Skip to main content

Zero Hours Contracts Bill

Volume 588: debated on Friday 21 November 2014

Second Reading

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

In politics, it is said that there are no final victories and no final defeats; that each generation must fight many of the same battles that the generation before have, and that the generation after may have to fight as well. Today, I am fighting for the same thing that people of every generation have fought for: the right to decent and secure conditions and terms of employment.

It is not a great ask. A well-paid and steady job is the bedrock on which people build their lives. It is the starting point for planning for the future, and the platform of stability needed to pay the bills, meet the rent, pay the mortgage and start a family. Those are not extravagances, but the minimum that should be available to any person who is prepared to work to pay their way in a wealthy nation such as ours. Yet that stability and security is denied to millions of workers in this country. Increasingly, people are finding themselves plagued by job insecurity, not knowing from one day to the next whether they will be working or earning.

In recent years, the rise in the number of those feeling insecure at work has been startling. In 2011, 6.5 million people surveyed said that they felt insecure in their work. By this year, that number had almost doubled to 12 million people.

Let me make some progress. What we have witnessed is not so much an economic recovery as an economic transformation. Almost daily, the Government boast about job creation in the private sector, but the truth is that the jobs that were lost due to the global economic crash and the Government cuts have been largely replaced by low-skilled, low-waged and, sadly, insecure jobs. It is leaving large swathes of the work force living on, or just above, the breadline.

As they are so keen to remind us, the Conservatives have a long-term economic plan, but it is not one for the working person. Nowhere is that clearer than in the explosion in the use of zero-hours contracts. As recently as last year, the coalition was claiming that slightly more than 200,000 people were employed on zero-hours contracts. The true figure, as revealed by the Office for National Statistics, was in fact seven times higher than Government Ministers admitted—a staggering 1.4 million people engaged in zero-hours employment contracts.

Zero-hours contracts—if they are used at all—are supposed to be used for short-term or seasonal work, occupying a niche in the labour market, but the reality is that they have become the norm across many sectors.

The hon. Gentleman makes reference to the number of zero-hours contracts that exist at the moment. Back in 2000, the ONS estimated that there were 225,000 people on zero-hours contracts. Why is it all right for people to be on a zero-hours contract under a Labour Government, but not under a Conservative- led one?

If the hon. Gentleman had been listening, he would have heard me point out that Ministers in his own Government were admitting to 200,000 such contracts only three years ago, but there are now 1.4 million of them, which is a massive burgeoning in the use and exploitation of workers through the abuse of zero-hours contracts.

My hon. Friend is making a powerful speech on the use of zero-hours contracts, but is not the proof of the pudding always in the eating? Although unemployment has gone down in this country, the tax-take to the Treasury from income tax has stayed flat, despite the Treasury predicting a huge increase. That shows that we have under-employment and a massive explosion in zero-hours contracts.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point. Government Members celebrate the fact that 3 million workers have been taken out of tax completely, but they are also celebrating the fact that 2 million of them are earning £200 or less a week. I do not think that is anything to celebrate in this day and age.

Given the variety of employers now using zero-hours contracts, from Sports Direct to Buckingham palace even, it is clear that they are not just filling a niche; they are also being exploited by unscrupulous employers looking to dodge their responsibilities to their staff.

The hon. Gentleman talks about employers exploiting their workers by giving them zero-hours contracts. I presume that within that group he includes all the Labour councils that employ people that way. Has he done any investigations into why so many Labour councils employ so many people on zero-hours contracts?

As a matter of fact, I have. I would ask colleagues engaged in public service provision up and down the country to think very deeply about their employment practices. I do not condone it, but I know that for some workers zero-hours contracts are a handy way of gaining part-time employment, but only part-time employment. Many find it very difficult to sustain an ordinary family life on a zero-hours contract.

Is not the fact of the matter that the Bill, if we manage to pass it, would prevent anyone, whether a Labour council, a Tory council or even a Tory MP, from employing people on zero-hours contracts? They would be abolished entirely.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention. The Bill seeks to curtail the use of zero-hours contracts severely.

My hon. Friend is being generous in giving way. He is making a powerful case for how morally repugnant that kind of employment is, but does he also agree that more enlightened employers say that it is actually a lazy form of employing people and that, with more thought, those employees could have proper contracts and proper hours?

I will be developing that point in due course.

The gross weekly average wage for a zero-hours contract worker is £236, which is a full £246 less than the average wage for those in regular, full-time employment. We really need to think about the fact that in a nation such as ours, and in this day and age, so many people are employed on irregular hours and earn a mere £236 a week. Workplaces that utilise zero-hours contracts have a higher proportion of staff on low pay, and those employed on zero-hours contracts also work fewer hours—they work an average of 21 hours a week—than those in other part-time jobs who are not on zero-hours contracts, who work an average of 31 hours a week.

Zero-hours contracts are an employer’s paradise. In fact, they are a one-way street, because they demand total flexibility and commitment from individual employees but offer very little in return from the employer.

My hon. Friend is making a powerful speech. Does he accept that while those employers want it all their own way, they often penalise young people, in particular? For instance, when people cannot agree to work an extra shift, they find that they are offered no shifts the following week.

Absolutely. It is that sort of intermittent work pattern that is often exploited, because sadly in many parts of the country there is a surplus of labour, with many people either unemployed or underemployed.

Employees must agree to make themselves available for work but receive no guarantee of work in return. Workers find themselves being called into work at the drop of a hat or having their shifts cancelled with only a couple of hours’ notice or, in some cases, after they have already incurred the expense of travelling to work or arranging child care. They turn up at their place of work, only to be told, “We’ve nothing for you today.”

Does my hon. Friend agree that putting people in that position limits their ability to be economically engaged, because they cannot plan or apply for mortgages and all the rest of it? That might be to the benefit of the exploitative employer, but it does nothing to help the economy or people by giving them security of employment.

I could not agree more. I do not see the benefit to a local economy of having so many people on low pay. A low pay, low disposable income economy is not good for other small businesses in the area that are trying to sell their goods and services in the local market, which is deprived of disposable income.

Employees are expected to perform all the roles of a regular employee but have no entitlement to sick leave, holiday pay, overtime payments or many of the hard-won rights and protections that have been gained by work forces over the years.

My hon. Friend is very generous in giving way; I realise that he is struggling to maintain the flow of his speech. Will he join me in celebrating the work of our citizens advice bureaux? Mine in Musselburgh highlighted in its annual report the case of a man who had gone from five days a week on a zero-hours contract to two days. His employer would not pay him statutory sick pay or paternity pay, and then it turned out that the employer was not even paying him the minimum wage. It is just not good enough.

My hon. Friend’s example exemplifies the exploitative practices and abuse by some employers. For Government Members to deny that this is happening is unbelievable.

These are employment practices from another era, which is where they should remain. Zero-hours contracts are a new manifestation of the casualisation of the labour market, a race to the bottom in wages and terms and conditions, and a return to the bad old days of workers queuing at the factory gates, the shipyard or the pit and hoping to be picked to be employed for the day.

The growth of zero-hours contracts, together with other practices such as the appearance of payroll companies and umbrella companies, and the growth of bogus self-employment, means that in certain sectors we are seeing the virtual abolition of permanent and full-time work.

I could not agree more. As was pointed out earlier, it is about sloppy planning on the part of employers. If they looked at the way they employ people, they could rationalise the way in which their production and output work, and it would be better for the company if they did so.

Dockers—I meet old dockers, and sons and daughters of dockers—remember queuing for work every day, and being told to “sling their hook” when there was none. When sufficient men had been selected for work on a particular day, the rest were told to go home. The same practice has acquired a modern veneer. Rather than queuing at their place of work, people simply receive a text a couple of hours before a shift starts saying, “No work today.” This creates a desperate and easily exploitable work force.

I am sure every Member is aware of the horror stories we have heard concerning adult social care, where 307,000 workers are employed on zero-hours contracts. Employers frequently use such contracts to circumvent their obligation to pay the national minimum wage.

Fast-food companies such as McDonald’s spend thousands and thousands of pounds in this place, providing hospitality to right hon. and hon. Members at receptions. Will my hon. Friend join me in asking colleagues who feel it necessary to go along and sup the wine of people who are profiteering from zero-hour contracts for young people either to refuse to go to such a reception or, if they do go, to ask how many workers are employed by the company on zero-hours contracts?

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. In our community leadership role, as Members of Parliament representing constituencies throughout the country, we should be giving the lead on this by not giving succour to companies which, as he says, are engaged in these exploitative practices.

My hon. Friend mentioned the old dock employment practices, which were known in Liverpool as the “pen system”, for all the obvious reasons. Is it not instructive that it was a Labour Government, when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister, who abolished that system? Who abolished that in its turn? The Thatcher Government.

That comes as no surprise. The deregulation of workplace practices is the stock in trade of Members on the Government Benches.

Anyone who has had any experience of the hospitality sector will be familiar with workers being too frightened to turn down shifts or to make a complaint at work because of the fear that they will be “zeroed out” and employed for zero hours per week—in other words, no work this week and no work next week. Since the recession, there have been countless stories of employers who have fired their staff only to rehire them on zero-hours contracts, meaning that their workers are no longer entitled to sick leave, holiday pay, and other rights and protections.

My hon. Friend is making a very powerful speech. He mentioned adult social care workers. A constituent who came to see me highlighted just how little economic sense zero-hours contracts make for the taxpayer as well. From one week to the next, he may or may not be able to pay his rent and may need housing benefit support. That creates a total mess for the systems that have to provide support to these people on very insecure work contracts. The cost to the taxpayer of sorting out that mess is adding to the problem. Employers need to step up to the mark.

My hon. Friend makes a powerful point.

With regard to people working in the adult social care sector, it is right that we want the very best quality of care for the most vulnerable people in society—the elderly, the frail, the disabled and so on—who rely on these social care contracts, yet we expect people who are being paid next to nothing to conduct that high-quality care. I find that bizarre.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the situation at HMP Northumberland, where Sodexo, a French catering company, has privatised the prison and sacked or made redundant more than a third of the work force? It does not have enough people to make the prison safe, but it is bringing in people on banked-hours and zero-hours contracts. That is an outrage.

I could not agree more.

I was talking about the hospitality sector. Whether we allow this exploitation and abuse to continue is a question not just of whether these contracts are fair on the employee but of what type of society we want to live in and what type of economy we want to work in. Do we really expect our sick and elderly to get the care they deserve when those we trust to care for them live in fear and trepidation, not knowing whether they will earn enough to keep the heating on or buy the weekly shop? Do we really think that we will reduce the benefits bill—the frequently stated intention of the Government—when only state subsidies for employers paying poverty wages are keeping our work force’s heads above water?

My hon. Friend is making a terrific speech, and I am proud to support his private Member’s Bill. I completely agree with his points about the hospitality sector. May I also draw his attention to very profitable companies where there is no real excuse for the employer to switch from existing contracts of employment to zero hours? I am thinking of JD Sports, for example, where 90% of the work force were switched from standard contracts to zero hours. It is sheer exploitation so that the workers cannot be paid pensions and other benefits.

My hon. Friend makes a pertinent and powerful point.

Given that there is an inextricable link between job security and consumer confidence, do we really think that workers with little or no job security, living in a climate of fear, are the foundation of a successful Britain in a globalised world? In the previous two centuries, tremendous and hard-fought-for progress was made on workers’ rights and conditions of service, and it is madness to spend the 21st century going into reverse.

The principle enshrined in the Bill is simple: if someone works regular hours they should have a regular fixed-hours contract, along with all the rights and protections afforded to regular workers. It is unacceptable that a person who works as a full-time employee, sometimes for many months, or even years, remains on a zero-hours contract.

Does my hon. Friend accept that this system does not work for the people who receive these services? Many constituents have said to me that they have people, particularly in the social care sector, coming into their homes and carrying out very personal tasks for them, and that they need consistency. They want to know that the same person is coming in and that they can trust that person, and that does not happen with zero-hours contracts.

I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. I repeat that if we really want to care for the most vulnerable in our society, we should have people in professional positions doing so on a regular basis. The familiarity of seeing the same person time and again is the bedrock of a care system.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill, which is going through the other place at the moment? It has been described as “utter tosh” by the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), the previous Attorney-General, and is designed to increase the number of volunteers. The big society seems to be an idea whose time has gone. The Bill is designed to push people not into zero-hours contracts, but into zero-pay contracts.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point. I have the greatest admiration for many people up and down the country who devote their time freely to volunteering for a whole range of charitable and local causes. At the same time, however, I detest the fact that those volunteers are replacing full-time, paid jobs, because that is not good for the local economy.

My Bill states that if someone has been in a job for 12 weeks, they will become a regular employee entitled to a fixed and regular-hours contract with all the conditions of service that go with it. We will not prosper as a society or grow the type of economy we need as long as more than 1 million workers go to sleep at night not knowing whether they will have the much-needed earnings from the next morning’s shift. The Bill would allow workers to escape from the financial limbo in which many of them find themselves.

The Bill states that if someone’s employer requests or requires them to work without giving reasonable notice of three days, they should be paid time and a half for a shift ordered within those three days. It also states that if their employer cancels their shift at the last minute, they should not be plunged into financial instability but paid in full for the period in question.

That will take a measure of improved work force and production planning by employers, but that is not a bad thing in itself; it is actually good for companies to rationalise the way in which they engage people. The Bill would return a degree of mutuality and fairness to the employment arrangements with which many of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society find themselves.

I am delighted that Labour Front Benchers have pledged to stamp out the abuse of zero-hours contracts when they are elected to government in 2015, but I do not believe that underpaid, insecure, zero-hours contract workers—our constituents—should have to wait until then.

People outside this place see zero-hours contracts for what they are: Victorian-era employment practices that have no place in a modern, 21st-century economy. Those employed on them know only too well what a zero-hours contract means: low pay, insecure work and zero rights in the workplace. If the Government will not support our plans, it will yet again fall to a Labour Government to protect the interests of ordinary working people doing a decent day’s work in workplaces up and down this nation.

I congratulate the hon. Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns) on promoting his Bill and on his speech. I very much enjoyed the time I spent working with him on the Backbench Business Committee and I would like to think that everybody would agree that he is one of the nicest people in this House. I wish him well personally, even though I cannot particularly guarantee that I will support his Bill. I hope he will realise that that is not meant personally in any way, because he is a good guy and I certainly do not doubt his sincerity in promoting the Bill. Anyone could tell from his speech that he clearly feels very strongly about it, and I am all for people who stand up for things they believe in. The hon. Gentleman believes in this Bill and more power to his elbow for that. [Hon. Members: “But?”] There is a “but” and it would be quite a lengthy one if I had the time.

To be perfectly honest, I must say, and we need to get this on the record before the clock counts us out, that it is a bit rich for the Labour party to come here en masse to pretend that they are massively opposed to zero-hours contracts, when if one believes what one reads in the press—I am one of those who does, rightly or wrongly—it appears that some of the worst offenders are not only Labour councils, but Labour MPs. I do not know whether any of those in the Chamber want to fess up today, but perhaps those who skulked out quietly at the start of this debate are the guilty parties. I read somewhere—so it must be true—that 62 Labour MPs, which I reckon is about a quarter of them, actually employ their staff on zero-hours contracts, which I cannot believe.

That was a very nice attempt at a smear. Will the hon. Gentleman say where that was published and where the information is, and how about naming some names? He cannot just cast that out on to the water as if it were true.

The hon. Gentleman’s problem and mine is that the unnamed Labour MPs do not, for some reason, admit to it. They do not come out and say that they use zero-hours contracts.

Order. The hon. Gentleman will give way when he is ready. The hon. Member for Bolton South East (Yasmin Qureshi) does not have to remain standing. I do not want her knees to give way while she is waiting, because it could be a long time.

I would be perfectly happy for us to have some way of admitting whether we employ our staff on zero-hours contracts. I do not, and I have no intention of doing so, but perhaps there might be something that we all sign.

The issue is not about which councils or which MPs use zero-hours contracts. If the hon. Gentleman and the Government supported our Bill, everyone would be banned from using them. Surely the issue is about stopping the use of zero-hours contracts.

I understand that point, and it was made in an intervention by the hon. Member for Wansbeck (Ian Lavery) during the opening speech of the hon. Member for Gateshead. I do not want to embarrass the hon. Member for Wansbeck, but I am a big fan of his as well. He is also a good guy, and he stands up for what he believes in.

I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a second.

My problem with such an argument is that no law currently makes it compulsory to employ somebody on a zero-hours contract. Nothing forces any Labour council to employ somebody on a zero-hours contract; it is their choice. My point is that if the Labour party genuinely wanted to end zero-hours contract, the best thing to do would be to start by smartening up their act and to make sure that no Labour MPs or councils employ people on such contracts.

There is not much time left, but I will do my best to squeeze in the hon. Gentleman.

It is not just any old Labour councils that go for zero-hours contracts. I know that Bury council, the council of my hon. Friend the Member for Bury North (Mr Nuttall), is one of the worst offenders, but so is the council in Doncaster, my home town. People in Doncaster have the honour, the privilege or the misfortune—I do not know which, but we can all choose an appropriate adjective—not just to have the Leader of the Opposition as one of their MPs, but to have their three local MPs in the shadow Cabinet. They are blessed with highly talented people, including the Leader of the Opposition, as their local MPs. If the abolition of zero-hours contracts was so important for the Labour party, one would think that its leader, who is the Leader of the Opposition, might just have enough clout in Doncaster, with an elected Labour mayor and a majority Labour council, to encourage it to get rid of zero-hours contract. There are two things at play. Either the Labour party really has no intention of getting rid of zero-hours contracts and does not really care about them, or the Leader of the Opposition has so little clout within his party, and so few persuasive skills, that he cannot even persuade a Labour council and an elected Labour mayor to do it.

I am going to call the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Jim Sheridan) my hon. Friend, because he is a great man, a fellow member of the Select Committee. I know that has probably finished off his career for good, but he is a great man. I give way to him, because he has been waiting patiently.

I am sorry I stood up. First, I plead not guilty to employing people on zero-hours contracts—not guilty, your honour. I would also quite like to exonerate my local authority from engaging people on zero-hours contracts. Not only does it not engage people on zero-hours contracts, but it pays them the living wage.

I very much welcome that intervention. To be honest, I would never have thought that the hon. Gentleman was one of the people who used zero-hours contracts. He is a good man and he does not only stand up for what he believes in; he practises what he preaches. I take my hat off to him for that.

We have a good process of elimination going on here. If we could just get every single Labour MP before us, we could go through them one by one and find out which have been using zero-hours contracts.

I will give way in a second.

However, I think what we have safely also found out today is that the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has much better powers of persuasion than the leader of his party. If only he were leader of his party the party might not be in the dire straits that it is in at the moment.

I am not admitting it; I absolutely do not use zero-hours contracts. I think part of the problem is that many local authorities do not have tight enough procedures with subcontractors; I would encourage them so to do. The point I wanted to make is this: is not what we are all concerned about in-work poverty and the 59% increase in such in-work poverty?

I am grateful. We have had a second Labour view. I think, if I heard correctly, the hon. Gentleman said that he does not employ anybody on a zero-hours contract. That is two down—plenty more to go.

I am aware that colleagues from all parties occasionally employ people on a task-and-finish basis—a fixed fee for doing a particular task, using the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority payments system. That may have been interpreted by the Daily Mail as employing people on zero-hours contracts.

We are getting nearer. I fear that if we go much further, we will get a full confession at some point.

This is a really serious debate, but we seem to be trivialising it, suggesting that the problem is perhaps the fault of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. The hon. Member for Bury North (Mr Nuttall) hit the nail on the head. I think it was in 2000 that only 200,000 people in this country were on zero-hours contracts. As we sit in the Chamber today, there are 1.4 million people on zero-hours contracts. That is the real problem. I stand for the total abolition of zero-hours contracts for every single person, regardless of where they work.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. There is a certain amount of dispute over the actual number of people who are on zero-hours contracts. The labour force survey, which collects data on individual workers, not on the number of contracts, and asks employees and not workers for the information, has an estimate for the fourth quarter of 2013 of 583,000 people on zero-hours contracts. There is clearly a dispute over the figures. I am not necessarily saying that the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are wrong in their figures; they have obviously sourced those figures from somewhere. Those who compile the labour force survey have different figures.

I genuinely do not understand the hon. Gentleman’s logic. He seems to be saying that it is absolutely fine for 200,000 people to be on zero-hours contracts, but that it is an absolute scandal for 1.4 million people to be on those contracts. Either zero-hours contracts are a good thing or they are a bad thing. Surely it cannot be a question of, “Because there were only 200,000 people on zero-hours contracts when Labour was in office, that was fine; that was a reason to do absolutely nothing about it and bury our heads in the sand, but now there are a few more of them, it is a massive scandal and we need to do something about it.” Either zero-hours contracts are right or they are wrong. The number of people who are on them cannot be the determining factor.

The public might be interested to know whether the hon. Gentleman favours or opposes zero-hours contracts. Throughout everything he has said, he has not made that clear. Since he is attempting to criticise certain councils, that might mean that he is against zero-hours contracts. Perhaps he would like to support the Bill promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns) today?

If Labour Members were not so enthusiastic in standing up to admit whether they employ anyone on a zero-hours contract or otherwise, I might get around to starting my speech. If I were able to do so, we might get into the nitty-gritty of the debate, but I am afraid that all of my time thus far has been taken up in dealing with excitable Labour Members which means that we cannot have the debate that the hon. Lady wants.

I just want to follow up on the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh East (Sheila Gilmore). I appreciate that we only have about five minutes left and I know that the hon. Gentleman has said that he has yet to start his speech, but perhaps to save a bit of time he could tell us whether he is in favour of zero-hours contracts or not. If he is not, will he give me an indication of whether he will support the Bill promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns)?

I would like to think that I made it clear at the start of my speech that I do not support the Bill. For many workers, particularly students, zero-hours contracts are a good thing. They suit their patterns, they help them and they are a good way into the employment market. It suits their lifestyle to have zero-hours contracts. Some people have zero-hours contracts through choice; they are not all awful. I do not want to ban something that many people have by choice. So no, I do not agree with the Bill.

My hon. Friend is making a brilliant speech. When is he going to get on to that part of the Bill that makes it clear that those proposing it are not against zero-hours contracts completely and do not wish to outlaw them? They just wish to limit them, yet all their rhetoric has been about outlawing zero-hours contracts.

My hon. Friend makes a good point and I would have liked to have humoured him by going through all this in as much detail as he would want, but it appears that time is against us. He is right to draw attention to the fact that once again—the situation is very similar to the previous debate—the Labour party is trying to give an impression to its voters, perhaps running scared of UKIP in its constituencies, that its Members believe in something. Yet the Bill proposed is nothing like the rhetoric that accompanies it.

Does my hon. Friend agree that one can always make improvements to zero-hours contracts? This is the first Government to have consulted on zero- hours contracts, we have got rid of the exclusivity clauses and we are bringing in transparency to ensure that people know they are on zero-hours contracts.

I have no doubt that the Government are moving towards the Labour party on this issue; they tend to move towards the Labour party on most issues. The Minister’s confirmation of that fact comes as no surprise to me and I do not think it will come as much of a surprise to anybody.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is always dangerous to try to get him on side and that it can often backfire on a Minister?

The hon. Gentleman was complaining about the direction in which his party is moving, so I wondered in which party’s direction he was moving.

I am not moving in any direction. As I have for the past 10 years, I am staying where I am in every possible regard. I do not move my views and policies based on what the latest opinion poll says or what the other parties might say. If there is one thing the people might be able to agree about it is that I stick to what I believe in, no matter how popular or unpopular it is or whatever the passing trend or fad. I stick up for what I believe in, which is something I have in common with the hon. Member for Gateshead. He does much the same.

In the limited time left, I want to pick up on one more point. It was unfortunate, as I do not think the hon. Gentleman intended to say this, but he seemed to indicate that zero-hours contracts were linked to quality of care.

He is nodding in agreement. I think that is unfair on those people who work in the care sector on zero-hours contracts. There is no evidence that they give any worse care than other people—

The debate stood adjourned (Standing Order No. 11(2)).

Ordered, That the debate be resumed on Friday 28 November.