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5 Mar 2003 : Column 872—continued

3.45 pm

Amendments Nos. 4, 35 and 36 relate to the Government's policy of encouraging authorities to restructure rents, as I have set out. The Government inherited a social rents policy that was a total shambles. In some areas, rents charged by neighbouring councils for similar properties varied by huge amounts and housing associations often charged more than half as much again for similar properties in the same area. In time, our rent restructuring policy will produce a coherent pattern of rents for social housing across England. By contrast, the Opposition's policy would make the situation even more chaotic.

5 Mar 2003 : Column 873

If social rents were allowed to approach market levels, some housing providers in areas of low demand would be unable to operate, while in areas of high demand such as London, those on modest incomes would be priced out of the market altogether. Amendments Nos. 4, 35, and 36 would delete clause 92, which seeks to remove an obstacle to the policy of rent reform. The amendments would undermine that rent reform and restructuring policy and are therefore undesirable.

The hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge asked whether a local authority could look at the relationship between public and private rents in its area. The relevant legislation does not explicitly refer to an authority having regard only to its own area, so local authorities can look at a much wider area. However, we believe that that is undesirable because it inhibits the scope of rent restructuring policy, which is why we are introducing change. As for the position in Wales, he rightly identified the fact that we wish to give the National Assembly for Wales scope to reach a decision on its own merits within the Principality.

The hon. Gentleman also raised the issue of nomination rights. I apologise for the fact that he has not received a letter. I tried to ensure that all the commitments were followed up, so I shall certainly pursue that. However, I took up the issue because there was a potential anomaly and conflict with existing policy, as nomination rights are not taken into account when calculating the level of receipt. My noble Friend Lord Rooker has since agreed that, when an authority's contribution to pooling is calculated, any consideration or reduction of the receipt in respect of nomination rights will be excluded. However, I shall write to the hon. Gentleman and put that on the record.

Mr. Hammond: Will the Minister answer my question about a possible clawback for English Partnerships and the way in which that relates to clause 11?

Mr. Raynsford: I will write to the hon. Gentleman on that issue. I urge him and the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton not to press their amendments to a vote.

Mr. Hammond: As usual, I greatly enjoyed the Minister's reply to the points that he thought that I was going to make. In many cases, however, he did not address the points that I did make. The key provision in this group of amendments is new clause 3, which deals with issues raised by clause 11. Clause 11 is a centralising measure—it gives the lie to the Government's claim that the Bill delivers freedom and flexibilities to local authorities and it is the antithesis of good accountable local government. New clause 3 is a sensible compromise and has the support of both Conservative and Liberal Democrat Members. The Government have rejected it because they are bent on the redistribution of assets of prudent, debt-free local authorities. I urge my hon. Friends to support new clause 3.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 183, Noes 312.

5 Mar 2003 : Column 874

Division No. 101
[3:48 pm


AYES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Barrett, John
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Beith, rh A. J.
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, rh Virginia (SW Surrey)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James (Beverley)
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fox, Dr. Liam
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hogg, rh Douglas
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howard, rh Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Moore, Michael
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Whittingdale, John
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. David Wilshire and
Mr. Mark Francois


NOES


Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, rh Kevin
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, rh Paul
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burnham, Andy
Byers, rh Stephen
Caborn, rh Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, rh Adam
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Kaufman, rh Gerald
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, rh Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, rh Michael
Merron, Gillian
Milburn, rh Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, rh John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Rooney, Terry
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn (B'ham Erdington)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Noes:


Charlotte Atkins and
Mr. Nick Ainger

Question accordingly negatived.

5 Mar 2003 : Column 877

New Clause 8

Council Tax and Regional Bodies


'.—Nothing in Part 6 of this Act (sections 74-86) may be used in conjunction with the use of council tax to raise tax for any regional body.'.—[Mr. Clifton-Brown.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


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