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Session 2003 - 04
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Wednesday 26th May 2004

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

PRAYERS.

1    Private Bills [Lords] (No Standing Order not previously inquired into applicable),-The Speaker laid upon the Table a Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the following Bill, originating in the House of Lords and referred after the First Reading thereof, no Standing Order not previously inquired into is applicable thereto, viz.:

    University of Manchester Bill [Lords].

    Bill to be read a second time.

2    Ipswich Market Bill,-The Ipswich Market Bill was read the third time, and passed.

3    Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-Miss Anne Begg reported from the Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the Mental Health (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 1272).

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

4    Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-Mr David Amess reported from the Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the Beer from Small Breweries (Extension of Reduced Rates of Excise duty) Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 1296).

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

5    Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-Mr Bill Olner reported from the Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.

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

6    Opposition Day [12th 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.

    Financial Burdens Imposed on Local Authorities by Central Government,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes that each year the Government has pledged a 'generous' increase in local government funding, yet council tax in England has on average risen by three times the rate of inflation every year since 1997; observes that the cumulative additional council tax burden since 1997-98 is 1,716 for a typical Band D household; deplores the failure of the Government to recognise its role in generating the underlying pressures leading to council tax increases, including new responsibilities, compliance requirements, red tape, targets and assessments imposed by central Government on local authorities; further notes that unfunded cost pressures force councils either to introduce disproportionate increases in council taxes or cut local front line services; and believes that this is a further indicator of growing centralisation and Whitehall interference in local communities, eroding local democracy and weakening democratic accountability-(Mr Philip Hammond);

    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 'notes that the Government has increased grant to local authorities by 30 per cent. in real terms since 1997, in contrast to real terms grant cuts under the previous government; endorses the firm action taken by the Government to reduce council tax increases in 2004-05 to the lowest level for nine years; notes that Labour councils have the lowest average Council Tax increases at 4.7 per cent. and the lowest average level of Council Tax at 870; congratulates the Government on its commitment to enhancing the delivery of public services by local authorities and notes the evidence from the Comprehensive Performance Assessment of significant improvement in local authority performance; welcomes the extension of substantial freedoms and flexibilities to local authorities, including the prudential borrowing regime replacing the capital controls imposed by the previous government; notes with concern that all of these advances would be jeopardised by the policies of the official Opposition which would freeze expenditure on most local authority services; contrasts the Opposition's current rhetoric with its track record of centralisation when in government; rejects its opportunistic approach; and endorses the Government's commitment to high performing local authorities delivering effective local leadership and quality public services in the most cost-effective way', instead thereof.-(Mr Nick Raynsford.)

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

    Mr Patrick McLoughlin 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 Peter Atkinson, Gregory Barker: 189.

      Tellers for the Noes, Gillian Merron, Margaret Moran: 326.

    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 notes that the Government has increased grant to local authorities by 30 per cent. in real terms since 1997, in contrast to real terms grant cuts under the previous government; endorses the firm action taken by the Government to reduce council tax increases in 2004-05 to the lowest level for nine years; notes that Labour councils have the lowest average Council Tax increases at 4.7 per cent. and the lowest average level of Council Tax at 870; congratulates the Government on its commitment to enhancing the delivery of public services by local authorities and notes the evidence from the Comprehensive Performance Assessment of significant improvement in local authority performance; welcomes the extension of substantial freedoms and flexibilities to local authorities, including the prudential borrowing regime replacing the capital controls imposed by the previous government; notes with concern that all of these advances would be jeopardised by the policies of the official Opposition which would freeze expenditure on most local authority services; contrasts the Opposition's current rhetoric with its track record of centralisation when in government; rejects its opportunistic approach; and endorses the Government's commitment to high performing local authorities delivering effective local leadership and quality public services in the most cost-effective way.

    Town Cramming and Urban Sprawl,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes that development of the Green Belt continues unabated under this Government; believes the Government's Communities Plan will be unsustainable and will damage the quality of life of millions of people in this country by concreting over green fields and destroying rural communities; further notes that the Government's targets for brown field development have actually led to the loss of green spaces in suburban areas through infill development; and further believes that communities through their local authorities, not remote regional bodies, should be able to decide the priorities for local development.-(Mr John Hayes);

    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 'applauds the Government for maintaining the amount of Green Belt in England and its pledge to maintain or increase the amount of Green Belt; notes that development of previously developed sites for housing has a crucial role in meeting local needs for housing in the Green Belt and welcomes the Government's crackdown on urban sprawl, by adopting a sequential approach to the release of land and planning growth where it is needed; supports its proactive approach in improving the sustainability of rural communities; applauds the Government's success in achieving its previously developed land target early and increasing average densities of new development, which have helped to take the pressure off green fields; applauds the Government for introducing new planning policies in PPG17 to protect open spaces of value to the local community; and praises the Government for introducing the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 to improve the speed and quality of decision making and place sustainability at the heart of the planning system, and for its new emphasis on community involvement, ensuring local people's views are an integral part of the plan making process', instead thereof.-(Keith Hill.)

    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: 175.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Vernon Coaker, Mr Nick Ainger: 321.

    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 Nick Ainger, Mr Vernon Coaker: 299.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Mr John Randall: 164.

    So the Question was agreed to.

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

    Resolved, That this House applauds the Government for maintaining the amount of Green Belt in England and its pledge to maintain or increase the amount of Green Belt; notes that development of previously developed sites for housing has a crucial role in meeting local needs for housing in the Green Belt and welcomes the Government's crackdown on urban sprawl, by adopting a sequential approach to the release of land and planning growth where it is needed; supports its proactive approach in improving the sustainability of rural communities; applauds the Government's success in achieving its previously developed land target early and increasing average densities of new development, which have helped to take the pressure off green fields; applauds the Government for introducing new planning policies in PPG17 to protect open spaces of value to the local community; and praises the Government for introducing the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 to improve the speed and quality of decision making and place sustainability at the heart of the planning system, and for its new emphasis on community involvement, ensuring local people's views are an integral part of the plan making process.

7    Welsh Grand Committee,-Ordered, That-

    (1) the matter of the Report of the Richard Commission be referred to the Welsh Grand Committee for its consideration; and

    (2) the Committee shall meet at Westminster on Tuesday 6th July at twenty-five minutes past Nine o'clock and between Two o'clock and half-past Four o'clock to consider the matter of the Report of the Richard Commission, under Standing Order No. 107 (Welsh Grand Committee (matters relating exclusively to Wales)).-(Derek Twigg.)

8    Public Petitions,-Public Petitions from-(1) Councillor Dave Cross, Councillor Tom Skipp and others against the proposed closure of the Post Office in the High Road, Benfleet, Essex; and

    (2) Miss Elizabeth Govier, Councillor Beverley Egan and others against the proposed closure of the Post Office at Victoria Corner, Benfleet, Essex

    were presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.

9    Adjournment,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn-(Derek Twigg);

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

[Adjourned at 8.03 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    Constitutional Law,-(1) Draft Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2004, and

    (2) draft Water Industry (Scotland) Act 2002 (Consequential Modifications) Order 2004

    [by Act], with Explanatory Memoranda thereon [by Command] [Mr Secretary Darling].

    2    Consumer Protection,-Draft Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Brandsharing) Regulations 2004 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Reid].

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

    3    Social Security,-Pneumoconiosis, etc., (Workers' Compensation) (Payment of Claims) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004 (S.R. (N.I.), 2004, No. 214), dated 6th May [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Murphy].

Other Papers:

    4    Regulatory Reform,-Proposal for a Regulatory Reform (Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971) (Directory Entries and Demands for Payment) Order 2004, with a statement by the Department of Trade and Industry [by Act] [Ms Secretary Hewitt].

    5    Treaty Series (No. 54, 2003),-Index to Treaty Series 2003 [by Command] [Cm. 6192] [Mr Secretary Straw].

APPENDIX II

Standing Committees

    1    Architects (Professional Conduct Committee) Amendment Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 655):

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

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr David Chaytor, Mrs Helen Clark, Paul Clark, Mr Ian Davidson, Jim Dobbin, Mr Adrian Flook, Linda Gilroy, Dr Evan Harris, Phil Hope, Dr Brian Iddon, Ms Sally Keeble, Mr Brian Sedgemore, Mr Hugo Swire, Mr Robert Syms, Ann Winterton and Richard Younger-Ross.

    2    Draft Broadcasting (Original Productions) Order 2004:

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

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr Tim Boswell, Mr Tony Clarke, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Paul Flynn, Mr Don Foster, Mr Fraser Kemp, Mr Piara S. Khabra, Estelle Morris, Linda Perham, Mr Kerry Pollard, Bob Russell, Christine Russell, Dr Howard Stoate, Mr Michael Trend, Mr John Wilkinson and Mr Brian Wilson.

    3    Draft Guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003,-The Committee of Selection has discharged Ian Lucas from the Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the Guidance) and nominated in substitution Albert Owen.

European Standing Committees

    4    European Union Document Nos. 12058/03 and 6470/04 relating to the Global navigation satellite system, have been referred to European Standing Committee A.

    5    Unnumbered Explanatory Memorandum dated 11th May 2004, submitted by HM Treasury, relating to the Preliminary Draft Budget 2005, has been referred to European Standing Committee B.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

    1    Defence,-(1) First Special Report from the Defence Committee [Lessons of Iraq: Government Response to the Committee's Third Report of Session 2003-04]; to be printed [No. 635]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Duty of Care]; to be printed [No. 620-i]

    [Bruce George].

    2    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,-(1) Ninth Report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee [Milk Pricing], together with Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Milk Pricing Sub-committee of the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings relating to the Report [No. 335];

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Bovine TB]; to be printed [No. 638-i]; and

    (3) Memoranda laid before the Committee [Milk Pricing]

    [Mr Michael Jack].

    3    Environmental Audit,-(1) Seventh Report from the Environmental Audit Committee [Aviation: Sustainability and the Government Response]; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings relating to the Report [No. 623]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [The Sustainable Development Strategy: illusion or reality?]; to be printed [No. 624-i]

    [Mr Peter Ainsworth].

    4    European Scrutiny,-Twenty-first Report from the European Scrutiny Committee, together with Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee on 4th May; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 42-xxi] [Mr Jim Marshall].

    5    Health,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Health Committee [Palliative Care]; to be printed [No. 454-iv] [Mr David Hinchliffe].

    6    Human Rights,-Thirteenth Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights [Scrutiny of Bills: Sixth Progress Report], together with Appendices; to be printed, with the Mniutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 640] [Jean Corston].

    7    Modernisation of the House of Commons,-First Report from the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons [Connecting Parliament with the Public]; to be printed, with Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 368] [Mr Peter Hain].

    8    Northern Ireland Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Sub-Committee of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee [Waste Management Strategy in Northern Ireland]; to be printed [No. 637-i] [Mr Tony Clarke].

    9    Public Accounts,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee of Public Accounts [Network Rail-Making a Fresh Start]; to be printed [No. 639-i] [Mr Edward Leigh].

    10    Science and Technology,-(1) Fifth Special Report from the Science and Technology Committee [Government Response to the Committee's Second Report, Session 2003-04, [Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council: Introductory Hearing]; to be printed [No.629]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [The Use of Science in UK International Development Policy]; to be printed [No. 133-v]

    [Dr Ian Gibson].

    11    Transport,-(1) Twelfth Report from the Transport Committee [British Transport Police], with the Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings relating to the Report [No. 488]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [European Community Competence and Transport]; to be printed [No. 581-iii]

    [Mr Michael Jack].

    12    Treasury,-Seventh Report from the Treasury Committee [The Administrative Costs of Tax Compliance], together with the Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Sub-committee of the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings relating to the Report [No. 269] [Mr John McFall].

[W.H., No. 58]

Minutes of Proceedings of the Sitting in Westminster Hall

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

    Adjournment,-Resolved, That the sitting be now adjourned.-(Margaret Moran.)

    And accordingly the sitting was adjourned till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 4.42 p.m.

Sir Alan Haselhurst

Deputy Speaker

CORRIGENDUM

    In the Votes and Proceedings for Tuesday 25th May, in Appendix III-(1) Item 4 (Foreign Affairs) should have had House of Commons Paper No. 631-i; and

    (2) Item 11 (Treasury) should have had House of Commons Paper No. 71-ix.



 
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