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House of Commons
Session 1999-2000
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Thursday 8th June 2000

The House met at half-past Eleven o'clock.
PRAYERS.
1London Local Authorities Bill [Lords],—The Order of the day being read, for consideration of the London Local Authorities Bill [Lords], as amended in the Committee;
 
        Ordered, That the Bill be considered on Thursday 15th June.
2Mersey Tunnels Bill,—The Order of the day being read, for the Second Reading of the Mersey Tunnels Bill;
 
        Ordered, That the Bill be read a second time on Thursday 15th June.
3Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,—Sir David Madel reported from the Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the Education (Student Support) (Amendment) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1120) and the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1121).
 
        Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.
4Seventh Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,—Mr George Stevenson reported from the Seventh Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency and Prevention of Terrorism Provisions) (Continuance) Order 2000.
 
        Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.
5Control of Hedgerows in Residential Areas Bill,—The Order for reading the Control of Hedgerows in Residential Areas Bill a second time to-morrow was read and discharged.
 
        Bill to be read a second time on Friday 21st July.
6Opposition Day [13th allotted day],—It being an allotted day at the disposal of the Leader of the Opposition in pursuance of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business), the House proceeded to consider Opposition business.
 
        Pensions,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House believes that the Government's policy towards pensioners is patronising and confusing; recognises that pensioners want the dignity of receiving social security through their basic state pension as an entitlement and not through complicated special payments; urges therefore that the winter fuel payment, free TV licence, and the age addition, along with funds from abolishing the failed New Deal for Lone Parents and other savings, should all be put into a substantial increase in the basic state pension for 2001/2002 of £5.50 for a single pensioner under 75, £7 for a couple under 75, £7.50 for a single pensioner over 75, and £10 for a couple over 75, together with a commensurate increase in thresholds for benefits and tax allowances, so that the value of the increase is passed on to all pensioners, ensuring that they are better off than at present under this Government's muddled and incompetent policies—(Mr David Willetts);
 
        An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 2, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'condemns the Opposition for making no commitment to the welfare of either today's or tomorrow's pensioners, opposing every step the Government has taken to help pensioners and producing proposals for next year's basic pension uprating which amount to bribing pensioners with money which is already theirs; recognises the legacy of increasing pensioner poverty left by the last Government; applauds the Government for doing more to help all pensioners, spending £6 billion more than planned by the last Government, but most for those who need help most by concentrating half the additional money on the poorest quarter of pensioners; congratulates the Government for tackling poverty directly with the Minimum Income Guarantee, helping take-up through better publicity and simplified claims procedures; supports the Government's plans to help those pensioners who just fail to qualify for the Minimum Income Guarantee by raising the capital limits to £12,000 from April 2001 and committing itself to bringing forward proposals for a Pensioner Credit which will reward thrift; congratulates the Government for helping all pensioners with their costs, including Winter Fuel Payments and free television licences for people aged 75 and over; and applauds the Government's strategy for ensuring that, in the future, nobody who has put in a lifetime of work or caring need retire onto means-tested benefits, including a commitment to the basic state pension, a state second pension which does more for 18 million people including those on low and moderate pay, with caring responsibilities or broken work records because of disability, and new flexible, low cost, stakeholder pensions', instead thereof.—(Mr Secretary Darling.)
 
        And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr John Randall, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: 121.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr Mike Hall, Mr Don Touhig: 301.
 
        So the Question was negatived.
 
        And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments):—It was agreed to.
 
        The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
 
        Resolved, That this House condemns the Opposition for making no commitment to the welfare of either today's or tomorrow's pensioners, opposing every step the Government has taken to help pensioners and producing proposals for next year's basic pension uprating which amount to bribing pensioners with money which is already theirs; recognises the legacy of increasing pensioner poverty left by the last Government; applauds the Government for doing more to help all pensioners, spending £6 billion more than planned by the last Government, but most for those who need help most by concentrating half the additional money on the poorest quarter of pensioners; congratulates the Government for tackling poverty directly with the Minimum Income Guarantee, helping take-up through better publicity and simplified claims procedures; supports the Government's plans to help those pensioners who just fail to qualify for the Minimum Income Guarantee by raising the capital limits to £12,000 from April 2001 and committing itself to bringing forward proposals for a Pensioner Credit which will reward thrift; congratulates the Government for helping all pensioners with their costs, including Winter Fuel Payments and free television licences for people aged 75 and over; and applauds the Government's strategy for ensuring that, in the future, nobody who has put in a lifetime of work or caring need retire onto means-tested benefits, including a commitment to the basic state pension, a state second pension which does more for 18 million people including those on low and moderate pay, with caring responsibilities or broken work records because of disability, and new flexible, low cost, stakeholder pensions.
 
        Genetically-modified Crops,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House deplores the Government's mishandling of the consequences of the presence of GM seeds in a batch of conventional oil seed rape seeds imported to Britain from Canada, which were subsequently planted for commercial purposes; and condemns the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's response which has led to a collapse in public confidence and unnecessary difficulties for the agricultural industry—(Mr Tim Yeo);
 
        An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 2, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'endorses Her Majesty's Government's approach to the development of GM technology in agriculture; believes that the Government has responded in a responsible, open, considered and proportionate way to the recent discovery of the adventitious presence of GM seed in conventional oilseed rape seed; supports the priority the Government has given and continues to give to the protection of public health and the environment, and its continued determination to act on the best available scientific advice; applauds the creation of the new, independent Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission to provide strategic advice on GM issues; welcomes the announcement by the seed company Advanta, following discussions with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, that they will provide a fair and equitable compensation package to affected farmers; and commends the Government for the action it is taking at both national and international level to minimise the risk of a similar incident occurring in the future', instead thereof.—(Mr Nicholas Brown.)
 
        And the Question being proposed, That the original words stand part of the Question.
 
        Mr James Arbuthnot rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
 
        And the Question being put, That the Question be now put:—It was agreed to.
 
        And the Question being accordingly put;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Mr John Randall: 144.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Jim Dowd, Mr Clive Betts: 267.
 
        So the Question was negatived.
 
        And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments);
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Jim Dowd, Mr Clive Betts: 253.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr John Randall, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: 125.
 
        So the Question was agreed to.
 
        The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
 
        Resolved, That this House endorses Her Majesty's Government's approach to the development of GM technology in agriculture; believes that the Government has responded in a responsible, open, considered and proportionate way to the recent discovery of the adventitious presence of GM seed in conventional oilseed rape seed; supports the priority the Government has given and continues to give to the protection of public health and the environment, and its continued determination to act on the best available scientific advice; applauds the creation of the new, independent Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission to provide strategic advice on GM issues; welcomes the announcement by the seed company Advanta, following discussions with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, that they will provide a fair and equitable compensation package to affected farmers; and commends the Government for the action it is taking at both national and international level to minimise the risk of a similar incident occurring in the future.
7Public Petitions,—Public Petitions from—
 
        (1) residents of Derbyshire and elsewhere calling for control on the activities of sex offenders against children; and
 
        (2) residents of Gainsborough and surrounding areas opposing discrimination by the broadcasting authorities against religious bodies
 
         were presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.
8Adjournment,—Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mr Kevin Hughes.)
 
        And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till nineteen minutes to Eight o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.
[Adjourned at 7.41 p.m.
Betty Boothroyd
Speaker        

Madam Speaker will take the Chair at half-past Nine o'clock.

APPENDIX I
Papers presented or laid upon the Table:
Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:
1Local Government,—Draft London Local Authorities (Charges for Stopping Up Orders) Regulations 2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
2Northern Ireland,—Draft Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Designation of Public Authorities) Order 2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Mandelson].
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
3Environmental Protection,—Highway Litter Clearance and Cleaning (Transfer of Responsibility) (A13 Trunk Road) Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1508), dated 7th June 2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
4Food,—(1) Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1509), and
 
        (2) Processed Cereal-based Foods and Baby Foods for Infants and Young Children (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1510),
 
    dated 7th June 2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Milburn].
5Legal Services Commission,—Community Legal Service (Funding) (Amendment) Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1541), dated 6th June 2000 [by Act] [Mr David Lock].
6London Government,—(1) Greater London (Penalty Fares) (Croydon Tramlink Designation) Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1442), dated 24th May 2000, and
 
        (2) Transport for London (Transitional Provisions) (Croydon Tramlink) Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1506), dated 2nd June 2000
 
    [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
7Road Traffic,—Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1507), dated 7th June 2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
8Sea Fisheries,—(1) Undersized Lobsters Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1503), and
 
        (2) Undersized Spider Crabs Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1502),
 
    dated 7th June 2000 [by Act] [Mr Nicholas Brown].
9Value Added Tax,—(1) Value Added Tax (Protective Helmets) Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1517), dated 8th June 2000, and
 
        (2) Value Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No. 2) Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1515), dated 7th June 2000
 
    [by Act] [Dawn Primarolo].
Other Papers:
10Armed Forces' Pay,—Supplement to the Twenty-ninth Report of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body: Service Medical and Dental Officers [by Command] [Cm. 4566] [Mr Secretary Hoon].
11Education,—Account of the Funding Agency for Schools for 1st April to 31st October 1999, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 560] [Clerk of the House].
12Government Trading Funds,—Report and Accounts of the Meteorological Office for 1999-2000, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 517] [Clerk of the House].
13Public Petitions,—Observations by the Department of Health on the Petition [19th April] from residents of Shropshire and Mid Wales for fair and equitable access to infertility treatment [by Standing Order]; to be printed [Clerk of the House].
14School Standards and Framework,—Account of the Sheffield North East Education Action Zone for 1998-99, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 559] [Clerk of the House].
APPENDIX II
Standing Committees
1Local Government Finance (England) Special Grant Report (No. 62) on Private Finance Initiative (House of Commons Paper No. 458),—The Committee of Selection has discharged Mrs Llin Golding from the First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the Report); and nominated in substitution Chris McCafferty.
2Education (Student Support) (Amendment) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1120) and the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 1121),—The Committee of Selection has discharged Mr Andrew Love from the Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the Regulations); and nominated in substitution Mr Brian White.
European Standing Committees
3The Speaker has appointed Mr Jonathan Sayeed Chairman of European Standing Committee A in respect of European Union document No. 6320/00, a Commission White Paper on Environmental Liability.
APPENDIX III
1Culture, Media and Sport,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee [Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade]; to be printed [No. 371-viii] [Mr Gerald Kaufman].
2Environmental Audit,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Environmental Audit Committee [Environmental Audit and Accountability]; to be printed [No. 444-ii] [Mr John Horam].
3Home Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Home Affairs Committee [Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971]; to be printed [No. 561-i] [Mr Robin Corbett].
4International Development,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the International Development Committee [HIV/AIDS and Social and Economic Development]; to be printed [No. 558-i] [Mr Bowen Wells].


Supplement to the Votes and Proceedings
Thursday 8th June 2000
Minutes of Proceedings of the Sitting in Westminster Hall
[pursuant to the Order of 24th May 1999]

The Sitting commenced at half-past Two o'clock.
1Adjournment,(Gibraltar),—Resolved,That the Sitting be now adjourned—(Mr Don Touhig.);
 
        And accordingly the sitting was adjourned til Tuesday 13th June.
[Adjourned at 5.44 p.m.
Sir Alan Haselhurst
Deputy Speaker        



 
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