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Session 2003 - 04
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Wednesday 8th September 2004

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

PRAYERS.

1    Disqualification of a Member,—The Speaker laid upon the Table a notification, That Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had this day appointed the Right Honourable Peter Benjamin Mandelson to be Steward or Bailiff of Her Majesty's Manor of Northstead in the County of York.

2    Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,—Derek Conway reported from the Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Penalties for Disorderly Behaviour (Amendment of Minimum Age) Order 2004.

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

3    European Standing Committee A,—Miss Anne Begg reported from European Standing Committee A, That it had agreed to the following Resolution:

    That the Committee takes note of European Union Document No. 9149/04 + ADD 1, draft Council Regulation establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency and amending Regulation (EC) No. 2847/93 establishing a control system applicable to the Common Fisheries Policy; takes note of the Government's welcome of the proposal and supports the Government's objective of playing a constructive part in detailed discussion of the proposal whilst seeking to ensure that the role of the Agency will not undermine the control and enforcement responsibilities of individual Member States or cut across the policy aim of increased regionalisation of the Common Fisheries Policy.

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

4    Access to Literature (Visually-Impaired Children),—Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision about accessible formats for printed works for visuallyimpaired children: And that Annette Brooke, Mr David Heath, Sandra Gidley, Mr Phil Willis, Brian White, Linda Perham, Mr David Amess and Peter Bottomley do prepare and bring it in.

5    Access to Literature (Visually-Impaired Children) Bill,—Annette Brooke accordingly presented a Bill to make provision about accessible formats for printed works for visually-impaired children: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 15th October and to be printed [Bill 149].

6    Opposition Day [16th 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.

    Funded Pensions and Government Policies for Older People,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House regrets the Government's failure to tackle the pensions crisis; expresses concern that present and former employees of Turner & Newall and those in a similar position do not know what assistance, if any, they will get from either the Financial Assistance Scheme or the Pension Protection Fund; regrets the inadequacies of Government efforts to encourage people to build up retirement savings in funded pensions; condemns the spread of means-tested benefits; draws attention to the Government's recent failure to deliver benefits to pensioners competently; further regrets the Government's wider failure to reform the welfare system for older people; notes that the National Pensioners Convention is lobbying Parliament on 8th September; and calls for Government action to tackle the crisis in funded pensions and to ensure dignity and security in retirement for older people—(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 enable people to save securely for their retirement and to promote retirement flexibility and informed choice; welcomes the Government's Pensions Bill and Pension Protection Fund, which will bring real security for over 10 million defined benefit pension scheme members if their employer becomes insolvent and their pension scheme winds up; further welcomes the 400 million Financial Assistance Scheme which will help people who have already lost out; believes that the Pensions Bill will enable many more people to save with confidence with a new proactive pensions regulator, measures to simplify pensions legislation and improved incentives to work past the state pension age; supports the pensions tax simplification proposals being taken forward in the Finance Act 2004, which will replace eight tax regimes with one simplified system; commends proposals in the Pensions Bill to allow individuals to defer their state pension and draw it as a lump sum; welcomes measures to enable people to make an informed choice in pension provision, including new pilots to provide information and advice in the workplace; condemns the inheritance of 1997, with the legacy of pension mis-selling and millions in poverty, whereby many were expected by the previous Government to live on under 69 a week; believes that the Opposition parties' policies will be unfair to the poorest pensioners, unaffordable and unsustainable; commends the Government's historic commitment to tackling pensioner poverty; and welcomes the extra 10 billion that the Government is spending on pensioners in 2004-05 compared with the 1997 system', instead thereof.—(Malcolm Wicks.)

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

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Peter Atkinson, Gregory Barker: 191.

      Tellers for the Noes, Jim Fitzpatrick, Joan Ryan: 310.

    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 supports the Government's strategy to enable people to save securely for their retirement and to promote retirement flexibility and informed choice; welcomes the Government's Pensions Bill and Pension Protection Fund, which will bring real security for over 10 million defined benefit pension scheme members if their employer becomes insolvent and their pension scheme winds up; further welcomes the 400 million Financial Assistance Scheme which will help people who have already lost out; believes that the Pensions Bill will enable many more people to save with confidence with a new proactive pensions regulator, measures to simplify pensions legislation and improved incentives to work past the state pension age; supports the pensions tax simplification proposals being taken forward in the Finance Act 2004, which will replace eight tax regimes with one simplified system; commends proposals in the Pensions Bill to allow individuals to defer their state pension and draw it as a lump sum; welcomes measures to enable people to make an informed choice in pension provision, including new pilots to provide information and advice in the workplace; condemns the inheritance of 1997, with the legacy of pension mis-selling and millions in poverty, whereby many were expected by the previous Government to live on under 69 a week; believes that the Opposition parties' policies will be unfair to the poorest pensioners, unaffordable and unsustainable; commends the Government's historic commitment to tackling pensioner poverty; and welcomes the extra 10 billion that the Government is spending on pensioners in 2004-05 compared with the 1997 system.

    Hospital-acquired Infection,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes with deep concern the increased levels of hospitalacquired infection and, in particular, that the incidence of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has doubled since 1997; welcomes the report by the National Audit Office 'Improving Patient Care by Reducing the Risk of HospitalAcquired Infection: a Progress Report' (HC 876); regrets the lack of timely action by the Government which this discloses, including higher bed occupancies and the resultant impact of Government waiting list targets on infection control measures, lack of surveillance data other than hospital-wide MRSA and post-discharge surveillance and isolation facilities, and lack of progress on a national infection control manual; is deeply concerned that recommendations for bed or ward closures by infection control teams have been refused; and calls on the Government now to act urgently to secure the action needed to reduce hospital-acquired infections—(Mr Andrew Lansley);

    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 'welcomes the Government's commitment to ensure that patients can have confidence that National Health Service hospitals are clean, safe environments with infection firmly under control; congratulates the Government on its action plans for reducing infection rates, "Winning Ways" and "Towards cleaner hospitals and lower rates of infection", which include the new target for a year-on-year reduction in MRSA, and the designation of directors of infection prevention and control to bring about local change; notes that the National Audit Office report concluded that the introduction in 2001 of mandatory MRSA surveillance raised the profile of infection control with senior managers; expects that the new target will act in a similar way, and deplores therefore the suggestion that the target be abolished; acknowledges that improving patient safety is a difficult medical issue that calls for the hard work and care that is the hallmark of NHS staff; welcomes therefore the 77,500 extra nurses and almost 19,400 extra doctors that have become a part of patient care since 1997; and therefore congratulates the Government on a comprehensive programme of investment and reform that has equipped the NHS to deliver improvements in patient safety, and to reduce hospital-acquired infections', instead thereof.—(Mr Secretary Reid.)

    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: 190.

      Tellers for the Noes, Margaret Moran, Mr John Heppell: 307.

    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, Margaret Moran, Mr John Heppell: 291.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Peter Atkinson, Gregory Barker: 177.

    So the Question was agreed to.

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

    Resolved, That this House welcomes the Government's commitment to ensure that patients can have confidence that National Health Service hospitals are clean, safe environments with infection firmly under control; congratulates the Government on its action plans for reducing infection rates, 'Winning Ways' and 'Towards cleaner hospitals and lower rates of infection', which include the new target for a year-on-year reduction in MRSA, and the designation of directors of infection prevention and control to bring about local change; notes that the National Audit Office report concluded that the introduction in 2001 of mandatory MRSA surveillance raised the profile of infection control with senior managers; expects that the new target will act in a similar way, and deplores therefore the suggestion that the target be abolished; acknowledges that improving patient safety is a difficult medical issue that calls for the hard work and care that is the hallmark of NHS staff; welcomes therefore the 77,500 extra nurses and almost 19,400 extra doctors that have become a part of patient care since 1997; and therefore congratulates the Government on a comprehensive programme of investment and reform that has equipped the NHS to deliver improvements in patient safety, and to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

7    Adjournment (Party Conferences),—A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 25 (Periodic adjournments), That this House, at its rising on Thursday 16th September, do adjourn till Monday 11th October—(Mr John Heppell):—It was agreed to.

8    Adjournment,—Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mr John Heppell.)

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

[Adjourned at 8 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 Negative Resolution:

1    Constitutional Law,—Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2004 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 2261), dated 1st September 2004 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Reid].

2    Road Traffic,—(1) Road Traffic (Permitted Parking Area and Special Parking Area) (County of Essex) (Tendring, Rochford, Uttlesford, Braintree and Castle Point) Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 2194), and

    (2) Road Traffic (Permitted Parking Area and Special Parking Area) (County of Hertfordshire) (City and District of St Albans) Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 2212)

    dated 26th August 2004 [by Act], with Explanatory Memoranda thereon [by Command] [Mr Secretary Darling].

3    Social Security,—Discretionary Housing Payments (Grants) Amendment Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 2329), dated 7th September 2004 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Malcolm Wicks].

Other Papers:

4    Coal Industry,—Report of the Office of the Subsidence Adviser for 2002-03 [by Statutory Instrument] [Ms Secretary Hewitt].

5    European Communities,—Report by the Department of Trade and Industry on the exercise of powers conferred by certain sections of the European Communities Act 1972 and the Customs and Excise Duties (General Reliefs) Act 1979, for the year ended 31st March 2004 [by Act]; to be printed [No. 1008] [Ms Secretary Hewitt].

6    Mental Health,—Draft Mental Health Bill, with Explanatory Notes [by Command] [Cm. 6305-I and -II] [Mr Secretary Reid].

7    Public Accounts,—Treasury Minutes on the—

    (1) Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, Twenty-sixth, Twenty-eighth and Thirty-first Reports, and

    (2) Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Reports

    from the Committee of Public Accounts, Session 2003-04 [by Command] [Cm. 6302 and Cm. 6303] [Ruth Kelly].

8    School Standards and Framework,—Accounts of the East Brighton Education Action Zone for 1st April to 31st December 2003, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 1027] [Clerk of the House].

9    Treaty Series (No. 35, 2004),—Agreement, done at Vienna on 12th November 1999, between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization on the conduct of activities, including post-certification activities, relating to International Monitoring Facilities for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty [by Command] [Cm. 6317] [Mr Secretary Straw].

APPENDIX II

Standing Committees

1    Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill [Lords]:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the Bill to Standing Committee A, and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Charlotte Atkins, Mr Peter Atkinson, Mr John Battle, Brian Cotter, Clive Efford, Paul Farrelly, Mr Mark Fisher, Mr Andrew Love, Mr Andrew Mitchell, Mr Michael Moore, Mr Mike O'Brien, Mr Martin Salter, Mrs Gillian Shephard, Jacqui Smith, Mr Clive Soley and Mr Ian Taylor.

2    Draft Student Fees (Approved Plans) (England) Regulations 2004:

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

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Kevin Brennan, Mr Colin Challen, Mr Adrian Flook, Chris Grayling, Patrick Hall, Alan Johnson, Mr Bob Laxton, Mr Terry Lewis, Judy Mallaber, Mr Archie Norman, Anne Picking, Mr James Plaskitt, Dr John Pugh, Mr David Rendel, Mr David Ruffley and Derek Twigg.

3    Draft Legal Services Complaints Commissioner (Maximum Penalty) 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 Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Mr Jonathan Djanogly, Mike Gapes, Mr David Heath, Mr Lindsay Hoyle, Mr Robert Jackson, Ms Sally Keeble, Mr David Lammy, John Mann, Laura Moffatt, Bridget Prentice, Mr Andy Reed, Mr Malcolm Savidge, Jonathan Shaw, Sir Teddy Taylor and Mr Paul Tyler.

4    Draft Penalties for Disorderly Behaviour (Amendment of Minimum Age) Order 2004,—The Committee of Selection has discharged Ms Dari Taylor from the Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the draft Order) and nominated in substitution Shona McIsaac.

5    Draft Business Improvement Districts Regulations 2004:

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

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr Crispin Blunt, Chris Bryant, Paul Clark, Mr Edward Davey, Paul Flynn, Mr Edward Garnier, Linda Gilroy, Phil Hope, Mr David Lepper, Tony Lloyd, Mr Tony McWalter, Mr Eric Pickles, Phil Sawford, Dr Gavin Strang, Mr Hugo Swire and Richard Younger-Ross.

6    Draft Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Modification) (No. 2) Order 2004,—The Committee of Selection has discharged Mr Tom Harris and Diana Organ from the Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the draft Order) and nominated in substitution Jim Knight and Mr Eddie McGrady.

7    Draft Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (Amendment) and Police Reform Act 2002 (Modification) Order 2004:

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

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Ms Hazel Blears, Mr Keith Bradley, Mr William Cash, Mr Tony Clarke, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Mr David Heath, Mr John Heppell, Alan Howarth, Mr Peter Lilley, Mr Mark Oaten, Mr James Paice, Ms Gisela Stuart, Ms Dari Taylor, David Winnick, Mr Shaun Woodward and David Wright.

8    Draft Legal Services Ombudsman (Extension of Remit) Regulations 2004:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations to the Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated sixteen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr Peter Ainsworth, Richard Burden, Colin Burgon, Mr Alistair Carmichael, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Mrs Ann Cryer, Mr Ian Davidson, Geraint Davies, Mr Jonathan Djanogly, Mr David Heath, Helen Jones, Mr David Lammy, Mr Eric Martlew, Diana Organ, Bridget Prentice and Mr John Redwood.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

1    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,—(1) Fifteenth Report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee [The Departmental Annual Report 2004], 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. 707];

    (2) Sixteenth Report from the Committee [Climate Change, Water Security and Flooding]; 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. 558];

    (3) Twelfth Special Report from the Committee [Government's Reply to the Eighth Report from the Committee, Session 2003-04, on Gangmasters (follow-up)]; to be printed [No. 1035];

    (4) Thirteenth Special Report from the Committee [Government's Reply to the Ninth Report from the Committee, Session 2003-04, on Milk Pricing in the UK]; to be printed [No. 1036];

    (5) Fourteenth Special Report from the Committee [Government's Reply to the Second Report from the Committee, Session 2003-04, on The Annual Report of the Committee 2003]; to be printed [No. 1037];

    (6) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Draft Animal Welfare Bill Sub-Committee of the Committee [The draft Animal Welfare Bill]; to be printed [No. 1032-iii]; and

    (7) Memorandum laid before the Committee [Climate Change, Water Security and Flooding]

    [Mr Michael Jack].

2    Home Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Home Affairs Committee [Police Reform]; to be printed [No. 1038-i] [Mr John Denham].

3    Human Rights,—Nineteenth Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights [Children Bill]; 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. 537] [Jean Corston].

4    Modernisation of the House of Commons,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons [Scrutiny of European Matters in the House of Commons]; to be printed [No. 565-iv] [Mr Peter Hain].

5    Northern Ireland Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Sub-Committee of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee [Waste Management Strategy in Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland Departments' Resource Accounts 2002-03]; to be printed [Nos. 637-iv and 1040-i] [Mr Tony Clarke].

6    Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee [The Draft Regional Assemblies Bill]; to be printed [No. 972-i] [Andrew Bennett].

7    Public Accounts,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee of Public Accounts [Improving patient care by reducing the risk of hospital acquired infection: A progress report]; to be printed [No. 1044-i] [Mr Edward Leigh].

8    Science and Technology,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Science and Technology Committee [Human reproductive technologies and the law]; to be printed [No. 599-v] [Dr Ian Gibson].

9    Trade and Industry,—(1) Ninth Report from the Trade and Industry Committee [Updating Company Law: the Government's consultation document on 'Company Law: Flexibility and Accessibility']; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 1041];

    (2) Sixth Special Report from the Committee [The Government Reply to the Committee's Fifth Report, on Support to businesses from Regional Development Agencies]; to be printed [No. 1042];

    (3) Seventh Special Report from the Committee [The Government Reply to the Committee's Sixth Report, on the Work of the Export Credits Guarantee Department]; to be printed [No. 1043]; and

    (4) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Pubcos]; to be printed [No. 751-iv]

    [Mr Martin O'Neill].

10    Treasury,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Sub-Committee of the Treasury Committee [The Statistics Commission's Annual Report 2003-04]; to be printed [No. 1039-i] [Mr John McFall].

[W.H., No. 81]

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.—(Jim Fitzpatrick.)

    And accordingly the sitting was adjourned till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 4.41 p.m.

Sir Alan Haselhurst

Deputy Speaker

CORRIGENDUM

In the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday 7th September, in Appendix I, Item 5 (Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, Cm. 6297), should have appeared under the heading 'Papers subject to Negative Resolution'.



 
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