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I shall move on to the specifics of the amendments on street litter notices. A perfectly reasonable proposition is being advanced. I think the hon. Member for Shipley

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was labouring under a misapprehension, because powers already exist for orders to apply to commercial and retail premises, with the agreement of the Secretary of State. The Bill simply seeks to extend those designations, with the permission of the Secretary of State, to public buildings such as educational establishments and hospitals.

The hon. Gentleman spent a long time talking about smoking litter. As a result of the smoking ban there are now undoubtedly considerable quantities of smoking debris, and it is right and proper that local authorities should have another tool in the locker, as it were, with which to address that very real problem. It does impact on the street scene and the visual amenity of an area. I have pointed out that local authorities are already under considerable strain, given the cuts that have been made to their funding, and if they are to fulfil their obligations to their constituents—and to people from Shipley and Christchurch and every other corner of the United Kingdom who visit London—it is incumbent on those local authorities to find ways of ensuring that the street scene is not despoiled by every sort of litter—particularly smoking litter, which creates a real problem. It would be a significant step in the right direction in improving the street scene and helping local authorities to find other ways of ensuring that they can provide the adequate services that local people in their respective boroughs elect them to provide.

Mr Gray: I thank the hon. Gentleman who is being very generous and is advancing a cogent and interesting argument, but I have two problems. First, he used the expression “another tool in the locker” with regard to these provisions. That is precisely one of the arguments that we are advancing against them: there is already a tool in the locker—the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Why should we require another tool in the locker to achieve something that can be achieved by existing legislation?

Secondly, while I am on my feet, will the hon. Gentleman clarify for us the degree to which the provisions would apply to the parliamentary estate, and the Government estate down Whitehall?

Chris Williamson: I accept that other provisions are available, but they do not necessarily go far enough, and they leave local authorities in a difficult position because of the inadequate resources at their disposal. I repeat that hon. Members should support alternative ways in which authorities can deal with such problems.

Mrs Main: The hon. Gentleman sums up my worries about the measure. Legislation already exists under which a person who drops litter—even a cigarette butt—can be prosecuted or held to account. I am worried that the Bill might introduce a lazy way forward under which a charge regarding cigarette litter would relate to the building that it is in front of, instead of there being a system of wardens or enforcement officers targeting the people who drop the litter. I worry that the Bill shifts responsibility from the individual culprit to a building, and that is a cost-cutting measure if ever I heard one, in so far as only one person is employed to prosecute the owner of a building or a business, and we will not be chasing the people who drop litter.

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Chris Williamson: With the greatest respect, the hon. Lady is not living in the real world. If only the avenues that she advocates were available for local authorities, it would be incredibly costly for them to deliver the improvements that the additional measure in the Bill could achieve. She talks about cost-cutting measures, but local authorities are being forced to make significant reductions to their budgets, so it is unreasonable to say that they should not be given this additional tool to help them to fulfil their obligations. We should bear in mind the fact that such a provision already exists for commercial and retail premises. The measure in the Bill would help to ensure that streets were kept clean and tidy, and then the resources that are used to deal with that problem at present could be deployed elsewhere to ensure that the whole street scene was clean and tidy for everyone’s enjoyment—local residents and visitors from St Albans and elsewhere.

Mr Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) (Con) rose

Chris Williamson: I must give way to a former Member for Derby North.

Mr Knight: The hon. Gentleman has said three times that some local authorities are short of resources, so he is touching on Conservative Members’ concern. Does he share my worry that authorities that are short of resources might use the enhanced penalty charge regime under the Bill to raise the money that they are short of?

Chris Williamson: Her Majesty’s Opposition are genuine localists. We trust local government and those who are elected to serve their communities to do the right thing and not to abuse powers. Hon. Members should remember that the Secretary of State’s approval will be needed if the powers are to be exercised, so there are sufficient checks and balances in place.

It is incumbent on hon. Members to trust the elected councillors in the London boroughs to use the powers at their disposal responsibly. There is no evidence to suggest that London boroughs behave irresponsibly, and it is unreasonable of those Conservative Members who oppose the Bill to suggest otherwise.

Let me move on to turnstiles—

Mr Gray: What about the parliamentary estate?

Chris Williamson: If I may, I will pass on that question. Perhaps the sponsor of the Bill will clarify the situation.

Mike Freer: I understand that the Palace of Westminster, as a royal palace, would be exempt, but that because Whitehall Government buildings are public buildings, they would be expected to keep their perimeters clean and tidy.

Chris Williamson: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for providing that clarification in response to his hon. Friend’s question.

4.15 pm

When discussing the provisions for turnstiles in public toilets, the hon. Member for Shipley was—how can I put this kindly?—not correct in suggesting that they would discriminate against disabled people. Perhaps he

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was thinking of the old-fashioned turnstiles installed before the Public Lavatories (Turnstiles) Act 1963 was passed, which were removed as a result of that legislation. As the sponsor has made clear, however, what is proposed in the Bill would enable local authorities to obtain fees for the use of public conveniences. We cannot duck the problem—which did not exist when the Bill was being formulated, before the economic downturn—of the huge reduction in the funds available to local authorities. Many public toilets around the country have been closed.

Public toilets are an essential facility. Our population is ageing, and the availability of public toilets is essential to many people who would otherwise be denied access to facilities in city centres, but many public toilets are being closed because of lack of resources. That was happening before the circumstances in which local authorities now find themselves arose. The Bill would in no way discriminate against disabled people and it would allow the London boroughs to levy a charge by installing modern turnstiles, which could help to retain public toilets. That would not only help elderly people but would be beneficial to disabled people and to families with young children, who would find life very difficult without such public facilities.

I fear that if the clause is not agreed, many more public toilets will be closed. That would be highly regrettable, and it would be discriminatory against the very disabled people the hon. Member for Shipley mentioned, as well as elderly people and families with young children.

Philip Davies: The hon. Gentleman is disparaging my comments, but has he read the Select Committee report to which I referred? I remind him that the inquiry was conducted at a time when the Committee’s Chairman was a Labour Member, as were the majority of its members. Is he disparaging not only what I said, but what that Labour-dominated Committee put in its report?

Chris Williamson: To be fair, the hon. Gentleman himself said that he had not read the report. Indeed, he said that until the hon. Member for St Albans (Mrs Main) pointed it out today, he had not been aware of its existence. It is a little rich of him to say that he is relying on the report’s recommendations today, when he was not previously aware of its existence.

Philip Davies: We cannot allow that to stand. The hon. Gentleman clearly was not listening. I said that I was not aware of the report at the time, but had become aware of it only when I started to look at the Bill. I made it clear that I had read the report; in fact, I quoted extensively from it in my speech. How on earth he can conclude that I had not heard of it until today is beyond me.

Chris Williamson: I am grateful for that clarification. I may have misheard, but I thought the hon. Gentleman told his hon. Friend the Member for St Albans that it was only as a result of her intervention today that he had become aware of the Select Committee report.

Mrs Main: Will the hon. Gentleman give way on that point?

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Chris Williamson: I have given way quite a lot already, so if the hon. Lady will bear with me, I will try to make a little progress.

To sum up, for the reasons I have outlined, there is a strong case in favour of the provisions on turnstiles in public toilets. I therefore hope that hon. Members will give the provisions their support.

Mr Gray: The hon. Gentleman is making a thoughtful speech. On the question of public lavatories—I find it difficult to use the word “toilet” myself; I prefer “lavatory”; interestingly, the heading of the clause refers to “toilets”, but the body of the clause uses “lavatory”—does he not agree that the provision will lead to regressive taxation? There is no question but that we all want public lavatories to be readily available; the question is how we pay for that. Does the local authority pay for it as a responsibility under council tax or should it be the users who pay? If the cost were £1, £2 or £5, that would be a regressive tax. I do not mind paying that for a lovely, splendid, gleaming public lavatory, but what about the poor young family on benefits with five children? What will they do?

Chris Williamson: I can give the hon. Gentleman the benefit of anecdotal evidence that I have gleaned in speaking to young families, elderly people and disabled people about the retention of public toilets. Of course we would all love to have access to free facilities, but if there is a choice between losing the facility altogether and introducing a modest charge, 100% of the people I spoke to were prepared to pay the charge. As for the charge being prohibitive, we have to trust locally elected representatives to do the right thing. If local people think that their local councils have done the wrong thing, they have the perfect remedy at the ballot box, and can vote them out accordingly.

There are adequate safeguards and there is support for the measure. Yes, in an ideal world, if we could provide facilities across the piece free of charge, I would certainly sign up to that, but in the real world local authorities are under increasing pressure, even before elections, so it is not unreasonable to give them the opportunity to raise finance to maintain those facilities in good order and stop them closing down. All too many public conveniences across the country have closed because of the lack of resources available to the local authority.

Finally, clause 7 refers to “the use of objects” on the public highway. Again, the Bill makes a perfectly reasonable proposal to give local authorities the ability to levy a charge. At the end of the day, businesses using the public highway should not be able to use it to gain an income as a matter of course or right—it should be seen as a privilege. If street furniture is put out in that way, it often adds to the costs that fall on the local authority. Bearing in mind the fact that those businesses gain an additional profit as a result of being given the privilege of putting street furniture on the public highway, it is not unreasonable that local authorities should be empowered to levy a small charge to help pay for the additional costs incurred by the local authority as a direct consequence of that street furniture being put on the public highway. The alternative is to say that the council tax payer should pick up the tab, which would be completely unreasonable.

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I am surprised that some Government Members—I am pleased that this does not apply to all of them—have suggested that the taxpayer should subsidise businesses in that way. That is the wrong thing to do, and a bad principle. On that basis, I support clause 7 and oppose the amendments tabled by the hon. Member for Shipley.

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle): I now have to announce the result of the deferred Division on the motion relating to the mayoral referendum for Birmingham. The Ayes were 303 and the Noes were 203, so the Question was agreed to.

I also have to announce the result of the deferred Division on the motion relating to the mayoral referendum for Bradford. The Ayes were 304 and the Noes were 202, so the Question was agreed to.

[The Division lists are published at the end of today’s debates.]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Robert Neill): May I briefly pull together the chains of this debate and address the topics that have been raised? I should say, as a matter of principle, that this is a private Bill. Any local authority, like many other institutions, private and public, is entitled to bring private legislation before the House. It is equally the entitlement of all Members in this House to scrutinise such legislation.

The Government, historically, have taken a neutral stance towards private legislation, and we do so again, as I said when the Bill was debated previously. I simply observe that all the matters that are the subject of this debate are legitimate areas of concern to local authorities. The appropriate stance is not one upon which the Government would seek to impose a blanket or one-size-fits-all view of policy. It is right generally to favour local discretion, but none of that impinges on the right of the House to scrutinise particular pieces of private legislation brought before it.

I merely observe that in relation to smoking-related litter it is, as a matter of policy, the Government’s view that the “polluter pays” principle should generally be advanced. In relation to turnstiles in public toilets, it is of course to be noted, as has been observed, that all public conveniences are now subject to the equalities legislation, which requires accessibility of services to disabled people, and I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friend the Member for Finchley and Golders Green (Mike Freer), who speaks on behalf of the promoters of the Bill, will be able to reassure hon. Members who have raised points that anything done, were the House to pass the Bill, would not impinge on that. Clearly, it is important that any kind of turnstile, however described or constructed, is consistent with such legislation.

Philip Davies: I accept that my hon. Friend wants to remain neutral on this because it is private business, but surely he cannot remain neutral on something such as toilets, and whether there should be turnstiles, given that it was his Department in 2008 that produced a strategic guide, “Improving Public Access to Better Quality Toilets”. Do the Government still stand by the strategic guide that they issued in 2008? If so, they cannot support clause 6.

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Robert Neill: The guidance was produced by the previous Government. It is not the policy of this Government to seek to impose minute controls over the manner in which public lavatories are provided in this country. Nor is there a particularly left or right, in political terms, means of providing public lavatories. I restate what I said: there is a duty upon all local authorities to make provision of such facilities. It is desirable that they do so, and the guidance sets out useful means of achieving that. Equally, the technology in question is not a matter for the Government. We seek to ensure that the technology achieves the broad policy objectives of making proportionate and appropriate facilities available, and that any technology employed is consistent with legislation governing issues such as equalities. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Finchley and Golders Green will be able to address that.

In relation to clause 7 and the placing of objects on the highway, the Department for Transport has already said that it does not object to the clause, provided that there are checks in place to ensure that any costs recovered are reasonable. I hope that my hon. Friend will address that. I simply observe that many hon. Members have spoken and I join them in saying that many people find the development of a café culture in this country to be desirable and enjoyable. One would not wish to see that prejudiced, but that is not say that the area is not a matter of legitimate concern for local authorities. The whole purpose is to achieve a proper balance and equilibrium in this matter, and to ensure, particularly in the current climate, that any charging regime is used with care and discretion so that—this is the Government’s general view—any charging is not disproportionate or excessive, and does not place undue burdens on business so as to get in the way of the desire that I am sure all would share to encourage growth and enterprise, particularly in the leisure and small business sector. Having stated the Government’s position, without further ado, I am content to leave the House to weigh up those matters.

4.30 pm

Mrs Main: I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) on his forensic evaluation of the measure and rise to support his amendments. I have listened with growing concern about the lack of justification for the use of a sledgehammer to crack this particular nut. I am amazed that the hon. Member for Derby North (Chris Williamson), who tried to defend the proposal, could not answer some of the significant questions he was asked. I have heard of no pilot study showing an attempt to deter bad behaviour, such as the dropping of cigarette butts, and facilitate good behaviour, such as the provision of ashtrays and similar street furniture. Let us be realistic. It is only a relatively short time since the previous Government put in place new regulations that led to more smoking outside, but local authorities have not had time to catch up with the fact that people are dropping cigarette butts because there is a lack of places to put them. Many local authorities have recognised that.

I do not think that we need new legislation to burden businesses with additional costs. We should be encouraging local authorities to work with local people to ensure sensible, reasonable and proportionate behaviour, but this is not a sensible, reasonable or proportionate proposal. Businesses might suddenly have an additional charge

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placed upon them so that they have to clean up a stray cigarette butt that someone has casually thrown out of a car window. It should be the polluter who pays. I am pleased that my hon. Friend the Minister said that the Government’s position is that the polluter should pay. This proposal is not that the polluter should pay, but that the poor sap who ends up with litter in front of his door should pay, which I think is outrageous.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley said, big businesses can often swallow such charges. They shrug and say, “Yet another piece of legislation placed on our shoulders, but we’ll cope.” That is not the case for small businesses. Smaller businesses often have smaller premises and are shut at night, and in the morning they might find a whole raft of cigarette butts to clean up because they are down an alleyway or in a smaller part of town. Many of the smaller businesses in St Albans are down small, historic streets and suffer from antisocial behaviour, such as people urinating at night or dropping cigarette butts. I do not believe that those businesses, many of which take pride in their premises and already clean up in the morning, should have to pay a financial penalty for something that is in no way their fault.

I know that other hon. Members want to speak on the matter, but I do not think that any justification has been given today for creating more legislation. I am a natural conservative and believe that we should be chopping regulations. I thought that we had a pledge that for every bit of new legislation that came in we would throw out another, but this is another regulation on the businesses, particularly small businesses, that we are supposed to be supporting. There is no getting away from it: this has to be a money-generating scheme for local authorities.

Mr Gray: I am listening carefully to my hon. Friend, as I did to my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Philip Davies). With regard to the “polluter pays” principle, she is right to say when a cigarette is casually dropped by a passerby, it is clearly impossible for that polluter to be charged. None the less, is there not some merit in the principle that the vicarious polluter should pay? In other words, there could be a café on the pavement or a cheap McDonald’s food takeaway outlet, and even though it may not be McDonald’s itself that has dropped a piece of litter on the pavement, it would be reasonable to presume that it had made a profit from providing the hamburger to the person who dropped the litter. It is therefore not unreasonable that it should be asked to pay for clearing it up.

Mrs Main: My hon. Friend makes a valuable point, and I never thought that I would be speaking up to defend McDonald’s, but that is exactly what happens in St Albans already. McDonald’s, Sainsbury’s with its carrier bags, and other big companies recognise the issue, work with the local council and help towards paying up. Sainsbury’s recognises that, if one of its carrier bags has drifted up against a fence 100 yards away from its supermarket, it will still help the local authority to clear it up—and is willing to do so. It is the poor small businesses that cannot carry the can. With huge businesses such as McDonald’s, people say, “That’s their packet, thrown away 100 yards or so from the restaurant,” but that is recognised, so often it will help local authorities to clear up and to contribute towards schemes that do so.

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The clause will, however, penalise small businesses. What about them? If we were to have, as one of my hon. Friends proposed, separate legislation for branded litter, we might find it easier to enforce, but that is not what the clause is about—unless we are going to chase Marlboro and ask it to pay. The person who drops the litter should ultimately be responsible, and if that means better council surveillance and the recognition that it has to clean those areas more, so be it. Small businesses should not have to pick up the tab.

Mr Gray: I used a slightly bad example in my previous intervention by citing a big business and talking about McDonald’s; my point was the vicarious polluter pays. Let us imagine that a small business, such as a café, is set up on the streets of St Albans, and around its tables there is an increase in litter. Surely the reasonable presumption is that its customers have produced it and, therefore, that the café will have written into the cost of creating the cup of tea and sticky bun a cost to cover clearing up the litter.

Mrs Main: My hon. Friend makes a valuable point, but I—and others in the debate have made this point—am not aware of any business that would want to serve its customers in a pigsty. Most cafés and small businesses take great pride in what happens outside their premises, but the Bill deals with litter that has been dropped and, in particular, with cigarette butts, not with the tomato on the floor which has come out of someone’s BLT from their local shop.

Philip Davies: Do we not return to the point that, if this is an issue, it is an issue throughout the country? On that basis, therefore, the House should propose legislation that applies everywhere in the country. The issue does not apply only to London, so it is completely unnecessary and undesirable to introduce such legislation for London only.

Mrs Main: My hon. Friend makes the point that this is private business and it nominates only London, but the point I am trying to make, which he made eloquently earlier, is that the clause is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It is not necessary, and there is plenty of regulation.

Chris Williamson: The hon. Lady contradicts her own argument, because she says that businesses would not want to serve food and drink in a pigsty, implying that they already keep such areas clean and tidy. So I do not understand her objection to the clause.

Mrs Main: My objection to the clause relates, in particular, to smaller premises. We have talked a great deal about cigarette butts, but the clause deals with litter that has been deposited on those premises not necessarily by the businesses themselves—and they will be charged. This point has been made umpteen times: most responsible businesses keep their premises clean anyway; we have enforcement officers from the council who go around and can speak to businesses that are not operating in such a fashion; and current legislation and levers can be employed to tackle the issue.

Philip Davies: On my hon. Friend’s exchange with our hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire (Mr Gray), will she bear in mind that such provisions already apply

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to commercial and retail premises? The Bill, however, seeks to extend them to any premise other than a dwelling. McDonald’s and others are already covered by the law. This Bill will extend that provision to other organisations totally unrelated to selling the things that my hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire talked about.

Mrs Main: I thank my hon. Friend, because this debate has been going for some time, and he did make that point quite cogently at the beginning.

Principally, when we have argued about the amendment, we have addressed cigarette butts and the fact that outside premises such as an estate agent or an office, which does not serve food and drink or use wrappers, those butts will be considered litter and, therefore, be directly attributed to those premises.

Chris Williamson rose—

Mrs Main: I shall not give way; I wish to expand my point.

My point is that small businesses that see a pile of littered cigarette butts outside but do not have smokers on their premises will be held directly responsible for clearing up those butts because they have been dropped outside their front door. That, to me, is as unfair as when poor St Albans residents find that things have been thrown into their gardens by loutish people walking home at night. It is not reasonable that a business will have to pay for this in addition to what it already pays the local council to keep its streets and premises clean.

Chris Williamson: The truth is that local authorities can already apply this provision to retail and commercial properties, as the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) said. The proposal will extend it to public buildings. If the hon. Lady objects to the powers that are currently available to local authorities to insist on commercial and retail premises tidying litter away, she should put forward an alternative piece of legislation to repeal those powers.

Mrs Main: The hon. Gentleman is trying to lead me down corridors. He has not come forward with a single type of premises that would not be covered reasonably under the legislation that we already have. That is the nub of the matter. We are introducing something that is totally superfluous and unnecessary. There is plenty of legislation for local authorities to use. I support my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley on the amendment because it is sensible, reasonable and proportionate.

I am sorry to say that I want to return to the issue of toilets. It was abundantly clear from the hon. Gentleman’s weak argument that he had not read the Communities and Local Government Committee report. He certainly had not read all the supporting information that was brought to the Committee.

Philip Davies: I hope that my hon. Friend is talking about the hon. Member for Derby North (Chris Williamson).

Mrs Main: I am. My hon. Friend the Member for Shipley was obviously well versed in the report.

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If the hon. Member for Derby North had read the report and the supporting evidence that was given to the Committee, he would have seen that charging was dealt with in the report. It was deemed to be a matter for the local authority. If he had read the evidence, he would have known that one can never charge enough to make toilets pay. What people are prepared to pay—whether it is 10p, 20p or 50p—does not cover the cost of running any public toilet. The report left charging to the discretion of the local authority, but it expressly said that we should do away with all turnstiles, even turnstiles in stations. The report dealt with that dilemma.

Although the Committee received representations from many groups representing people with disabilities, those with urge incontinence, the aged and people on low incomes saying that charging for toilets was unreasonable when people already pay car parking charges when they go into city and town centres, the report accepted that to impose a regulation that said that toilets must be free would be unreasonable for many local authorities. It did not accept that there was a need for turnstiles.

Fundamentally, we have to believe the 2008 report because it is the biggest listening exercise that we have on people visiting public conveniences and it specifically looks at London. This proposal is contrary to all the evidence that was received at that time. It was accepted that charging was acceptable, but it was not accepted that turnstiles were acceptable. This proposal brings the two together. If people wish to charge for the use of London toilets, so be it. I might not think that it is a good idea and other people might not think that it is a good idea, but I am realistic enough to accept that the taxpayer might have to claw back some of the cost of the provision for tourists and all the people who come into towns and cities. However, some turnstiles were abandoned under the 1963 Act and the 2008 report stated that all turnstiles should be abandoned. That is the most recent thing that we have and it was produced by a Committee that had a Labour Chair, Phyllis Starkey, and was dominated by Labour Members.

To introduce turnstiles in whatever shape or form—not necessarily the little winding things that we walk through—would be a retrograde step. The Committee did not specify a type of turnstile; we said no to all turnstiles. I therefore suggest that the hon. Member for Derby North has not read the evidence of the people who came to the Committee and said that they found the toilets in London appalling.

Philip Davies: Just to make it clear that I have read the report, I have a copy of it here. Will my hon. Friend make it clear that the report was agreed by the Committee unanimously? There was no division along party lines. People across the parties agreed with the report unanimously.

Mrs Main: I thank my hon. Friend for reminding me of that. In fact, one might ask why we did a report on public toilets. [Interruption.] Yes, we were desperate. I seem to remember that it was because it had been highlighted to us that the state of the toilets in London was a problem. We heard every joke under the sun: “flushed with success”, “a penny for our thoughts”, and so on. However, it was amazing—

Mike Freer claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36 ).

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Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle): I think I can be tempted to put the Question because we have been debating this group of amendments for more than two hours. In fact, it has probably been more than three hours, if I remember rightly, given the debate that was started by Mr Chope last time. I therefore think that we should test the will of the House.

Question put forthwith, That the Question be now put.

The House proceeded to a Division.

Mr Deputy Speaker: I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the No Lobby because there seems to be a blockage.

The House having divided:

Ayes 276, Noes 10.

Division No. 443]

[4.45 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Allen, Mr Graham

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Ashworth, Jonathan

Bain, Mr William

Baker, Steve

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Barwell, Gavin

Bayley, Hugh

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benn, rh Hilary

Berry, Jake

Betts, Mr Clive

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brennan, Kevin

Bridgen, Andrew

Brooke, Annette

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Byles, Dan

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Cash, Mr William

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Clwyd, rh Ann

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Crabb, Stephen

Crausby, Mr David

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Tony

Dakin, Nic

Davies, Glyn

de Bois, Nick

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Esterson, Bill

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Fabricant, Michael

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Gapes, Mike

Garnier, Mr Edward

Garnier, Mark

George, Andrew

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Gilmore, Sheila

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Graham, Richard

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greenwood, Lilian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hammond, Stephen

Hands, Greg

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harper, Mr Mark

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heath, Mr David

Hemming, John

Herbert, rh Nick

Hilling, Julie

Hinds, Damian

Hollingbery, George

Hopkins, Kelvin

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, Mr Gerald

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

James, Margot

Jamieson, Cathy

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Graham

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Mr Marcus

Jones, Susan Elan

Joyce, Eric

Kawczynski, Daniel

Keeley, Barbara

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Lamb, Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Leslie, Chris

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Macleod, Mary

MacShane, rh Mr Denis

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Maynard, Paul

McCabe, Steve

McCartney, Jason

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Jim

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McVey, Esther

Menzies, Mark

Miller, Andrew

Milton, Anne

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morgan, Nicky

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Mosley, Stephen

Mudie, Mr George

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Onwurah, Chi

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, Richard

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Phillips, Stephen

Pincher, Christopher

Pound, Stephen

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Mr John

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Redwood, rh Mr John

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rotheram, Steve

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Simmonds, Mark

Skidmore, Chris

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spellar, rh Mr John

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, Andrew

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tami, Mark

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thurso, John

Timms, rh Stephen

Tomlinson, Justin

Twigg, Derek

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walley, Joan

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wicks, rh Malcolm

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Simon

Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr Shailesh Vara and

Jeremy Wright

NOES

Davies, Philip

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Main, Mrs Anne

McCrea, Dr William

Mills, Nigel

Percy, Andrew

Reckless, Mark

Smith, Henry

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr David Nuttall and

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Question accordingly agreed to.

25 Jan 2012 : Column 370

25 Jan 2012 : Column 371

Question put accordingly, That the amendment be made.

The House proceeded to a Division.

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans): I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the Aye Lobby.

The House divided:

Ayes 16, Noes 159.

Division No. 444]

[5.1 pm

AYES

Andrew, Stuart

Bridgen, Andrew

Cash, Mr William

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Davies, Philip

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Knight, rh Mr Greg

McCrea, Dr William

Mills, Nigel

Percy, Andrew

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Watts, Mr Dave

Wilson, Sammy

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mrs Anne Main and

Mr David Nuttall

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Afriyie, Adam

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Ashworth, Jonathan

Bain, Mr William

Baron, Mr John

Bayley, Hugh

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benn, rh Hilary

Betts, Mr Clive

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brooke, Annette

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Byles, Dan

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Crouch, Tracey

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Tony

Dakin, Nic

de Bois, Nick

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Dowd, Jim

Ellison, Jane

Esterson, Bill

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fovargue, Yvonne

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Gapes, Mike

Gilbert, Stephen

Gilmore, Sheila

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, Robert

Hamilton, Mr David

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Rebecca

Harris, Mr Tom

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hemming, John

Hinds, Damian

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hughes, rh Simon

Huppert, Dr Julian

Jamieson, Cathy

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Mr Marcus

Keeley, Barbara

Kirby, Simon

Latham, Pauline

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Leslie, Chris

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Lord, Jonathan

Love, Mr Andrew

MacShane, rh Mr Denis

Malhotra, Seema

McCabe, Steve

McCartney, Jason

McGovern, Jim

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Mordaunt, Penny

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Mosley, Stephen

Munt, Tessa

Nokes, Caroline

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ottaway, Richard

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Phillips, Stephen

Pound, Stephen

Pritchard, Mark

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reid, Mr Alan

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rotheram, Steve

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Russell, Sir Bob

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sarwar, Anas

Shannon, Jim

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Henry

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spellar, rh Mr John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stuart, Mr Graham

Syms, Mr Robert

Tami, Mark

Thornberry, Emily

Thurso, John

Timms, rh Stephen

Tomlinson, Justin

Twigg, Derek

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Willott, Jenny

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Tellers for the Noes:

Heidi Alexander and

Charlie Elphicke

Question accordingly negatived.

25 Jan 2012 : Column 372

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I beg to move amendment 22, to leave out clause 9.

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans): With this it will be convenient to take amendments 23, 24, 41, 25 to 28, 42, P1, 29, 30, 43 to 45, 31, 46, 47, 32, 48, 49, P2, 33, 60, 51 to 55, 34, 56 to 58 and P40.

25 Jan 2012 : Column 373

Jacob Rees-Mogg: As you know, Mr Deputy Speaker, I have tabled a number of amendments and have also put my name to a number of others. I would like, if I may, to start by outlining why they have been proposed. The simple reason is that the Bill as drafted is extraordinarily illiberal and seeks to extend the powers of the state into the nooks and crannies of people’s lives as they carry out otherwise lawful activities that would be banned by the Bill, unless the amendments are passed.

I remind hon. Members of what was said in the Conservative party manifesto about protecting civil liberties. We said:

“Labour have subjected Britain’s historic freedoms to unprecedented attack. They have trampled on liberties…giving public bodies extraordinary powers to intervene in the way we live our lives.

The impact of this has been profound and far-reaching. Trust has been replaced by suspicion.”

The amendments I have tabled with many of my hon. Friends aim to restore that trust and to ensure that what is done is proportionate and that civil liberties are maintained. You will not be surprised to know, Mr Deputy Speaker, that some of those civil liberties go as far back as the Magna Carta and they are being undermined by the clauses that we are discussing.

Under the clauses, unidentified officers of councils who might or might not show identification may confiscate things from people, directly contrary to the Magna Carta, which states:

“No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or dispossessed, or outlawed or exiled, or in any way destroyed…except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.”

This is not the law of the land, it is the law of some minor council official—some minor bod—going around and confiscating people’s goods without having the proper authority to do so, a proper process by which to do it or a legitimacy that would give people confidence in the laws we are passing in this Parliament.

Philip Davies: I agree with my hon. Friend wholeheartedly. During a previous discussion on this Bill, he proposed that those council officials should wear bowler hats. If they identified themselves with a bowler hat, would he be happy for them to take on these powers?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point, because I specify in amendment 60, which has been selected, that these officers of the council should be in uniform when they carry out their duties. I have left it to the discretion of the council to determine what those uniforms should be.

Andrew Percy: That is localism.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Absolutely right. I thought it might not be a bad idea if they had the relevant council’s coat of arms.

Mrs Main: Does my hon. Friend have any suggestions as to how this would be promoted, because my constituents, should they come down to London, might not be aware of the purpose of these people in bowler hats or other uniforms and might not be aware of their powers in the regulations.

25 Jan 2012 : Column 374

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I am very sympathetic to what my hon. Friend says, and I add that many of my amendments take chunks out of the Bill. Therefore, visitors from St Albans, North East Somerset and all over the country—from Leeds, indeed, where the shadow Minister is from—

Chris Williamson: Derby.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Derby—I am so sorry. Those visitors would not be caught out by all sorts of strange people. [ Interruption. ] I do know where Shipley is.

Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): Has the hon. Gentleman or any of his colleagues who oppose this legislation had discussions with the Mayor of London about whether he thinks the Bill should be supported or blocked?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I am very grateful for that intervention. The Mayor of London is a man whom I admire enormously and whose writ I should think runs across the whole of London and probably should run across the world. However, he stood down from this Parliament and it therefore is not fitting that his views should be authoritative. In this instance, I do not happen to know what they are.

Philip Davies rose

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Perhaps my hon. Friend does.

Philip Davies: I certainly do not know what they are, but perhaps my hon. Friend ought to listen to the hon. Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes) because no doubt he has just come from a meeting with the Mayor of London. He certainly was not here when we debated the first group of amendments, but he seems to think that this is very important.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I completely agree.

Mike Gapes: I was watching the proceedings from my office, and I could not believe that any Member of Parliament who had the best interests of London at heart could possibly oppose the proposals, which are supported by Labour members, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in local government all over London, as well as by the Greater London Authority. It is only neanderthals and people who have no idea of what is in the interests of our capital city who oppose the Bill.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Now we see the true face of socialist authoritarianism coming into the House. Those people do not bother with debating in this Chamber. No, they sit watching television in their eyries above and then they condescend to come down and they deign in all their fine glory to say to us that we from Somerset, from Hertfordshire and from other great counties across the country should not have a say in the legislation that affects the law of the land. This is the type of authoritarianism and nanny-stateism that we have come to expect from the socialist.

Let me refer to clause 20(2), which we propose to pull out of the Bill because it is a singularly nasty measure. What it says, Mr Speaker, although I am sure I do not need to remind you, is that if somebody wishes to sell

25 Jan 2012 : Column 375

their car throughout all the boroughs of Greater London, advertises it on the internet and then puts it outside their house, they will be committing an offence.

Mike Freer: I hate to correct my hon. Friend because I so enjoy his perorations in the Chamber but he is incorrect. It is not intended that a householder selling their own vehicle outside their own house should be captured by the measure. It is only vehicle traders who in the course of a business sell vehicles on a residential street, using the internet, who will be caught—not residential households.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: That may not be what is intended, but it is, unfortunately, what is said and it is what is described in the notes written by the promoters of this Bill in relation to part 4 on licensing.

5.24 pm

Three hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on the Bill, the Deputy Speaker interrupted the business (Order, 19 January).

Bill to be further considered on Tuesday 31 January.

Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your guidance. Is it appropriate parliamentary language for a Member of Parliament to call other hon. Members neanderthals, particularly when they have not even been anywhere near the debate or participated or engaged in it? Do you think that that is a somewhat judgmental statement?

Mr Speaker: Well, I think if we are going to have a prohibition on judgmentalism, we are setting ourselves rather than exacting test. What I would say to the hon. Lady is twofold. First, I am not aware, though it is not relevant to the appropriateness of her point of order, who the target of this intended abuse was—although I could try to speculate about it—but secondly, if the target of the intended abuse is at least one Member that I can think of, I rather imagine that far from complaining about it, he will take it as the greatest possible compliment that has ever been paid to him.

25 Jan 2012 : Column 376

Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con) rose—

Mr Speaker: I choose randomly for a point of order. Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think many hon. Members would consider being called neanderthals remarkably modern.

Mr Speaker: I note the hon. Gentleman’s value judgment, and indeed his sense of humour. If there are no further points of order, we come now to the petition.

PETITION

School Buildings (Runcorn)

5.25 pm

Derek Twigg (Halton) (Lab): This petition comes about because the Government cancelled the Building Schools for the Future programme, from which my constituents in Halton would have significantly benefited in terms of their schools. One of the schools that lost out, which would have had a brand-new building as a result of Building Schools for the Future, was the Heath school in Runcorn. There are 266 petitioners, and the petition reads as follows:

The Petition of parents, staff and students at The Heath School and others in their community.

Declares that the petitioners are concerned about the poor state of the school's buildings and accessibility for disabled people, and the small size of the classrooms, when considering future school capital spending allocations.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons gives consideration to any motion expressing concern at poor built environment in some schools, and requests that the Leader of the House and the Back Bench Business Committee schedule a debate on school buildings and facilities, and school capital expenditure.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

[P000996]

25 Jan 2012 : Column 377

North Sea Oil and Gas

[Relevant document: Oral and written evidence taken by the Energy and Climate Change Committee, on Implications for the North Sea Oil and Gas Industry of the Budget 2011, HC 1018-i and -ii.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Michael Fabricant.)

5.27 pm

Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex) (Con): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing this short Adjournment debate on North sea oil and gas taxation. It is a very serious and important matter. It is not one with which I have previously been concerned, but I think the Economic Secretary should know that I was invited to a briefing the other day, given by the oil industry, on the impact of taxation changes in the North sea and it excited my interest. I had always been aware of what a very substantial business it was but had no idea of how very important it is to the United Kingdom economy on the scale of employment and other matters, and I thought it right to bring the matter to the attention of the House. I am therefore, as I said, very grateful to you, Sir, for allowing the debate.

The United Kingdom is indeed fortunate to be endowed with significant resources of oil and gas. Over the years, hundreds of millions of pounds of hard-earned, always risky and sometimes very courageous investment and endeavour have allowed the nation to realise these resources, and for the British people to enjoy the substantial benefits of employment, sophisticated and high-level skills at all levels of the skill chain, tax revenues and balance of payments, and to develop a leading position in the global oil and gas supply chain—all of which has stood this country in good stead down the recent years.

Figures for 2011 show that around £16 billion was spent by the oil and gas industry on exploration, development and operations. This included £8 billion in new capital investment, an increase of 25% over 2010. I know that the Economic Secretary will agree that in anyone’s terms these are massive numbers, and thus once again make the oil and gas sector the single largest investor of all the industrial sectors in the United Kingdom.

The positive benefits of this remarkable industry are not confined to Scotland. They extend throughout the United Kingdom, supporting employment for more than 400,000 people, and those jobs are widely distributed throughout the whole country. Unsurprisingly, of course, a substantial proportion—45% in fact—are in Scotland, but that means that 55% of the jobs, which is the majority, directly benefit employment throughout the rest of the UK.

The taxes forecast to be raised from the industry in 2011-12 include some £6 billion in income tax, national insurance contributions and corporation tax paid by the supply chain companies, with an additional £11 billion from taxes on production itself. That amounts to 25% of all the corporation tax received by the Exchequer. The production of indigenous oil and gas improved the balance of payments by £35 billion in 2011, thus halving the trade deficit, and the supply chain added another £5 billion to £6 billion with exports of oilfield goods and services. Incidentally, that aspect of the industry is doing extremely well here and overseas, and it is flying the flag for Britain effectively.

25 Jan 2012 : Column 378

At a time when Britain above all else needs growth and the energetic encouragement of inward investment, I regret to have to say to the Economic Secretary that all is not well in this crucial sector that is so important to our economy. Production declined by 17% from 2010 to 2011, which was the biggest fall seen by the industry in the past 40 years. As a result, future tax receipts will decrease rapidly without new investment. Receipts for 2011-12 have already suffered a £2.3 billion downgrade due to lower than expected production.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): I understand that the reduction in North sea oil production is due to many factors, but one of them is maintenance. There have been many maintenance programmes over the past 12 months. Is the fact that production is down, because maintenance is up, one reason why taxation is down?

Nicholas Soames: The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. I am sure that it is germane, but the decrease that I am highlighting is, in my judgment, due to the taxation regime.

The United Kingdom already imports around 10% of its oil and almost 40% of its gas, and such imports will increase rapidly without the benefit of new investment. The Government’s decision in March 2011 to increase tax rates on the industry, which increased the top tax rate to 81% and the corporation tax rate to 62%, is inevitably and regrettably having a chilling effect on the leading indicators of investment.

While total capital investment this year has increased to about £8 billion from £6 billion in 2010, that was largely due to development momentum from previous years. Worryingly, just nine new fields accounted for 40% of the total capital invested and all the development projects were well advanced prior to the tax increase.

The signs of lower investment in the future are already apparent. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary will see from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s latest energy trends analysis a significant impact on drilling activity, with exploration wells down 50% in 2011.

It is from that exploration drilling that the future large capital investments will flow. The March 2011 tax increase reduced the value of future projects by 25% overnight. My hon. Friend knows that the future development of the North sea depends in large part on clever, technical solutions at the very forefront of what is manageable for marginally economic fields, but the increase in the tax rate has rendered many of those future fields uneconomic to develop. That serious matter for the country must be addressed.

I gather from the estimates of Oil & Gas UK, the industry’s trade body, that investment of at least £12 billion in more than 1 billion barrels of oil and gas resource will not occur without some stimulus. That is 60,000 jobs that will not be created and a loss of a benefit of £15 billion to £20 billion to the budget deficit as a result of the tax increase.

Sir Robert Smith (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) (LD): I remind the House of my entries in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests to do with the oil and gas industry. I intervene to reinforce the right hon. Gentleman’s point about the industry’s importance not only to the north-east of Scotland, but to the whole of

25 Jan 2012 : Column 379

the United Kingdom. I thank him very much for bringing the spotlight to bear and bringing the message south that it is the whole United Kingdom that would benefit from tax reform.

Nicholas Soames: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, whose championship and knowledge of the industry are well known. He emphasises the important point that this is a United Kingdom industry, relevant to the whole country, and therefore even more important than might otherwise be the case.

Oil & Gas UK estimates that a further 1.7 billion barrels of the UK’s oil and gas resource would be recovered if the uncertainty about decommissioning reliefs—a very difficult subject—was resolved.

In an industry with highly mobile capital, investment will flow to other, more attractive destinations. We must not let that happen. Further repeated change in the taxation regime of this vital UK industry is causing great uncertainty in the boardrooms of both the international and the home-grown companies involved in all sectors of the industry. That inevitably has a further unhelpful impact on inward investment, at a time when we should be doing all we can to attract that investment, as well as the jobs, the tax receipts and the balance of payments benefits that come with it. I am sure the Economic Secretary agrees that doing that is even more important given the Government’s genuine determination to generate greater growth in the economy, without which many of the difficult problems we face cannot be dealt with.

I am aware that discussions are ongoing between the Treasury, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the industry to try to find ways to stimulate investment, and I welcome that. I ask the Economic Secretary to confirm that she understands—I know she does—the serious impact on inward investment being caused by the tax increase and other adverse changes in taxation, and the damage to the future tax base and future tax receipts. Further, will she confirm that the Treasury will give serious and detailed consideration to measures to protect future investment through extensions to tax allowances and giving certainty on decommissioning reliefs, and see to it that those measures are enacted or headlined in the Budget, to the greater advantage of the British economy in the years to come?


5. 38 pm

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Miss Chloe Smith): I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this subject in the House at perhaps greater length than I did when my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (Sir Robert Smith) asked me on Tuesday for an update on the ongoing work. I thank him, and, of course, my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex (Nicholas Soames) for calling for this evening’s debate, and for their contributions to it.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely correct: the oil and gas sector makes a huge contribution to the UK economy. He is right to draw out the statistics as he has done this evening. I concur that UK oil and gas provide about two thirds of the UK’s primary energy needs, and even as we move into a less carbon-intensive future, they are

25 Jan 2012 : Column 380

set to remain a vital part of our energy system for years to come. The Government recognise the crucial role the sector plays in driving jobs and growth. Together, oil and gas contribute about 2% of the country’s GDP, and the industry supports about 350,000 jobs directly and indirectly across the UK, as well as another 100,000 in exporting goods and services. Of course, as my right hon. Friend said, it is also source of skills, expertise and technology. Finally, as my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine said, oil and gas are a UK-wide concern. Indeed, that has an impact close to my constituency around the coast of Norfolk, where there is a North sea gas industry.

It is vital that we do what we can to maximise the economic recovery of our indigenous hydrocarbon reserves. It is for that reason that the Government remain committed to encouraging investment and innovation in the North sea. We recognise that tax plays an important role in helping us to achieve those objectives. The Government’s aim is therefore to shape a tax regime for the North sea that encourages exploration, development and production while ensuring a fair return for the UK taxpayer.

That is not always an easy balance to strike, and at times it can require us to make difficult decisions, to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex has referred. Everyone who listened to the Budget 2011 will understand that. In the Budget the Government sought to soften the impact of record pump prices for car fuel on households and businesses by abolishing the fuel duty escalator and replacing it with a fair fuel stabiliser. We also cut fuel duty by 1p a litre on Budget day. Since then, we took steps in the autumn statement further to ease the burden on motorists to ensure that there will be only one retail prices index increase in fuel duty in 2013. All told, that means that the Government will ease the burden on motorists by approximately £2.5 billion in 2012-13. At a time when businesses and families across the country are coping with extremely difficult economic circumstances it is right that we should support them as best we can through these tough times, including looking at measures that affect the cost of living such as fuel pricing.

Given the economic situation and the state of the public finances, that support must be funded. In the Budget, at a time of exceptionally high oil prices, the Government felt that it was fair that the oil and gas industry should make an additional contribution through an increase in the supplementary charge. Indeed, that increase was voted on in the House.

At the time of the Budget the Government made it clear that although they accepted that some marginal projects might be affected, they did not expect a significant impact on investment or production over the forecast period. To answer the points that my right hon. Friend raised about receipts, investment and the state of the industry, our assessment of the impact on production was supported by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. Moreover, while the oil price remains well over $100 a barrel, the fair fuel stabiliser means that taxes on oil and gas production will reduce if the oil price falls below a certain threshold.

Indeed, there have been announcements of further significant investment in the basin over the past few months. For example, BP has said that with its partners it will invest almost £10 billion in North sea oil and gas over the next five years. That investment will provide an

25 Jan 2012 : Column 381

extra 3,000 jobs across the oil and gas supply chain. 2012 could be a prosperous year for the North sea. We expect a substantial increase in offshore field approvals over last year’s figure, and many other discoveries are being worked up for the years ahead.

None the less, I recognise that those tax changes have not been welcomed by the sector. I understand that, and I acknowledge the recent news suggesting that there were lower levels of exploration and drilling than expected last year. I believe a range of factors contributed to that, and tax is only one part of what my right hon. Friend will accept is a complex situation for businesses seeking to operate in and around the basin.

Tonight’s debate gives me an opportunity to tell the House a little more about the way in which we have engaged closely with the industry since the Budget last year to ensure that we fully understand its views on a range of fiscal issues related to investment. Only last week, as my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine noted, I chaired the first meeting of a new oil and gas industry fiscal forum. It was attended by the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, my hon. Friend the Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry) and representatives from more than 15 companies across the sector. We had an extremely productive discussion covering the points that my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex has noted, including decommissioning and field allowances. I believe that the fiscal forum will continue to provide a structured basis for further dialogue between industry and Government on oil and gas tax issues.

We hope this will complement the excellent work already being taken forward by the industry and Government task force, known as PILOT. This group seeks to contribute to the long-term future of the UK continental shelf through initiatives focusing on reducing costs, eliminating barriers and maximising the effectiveness of resources.

In addition to these wider discussions, the Government have been engaging closely with industry to consider changes to specific elements of the tax regime that

25 Jan 2012 : Column 382

could unlock additional investment in the basin. For example, in line with our commitment at last year’s Budget, we have been working closely with industry with a view to making a further announcement on greater long-term certainty about decommissioning tax relief at Budget 2012. We have also been considering the case for improved or new types of field allowance to act as a further incentive to investment in marginal fields.

Hon. Members here today following the debate will know the range of detail encompassed in the representations made to me and my colleagues by industry, and they will be aware of the number of different proposals put forward under those headings of decommissioning tax relief and field allowances. Following such detailed discussions with industry, we have already increased the rate of the ring-fence expenditure supplement from 6% to 10%, which helps to ensure that existing field allowances work more effectively and equitably.

I am very encouraged by the positive engagement that we have had with industry on these issues. I believe that this sort of constructive dialogue can only be helpful as the UK continental shelf matures and the tax regime has to evolve accordingly. We remain committed to supporting the sector in realising its ambition of fully maximising the growth and jobs potential from our oil and gas industry. Ultimately it is in everyone’s interest that we foster a regime that continues to promote investment and harness our mineral wealth effectively, while also ensuring a fair return for the UK taxpayer from this valuable national resource.

Once again, I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for having brought this debate here tonight and for giving me a short opportunity to expand on some of the valuable work that we have been endeavouring to undertake to support the industry and meet the aims that I know he shares.

Question put and agreed to .

5.46 pm

House adjourned .

25 Jan 2012 : Column 383

Deferred Divisions

Local Government

That the draft City of Birmingham (Mayoral Referendum) Order 2012, which was laid before this House on 5 December, be approved.

The House divided:

Ayes 303, Noes 203.

Division No. 441]

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Danny

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barker, Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Bingham, Andrew

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

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

Cable, rh Vince

Cameron, rh Mr David

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, Mr Edward

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Duddridge, James

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hermon, Lady

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

Huhne, rh Chris

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Laing, Mrs Eleanor

Lamb, Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

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

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Paice, rh Mr James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Mr John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Mr Richard

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Uppal, Paul

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Bell, Sir Stuart

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Burnham, rh Andy

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Mr Wayne

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Farrelly, Paul

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Fovargue, Yvonne

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goggins, rh Paul

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Havard, Mr Dai

Hendrick, Mark

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hoey, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

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

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lloyd, Tony

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

MacShane, rh Mr Denis

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McCrea, Dr William

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonnell, John

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKinnell, Catherine

Mearns, Ian

Michael, rh Alun

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

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

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Pound, Stephen

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, John

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Walley, Joan

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Sammy

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Question accordingly agreed to.

25 Jan 2012 : Column 384

25 Jan 2012 : Column 385

25 Jan 2012 : Column 386

Local Government

That the draft City of Bradford (Mayoral Referendum) Order 2012, which was laid before this House on 5 December, be approved.

The House divided:

Ayes 304, Noes 202.

Division No. 442]

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Danny

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barker, Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

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

Cable, rh Vince

Cameron, rh Mr David

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, Mr Edward

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Duddridge, James

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hermon, Lady

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

Huhne, rh Chris

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Laing, Mrs Eleanor

Lamb, Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

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

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Paice, rh Mr James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Mr John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Mr Richard

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Uppal, Paul

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Bell, Sir Stuart

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Burnham, rh Andy

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Mr Wayne

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Fovargue, Yvonne

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Havard, Mr Dai

Hendrick, Mark

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hoey, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

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

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lloyd, Tony

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

MacShane, rh Mr Denis

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McCrea, Dr William

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonnell, John

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKinnell, Catherine

Mearns, Ian

Michael, rh Alun

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

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

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Pound, Stephen

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, John

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Walley, Joan

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Sammy

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Question accordingly agreed to.

25 Jan 2012 : Column 387

25 Jan 2012 : Column 388

25 Jan 2012 : Column 389

25 Jan 2012 : Column 390