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Mr. Howell : If the hon. Gentleman will listen, he will learn that not only do we have a good policy, we have a magnificent record in government. In 1966, when we wished to host the World cup, we took it as a duty to provide at least 50 per cent. and in some cases 90 per cent. of the cost of all the capital work needed on grounds where it was to be played.
In 1970, we encouraged Scotland to stage the Commonwealth games and, in contrast to the Government, we provided substantial funds so that Scotland and Edinburgh could acquit themselves with credit. Mr. Robert Hayward (Kingswood) rose --
In 1975, we not only passed the Safety of Sports Grounds Act, but negotiated with the football pools authorities to create the Football Trust. With the agreement of the then Chancellor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), we agreed that no taxation would be imposed on the spot-the-ball competition. In return for that agreement, 8 per cent. of the take went to the Football Trust for the ground improvements on which we were insisting. This year, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook and I negotiated a new deal with the pools promoters which we
Column 254offered to the Government. I hope that they will accept it, as it will produce £18 million a year for the football improvements--£180 million in the 10 years in question.
Mr. Hayward : If I heard the right hon. Gentleman correctly, he spoke about when "we"--the Labour Government--took the decision to host the 1966 World cup. What year was the decision taken to host the World cup in this country?
Mr. Howell : When I came to office, I was told by Denis Follows that he had approached the previous Conservative Government. He had been told that they would give every help and that they would provide motor cycle policemen to go round the country. I had to go to the Treasury to get some money myself. If hon. Members want to know the story, my autobiography comes out shortly and it is all there. It costs £14.95 and it is well worth a read. I am sorry to say that one of the people who comes out best is the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary. I hope that he will reform from his practice of misrepresenting me in view of the justice I do to him in my book.
The levy of 42.5 per cent. on the pools is a disgrace. It is disgraceful that men and women who fill out their football pools are called upon to pay 42.5 per cent. in tax, when the tax on bingo, horse racing and everything else is 8 per cent. only. I hope that the Government will consider that problem.
It is important to consider the effects that the Taylor report will have on rugby union, rugby league and on cricket. All those sports will be required to provide all-seater grounds ; it is a major problem for all sports, not just football. I hope that the Government will consider it.
I endorse what the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) said about planning and local authorities. Taylor rightly calls upon local authorities to understand the need to improve and replace stadiums and to be sympathetic to planning applications. I am glad to see that the Secretary of State for the Environment is present and I hope that he will recognise that, time and time again, local authorities turn down such applications. If they continue to do so, they will sabotage the Taylor report--none of us wants to see it sabotaged on those grounds. I would be grateful for the right hon. Gentleman's sympathy in that regard.
We must consult the supporters' clubs more often. They have a wealth of wisdom and knowledge and I am sorry that much of the football industry does not take it on board. I believe that every football club should have a genuine, independent, but sympathetic and realistic supporters' club, which should work in co-operation with its club. The supporters' clubs should be represented on the new Football Licensing Authority, which we have not discussed, and the sport itself should also be represented now that the Football Membership Authority has gone.
It is important that friction does not develop in the future, because the licensing authority--acting with great powers--has no representative from football or football supporters. I hope, in a constructive spirit, that when he makes his appointments, the Minister will consider that matter seriously.
Yesterday, the Home Secretary's response to the Taylor proposal about the need to deal with new laws to prevent pitch invasions, racial and obscene chanting and the throwing of missiles was disappointing--as was his response to my right hon. Friend the Member for
Column 255Sparkbrook's call for the need to provide more attendance centres. However, I was heartened that the Home Secretary said that he would look at the matter again urgently rather than merely rely on the Public Order Act 1986. I welcome that, and hope that he will do so. Lord Justice Taylor must have looked at the Public Order Act and concluded that it was inadequate. We know that it is, because the number of prosecutions for racial chanting, obscene calls or such matters is minuscule.
I endorse Lord Justice Taylor's report. I cannot do any better than to quote his fine summing up under his chapter headed, "A better future for football" :
"I hope in these two chapters I have made it clear that the years of patching up grounds, of having periodic disasters and narrowly avoiding many others by muddling through on a wing and a prayer must be over. A totally new approach across the whole field of football requires higher standards both in bricks and mortar and in human relationships."
Those words have the full support of Her Majesty's Opposition. We trust that the Government will provide the resources which will turn fine words into reality.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Colin Moynihan) : Those of us who have been here throughout the debate will have heard with interest the opening remarks of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), for two reasons. First, he addressed three comments to me. He said that I was a supporter of Millwall, that it was in my constituency, and that I wanted a fixture list for next season. I am a supporter not of Millwall, but of Charlton. Neither club is in my constituency. I do not need a fixture list for next season ; we are hardly through this season.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook should address at the Dispatch Box now an issue which is fundamentally important. Those who were present for his speech will have noticed that during his early remarks he said that supporters who wanted to stand should be allowed to do so. That led to an intervention by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), who could not accept that premise. He clearly and cogently put the argument for all-seater stadiums which is at the centre of Lord Justice Taylor's report. Later on, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook's position was echoed by the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), who also argued against Lord Justice Taylor and said that those supporters who wanted to stand should be allowed to do so.
It is absolutely essential to the House, and as a message to people outside the House, for the Opposition to make their position absolutely clear. Do they support all-seater stadiums along the lines proposed by Lord Justice Taylor or do they not? I shall happily give way to the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. [ Hon. Members : --"Answer."] It does not surprise me that the right hon. Gentleman does not rise to his feet because Hansard and coverage of this debate will show clearly that the Opposition have rejected the main tenet of Lord Justice Taylor's report. They went further than that on a whole range of different issues and challenged his arguments on other matters. They even questioned whether the new penalties and criminal offences which Lord Justice Taylor has urged the Government to consider carefully and enact should be so enacted. It is disgraceful that the right hon. Member for
Column 256Sparkbrook has not backed Lord Justice Taylor's report or all-seater stadiums along the lines outlined in that report. The message from my hon. Friends is far clearer. Urgent solutions must and can be found to the problems that beset football. An ailing game must be treated and brought from the inward-looking boardrooms of Victorian England into the 1990s. That will not be done overnight, nor will this report alone provide the cure. We need a complete change in attitude, a new realism and, above all, courage from those who run the game and those who support it.
I recognise, as my hon. Friends have made clear, that football can creak and lumber on as it has been doing for years, bedevilled by trouble and shabby venues. Of course, change can remain a dirty word at most football clubs. Yesterday, in the intervention of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr Ashton), we saw symptons of such an attitude when he was unwilling to accept that football is an industry, a part of the leisure industry, which has to compete for spectators. There is simply no excuse for the raw deal that most supporters get from their clubs nowadays. Clubs must move closer to their supporters. I agree with the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) that the views of supporters need to be taken fully into account by clubs.
But the reality is that too often in football local shopkeepers are too terrified to open and supporters have to be herded into grounds and protected every match day for their own safety by 5,000 or more police. The police are on duty to contain the problem, not to cure it. What other industry has the nerve to presume to ask the police to marshal its paying customers in and out of its premises? The police would be far better deployed in the local community and towns upholding law and order.
The football authorities should be leading the way. Like every form of activity for the paying spectator, be it cinemas, tennis or fitness clubs, football clubs must pay for the safety improvements themselves.
If every ground converted to all-seater and all those seats were covered, the Football Trust estimates that the cost would be £130 million. The calculation made by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was even less than that. Many clubs, particularly in the lower divisions, have attendances well below capacity and many currently uncovered standing areas will no doubt simply not be used, thus substantially lowering the cost.
Meanwhile, the Football Trust has offered £75 million towards ground improvements, and even if only half the income that the Football Association and the Football League derive from television--currently about £18 million a year--was spent on ground safety over the next 10 years, the costs would be covered in full. That is without considering the sponsorship and commercial arrangements, gate money and transfer fees, all of which provide important sources of revenue.
Mr. John Fraser (Norwood) : If the Minister is so keen on sponsorship, why does the chairman of the Tory party have a subsidy as a Cabinet Minister? Why does not he get some sponsorship and run round with "Rupert Murdoch" across his chest, or something like that?
Column 257which is that television income alone over the next 10 years, or half that plus the money that the Football Trust has said that it will make available, would allow all the division clubs in 1999 to provide covered seating, which would meet the fundamental tenet of Lord Justice Taylor's report, with which every Conservative Member agrees even if the Opposition are divided on the merits of that proposal.
Mr. Gary Waller (Keighley) : Let me stress the predicament of rugby league clubs, particularly those in the nether regions of the second division, which count their crowds in hundreds, have no access to the Football Trust and find it difficult to obtain sponsorship, but which may nevertheless find themselves, as designated clubs under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, faced with considerable costs.
consideration--not least in taking into account the point that my hon. Friend makes.
I return to the question of finance. The Opposition urged the Government to make more taxpayers' money available. It cost just under £1 million to police Chelsea football club, for example, last season, of which £140,000, net of value added tax, was recovered from the clubs--and £860,000 is a high price for the ratepayers of Hammersmith and Fulham to pay for the disruption caused outside the club and in the neighbourhood, particularly since the club estimates that only 2 per cent. of its gate comes from the local population. It is wholly reasonable for the ratepayers of Hammersmith and Fulham to ask the Opposition why, when they face such large bills today, they should agree with a Labour party that seeks to increase taxation to pay for safety improvements at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. There are three key reasons why we should reject Opposition calls to repeal the Football Spectators Act 1989. First, the Act provides the framework for the measures that Lord Justice Taylor discusses and recommends. Forty of Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations that impact directly on safety can be implemented by a football licensing authority, which is at the heart of part I of the Act.
Secondly, part I enables us to act swiftly in replacing stands by seated accommodation. If we did not have the legislative vehicle in place, we would not be in a position to give clubs as much time as possible to meet the timetable outlined in the report.
Thirdly, Lord Justice Taylor comments positively on part II of the Act, which will be a crucial measure later this year. Those three measures should have the unanimous support of the House, and it is sad to see Labour opposing them this evening. Those measures have the support of my right hon. and hon. Friends and of the British public. Only the Opposition parties appear divided between outright
Column 258calls for repealing the Act and internal division as to how they should respond to the key safety measures that the report recommends.
Lord Justice Taylor was quite right to address himself to the invitation to tender issued by the management consultants employed by the football authorities.
Mr. Moynihan : The right hon. Gentleman asks about the ID card scheme. If he had read the report, he would know that the only reference to the invitation to tender is right at the heart of Lord Justice Taylor's assessment of the national membership scheme. I shall be more than delighted to outline it in more detail to the hon. Gentleman after the debate.
On the basis of Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations, we have decided not to proceed with the scheme's implementation. As I have always told the House, we were insistent that we would not move to the establishment of the FMA until we had given full consideration to Lord Justice Taylor's report. That we have done. However, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary made clear yesterday, the provisions in part I of the Football Spectators Act 1989 will remain in force, and the proposals for a national membership scheme will be put on the back burner. Work will continue to establish how Lord Justice Taylor's anxieties about the scheme can be met.
The problem of hooliganism has not gone away and it would be grossly irresponsible of the Government and the House not to give Lord Justice Taylor's package every support and to implement it. But be aware that we have a national membership scheme which, should we need it-- [Interruption.] We can return to the House in due course to tackle the problem of hooliganism. As I have said many times, I believe in the national game. I want to see it fit that description--
Mr. Derek Foster (Bishop Auckland) rose in his place and claimed to move , That the Question be now put.
Question , That the Question be now put, put and agreed to . Question put accordingly , That the original words stand part of the Question :--
The House divided : Ayes 210, Noes 277.
Division No. 57] [10.00 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Allen (Paisley N)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)
Beith, A. J.
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)
Bray, Dr Jeremy
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Column 259Corbett, Robin
Cunningham, Dr John
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)
Duffy, A. E. P.
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Evans, John (St Helens N)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Golding, Mrs Llin
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Harman, Ms Harriet
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Heffer, Eric S.
Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Home Robertson, John
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Mo n)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)