Previous Section Index Home Page

I was both disappointed and surprised, however, by the tone of some contributions. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made a very real attempt to draw on the cross-party nature of the 2007 Act and to describe the progress made, and the process that we have gone through, in an open and fair fashion, but the right hon.
28 Oct 2009 : Column 342
Member for Charnwood (Mr. Dorrell), despite his stated desire to be helpful, descended very swiftly-within seconds of starting his speech-into old-fashioned yah-boo politics. As a previous Culture Minister, I can assure him that I am very well aware how the Arts Council does its accounting. I can also assure him that we will be considering its inclusion in the December report, and also the inclusion of the learning and skills councils.

The right hon. Member for West Dorset (Mr. Letwin), who with my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) was one of the midwives of the original Bill, adopted a more helpful tone, but the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) made remarks about Government spending being veiled in secrecy, even though this Government introduced the Freedom of Information Act-some Members may wish at the moment that we had not done so. To suggest that this Government are not committed to transparency is ridiculous. I think that in her opening contribution, she established the suspicious and distrustful tone that permeated the debate in a rather silly and old-fashioned way.

Mr. Dorrell: I am sorry if the Minister felt that I was being overly partisan: I was simply seeking to put the Government under pressure to deliver shared aspirations. She said that she would look again at the Arts Council and, almost under her breath, that she would also look at the learning and skills councils to decide whether to include them in December. May we take that as a commitment that those exclusions will not be claimed by December? The Secretary of State virtually promised the inclusion of the probation service. Can that be included in the list for which the exemptions will be withdrawn?

Barbara Follett: Those are good things to look at, but beware the yah-boo politics-you are at it again.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): Order. I remind the Minister about the need to use parliamentary language in this debate.

Barbara Follett: I apologise, Madam Deputy Speaker, for losing my temper.

The yah-boo politics were very obvious in the impassioned contribution from, and constant heckling by, the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Julia Goldsworthy). I admire her conviction and enthusiasm, and I enjoyed meeting her to discuss this subject recently. However, I did not admire her approach today. In fact, by the end of her contribution I began to feel a real need for a Relate counsellor in the Chamber. Her intervention was so filled with distrust and suspicion that I could not believe that I had spent half an hour talking to her about this previously.

Thankfully, Relate, in the form of my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew), was present. His well-balanced speech poured oil-

Mr. David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford) (Con): This is very partisan.

Barbara Follett: Yes, but it is not yah-boo. My hon. Friend's well-balanced speech poured oil on troubled waters while simultaneously spurring the Government on to greater efforts.

28 Oct 2009 : Column 343

The hon. Member for Henley (John Howell) made a thoughtful contribution, and I especially liked what he said about the silo mentality of government at all levels. He is completely right, and his remark about the role of ring-fencing in reinforcing that mentality has been noted and received with sympathy by the Government and by this Department, which has made substantial progress in reducing the amount of ring-fencing.

John Howell: I thank the Minister for that remark, although I am not sure that praise from someone on the Government Front Bench has done my career any good. May we look forward to the abolition of as many of the ring-fenced grants to local government as she can achieve?

Barbara Follett: The hon. Gentleman may certainly look forward to us looking at them. We need to move away from the old ways of doing things, and the hon. Gentleman's call for the transformation of the relationship between local and central Government was a good one.

In response to the direct questions from the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne, we will-as I said earlier-produce a report in December on the next stages of developing spending reports. On her question about when the next round will take place, it will be-as I again said earlier-when we have assessed and appraised this round. We will certainly consider the role of parish councils in the process.

Julia Goldsworthy: My question was not only about the reports that will be produced in December, but about whether there will be a debate and a vote on them.

Barbara Follett: That is something that has to be decided by the House. Because I had left that out, I was going to come to it at the end of my speech. I heard what the hon. Lady said.

The hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Hurd) gave a clear summary of the progress of the Act and described my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud as the auntie of the Act. I am not sure that everyone would agree. The hon. Gentleman also said that transparency is the bedfellow of efficiency, which echoed the Secretary of State's remark that knowledge is power. Like the hon. Member for Meriden, however, the hon. Gentleman seemed to think that information on local spending can be accessed only through the spending reports. As they know, that is simply not true. I am Regional Minister for the East of England, and the regional development agencies produce huge numbers of accounts and reports that are available to everyone. We have also looked at their value for money, and for every pound spent, we get £4.50 back. That information is available and is not collated in with the local spending reports, although I hope that eventually it will be-this is work in progress.

Mrs. Spelman: Does the hon. Lady accept that the problem is that the RDA spend is not broken down by constituency? From time to time, we get a letter from the chief executive telling us a bit of good news, but it is piecemeal. Does she accept that one of the reasons the debate at times has been tense-although I would not characterise it as yah-boo-is the absence today of the written ministerial statement promised on this very subject? That has coloured Members' stances. That statement is still not in the Library.

28 Oct 2009 : Column 344

Barbara Follett: I apologise for that omission. I have been told that it is in the Library. I also apologise, like my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State did, for the fact that we did not extend the normal courtesies and give it to the Front-Bench team. I shall personally ensure that it never happens again.

As the hon. Lady said, the information needs to be disaggregated, but, as someone who has spent many years attempting to get Government statistics disaggregated by gender, I can tell hon. Members that it is difficult and extraordinarily expensive. However, the Government and I are committed to open and transparent disclosure of public spending. We share that principle with other hon. Members. However, we share another principle-public money, especially in these difficult times, has to be used for the benefit of the people from whom it has been raised.

Most importantly, each pound of that money has to work harder than ever before. No one entrusted with the care of public money takes its use lightly, and we firmly believe that those who have earned this money should have the right to see exactly how it is being spent. That is why we are developing the concept of local spending reports alongside the Total Place pilots. I hope that that transparency will permeate everything that the Government do in the future, and that we can work in more accord with Opposition parties on this extraordinarily worthwhile venture.

Question put (Standing Order No. 31(2)), That the original words stand part of the Question.

The House proceeded to a Division.

Madam Deputy Speaker: I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the No Lobby.

The House having divided: Ayes 234, Noes 289.
Division No. 232]
[3.58 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Conway, Derek
Corbyn, Jeremy
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr. Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen

Dorries, Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horwood, Martin
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Howell, John
Hughes, Simon
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moore, Mr. Michael
Mulholland, Greg
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mrs. Iris
Robinson, rh Mr. Peter
Rogerson, Dan
Rowen, Paul
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Alan
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Chloe
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob

Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Bill Wiggin and
Mr. Stephen Crabb

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, rh Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, rh Yvette
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Tony
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Denham, rh Mr. John
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Drew, Mr. David
Durkan, Mark
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul

Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, rh Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, rh John
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, rh Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, rh Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, rh Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, rh Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, rh Mr. Mike
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy

Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Lindsay
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

David Wright and
Kerry McCarthy
Question accordingly negatived.
28 Oct 2009 : Column 345

28 Oct 2009 : Column 346

28 Oct 2009 : Column 347

28 Oct 2009 : Column 348

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 31(2)), That the proposed words be there added.

Question agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to (Standing Order No. 31(2)).


Next Section Index Home Page