16 Dec 2013 : Column 578

Hazel Blears: The debate this evening has been fabulous and has engaged people from across the House on one of the biggest challenges we face. Earlier in the debate I asked the Secretary of State whether, on reflection, he thought that he could have been more ambitious about the integration of health and social care. The costs to our system are now unsustainable, and this was an opportunity to seize the moment. The Minister has tinkered around the edges of integration, so may I press him to be more ambitious, to think bigger and to be more committed to greater integration that will benefit us all?

Norman Lamb: I note the challenge, but I have been passionate about integrating care for many years. I made the case for it on many occasions when I was my party’s spokesman in opposition, and I remember not getting much of a response from the right hon. Lady’s party when it was in government. The Bill is really ambitious and marks the potential for a fundamental change in how our system works.

The right hon. Member for Stirling (Mrs McGuire) welcomed the principles of the Bill and rightly said that it is the duty of the Opposition to challenge and to probe. However, to use her expression, I think that many Opposition Members have been “churlish” in their response, with a few honourable exceptions, including the right hon. Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (Mr Clarke). I say that because in 13 years, Labour had two manifesto commitments, one royal commission, another promised commission, a Select Committee report, a White Paper, a Green Paper and numerous independent reviews on the issue, and what was the net result of all that talk? Absolutely nothing. In 1997, Tony Blair told the Labour party conference:

“I don’t want our children brought up in a country where the only way pensioners can get long-term care is by selling their home.”

That is exactly what happened throughout Labour’s time in government. In contrast, the coalition Government are getting on with reform.

Even now, we have no idea what the Opposition’s policy is. The shadow Health Secretary has hinted that he prefers an all-in approach—everything free, paid for by new taxes on death and by cutting hospital beds—but he has clearly failed to persuade his own colleagues about the plan or to set out how he would pay for it. Opposition Members’ criticisms can only be of any real value if they can answer the question about how they would pay for anything that costs more. So it was good to hear the right hon. Member for Salford and Eccles, who seemed to be about the only Opposition Member who recognised the scale of the challenge that we face, whoever is in power, and the fact that we need to think afresh about where money can come from. Her ideas about innovation using social investment bonds are welcome, and I would like to talk further to her about them.

We want to reshape care and support so that it is focused on enabling people to live more independent lives and giving them a good life. The Bill provides a new framework that places people’s well-being right at the centre and empowers them to take control of their care and support. It consolidates 60 years of legislation and pulls a dozen Acts together into a single legal framework, and it has been roundly welcomed. The King’s Fund has said:

16 Dec 2013 : Column 579

“The government’s proposals for funding reform are an important achievement against the odds in a daunting fiscal and economic climate.”

Baroness Pitkeathley of Carers UK has described the Bill as the “most significant development” in the history of the carers movement.

Barbara Keeley rose—

Norman Lamb: I did not get much of an impression of that in the hon. Lady’s contribution, but I give way to her.

Barbara Keeley: I thank the Minister for eventually giving way. I am surprised and disappointed that he is repeating the same type of inaccurate information that we heard from the Secretary of State earlier. Will he think about the point that I made in my speech? How hollow is it to talk to carers in Salford, 1,000 of whom are involved in families who are losing their care packages, about new rights? What rights are there for someone whose family member has lost their care package? That is what people face this year.

The Minister has also just repeated the ridiculous notion of the £3.8 billion for the integration of health care. That is not new money. It includes care—

Mr Speaker: Order. I call the Minister.

Norman Lamb: I note the position in Salford, and I recognise that finances in local government are tight. However, the Opposition have not recognised that 108 councils were already providing social care with substantial need as the eligibility criterion before the general election. They never mention that, but it is the truth.

Baroness Campbell has called the continuity of care provisions a “landmark reform”. Although we have heard the suggestion that we have somehow moved away from what Andrew Dilnot suggested, he has said:

“For the first time you don’t have to be terrified of the consequences of needing care…this system will radically reduce anxiety…It doesn’t seem to me that it’s so different from what we wanted.”

Several references have been made to the funding of social care, and as I have said, I fully recognise the tough financial settlement that local government has faced. However, that has been necessary because of the dire state of the public finances that we inherited from the Labour Government, and we have sought to protect social care. Despite what the hon. Member for Easington (Grahame M. Morris) and others have said, a recent budget survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services showed that most of the savings that local councils have made have come through efficiency changes, and that services have largely been protected. [Interruption.] Well, that is what the survey showed.

As the population continues to age, our health needs become more complex, and it is essential that we continue to adapt. We need to ensure that the care and support system is sustainable, and the Bill lays the foundation for that sustainable system. At the top of the agenda has been the issue of how we pay for care. The current system simply does not work and is not fit for the 21st century. Too many people have faced catastrophic care costs and had to make impossible financial decisions

16 Dec 2013 : Column 580

at a time of huge personal crisis. It is deeply unfair. If someone who has worked hard all their life and budgeted carefully is unlucky enough to be diagnosed with dementia or some other condition, they lose pretty much everything they have ever worked for.

Through the Bill, we are putting an end to that unfair system. We have addressed how people can plan and pay for their care, following on from Andrew Dilnot’s recommendations. We have listened carefully to what he and his colleagues have said, and we have been absolutely consistent about how these reforms will support people to plan for their future effectively. From April 2016, extending the means-test support to £118,000 will immediately result in 35,000 more elderly people receiving financial help with their care costs. That figure will rise to 100,000 people getting extra help by 2024-25.

Andy Burnham: Can the Minister guarantee to older people listening to the debate this evening that nobody will pay more than £72,000 for their care—yes or no?

Norman Lamb: Of course we have made it clear that people can choose to spend more, but I can say absolutely that by 2024-25, far more people—100,000 people—will be getting more financial support than under the system we inherited from the Labour Government. Everyone will be protected from catastrophic costs through the reassurance provided by the cap on care costs.

Liz Kendall rose—

Norman Lamb: I need to press on.

Many people will pay significantly less for care than they do now. People will not be forced to sell their home within their lifetime to pay for care because we are introducing a universal, nationwide system of deferred payments to prevent that.

On deferred payments, there is total confusion about what Labour stands for. Lord Lipsey in the other place, apparently supported by the shadow Secretary of State and the shadow Minister, has attacked the threshold for our deferred payment scheme, which is currently under consultation. He argued that the threshold should be lowered so that those with bank accounts or shares worth considerably more than £23,000 will have access to the scheme. In the previous Government’s 2010 White Paper, however, the same £23,000 threshold was considered acceptable under the universal deferred payment scheme. Which is it—do the Opposition support a low threshold of that sort, or do they want to give more help to people with money?

Liz Kendall: I thank the Minister for giving way because I want to press him again about the care cap. On 11 February, the Health Secretary told The Guardian in relation to the cap, that

“that is the maximum anyone will have to pay.”

Does the Minister agree with his Health Secretary?

Norman Lamb: It is the maximum people have to pay once they have reached the threshold for care, but they can choose to pay more if they wish. The hon. Lady has refused to answer the question about what Labour Members believe is the right threshold. They have been utterly inconsistent. The shadow Secretary of State has also attacked our plans to charge interest to cover the

16 Dec 2013 : Column 581

costs of the deferred payment scheme, yet his 2010 plans proposed exactly the same thing. The only difference was that Labour’s plan was hidden in the impact assessment, not set out in the consultation for everyone to see.

Throughout these reforms we have worked alongside people involved in the care system, and tried to address the needs of people receiving services, their carers, local authorities, the NHS and voluntary groups. We wanted to build a consensus around the future of care and support in England and we have been willing to amend the Bill in the other place to address the concerns raised. The result is a powerful reform package that includes the well-being principle, legislation for personal budgets, incredibly important new rights for carers that have been widely welcomed, and legislation for adult safeguarding for the first time.

Many hon. Members have recognised the powerful case for integrating and joining-up care, and the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Meg Munn) highlighted the fact that many councils do not place integrated care high on their agenda. That is why the Better Care Fund is so important—it gets every local area talking now about the importance of joining up care and preventing ill health. Around the country we have 40 pioneers in integrated care, demonstrating how things can be done differently and how we can provide better care with less money.

I visited Barnsley, Torbay, Greenwich, Worcestershire and Islington—all have inspiring local leaders who are redesigning a dysfunctional system to provide better care for their citizens. This is a quiet revolution in care, but the changes will resonate across the country. I am immensely proud and grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam for producing the original draft Bill and for his support since then. Colleagues in the Lords have made important improvements to the Bill, and when—I hope—it becomes law next year, the Care Bill will be the most valuable legacy in health and care reform for a generation.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 231, Noes 289.

Division No. 160]


9.59 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

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

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

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

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mark

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hood, Mr Jim

Hopkins, Kelvin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mahmood, Shabana

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, John

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miller, Andrew

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme


Morris, Grahame M.


Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Seabeck, Alison

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

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

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wood, Mike

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Seema Malhotra


Stephen Doughty


Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Norman

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Beresford, Sir Paul

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Blackman, Bob

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 Sir Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, rh Alistair

Burt, Lorely

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

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Davey, rh Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.


Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Sir Edward

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, rh 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, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh 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

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lord, Jonathan

Luff, Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maude, rh Mr Francis

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, rh Mr Stephen

Offord, Dr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, rh Richard

Paice, rh Sir James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Phillips, Stephen

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Reckless, Mark

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reid, Mr Alan

Rogerson, Dan

Russell, Sir Bob

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, 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

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Teather, Sarah

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

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:

Claire Perry


Mark Hunter

Question accordingly negatived.

16 Dec 2013 : Column 582

16 Dec 2013 : Column 583

16 Dec 2013 : Column 584

16 Dec 2013 : Column 585

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

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Care Bill [Lords] (Programme)

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

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


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

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

(2) Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on 4 February 2014.

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

Consideration and Third Reading

(4) Proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading shall be concluded in two days.

(5) Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the second of those days.

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

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

16 Dec 2013 : Column 586

Other proceedings

(8) Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of any message from the Lords) may be programmed.—(John Penrose.)

Question agreed to.

Care Bill [Lords] (Money)

Queen’s recommendation signified.

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

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

(1) any expenditure incurred under or by virtue of the Act by the Secretary of State; and

(2) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable under any other Act out of money so provided.—(John Penrose.)

Question agreed to.

Care Bill [Lords] (Ways and Means)

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

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Care Bill [Lords], it is expedient to authorise the charging of fees in relation to the functions of the Health Research Authority.—(John Penrose.)

Question agreed to.

Business without Debate

European Union Documents

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

A decent life for all: ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future

That this House takes note of European Documents No. 7075/13, a Commission Communication: A decent life for all, No. 12434/13, a Commission Communication: Beyond 2015: towards a comprehensive and integrated approach to financing poverty eradication and sustainable development, and No. 12440/13 and Addenda 1 to 3, a Commission Staff Working Document: the EU Accountability Report 2013 on Financing for Development; welcomes these documents as a contribution to a debate that is central to both development and environment policy; and supports the Government’s approach to the post-2015 development agenda.—(John Penrose.)

Question agreed to.

Delegated legislation

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

International Development

That the draft International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ninth Replenishment) Order 2013, which was laid before this House on 22 November, be approved.—(John Penrose.)

Question agreed to.

Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority


That the motion in the name of Mr Andrew Lansley relating to the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority shall be treated as if it related to an instrument subject

16 Dec 2013 : Column 587

to the provisions of Standing Order No. 118 (Delegated Legislation Committees) in respect of which notice of a motion has been given that the instrument be approved.—

(Mr Lansley.)

Environmental Audit


That Mrs Caroline Spelman be a member of the Environmental Audit Committee.—(Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)

10.14 pm

Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This afternoon you heard a point of order from the hon. Member for Hendon (Dr Offord) relating to me, and you expressly asked whether he had informed me of his intention to raise the point of order. I am afraid he did not inform me. He informed your office last Thursday. He informed the Clerks last Thursday. They had four days’ notice. As for me, moments before he got up to speak—literally moments before—someone in his office sent the following e-mail:

“Please accept this as notification that I intend you name you in the Commons Chamber.”

That was his mistake, not mine.

I had no idea whether this was meant to be on a point of order or in the debate this afternoon, or whether it was meant to be today or tomorrow, later on this month, next month, or whenever. Incidentally, I should say that I told the hon. Gentleman that I would raise this point of order tonight; I both sent him an e-mail and rang and spoke to somebody in his office to that effect. I note that he is not in his place now.

On 13 July 1994 the Chair ruled very clearly against my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr Hain) —my hon. Friend the Member for Neath as he then was—that Members cannot simply name other Members and say they have informed them by virtue of having sent some piece of paper somewhere very late in the day. That is a deliberate attempt to get round the common courtesies that should apply between one Member and another in this House. The Speaker then ruled that there should be ample warning.

I am afraid that the nod that you, Mr Speaker, received this afternoon from the hon. Member for Hendon was not the full story.

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I am familiar with the precedent to which he refers, when my predecessor but one, Speaker Boothroyd, ruled. The answer to the hon. Gentleman is that certain standards should obtain in this House. If a Member is to raise a matter relating to the conduct of another Member, there is an obligation to notify the Member about whom the complaint is to be made some reasonable time in advance of getting up to make the complaint. Simply to send an e-mail a few moments beforehand is way below the standard of behaviour. [Interruption.] With great respect to Members chuntering from a sedentary position, it has absolutely nothing to do with being thicker skinned or anything of the sort; it is a matter of parliamentary courtesy, and people who have been around in this place for a little while understand these matters. That is the situation and I hope we will not have to revisit it again because it is really very clear.

16 Dec 2013 : Column 588

Mrs Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is a simple point of order seeking information. I have just been talking to the Vote Office about the papers that accompany the ninth report of the 2013-14 Session from the House of Commons Transport Committee, “High Speed rail: on track?”, which is going to be the subject of our new procedures on Thursday. I asked for copies of the oral and written evidence, which are said to be available from the Committee’s website, and the officers told me that they are not available currently on the website, or for Members. I wonder whether you, Mr Speaker, can advise me on whether this is correct procedure and on how I can obtain copies of the oral and written evidence so that I can prepare for that statement on Thursday.

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for that point of order. The fairest thing I can say to her is that I will look into the matter as I was not sighted on the issue, and it sounds to me as though the right hon. Lady has become so only very recently. I absolutely understand that she and others might seek some enlightenment before Thursday. It is perfectly reasonable that they should do so. Therefore, I will look into the matter, and as and when I have anything to report I will revert as necessary to her and/or the House. I hope that is helpful.


Dudley Borough Walk-in Centre

10.16 pm

Chris Kelly (Dudley South) (Con): The Dudley clinical commissioning group is currently consulting on changes to urgent care provision in the borough of Dudley, with the public consultation closing on 24 December. As a result of proposals by the CCG to close Dudley borough walk-in centre at Holly Hall clinic on Stourbridge road in my constituency, a number of concerned constituents have been in touch with me.

Accident and emergency services across the country are feeling the pressure caused by patients arriving at A and E departments because they feel they have no viable alternative. The Government have been clear that patients should be able to access good quality, out-of-hours NHS services without having to go to A and E departments. To support that, they have recently taken action to expand the role of GPs and to improve out-of-hours care. They have announced nationwide pilots to extend GP opening hours from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week, and agreed a new GP contract that will give millions of elderly people a dedicated GP who is personally accountable for their care.

The Government have also maintained that it is up to NHS commissioners to secure high-quality services that will meet the health care needs of local communities, driven by what is in the best interests of patients. The Holly Hall walk-in clinic provides a vital out-of-hours service to patients when they cannot see their GP, and many Dudley residents have expressed their support for the centre to remain open. It is unclear whether the out-of-hours services on which hard-working people rely would be maintained if the centre were to close. It is therefore my belief, and that of the petitioners, that closing the walk-in centre would not be in the best interests of Dudley patients.

16 Dec 2013 : Column 589

The petition states:

The Petition of residents of Dudley South,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that proposed closure of the Dudley Borough Walk-in Centre at Holly Hall Clinic, 174 Stourbridge Road, Dudley DY1 2ER, by Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group should not go ahead; further that the Petitioners believe that, with its 08:00 to 20:00 opening hours, seven days a week, the walk-in centre currently provides a vital out-of-hours service for hardworking people in the Dudley Borough and the wider Black Country, especially on weekday evenings and at weekends; further that the Petitioners believe that the accessibility of the walk-in centre service contributes significantly to a reduction in the number of Accident and Emergency visits which reduces pressure on local A&E services such as those at Russells Hall Hospital.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to urge Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group to keep the Dudley Borough Walk-in Centre open.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


16 Dec 2013 : Column 590

Football Stadiums (Safer Seating)

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

10.21 pm

Mr John Leech (Manchester, Withington) (LD): I am delighted to have the opportunity this evening to discuss the issue of safer seating at football grounds. I say “safer seating” because we often have debates in Parliament about the desire of fans to see the reintroduction of safe standing at football grounds, but tonight I would like to turn the debate on its head and argue that the solution is the introduction of some seating at football grounds that will be safer for spectators, and that will recognise and accommodate those fans who continue, and will continue, to stand while watching football.

Since August 1994, clubs in the premiership and championship have been required to provide all-seated accommodation. This followed Lord Justice Taylor’s report into the Hillsborough disaster of April 1989. In the report, Lord Justice Taylor said:

“There is no panacea which will achieve total safety and cure all problems of behaviour and crowd control. But I am satisfied that seating does more to achieve those objectives than any other single measure.”

He went on to say:

“It is obvious that sitting for the duration of the match is more comfortable than standing. It is also safer. When a spectator is seated he has his own small piece of territory in which he can feel reasonably secure. He will not be in close physical contact with those around him. He will not be jostled or moved about by swaying or surging. Small, infirm or elderly men and women as well as young children are not buffeted, smothered or un-sighted by large and more robust people, as on the terraces. The seated spectator is not subject to pressure of numbers behind, nor around, him during the match. He will not be painfully bent double over a crush barrier. Those monitoring numbers will know exactly how many there are without having to count them in, or assess the density by visual impression. There will still, of course, be scope for crowd pressure on standing whilst entering and, especially, when leaving but involuntary and uncontrolled crowd movements occasioned by incidents at the game are effectively eliminated…Apart from comfort and safety, seating has distinct advantages in achieving crowd control. It is possible to have disturbances in a seated area and they have occurred, but with the assistance of CCTV the police can immediately zoom in with a camera and pinpoint the seats occupied by the trouble-makers as well as the trouble-makers themselves”.

I cannot disagree with any of those observations. They were made at a time when football grounds were very different from the grounds of today, but at the same time I do not think that anyone who advocates the reintroduction of official standing areas at football grounds is seriously suggesting a return to vast terraces such as the Kippax at Maine Road or the Holte End at Villa Park.

Mr Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South) (Ind): Is my hon. Friend, like me, in favour of the return of standing to at least some sections of a stadium? With the undoubted improvement in behaviour inside stadiums, should we not aspire to having some safe standing areas and work to achieve that over the next couple of years?

Mr Leech: I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention, and I wholeheartedly support the principle of people being given the opportunity to stand at football grounds—as they currently do, but in a safer environment.

16 Dec 2013 : Column 591

Tom Greatrex (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (Lab/Co-op): The hon. Gentleman referred to the 1994 implementation of premiership and championship clubs not being able to have standing areas, but of course an exception was made for clubs that had been promoted rapidly. Is he aware that between 1999 and 2002, Fulham, a club that had been promoted through the divisions, had standing in three of its four stands for two seasons in the championship and one season in the premiership, and there were no safety problems during that period?

Mr Leech: I am absolutely aware of that, and I thank the hon. Gentleman for his contribution. I was one of the people who stood at Fulham as an away supporter, many years ago now.

Where Lord Justice Taylor got it wrong was the assumption that everyone would get used to sitting at football. At every all-seater ground, up and down the country, persistent standing remains a part of the game every week. That is why there have been continued calls for the introduction of “safe standing” areas, and in March 2011 the Football Supporters Federation launched a campaign, including an online petition, arguing that supporters should have the choice to stand. The campaign has gained significant momentum, so much so that at the Football League’s annual general meeting on 7 June, more than two thirds of the 72 clubs voted in favour of a motion to explore safe standing trials. There is overwhelming support from supporters for the campaign; in the FSF national supporter survey in 2009, almost 90% of respondents believed that supporters should have the choice of sitting or standing, with more than 50% preferring to stand. By 2012, 92% of respondents wanted the choice, including 82% of women, even though opponents often argue that they have been attracted to football by the alleged additional comfort of all-seater stadiums.

I recognise that support for this approach is not universal among fans. Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, opposes the proposals and has argued:

“Standing should never, ever come back. I do not think there is anything safe about standing.”

But the reality is that standing has never gone away. Thousands of fans at premier league grounds up and down the country were standing at matches at the weekend— from the Saturday lunchtime game I attended at the Etihad between City and Arsenal to the late game at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon between Spurs and Liverpool. There has been abject failure on the part of the authorities to persuade fans to sit down in some sections.

A joint statement was made last month by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, the premier league, the Football League, the Football Association, the Core Cities Group, the Football Safety Officers Association and the Association of Chief Police Officers. It highlighted their 2002 paper, which examined the nature and causes of spectators standing in seated areas at premier league and Football League grounds. It concluded that a number of safety, crowd management and customer care issues were presented by persistent standing, and that it should be eradicated as far as reasonably practicable. Some 11 years later their November statement admits that

“such measures alone have not always achieved the desired results”.

16 Dec 2013 : Column 592

That is the biggest understatement of the authorities’ abject failure at persuading people to sit down.

So what is the outcome of this systematic failure, and what is the solution? We have whole sections of grounds designed for sitting being occupied by people who choose to stand, or who are forced to stand by other people standing. That is particularly problematic in away sections, where it is very common for away fans either to choose to stand or be forced to stand by others for the entire duration of the match. But this is not confined to specific sections of grounds where the majority of people want to stand; it often ends up being a problem in areas where most people would choose to sit but are forced to stand in order to see.

The problem is twofold: First, thousands of fans standing in areas designed for sitting down is not as safe as it should be. I stood on the Kippax for about 20 years without ever being injured. The only time I have been injured at a football match was at Borussia Dortmund last season. Having been forced to stand in an area that had been converted to seating for the champions league, with no safety barriers, I was knocked forward, injuring my leg on the seat in front. If there had been barriers in front of each row—behind and in front of me—that would not have happened, because I would not have been knocked forwards. It might be argued that it was my own fault for standing up, but I would not have been able to see any of the game had I been sitting down. Nobody had the choice to sit down and see the game.

Secondly, we seem to have forgotten the need for football grounds to be accessible for all. Some people, while not confined to a wheelchair and not considered to be disabled, are still not able to stand for a whole game and need to sit down. Fans in that position have found it increasingly difficult to attend away games, where there is a consistent problem with persistent standing. Anecdotally, I am aware of a number of people who no longer attend any away games, because they either cannot see the game or they struggle to stand up for 90 minutes. Given how much work has taken place to encourage disabled fans to access football, how can we possibly allow this situation to continue?

What is the solution? In two words, it is rail seating, which is basically a seat that is attached to a rail or barrier. Rail seats are used in many football grounds across Europe, in countries that allow standing for domestic matches, and then convert the standing areas to seating for European games in line with UEFA rules on all-seater stadiums for European matches. For domestic games, those rail seats are permanently locked in the upright position, and everyone stands, which increases incapacity. For European games, the seats are permanently locked in the seat position, and the number of fans allowed into an area is one for each seat. That system works well. It is safe and creates a great footballing atmosphere, cheaper tickets and ensures that other areas of the ground with standard seating are occupied by people who want to sit down, and do not stand up and block the view of others. Such a system was evident at Borussia Dortmund, where the area usually designated for standing fans had everyone standing, even though it had been converted to seating, while the areas that are permanently seated had fans remaining seated. That is the ideal solution. It ensures the safety of standing fans who currently stand in areas that are not designed for standing. Unfortunately, that solution fails to address

16 Dec 2013 : Column 593

concerns from the police about crowd control and the perception that a football match can be more easily policed when each spectator has a designated seat.

Andy Holt, the ACPO lead on football policing, has voiced opposition to standing areas because he believes it could contribute to unruly behaviour and hooliganism. I do not accept that assessment, and it was also disputed by Superintendent Steven Graham of West Midlands police who has backed the call of the Football Supporters Federation for safe standing areas to be trialled. I would argue that unruly behaviour at grounds is often a direct result of attempts to force fans to sit down.

The easy solution is to designate each spectator a specific seat-cum-standing position in the rail-seating area, in the same way as they are currently allocated a seat. My proposal is that rail seating should be allowed to be introduced at clubs, without the seats being locked in either the open or closed position. That creates a seat for each spectator in exactly the same way as any other seat in the ground. The difference is that as well as being a seat, the rail seating provides a safety barrier in front of each row. That means that when people are standing up, they are safer than they currently are when standing in existing seats. Does the Minister accept that that is the case? I hope and assume that she does, as it is an indisputable fact that a seat that has a safety barrier in front cannot possibly be less safe than the current configuration with no barrier, and a barrier between each row must make it more difficult for a spectator to be pushed forward and over into the next row of seats.

Having established that that configuration must be safer, my next question is whether the Minister believes that rail seating is currently legal, or does she think that a change of law is required to introduce rail seating? When I met Ruth Shaw of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, she tried to argue that rail seating was not allowed under the current legislation because it provided not only a seat but a place to stand, even if the seat is not fixed in the open or closed position. I disagree. It is clearly no different from the seats currently used at all football grounds that flip up and down but still provide a place to stand if the spectator chooses not to sit down. If the Minister disagrees with me, perhaps she could explain the difference between the two types of seat. Of course, there is none. The only distinction is that the rail seat is safer because it has the safety barrier in front, so will the Minister explain to me why the SGSA is arguing against seating that would make stadiums safer? I challenge her this evening to admit at the Dispatch Box that there is no justification for the SGSA to take such a view, and ask her to give the green light to willing clubs to introduce rail seating with a seat for every spectator.

My final point is about whether there is a groundswell of opinion in favour of introducing safer seating and making it safer for people who continue to stand. I believe that there is. In January, in response to my oral question, the former Sports Minister, the right hon. Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Hugh Robertson), for whom I have great respect, argued that there was no support from the football authorities, the police or those involved in the safety of the game for any change. Unfortunately, that fails to recognise that the authorities all take their lead from the politicians. Privately, most people involved in all areas of the game from the FA to

16 Dec 2013 : Column 594

the police support safe standing but stick to the official line because they believe that there is no political will for change.

This is not an issue of safety. I have already outlined why safety would be enhanced rather than compromised by rail seating. It is about political will. Politicians must wake up to the fact that standing will continue and rail seating is the solution that will improve safety and enhance choice for fans. That is why it is Liberal Democrat policy and why the other parties need to recognise that the status quo cannot be allowed to continue.

10.36 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mrs Helen Grant): I thank the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr Leech) for securing the debate and the hon. Members for Portsmouth South (Mr Hancock) and for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex) for their important interventions.

As the House knows, the current safety requirements at football grounds followed devastating losses of life at stadium disasters during the ’70s and ’80s. After the Ibrox stadium disaster in 1971, legislation made it a requirement for large designated sports grounds to be issued with a safety certificate from the relevant local authority. Those safety requirements were extended further after the Bradford stadium fire of 1985.

Following the Hillsborough disaster, the Football Licensing Authority was established through the Football Spectators Act 1989. Its role was to implement the Government’s policies on ensuring the reasonable safety and management of spectators at football grounds in England and Wales. The Football Licensing Authority became the Sports Grounds Safety Authority in 2011 and carries out that important role by overseeing how local authorities discharge their safety duties at designated football grounds. It works with football clubs and local authorities to provide advice and help to maintain appropriate safety standards. The framework that is now in place for football grounds is designed to ensure that serious shortcomings, such as those at Hillsborough in 1989, should never occur again.

In addition to the SGSA’s safety advisory and oversight roles, it is required to issue licences for the grounds of clubs in the premier league and football league, as well as the international grounds at Wembley and the Millennium stadium in Cardiff. As the House is aware, following recommendations made by Lord Justice Taylor in his report on the Hillsborough disaster, it has been a long-standing policy of successive Governments that the football grounds of clubs in the top two divisions of football should be all-seater. We appreciate, of course, that some fans miss the tradition and character of some of our former grounds and would like to see a return to standing areas. It is the case also that some clubs have expressed support for flexibility over whether to provide standing or seating areas. However, the Government believe that all-seater stadiums are the best means to ensure the safety and security of fans at football in England and Wales.

Mr Leech: I thank the Minister for giving way. As I outlined in my speech, I am proposing that we have areas of rail seating. The stadiums would still be all-seater stadiums, but when people consistently choose to stand, they would be safer than they are at present.

16 Dec 2013 : Column 595

Mrs Grant: I understand the point that the hon. Gentleman is making. If he bears with me, I will come on to the point about rail seating, but safety and security must be paramount. With rail seating, there are still a number of issues.

Some clubs have expressed support for flexibility over whether to provide standing areas or seating areas, and rail seating has been looked at and debated. However, the Government believe that all-seater stadiums are still the very best means to ensure the safety and security of fans at football in England and Wales. Those responsible for safety at football grounds also generally consider that the introduction of all-seater stadiums in the top two divisions must improve public safety, and has also improved crowd management, crowd behaviour and security. We believe that all-seater stadiums are important in helping to provide much better and more comfortable facilities for people to enjoy football matches. They have improved customer care and helped encourage a more modern, inclusive and diverse environment for all those attending.

In 2010, my predecessor as Minister for Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Hugh Robertson), asked the football authorities, the police and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority for their views on the Government’s all-seater stadiums policy and whether they believed that a change in policy to allow for standing merited further consideration. The responses made it very clear indeed that they would not support a change to the current policy.

The hon. Gentleman raises concerns about the difficulty for some clubs in keeping certain sections of spectators seated and the possible impact of this on safety. He suggests that it might be easier to allow clubs to choose to introduce areas specifically designed for standing, instead of people continuing to stand in seated areas. I recognise that persistent standing by sections of crowds can be an issue at some football matches. Football clubs will have ground regulations which prohibit persistent standing in seated areas, and it is primarily the responsibility of football clubs to ensure that effective crowd management and seating in designated areas are enforced. Again, I hear what the hon. Gentleman says about rail seating, but I do not believe that that is the answer.

Mr Leech: I am not sure the Minister listened to everything I said. Standing happens at every single premier league ground and championship ground week in, week out. We have systematically failed to deal with

16 Dec 2013 : Column 596

the issue of persistent standing at football grounds. By the nature of the game, people want to stand. We need to allow them to stand in a safer environment than we currently have, and the only way we can do that and still provide seating is with rail seating. I have not heard any arguments on what is the problem with rail seating is .

Mrs Grant: I assure the hon. Gentleman that I listened very carefully to everything he said; I simply do not necessarily agree with him. The football authorities still think that seating is the best method for making people safe, secure and comfortable when they go to matches. That is not to say that the issue cannot be debated at some point in the future, but currently the football authorities and others agree that seating is one of the safest methods, if not the safest, for ensuring that people enjoy the game.

In 2002 the football authorities, club safety officers, local and national licensing authorities, the police and the SGSA together produced a joint statement on the matter, setting out possible measures to address the problem of people standing up in seating areas, which I know the hon. Gentleman is concerned about. Those bodies recently considered the joint statement yet again and an update was published by the SGSA on 1 December. It clarifies the responsibilities of those involved and includes helpful case studies and best practice and shows how some clubs are dealing with the issue.

I know that no one is suggesting that we should return to the arrangements that were in place 15 or 20 years ago. I also appreciate that some supporters have genuine concerns about the seating requirements. It is clear that the arguments for and against the return of standing in top-flight football have developed over recent years. It is therefore important that we continue to engage in an informed and constructive debate about the issues that have been raised today. However, before any changes to the policy could even be considered, it would be necessary to ensure that they would not only mean a safer environment for football spectators, but build on the improvements made over the past 20 years in security, comfort and inclusivity. On that basis, I am not convinced that a compelling case has been made today.

Question put and agreed to.

10.46 pm

House adjourned.