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Mr. McNulty: Many of the points raised by Opposition Members are entirely fair, but they have already been discussed at length when we debated the original Ways and Means resolution and subsequently both in Committee and in the other place. The right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) is entirely right when he quotes "Erskine May". How could he not be, as "Erskine May" is our bible? If we want to assume any revenue-raising powers of any description, there must be a Ways and Means resolution. That was made clear on Second Reading.

There was much discussion in Committee about the breadth of the original Ways and Means resolution. The need to deal with those matters made us look at the problem and table amendments in the other place.

I have not sought to introduce a new McNulty doctrine that we should agree without reservation anything agreed in the House of Lords, save for instances, such as the amendments introduced in the other place on this particular part of the Bill. They were whizzed through the House with unanimity and utter cross-party consensus. If ever an issue, such as fox hunting, were agreed and dispatched without reservation, but with full consensus and cross-party agreement in the other place, I would gladly at least look at it in some detail here.

In answer to the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (John Thurso), yes, the level of permit fees must be directly linked to the costs of operating the scheme. The same applies to fees for extending or varying the scheme. That is precisely how the resolution is drafted. As I said in answer to the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Green) in Committee, this is not intended to be revenue raising, and that remains the case. That was the case then and it is the case now. Because subsequent to our debates and debates in the House of Lords many Members of all parties in both Houses and many from the utility companies sought amendments that would, in their terms, restrict the Ways and Means resolution precisely to the cost of a permit scheme, we introduced the subsequent amendments that mean an adjustment to that resolution. Lords amendments Nos. 28 and 29 have been positively welcomed by the utility companies and all parties in the other place. They make it explicit that the fees allowed are confined to the cost to the local authorities and the running of the permit scheme. It is precisely because of fears of open-ended revenue raising and of my view that this should not be seen as a revenue-raising exercise that the amendments have been introduced with the subsequent adjustment to this particular Ways and Means resolution.

The right hon. Member for East Yorkshire (Mr. Knight) asked about the assorted criteria for decisions, how to vary the level of permits and the right of appeal. All those elements are covered in detail in the Bill at clause 36(4).

I fully accept that none of my subsequent points will be of any interest to the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) in that the first set of permit regulations will be subject to an affirmative resolution of
15 Jul 2004 : Column 1590
both Houses. We have set up—the right hon. Gentleman will enjoy this—a working group of utilities and local authorities to look in detail at how the schemes should work and how the regulations in clause 36(4) should work in practice. It will make recommendations to us on the level of fees, among other things, and which works will not attract fees, and it is likely to report back to us in August. That is all as outlined in clause 36(4).

We started the process with a Ways and Means resolution on Second Reading to allow fees to be charged for permits, should local authorities choose to have a permit system. During our deliberations and subsequent deliberations in the other place we thought that perhaps that resolution was drawn too widely and could, potentially, allow open-ended revenue raising powers to follow from the permit scheme. As a mature, reflective Government, we listened to debate both here and in the other place and to concerns from the utility companies and others who will be directly concerned—I take the point of my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes, North-East (Brian White) about broadband—and we have come back with Lords amendments Nos. 28 and 29 that far more narrowly define the scope of the permit regimes so that the fees can be related only to the costs of implementing such a scheme and cannot be an open-ended revenue-raising scheme. In other words we listened and listened again.

The amendments are welcome. The utility companies and all parties in the other place across the board cheered from the rafters. There was no dissent at all. We agreed them in the other place and we bring them here. Subsequent to this resolution being passed, we shall debate those amendments that we seek the House to agree with the Lords on. We need the Ways and Means resolution changed to reflect those amendments to which we have already agreed in response to all the concerns of the utilities and other parties. While I understand the fun involved, not least for the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst, who is a master at his craft, this is innocuous in its intention and is necessary to reflect changes that we accept from the other place. I repeat my desire to commend the new, more restrictive Ways and Means resolution to the House in the hope that we might get on to the more substantive points subsequently.

The House divided: Ayes 214, Noes 75.

Division No. 224
[3:06 pm


Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Austin, John
Barnes, Harry
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, rh Margaret
Beith, rh A. J.
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burnett, John
Burnham, Andy
Byers, rh Stephen
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Caton, Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Colman, Tony
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Crausby, David
Cryer, Ann (Keighley)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drown, Ms Julia
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gilroy, Linda
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Hepburn, Stephen
Holmes, Paul
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kelly, Ruth (Bolton W)
Khabra, Piara S.
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Linton, Martin
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
Lyons, John (Strathkelvin)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, rh John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, rh Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
Owen, Albert
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, rh John
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Purnell, James
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Rooney, Terry
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Watts, David
White, Brian
Wicks, Malcolm
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woodward, Shaun
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Paul Clark and
Charlotte Atkins


Amess, David
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baron, John (Billericay)
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Bercow, John
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Cameron, David
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Curry, rh David
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Evans, Nigel
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Forth, rh Eric
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Gummer, rh John
Hague, rh William
Heald, Oliver
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Letwin, rh Oliver
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
May, Mrs Theresa
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Portillo, rh Michael
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Redwood, rh John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Dame Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Soames, Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Hugo Swire and
Mr. John Randall

Question accordingly agreed to.

15 Jul 2004 : Column 1592


15 Jul 2004 : Column 1593

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