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Session 1999-2000
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Monday 6th November 2000

The House met at half-past Two o'clock.

PRAYERS.

1    Greenham and Crookham Commons Bill,-Ordered, That the promoters of the Greenham and Crookham Commons Bill shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with it, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that notice of their intention to do so is lodged in the Private Bill Office not later than the day before the close of the present session and that all fees due up to that date have been paid;

    That on the fifth sitting day in the next Session the Bill shall be presented to the House by deposit in the Private Bill Office;

    That a declaration signed by the agent shall be annexed to the Bill, stating that it is the same in every respect as the Bill presented in this House in the present Session;

    That on the next sitting day following presentation, the Clerk in the Private Bill Office shall lay the Bill on the Table of the House;

    That in the next Session the Bill shall be deemed to have passed through every stage through which it has passed in the present Session, and shall be recorded in the Journal of the House as having passed those stages;

    That no further fees shall be charged to such stages;

    That all petitions relating to the Bill which stand referred to the Committee on the Bill, shall stand referred to the Committee on the Bill in the next session;

    That no petitioners shall be heard before the Committee unless their petition has been presented within the time provided for petitioning or has been deposited pursuant to Private Business Standing Order 126(b);

    That, in relation to the Bill, Private Business Standing Order 127 shall have effect as if the words 'under Standing Order 126 (Reference to committee of petitions against bill)' were omitted.-(The Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means.)

    Message to the Lords to acquaint them therewith.

2    Message from the Lords,-A Message was brought from the Lords, as follows:

    Private Bills [Lords](Suspension),-The Lords communicate that they have come to the following Resolution in respect of the Colchester Borough Council Bill [Lords], to which the Lords desire the concurrence of this House, viz.:

    That the promoters of the Bill have leave to suspend any further proceedings thereon in order to proceed with it, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that notice of their intention to do so is lodged in the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments not later than 12 noon on Monday 27th November and that all fees due on or before that day have been paid;

    That the Bill be deposited in the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments not later than noon on the second sitting day in the next session with a declaration annexed, signed by the agent, stating that the Bill is the same in every respect as the Bill at the last stage of the proceedings thereon in this House in the present Session;

    That the proceedings on the Bill in the next Session of Parliament be pro forma in regard to every stage through which the Bill has passed in the present Session, and that no new fees be charged to such stages;

    That the Private Business Standing Orders apply to the Bill in the next Session only in regard to any stage through which the Bill has not passed during the present Session.

3    Opposition Day [19th allotted day],-It being an allotted day at the disposal of the leader of the second largest opposition party in pursuance of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business), the House proceeded to consider Opposition business.

    Pensions and Pensioners,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House believes that pensioners have been betrayed by both Conservative and Labour Governments over the last twenty years; notes that the Conservatives devalued the basic state pension, slashed future SERPS entitlements and oversaw the scandalous mis-selling of personal pensions; notes that the Labour Manifesto promised that pensioners would 'share fairly in the increasing prosperity of the nation', but that the Government now spends a smaller share of national income on pensioners than when Labour came to power; notes that pensioner poverty rose by 400,000 in the first two years of the present Government and that there were nearly 50,000 excess winter deaths in 1998-99 alone, mainly among pensioners; further notes that this year's 75p pension rise was an insult to pensioners and that despite a multi-million pound take-up campaign half a million pensioners still do not receive the means-tested assistance to which they are entitled; believes that the failure to adopt the recommendations of the Royal Commission on long-term care will still leave tens of thousands of pensioners having to sell their homes to pay for care; is concerned that hundreds of thousands of pensioners have faced delays in receiving their pension because of the Government's failure to deal with the problems of the NIRS2 computer system; and therefore calls upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to announce a substantial increase in the rate of the basic state pension, with additional increases for the oldest pensioners, and to apologise for failing to deliver a decent pension to all pensioners-(Steve Webb);

    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 the Government's approach to pensions and other policies for pensioners; notes that the Government has already committed 61/2 billion more to pensioner benefits during this Parliament than was planned by the Conservatives, while ensuring that this additional expenditure is funded prudently and consistently with the Government's fiscal rules; strongly agrees with the Government that the basic state pension should be retained as the foundation of pension provision, and that most should be done for those pensioners who need most help through the Minimum Income Guarantee; supports the additional help for pensioner households, including winter fuel payments, which now gives them the equivalent of a further 3 a week and free TV licences for the over 75s, which were introduced from 1st November 2000; also supports the wide range of other measures taken by the Government for pensioners, the record investment in the National Health Service, free eye tests, help with home insulation and concessionary public transport fares and reductions in income taxation; and further agrees with the Government that the next priority should be to help pensioners with moderate savings and small occupational pensions to ensure that their thrift is rewarded and that they are able to share in the rising prosperity of the nation' instead thereof.-(Mr Jeff Rooker.)

    And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Tom Brake, Sir Robert Smith: 38.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Don Touhig, Mr David Jamieson: 280.

    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, Mr Don Touhig, Mr David Jamieson: 266.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Peter Atkinson, Mr John Randall: 81.

    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 the Government's approach to pensions and other policies for pensioners; notes that the Government has already committed 61/2 billion more to pensioner benefits during this Parliament than was planned by the Conservatives, while ensuring that this additional expenditure is funded prudently and consistently with the Government's fiscal rules; strongly agrees with the Government that the basic state pension should be retained as the foundation of pension provision, and that most should be done for those pensioners who need most help through the Minimum Income Guarantee; supports the additional help for pensioner households, including winter fuel payments, which now gives them the equivalent of a further 3 a week and free TV licences for the over 75s, which were introduced from 1st November 2000; also supports the wide range of other measures taken by the Government for pensioners, the record investment in the National Health Service, free eye tests, help with home insulation and concessionary public transport fares and reductions in income taxation; and further agrees with the Government that the next priority should be to help pensioners with moderate savings and small occupational pensions to ensure that their thrift is rewarded and that they are able to share in the rising prosperity of the nation.

    Privatisation,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes public concern about the effects of railway privatisation and about current plans to privatise National Air Traffic Services and London Underground and opposes the dogmatic pursuit of privatisation in public services-(Mr Don Foster);

    An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 1, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'deplores the previous Government's incompetent privatisation of the railways which left the network fragmented, cost taxpayers billions of pounds and brought rail travellers hours of delays; welcomes the Government's creation of the Strategic Rail Authority to give direction to the industry from an industry-wide perspective rather than from the narrow interests of individual companies; recognises that the Government's 10-year plan is delivering the largest investment programme for the railways for generations to tackle the problems caused by years of under-investment in the public and private sectors; welcomes the Government's pragmatic policy of developing Public Private Partnerships for National Air Traffic Services and the London Underground, enabling much needed investment and private sector financial and management skills to be introduced to the public services while safeguarding safety and the public interest; and regrets the official Opposition's dogmatic pursuit of privatisation for the London Underground and the National Air Traffic Services', instead thereof.-(Mr Keith Hill.)

    And the Question being proposed, That the original words stand part of the Question;

    Mr Paul Tyler 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 David Heath, Sir Robert Smith: 43.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Clive Betts, Jim Dowd: 272.

    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, Mr Clive Betts, Jim Dowd: 260.

      Tellers for the Noes, Sir Robert Smith, Mr David Heath: 68.

    So the Question was agreed to.

    The Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

    Resolved, That this House deplores the previous Government's incompetent privatisation of the railways which left the network fragmented, cost taxpayers billions of pounds and brought rail travellers hours of delays; welcomes the Government's creation of the Strategic Rail Authority to give direction to the industry from an industry-wide perspective rather than from the narrow interests of individual companies; recognises that the Government's 10-year plan is delivering the largest investment programme for the railways for generations to tackle the problems caused by years of under-investment in the public and private sectors; welcomes the Government's pragmatic policy of developing Public Private Partnerships for National Air Traffic Services and the London Underground, enabling much needed investment and private sector financial and management skills to be introduced to the public services while safeguarding safety and the public interest; and regrets the official Opposition's dogmatic pursuit of privatisation for the London Underground and the National Air Traffic Services.

4    Social Policy Agenda,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 119 (European Standing Committees), That the House takes note of European Union Document No. 9964/00, a European Commission Communication on a European Social Policy Agenda for the next five years; and supports the Government's welcome for the Commission's analysis of the challenges facing employment and social policy in the next five years and for the emphasis placed on increasing employability, on combating social exclusion, on promoting entrepreneurship, whilst opposing proposals that impose unnecessary burdensome new legislation particularly upon business, and remaining convinced of the need for proposals to codify, adapt or improve existing legislation or for new legislation to be made clear and workable; and notes the Government's intention to negotiate to this end, and to ensure that the proposals take proper account of the legitimate concerns of employers and the need to raise employment rates across the Community -(Mr Don Touhig):-It was agreed to.

5    Public Petitions,-A Public Petition from residents of Truro and St Austell for the basic state pension to reflect a real share of the nation's wealth was presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.

6    Adjournment,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn-(Mr Don Touhig);

    And the Motion having been made after Ten o'clock and the Debate having continued for half an hour, the Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order, it being then six minutes to Eleven o'clock, till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 10.54 p.m.

Michael J. Martin
Speaker


Mr Speaker will take the Chair at half-past Two o'clock.


APPENDIX I

Papers delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office on Friday 3rd November 2000 (Non-sitting Friday, S.O., No. 12) pursuant to Standing Order No. 158 (Presentation of command papers):

    1    Comprehensive Spending Review,-Paper, entitled Spending Review 2000: Service Delivery Agreements 2001-04: A Guide [Cm. 4915] [Mr Andrew Smith].

    2    Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs,-Government Response to the Eighteenth Report from the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, Session 1999-2000, on Air Service Agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States [Cm. 4907] [Mr Secretary Prescott].

    3    European Communities (No. 1, 2000),-Agreement, done at Luxembourg on 21st June 1999, between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other, on the Free Movement of Persons, with an Explanatory Memorandum [Cm. 4904] [Mr Secretary Cook].

    4    Environment, Transport and the Regions-Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Minute, dated 4th October 2000, concerning a contingent liability consequent upon an agreement with Midland Main Line Limited entered into by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising (and Chief Executive of the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority) [Mr Secretary Prescott].

Papers delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office on Friday 3rd November 2000 (Non-sitting Friday, S.O., No. 12) pursuant to Standing Order No. 159 (Presentation of statutory instruments):

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

    5    Disabled Persons,-Rail Vehicle Accessibility (South West Trains Class 170/3 Vehicles) Exemption Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2953), dated 2nd November 2000 [Mr Secretary Prescott].

    6    Electricity,-Utilities Act 2000 (Supply of Information) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2956), dated 1st November 2000 [Mr Secretary Byers].

    7    Family Proceedings,-Family Proceedings (Amendment) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2000 (S.R. (N.I.), 2000, No. 329), dated 1st November 2000 [Mr David Lock].

    8    Road Traffic,-Community Drivers' Hours (Tankers) (Temporary Exception) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2960), dated 3rd November 2000 [Mr Secretary Prescott].

    9    Social Security,-Social Security Amendment (Employment Zones) (No. 2) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2910), dated 28th October 2000 [Mr Secretary Darling].

Papers presented or laid upon the Table on Monday 6th November 2000:

Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:

    10    Social Security,-Draft Social Security (Incapacity Benefit) Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Darling].

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

    11    National Health Service,-(1)National Clinical Assessment Authority (Establishment and Constitution) Order 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2961), and

    (2) National Clinical Assessment Authority Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2962)

dated 6th November 2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Milburn].

    12    Pensions,-Sharing of State Scheme Rights (Provision of Information and Valuation) (No. 2) Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2914), dated 26th October 2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Darling].

Other Papers:

    13    Food,-Statement by the Food Standards Agency on General Objectives and Practices [by Act] [Mr Secretary Milburn].

    14    Health,-Department of Health Minute, dated 4 November 2000, concerning a contingent liability consequent upon an investigation into the backlog of histopathology samples at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital [by Command] [Mr Secretary Milburn].

    15    Naval and Marine Pay and Pensions,-Naval and Marine Pay and Pensions (Non-Effective Benefits and Family Pensions) Order 2000, dated 11th October 2000 [by Act] [Margaret Beckett].

    16    Public Petitions,-Observations by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on the Petition [27th July] from residents of the Don Valley constituency and others for the proposed Doncaster Finningley Airport [by Standing Order]; to be printed [Clerk of the House].

    17    Race Relations,-Annual Report of the Commission for Racial Equality for 1999-2000 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Straw].

    18    Water,-(1) Water Bill-Consultation on draft legislation [by Command] [Cm. 4908], and

    (2) Draft Water Bill-Regulatory, Environmental and Equal Treatment Appraisals [by Command]

    [Mr Secretary Prescott].

APPENDIX II

Standing Committees

    Farm Waste Grant (Nitrate Vulnerable Zones) (England) (No. 2) Scheme 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 2911),-The Speaker has appointed Mr Bill Olner Chairman of the Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (in respect of the Scheme) in place of Mr Jim Cunningham.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

    Trade and Industry,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Trade and Industry Committee [UK Steel Industry]; to be printed [No. 965-i] [Mr Martin O'Neill].



 
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