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House of Commons
Session 1997-98
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Monday 26th October 1998

The House met at half-past Two o'clock.
PRAYERS.
1Sexual Orientation Discrimination Bill [Lords],—The Sexual Orientation Discrimination Bill [Lords] was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Monday 9th November and to be printed [Bill 248]
2Business of the House,—Ordered, That, at this day's sitting, paragraph (2) of Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments) shall apply to proceedings on the Motions in the name of Mr Paddy Ashdown as if this day were one of the Opposition Days allotted under paragraph (2) of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business).—(Mr Mike Hall.)
3The Economy,—A Motion was made and the Question being proposed, That this House notes that the macro-economic policies of this Government have led to an uncompetitive and unstable pound, high real short-term interest rates and an unbalanced economy, that as a consequence of these problems, and the recent global economic slowdown, economic growth forecasts for the UK for 1999 are being revised downwards and unemployment forecasts are being revised upwards, that jobs in manufacturing industry are already being lost at the rate of over 300 per day and that agricultural employment is also declining sharply; and calls upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to resist pressures and temptations to compromise the operational independence of the Bank of England, recognise the role of fiscal policy in stabilising economic growth in order to avoid excessive reliance on interest rates for such a purpose, make an early Declaration of Intent of the Government's commitment to join the European Single Currency, agree and establish a joint Six-Monthly Report on Convergence by the Treasury and the Bank of England to the Treasury Committee, take further actions to tackle skills shortages, and maintain the recent plans for additional investment in key public services such as the NHS and schools—(Mr Malcolm Bruce);
 
        An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 1, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'notes that the Government inherited an economy in which public sector net borrowing was £28 billion, inflation was set to rise sharply above target because of the failure of the previous Government to take the necessary action on interest rates; recalls that the previous Government presided over a boom and bust economy where interest rates reached 15 per cent. and inflation reached 10 per cent., doubled the national debt in the 1990s, worsened inequality and failed to tackle the weaknesses in the British economy; commends the actions of this Government which is steering a course of stability in an uncertain and unstable world, has established a credible framework for monetary policy that has led to the lowest long-term interest rates in 35 years, and inflation hitting its 2\5 per cent. target, and has taken tough action to cut government borrowing by £20 billion; and welcomes the increase in employment of 400,000 since the election, the launch of the New Deal, reform of the tax and benefit system to tackle unemployment and poverty traps, support for British business through cuts in corporation tax and small business tax to their lowest levels ever, and the extra investment of £40 billion in education and health over the next three years', instead thereof.—(Mr Stephen Byers.)
 
        And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Andrew Stunell, Mr Adrian Sanders: 43.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr Clive Betts, Mr David Jamieson: 330.
 
        So the Question was negatived.
 
        And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Order [this day];
 
        The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
 
        Resolved, That this House notes that the Government inherited an economy in which public sector net borrowing was £28 billion, inflation was set to rise sharply above target because of the failure of the previous Government to take the necessary action on interest rates; recalls that the previous Government presided over a boom and bust economy where interest rates reached 15 per cent. and inflation reached 10 per cent., doubled the national debt in the 1990s, worsened inequality and failed to tackle the weaknesses in the British economy; commends the actions of this Government which is steering a course of stability in an uncertain and unstable world, has established a credible frameworth for monetary policy that has led to the lowest long-term interest rates in 35 years, and inflation hitting its 2\5 per cent. target, and has taken tough action to cut government borrowing by £20 billion; and welcomes the increase in employment of 400,000 since the election, the launch of the New Deal, reform of the tax and benefit system to tackle unemployment and poverty traps, support for British business through cuts in corporation tax and small business tax to their lowest levels ever, and the extra investment of £40 billion in education and health over the next three years.
4Farming and the Food Industry,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House welcomes moves made by Her Majesty's Government in recent weeks to address some of the problems facing the British agricultural industry but believes these problems would be more successfully addressed by measures such as accessing agri-monetary compensation funds, ensuring that animal welfare standards are enforced uniformly across the EU and that UK standards are applied to imports, encouraging supermarkets to support British farming in their buying policies and addressing the imbalance in the bargaining power between producers and the supermarkets, implementing a 'Buy British' policy in central government and its agencies and encouraging local government to do likewise wherever possible, retaining the Calf Processing Scheme, reducing inspection charges on farmers, ensuring that payment to farmers are made promptly, stabilising exchange rates by making an early declaration of intent of the Government's commitment to join the European Single Currency, implementing longer-term measures that are also needed to secure the future of British farming, including the clear labelling of products including imports, and ensuring that CAP reform does not discriminate against British farmers and any uptake of an early retirement scheme does not lead to compulsory amalgamation of holdings; further believes that confidence in the safety and quality of British food will only be restored when a fully independent and authoritative Food Standards Agency is established; and regrets any delay in its creation—(Mr Charles Kennedy);
 
        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 'welcomes the Government's strong commitment to the UK farming industry and to the wider rural economy; welcomes in particular the steps which the Government has taken since May 1997 to support the beef and sheep industry via EU agri-monetary compensation and relief from charges; acknowledges the steps taken specifically to help the sheep, pig and cereal sectors with targeted EU measures; and endorses the Government's intention to bring about a secure and viable future for the UK farming and food industries through a market-orientated reform of the Common Agricultural Policy', instead thereof.—(Mr Jeff Rooker.)
 
        And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—It was agreed to.
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Andrew Stunell, Mr Adrian Sanders: 45.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr David Hanson, Mr Mike Hall: 340.
 
          So the Question was negatived.
 
        And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Order [this day];
 
        The Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
 
        Resolved, That this House welcomes the Government's strong commitment to the UK farming industry and to the wider rural economy; welcomes in particular the steps which the Government has taken since May 1997 to support the beef and sheep industry via EU agri-monetary compensation and relief from charges; acknowledges the steps taken specifically to help the sheep, pig and cereal sectors with targeted EU measures; and endorses the Government's intention to bring about a secure and viable future for the UK farming and food industries through a market-orientated reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
5Adjournment,—Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mr Clive Betts).
 
        And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till twenty-seven minutes to Eleven o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.
[Adjourned at 10.33 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 23rd October 1998 (Non-sitting Friday, S.O. No. 12) pursuant to Standing Order No. 158 (Presentation of command papers):
1International Development,—Department for International Development Minute concerning a contingent liability consequent upon the guarantee of a loan to the Day Chocolate Company for the Kuapa Kokoo Project in Ghana [Secretary Clare Short].
2Miscellaneous (No. 11, 1998),—1996 Protocol, adopted at London on 7th November 1996, to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and other Matter, 1972, with an explanatory memorandum [Cm. 4078] [Mr Secretary Cook].
3Treaty Series (No. 49, 1998),—Convention, done at London on 12th May 1994, between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Estonia for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital Gains, with Exchange of Notes [Cm. 4084] [Mr Secretary Cook].
Papers delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office on Friday 23rd October 1998 (Non-sitting Friday, S.O. No. 12) pursuant to Standing Order No. 159 (Presentation of statutory instruments):
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
4Income Tax,—Income Tax (Sub-contractors in the Construction Industry) (Amendment) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2622), dated 23rd October 1998 [Dawn Primarolo].
5Local Government,—Local Government Act 1988 (Defined Activities) (Exemption) (Leicester City Council) Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2550), dated 16th October 1998 [Mr Secretary Prescott].
Papers presented or laid upon the Table on Monday 26th October 1998:
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
6Building and Buildings,—Building Regulations (Amendment) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2561), dated 19th October 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
7Civil Aviation,—Civil Aviation (Canadian Navigation Services) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2575), dated 19th October 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
8National Health Service,—Health Authorities (Membership and Procedure) Amendment Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2621), dated 23rd October 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Dobson].
9Sea Fisheries,—(1) Broadford Bay and Loch Ainort, Isle of Skye, Scallops Several Fishery Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2638),
 
        (2) Loch Sligachan, Isle of Skye, Scallops Several Fishery Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2640), and
 
        (3) Scalpay Island, Isle of Skye, Scallops Several Fishery Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2639),
 
        dated 8th October 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Dewar].
Other Papers:
10Health and Safety at Work,—Accounts of the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive for 1997-98, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 1115] [Clerk of the House].
11Local Government (Wales),—Report and Accounts of the Residuary Body for Wales for 1997-98 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Davies].
12Museums and Galleries,—(1) Accounts of the National Gallery for 1997-98, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 1114];
 
        (2) Account of the National Museum of Science and Industry for 1997-98, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 1113]; and
 
        (3) Account of the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside for 1997-98, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Statutory Instrument]; to be printed [No. 1112]
 
        [Clerk of the House].
APPENDIX II
Reports from Select Committees
Welsh Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Welsh Affairs Committee on 26th October [The Closure of the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum]; to be printed [No. 1116-i][Mr Martyn Jones].


CORRIGENDUM
 
        In the Votes and Proceedings for Monday 19th October, in Appendix I, Papers presented or laid upon the Table on Monday 19th October 1998, the following item should have appeared under the heading Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution, and not Other Papers:
114Church of England (General Synod) (Measures),—Measure passed by the General Synod of the Church of England, entitled Cathedrals Measure [by Act]; to be printed [No. 1025] [Clerk of the House].



 
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