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The Government rested their case on the need for greater democratic accountability, and we agree that the quango state should be tackled on those grounds. However, they would be well advised to listen carefully to the case made by the hon. Member for Harwich and North Essex (Mr Jenkin), who chairs the Public Administration Committee. He pointed out that in a modern society

12 July 2011 : Column 265

accountability takes many forms. I have just discussed the coronial service and it may be that rather than the coroners being made accountable to the Lord Chancellor, as the Government would have it, they should be accountable to the relatives of the dead. In that sense, I agree entirely with the point made by the Public Administration Committee.

Considering that it dealt with such important bodies, the process the Government entered into was incredibly rushed. There was little or no consultation in advance with the interested parties, with the bodies themselves or even with Parliament. The reform of these bodies through proper legislative processes is clearly one thing that the Government are entitled to do, but instead, as we heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell), they are already proceeding effectively to abolish or at least to weaken through underhand administrative methods those very organisations that the Bill is intended to reform, even before it has gone through Parliament. The Equality and Human Rights Commission, for example, has already had its budget cut by 68%, yet it still exists in law. The staff numbers have been cut by 66%. Only one in three staff remain in the EHRC yet it still has statutory duties imposed on it by Parliament until this Bill becomes law. That is no way for a Government to proceed. It completely ignores the need for parliamentary assent and is once again reflective of a Government who are unwilling to listen or consult.

What we have here is a Government who are simply not listening, so much so that that they are not allowing witnesses to appear before the Public Bill Committee as part of the Bill’s scrutiny. We were told that this would be a listening Government. Why then will they not allow witnesses to appear before the Public Bill Committee when the Bill goes upstairs? The Government do not want to hear the voices of the Royal British Legion, who will defend the rights of fallen heroes to a proper inquest. They do not want to hear the voices of low paid workers in the agricultural industry who will be affected by the changes to the Agricultural Wages Board. They will not allow the voices of witnesses from the disabled community, mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz), to be heard on the EHRC or the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, which is to be abolished. We will therefore oppose what we regard as a gross misuse of Government authority in seeking to prevent witnesses appearing before the Committee. I therefore urge the House to reject the programme motion, which does that.

On top of all those things, the Bill fundamentally alters ministerial powers to control quangos. It will concentrate far more authority in the hands of the relevant Ministers, who could merge bodies, transfer bodies or even abolish them without proper reference to Parliament and without listening to witness statements. The costings on which the Bill relies are also riddled with incompetence. The Minister for the Cabinet Office has made outlandish claims in The Sun newspaper that are totally unfounded. We have tabled freedom of information requests and parliamentary questions that show that rather than the £30 billion he claimed, the actual savings will be a fraction of that: £2.6 billion at most. When we considered individual Departments, we found the Government’s claim was often twice as high

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as the savings that they will make. Our research, for example, demonstrated that although the Government claimed that they would save £18 million from the Department for Work and Pensions, they will save less than £500,000.

Finally, the proposals will have a human cost both to the millions of people who receive services from the quangos and to thousands of employees, to whom my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington referred. Let me ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, a straightforward question, which I would like him to answer in his reply. What will happen to those whose jobs may be transferred into the private sector, the voluntary sector and elsewhere in the public service? What will happen to their rights? Does he envisage that their rights under TUPE will be properly protected, as they ought to be?

Hon. Members’ contributions today have revealed that the Government have not considered staff, have not listened to the users of services, have not produced proper costings and certainly have not listened to the millions of vulnerable people who will be affected by the Government’s actions if this Bill is passed. The Government do not realise that when they are taking decisions, they need to see the big picture—on which we can agree: that quangos should be reduced—but equally the detail. Government is about making decisions but it is also about listening and the Government simply do not have the humility to listen, the patience to debate or the ability to implement the detail properly. We will be voting for the reasoned amendment and fighting the Bill line by line in Committee, and we reserve the right to vote against the Bill on Third Reading unless there are substantial improvements to it.

9.40 pm

The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Mr Nick Hurd): This has been a short debate on a Bill that my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich and North Essex (Mr Jenkin) rightly described as being very significant. It is significant in its potential impact on a large number of organisations, many of which perform significant functions and employ a large number of people. My fellow Hillingdon MP, the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell), was quite right to remind the House of the impact of the changes on human beings. Let me reassure him that I am extremely happy to meet him and the PCS group to clarify any confusion that might exist in relation to TUPE. I give that undertaking in good faith.

The debate was interesting in that it launched the Labour party’s campaign to “Back the Apple”—this from the party that introduced the cider tax! The irony has been lost on them. More seriously, it is clear that there are still profound concerns about some of the proposals on the table and that there is more need than ever for Ministers’ continued engagement regarding the Bill during its progress through Committee, should it get its Second Reading, and through the consultation processes that will have to flow in anticipation of the orders that will in turn flow from the Bill. Many arguments will be made, won and lost in that process. That is quite clear from the debate.

In the time available I will try to address some of the specific concerns that have been raised, but it is important to register that no one in the debate has, as far as I could

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tell, argued for the status quo. The case for reform appears to have been won, although, having listened to Opposition Front Benchers I am not entirely convinced. The truth is that when they were in power they were a lot better at moving quangos around than at abolishing them. Frankly, at the end of the Opposition spokesman’s remarks, I was no clearer about what on earth they would do if they were in power. There continues to be a complete fog about that. It is all very well talking about the case for reform, but sometimes one has to get up and do something.

The case for reform was made extremely powerfully by my hon. Friends the Members for South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss), for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab) and for Watford (Richard Harrington). The case was made particularly eloquently by my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Stephen Mosley), who talked about the need to shine a light of accountability and transparency, with which I entirely agreed. My observation from my constituency is that people are deeply frustrated by how complex and expensive government has become. They would like it to be simplified and for it to be easier to find out who is in charge. They would like us to bear down with much greater discipline on waste and cost inflation, not least on salary inflation. That point was well made by my hon. Friend the hon. Member for South West Norfolk.

Given the cluttered and confused landscape that is quangoland, it would have been quite irresponsible for a new Government not to have embarked on a review of public bodies. We believe very strongly that by substantially reducing the number of bodies, returning functions to central Government where appropriate, and establishing a legislative framework for the outcomes of future reviews, the Bill takes a major step towards a simpler, more accountable approach to Government. The Bill will support the delivery of administrative savings from public bodies, as part of the Government’s commitment to delivering the effective, value-for-money systems that taxpayers rightly expect. Those principles should enjoy widespread support across the House, and I am very disappointed by the position of the Opposition in that respect.

There was consensus across the House that the Bill had been improved by the deliberations in the other place; I am happy to confirm that that is our view, too. There were questions, not least from my hon. Friends the Members for Harwich and North Essex, for City of Chester, and for Esher and Walton, about the triennial review, which is an important part of the new process that we are setting up. I assure them all that further detail will be forthcoming on how that review will work.

There was very little controversy, as far as I could tell, about the structure of the Bill, now that it has passed through the other place. Where there were concerns, they tended to focus explicitly on the ideas for particular bodies. I should like to focus on those that are clearly more controversial. I start with the office of chief coroner. We heard powerful speeches from the right hon. Members for Coventry North East (Mr Ainsworth), and for Wythenshawe and Sale East (Paul Goggins), and from the hon. Members for Hartlepool (Mr Wright), and for North Durham (Mr Jones). I pay particular tribute to the speeches of the right hon. Members for Coventry

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North East, and for Wythenshawe and Sale East, because they had the benefit of drawing on direct ministerial experience, some of which was clearly very powerful and difficult.

Mr Kevan Jones: What about me?

Mr Hurd: The hon. Gentleman was not bad, either. There are clearly arguments to be made, and won or lost. The Government clearly have to listen very hard, but the point that I would make to Members who have understandable concerns about the proposal is that there is no argument about the need for reform. As the hon. Member for Hartlepool said, we all recognise that a much better service is required for families. There is a problem around variation in quality; he made that point well. Nor is there any argument about the need for the functions of the chief coroner; the proposal is that they be transferred, not abolished. The question is: can we have reform without the person—or without the person right now, because the Government are retaining some flexibility on that point? The concern is about whether the reforms can be delivered without incurring what, on the face of it, are significant set-up and running costs—costs that were effectively ratified by the previous Government, because they commissioned the impact assessment.

Mr Jones: The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General told us when he opened the debate that the reason behind the decision on the chief coroner’s office was money. Is the Parliamentary Secretary comfortable going against one of the main recommendations made by Dame Janet Smith in the Shipman report—that the coroner’s office be independent of Government?

Mr Hurd: Cost is a significant factor in the circumstances that we face, and we should not underestimate its importance as a consideration for the Ministry of Justice. It is committed to reform; the question is: how can those reforms be delivered in the most cost-effective way? It is clear, as I said, that the arguments will have to be made through the processes that lie before us.

Mr Ainsworth: There are processes that are to be performed, and if consistency is to be applied, there will be costs. Either the processes will be undertaken by an independent person who is part of the coronial system or, under the monstrous proposal from the Government, somehow Ministers will do them under a coronial system. It cannot be done that way.

Mr Hurd: It is obviously the responsibility of the Government to consider all the costs, but the right hon. Gentleman is ignoring the role of the Lord Chief Justice. I come back to the point that the Government recognise, as we all do, the need for reform; the question is how those reforms can be delivered in the most cost-effective way. That is the debate that will roll through Committee and beyond. Clearly, feelings run high on the issue in this House and the other place.

Mr Jenkin: My hon. Friend is making an emollient and helpful speech, but the real question is not how these issues will be dealt with during the passage of the Bill, but how they will be properly debated and adjudicated on by Parliament after the Bill is on the statute book.

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Will he give the House a general undertaking that these contentious issues concerning bodies that were established by primary legislation will be the subject of proper and reasonable consultation and debate when the orders come before Parliament, and that there will be an opportunity for Parliament to exercise the influence it would have exercised had we been confronted with primary legislation?

Mr Hurd: My hon. Friend’s question goes to the heart of the debate about how the Bill is structured. He understands that if this enabling Bill is enacted, it will be the responsibility of Ministers to come to this place with orders, having consulted where that remains appropriate, and make their case, with appropriate safeguards in terms of scrutiny and the capacity of the House to require the enhanced affirmative procedure. There was no serious discussion of this during the debate, but, with reference to the safeguarding procedures, I think we are in a much better place than when we started and when his Committee examined the Bill.

John McDonnell: On the point about process, because some aspects of the Bill are more contentious than others and the Government have moved from the affirmative procedure to the enhanced affirmative procedure, there may well be the opportunity on some issues to move to the super-affirmative procedure, which allows room for further amendment.

Mr Hurd: That has been considered and rejected. The enhanced affirmative procedure is considered to be adequate and proportionate. That seemed to be accepted by the other place.

I shall move on in order to give proper space for the other most contentious issue, which concerns S4C. Again, we heard powerful speeches from the hon. Member for Clwyd South (Susan Elan Jones), who is in her place, the hon. Members for Ceredigion (Mr Williams) and for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (Jonathan Edwards), and from my hon. Friends the Members for Vale of Glamorgan (Alun Cairns), for Montgomeryshire (Glyn Davies) and for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb). My hon. Friend the Member for Montgomeryshire expressed the deep passions that the proposal has aroused. We heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Aberconwy that his office had been vandalised or attacked as a response to the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Montgomeryshire described S4C as the cultural backbone of Wales—a powerful phrase. The debate is about how we sustain S4C as an independent service that retains its own brand identity.

Glyn Davies: The one issue that still concerns us is the arrangements for future governance. We seek an assurance that there will be genuine consultation and opportunity for the people of Wales to have an input into that consultation. We are looking to the Minister to give us a commitment on that.

Mr Hurd: I am happy to give my hon. Friend the reassurance that the Department is extremely sensitive to concerns. As he knows, the funding settlement reduces S4C’s funding by the same amount as the DCMS’s, at about 25% over the comprehensive spending review period. We consider that fair. I do not think there is an argument about the unsustainability of the current funding arrangements for S4C. The proposed amendment

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described in the written ministerial statement—it was reassuring that many colleagues took great comfort from the statement—makes it clear that S4C will be funded for the long term to deliver its vital statutory functions. Everything we are proposing is about how we protect S4C, not undermine it.

Let me touch on the Agricultural Wages Board. The hon. Members for Luton South (Gavin Shuker) and for Birmingham, Erdington (Jack Dromey) were eloquent on the subject. The Agricultural Wages Board was set up to represent agricultural workers and ensure that they are paid appropriately. That is an example of a body that is no longer needed, as pay for all workers is protected by the national minimum wage, so there is no longer a need for separate representation for agricultural workers, a point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Richard Harrington).

Andrew George: I lead on DEFRA matters for the Liberal Democrats and hope that the Minister understands that I oppose the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board. Rural workers are exceptionally isolated and in an exceptional position that I think justifies exceptional protections.

Mr Hurd: I think that the House understands, as the Government certainly do, that the hon. Gentleman is opposed to the abolition, but I do not think that that changes our view that separate representation for agricultural workers is no longer needed.

Elizabeth Truss: Farmers in my constituency certainly want less regulation, rather than more, which will enable them to be more productive and export more crops, and surely the minimum wage is effective cover for protecting workers. We need to ensure greater exports from Britain, which we will not achieve through further regulation.

Mr Hurd: My hon. Friend is right that the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board is not about driving down wages and conditions for agricultural workers, but about removing regulatory burdens on farm businesses and allowing them to focus on the business of farming.

Jack Dromey: Will the Minister give way?

Mr Hurd: I will not, with great respect, because I have given way a great deal and have limited time in which to draw my remarks to a close.

I would like to return to the core issue of why we believe the Bill is needed and deserves a Second Reading: the benefits it will deliver for good government in this country. My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office announced the results of a radical review programme, as a result of which we proposed that almost 500 bodies should be reformed, and in many instances those reforms are already complete or in progress. However, a large number of those bodies have a statutory basis, so legislation is required to turn the Government’s proposals into reality. In some cases departmental Bills provide an appropriate vehicle for the changes, but where that is not the case the Public Bodies Bill represents a sensible legislative solution. It gives the Government the necessary powers to take forward these much-needed reforms without Departments having to wait for primary legislation, preventing unnecessary delay where the case for change is clear.

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The Bill achieves that by giving Ministers a series of powers, outlined in clauses 1 to 5, to make changes to public bodies through secondary legislation, subject to a number of safeguards, the completion of a consultation process and the approval of Parliament. I emphasise that those powers are strictly limited in scope. The powers to make orders apply only to the bodies and offices listed in the corresponding schedule to the Bill, to which bodies can be added only through primary legislation, meaning that Parliament will remain the ultimate arbiter over when the use of those powers is appropriate.

Following a review by the other place, important changes have been made to the Bill. Specifically, we have arrived at mechanisms to include a number of proportionate restrictions on the use of the powers set out in the Bill. On independence, we have introduced provision in clause 7 to prevent the Bill from being used in a way that prevents important public functions, such as those of a judicial nature, from being amended in a way that stops them being exercised independently of Ministers. On consultation, we have required that Ministers consult on their proposals before laying a draft order before Parliament. The Bill now provides the option of selecting an enhanced scrutiny procedure for any draft order, giving Parliament and its Committees 60 days to consider a proposal and make representations to Ministers. Clause 12 sunsets the contents of the schedules after five years.

In summary, the reforms we have proposed and that have been debated again today will produce a leaner and more effective system of public bodies centred on the principle of ministerial accountability. We have listened intently to the comments and concerns expressed during the debate and recognise that there are areas where the Government can helpfully produce further clarity and assurance, and the Deputy Leader of the House and I look forward to continuing to engage with hon. Members in Committee and elsewhere.

However, I reiterate my hope that the House can come together in support of the belief that ministerial accountability for public functions and the use of public money should be at the heart of how we conduct ourselves. The Government believe that the proposals embodied in the Bill and in our plans for a regular comprehensive review of all public bodies will set a new standard for the management and review of public bodies, and on that basis I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 231, Noes 307.

Division No. 321]

[9.59 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Ashworth, Jon

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Chapman, Mrs Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Mr Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mark

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leslie, Chris

Lloyd, Tony

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Michael, rh Alun

Miliband, rh David

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mudie, Mr George

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Wicks, rh Malcolm

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wood, Mike

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Lilian Greenwood and

Gregg McClymont

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Danny

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Beresford, Sir Paul

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brine, Mr Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, Paul

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mr Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Gale, Mr Roger

Garnier, Mr Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, Justine

Griffiths, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, Mr Gerald

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kennedy, rh Mr Charles

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Laing, Mrs Eleanor

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Mr Edward

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Patrick

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Ottaway, Richard

Paice, rh Mr James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

James Duddridge and

Norman Lamb

Question accordingly negatived.

12 July 2011 : Column 272

12 July 2011 : Column 273

12 July 2011 : Column 274

12 July 2011 : Column 275

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 62(2)), That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Question agreed to .

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Public Bodies Bill [Lords] (Programme)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Public Bodies Bill [Lords]:

Committal

1. The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

2. Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Thursday 13 October 2011.

12 July 2011 : Column 276

3. The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Consideration and Third Reading

4. Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.

5. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.

6. Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.

Other proceedings

7. Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of any message from the Lords) may be programmed.—(Stephen Crabb.)

The House divided:

Ayes 304, Noes 229.

Division No. 322]

[10.15 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Danny

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brine, Mr Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, Paul

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, Michael

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mr Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Gale, Mr Roger

Garnier, Mr Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, Justine

Griffiths, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, Mr Gerald

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kennedy, rh Mr Charles

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Laing, Mrs Eleanor

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Mr Edward

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Patrick

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Ottaway, Richard

Paice, rh Mr James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Stephen Crabb and

Norman Lamb

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Ashworth, Jon

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Chapman, Mrs Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Mr Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mark

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leslie, Chris

Lloyd, Tony

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Michael, rh Alun

Miliband, rh David

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mudie, Mr George

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Wicks, rh Malcolm

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wood, Mike

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Noes:

Lilian Greenwood and

Gregg McClymont

Question accordingly agreed to.

12 July 2011 : Column 277

12 July 2011 : Column 278

12 July 2011 : Column 279

12 July 2011 : Column 280

PUBLIC BODIES BILL [LORDS] (MONEY)

Queen’s recommendation signified.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a)),

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Public Bodies Bill [Lords], it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of—

(a) any expenditure incurred by a Minister of the Crown in consequence of the Act or an order under the Act; and

(b) any increase attributable to such an order in the sums which under any other Act are payable out of money so provided.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)

Question agreed to.

PUBLIC BODIES BILL [LORDS] (WAYS AND MEANS)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a)),

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Public Bodies Bill [Lords], it is expedient to authorise the making of provision under the Act in relation to income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, stamp duty, stamp duty reserve tax or stamp duty land tax in connection with a transfer of property, rights or liabilities by a scheme under the Act.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)

Question agreed to.

Business without Debate

Delegated Legislation

Mr Speaker: With the leave of the House, we shall take motions 7 and 8 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Charities

That the draft Charities Act 2006 (Changes in Exempt Charities) Order 2011, which was laid before this House on 12 May, be approved.

That the draft Charities Act 2006 (Principal Regulators of Exempt Charities) Regulations 2011, which were laid before this House on 12 May, be approved.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Equality

That the draft Equality Act 2010 (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011, which were laid before this House on 13 May, be approved.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)

12 July 2011 : Column 281

The Speaker’s opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Wednesday 13 July (Standing Order No. 41A).

Mr Speaker: With the leave of the House, we shall take motions 10 to 13 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Offender Management

That the draft Co-operation in Public Protection Arrangements (UK Border Agency) Order 2011, which was laid before this House on 23 May, be approved.

Electronic Communications

That the draft Communications Act 2003 (Maximum Penalty for Contravention of Information Requirements) Order 2011, which was laid before this House on 23 May, be approved.

Energy

That the draft Renewable Heat Incentive (Amendment to the Energy Act 2008) Regulations 2011, which were laid before this House on 20 June, be approved.

That the draft Renewable Heat Incentive Regulations 2011, which were laid before this House on 20 June, be approved.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Equality

That the draft Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011, which were laid before this House on 27 June, be approved.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)

The Speaker’s opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Wednesday 13 July (Standing Order No. 41A).

12 July 2011 : Column 282


European Union Documents

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 119(11)),

European Semester of Economic Policy Co-ordination

That this House takes note of European Union Documents No. 11491/11, relating to a Commission communication on concluding the first European Semester of economic policy co-ordination, No. 11196/11: relating to a Draft Council Recommendation on the UK’s National Reform Programme 2011 and a Council opinion on its updated Convergence Programme for 2011-2014, and No. SEC(2011)736, relating to a Commission Staff Working Document on the assessment of the UK’s 2011 National Reform Programme and Convergence Programme; welcomes the Commission’s support for the Government’s efforts to reduce the deficit, which is consistent with the conclusions reached by the IMF and the OECD in their recent reviews of the UK economy; welcomes the conclusion of the first European Semester, but notes the Government’s maintenance of the scrutiny reserve at Council and European Council as part of its concerns about a timetable which has not permitted proper Parliamentary scrutiny; welcomes the Government’s intention to press for more timely publication of these documents in future; and welcomes the Government’s policy of securing assurances that the UK cannot be subject to sanctions in respect of the Stability and Growth Pact under existing Treaty provisions or proposed new legislation on economic governance.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)

Question agreed to.

Political and constitutional reform committee

Ordered,

That Yasmin Qureshi be added to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)


12 July 2011 : Column 283

Youth Unemployment (Walsall)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Miss Chloe Smith.)

Mr Speaker: Before I ask the hon. Member for Walsall North (Mr Winnick) to rise from his seat, I appeal to Members leaving the Chamber to do so quickly and quietly, in order to afford the same courtesy to the hon. Gentleman that they would wish to be extended to them in the same circumstances.

10.31 pm

Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) (Lab): Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I applied for this debate in view of the serious youth unemployment in the Walsall area and particularly in my constituency. The latest figures show that, in my constituency, just under 16% of people in the 18 to 24 age group are claiming jobseeker’s allowance. I am pleased to see the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the Front Bench tonight, as well as the Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, the right hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling). I should point out to them that that rate of just under 16% is the third highest in England. The situation in the other parts of the borough is not much different, and it is certainly still higher than the national average.

Let me state what should be obvious: unemployment is a curse to all those seeking work, and no less so to young people who want to get started in life. I emphasise again, as I have done in this House over the years, that we ourselves do not wish to become unemployed through losing our seats at any stage, and that we are always anxious to find work, and the same applies to the overwhelming majority of those who are registered unemployed.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr Iain Duncan Smith) indicated assent.

Mr Winnick: I am glad to see the Secretary of State nodding in agreement. There is understandably considerable concern over the position locally. I fear a return to the situation in the 1980s, when two major recessions had a devastating effect not only on the borough but on the black country and on the west midlands in general.

Let me give the House an illustration of the situation nearly 26 years ago. In September 1985, more than one fifth of the age group that I am referring to were on unemployment benefit in the borough of Walsall. The situation improved over a period of time, and it certainly did so in the first years of this century. In May 2004, the youth unemployment percentage in Walsall was down to 7%. Even then, however, it was higher than the national average. I ask the Ministers to tell the House when we are likely to see the percentage go down to that figure that pertained seven years ago. Last year, youth unemployment rose in the three constituencies of Walsall North, Walsall South and Aldridge-Brownhills.

I do not challenge the fact that as the global recession took effect from 2008 onwards, unemployment grew. It is clear; the figures show it. I am not going to dispute what is, after all, quite obvious. There are bound to be continuing debates about how to deal with the recession

12 July 2011 : Column 284

and, indeed, about how it came about. My purpose tonight, however, is not to engage in that wider debate—there will be many opportunities in which I am sure I will participate—but to concentrate on the borough and the particular constituency of Walsall North that I represent and on what can be done to provide more opportunities for those without employment. That is the purpose of tonight’s Adjournment debate.

The sharp decline in manufacturing—what is sometimes referred to as metal-bashing—is clearly an important factor, not only for Walsall, but for what are usually described as the four black country boroughs. Walsall council’s latest review, looking at the overall employment situation in the borough, noted that in 2009, quite a number of new enterprises arose. That was very good. Unfortunately, however, there were quite a significant number of job losses. The net loss in 2009 was somewhere in the region of 285 jobs. Yes, jobs come in, but too many also go out.

As for vacancies, the figures show that 10.8 people—I use the exact figure—go after every job. I hope that there will be no disagreement about the fiction that there are jobs here and jobs there, so that those registered as unemployed—whether in the 18 to 24 age group or older—are not particularly keen to get work and are not willing to try to get it. All that is absolute fiction. I have seen reports in the paper on many occasions that when a vacancy occurs, there are sometimes as many as 40, 50 or even 100 people applying for it. As I said at the start, if we take the view, with which Ministers agreed, that those who are unemployed are keen and want to work, it is not surprising that people chase after vacancies and take every opportunity to try either to get into work for the first time or to get back into work.

What I want to find out tonight is what steps the Government intend to take, particularly in boroughs like mine. Let me point out again that this borough is the third highest in England for youth unemployment. What measures are the Government going to take? What feeling can people in my constituency and in the borough have for the fact that the Government recognise the urgency of the position and are willing to act on it?

I know that a number of measures have been publicised. Insofar as they are positive and will bring work and bring down unemployment, I will obviously welcome them. It would be strange otherwise. However, I ask Ministers when these measures that have been mentioned and published are going to come into effect. Have any of the measures on youth unemployment yet come into effect? Moreover, what priority will the Minister give in his reply to areas of high youth unemployment? It is important for him to answer that question.

There is no doubt that we need more apprentices. It is unfortunate that, more in my part of the country than in other areas, too many leave school at the first opportunity. Here we are talking about the under-18s. In a debate on education maintenance allowance that I initiated in January, I demonstrated that the percentage who received the allowance in the borough and in my constituency was very high indeed.

As the House knows, EMA is paid to those who stay at school after the age of 16 when the income of their households is relatively low. Unfortunately, the Government took measures to undermine the allowance. I do not know whether that is a controversial thing for me to say in a debate in which I have tried to avoid controversy,

12 July 2011 : Column 285

but I do know that the steps taken by the last Government through EMA to encourage 16-year-olds to stay at school were very useful. It is clear that more training opportunities are needed, so that those who leave school at 16 or 17—which I think we all agree is too early—can obtain the necessary skills and need not spend years, perhaps the rest of their working lives, in unskilled work with all the insecurities that that involves.

I said that I had applied for the debate because of the seriousness of the situation, and it is indeed a serious situation. As a constituency Member, I have a duty to do what I can to highlight the difficulties and bring them to the attention of the House of Commons, which, after all, is one of the responsibilities of a Member of Parliament. I have done that in the past, and I shall continue to do it for as long as I sit in the House. I hope that the Minister will be able to satisfy me that the measures announced by the Government will be effective, and will come into operation soon.

10.41 pm

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Chris Grayling): We meet again, Mr Speaker, although not quite as late as the last occasion on which we debated youth unemployment in the Chamber.

I congratulate the hon. Member for Walsall North (Mr Winnick) on securing the debate, and also on the measured way in which he addressed what I regard as a very serious issue. We have had quite a few debates about it, and I must say that his approach was commendable in comparison with that of some Members to whom I have listened.

I share the hon. Gentleman’s concern about the issue, and about the future of young people in his constituency. Let me tell him about the measures that we are taking to address the problem. It is a long-standing problem, not simply a problem of the recession years. During the past decade, from 2003-04 until the present day, there has been a steady increase in youth unemployment in this country—even during what have been relatively prosperous times economically—although the national figures for the last two months show a significant drop, which is of course welcome.

The hon. Gentleman was right to focus on the number of young people in his constituency who receive jobseeker’s allowance. All too often people focus on the number of unemployed people according to the International Labour Organisation measure, which includes a substantial number of full-time students and somewhat distorts the true picture. As the hon. Gentleman will know, in his constituency there has been a small increase—small in comparison with the previous position—in the number of unemployed young people receiving JSA over the last 12 months, but there was a much bigger and fairly steady increase over the previous decade.

There is indeed a problem that we must address, and to which we must deliver solutions. One of those solutions involves stimulating economic growth in what are still challenging times economically. We are particularly concerned about regions where there have been significant economic changes, where there is a smaller private sector than we might wish and higher public sector employment than in other areas, and where there is a particular labour market challenge. The regional growth fund—we announced the first tranche of RGF

12 July 2011 : Column 286

projects recently, and will announce further projects in due course—is designed to stimulate and support manufacturing, research and related areas of business in parts of the country where we need to build up and strengthen the manufacturing base, the research base and the skills base.

I would argue—I suspect this might be a point of difference between the hon. Gentleman and me—that the measures we are taking to address the deficit, challenging though they may be, are a necessary part of creating a stable economic environment where businesses will grow and invest and create jobs. Over the past 12 months there has been good growth in private sector employment in the UK. About 500,000 new private sector jobs, the majority of them full-time, have been created over that period, but it remains a concern that, despite that, there has been very little change in the numbers on jobseeker’s allowance. That is certainly the experience for young people in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency.

Job opportunities have been created, therefore, but we are not seeing people move into those jobs, so what do we do about that? There are three particular steps that we are taking. The hon. Gentleman asked when some of the measures we have proposed will be put into action, and my answer is that they are in place now. They are relatively new—they are in the early stages—but they are there, and we are working hard now to address some of the concerns that the hon. Gentleman raised.

Let me now describe those three key parts—they are not the only parts—of our strategy. The first issue is how we might provide support for the shorter-term unemployed young people, to get them into the workplace. The vast majority of young people who sign on to JSA are in work within a few months. Of those who have been out of work for nine months, only a small proportion of those who signed on on day one are still out of work. For that first group who get into work in the shorter term, we want to accelerate the process and make sure they move into work without spending those first few months on JSA looking for work.

Crucially, that is where our work experience scheme comes into play. It has its origins in an e-mail I received from the mother of a teenage girl shortly after I was appointed to my post last year. She said her daughter had just sorted out a month’s work experience for herself, and that it was clearly the right thing for her to do, but that she had been told by the jobcentre that if she did that work she would lose her benefits. That is clearly a mad situation, and we swiftly moved to address it. What we have done is turn that on its head, by saying that it is a good thing for young people to do work experience, as it gives them a first taste of the workplace and a period of time to prove to a potential employer that they have skills that that employer might wish to retain, and so we are now allowing young people to do up to eight weeks of work experience while continuing to claim JSA.

Furthermore, our Jobcentre Plus employer relations teams around the country are actively looking for work experience opportunities for young people. At the last count, we had about 35,000 committed placements over the next year. We have already placed many thousands of young people into work experience opportunities, and we are starting to see some of them move into employment as a result of that, some staying with those who provided the work experience. It will take time for

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the programme to build right across all the young people who could potentially benefit from it, but I am very keen about this, particularly this summer when another generation of school and college leavers will be coming into the labour market. Our team in Jobcentre Plus will be working hard to give those young people a rapid opportunity to gain real work experience, and not for one week or two weeks, but for an extended period with the hope that in many cases the employer who takes them on will take a look at that young person and say, “Actually, they’re rather good. I’d like to be able to keep them, and we’ll offer them a position.” That has certainly been our experience so far; that is what has been happening in a number of cases. Even if there is not a job opportunity for the young person, we hope that that couple of months of experience—and, I hope, a positive reference from the employer—will give them a leg-up in applying for a further vacancy.

The second part of the equation is also crucial to our strategy to help young people. It is the big increase in the number of apprenticeships. We took a decision very early on, because we think apprenticeships are a better path to help young people down than some of the schemes we inherited from the previous Government. I know that there has been great debate about the future jobs fund, but our view is that a big increase in the number of apprenticeships, with almost 100,000 extra over the past year, is a better way of providing long-term opportunities. This is not simply about the training that people gain as apprentices; the skills they gain in the workplace over an extended period lasting one, two or three years are much more likely to give a young person the foundation for a long-term career. The increase in the number of apprenticeships that we have seen over the past few months will be sustained over the course of this Parliament. These apprenticeships will be available to the young people leaving school and college this summer, and it is very much my hope that many young people who go through those two months of work experience will then be able to stay on as apprentices. I am absolutely of the view that the increased number of apprenticeships is a crucial part of dealing with the issues in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, which he rightly raises.

Mr Winnick: I am listening carefully to what the Minister is saying, but it does not alter the fact that the number of apprenticeships in my constituency remains very small compared with elsewhere. I am still wondering how extensive the concentration will be on the areas—this is not just about my constituency, by any means—where the level of unemployment is so high among young people.

Chris Grayling: This is very much about us collectively, by which I mean the hon. Gentleman, as a Member of Parliament, and Ministers in overseeing Jobcentre Plus and in our work to try to engage employers in the work experience scheme. One of our key goals has to be to encourage employers to get involved in the apprenticeship scheme and take on apprentices. I think that taking on a good apprentice is a very good way for the employer to add skills at a relatively low cost to their organisation, and we can all play a part in helping that to happen. I give him an absolute commitment that we in the

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Department for Work and Pensions, in partnership with the Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will work extremely hard to engage employers, including in the hon. Gentleman’s area. I know that his area contains some very good employers and some employers who have recruited from overseas in the past. I would much rather see them recruiting local apprentices, developing them and giving them opportunities. We are very happy to work with him to do anything we can to help engage and involve employers in his constituency. If he is not already in discussion with the employer outreach team in Jobcentre Plus in his area, I would be happy to arrange for such discussions to take place.

The third and newest piece of our jigsaw puzzle to deal with this problem is the introduction of the Work programme, which began in mid-June in the hon. Gentleman’s area. We have a good team of providers in the Birmingham area, who will have centres all around the west midlands—there will be centres in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Birmingham. I strongly believe that the Work programme provides the additional piece that is needed to deal with longer-term youth unemployment and, in particular, to help those who have come from the most challenged backgrounds. I have no doubt that some of the jobseeker’s allowance claimants in his constituency, to whom he refers, are young people who have come out of some of the most challenging backgrounds, and who have left school early without proper skills development and without qualifications. They may well have come from workless households, where they have not had experience of a parent going out to work in the morning. They represent one of the biggest challenges we face in the labour market. Helping them, motivating them and guiding them towards an entry into the labour market is an extremely important challenge for us, and I see it as a central part of what the Work programme providers are there to do.

The Work programme is very clearly intended to be a revolution in the way in which we deliver welfare to work, and I have been visiting providers today in the east midlands to talk about what they are doing. That revolution is most clearly to be found in two things. The first is the freedoms we are giving private, voluntary and public sector organisations involved in the Work programme and working together in teams to decide what works best, to adapt to change and to pursue best practice but, above all, to find the best way of helping people to move into the workplace and stay there. The second crucial part of this revolution is the fact that the scheme is based on payment by results. For the first three years of seven-year contracts, the providers will get a small up-front payment and after that no up-front payment at all; the next money they see will come when someone has been in work for six months. They will have a real incentive to find the best practice and particularly to match individuals to the right vacancy to help them stay in work over a sustained period.

Mr Winnick: I asked the Minister when we were likely to return to the situation we faced in 2004. In my remarks, I have tried to avoid controversy so far as it is possible for me to do so, but he will know that I disagree with the Government’s overall economic policy as I think it is deepening the economic downturn. Having said that—I very much mean it, too, as I think the

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present economic policy is far too severe—may I ask when my part of the world is likely to see the same sort of situation with youth unemployment, if not adult unemployment, as we did in 2004?

Chris Grayling: I would love to get a crystal ball out for the hon. Gentleman, but sadly I am not an economic forecaster and I would not want to try to make such an estimate. The official forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, however, expect an increase in employment over the next four years, even after we take into account job losses in the public sector, of just under 1 million positions. Over the past 12 months, private sector employment around the country has increased by about 500,000.

Our key goal should be to ensure that young people in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency and their counterparts elsewhere who are on jobseeker’s allowance and who are struggling to get into work get all the help they need to take advantage of those jobs as they are created. The OBR will continue to publish forecasts and it is our intention to pursue a growth agenda that fosters and encourages business growth and the creation of jobs. I hope that as the OBR reflects circumstances and the impact of our policies, we will get closer to being able to give him an answer, but I fear that I cannot do that tonight.

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I will say, however, that the increase the hon. Gentleman has seen is not simply down to the recession. It is a longer-term trend and problem. Employers are reluctant to take young people straight from school, college and university and sometimes it is easier to recruit from overseas. Our job, as well as that of the teams delivering the work experience opportunities, those delivering apprenticeship opportunities and those working extremely hard on the Work programme, is to ensure that those young people take advantage and get into the vacancies as and when they arise. That will give a generation of young people a genuine opportunity to move into work.

I do not want to see a large number of young people stranded on benefits for years and years and I share the hon. Gentleman’s aspiration to tackle the youth unemployment problem. I am happy to continue to work with him to discuss the issues in his constituency and to encourage our Jobcentre Plus teams to work with him to address those problems. I give him a commitment that youth unemployment in his constituency, and around the country, is a priority for us and we will do everything we can to ease it. We believe it should be at the very top of the Government’s agenda and it will continue to be there until we have cracked it.

Question put and agreed to.

10.58 pm

House adjourned.