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Mr. Clifton-Brown: Will the Minister give way?

Keith Hill: No. I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman because, in due course and as rapidly as possible, I want to deal with a point that he raised in the debate.

The licensing of estate agents is, quite rightly, of considerable interest. This debate is very timely, following the recent report from the Office of Fair Trading, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe alluded, and the even more recent publications by Which? and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The issues debated today in relation to new clause 32 will be of even greater significance when HIPs are introduced, as many hon. Members observed. Estate agents will have a pivotal role in delivering HIPs to their seller clients and to the home-buying public. HIPs will cover a range of documents and information that are currently outside the marketing role that agents perform. That means that estate agents will need to be more professional and have a better knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the process of buying and selling homes. It is essential to the smooth and successful introduction of HIPs that estate agents rise to this challenge, as the RICS and the National Association of Estate Agents recognise.

I therefore sympathise with the intentions behind new clause 32, but hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe will appreciate that I am unable to accept it.

The OFT has published a market study report on estate agents that includes recommendations about the future regulation of the industry. My right hon. Friend
 
11 May 2004 : Column 231
 
the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is considering the report's recommendations and aims to publish a response within 90 days. Ministers and officials at the Department of Trade and Industry are meeting estate agents' representative groups, consumer groups and other interested parties to help inform the Government response. I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe that my Department is very much involved with this process. I hope that he will be prepared to await the Government's response to the OFT report. In the light of that, I invite him to withdraw his new clause.

Amendment No. 114 was referred to by the hon. Members for Ceredigion (Mr. Thomas) and for Kingston and Surbiton, and by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe. The hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) said that it was the most crucial amendment of the lot.

It would specify that a home inspector's indemnity insurance is "adequate and appropriate". The certification scheme will determine a suitable level of cover. The criteria against which the Secretary of State will approve the certification scheme, or schemes, will ensure that that issue will be properly addressed, taking into account the prevailing conditions at the time.

Clause 14(5) provides that the Secretary of State cannot approve a certification scheme unless the members of the scheme have in force suitable indemnity insurance. The amendment in question would substitute "adequate and appropriate" for "suitable". It goes without saying that the Secretary of State would not approve a scheme if the insurance provisions were not "adequate and appropriate". It is not necessary to spell that out in the Bill.

Amendment No. 115, tabled by the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton, would specify in the Bill that sellers, buyers and lenders can bring proceedings in respect of a home condition report on which they had relied. That is unnecessary, as those rights will be provided for. Clause 143(8) clearly signposts that intention. In relation to prescribed documents, that clause enables the Secretary of State to impose a requirement that three specified categories of person be able to enforce the terms of the contract under which the document is prepared. That is intended to ensure that buyers and lenders, as well as sellers, can rely on the contents of the pack, including the home condition report.

It being three and three quarter hours after the commencement of proceedings on the programme motion, Madam Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to Order [this day].

Question agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Madam Deputy Speaker then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Clause 137


Duty to have a home information pack



Amendment proposed: No. 88, in page 94, line 21, leave out from beginning to "have" and insert—

 
11 May 2004 : Column 232
 


"As a matter of voluntary discretion, a person may"—[Mr. Syms.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 177, Noes 290.

Division No. 166
[4:36 pm


AYES

Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Ancram, rh Michael
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Barrett, John
Beith, rh A. J.
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies (NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Collins, Tim
Cotter, Brian
Curry, rh David
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
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Grieve, Dominic
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Holmes, Paul
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lilley, rh Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Maples, John
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Portillo, rh Michael
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Sanders, Adrian
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Soames, Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, David
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. David Ruffley and
Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown


NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Byers, rh Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
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
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Foulkes, rh George
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hinchliffe, David
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
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)
Kelly, Ruth (Bolton W)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
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
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morris, rh Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Owen, Albert
Perham, Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Short, rh Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
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)
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Fraser Kemp and
Derek Twigg


Question accordingly negatived.


 
11 May 2004 : Column 235
 

Clause 136


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