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Dawn Primarolo: I welcome the maiden speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Sawford), and his kind words for his predecessors. He graphically described the Labour Government's inheritance from the Conservatives: youth unemployment, underinvestment in the national health service and in education, and the growing problems of crime. He addressed the House with confidence and we look forward to hearing him speak again--with or without glasses, if indeed he wears them.

My hon. Friend the Member for Finchley and Golders Green (Dr. Vis) made an amusing speech in which he, too, mentioned his predecessors. If he is capable of that good a speech without his glasses, we look forward to hearing one from him when he has them on.

The right hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) asked again some of the questions that he asked at length in Committee. It is certainly time we put our own house in order with regard to the problems of smuggling, cross-border shopping, criminal activity and the evasion of excise duties. The reason why we need to grapple with those problems now, of course, is that the Conservatives failed to do so over 18 years: their lectures about the problems facing the alcohol industry therefore sound rather hollow.

28 Jul 1997 : Column 54

5.45 pm

As for the two cuts in spirits duties made by the previous Administration, I remind Conservative Members that when they lost the vote on VAT on fuel while trying to increase it from 8 to 17.5 per cent., they too increased the duty on spirits. By way of justification, they said that that was done to defend revenue: the money had to come from somewhere. Similarly, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has introduced an inflation-only rise to protect the revenue.

The hon. Members for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) and for Ross, Skye and Inverness, West (Mr. Kennedy) asked about the review. The hon. Member for Moray discussed the importance of the scotch whisky industry to Scotland and the whole of the UK, and we agree that the previous Government's two duty cuts were not fully passed on in the prices to consumers, or in clearances of the product. If the industry is truly serious about dealing with the problems that it faces, it can meet the Government more often via the partnership that we are offering with respect to the review of alcohol duties.

The hon. Member for Moray asked when the review would be completed. The press release makes it clear that the date is 31 December 1997. It is hoped that the review will inform future Government decision making. It will cover direct and indirect effects, health, law and order, competition law, commercial fraud, smuggling and cross-border shopping. It will also assess the impact of a wide range of factors on those issues, including the single market, pricing structures, tax rates, transport costs, marketing, changing consumer tastes and competition law.

These terms of reference have been sent to the trade associations, including the Scottish Whisky Association and other representative bodies wishing to make representations to the Government. We have invited them to meet us urgently so as to push the review forward as quickly as possible.

The only way to tackle the problems that the hon. Lady described, and to bring about the security that she rightly sought for the Scottish whisky industry, is Government involvement in a partnership from which a balanced strategy emerges. There needs to be a balance between the interests of alcoholic drinks producers and of the Government as the collector of taxes: we need to defend the revenue.

I maintain that an inflation-only increase is reasonable. Now that the industry is being offered the chance to achieve, with the Government, a long-term strategy that deals once and for all with the difficulties that we faced every year under the Conservative Government and which we continue to face. The strategy must balance revenues and duties against the costs of drinks to the consumer; it must also take into account both the protection of jobs and the maintenance of law and order. I hope that the hon. Lady will agree that the Government have laid out a sensible way forward.

Mrs. Ewing: I join those hon. Members who have congratulated the hon. Members for Kettering (Mr. Sawford) and for Finchley and Golders Green (Dr. Vis) on their maiden speeches. I am very glad that they chose a debate on such an interesting subject to make their exciting and interesting speeches. Both spoke with great panache and style, and I look forward to hearing

28 Jul 1997 : Column 55

future contributions from them. When the hon. Member for Finchley and Golders Green said that he had forgotten his glasses, I thought that he might have found the missing gallon bottle of Grant's whisky to which I referred. He was probably looking for another type of glass, but I nevertheless congratulate him.

The hon. Member for Kettering said that every Chancellor had to take tough decisions in a Budget, and that is true, but in this context it is important to remember that increases in duty reduce income to the Treasury. The Scotch Whisky Association said:

What may sound like a plea by the Scotch whisky industry for a reduction in price is in fact an attempt to increase the competitiveness of a very important export which is also a very important home product.

The Scotch whisky industry has 200 export markets, as the right hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) mentioned, and 140 of those markets exercise tax discrimination against the Scotch whisky industry. If we constantly raise domestic tax and duties on Scotch whisky, what message does it send to the people whom we have been trying for years to persuade to grant us a level playing field?

The Financial Secretary said that the tax hike and the subsequent reduction were due to the defeat of the previous Administration in relation to VAT on fuel. Prior to the then Opposition moving, as they have now in government, to reduce VAT on domestic fuel to 5 per cent., my party introduced a similar amendment. The hon. Lady said that our amendment was a cynical ploy because its aim could not achieved. It is not very fair to continue with that line of argument since we have a strong record of arguing for a cut in VAT on domestic fuel. We thought that it was petty spitefulness by the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), to hike duty on Scotch whisky as a result of our actions.

Dawn Primarolo: The hon. Lady will remember that the House had just agreed to a reduction in VAT to 8 per cent. Had her party pushed for 5 per cent., we would have lost everything and ended up with 17.5 per cent. across the board. When the then shadow Chief Secretary said that he thought that the hon. Lady's party's amendment was cynical, he was referring to the fact that her party had put at risk the 8 per cent. by its parliamentary posturing.

Mrs. Ewing: The hon. Lady should think a bit more seriously about parliamentary posturing. We had done our homework--if only her own party and members of the then governing party had taken a different stance, we could still have managed to achieve our aim at that time. It is very sad that such an attitude is always displayed by Front Benchers. I intend to press the amendment to a Division.

If the review to which the Financial Secretary has referred is to be completed by 31 December 1997, why on earth do the Government intend to increase the duty

28 Jul 1997 : Column 56

automatically on 1 January 1998? If it is a genuine review, surely the increase in duty should be postponed and the issue analysed more thoroughly. I do not find the hon. Lady's answers acceptable; nor do I have any indication of the dates of meetings that she mentioned with the Scotch--not Scottish--Whisky Association.

I draw the Financial Secretary's attention to a document which must have been available to her. It is from the Scotch Whisky Association and is called "New Partnership, New Labour, New Opportunity: a Report for the New Government 1997". It concludes by urging the Government


    " to reduce the duty on spirits at the first opportunity."

As the response that we have received does not imply that that will happen, I shall press the amendment to a Division.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 158, Noes 327.

Division No. 67
[5.55 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard (Shef'ld Hallam)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, James
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Thomas
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burns, Simon
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Day, Stephen
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Fearn, Ronnie
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gibb, Nick
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hammond, Philip
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Maclennan, Robert
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Major, Rt Hon John
Malins, Humfrey
Mates, Michael
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Merchant, Piers
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thompson, William
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Wallace, James
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Professor Steve
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Willetts, David
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Oliver Heald and
Mr. John Swinney.


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham (Nottingham N)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne (Aberd'n S)
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
(Dunfermline E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Butler, Christine
Byers, Stephen
Caborn, Richard
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Canavan, Dennis
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chisholm, Malcolm
Church, Ms Judith
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain (Hammersmith)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Ms Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael John (Worcester)
Fyfe, Maria
Gapes, Mike
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godsiff, Roger
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Graham, Thomas
Grant, Bernie
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian (Tamworth)
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Mrs Ann (Brentford)
Khabra, Piara S
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kingham, Mrs Tess
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
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Ms Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
Organ, Mrs Diana
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie (Scarborough)
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)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Stevenson, George
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela (Edgbaston)
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Wray, James
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wright, Tony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Kevin Hughes and
Jane Kennedy.

Question accordingly negatived.

28 Jul 1997 : Column 59

Amendment proposed: No. 26, in page 7, line 28, leave out '2nd July' and insert '25th November'.--[Mr. Heathcoat-Amory.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 132, Noes 335.

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