6.41 pm

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree) (Lab/Co-op): I am pleased to respond to this very important debate. At the start of the debate, my right hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) reminded the House of the last time we debated rising energy prices—in October, just three months ago. In that debate, the Government supported our motion calling on them to investigate mis-selling, simplify tariffs, improve the transparency of trading data, reform the energy market to increase competition and drive down bills, and to demand that energy companies use their profits to help with bills this winter.

Since then, the Government have failed to deliver on every one of those promises. No action has been taken to address the chronic lack of trust between energy companies and their customers. There has been no action to increase transparency and competition and no action to help with the soaring cost of bills. Today, we have heard in speeches of Members from across the House about the consequences of the Government’s failure. They have told us about constituents who have been let down and who are struggling to keep warm this winter. Families and pensioners are facing a cost-of-living crisis. They are being squeezed by huge increases in prices at a time when their incomes are decreasing in real terms. In the latest round of price increases, electricity has gone up by 10% and gas has gone up by more than 17%, and that has come on top of high fuel prices and food inflation at 6.2% as well as the Government’s VAT rise, which is costing the typical pensioner around £275 a year.

Several hon. Members have talked about unfairness. My hon. Friends the Members for Ynys Môn (Albert Owen) and for North West Durham (Pat Glass) raised the issue of the 2 million customers who are off-grid, which is a specific issue in their constituencies. Those households suffer specifically from the monopolistic situations in their area and do not have choices about electricity and gas when such services are not available to them.

The hon. Member for Norwich South (Simon Wright) rightly talked about people who do not have access to the internet as a means of identifying the cheapest deals. A number of Members talked about the scandal of prepayment meters and the high costs incurred for those customers.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner), my right hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (Mr Clarke) and my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow North West (John Robertson) all highlighted that at a time when their constituents are being squeezed by record rises in their bills, energy companies are seeing record rises in their profits. It cannot be right that while the cost of a typical dual fuel bill now stands at more than £1,300, thereby making energy bills one of the biggest costs that

11 Jan 2012 : Column 284

households face, the profits of the big six, which supply 99% of our households, have risen to more than £100 per customer.

The Government are exacerbating the situation by making the wrong choices for Britain’s bill payers. They are wrong to withdraw support from the most vulnerable consumers when they need it most. They are cutting winter fuel payments by £50 for the over-60s and by £100 for the over-80s despite having promised before the general election not to do so. They are also running down the successful Warm Front scheme before they scrap it completely next year. That scheme was introduced by Labour and has helped more than 2 million households to save money by improving their homes’ heating systems and energy efficiency.

Ministers are quick to lecture consumers about the importance of energy efficiency, yet at a time of soaring energy costs they are cutting help for those who are trying to install those vital measures, be it insulation or more affordable and energy-efficient heating systems. In 2009-10, during the last year of the Labour Government, over 200,000 homes received new heating and insulation under the Warm Front scheme. By November last year, fewer than 15,000 households received such help—a staggering reduction of 85%. The hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton) must be receiving the majority of the Warm Front support in her constituency.

It shows just how out of touch this Government are that, when they should be supporting those who are trying to do the right thing, they are instead making it more difficult. They are wrong, too, because as well as scrapping existing successful schemes, they have introduced new programmes which are not delivering. I am pleased to see the hon. Member for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke) back in his place. He did not know the difference between the warm home discount and winter fuel allowance. It is a shame that he was not able to stay for the debate, because he might have learned about it.

The new warm home discount is failing to help those in fuel poverty. We warned the Government that the scheme was too narrowly focused and would not deliver the support needed. It seems that those warnings went unheeded. Research by Save the Children, which came out last week, highlighted the huge shortfall in funding provided by energy companies for the schemes, which means that only 25,000 of the 800,000 households eligible for the warm home discount will get help this winter. That is just 3% and it is not good enough.

When pensioners and low-income families are struggling to make ends meet, it is time the Government got tough with the energy companies. We would provide real help now by making the energy companies ensure that all vulnerable pensioners and low-income families with children at risk of fuel poverty who receive cold-weather payments automatically receive the warm home discount. When in government we took action to help consumers, thanks to measures such as Warm Front and the winter fuel allowance, which the Government are now cutting. The number of households in fuel poverty fell by 1 million. Of course we would have liked to have reduced that even further, but now fuel poverty is rising and things are getting worse, not better, as a direct result of the decisions being made by this Government.

At the same time as cutting support, the Government’s plans for the new schemes, the green deal and the energy company obligation, will not deliver either. We have just

11 Jan 2012 : Column 285

heard that at a meeting in the other place, the Energy Minister there said that the regulations for the green deal would be delayed. We wait to hear how long that delay will be.

The Minister of State, the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker), told the House in 2010 that the green deal would be the game-changer for fuel poverty, but his figures revealed that only 350,000 to 550,000 households would be lifted out of fuel poverty by 2020. These are derisory ambitions. His plans mean that the Government will be gifting three times as much subsidy to households that can already afford to improve their homes, compared with those in fuel poverty who cannot even afford to keep theirs warm. To echo my hon. Friend the Member for Brent North, why, when money is tight, is the Minister not prioritising support for those who need help most?

We have seen a clear choice emerge in this afternoon’s debate. On the one hand, there is an out of touch, out of date Government unable to stand up for hard-working consumers—out of touch because when energy bills are rising, millions are struggling to keep warm and fuel poverty is rising, their only answer is to cut support and tell consumers to shop around. Although it is refreshing to hear from the hon. Member for Ipswich (Ben Gummer) that he believes that the energy market is broken, the Government are out of date because they are wedded to an orthodoxy which for too long has allowed utility companies to do what they please at the expense of their customers. On the other hand, the Labour Opposition have plans to deliver fairness in tough times, to provide real support for struggling households this winter, even when Government have less to spend, and to take on the vested interests, reforming the energy market so that it benefits the many and not just the few.

We heard throughout the debate how the huge rises in gas and electricity prices mean that bills are one of the biggest costs that households face. The Government lecture consumers, telling them that it is possible to save up to £200 on an annual bill by shopping around. In some cases that might be true, but Ministers are out of touch if they think that it is easy for consumers. We have heard from many about the 400 different tariffs. It is those who need help most, Britain’s pensioners, who are losing out from the Government’s failure to force companies to introduce simpler tariffs. Research by Ofgem has shown that elderly customers are much less likely to investigate cheaper tariffs or switch suppliers, compared with the average consumer. It is crucial that at times like these, when money is tight and people right across the country are struggling to get by, the Government do everything they can to help them.

Yesterday my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition showed that Labour will deliver fairness for elderly people struggling with soaring fuel bills as well as taking action to cut the deficit. The plan he set out in today’s motion would cut gas and electricity bills for up to 4 million elderly pensioners, not by spending more money, but by getting energy firms to show greater responsibility towards their most vulnerable customers. We want energy companies to move their customers who are over 75 automatically to the cheapest tariff they offer for gas and electricity.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 286

As well as taking action to protect the most vulnerable in our society, we must ensure that everyone benefits from fairness and responsibility in our energy market, so we would go further by introducing real reform to increase competition and drive down prices. For too long the market has been dominated by a handful of companies. Today’s debate has shown once again that the market is broken and that we need to fix it. I hope that the House will vote for action today and I urge Members to support the motion.

6.50 pm

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Charles Hendry): I am delighted to have the opportunity to respond to the debate, which I think we all would agree has dealt with some extremely important issues that concern us all. I think we should start with the recognition that there is no monopoly of care when it comes to fuel poverty. Every Member of the House, regardless of party allegiance, cares about their constituents being able to pay their bills and worries about how they can do more to assist them. This is a long-term concern. Fuel poverty started to come down in the 1990s under the Conservative Government and continued to decline until 2002. It then increased from 2 million households living in fuel poverty to almost 6 million over the course of the Labour Government. As prices have continued to rise, fuel poverty has continued to go up. It is an issue that no party can claim to have addressed, but one that every Member cares about finding the right solutions to.

Important issues were raised in the course of the debate. The hon. Member for Glasgow North West (John Robertson) talked about the difficulty of insulating the types of housing found in his constituency and the hon. Member for Angus (Mr Weir) referred to the problems faced by people on prepayment meters. We heard the continuing debate about off-gas grid customers. We welcome the progress and the interaction we have had with the hon. Members for Ynys Môn (Albert Owen) and for North West Durham (Pat Glass) and my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman) to try to ensure that constituents who are off-gas grid get a better deal than they have had so far. We have ensured that the warm home discount will be payable to those who are off-gas grid and have seen good engagement with the Office of Fair Trading, which said following its market study that if there was evidence of market abuse it would carry out a full investigation in that area.

I have asked Members on both sides of the House to provide evidence of how the market is working in their constituencies and, if they find that there is not the range of market providers that the OFT suggests, ensure that that is brought to my attention. If there are problems with delivery in some areas or with advance payments being required, I want cast-iron evidence so that we can decide on the most appropriate way to go forward on those issues.

We have heard discussions about the green deal, which the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) raised. I well remember a discussion with the right hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Dame Joan Ruddock) in 2010, when she was Energy Minister, after we had put forward an amendment to the Energy Bill. She said that the green deal was not possible and the Labour Government voted it down. We could have

11 Jan 2012 : Column 287

had the green deal in place 18 months ahead of where we are now and delivering the sort of help we want to see. It is the most ambitious programme this country has ever seen for insulating our homes, with the ambition of 14 million homes having good energy insulation over the course of the next decade, which knocks into oblivion any other scheme that has been tried by previous Governments. I well remember the current leader of the Labour party, when he was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, telling the House in December 2009 that their ambition was to have five pilots in different parts of the country. We have taken it from five pilots to a nationwide scheme delivering on a level that has never before been possible.

My hon. Friend the Member for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke) was absolutely right to draw our attention to the upward pressure on prices. Indeed, the Leader of the Opposition, in his Labour party conference speech last year, said that

“over time there is going to be upward pressure on energy prices.”

Yet from the right hon. Lady there was not a word about the global picture—the fact that towards the end of last year gas prices were 40% up on the year before, after the world’s worst oil incident in the gulf of Mexico, the world’s worst nuclear incident in Japan and a war in the middle east. She wrote that out and acted as if the only reason for prices going up is the greed of the energy companies, saying that we in this debate have to get a sense of reality.

What the Government have been doing, however, is working to remove some of the levies that Labour put in place. Indeed, over the course of this decade we will have reduced people’s energy bills by £100 compared with what they would have been if Labour’s levies had stayed in place. The renewable heat incentive is now to be paid from general taxation, rather than from a levy; and the carbon capture and storage levy, which, in the words of the leader of the Labour party, was going to cost £9.5 billion over the coming years and be paid for by consumers, is no longer on consumers’ bills.

Introducing the green deal, the warm home discount and electricity market reform, rebanding the renewables obligation and changing the feed-in tariffs will all help to bring down consumers’ bills by £100 when compared with what they would have been under Labour’s levies. So where Labour put in place stealth taxes on bills, this Government have now removed them.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington South (David Mowat) said, the issue is not just one of global energy prices, but whether there is enough electricity generation to meet demand. There was not a word from the Opposition about the need to rebuild our energy infrastructure—the £200 billion that is necessary, or the fact that during this decade we have to secure twice as much investment as Labour achieved during the previous decade. In reality, if we do not secure that investment, the lights in this country will go out. The leader of the Labour party, when in government, referred to that as “energy demand unserved”, whereas all of us know that in ordinary people’s language it means power cuts. That is why we have started the most ambitious programme of market reform—things that Labour in government told us were not necessary. The carbon floor price, the capacity mechanism and market reform more generally have all been put in place in less than two years by this new Government.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 288

We are also clearing Labour’s backlogs. Last year, the highest number of planning consents since the Electricity Act was passed in 1989 were granted to get those new projects under construction, and the highest number of oil and gas licences for more than a decade were approved, as we try to get the most out of our indigenous resources. We have already brought forward by 12 months the roll-out of the smart meter programme, because of its importance in giving consumers control over their bills, so it was no wonder that Steve Holliday, the chief executive of National Grid, when interviewed on television a week ago said that we were closer to having an energy policy now than at any time in his lifetime.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Ben Gummer) also highlighted the role of the Leader of the Opposition in the issue. It is worth looking at what he has said and where his policy has gone. It has not been a good week for the right hon. Gentleman, and it may not get any better now. In government, he said that there should not be a Competition Commission inquiry, yet the Labour party in August said that there should be, and now it is silent. We do not know its view on that issue now. In government, he said also that the energy companies should not be broken up, but in his conference speech he talked about breaking the dominance of a market that has clearly failed. Now, a few months later, he is silent on that as well.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about pooling electricity generation, yet he did not agree with that in government, and now the Labour party is silent. Ahead of his conference speech, he talked about cutting energy bills for four out of five families, but that has been lost. All we hear today is that people who are over 75 years old should be given extra support: bizarrely, a Labour party giving more support to wealthy 75-year-olds than to 74-year-olds who are struggling to pay their bills.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton) said, we have in place measures that are working. We have simplified tariffs, and we have helped with switching, although there is more to be done, as my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich South (Simon Wright) said. We have introduced the biggest energy efficiency initiative ever, and there is more help to encourage new entrants—

Ms Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central) (Lab) claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36).

Question put forthwith, That the Question be now put.

Question agreed to.

Main Question accordingly put.

The House divided:

Ayes 248, Noes 323.

Division No. 421]

[6.59 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Bell, Sir Stuart

Benn, rh Hilary

Benton, Mr Joe

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, rh Mr Gordon

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Chapman, Mrs Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Tony

Curran, Margaret

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Mr Wayne

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Mr Tom

Hendrick, Mark

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hood, Mr Jim

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leslie, Chris

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lloyd, Tony

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

MacShane, rh Mr Denis

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Michael, rh Alun

Miliband, rh David

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mudie, Mr George

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Pound, Stephen

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, Angus

Robertson, John

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Wicks, rh Malcolm

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Nic Dakin and

Tom Blenkinsop

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Norman

Baker, Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barker, Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Colvile, Oliver

Crabb, Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, Michael

Farron, Tim

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Mr Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heald, Oliver

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Huhne, rh Chris

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Mr Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maude, rh Mr Francis

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Patrick

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moore, rh Michael

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, Richard

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Mr John

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Mr Richard

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr Shailesh Vara and

Mark Hunter

Question accordingly negatived.

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Business without Debate

Delegated Legislation (Committees)

Ordered,

That the Motion in the name of Sir George Young relating to the Electoral Commission shall be treated as if it related to an instrument subject to the provisions of Standing Order No. 118 (Delegated Legislation Committees) in respect of which notice of a motion has been given that the instrument be approved.—(James Duddridge.)

11 Jan 2012 : Column 294

Khat

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(James Duddridge.)

7.15 pm

Mark Lancaster (Milton Keynes North) (Con): I am delighted to have secured this debate, and I would like to start by paying tribute to the attempts by successive Governments to deal head on with specific issues encountered by minority communities—as we heard only today with the Prime Minister’s commitment to address forced marriage. I must admit, however, to being slightly disappointed that, as a Member of a party that raised the expectations of my constituents by pledging to ban the drug khat while in opposition—a commitment made by no fewer than three members of the shadow Cabinet on three separate occasions—I stand here yet again calling on the Government finally to fulfil their very clear commitment. This is not a partisan issue. Indeed, as I sense we shall see tonight, it unites the House, and it is time that the Government acted.

I have three main points to make but I shall give first a little background, which I hope will mean that the Minister in his response will not need to dwell on the past, but can focus on the future actions his Department intends to take. The distinctive customs and traits of other cultures constitute the vibrant country that we live in today. East African culture has had a particularly far-reaching effect on our society. The religious dedication and hard-working ethos that colour the characters of east Africans have been something to admire over recent years, with independent businesses and community leaders flourishing across towns and cities in the UK. However, with the highs come the lows. One element of east African culture which has long been disputed is the legality of the native east African drug khat. Given the frequency with which khat has been discussed over the past year, I know that most hon. Members are now familiar with the drug, but for the benefit of those who are not, I shall explain in more detail.

Khat plants are grown in Africa and the middle east, and are chewed primarily among Somali, Ethiopian and Yemeni communities. The effects of khat are varied but as a stimulant it creates euphoria and increased sociability—hence its popularity at social gatherings such as weddings. However, the paranoia, aggression and hallucinogenic effects make it extremely disruptive not just to the individual and their health, but to their family and wider society.

Khat is a barrier to inclusion and integration, and it was my sincere impression—and more importantly that of my constituents—that this Government intended to act. This is the second time I have raised the subject of khat in this Chamber and I was deeply encouraged when the Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty’s Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for Kenilworth and Southam (Jeremy Wright). confirmed in response to the first debate that in February last year the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs was ordered to carry out a full review of the available evidence on khat, and to reconsider the question of controlling it. One year on, and with no report to speak of and none expected anytime soon—indeed, this week the Department confirmed that it will be at least another year—the same amount of limited research is available to us.

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From the first mention of khat in Parliament 16 years ago to this very day, Members on both sides of the House have shared their evidence. From Portsmouth to Glasgow, councils and local authorities are standing in isolation, but what we need is a joined-up, united front. My debate today has been sparked by the frustration of my constituents that after 19 months of the coalition Government we appear to be no further forward.

In seeking to progress the matter, I wish to highlight three distinct points. First, I wish to remind my hon. Friend the Minister, for whom I have enormous respect, of the detrimental impact that khat has on issues ranging from health to crime. This will demonstrate how simply kicking this issue into the long grass with further “monitoring” is simply unacceptable. Secondly, I want to revisit the pledge that we made in opposition to act on khat, and to ask why we now seem to be shying away from this pledge. Lastly, I will suggest that tackling khat fits in with this Government’s recent accomplishments in determinedly facing up to the problems that divide our minority communities.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): The hon. Gentleman has outlined some of the side effects of the drug, which also include insomnia and depression. Does he feel that those two health effects are sufficient reason to ask that the legislation be changed urgently? Does he agree that it is important that any legislative change should affect all the regions, in conjunction with the devolved Administrations, so that it applies UK-wide?

Mark Lancaster: The hon. Gentleman makes an important point; indeed, I will come to the health effects in greater detail shortly. However, let me be absolutely clear that I am pressing for this Government to act in the manner that he suggests.

In my constituency, there are more than 6,000 Somali residents. One of the leaders of the Milton Keynes Somali community, Adan Kahin, has shared many alarming stories with me. His biggest concern is that khat is at the root of family breakdown, owing to issues such as unemployment, economic hardship or aggression arising from heavy usage. Adan has expressed explicit concern about the number of teenage boys whose fathers are absent from the home, instead spending all day chewing in a mafrishi, or khat house. If the Government are truly concerned about the antisocial behaviour witnessed last summer, it is vital that we shine a light into those corners of society. Adan has warned of usage spreading to female members of the community—women who are left alone all day with large numbers of children and little escape. What links all users, however, is the common belief that turning to khat will alleviate the destitution and stress that permeate their lives. I am even aware of instances in well-regarded British institutions where khat has been chewed inappropriately during working hours. There have also been complaints about disturbances caused by delivery of the plant and violence outside mafrishis, with one incident even leading to the death of a seller in my constituency.

Our hands-off policy means that there is absolutely zero quality control. One box of khat checked by port health at Heathrow contained such high levels of pesticides that it was unfit for human use, and that is just one box out of the 10 tonnes arriving each week. Because of the lack of information held on hospital admissions, we are

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still uncertain about the overall long-term health effects. Problems range from the need for substantial dental treatment, owing to the quantity of sugar and cigarettes consumed, to more serious conditions, such as liver failure and psychosis. It is clear that health practitioners are clueless about how to advise users. Those wishing for a fresh start are stranded, with little or no support—no addiction services or pharmacological agents who can treat khat dependence. Essentially, there are few ways out.

The last review of khat surmised that usage is not prevalent. That may be true for the mainstream population, but not for the demographic concerned. It has been put to me that the Government are not interested because this is perceived as a minority issue. I know that this is not the case, but it is in the Minister’s hands to demonstrate to my community that he does care, as actions, as we all know, speak louder than words.

Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. On that very point, when the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs reported in 2005, it said:

“On the basis of the evidence, the Council recommends that Khat is not controlled”.

However, the following sentence, to which I think he is referring—this is the pertinent one—says:

“Use of the substance is very limited to specific communities within the UK, and has not, nor does it appear likely to, spread to the wider community.”

Does it not appear to him that there is no equality under the law in this case? The last time the issue of khat was analysed, it seems that the ACMD advised that we not ban it, simply because it applied only to that minority community.

Mark Lancaster: My hon. Friend makes a powerful point, which simply underlines what I said earlier. I know that the Minister is committed to equality, which is why I am sure he will address the issue when he responds to this debate. Khat does easily not fit a pre-existing drugs profile, given that its use is limited to certain ethnic communities. That is precisely why we must give it special attention.

Let me move on to my second point. The Government’s silence on this issue prompted me to re-read our manifesto, to make sense of the khat conundrum, but it holds no evidence of a U-turn, with other evidence actually pointing to the contrary. In a 2008 article in The Guardian, the co-chair of the Conservative party, the noble Baroness Warsi, claimed that khat was

“far from harmless and should be banned”.

Indeed, the title of that article was “Conservatives will ban khat”—not “Conservatives might ban khat”, not “Conservatives will consider banning khat”, not “Conservatives will seek advice from the ACMD and then ban khat”, but “Conservatives will ban khat”. In a 2006 report entitled “The Khat Nexus”, the then shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis), claimed that a Tory Government would

“schedule khat as a class B drug.”

Those were watertight pledges, made regardless of an ACMD review. So if nothing else, can the Minister explain to my constituents why we now appear to have had a change of heart?

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This Government have, however, made a beeline for new legal highs. It is right that we award legal highs that attention, but we cannot ignore the fact that khat, by its very nature, also fits the description of a legal high. I was shocked to learn that cathine and cathinone, two components of khat, are members of the same group of drugs as mephedrone. As components, cathinone and cathine are illegal, as is mephedrone, yet contradicting all common sense, khat, which contains those same substances, is legal. I would like to know how we can continue to promote the hypocritical message that cathinone is okay in one substance but not in another? Just because a drug is legal does not mean it is safe. Tackling new legal highs cannot be a flag-waving policy; we must not forget the question of khat, which has languished in this Chamber year after year. As we take action on those powerful synthetic drugs, khat users and their families watch from the sidelines as their plea goes unheard yet again.

Another reason for my keen interest in this topic is that it is a cross-party point of concern. Wherever large immigrant groups of Somalis settle, the problem of khat is never far behind. This is an issue that the whole House can support, and we should therefore be working towards an integrated solution. It does not help that councils and local authorities are standing alone on the issue. I commend Hillingdon council’s recent report, produced in 2011, which was forthright enough to make recommendations to the Government on matters ranging from classification to temporary bans.

Unlike the UK, some countries are acting. As of yesterday, even the Netherlands—a country renowned for its liberal drugs policy—has banned khat. The UK is now the only legal point of entry for khat into Europe, and that is an embarrassing position to find ourselves in. The Dutch Government have clearly stated that 10% of users, who are predominantly Somali, develop problems with khat. I want to ask the Minister what is preventing us from safeguarding our citizens in the same fashion. The most disturbing comparison comes from Somalia itself: even that war-torn country has made moves to control khat. Islamist courts there are working to put a stop to the khat scourge, and to promote a more stable and cohesive society. What we need is joined-up thinking, and top-down leadership to reassure councils and communities that they are not alone. This is an ideal opportunity for the Government to prove to our communities that we recognise—and, indeed, will tackle—the problems on their doorstep.

That leads me nicely on to my third and final point, which is the commendable way in which this Government have faced up to issues that traditionally effect ethnic minority communities. We have not shied away from those problems, which are so often left to rot at the core of our society. We have rightly begun to take steps to address forced marriage in this country—an issue that has shocked the nation and that works directly against the values and self-worth that we teach our young women, of every background, in British schools. The work that we are promoting on the subject of domestic violence will have a direct effect on majority and minority ethnic communities.

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That is not all. I was encouraged to read in the Conservative manifesto that we would be promoting improved community relations for minority ethnic communities, which action on khat will help to deliver. In my own constituency, good work is being done to address those marginalised, sometimes controversial, issues; acting on khat will not be out of step with the current momentum. We can prove to those who doubt our intentions that when we make promises, we stick to them, which is why I am sure the Minister will agree that it is important, given our previous promises, that we are seen to act on khat.

Finally, I want to bring the debate right up to date. We are standing here today, almost one year on from the report being ordered, with no new evidence from the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs. Since its appearance on the British crime survey of drug misuse, the usage of khat has increased. We are unaware of the percentage of khat imports that are being used to extract cathinone and cathine, and in turn, being illegally re-exported. Also, we have only anecdotal evidence that usage is spreading to the indigenous population. Why have we not commissioned a report to explore that threat?

Today, I want to know why my Government’s previous enthusiasm for acting on khat has waned so suddenly. May I ask the Minister to consider how I should respond when my constituents ask again what the Government are doing to protect future generations from the dangers of khat? And—if I may have the audacity to predict his response—may I ask whether he realises that, in order to get the evidence that his Department repeatedly demands, procedures have to be put in place first, in order to reap that information? Banning khat is unfailingly the end-state that I and the community want from this Government, as previously promised, but I wish to outline other possible interim measures.

Jim Shannon: The drug khat is controlled in America, Canada, Norway and Sweden, to mention but four examples. Does the hon. Gentleman feel that the Government could make contact with those countries to ascertain how they went about criminalising the drug? Might this not provide a way forward on the basis of information that might be helpful for the Government?

Mark Lancaster: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that suggestion, which underlines the ridiculous point that, following the Dutch move only this week, khat is controlled everywhere in the western world apart from in the United Kingdom.

These are the interim suggestions I would make to the Minister—hopefully to be implemented before we get around to banning khat. Better provisions must be made for addict support. The most effective way of delivering this would be to provide targeted training to those already working within areas affected by khat, to deal with it in a culturally acceptable way. Community mobilisers who already assist with housing, health and education are incredibly well placed to co-ordinate this. Evidence suggests that heavy users are unlikely to seek help, which means that we must do more to reach them.

Secondly, a full health practitioners’ guide to khat and its health effects should be prepared and delivered to GPs and pharmacists nationwide. Thirdly, greater attention must be given to the importation of khat at ports. Finally, the disruption caused by khat houses and

11 Jan 2012 : Column 299

mafrishi congregations can be controlled through licensing. A minimum age should be introduced to protect young British citizens from the harm caused by the drug. Checks must be carried out on premises to ensure that they comply with health and safety standards.

After years of talk on khat, if my Government wish to retain the trust of the east African community, the time has come to follow the rest of the western world and act on khat.

7.31 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (James Brokenshire): This has been an interesting and impassioned debate, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes North (Mark Lancaster) for continuing to raise this issue. I am mindful that this is the second debate he has secured, having previously spoken on the same topic in a pre-summer recess debate last year. He represents well and effectively his constituency and these particular parts of the community in it by seeking to draw attention to this issue this evening.

My hon. Friend said that there was some kind of formal commitment and he drew attention to statements of shadow Ministers in the Opposition prior to the last general election. I would say to him, however, that there was no specific manifesto commitment and no provision was made in the coalition programme for government for the classification of khat. I would like to assure my hon. Friend, the community he represents and other communities and interested parties that the Government are concerned about this serious issue. It is a matter we want to investigate properly and effectively by closely examining the problems highlighted this evening; we do not want to kick this into the long grass.

We have heard today about real public concerns over health issues—sleep deprivation, loss of appetite, oral hygiene and mental health—and particularly about the social harms associated with the use of khat. Although its use has a cultural context and can be socially accepted among Somali, Yemeni, Ethiopian and Kenyan communities in the UK, many concerns have been raised within these communities. Higher prevalence of khat use among them and its potential for misuse might well disproportionately affect the social cohesion around khat users and their families, as well as their quality of life within wider UK society. We need fully and properly to understand this dimension.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the Government are required to look to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to provide advice on drug-related issues, including on the case for control based on available evidence at the time of its consideration.

As my hon. Friend knows, the ACMD last formally considered the misuse of khat in 2005, when it advised against bringing the plant under the control of the 1971 Act and made recommendations for health and prevention approaches responding to local community needs, which the last Government accepted. In the light of those 2005 recommendations, the handling of khat-related issues has focused on the tailoring of health and education responses to local community needs, such as the availability of appropriate drug prevention materials and information to raise awareness among practitioners and khat-using communities.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 300

Mark Lancaster: Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Government are under no obligation to follow the ACMD’s advice? The last Government did not do so when it came to the reclassification of cannabis.

James Brokenshire: The Government will consider the evidence and recommendations supplied to it by the ACMD. The ACMD has an advisory role in that context and Ministers make the ultimate decision, but we have stated in our working protocol with the ACMD that we should properly consider the advice that we are given, and I think that that is the appropriate course.

The FRANK service provides information and advice on khat and harms associated with its use and misuse, directed at young people, their parents, and those working with them. Treatment for khat misuse typically consists of psycho-social interventions and talking therapies to help change behaviour, and drug action teams are expected to review commissioning of local services in order to respond in the best way to the diverse needs of their local communities. My hon. Friend has specifically sought to draw attention to that diversity this evening.

Mark Lancaster: Will the Minister give way?

James Brokenshire: I will give way once more.

Mark Lancaster: Can the Minister confirm that FRANK offers that information and advice in the native languages of the east African communities?

James Brokenshire: I am told that a leaflet has been published in English and Somali, that a range of other drug information leaflets have also been published in Somali, and that the helpline is equipped to take calls in Somali via a translator. However, I understand my hon. Friend’s wish to ensure that the service is provided in a way that makes it accessible to those who may be in the greatest need of its support, and I agree with him that more needs to be done.

The Government are concerned about khat use—particularly among young people—and about the societal impact on the most affected communities, and they adopt a serious approach to their role by taking appropriate action to protect all sections of the community from harms caused by drugs. Since the ACMD’s last review in 2005 there has been an advance in the evidence base, which is why I requested the ACMD to undertake a comprehensive review to update its 2005 assessment. The chair of its khat working group has told me that the planned process of evidence-gathering for the review will be rigorous, and will include engagement with communities and stakeholder organisations and a public evidence-gathering meeting.

The ACMD review will cover issues including classification of khat under the 1971 Act, reporting the prevalence of khat use, identifying key khat-using populations, identifying and quantifying harms associated with khat use—specifically social harms—developing an understanding of responses to khat use through services and public information campaigns, and considering the nature of the khat trade, including international trafficking. The chair of the working group has indicated that he would be pleased if my hon. Friend put him in contact with constituents who have evidence to contribute to the review. Furthermore, the ACMD would welcome

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sharing its terms of reference for the review and its planned process for evidence collation. I would certainly encourage my hon. Friend and other Members present to get involved and support that. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will emphasise in her annual commissioning letter to the ACMD, which will be issued shortly, the priority that this work should now continue to have as part of the ACMD’s work programme in order to ensure its advice is delivered on time.

We have published two studies on khat, one in October 2010 and the other in July 2011. They reviewed perceptions and international evidence on the link between khat use and social harms, and included an overview of the evidence in respect of legislative approaches adopted abroad. These studies have been shared with the ACMD to inform its review. We identified research gaps, which was why those two studies were commissioned. We anticipate that they will help inform the ACMD’s review. We will ensure that there is appropriate information and we encourage others to participate in the review.

The October 2010 study of perceptions of social harms found that khat use was widely socially accepted within Somali, Ethiopian and Yemeni communities, and that there was an increased prevalence of use including among women and young people. There was widespread support for some level of Government intervention, but there was no consensus, although there was a range of suggestions, including regulation of trade, local investment in tailored services and more research and better statistics, and some called for control.

The July 2011 review of literature on social harms found no robust evidence either for or against in respect of the link between khat and social harms, but there

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were perceptions of social harms among the UK’s immigrant Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities although there was little evidence of a clear causal relationship to support this view. Reference was made to stronger evidence on the health harms of khat consumption.

The Government have made clear in our drug strategy a commitment to a drug policy that is based on evidence and outcome. We have placed proper consideration of the advice provided by our independent experts, the ACMD, at the heart of enabling the delivery of the strategy. The Government and the ACMD have also agreed a new working protocol, which has been placed in the House Library, setting out a framework for mutual engagement in line with statutory duties. I am sure that my hon. Friend shares my anticipation at the publication of the ACMD’s findings and appreciates the importance of considering the advice of our experts before deciding on next steps, in particular any legislative intervention. My hon. Friend will not expect the Home Secretary to prejudge the outcome of this advice and preclude the consideration of evidence that will be available then. I take this opportunity to invite Members to direct any representations and evidence in respect of khat to the secretariat of the ACMD, based at the Home Office.

We take this issue very seriously. I commend my hon. Friend on the way in which he has approached it and his continued focus on it. We will not kick it into the long grass. We remain focused on this matter and will take action if that is judged appropriate.

Question put and agreed to.

7.44 pm

House adjourned.

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Deferred Division

local government finance bill (carry-over)

That if, at the conclusion of this Session of Parliament, proceedings on the Local Government Finance Bill have not been completed, they shall be resumed in the next Session.

The House divided:

Ayes 329, Noes 207.

Division No. 418]

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Danny

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barker, Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, Paul

Burt, Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cable, rh Vince

Cairns, Alun

Cameron, rh Mr David

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Crabb, Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Flynn, Paul

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Mr Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Huhne, rh Chris

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

MacShane, rh Mr Denis

Main, Mrs Anne

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, Richard

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Percy, Andrew

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Mr John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, David

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

NOES

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, Heidi

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Bell, Sir Stuart

Benn, rh Hilary

Benton, Mr Joe

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Burden, Richard

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Chapman, Mrs Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Mr Wayne

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hood, Mr Jim

Hopkins, Kelvin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leslie, Chris

Lloyd, Tony

Long, Naomi

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Michael, rh Alun

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Pound, Stephen

Qureshi, Yasmin

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, John

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Question accordingly agreed to.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 304

11 Jan 2012 : Column 305

11 Jan 2012 : Column 306