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Lord Rooker: My Lords, I want to make it clear that this amendment is not a compromise. I invite anybody who wants a definition of wishy-washy Liberal Democrats to read in tomorrow's Hansard the speech we have just heard. I think the noble Baroness should be ashamed of herself and her party should be ashamed of itself for the stand that they are taking on this. Not once have either the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives spelt out the consequences. If you oppose pooling—and I have repeatedly invited answers to this—there are only certain alternatives. They are less investment by the most needy authorities, higher taxes to make good the money that is currently retained or cuts in other programmes. Not one of them has had the guts to stand up and say which one of those alternatives they would go for, unless we are just about to hear.

Baroness Maddock: My Lords, what I actually proposed was another place from which we could get the money because I disagree with the principle of taking this money. I made that quite clear.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, the noble Baroness says she will vote for the amendment. I will give her a few examples of who will lose out if the amendment is carried. Brent will lose 2 million. I hope the Liberal Democrat candidate will go to the public tonight and say, "Our Lib Dems have voted to lose 2 million for Brent's housing". Brent has to be an authority in need. As for Liverpool—and I think the Lib Dems are in charge of Liverpool—it would lose 1.5 million as a

17 Sept 2003 : Column 923

result of accepting this amendment. Bournemouth will lose 250,000, Solihull 180,000 and Wokingham 150,000.

This is "make your mind up time". Are we concerned about using the resources of the nation based on housing need? It is no good saying everybody has equal need—they have not. I accept that they will all have needs—even in the most well off areas, there will be pockets of need. But it is a question of the scale of the need compared with the resources available. That is what we are inviting the House to accept in this pooling arrangement.

As I have said, there are alternatives. We will be depriving needy authorities of much needed investment in housing based not on a whim or a hunch but on the housing needs of the people living in those authorities. I have read out some losers and no doubt I could read out more. I invite the Liberal Democrats to think seriously about what they are doing here today.

Baroness Hanham: My Lords, I think we have finally got to the Minister. I have not seen him so exercised about anything for a very long time. We have been having very calm and balanced discussions throughout the Bill's proceedings.

I said that I would not tweak the Minister too hard about the amount of money involved, but I wish to refer to Tuesday's Commons debate in Hansard. My honourable friend Mr Philip Hammond asked the Minister to,

    "confirm for the record that the sum involved in relation to debt-free authorities—the only ones that will be directly affected in cash terms by the measure—is about 120 million, and not 800 million, 1.8 billion or any other exaggerated figure?"

Mr Raynsford responded:

    "The figure that I quoted—

which was in a previous part of the debate—

    "was the total sum that we estimate will be brought within the pooling arrangements".

Those are the billions. We are talking about 120 million. Mr Raynsford continued:

    "That is similar to the set-aside. The figure for debt-free authorities is 120 million, as the hon. Gentleman rightly said".—[Official Report, Commons, 15/9/03; cols. 599-600.]

I suggest that if the Minister disagrees with that, he disagrees with Mr Raynsford. Our understanding is that the sum is about 120 million. The amounts that the Minister has just said might be lost are to authorities which, I am fascinated to discover, have already been identified.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I probably will not be able to come back, but so there is no misunderstanding about this, of the 120 million, the figures are for the authorities I have just quoted, so it might not seem a large sum of money. The estimated pooling of right-to-buy receipts generates 1.2 billion, of which 120 million will come from the debt-free authorities.

17 Sept 2003 : Column 924

But the amendment affects all authorities as the set-aside will not continue, so there will be damage all round.

Baroness Hanham: My Lords, we are talking about the right-to-buy money. We are talking about money that will be scooped up from authorities which have had it in their accounts because the Minister is able to take it away from them. He has already identified and made it clear that the Government have already spent the money to be scooped up from these authorities by, if nothing else, at least allocating it to authorities, some of which he has read out.

The amounts of money that the Minister read out are not fantastic. Two million pounds will not cover much in the way of building in Brent, which would probably require 200 billion.

The Government will dictate to authorities which have raised this money in capital receipts by good careful management. They will say, "You do not need this money; by some dint or other you have managed to scoop up this money but you will not be allowed to spend it on anything".

If this is what a compromise is, we have suggested in the amendment that that money should be recognised as part and parcel of the budget and the money for the local authorities, but that they should be able to spend it in line with their priorities and the Government's recognition of those priorities. If key worker housing is not a priority in very many parts of this country—not only for authorities with big debts and big requirements—I know not what we have been talking about for these many months past. I know not what the Secretary of State is talking about when he is trying to develop all the areas in the South East.

The amendment would allow those authorities to keep the money to use it for their priorities in a way that is associated with housing. I cannot make the matter clearer than that. I believe that the proposal would be a right and proper way to deal with housing capital receipts. Therefore, I must ask the House to agree with my amendment.

4.1 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 3B) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 139; Not-Contents, 118.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blatch, B.
Bowness, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carrington, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Feldman, L.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Geddes, L.
Geraint, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hamwee, B. [Teller]
Hanham, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laird, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Naseby, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rawlings, B.
Redesdale, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Wigoder, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allen of Abbeydale, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Boyce, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fitt, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greengross, B.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Joffe, L.
Jordan, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Palmer, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Tanlaw, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Walpole, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord President of the Council)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

17 Sept 2003 : Column 926

On Question, Motion, as amended, agreed to.

4.11 p.m.


6Before Clause 25, insert the following new clause—
"Application of provisions of this Part
The provisions of this Part may only be applied to those local authorities that have been identified by the Audit Commission as at risk of overspending their total budget by more than 10 per cent."
The Commons disagree to this amendment for the following reason—

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