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Mr. Bradley: Will the Minister give way now?

Mr. Arbuthnot: No, the hon. Gentleman has had two goes. I am trying to fit everything into the 10 minutes left to me.

The test rejected by the Prime Minister in 1986 was rightly rejected for those reasons. Our test limits benefits to those people with a definite commitment to living and working in this country. In that respect, we have come into line with other European countries.

Mr. Bradley: Give way.

Mr. Arbuthnot: I have made it plain that I am not going to give way.

We have removed a burden from the British taxpayer. Taxpayers will not have to subsidise people who have no close ties with the United Kingdom and who have not made a recent financial contribution to the United Kingdom-- [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Withington is trying to ask me questions from a sedentary position. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Teignbridge pointed out, his position on that measure was nothing short of extraordinary. In one and the same breath he seemed to support it, to want to review it and to want to revoke it.

In the face of our well thought out and positive measures, let us consider what is on offer from the Labour party. Those who voted for Labour at the last election will be sadly disappointed by what they have heard today. The Labour party manifesto promised that Labour would uprate the pension in line with prices, but we heard not a squeak about that today. How timid the Labour party has become. In a television interview a few days ago, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) tried to be brave. He said: "I think that the present level of income support is inadequate."

When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State asked whether, if Labour were in power, the hon. Member for Garscadden would raise it, the hon. Gentleman did a three-point turn. He said, "No, no, no." That was quicker than Labour's U-turn on education policies because at least Labour's education policies lasted a full day; this one hardly lasted full minute. We know why the Labour party refuses to produce any policies; it is because Labour policies always cost vast amounts of other people's money. Labour spokesmen are aware that if they say anything at all their words will be costed, so they have spent the entire debate saying nothing, at great length.

The Labour party set up a Commission on Social Justice, but it is scared to accept the £7 billion price tag. Now Labour Members will have to make a decision. It will be hard for them but they must have a go. They will

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have to decide whether to vote in favour of more money for pensioners. Many people might think that that would be an easy decision, but history tells us otherwise. This time last year, Labour Members of Parliament made the historic decision to vote against the pension increase. Will they do that again this year? I would not put anything past them; but I must be fair--not all Labour Members voted against.

Mr. Bradley indicated assent .

Mr. Arbuthnot: The hon. Gentleman confirms that. The Labour Front- Bench spokesmen did not vote against the pension

increase--because they did not vote at all.

It being Seven o'clock, Madam Deputy Speaker-- put the Question, pursuant to Order [24 February].

Question agreed to.


That the draft Statutory Sick Pay Percentage Threshold Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 13th February, be approved. Madam Deputy Speaker-- then put the remaining Questions required to be put at that hour.


That the draft Guaranteed Minimum Pensions Increase Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 13th February, be approved. That the draft Social Security (Contributions) (Re-rating and National Insurance Fund Payments) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 13th February, be approved.

That the draft Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 13th February, be approved. That the draft Social Security (Contributions) Amendment Regulations 1995, which were laid before this House on 13th February, be approved.-- [Mr. Willetts.]

Motion made, and Question put ,

That the Income-related Benefits Schemes (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 3) Regulations 1994 (S.I., 1994, No. 1807), dated 7th July 1994, a copy of which was laid before this House on 11th July, in the last session of Parliament, be revoked.-- [Mr. Bradley.]

The House divided: Ayes 246, Noes 287.

Division No. 89] [7.00 pm


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Adams, Mrs Irene

Ainger, Nick

Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)

Allen, Graham

Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)

Armstrong, Hilary

Ashton, Joe

Austin-Walker, John

Battle, John

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret

Beith, Rt Hon A J

Bennett, Andrew F

Bermingham, Gerald

Berry, Roger

Betts, Clive

Blunkett, David

Boateng, Paul

Boyes, Roland

Bradley, Keith

Bray, Dr Jeremy

Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)

Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)

Burden, Richard

Byers, Stephen

Column 895

Caborn, Richard

Callaghan, Jim

Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)

Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)

Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)

Campbell-Savours, D N

Cann, Jamie

Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)

Chidgey, David

Chisholm, Malcolm

Church, Judith

Clapham, Michael

Clark, Dr David (South Shields)

Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)

Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)

Clelland, David

Clwyd, Mrs Ann

Coffey, Ann

Cohen, Harry

Connarty, Michael

Cook, Frank (Stockton N)

Corbett, Robin

Corbyn, Jeremy

Corston, Jean

Cousins, Jim

Column 896

Cox, Tom

Cummings, John

Cunliffe, Lawrence

Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)

Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John

Dafis, Cynog

Dalyell, Tam

Darling, Alistair

Davidson, Ian

Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)

Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)

Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)

Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)

Denham, John

Dewar, Donald

Dixon, Don

Dobson, Frank

Donohoe, Brian H

Dowd, Jim

Dunnachie, Jimmy

Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eastham, Ken

Etherington, Bill

Evans, John (St Helens N)

Fatchett, Derek

Field, Frank (Birkenhead)

Flynn, Paul

Foster, Rt Hon Derek

Foster, Don (Bath)

Foulkes, George

Fraser, John

Fyfe, Maria

Galbraith, Sam

Galloway, George

Gapes, Mike

George, Bruce

Gerrard, Neil

Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John

Godman, Dr Norman A

Golding, Mrs Llin

Gordon, Mildred

Graham, Thomas

Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)

Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)

Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)

Grocott, Bruce

Gunnell, John

Hain, Peter

Hall, Mike

Hanson, David

Hardy, Peter

Harvey, Nick

Henderson, Doug

Heppell, John

Hill, Keith (Streatham)

Hinchliffe, David

Hodge, Margaret

Hoey, Kate

Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)

Home Robertson, John

Hoon, Geoffrey

Howarth, George (Knowsley North)

Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)

Hoyle, Doug

Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)

Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)

Hughes, Roy (Newport E)

Hutton, John

Illsley, Eric

Ingram, Adam

Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)

Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)

Jamieson, David

Janner, Greville

Johnston, Sir Russell

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