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Mrs. Gillan: My hon. Friend makes an extremely valid point. The Government have on their Back Benches many unknown quantities. I am sure that they have been busy finding out more about them. They never expected to be elected, and the Government never expected to have to deal with them. However, I am sure that the hon. Members who were surprised at their own election are still Members of

5 Jun 1997 : Column 595

integrity, and they will start asking questions of the Government--questions which patently, from the Minister's performance tonight, he is unable to answer.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: My hon. Friend raised an important point about how we can ensure that the extra money granted by the SSA system will be given to individual schools. This year, £500,000 of the increase that the previous Government gave Gloucestershire LEA has not gone to the schools. If a similar thing happens in this regard, we shall be in difficulty.

Mrs. Gillan: My hon. Friend makes his point and reinforces it. I remember, in the dim and distant days when I was a Minister, a delegation from a Labour council from the north of England, who asked for more money for several schools in her area. She was surprised to find that the Department had already allocated money to those schools which, mysteriously, had never reached them.

The Minister still has so many questions to answer that I do not know how he has the gall to sit down after such a short speech.

Mr. Luff: I did not receive an answer from the Minister. I sought to intervene, but he suggested that he would make a longer speech. I asked him about the phasing out of the assisted places scheme and the class sizes pledge. How much will the Minister have saved from the abolition of the assisted places scheme at the end of this Parliament to enable him to meet his class sizes pledge? Surely he will not have enough. I wanted to ask him that, but I was denied the opportunity.

Mrs. Gillan: My hon. Friend is right, and I shall give the Minister the opportunity to answer that directly. How much money will be available at the end of this year?

Mr. Byers: By the end of this century, £100 million will be available, and that will be enough to deliver on the class sizes pledge.

Mrs. Gillan: I repeat the question to the Minister. How much money will be available at the end of the first year? The Minister is repeating parrot fashion the lines written by his officials. He does not have an original thought in his head. I ask him to answer the question directly.

Mr. Byers: As we all know from our days in opposition, when the hon. Lady was a Minister, she certainly parroted the lines prepared for her by civil servants.

We have always made it clear that the pledge will be honoured at the end of the lifetime of this Parliament. By 2000, £100 million will be freed up from the assisted places scheme, and that will make an important contribution towards achieving our class sizes pledge.

6.45 pm

Mrs. Gillan: That intervention really was not worth giving way to, was it, Mr. Lord?

Mr. Lidington: Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mrs. Gillan: Yes, I think that my hon. Friend will have a worthwhile contribution to make.

Mr. Lidington: As the Minister has just reasserted that the Government hope for savings of £100 million by the

5 Jun 1997 : Column 596

end of the century, yet the independent Institute of Public Finance says that the savings will be about £34 million net before taking account of the £100 million capital expenditure that would then be needed, does my hon. Friend agree that we might be able to have a more informed debate if the Minister were to place in the Library of the House a detailed analysis of the Government's calculations, so that we could see exactly why the Government argue that the Institute of Public Finance is wrong?

Mrs. Gillan: My hon. Friend has made the point, and I hope that the Minister has been listening to it. I shall give way to him if he would like to agree to put a detailed explanation in the Library. He does not want to intervene, so he obviously does not want to do that.

We have had some excellent speeches. My hon. Friends have spoken with great passion and feeling on the subject, compared with the derisory miniature speech delivered by the Minister just now. It is good to see so many Labour Members, because at one time so interested were the Government in education, education, education that about five Labour Members were listening to the debate. Yet the Government asked for this Committee stage to be taken on the Floor of the House. There was no interest in the debate, because they have closed their mind. The Government are just pushing the scheme aside, out of sight, out of mind. The guillotine is coming down.

What is the hurry? The amendments asked the Government to stop and think. Let us put in proportion what we are talking about. The Minister said time and again that by the end of the century the Government will have saved £100 million. That is less than 0.001 per cent. of the education budget. It is a derisory amount. For the sake of raising such a derisory amount, the Minister will end a system that is providing a first-class education to 40,000 of our children. Will that £100 million contribute to reducing class sizes to the level that the Minister wants? A little, but nowhere near enough to reduce class sizes to 30 by the end of the Government's life. He has failed to answer any of the questions that have been posed by me and my hon. Friends.

Mr. St. Aubyn: Does my hon. Friend agree that the Minister's disgraceful response to my intervention shows that the Government will look after people on low incomes if they are in a Labour area, but that the Government have no care for the future benefit of people with low incomes in Conservative areas?

Mrs. Gillan: That is obvious from everything that was said on Second Reading, and if my hon. Friend reads Hansard for that debate, he will see the theme of envy running through all the contributions from Labour Members.

The questions that the Minister has not answered are very serious. For example, how should local education authorities prepare for the increased number of children they will have to accept? Not all parents who would have an assisted place for their child will be able to make the sacrifice to spend the money and send their child to an independent school.

How should schools gear themselves up and make provision for the change? In a written answer to a question tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice), it is obvious that the Minister does not know. He was asked:

5 Jun 1997 : Column 597

    "what estimate he has made of the number of extra primary teachers to be provided from the abolition of the assisted places scheme in each financial year from 1997-98 to 2001-02."

He replied:

    "It will be for individual LEAs to judge what adjustments will be needed to primary teacher numbers to ensure smaller classes."

He obviously has not consulted LEAs about the numbers needed to provide smaller classes. He has therefore certainly not consulted the LEAs about how they will prepare for the increased numbers of children who will no longer attend independent schools.

The Minister is being stupid. He should accept the amendments and proceed more slowly. I understand that the Government want to get rid of the assisted places scheme. I understand their hatred for it and the way in which they despise independent education, notwithstanding the fact that more than 40 Labour Members were educated in independent schools.

Had the Minister not been so pig-headed and slowed down, time would have solved his problems. The Girls Public Day Schools Trust would have had time to get its fund up and running, to try to replace the moneys from the assisted places scheme. Other schools throughout the country might have had time to make provision to replace what the Government will rob from the community. By proceeding so rapidly, the Minister will cause children to fall back on the local education authorities' provision, and, by his own admission, those authorities have not been consulted and are not prepared for what might happen.

By failing to accept the amendments, the Minister will damage individuals. He obviously does not care about the effect that the Bill will have on families, because he is not listening. What will happen to the families who expected, the year after next, that their child would have a good chance of getting an assisted place? He has dashed their hopes by not accepting our sensible proposals. We do not suggest stopping abolition, because we understand that that is what the Minister wants to do, but we ask him to take more time to do it for the sake of the children.

The Government obviously have no respect for children, and certainly they have no respect for the education of the 40,000 children we are discussing. We shall therefore press the amendment to a vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The Committee divided: Ayes 138, Noes 353.

Division No. 15
[6.54 pm


Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Butterfill, John
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Colvin, Michael
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Davies, Quentin
(Grantham & Stamford)
Day, Stephen
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard (N Essex)
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Merchant, Piers
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Richard Ottaway and
Mr. Peter Ainsworth.


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham (Nottingham N)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Ros'dale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Atkins, Ms Charlotte
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne (Aberd'n S)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Mrs Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Robert
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Browne, Desmond (Kilmarnock)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Christine
Byers, Stephen
Caborn, Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
(Hammersmith & Fulham)
Colman, Anthony (Putney)
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Ms Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Ms Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curtis-Thomas, Ms Clare
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Ms Janet
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Ms Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Ms Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Ms Lorna
Flint, Ms Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael John (Worcester)
Galbraith, Sam
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Graham, Thomas
Grant, Bernie
Griffiths, Ms Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Philip
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley
(Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampst'd)
Jackson, Mrs Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian (Tamworth)
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Johnson, Ms Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Ms Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Mrs Ann (Brentford)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
Kingham, Tessa
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Livsey, Richard
Lock, David
Love, Andy
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Ms Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Ms Shona
McKenna, Ms Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McLeish, Henry
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Ms Judy
Marek, Dr John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Merron, Ms Gillian
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mountford, Ms Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Dennis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Opik, Lembit
Osborne, Mrs Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robertson, Rt Hon George
(Hamilton S)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salmond, Alex
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Ms Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Ms Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Stevenson, George
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Mrs Gisela (Edgbaston)
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Dr Alan W
(E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wright, Tony (Gt Yarmouth)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Greg Pope and
Jane Kennedy.

Question accordingly negatived.

5 Jun 1997 : Column 601

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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