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House of Commons
Session 1998-99
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Monday 18th January 1999

'
The House met at half-past Two o'clock.
PRAYERS.
1Energy Efficiency Bill,—Mr Clive Efford, supported by John Austin, Julia Drown, Mr David Chaytor, Mr David Lepper, Mr Peter Bottomley and Mr Matthew Taylor, presented a Bill to make further provision for energy efficiency: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 26th February and to be printed [Bill 32].
2Energy Conservation (Housing) Bill,—Mr Clive Efford, supported by John Austin, Julia Drown, Mr David Chaytor, Mr David Lepper, Mr Peter Bottomley and Mr Matthew Taylor, presented a Bill to make further provision for energy conservation related to housing; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 26th February and to be printed [Bill 33].
3Opposition Day [3rd 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.
 
        Rationing in the NHS,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House recognises that rationing has always been a part of how the Health Service manages health care resources; expresses its dismay at the comments of the Right honourable Member for Dulwich and West Norwood denying the obvious fact that rationing exists in the Health Service; expresses grave concern at the proposed changes to be effected by Her Majesty's Government, which through bureaucratic bodies such as a National Institute for Clinical Excellence and a Commission for Health Improvement will force clinicians to carry the burden on rationing decisions; recognises that the availability of modern drugs for conditions such as schizophrenia and MS makes clear the reality of rationing in today's Health Service; recognises the fact that waiting lists are a hidden form of rationing; notes that excessive political concentration upon waiting lists has been largely responsible for the continuing winter crisis in the Health Service, over which Her Majesty's Government appears wholly complacent and unconcerned; and urges Her Majesty's Government to acknowledge the concerns of professional bodies such as the BMA over rationing and embark upon a mature debate on the future of the Health Service—(Miss Ann Widdecombe);
 
        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 'reaffirms the historic principles of the NHS, that if people are ill or injured there will be a national health service there to help, and access to it will be based on need and need alone, not on ability to pay or who their general practitioner happens to be or on where they live; welcomes the measures the Government has taken, is taking and will take that will ensure that comparable, top quality treatment and care are available in every part of the country through the introduction of new arrangements for spreading best practice, including the ending of the Conservative competition of the internal market, the introduction of local Health Improvement Programmes and Primary Care Groups to put local doctors, nurses and other health professionals in the driving seat in shaping local health care, the introduction of a new Commission for Health Improvement and National Institute for Clinical Excellence, and the creation of new legal duties of partnership and quality to ensure that all parts of the NHS and social services work together to deliver top quality services to all; welcomes the record £21 billion investment to be made in the NHS, including £18 billion for the NHS in England, over the next three years; notes the record 150,000 fall in NHS waiting lists since April 1998 and the 17 per cent increase in the number of new nurse trainees in the period since Labour came to power; and further welcomes the measures that the Government intends to take over the coming year to continue to build a modern and dependable NHS, including the extension of NHS Direct to cover 19 million people, the creation of 26 Health Action Zones covering 13 million people to target areas with particularly high levels of ill health—including cancer and heart disease—and reduce health inequalities, and the targeted investment of £30 million to modernise accident and emergency departments', instead thereof.—(Mr Secretary Dobson.)
 
        And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr John M. Taylor, Mr Tim Collins: 169.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr Kevin Hughes, Mr Clive Betts: 336.
 
        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 reaffirms the historic principles of the NHS, that if people are ill or injured there will be a national health service there to help, and access to it will be based on need and need alone, not on ability to pay or who their general practitioner happens to be or on where they live; welcomes the measures the Government has taken, is taking and will take that will ensure that comparable, top quality treatment and care are available in every part of the country through the introduction of new arrangements for spreading best practice, including the ending of the Conservative competition of the internal market, the introduction of local Health Improvement Programmes and Primary Care Groups to put local doctors, nurses and other health professionals in the driving seat in shaping local health care, the introduction of a new Commission for Health Improvement and National Institute for Clinical Excellence, and the creation of new legal duties of partnership and quality to ensure that all parts of the NHS and social services work together to deliver top quality services to all; welcomes the record £21 billion investment to be made in the NHS, including £18 billion for the NHS in England, over the next three years; notes the record 150,000 fall in NHS waiting lists since April 1998 and the 17 per cent increase in the number of new nurse trainees in the period since Labour came to power; and further welcomes the measures that the Government intends to take over the coming year to continue to build a modern and dependable NHS, including the extension of NHS Direct to cover 19 million people, the creation of 26 Health Action Zones covering 13 million people to target areas with particularly high levels of ill health—including cancer and heart disease—and reduce health inequalities, and the targeted investment of £30 million to modernise accident and emergency departments.
 
        Pensioners and Dividend Tax Credits,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes that from April 1999, 300,000 non-taxpaying pensioners and 330,000 other non-taxpayers will lose an average of £75 each because of the Government's decision to abolish the dividend tax credit; further notes that 80,000 of the pensioners affected will lose over £100 per year; considers that it is unacceptable that basic rate taxpayers and higher rate taxpayers are unaffected directly by this decision which only affects non-taxpayers, half of them poor pensioners, who by definition must be poorer than taxpayers; calls on the Government to act on the promise made to the House of 30th June when the then Paymaster General stated 'I am aware of the growing anxiety among poorer non-taxpayers who have been hit by the measure so I know that we need to make our position utterly clear as quickly as possible' (Official Report, 30th June, column 175); calls upon the Government to honour now this pledge by announcing that non-taxpayers will be able to continue to reclaim a 10 per cent tax credit from April 1999 in the same way as taxpayers who hold PEPs or ISAs will be able to do so; and further notes that this is still a 50 per cent cut from the current 20 per cent dividend tax credit—(Mr David Heathcoat-Amory);
 
        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 fundamental reform of company taxation carried out by the Government has removed major company taxation distortions from the system and put in place a sound base for better quality investment and growth that will lead to greater prosperity for everyone in the UK, including pensioners; that the Government has taken significant steps to help pensioners, including a guaranteed minimum income for the poorest pensioners through an increase in Income Support from this April worth over £236 extra per year for single pensioners and over £377 extra for couples, a minimum guarantee on tax so that pensioners have no income tax to pay unless their income rises above a certain level, £20 of winter fuel payments for every pensioner household, the introduction of free eye tests for pensioners from this April, new travel concessions on public transport and an extra £21 billion invested in the National Health Service; and further notes that this contrasts sharply with the record of the previous Government which introduced VAT on fuel at 8 per cent and tried to increase it to 17.5 per cent, which introduced charges on eye tests for pensioners, which presided over the mis-selling of pensions which severely damaged the financial security of many pensioners, which ran down the National Health Service on which many pensioners rely, and which was responsible for boom and bust economics which eroded the real value of pensioners' savings through inflation exceeding 10 per cent', instead thereof.—(Dawn Primarolo.)
 
        And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr John M. Taylor, Mr Tim Collins: 166.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr David Hanson, Mr Keith Hill: 336.
 
        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 Keith Hill: 332.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr John M. Taylor, Mr Tim Collins: 155.
 
        So the Question was agreed to.
 
        The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
 
        Resolved, That this House notes that the fundamental reform of company taxation carried out by the Government has removed major company taxation distortions from the system and put in place a sound base for better quality investment and growth that will lead to greater prosperity for everyone in the UK, including pensioners; that the Government has taken significant steps to help pensioners, including a guaranteed minimum income for the poorest pensioners through an increase in Income Support from this April worth over £236 extra per year for single pensioners and over £377 extra for couples, a minimum guarantee on tax so that pensioners have no income tax to pay unless their income rises above a certain level, £20 of winter fuel payments for every pensioner household, the introduction of free eye tests for pensioners from this April, new travel concessions on public transport and an extra £21 billion invested in the National Health Service; and further notes that this contrasts sharply with the record of the previous Government which introduced VAT on fuel at 8 per cent and tried to increase it to 17.5 per cent, which introduced charges on eye tests for pensioners, which presided over the mis-selling of pensions which severely damaged the financial security of many pensioners, which ran down the National Health Service on which many pensioners rely, and which was responsible for boom and bust economics which eroded the real value of pensioners' savings through inflation exceeding 10 per cent.
4Welsh Affairs,—Ordered, That Ms Jackie Lawrence be discharged from the Welsh Affairs Committee and Mr Chris Ruane be added to the Committee.—(Mr John McWilliam, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)
5Public Petitions,—A Public Petition from Residents of the Parish of Wing in Buckinghamshire relating to a proposed Wing by-pass was presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.
6Adjournment,—Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mr Jim Dowd.)
 
        And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till five minutes to Eleven o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.
[Adjourned at 10.55 p.m.
Betty Boothroyd
Speaker        

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

APPENDIX I
Papers delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office on Friday 15th January 1999 (Non-sitting Friday, S.O. No. 12) pursuant to Standing Order No. 159 (Presentation of statutory instruments):
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
1Professional Qualifications,—European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) (Second General System) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 67), dated 13th January 1999 [Mr Secretary Blunkett].
Papers presented or laid upon the Table on Monday 18th January:
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
2Income Tax,—Income Tax (Employments) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 70), dated 18th January 1999 [by Act] [Dawn Primarolo].
3Local Government,—Local Government Act 1988 (Defined Activities) (Exemption) (Enfield London Borough Council) Order 1999 (S.I., 1998, No. 3302), dated 12th January 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
4School Standards and Framework,—Draft Code of Practice on LEA-School Relations [by Act] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].
Other Papers:
5Naval and Marine Pay and Pensions,—Naval and Marine Pay and Pensions (Pay and Allowances) Order 1998, dated 16th December 1998 [by Act] [Margaret Beckett].
APPENDIX II
Reports from Select Committees
1Education and Employment,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Education Sub-Committee of the Education and Employment Committee [The Work of OFSTED]; to be printed [No. 62-iii] [Mr Malcolm Wicks].
2Public Accounts,—(1) Fourth Report from the Committee of Public Accounts [HM Treasury: Treasury Controls] [No. 157];
 
        (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: Grants to Voluntary Bodies]; to be printed [No. 158-i]; and
 
        (3) Memorandum laid before the Committee [Delays to the new National Insurance Recording System]
 
    [Mr David Davis].
3Welsh Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Welsh Affairs Committee [Childcare in Wales]; to be printed [No. 156-i] [Mr Martyn Jones].



 
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