure which is required by Beckett's law on the future of public expenditure under a supposed Labour Government. The Opposition hope to have the best of both worlds.

    My hon. Friend will recall that my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) raised precisely that point. By the time all the reports had been filled in, one would have written a small book.

    My hon. Friend makes a fair point. I appreciate that that is the problem. If we wish to do something properly for adult education, new clause 1 is not the way to do it.

    The cause of adult education has been raised and given extra importance during the passage of the Bill and because of the efforts that have been made around the country. We all recognise the importance of adult education, but that recognition is not adequately covered by the new clause. My right hon. and learned Friend and his colleagues have addressed some of the problems, but others remain.

    Like most hon. Members, I wish the improvements made in adult education in recent years to be safeguarded. I also wish to safeguard the opportunities for adults to train through life, be they on vocational or non-vocational courses. That is for people to choose. It is important that such opportunities are safeguarded in the future. I am sure that there is nothing in the Bill that will actively harm them.

    I am happy to see that local authorities will retain a degree of control and that colleges will need to relate closely to the adult education schools in their area in order to provide a proper service.

    If it were possible to safeguard adult education by the issue of reports, the new clause would be an admirable way to achieve that. Unfortunately, that will not work, and I prefer the approach of my hon. Friends. If I have an opportunity to catch your eye, Madam Deputy Speaker, on a later new clause, I may suggest a way in which to improve things further.

    Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

    The House divided:Ayes 192, Noes 291.

    Division No. 103]

    [7.21 pm


    Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley, N.)Canavan, Dennis
    Alton, DavidCarlile, Alex (Mont'g)
    Archer, Rt Hon PeterCarr, Michael
    Armstrong, HilaryCartwright, John
    Ashdown, Rt Hon PaddyClark, Dr David (S Shields)
    Ashley, Rt Hon JackClarke, Tom (Monklands W)
    Ashton, JoeClelland, David
    Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Clwyd, Mrs Ann
    Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Cohen, Harry
    Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)Corbett, Robin
    Barron, KevinCousins, Jim
    Beckett, MargaretCrowther, Stan
    Beggs, RoyCryer, Bob
    Beith, A. J.Cummings, John
    Bell, StuartCunlitfe, Lawrence
    Bellotti, DavidDalyell, Tarn
    Benn, Rt Hon TonyDarling, Alistair
    Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelll)
    Benton, JosephDavies, Ron (Caerphilly)
    Bermingham, GeraldDewar, Donald
    Blair, TonyDixon, Don
    Blunkett, DavidDoran, Frank
    Boyes, RolandDuffy, Sir A. E. P.
    Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
    Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)Eadie, Alexander
    Caborn, RichardEastham, Ken
    Callaghan, JimEnright, Derek
    Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Evans, John (St Helens N)
    Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
    Campbell-Savours, D. N.Fatchett, Derek

    Faulds, AndrewMarshall, David (Shettleston)
    Fearn, RonaldMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
    Flannery, MartinMartin, Michael J. (Springburn)
    Flynn, PaulMartlew, Eric
    Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMeacher, Michael
    Foster, DerekMeale, Alan
    Foulkes, GeorgeMichael, Alun
    Fraser, JohnMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
    Fyfe, MariaMitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
    Garrett, John (Norwich South)Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
    Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)Moonie, Dr Lewis
    Godman, Dr Norman A.Morley, Elliot
    Golding, Mrs LlinMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
    Gordon, MildredMowlam, Marjorie
    Gould, BryanMullin, Chris
    Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)O'Brien, William
    Grocott, BruceO'Hara, Edward
    Hain, PeterO'Neill, Martin
    Hardy, PeterOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
    Haynes, FrankParry, Robert
    Heal, Mrs SylviaPatchett, Terry
    Henderson, DougPendry, Tom
    Hinchliffe, DavidPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
    Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)Prescott, John
    Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Primarolo, Dawn
    Home Robertson, JohnRadice, Giles
    Hood, JimmyRandall, Stuart
    Howarth, George (Knowsley N)Redmond, Martin
    Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
    Howells, GeraintReid, Dr John
    Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)Robinson, Geoffrey
    Hoyle, DougRooker, Jeff
    Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Rooney, Terence
    Hughes, Roy (Newport E)Rowlands, Ted
    Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Ruddock, Joan
    Illsley, EricSedgemore, Brian
    Ingram, AdamSheerman, Barry
    Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
    Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)Shore, Rt Hon Peter
    Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldShort, Clare
    Kennedy, CharlesSkinner, Dennis
    Kilfoyle, PeterSmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
    Kinnock, Rt Hon NeilSnape, Peter
    Kirkwood, ArchySoley, Clive
    Lambie, DavidSpearing, Nigel
    Leadbitter, TedSteel, Rt Hon Sir David
    Leighton, RonSteinberg, Gerry
    Lestor, Joan (Eccles)Stephen, Nicol
    Lewis, TerryStott, Roger
    Litherland, RobertStraw, Jack
    Livingstone, KenTaylor, Matthew (Truro)
    Lofthouse, GeoffreyThomas, Dr Dafydd Elis
    Loyden, EddieThompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
    McAllion, JohnWallace, James
    McAvoy, ThomasWalley, Joan
    McCartney, IanWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
    Macdonald, Calum A.Wigley, Dafydd
    McFall, JohnWilliams, Rt Hon Alan
    McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
    McKelvey, WilliamWinnlck, David
    McLeish, HenryWise, Mrs Audrey
    Maclennan, RobertWorthington, Tony
    McMaster, GordonWray, Jimmy
    McNamara, KevinYoung, David (Bolton SE)
    McWilliam, John
    Madden, Max

    Tellers for the Ayes:

    Mahon, Mrs Alice

    Mr. Robert N. Wareing and

    Marek, Dr John

    Mr. Jimmy Dunnachie.


    Adley, RobertAspinwall, Jack
    Alexander, RichardAtkins, Robert
    Alison, Rt Hon MichaelAtkinson, David
    Allason, RupertBaker, Nicholas (Dorset N)
    Amess, DavidBaldry, Tony
    Amos, AlanBeaumont-Dark, Anthony
    Arbuthnot, JamesBellingham, Henry
    Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Bendall, Vivian
    Arnold, Sir ThomasBennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)
    Ashby, DavidBenyon, W.

    Bevan, David GilroyGorman, Mrs Teresa
    Blackburn, Dr John G.Gorst, John
    Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterGrant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
    Body, Sir RichardGreenway, Harry (Eating N)
    Bonsor, Sir NicholasGreenway, John (Ryedale)
    Boscawen, Hon RobertGregory, Conal
    Boswell, TimGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
    Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaGrist, Ian
    Bowden, A. (Brighton K'pto'n)Ground, Patrick
    Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Hague, William
    Bowis, JohnHamilton, Rt Hon Archie
    Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir RhodesHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
    Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardHannam, Sir John
    Brandon-Bravo, MartinHargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
    Brazier, JulianHargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
    Bright, GrahamHarris, David
    Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Haselhurst, Alan
    Browne, John (Winchester)Hawkins, Christopher
    Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Hayes, Jerry
    Burns, SimonHayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
    Burt, AlistairHayward, Robert
    Butler, ChrisHeathcoat-Amory, David
    Butterfill, JohnHicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
    Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
    Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
    Carrington, MatthewHill, James
    Carttiss, MichaelHind, Kenneth
    Cash, WilliamHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
    Channon, Rt Hon PaulHordern, Sir Peter
    Chapman, SydneyHoward, Rt Hon Michael
    Churchill, MrHowarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
    Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
    Clark, Rt Hon Sir WilliamHowe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
    Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
    Colvin, MichaelHunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
    Conway, DerekHunter, Andrew
    Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Irvine, Michael
    Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Irving, Sir Charles
    Cope, Rt Hon Sir JohnJack, Michael
    Cormack, PatrickJackson, Robert
    Couchman, JamesJanman, Tim
    Currie, Mrs EdwinaJessel, Toby
    Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
    Davis, David (Boothferry)Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
    Day, StephenJones, Robert B (Herts W)
    Dickens, GeoffreyKellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
    Dicks, TerryKey, Robert
    Dorrell, StephenKilfedder, James
    Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesKing, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
    Dover, DenKing, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
    Dunn, BobKirkhope, Timothy
    Durant, Sir AnthonyKnapman, Roger
    Dykes, HughKnight, Greg (Derby North)
    Eggar, TimKnowles, Michael
    Emery, Sir PeterKnox, David
    Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)Latham, Michael
    Evennett, DavidLawrence. Ivan
    Fallon, MichaelLee, John (Pendle)
    Farr, Sir JohnLester, Jim (Broxtowe)
    Favell, TonyLilley, Rt Hon Peter
    Fenner, Dame PeggyLloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
    Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
    Fishburn, John DudleyLord, Michael
    Fookes, Dame JanetLuce, Rt Hon Sir Richard
    Forman, NigelLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
    Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Macfarlane, Sir Neil
    Forth, EricMacGregor, Rt Hon John
    Fowler, Rt Hon Sir NormanMacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
    Fox, Sir MarcusMcLoughlin, Patrick
    Franks, CecilMcNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
    French, DouglasMcNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
    Fry, PeterMalins, Humfrey
    Gale, RogerMans, Keith
    Gardiner, Sir GeorgeMaples, John
    Garel-Jones, Rt Hon TristanMarland, Paul
    Gill, ChristopherMarlow, Tony
    Glyn, Dr Sir AlanMarshall, John (Hendon S)
    Goodhart, Sir PhilipMarshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
    Goodlad, Rt Hon AlastairMartin, David (Portsmouth S)
    Goodson-Wickes, Dr CharlesMates, Michael

    Maude, Hon FrancisShersby, Michael
    Mawhinney, Dr BrianSims, Roger
    Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir PatrickSkeet, Sir Trevor
    Mellor, Rt Hon DavidSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
    Mills, IainSoames, Hon Nicholas
    Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Speller, Tony
    Mitchell, Sir DavidSpicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
    Moate, RogerSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
    Monro, Sir HectorSquire, Robin
    Montgomery, Sir FergusStanbrook, Ivor
    Moore, Rt Hon JohnStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
    Morris, M (N'hampton S)Steen, Anthony
    Morrison, Sir CharlesStern, Michael
    Morrison, Rt Hon Sir PeterStevens, Lewis
    Moss, MalcolmStewart, Allan (Eastwood)
    Neale, Sir GerrardStewart, Andy (Sherwood)
    Nelson, AnthonyStewart, Rt Hon Sir Ian
    Newton, Rt Hon TonySumberg, David
    Nicholls, PatrickSummerson, Hugo
    Nicholson, David (Taunton)Tapsell, Sir Peter
    Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)Taylor, Ian (Esher)
    Norris, SteveTaylor, Sir Teddy
    Onslow, Rt Hon CranleyTemple-Morris, Peter
    Oppenheim, PhillipThompson, Sir D. (Calder Vly)
    Page, RichardThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
    Paice, JamesThorne, Neil
    Patnick, IrvineThornton, Malcolm
    Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)Thurnham, Peter
    Patten, Rt Hon JohnTownsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
    Pattie, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyTracey, Richard
    Pawsey, JamesTredinnick, David
    Peacock, Mrs ElizabethTrippier, David
    Porter, David (Waveney)Twinn, Dr Ian
    Portillo, MichaelVaughan, Sir Gerard
    Powell, William (Corby)Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
    Price, Sir DavidWaller, Gary
    Raffan, KeithWalters. Sir Dennis
    Raison, Rt Hon Sir TimothyWard, John
    Rathbone, TimWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
    Redwood, JohnWatts, John
    Rhodes James, Sir RobertWells, Bowen
    Riddick, GrahamWheeler, Sir John
    Ridley, Rt Hon NicholasWhitney, Ray
    Ridsdale, Sir JulianWiddecombe, Ann
    Rifkind, Rt Hon MalcolmWilkinson, John
    Roberts, Rt Hon Sir WynWilshire, David
    Roe, Mrs MarionWinterton, Nicholas
    Rossi, Sir HughWolfson, Mark
    Rost, PeterWood, Timothy
    Rowe, AndrewWoodcock, Dr. Mike
    Ryder, Rt Hon RichardYeo, Tim
    Sackville, Hon TomYoung, Sir George (Acton)
    Sayeed, JonathanYounger, Rt Hon George
    Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
    Shaw, David (Dover)

    Tellers for the Noes:

    Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')

    Mr. David Lightbown and

    Shelton, Sir William

    Mr. John M. Taylor.

    Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)

    Question accordingly negatived.