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Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, it is rather late in the day to have a long debate about that. The noble Earl will know, as he has attended some of the other debates, that, with the increased amount of participation by women in the labour force, many families have two incomes, some families have one income, and, regrettably, some families have no income. That inevitably means that there will be variations of household incomes in a big way. So I think there are some factors there with which even the noble Earl, short of punitive taxation, will not be able to deal.

An interesting point--the noble Lord, Lord St. John of Bletso, mentioned this--is that pensioners' average incomes have increased by 50 per cent. since 1979. Average incomes for the unemployed and for others not in work have also risen. Independent research shows that the least well off--the bottom decile--have also shared in the country's increasing prosperity. The Institute of Fiscal Studies showed that the standard of living, measured by expenditure by the lowest decile, has increased by 14 per cent. since 1979. The lowest income decile has seen a big increase in ownership of consumer durables; for example, 90 per cent. have washing machines, up from 69 per cent. in 1979, and 75 per cent. have telephones, up from 47 per cent. in 1979.

We have given considerable extra help to vulnerable groups--more than £1 billion a year to low income families and £1.2 billion a year to poorer pensioners since 1988. In the past two years, we have introduced help with child care, announced the jobseeker's agreement and a back-to-work bonus, and a package of work incentives worth around £700 million, in order to try to tackle the problems identified by the noble Lords, Lord Acton and Lord Sempill, of unemployment and people needing to find a way back into work.

We have heard two contrasting approaches to the economy. From the party opposite, we have heard the usual interventionism dressed up by the new phrase "a stakeholder economy", but with plenty of aggravation put in the direction of those people who run British industry and who manage it. At best, the kind of policies the Labour Party advocates would retard our economic renaissance. At worst, they would take us right back to the cul-de-sac we were in in 1979.

From this side--from my noble friends and from the Cross Benches--we have heard a confident vision of a dynamic and competitive enterprise economy, generating jobs, rising prosperity and the resources for

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the better public services which we all want to see. Fortunately, our vision is the reality and the one that people will increasingly see as the reality.

7.47 p.m.

Lord Eatwell: My Lords, I am enormously grateful to those noble Lords who have taken part in the debate. I have been greatly heartened that, virtually without exception--indeed the only exception was the Minister--noble Lords have addressed carefully the substantive changes in the fabric of society and in the economy that have occurred over the past 17 years. I apologise to the noble Lords, Lord Dean of Harptree and Lord Ezra, for the fact that I was called away and missed their contributions. I look forward to reading them in Hansard tomorrow.

This is not the time to answer the issues raised in the debate. However, I should like to make one or two comments. First, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Sempill, whose speech I anticipated. I feel I anticipated it appropriately because I enjoyed it very much. I notice that the noble Lord lists as one of his recreations watching rugby football. Now he has joined your Lordships' House perhaps he will consider joining the Commons and Lords Rugby Union Football Club and return to playing rugby football. I know that his neighbour, the noble Lord, Lord St. John of Bletso, will be happy to provide him with a membership form. Do come and join us!

I wish also to comment on the most warm remarks of the noble Baroness, Lady Seear. I have indeed studied the Liberal Yellow Book of 1928. I happen to own a copy. I also own, and would recommend to noble Lords, a copy of another Liberal pamphlet by Keynes entitled Can Lloyd George Do It? I assure noble Lords that the pamphlet is about employment policy.

As regards a couple of substantive matters in the debate, I would like to refer to the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, who questioned the relationship between efficiency and equality. He was puzzled by the view that I advanced about the supervisory and managerial burden in British industry. The point I was making is that Professor David Gordon has shown that whereas in Germany 96 per cent. of the labour force is actually doing the job, while 4 per cent. is supervising those who do it, in the United Kingdom only 85 per cent. of the labour force does the work and 15 per cent. of the employees supervise those who do the work. This burden is the product of the adversarial relationship which characterises so much of British industry, but not all.

I made clear--and the Minister misrepresented me on this point--that several British companies do indeed follow what could be called, "a stakeholder approach". The European Works Council, as defined by the Social Chapter of the Maastricht Treaty, has been introduced by, among others, United Biscuits, which is a

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company well-known as a supporter of the Conservative Party; by Coats Viyella, Courtaulds, ICI, Pilkington and many others.

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for making it clear that he believes that managers do not do work.

Lord Eatwell: My Lords, on the contrary: I was suggesting that we need only an appropriate number of them. Given the adversarial relationships in Britain which this Government have created, we have far too many. Given all those matters, I reiterate my thanks to the many noble Lords who have contributed to what I found to be an excellent debate. I am grateful to those noble Lords. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.

Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Bill

Brought from the Commons; read a first time, and to be printed.

Restaurants (Service and Cover Charges) Bill [H.L.]

7.52 p.m.

The Earl of Bradford: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.--(The Earl of Bradford.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Lord Burnham) in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [Service and cover charges]:

Viscount Mountgarret moved Amendment No. 1:


Page 1, line 7, leave out from ("above,") to end of line 14 and insert ("no charges shall be made in addition to the price advertised to any consumer of food or drink that is for sale by retail for consumption on any restaurant premises or premises offering similar services other than any charges which must be shown separately in respect of entertainment.").

The noble Viscount said: I beg to move this small amendment, which is self-explanatory. The clause, as drafted by my noble friend--and I hope that he will not mind too much if I suggest this--is somewhat verbose, rather ambiguous and convoluted. I believe that the amendment, as drafted, and shown on the Marshalled List, is a better way of putting it. It is clearer and more concise. I very much hope that my noble friend will feel able to accept that point.

Lord Monson: I believe Amendment No. 1 to be much clearer, more concise and less open to

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misinterpretation than the wording of the Bill, as currently drafted. That is why I am pleased to add my name to this amendment.

Viscount Thurso: I, too, would like to add my name to this amendment. My principal concern about the Bill is the effect on remuneration of waiting staff and to see that, as far as possible, their remuneration is protected. I am advised that the effect of this clause, as originally drafted, could possibly include tips and gratuities, which would have a negative effect on their remuneration. Therefore, I prefer the amendment as I believe it tidies up that point and helps to make clear that gratuities and tips cannot also be drawn in.

Lord Rathcavan: I add my support to Amendment No. 1. Perhaps I may also add my support to Amendment No. 3 while I am on my feet. I totally agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, that the existing wording of the clause confuses the difference between a compulsory service charge and an optional gratuity or tip. I know that the staff prefer to retain the troncmaster. The restaurant owners prefer it and also the British Hospitality Association. I strongly support the rewording suggested in Amendment No. 1.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): It may be helpful if I briefly intervene at this point to indicate that the position the Government take on this Bill is unchanged, believing that further regulation in this area is not necessary. Accordingly, it will be noted that we do not propose to move any Government amendments either to this clause or indeed to any other part of the Bill.

I appreciate that the amendment is designed to overcome the flaw that my noble friend identified at Second Reading, that price indications which indicate that a separate service or cover charge is payable are not at all misleading, and that it is contradictory for the Bill to define them as such. I fully agree with my noble friend on that point.

The solution which he proposes is to replace the offending drafting by a provision which would prohibit the levying of any charges in addition to the advertised meal price, except where such a charge was made for the provision of entertainment. I have to say that I understand the support that has been offered for that proposal, but the provision itself suffers from a number of drawbacks.

We are concerned that it does, in some respects, obscure rather than make clear to consumers what elements are in fact included in the cost of a meal. It would also effectively nullify the requirements of the Price Marking (Food and Drink on Premises) Order 1979, to which reference has been made at earlier stages of this Bill, which requires non-optional charges to be clearly and legibly displayed at or near restaurant entrances.

Most fundamental of all--and it is an important point--is that the amendment would in our view be outside the scope of Part III of the Consumer Protection

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Act 1987. This extends only to making provision with respect to the giving of price indications, but not to what charges may or may not be made. I offer that advice to the Committee. But as I have already indicated, the Government's opposition to this Bill remains.


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