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House of Commons
Session 1997-98
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Wednesday 4th November 1998

The House met at half-past Nine o'clock.
PRAYERS.
1Adjournment,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn—(Mr Robert Ainsworth);
 
        And it being Two o'clock, the Motion for the adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
2European Standing Committee B,—Dr Michael Clark reported from European Standing Committee B the following Resolution: That the Committee takes note of European Community Document No. 8328/98, a Commission Communication on its proposed Social Action Programme for 1998-2000; supports the Government's view that the Programme rightly places jobs at the heart of its framework for action; and also supports the Government's intention to give due consideration to specific Commission proposals as they come forward.
 
        Report, together with Resolution, to lie upon the Table.
3Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,—Mr Peter Atkinson reported from the Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Local Government (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.
 
        Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.
4Message from the Lords,—A Message was brought from the Lords, as follows:
 
        The Lords insist on their Amendments to the European Parliamentary Elections Bill, to which this House has disagreed, for which insistence they assign their Reasons.
5European Parliamentary Elections Bill,—Lords Reasons for insisting on their Amendments to the European Parliamentary Elections Bill to which this House has disagreed to be considered to-morrow, and to be printed [Bill 255].
6Housing (Home Repossessions),—Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to enable and require the Housing Corporation to be joined in all possession proceedings by mortgagees against mortgagors in respect of the principal home of the mortgagor and his family: And that Mr Adrian Sanders, Mr A. J. Beith, Mr Chris Pond, Steve Webb, Mr Martin Bell, Jackie Ballard, Mr Peter Luff, Mr Nigel Jones, Mr Stephen Twigg, Mr Mike Hancock, Mr Barry Gardiner and Mr Paul Burstow do prepare and bring it in.
7Housing (Home Repossessions) Bill,—Mr Adrian Sanders accordingly presented a Bill to enable and require the Housing Corporation to be joined in all possession proceedings by mortgagees against mortgagors in respect of the principal home of the mortgagor and his family: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time to-morrow and to be printed. [Bill 254].
8Opposition Day [20th 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.
 
        The Economy,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes that there is now a black hole in the public finances; that the increased burdens on business since the General Election now account for £1,500 more per employee; that the UK will be the first major European economy to suffer a serious downturn and the worst affected; further notes that the Government is squandering the last Government's golden economic legacy by its four basic blunders of increased taxes, attacks on savings, particularly pensions, excessive regulation of business and irresponsible public spending; and deplores the Government's complacent attitude to the handling of the economy and public finances—(Mr Francis Maude);
 
        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 inherited an economy set to repeat the same cycle of boom and bust seen over the past 20 years, that inflation was heading way above target because of the previous Government's failure to accept the Bank of England's advice and the public finances were in large structural deficit; recalls that under the previous Government inflation rose to 10 per cent, interest rates remained in double figures for four years and one million manufacturing jobs were lost, while net borrowing increased to £50 billion and the national debt doubled in just four years; notes that the previous Government's policies increased inequality and failed to tackle the structural weaknesses in the economy; commends this Government for its decisive action to build a stable economy, introducing a new framework for monetary policy under which inflation is now at target and set to remain there and interest rates are less than half their previous peak, reducing government borrowing by £20 billion last year and, because of prudent management of the public finances, remaining on track to meet its tough fiscal rules and invest an additional £40 billion in education and health, with an extra £250 million for the National Health Service this year, addressing structural weaknesses by tackling unemployment and poverty with the New Deals and tax and benefit reform, supporting British business by cutting corporation tax, doubling public investment to improve Britain's infrastructure and addressing Britain's productivity gap; and notes that there are now 400,000 more people in employment than at the General Election and that Britain is better placed to steer a course of stability in an uncertain and unstable world', instead thereof.—(Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
 
        And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Stephen Day, Mr Nigel Waterson: 135.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr David Jamieson, Mr Keith Hill: 303.
 
        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 inherited an economy set to repeat the same cycle of boom and bust seen over the past 20 years, that inflation was heading way above target because of the previous Government's failure to accept the Bank of England's advice and the public finances were in large structural deficit; recalls that under the previous Government inflation rose to 10 per cent, interest rates remained in double figures for four years and one million manufacturing jobs were lost, while net borrowing increased to £50 billion and the national debt doubled in just four years; notes that the previous Government's policies increased inequality and failed to tackle the structural weaknesses in the economy; commends this Government for its decisive action to build a stable economy, introducing a new framework for monetary policy under which inflation is now at target and set to remain there and interest rates are less than half their previous peak, reducing government borrowing by £20 billion last year, and, because of prudent management of the public finances, remaining on track to meet its tough fiscal rules and invest an additional £40 billion in education and health, with an extra £250 million for the National Health Service this year, addressing structural weaknesses by tackling unemployment and poverty with the New Deals and tax and benefit reform, supporting British business by cutting corporation tax, doubling public investment to improve Britain's infrastructure and addressing Britain's productivity gap; and notes that there are now 400,000 more people in employment than at the General Election and that Britain is better placed to steer a course of stability in an uncertain and unstable world.
 
        Agriculture,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House deplores the failure of the Government to respond to the deepening crisis in agriculture and to secure an end to the beef export ban; applauds the achievements of British farmers in raising animal welfare and environmental standards; recognises that a thriving rural economy depends on a viable agricultural industry and that this can be achieved by giving farmers a chance to compete on equal terms as summarised in the Opposition's call for a Fair Deal for Farmers; calls on the Government to renew or replace the Calf Processing Scheme, restore HLCAs to 1993 levels and take up agri-monetary compensation for the livestock sector financed by the underspends on the agriculture budget; urges action to establish honesty in labelling to help consumers make better informed choices, to encourage the purchase of home grown food by all public sector bodies and cut the burden of excessive regulation; calls for an immediate ban on the sale of food not produced to standards required in Britain; and condemns the hostility consistently displayed by Ministers to the country people in local government finance, transport and planning policy—(Mr Tim Yeo);
 
        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 'welcomes the Government's strong commitment to the United Kingdom farming industry and to the wider rural economy; recognises that the lifting of the beef export ban in Northern Ireland represents the first crucial step towards lifting the ban from all parts of the United Kingdom; welcomes the steps which the Government has taken since May 1997 to support the beef and sheep industry via EU agri-monetary compensation and relief from charges; acknowledges the steps taken specifically to help the sheep, pig and cereal sectors with targeted EU measures; and endorses the Government's intention to bring about a secure and viable future for United Kingdom farming by seeking a reformed Common Agricultural Policy, which is more economically rational, which reduces the bureaucratic burden on farmers, which enhances targeted support for the rural economy, which serves the consumer well and which contains fair and common rules to ensure that the United Kingdom's farming and food industries can exploit their competitive advantages in European and world markets', instead thereof.—(Mr Nick Brown.)
 
        And the Question being put, that the original words stand part of the Question;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Stephen Day, Mr Nigel Waterson: 129.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr David Hanson, Mr Kevin Hughes: 325.
 
        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 David Hanson, Mr Kevin Hughes: 248.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr Andrew Stunell, Mr Edward Davey: 132.
 
        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 strong commitment to the United Kingdom farming industry and to the wider rural economy; recognises that the lifting of the beef export ban in Northern Ireland represents the first crucial step towards lifting the ban from all parts of the United Kingdom; welcomes the steps which the Government has taken since May 1997 to support the beef and sheep industry via EU agri-monetary compensation and relief from charges; acknowledges the steps taken specifically to help the sheep, pig and cereal sectors with targeted EU measures; and endorses the Government's intention to bring about a secure and viable future for United Kingdom farming by seeking a reformed Common Agricultural Policy, which is more economically rational, which reduces the bureaucratic burden on farmers, which enhances targeted support for the rural economy, which serves the consumer well and which contains fair and common rules to ensure that the United Kingdom's farming and food industries can exploit their competitive advantages in European and world markets.
9Public Petitions,—A Public Petition from Mrs Diane Roberts and others relating to benefits for disabled women aged between sixty and sixty-five was presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.
10Adjournment,—Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mr David Clelland.)
 
        And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till ten minutes to Eleven o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.
[Adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Betty Boothroyd
Speaker        

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

APPENDIX I
Papers presented or laid upon the Table:
Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:
1Representation of the People,—Draft Parliamentary Constituencies (England) (Miscellaneous Changes) Order 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Straw].
2Social Security,—Draft Jobseeker's Allowance Amendment (New Deal) Regulations 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
3Magistrates' Courts,—Magistrates' Courts Committees (Northumbria) Amalgamation Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2707), dated 3rd November 1998 [by Act] [Mr Geoffrey Hoon].
4Open Spaces,—Draft The Hyde Park and The Regent's Park (Vehicle Parking) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Smith].
Other Papers:
5Fire Services,—Report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland for 1997-98 [by Command] [Cm. 4086] [Mr Secretary Dewar].
6Parliamentary Constituencies,—Report of the Boundary Commission for England [by Act]; to be printed [No. 1087] [Mr Secretary Straw].
7Public Accounts,—Treasury Minute on the Sixty-first Report from the Committee of Public Accounts, Session 1997-98 [by Command] [Cm. 4075] [Dawn Primarolo].
 
Paper withdrawn:
8Deregulation,—Proposal for the Deregulation (Occasional Licences) Order 1998 [laid 13th July].
APPENDIX II
Standing Committees
1Draft Local Elections (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Order 1998 and the draft Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations 1998:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations to the Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and has appointed Mrs Ray Michie Chairman; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed sixteen Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Mr Harold Best, Mr James Cran, Mrs Claire Curtis-Thomas, Mr Jim Dowd, Mr Michael Fabricant, Jim Fitzpatrick, Lorna Fitzsimons, Mr Mike Gapes, Mr David Hinchliffe, Mr Robert Marshall-Andrews, Mr Malcolm Moss, Mr Paul Murphy, Mr William Ross, Mr Desmond Swayne, Mr William Thompson and Mr James Wray.
2Draft Legal Advice and Assistance (Scope) (Amendment) Regulations 1998:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations to the Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and has appointed Mr Andrew Welsh Chairman; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed sixteen Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Mr John Burnett, Mr Christopher Chope, Mr Michael Clapham, Dr Lynda Clark, Mr Edward Garnier, Mr Dominic Grieve, Mr Fabian Hamilton, Mr Keith Hill, Mr Geoffrey Hoon, Ms Jackie Lawrence, Mr David Lock, Mrs Diana Organ, Mr Gwyn Prosser, Mr Bob Russell, Mr Paul Stinchcombe and Mr John M. Taylor.
3Draft Contracting Out (Functions in Relation to Insurance) Order 1998:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Order to the Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and has appointed Mr Peter Atkinson Chairman; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed sixteen Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Mr Robert Ainsworth, Mr Colin Burgon, Dr Vincent Cable, Mr Edward Davey, Mr Oliver Heald, Mr John Healey, Mr David Heathcoat-Amory, Ms Patricia Hewitt, Mr Piara S. Khabra, Mr Bob Laxton, Mr Lawrie Quinn, Mr Marsha Singh, Mr Ian Stewart, Mr Gerry Sutcliffe, Sir Teddy Taylor and Mr Andrew Tyrie.
4Draft Channel 4 (Application of Excess Revenues) Order 1998:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Order to the Tenth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and has appointed Mr John Butterfill Chairman; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed sixteen Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Janet Anderson, Mr Dale Campbell-Savours, Mr Brian Cotter, Mr Jim Dowd, Mr Michael Foster (Hastings and Rye), Mr Christopher Fraser, Mr Nick Hawkins, Mr Nigel Jones, Fiona Mactaggart, Dr Doug Naysmith, Jacqui Smith, Mr Richard Spring, Mr Derek Twigg, Joan Walley, Mr Nigel Waterson and Mr David Watts.
European Standing Committees
The Speaker has appointed Mr Roger Gale Chairman of European Standing Committee B in respect of European Community Document No. 7046/98, relating to Agenda 2000: The Financial Perspective 2000-2006; European Community Document No. 7221/98, relating to Agenda 2000: The Interinstitutional Agreement of 29th October 1993; European Community Document No. 9302/98 ADD1, relating to Own Resouces Based on VAT and GNP; and European Community Document No. COM(98)560, relating to Financing the European Union.
APPENDIX III
Reports from Select Committees
1Culture, Media and Sport,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 4th November [The Heritage Lottery Fund]; to be printed [No. 968-iii] [Mr Gerald Kaufman].
2Education and Employment,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Education Sub-Committee of the Education and Employment Committee on 4th November [Highly able children]; to be printed [No. 1139-i] [Charlotte Atkins].
3Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Transport Sub-Committee of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee [Millennium Compliance of the Transport Industry]; to be printed [No. 1140-i] [Mr Andrew F. Bennett].
4European Legislation,—Thirty-ninth Report from the Select Committee on European Legislation; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 155-xxxix] [Mr Jim Marshall].
5Northern Ireland Affairs,—(1) Third Special Report from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee [Government Observations on the Third Report from the Committee, on the Composition, Recruitment and Training of the RUC]; to be printed [No. 1142]; and
 
        (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee on 4th November [Public Expenditure: Special Educational Needs]; to be printed [No. 1032-ii]
 
    [Mr Peter Brooke].
6Scottish Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Scottish Affairs Committee on 4th November [Tourism in Scotland]; to be printed [No. 826-ii] [Mr David Marshall].
7Trade and Industry,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Trade and Industry Committee on 4th November [The Work of the Department of Trade and Industry]; to be printed [No. 1138-i] [Mr Martin O'Neill].



 
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