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“likely to have an interest in the scheme”.

The Government’s intention to protect pensioners from any reduction in support as a result of the reform, using the powers in the Bill, has already been made clear. It has been welcomed by the shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and by the hon. Member for Warrington North, who spoke on behalf of the Opposition in today’s debate. As the system for pensioners will be prescribed at national level, it is unclear what the benefit would be of prescribing further consultation at local level with groups representing pensioners. To prescribe the categories of organisations to be consulted would be restrictive and unnecessary. Many local authorities already have good consultative schemes and, in any case, people are not backward in coming forward to put their point across.

Amendment 71 states that the Secretary of State should have regard to the impact of any guidance on those of pensionable and working ages, and those on benefits, particularly disability benefit. Again, however, the Government have already made clear their intention to use this guidance to set out the importance of supporting work incentives through the design of local schemes. We will consider how best to ensure that local authorities are aware of their duties in relation to vulnerable groups.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 776

It is unclear what the amendment would add to the clear commitment that the Government have already made.

Taken together, amendments 57, 58, 59 and 60 would delay the start for localising council tax reductions. My hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth South (Mr Hancock) asked me why I thought that should be resisted. I believe it should be resisted because it is right to get the scheme in place quickly, to ensure that our programme of deficit reduction proceeds unhindered. It is an essential part of the Government’s programme that that saving should be made. Any hon. Friends or other colleagues around the House who might wish to unravel that programme of deficit reduction need only look a little way across the channels—Irish or French—to see the consequences of so doing.

The Government are clear that this reform needs to be implemented in 2013, to secure the agreed savings. The savings from the localisation of council tax benefit will make an important contribution to our deficit reduction plan. I have already made the point as clearly as I can that that deficit reduction plan is essential, and that the Bill provides powers for local authorities to create other income streams by tackling discounts and exemptions. There will be a possibility for them to do that, if they so choose.

As for ensuring that the timetable is adhered to—the right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr Raynsford) raised some issues in this regard—we are already working with local authorities and IT suppliers to identify how we can ensure that any new processes and systems are in place for April next year. We are committed to ensuring a steady flow of information to local government on our plans for delivery and the framework in which local authorities will operate. We will also look at what tools we can provide for local authorities to help them in their planning.

John Healey: The Minister talked about the IT suppliers and working to ensure that their new systems are in place by April next year, but they are going to need to be ready, fully designed, tested and operational well before the end of this year during the period when local authorities will be consulting on and designing their schemes and reassuring themselves that they can be put in place. Is not the reality more likely to be that the options on schemes will be restricted by the designs that the software suppliers will have ready to go?

Andrew Stunell: That is an important consideration for local authorities when they look at the speed and pace of change in the schemes they devise, but I have to say that practically everything that Labour Members have contributed to the debate has been on the basis of trying to preserve the existing scheme and associated costs. [Interruption.] I think that local authorities will probably take a cautious approach to changing their local schemes in the first year. I have to say, however, that we believe it is absolutely the case that those that wish to make a more radical change will be able to do so. I am encouraged to hear that IT suppliers are considering the possible changes to existing software and are working with local authorities to—[Interruption.]

The Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Dawn Primarolo): Order. It is getting very noisy. If Members wish to speak to each other, it would be a good idea to go outside and do it.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 777

Andrew Stunell: Thank you, Ms Primarolo.

As I was saying, IT suppliers are considering possible changes to existing software and they are working with local authorities. I recognise, of course, that local authorities and suppliers need as much information as possible as soon as possible. For that reason, we intend to publish draft regulations while the Bill is still before the House. We shall shortly make available a design tool to make it easier for local authorities to model their case load and the impacts of any changes to the framework, which should also clarify the extent of any IT changes that the design of their scheme might require.

John Healey: I must say that it is welcome to hear the Minister say that the Government are committing themselves to draft regulations published while the Bill is before the House. Will he make it clear whether that means this House or the other House?

Andrew Stunell: I am looking for a nod somewhere, but let us stick with this House.

Amendment 71 states that the Secretary of State should have regard to the impact of any guidance on those of pensionable and working ages and those on benefits, particularly disability benefits. However, the Government have already made clear their intention to use the guidance to set out the importance of supporting work incentives through the design of local schemes and will consider how to ensure that local authorities are aware of their duties in respect of vulnerable groups. It is unclear whether amendment 71 would add to the Government’s commitment in this regard.

There are things that councils can begin to do now to help in their preparation—in understanding the circumstances of those in their area who currently claim support, in ensuring that elected members are aware of the decisions they need to take and in engaging with precepting authorities such as police and fire authorities. The Government have been clear that local authorities must ensure that they are on the front foot in preparing for this reform.

In summary, I must recommend that the Committee reject the Opposition amendment on this occasion.

Helen Jones: Yet again we have heard a reply of the most astonishing complacency from the Minister, which appears to have been prepared so long before the debate that he did not realise that he was responding to amendments that my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) was not even present to speak to. Yet again we have heard him dismiss the concerns of local authorities and Members, dismiss our concerns about the poorest people in the poorest communities, and, in particular, dismiss concerns about those who work for low wages and the effects that this scheme will have on them.

Let me warn the Minister that he has been put up to respond to the amendments in order to provide a human shield for the Tories in the Government, and that it will come back to haunt him. I wish to press amendment 66 to a vote, and I urge my colleagues to support it.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 233, Noes 294.

Division No. 447]

[9.40 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Bell, Sir Stuart

Benn, rh Hilary

Benton, Mr Joe

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

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

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Tony

Curran, Margaret

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Mr Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

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

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Mr Tom

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

Jackson, Glenda

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

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

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Michael, rh Alun

Miliband, rh David

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

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

Paisley, Ian

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Qureshi, Yasmin

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 Dame Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williamson, Chris

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Phil Wilson and

Nic Dakin

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Andrew, Stuart

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Norman

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brooke, Annette

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

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 Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Farron, Tim

Foster, rh Mr Don

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Mr Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Huhne, rh Chris

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

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

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Patrick

Metcalfe, Stephen

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, Richard

Paice, rh Mr James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

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

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh 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

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swinson, Jo

Syms, Mr Robert

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

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

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

James Duddridge and

Stephen Crabb

Question accordingly negatived.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 778

31 Jan 2012 : Column 779

31 Jan 2012 : Column 780

31 Jan 2012 : Column 781

George Hollingbery: I beg to move amendment 72, page 5, line 26, at end insert—

‘(3A) Local authorities will have the right to pool schemes for council tax refund purposes both in terms of administrative arrangements and the pooling of funds.’.

The Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Dawn Primarolo): With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

31 Jan 2012 : Column 782

Amendment 52, in schedule 4, page 47, line 16, at end insert—

(f) the number of persons estimated to be eligible to make an application, and estimated to be entitled to a reduction under the scheme.’.

Amendment 74, line 43, at end insert—

‘(8A) Before making regulations under sub-paragraph (8), the Secretary of State must consult with local authorities regarding any proposed requirements for schemes.’.

Amendment 55, page 48, line 15, at end insert—

(d) notify all persons within their area receiving council tax benefit on or immediately following 1 April 2012, of the implications of the draft scheme, including the estimated impact of that scheme on their living standards.’.

Amendment 75, line 22, leave out sub-paragraphs (4) and (5).

Amendment 53, line 37, leave out ‘about the making of reasonable charges’.

Amendment 76, page 49, line 14, leave out sub-paragraphs (2) and (3).

Amendment 77, line 28, leave out section (6).

Government amendments 86 and 87.

George Hollingbery: It is a great pleasure finally to be able to speak to amendment 72. I have missed a Select Committee visit to the Netherlands to do so—my furthest trip so far has been to Manchester.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship today, Ms Primarolo. Let me make it clear to the Committee at the outset that the amendment is probing. I do not intend to press it to a vote. My aim is to give the Government an opportunity to clarify their thinking on administrative arrangements for distribution of council tax reduction schemes. There is clearly some sense in local authorities being able to pool their sovereignty—[ Interruption . ]

The Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means: Order. The Committee needs to be a little quieter, so that we can hear Mr Hollingbery moving his amendment.

George Hollingbery: I am grateful, Ms Primarolo. As I was saying, there is clearly some sense in local authorities being able to pool their sovereignty in relation to their schemes to administer council tax rebates, especially in two-tier areas such as mine in Meon Valley. If one accepts that local conditions in, say, Hampshire will be at least somewhat similar, it makes sense for a uniform scheme to be adopted by all councils in the county. That may well allow schemes to be run more cost-effectively: for example, not only could one processing centre rather than many be used, but it would create one point of contact with other agencies that need to be consulted. Furthermore, assuming that fraud investigation is to be run locally, such an arrangement would allow the accumulation of expertise and critical mass that would otherwise be diffused between many offices.

That type of arrangement would also greatly assist the achievement of a commonality of expectation and understanding of a scheme across a wider area. Several right hon. and hon. Members this evening have talked about the potential for confusion in very localised council tax schemes.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 783

John Healey: The hon. Gentleman is making a persuasive case, which is consistent with pooling principles elsewhere in the Bill, and I hope he makes some headway with Ministers. Does he not agree that, with only four minutes left when we started this group of amendments, only the third of 10 on the selection paper, there are some important issues that we have not reached, and that if they are to be aired we will have to return to them on Report?

George Hollingbery: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention, in which he makes a reasonable point. However, if I may, I shall continue to develop my theme a little further.

I believe we would achieve a commonality of expectation across a pooled area, such that people could begin to understand what they would get from a council tax rebate scheme. Simply put, we would avoid the strange situations where streets are split in such a way that there is one expectation of the scheme on one side of the street and a different expectation on the other. The Bill makes no mention of such schemes, but chapter 3 of the Government’s response to the consultation on localising support covers the issue, and it makes the case that such schemes are possible under existing powers. It would be useful if the Minister briefly outlined his thoughts on how that would work, and which existing powers might allow local authorities to draw up schemes—assuming, of course, that he will have the time to do so, which is unlikely.

Even if legislation allows such schemes to be put together, it might be useful for there to be a standard, approved scheme, produced by Government, to reduce cost still further.

10 pm

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, 10 January).

The Chair put forthwith the Question s necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83D) .

Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 305, Noes 227.

Division No. 448]

[10 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Andrew, Stuart

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Norman

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brooke, Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

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

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

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

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Farron, Tim

Foster, rh Mr Don

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Mr Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Huhne, rh Chris

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

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

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Patrick

Metcalfe, Stephen

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, Richard

Paice, rh Mr James

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

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

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, David

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swinson, Jo

Syms, Mr Robert

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

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

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Norman Lamb and

James Duddridge

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Bell, Sir Stuart

Benn, rh Hilary

Benton, Mr Joe

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

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

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

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

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

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

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Mr Tom

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

Jackson, Glenda

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

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

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

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

Qureshi, Yasmin

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 Dame 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, Angela

Smith, Nick

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williamson, Chris

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Noes:

Phil Wilson and

Jonathan Ashworth

Question accordingly agreed to.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 784

31 Jan 2012 : Column 785

31 Jan 2012 : Column 786

31 Jan 2012 : Column 787

Clause 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 4

Amendments relating to council tax reduction scheme

Amendments made: 86, page 51, line 8, schedule 4, leave out sub-paragraphs (1) and (2).

Amendment 87, page 51, line 40, at beginning insert ‘In Schedule 2 (administration),’.—(Andrew Stunell.)

Schedule 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill .

Clause 10

Power to set higher amount for long-term empty dwellings

Amendment made: 17, in clause 10, page 7, line 17, at end insert—

‘( ) In section 13(3) (amounts which may be reduced by regulations) after “section 11, 11A” insert “, 11B”.’.—(Andrew Stunell.)

Clause 10, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 11 to 16 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 788

New Clause 11

Payment of additional grant

‘The Secretary of State shall be required to pay an additional grant to a local authority if, at the end of any financial year, the total expenditure incurred by the authority under any scheme approved pursuant to Schedule 4 of this Act is greater than the amount of grant received from the Secretary of State to fund the scheme. The amount paid to the authority shall be the difference between the sum originally received and the total cost to the authority of the scheme.’.—(Helen Jones.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 225, Noes 309.

Division No. 449]

[10.14 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Bell, Sir Stuart

Benn, rh Hilary

Benton, Mr Joe

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

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

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

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

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

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

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Mr Tom

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

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

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

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

Qureshi, Yasmin

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 Dame 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, Angela

Smith, Nick

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williamson, Chris

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Phil Wilson and

Jonathan Ashworth

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Andrew, Stuart

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Norman

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, Gregory

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brooke, Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

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

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

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

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Farron, Tim

Foster, rh Mr Don

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Mr Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, Stephen

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Huhne, rh Chris

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

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

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Patrick

Metcalfe, Stephen

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, Richard

Paice, rh Mr James

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

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

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, David

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swinson, Jo

Syms, Mr Robert

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

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

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Norman Lamb and

Stephen Crabb

Question accordingly negatived.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 789

31 Jan 2012 : Column 790

31 Jan 2012 : Column 791

31 Jan 2012 : Column 792

The Deputy Speaker resumed the Chair.

Bill, as amended, reported.

Bill to be considered tomorrow.

Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) (Lab): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I know that Mr Speaker is very keen to defend the rights of Back Benchers. Tomorrow, as you know, we will debate Lords amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill. The first amendment, on employment and support allowance, deals with cancer patients and others. Obviously, I do not want to go into its merits or otherwise now. I have checked with the Clerks, and I am concerned because, whatever time that debate starts, it must end at half-past two. After Prime Minister’s questions and the ten-minute rule Bill, there would be an opportunity to debate the amendment for nearly two hours. However, if there is a statement or other parliamentary business, a matter that concerns many of our constituents could be debated for just half an hour. I therefore ask you, Madam Deputy Speaker, whether anything can be done to give at least nearly two hours to debating such a crucial issue.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dawn Primarolo): The hon. Gentleman, who is an experienced Member, is correct to say that Mr Speaker takes defending Back Benchers’ rights very seriously. However, he also knows that timetabling Bills is not a matter for the Chair, but for the House. I am sure that all those present will bear his comments in mind.

Business without Debate

delegated legislation

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

Local Government

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

The Deputy Speaker’s opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Wednesday 1 February (Standing Order No. 41A).

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

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

The Deputy Speaker’s opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Wednesday 1 February (Standing Order No. 41A).

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

Value Added Tax

That the Value Added Tax (Land Exemption) Order 2012 (S.I., 2012, No. 58), dated 11 January 2012, a copy of which was laid before this House on 11 January, be approved.—(Mr Dunne.)

Question agreed to.

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

31 Jan 2012 : Column 793

Corporation Tax

That the draft Enactment of Extra-Statutory Concessions Order 2012, which was laid before this House on 11 January, be approved.—(Mr Dunne.)

Question agreed to.

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

European Union

That the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Republic of Korea Framework Agreement) Order 2012, which was laid before this House on 5 December, be approved.—(Mr Dunne.)

Question agreed to.

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

Local Government

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

Madam Deputy Speaker’s opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Wednesday 1 February (Standing Order No. 41A).

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

Local Government

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

Madam Deputy Speaker’s opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Wednesday 1 February (Standing Order No. 41A).

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

Local Government

That the draft Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2012, which were laid before this House on 5 December, be approved.—(Mr Dunne.)

Question agreed to.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 794

European Union Documents

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

Energy Efficiency

That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 12046/11, relating to a draft Directive on energy efficiency and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC; and supports the Government’s view in welcoming the overall level of ambition of the Directive, whilst rejecting unnecessary levels of prescription, and seeking full compatibility with key United Kingdom policies.—(Mr Dunne.)

Question agreed to.

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

Passenger Name Records

That this House takes note of European Union Documents No. 17697/09, a draft Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (2007 PNR Agreement), No. 17429/11, a draft Council Decision on the signature of the Agreement between the USA and the EU on the use and transfer of PNRs to the United States Department of Homeland Security, No. 17430/11, a draft Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the USA and the EU on the use and transfer of PNRs to the United States Department of Homeland Security, No. 9821/11, a draft Council Decision on the signature of the Agreement between the EU and Australia on the processing and transfer of PNR data by air carriers to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and No. 9823/11, a draft Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the EU and Australia on the processing and transfer of PNR data by air carriers to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service; supports the Government’s decision to exercise its right, in accordance with the protocol on the position of the United Kingdom, to take part in the adoption and application of the Proposal for Council Decisions on the Signature and Conclusions of the Agreement in relation to the United States of America; and endorses the decision taken on 23 August in relation to Australia.—(Mr Dunne.)

Question agreed to.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 795

Early Intervention

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

10.31 pm

Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire) (Con): Last year’s riots were unprecedented in their violence and in the damage done to our society. We saw headlines such as “Mob Rule” and “Flaming Morons”. I hope never to see such things again. We owe a debt of gratitude to the police, who had to clear up under such difficult circumstances.

No one made those young people loot and steal and cause so much damage and fear, and there can be no excuse. The punishments meted out were right and I fully support them, but since those days the headlines have changed. We are not talking about the riots and the problems caused by those people, but asking why they did it. What caused that disorder? Is it moral decline, that the young have no respect, the benefit society or something more fundamental?

I want to prevent that type of appalling activity from becoming the norm in Britain or any other society, as I am sure all hon. Members do. To do that, we need to look seriously at prevention. I want to put the case that prevention is not just kinder than cure but incredibly cheaper.

Ian Paisley (North Antrim) (DUP): I congratulate the hon. Lady on securing this debate. Does she welcome the “searching for answers” conference, which will commence tomorrow under the auspices of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and which will be about the riotous situation that occurred in this land? Is that a welcome opportunity to try to get some of the important answers to the problems that she is describing in the House tonight?

Andrea Leadsom: The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. Anything that helps to prevent a repeat is to be welcomed.

I want to focus on a topic that we do not often discuss in the Chamber: the importance of love. Love in a prevention context begins with conception. It needs to go on throughout the baby’s life, but the critical period is conception to the age of two years. There is a very important reason for that: a loved baby who has his needs met will generally learn that the world is a good place and that people are generally kind. That baby will grow up expecting to be able to form secure bonds, make friends and hold down a job, and will generally have more capacity to lead a normal life.

On the other hand, the baby who is neglected or abused, or inconsistently treated, suffers two profound impacts. First, the baby who is left to scream is unable to control or regulate his or her feelings. When a baby knows something is wrong, he does not know whether it is because he is too hot, too cold, bored, tried or hungry—he just knows something is wrong, and he looks to an adult carer to sooth his feelings, relax him and get him back off to sleep.

When a baby is left to scream all the time, the stress hormone in the baby’s body—cortisol—rises to a level where it harms his immune system, and that harm can be permanent. What is more, if the baby constantly

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experiences raised stress levels, he becomes tolerant of his own stress level. You or I, Madam Deputy Speaker, might be excited by a scary episode of “Doctor Who”, but somebody with a high tolerance of their own stress level might need to go out to stab somebody to get the same level of excitement. Being permanently left to scream therefore has a profound impact on a baby.

The second impact is even more amazing. When a baby is born, his brain is barely developed; he simply has the amygdala, with the fight or flight instinct. Between six and 18 months old, the frontal cortex—the social part of the brain—starts to develop and puts on its peak growth spurt. That growth is literally stimulated by a loving relationship between baby and carer. Playing games such as peek-a-boo or gazing into baby’s eyes and saying, “I love you” and “Aren’t you beautiful?” literally stimulates the development of the baby’s brain. Conversely, as we saw from the appalling situation in Romanian orphanages, the orphans, who had no human contact at all, literally suffered brain damage; they were unable to communicate in any way, because they had had so little human contact.

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on the debate and on all the sensible things she is saying with great passion and clear knowledge. Does she agree that it is imperative if children born into the most terrible circumstances are to be adopted, we make sure they are adopted as quickly as possible, given the excellent evidence she has placed before us this evening?

Andrea Leadsom: I thank my hon. Friend for that point, and I will come to it later.

If someone does not love their baby, and they do not bond properly with him in those first two crucial years, they are literally impairing their capacity to lead a normal life. The sad truth is that research shows that 40% of children in Britain are not securely attached by the age of five. That does not mean that they all go on to become criminals, psychopaths, sociopaths, paedophiles or drug addicts, but it does mean that their capacity to deal with the things life throws at them and the problems they will encounter is much lessened. They are less likely to be able to cope with holding down a job, making friends, and forming and keeping a relationship. At the extreme end, a baby will have been severely neglected or abused, and that is where we will find sociopaths. Sociopaths are not born, but made by their earliest experiences in the first two years of life.

Before we all go out and throw up our hands in despair, I want to make the case that there is a huge amount that can be done. Things do not have to be like this. If we as a society committed to making the very earliest intervention to provide the support needed for families, we could do so much in the first two years of life, when the baby’s brain has the ability to reach its full potential. We could turn things around and do great things.

The Oxford Parent Infant Project—a charity that I chaired for nine years, and of which I have been a trustee for 12 years—does precisely that work in Oxfordshire. In the past few months, I have launched a sister charity, the Northamptonshire Parent Infant Project, to do the same work. We work together with families—normally the mum, but it can be the dad or the

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grandparents—and the baby to help the carers understand, first, their own feelings about caring and parenting, and, secondly, the baby’s needs. We literally enable the adult to love the baby; we reintroduce them to each other, with astonishing results.

When Oxpip and Norpip get their referrals, the parents are desperate—they are about to commit suicide, infanticide or both. We have referrals from health workers, midwives and social services, which, in Oxfordshire, certainly often use Oxpip as their emergency service. If they have tried everything else, they will come to us to see what we can do. As I said, the results have been astonishing. An enormous amount can be done, therefore, to reverse this cycle of deprivation. The problem is that so often a failure to attach in those early years is the result of the parents’ own terribly unhappy lives.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): In Northern Ireland, an organisation called Home Start—it probably covers the whole of the United Kingdom—provides that level of support when it is needed most. I know of many ladies in my constituency and across the whole of Northern Ireland who benefited greatly from Home Start. Is that an example of what we need to do everywhere in the United Kingdom?

Andrea Leadsom: I completely agree that Home Start does some excellent work—in my constituency, it is actually based directly below Norpip—and we work together with it. But I am talking about psycho-therapeutic support for the most difficult early relationships. Often it is parents’ own unhappy lives that give them problems bonding with their babies.

Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con): I hugely congratulate my hon. Friend on the mature way in which she is discussing issues that politicians often find hard to discuss. Does she agree that it is often easier to give children this incredibly important love if both parents are loving and committed to each other? That can be hugely helpful.

Andrea Leadsom: My hon. Friend makes a good point. Of course, as I said, it is often parents’ own unhappy lives that cause them to struggle to bond with their baby. For example, a mother who did not form a bond with her own mum as a baby will struggle to bond with her own baby. Her capacity to love her baby will be impaired. Often, relationship or marital breakdown, extreme poverty, drug abuse, perhaps domestic violence and other such issues make it incredibly difficult for the mum and the family to find the love that the baby desperately needs. Often, the baby becomes the last person whom anybody thinks about.

In truth, of course, early intervention and early attachment is no respecter of class or wealth. One can be extremely poor and extremely securely attached to one’s baby, but equally one can be extremely wealthy, with all the privileges it brings, and bring up the least happy child in our society. It simply does not go with the turf.

I urge the Government, in the light of our correct decision to turn to localism in the early intervention agenda, to allow local communities, in as many ways as possible, to make decisions for themselves. We must

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educate people much more on the importance of early attachment and the need for that early bond. Oxpip, for example, trains social workers, health visitors and midwives, and on the evaluation forms almost everyone says, “If only I had known this sooner.”

In the case of baby Peter, I remember thinking, “How could any mother allow someone to stub out a cigarette on her baby? How poorly attached was she to that baby!”, but then my next thought was, “What if he had survived?” All the talk was about how physically damaged he was, but what about how mentally damaged he was? This is the problem. We have to educate people, particularly in the perinatal, infant health care and mental health care professions on the crucial importance of early attachment.

That requires, first, proper training for social workers, health visitors and midwives on understanding early attachment itself. We need proper training of the sort that Oxpip provides. Secondly, sadly we often find that schools say to a young girl, “Well, if you’re not going to make it as a hairdresser, have you thought of child care?” Too many nurses, therefore, are very young people—often girls—who themselves have not had a happy childhood and who are looking for love with somebody else’s baby, but of course it does not work that way. To be a proper nursery worker, somebody needs to have the empathy skills, not simply the right national vocational qualification or GCSEs. That is incredibly important.

Thirdly, on another call to action for the Government, we desperately need to ensure that children themselves understand this point. The right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field) has talked of children entering school who do not recognise their own name unless it is yelled at them with real hatred—and probably with some stinking epithet attached at the end. The point is not that the child is not school-ready but that massive damage has already been done. If we do not intervene until school age, therefore, we are just dealing with the consequences—but that is not prevention; it is firefighting. What I would like to see, therefore, is all children in their science GSCE being taught about early brain development—being taught that the brain is not fully developed at birth and that the earliest relationship will have profound consequences for the healthiness of the brain as people grow up.

Finally—this is the other call to action—the protocols in nursery care often mean that someone will do the nappies for the morning run, while someone else will do the noon run and someone else the after-lunch run. That has to stop. Nurseries need to understand that for attachment to take place, there must be a bond between the nursery worker and the baby, so that that person can make a genuine contribution to the baby’s attachment ability, rather than detracting from it. Nursery protocols can therefore be either extraordinarily helpful or extraordinarily harmful in improving the quality of attachment.

There is an awful lot of understanding about the issue now. Most people would accept that early intervention is crucial, but when I go and talk at conferences, or even when I talk to colleagues in the House, people understand “early intervention” to mean different things. I have had councillors saying, “We do early intervention to prevent people from having house fires. We go round and advise them on smoke detectors, and so on.” Other people say, “Of course, early intervention is stopping teenage girls

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getting pregnant.” Others think that early intervention is about sports clubs to stop boys joining gangs. The terminology has become so confused that people do not really understand what early intervention is. All those other interventions have their place. They are all critical in repairing the damage that has been done. However, if we are serious about creating a better society for our children and our children’s children, “early years prevention” must mean just that: from conception to the age of two. We can do no better than that for our children.

10.46 pm

The Minister of State, Department for Education (Sarah Teather): I congratulate the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire (Andrea Leadsom) on giving an absolutely fascinating speech. I always respect what she says, and I am always grateful for her contributions on these issues. It is good to hear someone who has so much interest, expertise and passion speak on this subject. I share her passion for this subject, which is incredibly important.

Early intervention is a hugely important issue, and the term refers to many of the things that she described. However, I should say that I am the Minister with responsibility for early years, so I have a particular bias towards ensuring that early intervention really focuses on early years issues. The point about attachment is gathering pace in debate, as well as in the knowledge among professionals on the ground. The work that Oxpip has done, along with the hon. Lady’s work in continuously raising this issue, is important in ensuring that professionals understand the importance of attachment and that the Government consider it when we develop our early years policies.

I absolutely agree with the hon. Lady’s points about the importance of warm parenting and bonding. Those issues go to the heart of many of the things that we have been trying to do over the last 18 months. She will be aware that I and the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Guildford (Anne Milton), who has responsibility for public health, jointly published a document in the summer called “Families in the Foundation Years”, which covers many of the things that she picked up. There is a lot more work to do in this area—some of it is just beginning—but some of the themes that the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire picked up are being addressed by what is very much work in progress, across both the Department for Education and the Department of Health. In a sense, the things that she has talked about go right to the heart of the intersection between those two Departments. Indeed, it was a toss-up as to whether it would be me or my colleague the Minister with responsibility for public health responding this evening. We both take such issues incredibly seriously, which is why we are collaborating on much of the work on the nought-to-five age group.

The hon. Member for South Northamptonshire outlined the impact that insecure attachment can have on neurodevelopment and, in particular, the ways in which it affects levels of cortisol and the long-lasting impact that this can have on brain development. That is worth emphasising. Not all the research is concrete enough for us to be able to tell in retrospect whether somebody’s difficulties are a result of attachment issues, but there is good evidence that stress in early years results in attachment issues later. It is not always possible to bring that back

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retrospectively, when somebody’s behaviour is difficult, but there is certainly good correlative evidence that the lack of a warm bond from the beginning can result in serious behavioural problems later.

The issues that the hon. Lady has raised go to the heart of a number of matters that are a priority for the Government in the areas of family policy, health policy and child development. We have many of the systems in place that will begin to pick up on those issues. This is about universal and targeted services. She made the powerful point that issues of attachment are no respecter of class or income, which is precisely why we need children’s centres that are universal, but that can focus on those who are in the most need. They must have a universal front door through which anyone can walk, and they must not stigmatise those people who walk in and ask for the services. They must then focus their resources on the most difficult and challenging problems, including those that the hon. Lady mentioned. That is exactly what we have been trying to achieve.

Regarding the statement that we published in the summer, a number of things will be key if we are going to get this right. First, it is about identifying need early and putting in place the support to help the families that need it. Frankly, the first problem that we need to get over is that of data sharing. As I have said, this problem goes to the heart of issues covered by the Department for Education and the Department of Health, and data sharing is one of the big nubs that the previous Government tried to get to grips with. My colleague the Under-Secretary of State for Health and I are determined to pick up on this issue, because until the information about which families are most in need can be passed between the different professionals, it will be difficult to put in place the help that we know is available.

Over the past six months, I have seen some really good examples of where the services are working really well, and it is worth taking a minute to talk about them. The most exciting of the examples was in Manchester. I visited the Clayton Sure Start children’s centre just after the riots to find out about the work that it had been doing in this area. As part of a drive to improve the integration of services with GPs in the area with the most deprived wards, the GPs themselves had arranged for junior doctors who were training to become GPs to spend time at children’s centres to see the services that were being delivered. Among the messages that they were trying to get across was that, when a woman presents with post-natal depression, it is not just the woman whom they need to treat. They need to look beyond the patient and to understand that a newborn child is also involved and that, unless they get the services right, there could be a risk of attachment disorder later. That is not to say that every woman who presents with post-natal depression will have a child who ends up with attachment disorder, but GPs need to be aware of these issues.

The hon. Lady made a point about training for professionals. Health visitors are trained to understand these things, as are early years workers, although I think that there is much that we can do to improve on that. I will come back to that in a moment. Many GPs have very little knowledge of child development and attachment issues. That was a really exciting project on social prescribing, and I will be fascinated to see the results. I hope that many other areas will follow Manchester’s example, and learn just what can be done.

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Similarly, some really good work has been done in Hull, involving an agreement to share information between local health services and children’s centres. The project has been led by one inspirational woman who is absolutely determined to ensure that the information was shared. The result of the agreement was that health visitors and family outreach workers were not duplicating each other’s work. They were sharing information and getting to the families in need quickly. They were also able to put in place the kind of support that the children’s centres offer, to help parents to understand the need to speak to their children in a particular way, and to understand about the warm parenting styles and firm parenting styles that are important right from the beginning.

The hon. Lady will be aware that the Government have committed to significantly increasing the number of health visitors. We plan to increase the health visitor work force by 4,200 by 2015 to ensure that the healthy child programme is fully and consistently implemented. At the moment, because of the patchy availability of health visitors, not everyone gets the support that they need. Ensuring that that service is well linked to the work that we are doing with children’s centres is at the heart of what we are trying to do.

Similarly, the Government have doubled the amount of funding available for the family nurse partnership—a programme that works intensively with particularly vulnerable young mothers and young parents to make sure that they get support right from conception, as the hon. Lady said, so that we do not pick up problems several months down the line when some of the problems have already begun to cement. It is an important programme, which we know makes an enormous difference to families at what is often a particularly difficult time. The nurses are very experienced and receive additional training in motivational interviewing, neurological development, attachment, mental health and strength-based working in a therapeutic relationship. Those are important skills, which help to ensure that the nurses are able to support mothers at that time.

Andrea Leadsom: I agree that the family nurse partnership is excellent, but does the Minister agree with me that it is entirely possible to come up with other strategies that would be less expensive and less prescriptive, including different therapies that might be more appropriate for certain types of parents rather than a prescribed particular programme that costs the taxpayer a lot of money to implement?

Sarah Teather: As the hon. Lady says, the family nurse partnership is one of our more expensive programmes. It is focused on very young mothers, and the doubling of the programme has been aimed primarily at expanding the help available to young, mostly teenage mothers who we are know are vulnerable. That is not to say, however, that other forms of help cannot also be extremely effective. The hon. Lady speaks with great passion about the work of the charity with which she is involved. Children’s centres have other models for helping to support women, particularly in areas where data sharing is working well and someone might be brought into a children’s centre before they give birth. It does not necessarily mean that the support they get is through

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the FNP system. There may be other ways of supporting those women. It is important for children’s centres to build on the best evidence available, but they must also be left free to innovate and develop their own work—based on what is known works.

Let me provide an example—outreach work. We are trying to improve the quality of the work done on outreach and family support. At the moment, there is a great variety of types of work on outreach. We have been working with the National College for School Leadership to develop some leaders in this area so we can draw together the evidence of best practice and disseminate it to encourage all areas to adopt the elements that we know work. That is not to say that every programme has to be badged or that everybody has to call their family support worker—sometimes called something slightly different. We know that certain key components of this work make a difference, so the key components of best practice will make a difference to families in difficulty.

I have only a few minutes left, so I would like to pick up some other points raised in the debate. The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) raised a point about relationship support. I think that is critical for both the reasons the hon. Gentleman suggested, but also because when parents are in conflict, it is incredibly damaging for children as they grow up. That is the main reason why the Government are providing support for relationships—formal face-to-face relationship support, but we have also provided money for telephone counselling. This is an important feature of parenting programmes that work well. If we are to support parenting, we know that it is key to support the parents’ relationship and get them to talk to one another. They must have some support to ensure that the relationship is solid; parents should have the skills to negotiate with one another, not just with the child. Working with only one parent in such circumstances tends to be less effective. It may not have no good results, but the results will be much better if a component of relationship support is included.

Last September the Government announced a trial of a new offer of universal parenting support, which will take place in three areas for parents with a child under five. That was a response to evidence that parents’ relationships with their children was critical to the home learning environment—the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire mentioned children aged between nought and two, but in fact the relationship is critical throughout, and is one of the most important factors that determine how well a child does—but also a response to what parents tell us, which is that they want more support in this regard.

We will begin the trial, and we will see what happens. We will see whether parents take up the offer, whether it is popular, and whether it has an impact on parenting style. It is one of the things that we will need to evaluate at a later stage. We will want to know whether it deals with some of the points that have been raised this evening about harsh parenting styles that have an impact on children’s development and on discipline, but we also want to test the theory that if we provide this—

11.1 pm

House adjourned without Question put (Standing Order No. 9(7)).