House of Commons portcullis
House of Commons
Session 2003 - 04
Publications on the internet

House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Wednesday 24th March 2004

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

PRAYERS.

1    Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-Mr Alan Hurst reported from the Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Modification) Order 2004.

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.

2    Welsh Grand Committee,-Mr Martin Caton reported from the Welsh Grand Committee, That it had considered the matter of the Budget Statement and its implications for Wales, referred to it on 9th March.

3    European Standing Committee C,-Mr John Cummings reported from European Standing Committee C the following Resolution:

    That the Committee takes note of the European Union Document No. 5188/04, Commission Communication on the re-examination of Directive 93/104/EC concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time; welcomes the review, supports the retention of the opt-out to the working time limit and urges that a solution to the problems caused by the European Court of Justice cases of SiMAP and Jaeger is found.

    Report, together with Resolution, to lie upon the Table.

4    Illegal Hare-Coursing (Enforcement of Prohibition) Bill,-The Order for reading the Illegal Hare-Coursing (Enforcement of Prohibition) Bill a second time on Friday 26th March was read and discharged.

    Bill to be read a second time on Friday 23rd April.

5    Restricted Byways,-Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make new provision about establishing the existence of byways open to all traffic: And that Mr Robert Walter, Sir George Young, Jeremy Corbyn, Sandra Gidley, Mr James Gray, Mr Robert Key, Mr David Drew, Mr Anthony Steen and Mr John Randall do prepare and bring it in.

6    Restricted Byways Bill,-Mr Robert Walter accordingly presented a Bill to make new provision about establishing the existence of byways open to all traffic: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 16th July and to be printed [Bill 80].

7    Opposition Day [7th allotted day: first part],-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.

    Post Office Services,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House believes that all Post Office customers who wish to continue receiving their benefits, pension payments and tax credits through the Post Office should be able to do so through a Post Office Card Account opened at the counter of a Post Office or sub-post office; notes that the Government has encouraged Post Office customers to use their own bank accounts or basic bank accounts, whilst preventing the promotion of the Post Office Card Account; further believes that the Government should use the roll out of Direct Payment to encourage the take-up of all benefits and tax credits; calls on the Government to clarify urgently how housebound, disabled and older people who are not able to cope with the three direct payment options will be able to claim their pensions and benefits after 2005; recognises the significant role played by local post offices in both rural and urban areas; appreciates that ending cash benefit payments will deprive sub-postmasters of an average of 35 per cent. of their income; notes that this will make many post offices commercially unviable and is likely to lead to yet further closures; further calls on the Government to ensure that the urban post office closure programme is conducted systematically and only after consulting all relevant parties including Post Office users; and condemns the Government's failure to deliver benefits and tax credits in a simple, easy to understand manner while at the same time jeopardising the future prosperity of the Post Office-(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 'supports the Government's strategy to modernise the way benefits and pensions are paid, and to provide customers with a choice of accounts; welcomes the fact that with Direct Payment customers will still be able to collect their cash from the Post Office if they wish using a current account or basic bank account with Post Office access or the Post Office Card Account; notes the Government's plans for a cheque payment, cashable at post offices, for people who cannot be paid through an account; recognises that Direct Payment is a more modern, efficient and secure method of payment which will also help increase financial inclusion; welcomes the fact that more customers are now paid through an account than by order book without problems, including nearly six million pensioners; notes the previous government's attempt to introduce a Benefit Payment Card, which wasted millions of pounds of tax-payers' money; notes the fact that the Post Office had not until recently kept up with changes in customer demand and so had seen transaction volumes dropping and losses increasing; recognises the need for change and congratulates the Government for taking decisive action to help turn the business around; welcomes the record 2 billion investment in the Post Office network over a five-year period, including 450 million for the rural network and 210 million to modernise the urban network; and believes that this will help ensure a viable Post Office network that people will want to use', instead thereof.-(Ms Secretary Hewitt.)

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

    Mr Peter Luff 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, Gregory Barker, Mr Peter Atkinson: 200.

      Tellers for the Noes, Gillian Merron, Mr John Heppell: 300.

    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, Gillian Merron, Mr John Heppell: 297.

      Tellers for the Noes, Gregory Barker, Mr Peter Atkinson: 196.

    So the Question was agreed to.

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

    Resolved, That this House supports the Government's strategy to modernise the way benefits and pensions are paid, and to provide customers with a choice of accounts; welcomes the fact that with Direct Payment customers will still be able to collect their cash from the Post Office if they wish using a current account or basic bank account with Post Office access or the Post Office Card Account; notes the Government's plans for a cheque payment, cashable at post offices, for people who cannot be paid through an account; recognises that Direct Payment is a more modern, efficient and secure method of payment which will also help increase financial inclusion; welcomes the fact that more customers are now paid through an account than by order book without problems, including nearly six million pensioners; notes the previous government's attempt to introduce a Benefit Payment Card, which wasted millions of pounds of tax-payers' money; notes the fact that the Post Office had not until recently kept up with changes in customer demand and so had seen transaction volumes dropping and losses increasing; recognises the need for change and congratulates the Government for taking decisive action to help turn the business around; welcomes the record 2 billion investment in the Post Office network over a five-year period, including 450 million for the rural network and 210 million to modernise the urban network; and believes that this will help ensure a viable Post Office network that people will want to use.

8    Deferred Divisions,-The Deputy Speaker announced the results of the Division which had been deferred to this day, pursuant to the Orders of the House [28th June 2001 and 6th November 2003 (Deferred Divisions)]:

    Fisheries: Catch Quotas and Effort Limitation 2004,-That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 15388/03, draft Regulation fixing for 2004 the fishing opportunities and associated conditions for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Community waters and, for Community vessels, in waters where catch limitations are required; and notes that the Government was successful in negotiating Total Allowance Catches which take full account of scientific advice while securing the best possible fishing opportunities for United Kingdom fishermen.

      Ayes: 255.

      Noes: 149.

    So the Question was agreed to.

9    European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill,-The House, according to Order, proceeded to consider the Lords Message [18th March] relating to the European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill.

    A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House disagrees with the Lords in their Amendment No. 1D to Commons Amendment No. 1C-(Mr Christopher Leslie);

    And it being one hour after the commencement of proceedings on consideration of the Lords Message, the Deputy Speaker put the Question, pursuant to Order [8th March].

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Derek Twigg, Mr Fraser Kemp: 308.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr David Wilshire, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: 185.

    So the Question was agreed to.

    The Lords Amendment was accordingly disagreed to.

    A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Orders [28th June 2001 and 6th November 2003 (Programming of Bills)], That a Committee be appointed to draw up a Reason to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their Amendment No. 1D to Commons Amendment No. 1C.

    That Mr Nick Hawkins, Mr David Heath, Mr Christopher Leslie, Laura Moffatt and Bridget Prentice be members of the Committee.

    That Mr Christopher Leslie be Chairman of the Committee.

    That three be the quorum of the Committee.

    That the Committee do withdraw immediately-(Mr Jim Murphy)-It was agreed to.

10    Adjournment (Equitable Life Inquiry),-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn-(Ruth Kelly);

    And it being three hours after commencement of proceedings on the Motion, it lapsed, without Question put, pursuant to Order [17th March].

11    European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill,-Mr Christopher Leslie reported from the Committee appointed to draw up a Reason to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their Amendment No. 1D to Commons Amendment No. 1C to Lords Amendment No. 1 to the European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill, That it had drawn up the following Reason, which it had directed him to report to the House:

    The Commons disagree to Lords Amendment No. 1D for the following Reason:

      Because it is not necessary to seek further advice from the Electoral Commission.

    The Reason was agreed to.

    Message to the Lords to communicate the said Reason, with the Bill and Amendment.

12    Fees and Charges,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Fees) Order 2004, which was laid before this House on 23rd February, be approved-(Margaret Moran):-It was agreed to.

13    Public Accounts,-Ordered, That Mrs Cheryl Gillan be discharged from the Committee of Public Accounts and Mrs Angela Browning be added.-(Margaret Moran.)

14    Public Petitions,-A Public Petition from customers of the Quiggins Centre in Liverpool against the closure of the Centre in order to redevelop its site was presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.

15    Adjournment,-Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.-(Margaret Moran.)

    And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till half-past Nine o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 9.30 p.m.

Michael J. Martin
Speaker


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


APPENDIX I

Papers presented or laid upon the Table:

Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:

    1    Merchant Shipping,-Draft Merchant Shipping (Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims) (Amendment) Order 2004 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Darling].

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

    2    Criminal Law,-Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 (Savings) Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 787), dated 16th March 2004 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].

Other Papers:

    3    School Standards and Framework,-Accounts of-

    (1) Blackburn with Darwen Education Action Zone,

    (2) Lambeth Education Action Zone, and

    (3) North East Lincolnshire (Grimsby) Education Action Zone

    for the period 1st April to 31st August 2003, with the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [Nos. 480, 482 and 481] [Clerk of the House].

    4    Statutory Instruments,-Report to the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker from the Statutory Instruments Reference Committee-

    That it has been notified, in accordance with Regulation 11(3) of the Statutory Instruments Regulations 1947, that the Secretary of State for the Home Department has certified under Regulation 6 of the said Regulations that the printing and sale of copies of the Cumbria (Coroners' Districts) Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 458) in accordance with the requirements of section 2(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 is unnecessary having regard to the brevity of the period during which the instrument remained in force; and that the Committee is satisfied that the certificate is justified and has taken no further action in the matter [The Speaker].

    5    Treaty Series (No. 16, 2004),-Two Exchanges of Notes, between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Russian Federation concerning Norwegian Contributions to United Kingdom Assistance for the Implementation of the Chemicals Weapons Convention in Russian Federation done at Moscow on 18th December 2002 and 6th October 2003 and support provided at Shchuch'ye and to the Russian Munitions Agency by the European Union through the United Kingdom Assistance Programme for the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in the Russian Federation done at Moscow on 24th February 2003 and 6th October 2003 [by Command] [Cm. 6165] [Mr Secretary Straw].

Papers withdrawn:

    6    Criminal Law,-Draft Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Travel Notification Requirements) Regulations 2004 [laid 10th March].

APPENDIX II

Standing Committees

    1    Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords],-The Committee of Selection has discharged Mr Seamus Mallon from Standing Committee D (nominated in respect of the Bill); and nominated in substitution Mr Eddie McGrady.

    2    Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] (Programming Sub-Committee),-The Speaker has appointed Mr Desmond Swayne in place of Mr Dominic Grieve as a member of the Programming Sub-Committee of Standing Committee D in respect of the Bill.

    3    Draft European Parliament (Disqualification) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) Order 2004, and the draft European Parliament (Number of MEPs) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) Order 2004:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Order to the First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Ms Candy Atherton, Virginia Bottomley, Mrs Helen Clark, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Geraint Davies, Mr Neil Gerrard, Mr Dai Havard, Mr Nick Hawkins, Mr David Heath, Mr Peter Kilfoyle, Mr Mark Lazarowicz, Mr Christopher Leslie, Bridget Prentice, Angus Robertson, Ms Gisela Stuart and Mr Ian Taylor.

    4    Draft Lay Magistrates (Eligibility) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Order to the Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr Alistair Carmichael, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Geraint Davies, Julia Drown, Lady Hermon, Mr Robert Jackson, Mr Christopher Leslie, Ann McKechin, John Mann, Mr Alan Milburn, Sandra Osborne, Bridget Prentice, Mr Gwyn Prosser, Mr John Redwood, Llew Smith and Mr Desmond Swayne.

    5    Draft Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Modification) Order 2004,-The Committee of Selection has discharged Mr Dai Havard from the Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the draft Order) and nominated in substitution Mr Michael Foster (Worcester).

European Standing Committees

    6    European Union Documents Nos. 6232/04, relating to the Financial Perspective (2007-13), and COM(04)107, relating to the Structural and Cohesion Funds, have been referred to European Standing Committee B.

    7    European Union Document No. 11646/03, relating to the Nutrition and health claims made on foods, has been referred to European Standing Committee C.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

    1    Defence,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Defence Committee [Defence White Paper: Delivering Security in a Changing World]; to be printed [No. 465-i] [Mr Bruce George].

    2    Draft Disability Discrimination Bill,-(1) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Joint Committee on the Draft Disability Discrimination Bill; to be printed [No. 352-xii]; and

    (2) Memoranda laid before the Committee; to be printed [No. 352-xiii]

    [Mr Tom Clarke].

    3    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,-(1) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee [Agriculture and EU Enlargement]; to be printed [No. 421-iii];

    (2) Memorandum laid before the Committee [Horticulture Research International]; and

    (3) Memorandum laid before the Committee [Poultry Farming in the United Kingdom]

    [Mr Michael Jack].

    4    Environmental Audit,-(1) Third Special Report from the Environmental Audit Committee [Government Response to the Thirteenth Report from the Committee, Session 2002-03, on Greening Government 2003]; to be printed [No. 489]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Budget 2004]; to be printed [No. 490-i]

    [Mr Peter Ainsworth].

    5    European Scrutiny,-(1) Fourteenth Report from the European Scrutiny Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 42-xiv]; and

    (2) Fifteenth Report from the Committee [The EU's Financial Perspective for 2007-13 and reform of Regional and Cohesion Funding]; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 42-xv]

    [Mr Michael Connarty].

    6    Health,-(1) Second Report from the Health Committee [Elder Abuse], together with Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 111-I and II]; and

    (2) Memoranda laid before the Committee [Elder Abuse]

    [Mr David Hinchliffe].

    7    International Development,-(1) Minutes of Evidence taken before the International Development Committee [Kenya: DFID's Country Assistance Plan 2004-07 and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals] and Appendices; to be printed [No. 494-i]; and

    (2) Memoranda laid before the Committee [Kenya: DFID's Country Assistance Plan 2004-07 and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals]

    [Tony Baldry].

    8    Modernisation of the House of Commons,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons [Connecting Parliament with the Public]; to be printed [No. 368-ii] [Mr Peter Hain].

    9    Northern Ireland Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Sub-Committee of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee [Social Housing Provision in Northern Ireland]; to be printed [No. 493-i] [Mr Tony Clarke].

    10    Procedure,-(1) Second Report from the Procedure Committee [Results of Sitting Hours Questionnaire], with Appendices; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 491]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Programming of Legislation]; to be printed [No. 325-iv]

    [Sir Nicholas Winterton].

    11    Public Accounts,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee of Public Accounts [English Regions: An early progress report on the New Deal for Communities programme]; to be printed [No. 492-i] [Mr Edward Leigh].

    12    Transport,-(1) Seventh Report from the Transport Committee [Future of the Railway], with Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 145-I and II]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [British Transport Police]; to be printed [No. 488-i]

    [Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody].

    13    Treasury,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Treasury Committee [The 2004 Budget]; to be printed [No. 479-iii] [Mr John McFall].

    14    Welsh Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Welsh Affairs Committee [Manufacturing and Trade in Wales]; to be printed [No. 323-iv] [Mr Martyn Jones].

    15    Work and Pensions,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Work and Pensions Committee [Health and Safety]; to be printed [No. 456-ii] [Sir Archy Kirkwood].


[W.H., No. 37]

Minutes of Proceedings of the Sitting in Westminster Hall

The sitting commenced at half-past Nine o'clock.

    Adjournment,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That the sitting be now adjourned-(Gillian Merron);

    And the sitting having continued for two and a half hours after Two o'clock, it was adjourned without Question put, till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 4.59 p.m.

Sir Alan Haselhurst

Deputy Speaker


CORRIGENDUM

    In the Votes and Proceedings for Monday 22nd March, in Appendix 1, item 3, relating to the Pet Travel Scheme (Pilot Arrangements) (England) (Amendment) Order 2004, laid on 19th March, should have appeared under the heading 'Other Papers'.



 
House of Commons home page Houses of Parliament home page House 

of Lords home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2004
Revised 25 March 2004