Mr Nuttall: I completely and 100% agree with my hon. Friend. I for one am extremely grateful that those measures are not in the Bill, but I am worried, as I shall explain in a moment, that the Bill may be just an

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opening salvo for the introduction of those measures at a later stage. Although what is left is a proposal to change the eligibility for housing benefit and a proposal to require the Secretary of State to carry out a review of the availability of affordable homes and intermediate housing, that is it; there is no mention of any affordable homes investment bank, no mention of any change to planning use classes and no mention of any enhanced powers for local councils. We must ask ourselves why that is so. On one level, I would like to think it is because the hon. Member for St Ives has seen the light and realised that his proposal for Government interference in the free market—as my hon. Friend the Member for North East Somerset (Jacob Rees-Mogg) identified it—would not have had the effect he hoped for. However, the truth is, I believe, rather more worrying.

As I mentioned in an intervention at the outset, the hon. Member for St Ives perhaps gave an explanation of why there is so little in the Bill on his website last week:

“If I succeed at Second Reading…I hope I can beef up the Bill with amendments at Committee Stage.”

There we have it: this skeleton of a Bill is actually a Trojan horse Bill. If it is granted a Second Reading today, the hon. Gentleman admits that he will use it to try to introduce those other measures later in its parliamentary proceedings.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I am grateful once again to my hon. Friend for giving way. I wonder whether anyone consulted the Clerks on whether amendments to widen the Bill by so much would be within its scope.

Mr Nuttall: I have not inquired of the Clerks whether that would be correct parliamentary procedure. It is certainly unusual for a Bill’s promoter to admit at the outset that the measure being proposed is not the measure they want agreed on Third Reading and that they intend to table amendments in Committee. It is usual for the rest of the House, not the promoter, to want to amend a Bill.

Andrew George: I am particularly grateful to the hon. Gentleman for following this process very closely. I am sure that my constituents will be interested in his remarks. As well as those who responded, many other people certainly commented to me, but the hon. Gentleman needs to understand that arriving at the published Bill is, of course, a process of considering what is likely to succeed and that I or, indeed, anyone else who tables amendments, would take into account what is and is not orderly to propose in Committee. That is self-evident.

Mr Nuttall: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for trying to clarify matters. I am not sure whether I am any clearer about why, if he thinks it is a good idea to include other matters, they are not in the Bill this morning. It is not clear to me that there is any reason other than that he thinks that a slimmed-down Bill stands a better chance of getting a Second Reading. On that basis, it is fair for hon. Members, in reaching a decision this morning, to have in the back of our minds the fact that the Bill is a Trojan horse.

Philip Davies: Given that the Bill’s promoter is saying that this is not the Bill he would have wanted and that it should be a lot better, and given that Labour Members

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have said, “This Bill isn’t really much good, but it’ll do as a starter,” which means that no one is particularly keen on the Bill, does my hon. Friend not wonder why on earth the battalions have come here today to support it? Does he think that, rather than supporting the merit of the Bill, they are merely trying to get any old Bill into Committee so that they can achieve their real objective: to stop an EU referendum Bill going through the House?

Hon. Members: Ah!

Mr Nuttall: My hon. Friend goes to the nub of the matter. That may well be what is happening today, and the fact is that those who want to stop the people of this country having a say on Europe think that the best way to do so is by getting a slimmed-down version of the draft Bill into Committee.

Ian Lavery (Wansbeck) (Lab): I am slightly confused about why the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that the Bill is a Trojan horse because it might be amended in Committee. Is that different from any other Bill? How many amendments did the Government table to the Care Bill, for example? Hundreds and hundreds, but has anyone ever described that as a Trojan horse?

Mr Nuttall: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me a chance to expand and clarify that point, because there is a fundamental difference: when the Government or anyone else table amendments, they do so in response to comments made as the Bill goes through the legislative procedure. In my experience, it is very unusual for the Member introducing a Bill to openly admit and declare at the outset, on Second Reading, that the Bill is not actually what they want.

Andrew George: To be clear, and to help the hon. Gentleman, I point out that in its early stages the Bill proposed a range of measures. He has read my words and, yes, of course I would like to beef up the Bill, in particular the purpose of certain clauses and the subject matter that they cover, on the basis of evidence. There is a clear need in constituencies such as mine to place a cap on the number of second homes, which is clearly opposed by the Conservatives, and although there is no chance of achieving that in this Bill, we are able to advance the proposal through the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. South Lakeland council proposes a new measure that the Government will have to consider. That measure is supported by my constituents, and the 2007 Act is the legislative route for it.

Mr Nuttall: I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has had an opportunity to put that point on the record.

Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab): I rise only to put the hon. Gentleman’s mind at rest. I have had an inordinate amount of correspondence from my constituents asking me to come and support this private Member’s Bill. I have not had a single item of correspondence asking me to come and stifle a European referendum bill. I am here for the bedroom tax Bill.

Mr Nuttall: I am not trying to suggest that every Member in the House today has ulterior motives and is not here entirely because of the content of the Bill. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman’s motives are entirely honourable and that he is purely concerned about the content of the Bill before us.

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Sheryll Murray: I am confused because I thought that this Bill was the Affordable Homes Bill, but all I have heard is “bedroom tax, bedroom tax, bedroom tax”. It is actually a spare room subsidy. Does my hon. Friend agree?

Mr Nuttall: My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and we have not heard much this morning about the second part of the Bill. One or two Members have touched on it, but we have heard little about the part that deals with the review of affordable housing. I shall certainly be touching on it, after I have dealt with the first part of the Bill, which contains the proposed changes to housing benefit.

I accept, as does anyone who has looked at the issue, that the changes to housing benefit resulting from the removal of the spare room subsidy have been controversial. There is no doubt about that. We have to ask ourselves why the Government had to take tough, difficult decisions to try to control the level of public spending. The answer is quite simple. We as a country simply could not continue spending money that we did not have. The coalition Government inherited a situation in which £1 in every £4 had to be borrowed. In other words, the books were not being balanced. The scale of the problem is demonstrated by the fact that, even now, after four years of a Government who have been doing all they can to try to rein in public spending, we as a country are still years from having completely dealt with the deficit and being in a position to balance the books. That position required the Government to look at areas of expenditure like the welfare budget.

John Hemming: On the question whether this is about extra money being spent, there was a court case this year, number EWCA Civ 13, in which the Secretary of State, when challenged on the lawfulness of the discriminatory elements in the regulations relating to disabled people, said that he would continue to closely monitor and adjust the implementation of the policy

“to ensure that the needs of these groups are effectively addressed in the longer term”.

The Bill is, in essence, about moving from discretionary housing payments to exemptions. It is not about additional cost to the public purse.

Mr Nuttall: My hon. Friend might think that, but I think it is better for the discretionary housing payment to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, as at present.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Has not the Minister himself told us that these proposals will cost £1 billion? That is more than the cost of the discretionary powers, so this Bill has a clear financial effect.

Mr Nuttall: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for reminding the House that we now know from the Minister’s comments that we are talking about a figure of £1 billion a year, whichever way we look at it.

John Hemming: The Minister made it very clear that this is not about the elements relating to spare rooms but an argument that is contested in respect of non-dependant deductions.

Mr Nuttall: I am grateful for that point, which I will deal with in more detail later. We do not want to get bogged down in arguments about this, that or the other.

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The fundamental point is that the coalition Government had to make savings in the welfare budget, and this policy has reduced the welfare budget, as I will explain. I think that deals with my hon. Friend’s point.

The widespread view before the last election was that the previous Labour Government had allowed the welfare budget to spiral out of control. The housing benefit budget typified this, as its cost had increased from £11.2 billion in 1997-98 to £20 billion in 2009-10. This meant that every household in my constituency, where hard-working taxpayers were themselves struggling to make ends meet, were paying £900 a year towards a benefit that, in some cases, was enabling others to live in accommodation that they could not afford to live in. That is the key point.

Mr Robin Walker (Worcester) (Con): My hon. Friend has talked about the importance of the availability of affordable housing and the fact that this Bill does very little to address that. Does he agree that one of the greatest problems with the failure of the Labour Government to deliver affordable housing was that so many working people were squeezed out of the socially rented sector? Council housing was originally designed for working people, but there are now very few areas of council housing that are available to them. Constituents come to see me about this in Worcester and say they think it is appalling that as working people they cannot access the social rented estate. Does he agree that Labour’s failure to deliver housing left us with a real problem in this country?

Mr Nuttall: I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, who makes the right point. Many people who are priced out of the private rented sector would like to get into the social rented sector but are unable to do so. That boils down to the supply of affordable housing—there is no doubt about that.

To be fair, even the Labour Government realised that something had to be done about this increase in the cost of housing benefit. They introduced rules, which we have heard a little about this morning, that restricted the amount of housing benefit depending on the number of bedrooms a claimant needed. What is more, as the Minister said earlier, they also knew that it would be necessary to extend the plans to the social rented sector. When my hon. Friend the Member for The Cotswolds (Geoffrey Clifton-Brown) asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in the previous Labour Government

“for what reasons the local housing allowance applies only to the de-regulated private sector”,

the Secretary of State replied:

“We hope to implement a flat rate housing benefit system in the social sector, similar to that anticipated in the private rented sector to enable people in that sector to benefit from the choice and flexibility that the reforms can provide. We aim to extend our reforms to the social rented sector as soon as rent restructuring and increased choice have created an improved market.”—[Official Report, 19 January 2004; Vol. 416, c. 1075W.]

Thousands of my constituents regard it as perfectly reasonable for tenants in the social rented sector to be treated in the same way as those in the private rented sector. It cannot be right for taxpayers in my constituency, who might love to live in accommodation with a spare bedroom, to be required to pay tax so that others in receipt of housing benefit can live in a property that they could not afford to live in.

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John Hemming: Does my hon. Friend not accept that the debate today is not about the principle of the spare room subsidy, spare room rent subsidy, bedroom tax or whatever we wish to call it, but about whether the exceptions set out in guidance—in effect, there are legitimate expectations about those exceptions, subject to judicial review—should be transferred into legislation to give people greater certainty?

Mr Nuttall: That is indeed what clause 2 proposes. I take the view that what one might call cases outside the normal set of exemptions, which I will come on to, are best dealt with through the current system of discretionary housing payments.

The present size criteria allow one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of a household, with children under 16 of the same gender expected to share and all children under 10 expected to share. Tenants’ housing benefit is reduced by 14% for those with one bedroom more than that formula allows, and by 25% for those with two or more spare bedrooms.

With estimates putting the total number of spare bedrooms at approaching 1 million, it is absolutely no wonder that Ministers should look at that matter. Considering that, according to the Office for National Statistics, 360,000 households live in crowded accommodation in the social rented sector in England, all of whom would I am sure dearly love to move into bigger accommodation, Ministers had to take action. With nearly 2 million families on social housing waiting lists in England, it makes absolute sense for the nation’s social housing stock to be utilised as efficiently as possible.

Philip Davies: Is not the nub of the issue that housing associations basically built houses that were far too big for what the population needed? They knew full well that they could build as many three-bedroom houses as they liked, because the Government would pay them for a three-bedroom house even if only one person was put in it, and they got £500 million a year in subsidy for unnecessary places. Labour Members go on about the cost of living, but they in effect made people heat a three-bedroom house when they only needed a one-bedroom property. If they really cared about the cost of living, they would want people to be in accommodation of an appropriate size to bring down their bills.

Mr Nuttall: My hon. Friend makes a good point. Lots of people openly admit that their property is larger than they need, and that they would benefit from living in smaller accommodation.

Mark Pawsey (Rugby) (Con): We have heard a great deal about under-occupation, but what about the 360,000 families living in houses that are far too small for growing families? Does my hon. Friend agree that we have not heard enough in this debate about that particular group, which will benefit from the changes?

Mr Nuttall: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point, which he will hear a little more about in my speech.

Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde) (Lab/Co-op): I want to ask about the downsizing and housing allocation point. The hon. Gentleman and I represent relatively similar constituencies, which are both parts of Greater

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Manchester. In my area, 1,636 people were affected by the bedroom tax in March 2013. A year later, the figure was 300 less, but only 59 of those 300 people have been able to downsize. That suggests that it is simply not possible for downsizing to happen in the real world in the way that Conservative MPs believe it will. What is the figure for Bury? If it is a similar figure, surely that should ring alarm bells for the hon. Gentleman about the policy not working as he believes it should.

Mr Nuttall: I think that the policy is working in all parts of the country. The facts show that, as time goes on, people are dealing with it in different ways.

Jonathan Reynolds: Does the hon. Gentleman know the figure for Bury North if he is making that claim? I think that the figures are remarkable.

Mr Nuttall: I do not have that set of figures in front of me, but the hon. Gentleman probably has them. The point is that in all parts of the country, the people who are affected by this measure are dealing with it in different ways. Many of them are finding smaller accommodation to live in. Some of them are choosing to continue living in the accommodation that they are in and to make up the shortfall caused by the deduction from their housing benefit from other resources.

Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne) (LD): Does what my hon. Friend is saying not emphasise the point of the Bill? The Bill does not say that the spare room subsidy is wrong, but that we should protect people from the system if it means that they cannot move out to an appropriate-sized building. The Bill does not say that the spare room subsidy is wrong, but that it needs adjustment to ensure that it is fair. Surely that is the most sensible way forward.

Mr Nuttall: The removal of the spare room subsidy encourages housing providers to build more of the accommodation that people want. That is the key point.

I want to make progress with my remarks. As I mentioned earlier, 360,000 households in the social rented sector are living in crowded accommodation, all of which would love to move into bigger accommodation. With nearly 2 million families on social housing waiting lists in England, it makes sense for the stock of our nation’s social housing to be utilised as efficiently as possible. Tenants in the sector are moving to accommodation that is more suited to their needs. In the seven months to December 2013, nearly 19,000 households that were affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy downsized into more appropriate accommodation.

Heather Wheeler (South Derbyshire) (Con): My hon. Friend is getting to the nub of the problem, which is overcrowding. We must bear it in mind that the policy was forecast for about two years, so councils had an opportunity to build the right social housing properties. South Derbyshire district council brought forward another 170 one or two-bedroom units because it knew that it would need them. I wonder why other councils did not do that sort of thing.

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Mr Nuttall: My hon. Friend makes a good point. I am sure that other councils have a lot to learn from South Derbyshire district council.

To put my point about the 19,000 households that downsized because of the removal of the spare room subsidy another way, the other side of the coin is that 19,000 households that were living in cramped and overcrowded conditions were given the opportunity to improve their living conditions.

The Government proposals will bring a total saving of some £2 billion. Over the course of this Parliament, the bill for housing benefit was forecast to rise from £21 billion to £26 billion. Because of the various reforms to housing benefit that have been introduced, it will increase only to £24 billion.

The Government have put in place an array of measures to ensure that the new criteria are introduced in such a way as to protect those who have a genuine need for additional space. For example, disabled tenants who need overnight carers are exempt, all pensioners are exempt and, at the discretion of local authorities, families who have a child whose disability means that they cannot share a bedroom can be allowed an extra bedroom.

Bob Stewart (Beckenham) (Con): I am delighted to note, given my military background, that soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who are away on operations are not penalised and can go home when they return. That is an important part of the policy.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Dawn Primarolo): Order. Mr Nuttall, you have been speaking for 35 minutes and you have said on numerous occasions how important it is to make progress through your speech. You are being incredibly generous in taking interventions, but perhaps you could be a little more selfish and get on with making your speech so that other Members can speak. Taking fewer interventions might help.

Mr Nuttall: I will be more selfish with the interventions I accept, Madam Deputy Speaker, but the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart) was not one I have in my speech, so I am grateful to him for making it.

The Government trebled support for discretionary housing payments so that funding for this year is £165 million. In 2013-14, £21 million of central Government funding was unspent by the end of the year. Almost two thirds—63%—of local authorities paid out less than their total discretionary housing payment allocation, and fewer than a quarter applied for a share of the £20 million that the Department for Work and Pensions held back in reserve. Discretionary housing payments exist to provide a safety net for vulnerable tenants, and they offer the best mechanism for local authorities to provide additional support as welfare payments are reformed, enabling them to respond on a case-by-case basis to those who need more assistance.

I appreciate that the hon. Member for St Ives ideally wants the spare room subsidy to be removed. He would like a return to the time before the measure was introduced, when taxpayers in my constituency had to contribute towards those living on benefits and enjoying accommodation that they themselves could only dream about. Clause 1 is seen by those who want to return to those days as a mere stepping stone towards the day when tenants can once more have the benefit of spare

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rooms at the expense of other hard-working taxpayers. We must strike a balance between the interests of taxpayers and the legitimate needs of welfare claimants, and I do not see the need to introduce the measures in clause 1 to achieve that balance.

Let me turn to clause 3, which has not received the attention it needs so far. Subsection (1) requires the Secretary of State to

“carry out a review of the availability of affordable homes and intermediate housing and produce and lay before Parliament a report which must set out the conclusions of the review.”

within 12 months of the Bill being enacted. We know from clause 7(2) that the Act would come into force

“at the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the day on which it is passed.”

Anyone reading clause 3 would assume that there must be an urgent need for a review, and that for some reason no information is available about the housing stock in this country, and certainly nothing on affordable housing. However, even the most cursory investigation of the subject reveals that our library shelves are simply groaning under the weight of reports and statistics on this matter. In fact, there are so many that—you will be pleased to know this, Madam Deputy Speaker—I will not even begin to list them, never mind quote from them all.

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Although one of life’s great pleasures is to ensure that Madam Deputy Speaker is happy, the rest of the House will be desperately disappointed if my hon. Friend does not elaborate on all those points.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Dawn Primarolo): Order. I am sure that the House can contain its disappointment and anxiety to progress this debate. I hope, Mr Nuttall, that you are making reasonable progress, and taking your own advice about making the remaining points in your speech so that others can participate in the debate.

Mr Nuttall: I will, indeed, Madam Deputy Speaker, restrict my comments.

The Department for Communities and Local Government publication, “Affordable Housing Supply: April 2012 to March 2013”, issued on 21 November 2013, contains a wealth of statistics and information about the availability of affordable homes in England. It contains that much material that it is difficult to imagine what more could be wanted on the subject.

The principal body for delivery in the field is the Homes and Communities Agency. We are fortunate indeed that, only on Tuesday of this week, it issued its latest update—a statistical analysis with a wealth of facts and figures on affordable housing. Jonathan Walters, the HCA deputy director of strategy and performance, has said:

“The Statistical Data Return plays an important role in the HCA’s work as regulator, helping to identify the key issues for the sector and individual providers and to prioritise our regulatory engagement. The 2014 return shows that the sector has continued to grow, and sheds light on some important trends in a changing operating environment, including the growth of Affordable Rent”.

That is just a couple of the reports available on the topic—there are loads of others from charities, academics and pressure groups throughout the country—and I find it difficult to believe that there is any need whatever to carry out another piece of research.

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I accept that the hon. Member for St Ives is entirely well meaning. No one would deny that his aims are entirely honourable. No one wants disabled people to be disadvantaged by legislation, but as I hope I have demonstrated, the Government have put in place the means to ensure that those most affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy are properly protected. I see no reason for a further report on affordable homes—there is no shortage of reports or statistics on the subject. The Government provide a wide array of schemes to help to stimulate the housing market. It is difficult to see what could come out of such a review, other than yet more schemes. For all those reasons, I oppose the Bill, and urge the House to vote against it on Second Reading.

12.43 pm

Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West) (Lab): I am pleased to be able to speak in the debate. I congratulate the hon. Member for St Ives (Andrew George) on introducing the Bill and making the case for it. He is sincere in his personal opposition to the bedroom tax. I am therefore pleased to support him in trying to do something about it.

Like the hon. Gentleman, and like all hon. Members—I am sure this applies not only to Opposition Members—many dozens of constituents have come to see me or have written to me about the policy. That is hardly surprising. Gentoo, the largest social housing provider in Sunderland, tells me that more than 4,000 households across the city’s three parliamentary seats are affected by it. I do not know what supporters of the bedroom tax among Government Members tell their constituents who come to their surgery or who write to them, distraught about the impact the measure is having on their already stretched and limited incomes. Perhaps supporters of the bedroom tax do not see those people. Perhaps they ignore the letters and e-mails. That must be the explanation—it is the only one I can think of for why Government Members stand up and speak in support of a policy that is causing their constituents such hardship. Which of those Government Members’ constituents are most likely to be affected? According to their own impact assessment, it is overwhelmingly disabled constituents—people for whom an extra room is often not a luxury, as we have heard, but a necessity. It is not a spare room; it is a room for their partner to sleep in because their disability means it is impossible for them to sleep together any more; a place for their carer to sleep in; a storeroom for the equipment they need to manage their condition; or, in the case of one of my constituents, a sensory room for a disabled child.

What do Conservative Members say to constituents who tell them these stories or to those who could do without the extra room, but for whom no suitable smaller properties are available? Yes, the Government have had to introduce the discretionary housing payments to avoid mass evictions across the country, but they are limited not just by a budget, but by strict criteria, as we have heard, that have led to cases such as the terrible tragedy mentioned by the right hon. Member for Mid Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) of a disabled person committing suicide. There have been numbers of such cases across the country and it is an absolute disgrace.

Ian Swales (Redcar) (LD): Does the hon. Lady share my concern that although when one writes to a Minister one is told that discretionary housing payments are the

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solution, disabled adults have to apply every three months on forms that are dozens of pages long? Is this not a demeaning process?

Mrs Hodgson: It is extremely demeaning. Once someone has applied and been approved, it should be on the understanding that their condition will not change. Why should something that made someone eligible change three months later? It leads to the added anxiety and mental health stress we have heard about.

Ministers argue that their policies will lead to a rationalisation in the allocation of social housing and to those in overcrowded conditions suddenly having access to hundreds of thousands of homes they believe are being under-occupied, but as we have heard from several Members, a negligible number of households have been able to do that. Fewer than one in 20 across the country have managed to downsize within the social rented sector, and just 1.4% have moved to the private rented sector. In some of the worst areas for under-occupation in my constituency, the numbers have actually gone up in the past year. What do Conservative Members advise constituents who come to them in this Catch-22 situation of not being able to afford to pay the bedroom tax but not being able to downsize to avoid it either?

What do they say when they hear the effect of having to pay the tax on the already-stretched household budgets of those with the lowest incomes to start with? The consequences of losing £700 a year might be negligible to Conservative Members, some of whom might earn that in a few hours of work outside this place, but to the vast majority of people in my constituency, especially those affected by the bedroom tax, it is a significant sum of money and losing it forces them to make choices many Conservative Members could never imaging having to make. It is the difference between having the heating on or not; between eating enough food or not; between be able to afford a child’s school uniform or not.

Conservative Members need not take my word for it. The DWP makes it clear that families and households are going without essentials thanks to the decisions it took and a policy it continues to defend. It has to be said it has a lot of competition, but it is one of the most disgraceful policies to have darkened this House over the past few years. It typifies the DWP under this Secretary of State: vindictive and incompetent in equal measure. And it highlights the priorities of this Tory-led Government: pay-offs for those at the top, penalties for those at the bottom. The faces on those Benches might change, but the true face of the Tory party never does. I am therefore pleased to support the hon. Member for St Ives in at least trying to undo some of the most pernicious elements of this policy, and although I do not think it goes far enough, I sincerely hope the Bill will be allowed to progress to Committee so that we can make amendments there or later on the Floor of the House.

People across the nation know that it is, of course, the Labour party that has fought against the bedroom tax from day one. It is the Labour party that continues to lead the fight now, and it is only a one-nation Labour Government who will scrap this wretched policy, electorate willing, next year.

12.49 pm

Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) (Con): I thank the hon. Member for St Ives (Andrew George), whose constituency encompasses west Cornwall and the Isles

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of Scilly, for bringing forward the Bill, which allows me to raise a number of points that are important to my constituents in the east of the county.

Having a roof over one’s head is so important, especially in our climate. Making sure that some housing is available for those who cannot afford to buy their own dates back over 1,000 years, but I am not going to go into the history of the almshouses, the first of which were built in York.

The first legislation of its kind was the Public Health Act 1875, which was introduced by a Conservative Minister. It was a milestone in the provision of affordable homes. Then, of course, if we move on to the 1980s, we find that under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher—I can listen to all the groans from Opposition Members—it became possible for many people who aspired to own their homes to do so. I know many of my constituents who are very grateful for the right-to-buy scheme.

With that background, we look at affordable homes today. The goal of so many people to own their own home, which is often so difficult, is reflected in society today. Although it is called the Affordable Homes Bill and although we have heard an awful lot about the spare room subsidy, I want to concentrate first on the aspiration of young people, like many in my constituency, to own their own home.

Let me outline two recent housing developments built in my constituency of South East Cornwall to show that the Government are putting forward really aspirational proposals for many of my young constituents. The first is in the beautiful Tamar valley of my constituency in a place called St Ann’s Chapel. It was built under the last Labour Government and was visited by my right hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), who was then our housing spokesman. Work was still very much under way, but most people, including me, welcomed this new housing, which was providing young people with a step on to the housing ladder.

Unfortunately, I have to report that I have since been contacted by many residents of the new development who have had a few issues with the build. Much of that is probably down to the economic situation that was hitting the building industry at the time. This emphasises to me—and, I hope, to everyone here today—the importance of quality buildings, if they are to last.

The second development certainly looked to be a much better build, and it has won an award. I was pleased to be joined by one of my local councillors Benedicte Bay to welcome the housing Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Kris Hopkins) to the housing development in Lostwithiel. The streets consist of 32 homes, and following a competition in a local Cornish newspaper it was named Gilbury Hill. The 50% affordable development element was allocated by working closely with Lostwithiel town council to ensure that it was provided to local people. The developers, Wycliffe Estates explained that much care was taken with the design of both the open-market and affordable elements to ensure that there was no difference in the quality allocated to the affordable elements. In May 2014, this project was awarded residential project of the year for 40 units and under in the Michelmores and Western Morning News property awards, the region’s premier property competition, showcasing the very best

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properties, buildings and firms in the west country. I want to stress the importance not only of producing affordable housing, but of the need for good quality housing, because history shows that poor quality housing, like those tower blocks we have seen pulled down in the recent past, increases the burden on future generations.

I also want to raise another important aspect of affordable housing: how affordable it actually is. We have heard about many people in the north suffering because they do not earn enough money and they are being hit by the spare room subsidy, but average wages in my constituency are much lower than in many parts of the UK, and that makes it very difficult for my constituents to get on the housing ladder near their friends and families. This is particularly so in some of the most beautiful coastal towns in Cornwall. I did want to concentrate on the affordable homes element of this Bill, because it does seem to have been neglected in earlier speeches.

Turning to the proposed changes to benefits and the spare room subsidy, under which those on housing benefit with spare rooms do not get so much benefit, I want to mention a couple of situations in my constituency. In my village we have some bungalows that have been adapted for people with physical disabilities. Sadly, a few years ago, when I was a local councillor, one of the occupants of one of the bungalows passed away. His wife wanted to move into another home in part because she did not want the memories of a happy marriage all around her, but also because she realised that bungalow could be made available to somebody else, and that is precisely what happened. The second situation concerns a new development in my village that I opened as a local councillor. Those houses were built with wider doorways and wider stairways so they can accommodate people who do not have disabilities but also those who do. This area has been missed from today’s debate.

I congratulate my coalition colleague, the hon. Member for St Ives, but he has confirmed that he has not consulted the Department on costs. I remind him of the words of Uncle Ben from “Spider-Man”:

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

The hon. Gentleman is in a coalition Government now, and the long-term economic plan is working. It would be irresponsible of me to support this Bill today without knowing the full cost to the taxpayer and how that would impact on economic recovery, because I believe we should never return to the situation we inherited in 2010.

I close by reminding Members that when Labour’s last Chief Secretary to the Treasury was sent away by the electorate in 2010, his words were, “there’s no money left.” I think we should all bear that in mind when voting today.

12.59 pm

Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab): We have been educated today, and I pay tribute to the hon. Member for St Ives (Andrew George) for bringing this extraordinarily interesting Bill before the House, but if there is one thing that has run through our discussions for the past three hours—it seems longer—it is not so much a golden thread as a string of tarnished brass: that it is all very well to have a theoretical construct that encourages people to leave their homes, but there has to be somewhere for them to go. It is so flipping obvious to anyone who

5 Sep 2014 : Column 599

lives in the real world and who knows the experiences of ordinary human beings who do not consider this a spare ballroom tax—

Mark Hunter (Cheadle) (LD) claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36).

Question put forthwith, That the Question be now put.

The House divided: Ayes 304, Noes 237.

Division No. 46]

[

1 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Danny

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brooke, rh Annette

Brown, rh Mr Gordon

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, Lorely

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Cable, rh Vince

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

Davey, rh Mr Edward

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, rh Lynne

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Galloway, George

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

George, Andrew

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Mr Tom

Harvey, Sir Nick

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Heath, Mr David

Hemming, John

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hood, Mr Jim

Hopkins, Kelvin

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, Tristram

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kennedy, rh Mr Charles

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lamb, rh Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Laws, rh Mr David

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leech, Mr John

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lloyd, Stephen

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Moore, rh Michael

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mudie, Mr George

Mulholland, Greg

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

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

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Swales, Ian

Swinson, Jo

Tami, Mark

Teather, Sarah

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, rh John

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Ward, Mr David

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Webb, rh Steve

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, Simon

Tellers for the Ayes:

Sir Bob Russell

and

Graham Jones

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cash, Sir William

Chishti, Rehman

Clark, rh Greg

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Field, Mark

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Gibb, Mr Nick

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howell, John

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McVey, rh Esther

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Rutley, David

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Syms, Mr Robert

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, rh Jeremy

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Gavin Barwell

and

John Penrose

Question accordingly agreed to.

5 Sep 2014 : Column 600

5 Sep 2014 : Column 601

5 Sep 2014 : Column 602

5 Sep 2014 : Column 603

Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

The House divided:

Ayes 306, Noes 231.

Division No. 47]

[

1.17 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Danny

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Baker, rh Norman

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brennan, Kevin

Brooke, rh Annette

Brown, rh Mr Gordon

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, Lorely

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Cable, rh Vince

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

Davey, rh Mr Edward

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, rh Lynne

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Galloway, George

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

George, Andrew

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Mr Tom

Harvey, Sir Nick

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Heath, Mr David

Hemming, John

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hood, Mr Jim

Hopkins, Kelvin

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, Tristram

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kennedy, rh Mr Charles

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lamb, rh Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Laws, rh Mr David

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leech, Mr John

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lloyd, Stephen

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Moore, rh Michael

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mudie, Mr George

Mulholland, Greg

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

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

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Swales, Ian

Swinson, Jo

Tami, Mark

Teather, Sarah

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, rh John

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Ward, Mr David

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Webb, rh Steve

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, Simon

Tellers for the Ayes:

Sir Bob Russell

and

Graham Jones

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bradley, Karen

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cash, Sir William

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clark, rh Greg

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Field, Mark

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Gibb, Mr Nick

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Howell, John

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Karl

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McVey, rh Esther

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Rutley, David

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Syms, Mr Robert

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, rh Jeremy

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Gavin Barwell

and

John Penrose

Question accordingly agreed to.

5 Sep 2014 : Column 604

5 Sep 2014 : Column 605

5 Sep 2014 : Column 606

Bill read a Second time.


Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. During the debate, many points of great interest have been raised and it has been suggested that further amendments will be made. I therefore think it would be highly beneficial if the Bill were referred to a Select Committee.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Dawn Primarolo): I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his intention to apply Standing Order No. 63.

5 Sep 2014 : Column 607

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 63(2), That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee.—(Jacob Rees-Mogg.)

The House divided:

Ayes 236, Noes 264.

Division No. 48]

[

1.30 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cash, Sir William

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clark, rh Greg

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Gibb, Mr Nick

Glen, John

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Howell, John

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McVey, rh Esther

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Rutley, David

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Syms, Mr Robert

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, rh Jeremy

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Gavin Barwell

and

John Penrose

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Alexander, rh Danny

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Kevin

Begg, Dame Anne

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brooke, rh Annette

Brown, rh Mr Gordon

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, Lorely

Cable, rh Vince

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Champion, Sarah

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

Crockart, Mike

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

Davey, rh Mr Edward

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Doran, Mr Frank

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, rh Lynne

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

George, Andrew

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Mr Tom

Harvey, Sir Nick

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Heath, Mr David

Hemming, John

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hood, Mr Jim

Hopkins, Kelvin

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, Tristram

Huppert, Dr Julian

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kennedy, rh Mr Charles

Lamb, rh Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Laws, rh Mr David

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leech, Mr John

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lloyd, Stephen

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Moore, rh Michael

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mulholland, Greg

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Russell, Sir Bob

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Seabeck, Alison

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Swales, Ian

Swinson, Jo

Teather, Sarah

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, rh John

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Ward, Mr David

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Webb, rh Steve

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, Simon

Tellers for the Noes:

Mark Hunter

and

Graham Jones

Question accordingly negatived.

5 Sep 2014 : Column 608

5 Sep 2014 : Column 609

5 Sep 2014 : Column 610

Bill to stand committed to a Public Bill Committee (Standing Order No. 63).

Mr Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire) (Con): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Given the importance of this measure and the fact that there is obviously very great interest in it, I beg to move that the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Dawn Primarolo): That is not in order. The relevant Standing Order has been used, and the House has given its view, so I do not accept that.

Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker.

5 Sep 2014 : Column 611

Madam Deputy Speaker: It must be a different point of order, because I have ruled on the previous one.

Philip Davies: I am grateful, Madam Deputy Speaker. Given that those of us who were against the setting up of the coalition in the first place always knew that the Lib Dems were devious and untrustworthy, and given that the vote on the Affordable Homes Bill shows that the coalition Government have come to an end and that we will clearly have a free-for-all for the rest of the Parliament, has the Leader of the House given any indication that he wishes to make a statement to the House to say that the coalition has officially come to an end?

Madam Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order for the Chair, however much Members may speculate on it. We will move on to the next business. Will Members please leave the Chamber quickly and quietly because we need to proceed to the next Bill?

5 Sep 2014 : Column 612

Responsible Parking (Scotland) Bill

Second Reading

1.46 pm

Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab/Co-op): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

After the momentous events that we have just seen, I invite the House to turn its attention to responsible parking in Scotland.

Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mark Lazarowicz: Time is limited, I am afraid. I might give way later, depending on how much progress I make.

Although the Bill is limited in scope compared with other issues that Scotland will have to discuss and decide on shortly, it deals with an issue that many constituents feel strongly about and that affects their daily lives, as I shall explain briefly later.

Before doing so, I will explain to the House why I thought it necessary and appropriate to introduce the Bill in the House of Commons. Under the Scotland Act 1998, transport in Scotland is generally the responsibility of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament, but some aspects are reserved, such as the subjects covered by the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

In most respects, that reservation makes sense. It ensures, for example, that the same rules of the road apply across Great Britain. However, it also includes some provisions on parking. There are conflicting views and opinions on whether the Scottish Parliament can legislate on irresponsible or obstructive parking. Some legal advice has suggested that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate in that area.

Guy Opperman (Hexham) (Con): I speak as a former lawyer. Why is this matter not being dealt with under the Scotland Act 1998? Surely that has the majority of the provisions and is the mechanism by which one could achieve the change that the hon. Gentleman so obviously wants.

Mark Lazarowicz: As I just said, there is a strong argument in favour of the position that the hon. Gentleman has set out, but legal advice from the non-Government Bills unit in the Scottish Parliament suggests that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate in this area. As a result, attempts by Back-Bench Members of the Scottish Parliament to introduce the equivalent of private Members’ Bills on this topic have so far been unable to make progress.

Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): Is the hon. Gentleman not putting the cart before the horse? Rather than clogging up the legislative timetable in this place, why does he not wait for the independence referendum, because this Bill may well become redundant very quickly?

Mark Lazarowicz: My Bill is an attempt to deal with a simple issue in a very restricted way. Even if, by some mischance, the independence vote was carried in favour

5 Sep 2014 : Column 613

of independence, these provisions could be passed very quickly and would not have to wait for two years or more to be attended to.

Guy Opperman: On that point, will the hon. Gentleman explain what the procedure would be? He is introducing a Bill to this House, but in 11 days’ time we have an independence referendum. If the referendum was carried, the Bill would have begun in this House, but Scotland would have become independent. The reality would surely be that his Bill would struggle, given that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Yorkshire made clear—

Philip Davies: Not the whole of Yorkshire—not yet, anyway!

Guy Opperman: It is a very small and insignificant part of Yorkshire, as I am sure our other colleagues from Yorkshire would say. My point is that surely the Bill would be hamstrung by the procedures of this House.

Mark Lazarowicz: There is no reason why the Bill should be delayed if people approach it constructively. A Bill is currently being proposed in the Scottish Parliament by a Scottish National party MSP, Sandra White, and has support across the spectrum, including from Conservative MSPs. It has reached a point of being unable to proceed further because of conflicting legal opinion. Because of his legal background, the hon. Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman) will be aware that with issues such as parking fines, even of the smallest nature, or some other infraction of the Road Traffic Act 1991, some people will go to any length to appeal. No one would want there to be a challenge some years down the road because of some dubiety about the legislation.

I believe that there will be a no vote in a couple of weeks’ time. I am proceeding on that basis and hope that Government Members will do so as well. The Bill in the Scottish Parliament has all-party support and support from a wide range of non-governmental organisations, but at the moment it is basically stuck because of conflicting legal opinions in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr David Nuttall (Bury North) (Con): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mark Lazarowicz: With respect to the hon. Gentleman, I will make a bit more progress. Perhaps I will take interventions at the end of my remarks if I have time.

My Bill aims to cut through the thicket of legal argument by making it clear that the Scottish Parliament has legislative competence in this area. It would devolve to the Scottish Parliament, should it so wish, the power to introduce regulations to make irresponsible parking a criminal offence by amending schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998, and to exclude from the reservations to the UK Parliament provisions relating to parking on pavements and related issues. If the Scottish Parliament chooses to do so, that would include the power to impose fixed penalties.

I emphasise again that the Bill does not change the law on irresponsible or obstructive parking in Scotland, but it makes it clear that the Scottish Parliament can do so if it wishes. I want it to be able to do that without any

5 Sep 2014 : Column 614

risk of legal challenge, because many of our constituents feel strongly about this issue and I expect it has been raised with many Members in their constituencies.

Let me be clear: I am talking not about off-road parking that causes no inconvenience to anyone, but parking that blocks entire pavements or impedes wheelchair users from using ramps, which is frankly a public nuisance. Even worse, such behaviour can be a potential cause of danger to pedestrians, particularly those who are visually impaired or disabled in some way. If blind or partially sighted people are forced into the road to get by, they cannot see oncoming traffic. Equally, parking at dropped kerbs blocks the place where wheelchair users can cross the road most easily. It is not just the disabled who are affected by disruptive parking, but the elderly, parents with pushchairs, and children and pedestrians more generally.

Mr Chope: Are not all the offences that the hon. Gentleman has identified already offences because they are obstruction of the highway? That is an offence under the Highways Act 1980, which applies to Scotland.

Mark Lazarowicz: In practice, there is difficulty implementing and enforcing different interpretations of the legislation. That is why the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Martin Horwood) will promote a similar private Member’s Bill for England and Wales in the next couple of weeks. If my Bill progresses, it will go into Committee, which will investigate the points in more detail. That will allow the Scottish Parliament to go through the same procedure at an appropriate stage, which could be fairly quickly in its processes since the nature of its constitution enables it to make legislation more quickly. Irresponsible parking is not in the interests of motorists as it can make roads more congested and choke traffic. As I said, this issue affects many parts of the UK, and the hon. Member for Cheltenham will promote a Bill for the rest of Great Britain. My Bill seeks to allow progress to be made in Scotland, for the reasons I have given.

The hon. Member for Hexham asked about the legal position. I tend to agree with the view that this issue does not fall outside devolved competences, but there are opinions to the contrary and I want to ensure once and for all that there is no doubt about the Scottish Parliament’s ability to bring forward legislation of this nature.

As I have said, the Bill is supported by various non-governmental organisations in Scotland including, Guide Dogs, Living Streets and Sustrans. My initiative also has the support of the MSP who has introduced a Bill in the Scottish Parliament. Although we have diametrically opposed views on independence, we agree that, whatever Scotland decides on 18 September, the proposal is for a simple, straightforward change to make our streets and pavements safe and more accessible, which is long overdue.

The Bill should be a non-party issue. I have therefore been in touch with the UK and Scottish Governments. I am grateful for the contact that I have had with them. I understand that the Government’s position is that primary legislation is not necessary to achieve the objectives I have set out, and the Scottish Government might believe that the powers are a devolved competence. That is a matter of some disagreement, but the reality is that,

5 Sep 2014 : Column 615

whatever is said in the House, MSPs of different parties have, in different ways, tried to introduce such legislation for more than seven years. They never get anywhere because of the difference of opinion on the competence of the Scottish Parliament to legislate on such matters.

I want action to be taken to tackle this problem in our communities. If the Minister can offer a better way forward than my Bill, I will be content with it. I recognise that, in practice, the changes I seek can be made only with the active co-operation and support of both the UK Government and the Scottish Government. However, I want action, so I wait with interest to see what the Minister says later in the debate.

1.56 pm

Guy Opperman (Hexham) (Con): I rise to speak briefly on three fundamental issues. First, I am a lawyer. Secondly, I am concerned about the Scottish referendum. My constituency borders Scotland and I have spent an awful lot of time there over the past nine months trying to make the case for the Union. I will be going back there on 18 September, as many colleagues will, to continue to fight for the Union. Thirdly, in a former life as a barrister, for my sins, I was adviser to the Automobile Association on all matters parking. I had input into the Government’s consideration of wheel clamping and various other grave and weighty matters, which shows what an eminent and stellar legal practice I had before the good burghers of Hexham elevated me to a proper place for the conduct of legal studies.

My previous experience dates back to Vine v. London borough of Waltham Forest, the test case on parking that was conducted all the way up to the Court of Appeal. The hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) has made great efforts to introduce the Bill. He spoke of the ability of those who are concerned with parking matters to take litigation to the nth degree. I went all the way to the Court of Appeal on a disputed judgment and received a 2:1 decision from their lordships over the princely sum of, I believe, £40, so I do not underestimate the power of the courts and litigants to take such matters to the nth degree.

That is why I have concerns about the hon. Gentleman’s proposal. I speak for myself and cannot speak for those who represent various bits of Yorkshire and other places besides—

Mr David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) (Con): Unimportant bits of Yorkshire.

Guy Opperman: Obviously.

My concern is that the hon. Gentleman is seeking to take a course of action in the House 10 days before the referendum. The powers we have given in the Scotland Act 2012 are supposed to have devolved the very same powers that he seeks to pass in the Bill. In addition, even more powers will go to Scotland if the referendum is successful. With great respect to him, that is a recipe for disaster.

If I can speak up for my former profession, if there is ever such a thing as a lawyers’ charter, it is passing a Bill in one House of Parliament when another House of Parliament seeks to claim that it has priority. The laudable objective of outlawing the sort of parking that seems wrong to many people would be mired in the

5 Sep 2014 : Column 616

courts on an issue of constitutional law—it is hard to believe that parking matters could go to the higher courts, but I am living proof that it has happened on many occasions—and so the Bill might hamper the very objective it seeks. I have serious questions, therefore, about the legal and constitutional basis going forward.

Mr Davis: Given my hon. Friend’s previous profession, will he tell the House who would arbitrate when the two laws are in dispute?

Guy Opperman: That is the problem. In theory, if it concerned a Bill passed by this House, it would be determined by the High Court in this country, then the Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court. However, were one to be litigious and difficult—and Lord knows there are plenty of organisations that are—one could say, “No, this is a matter for the Scottish House and Scottish courts”. There might then be judicial review of the power of this House to introduce the legislation, and we would have the bizarre situation where a court might assess the legal merits on two particular bases under two different bits of legislation. If some of the legal arguments are correct—the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith accepts that there are legal arguments against his proposal—they would undermine the legal and statutory basis of his Bill.

Mark Lazarowicz: I invite the hon. Gentleman to read the Bill carefully. Currently, if legislation is passed by the Scottish Parliament, there is the possibility of a legal challenge in the Supreme Court, as he knows. The point of the Bill is to remove that possibility by specifically giving the Scottish Parliament the devolved competence so that there can be no dispute. The whole point is to reduce the possibilities he talks about.

Guy Opperman: I take the hon. Gentleman’s point, but as we all discover when we get into Parliament, the law of unintended consequences is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most powerful law passed by any Government or lawmakers.

I am not aware of the scale and measure of the legal advice, but Ministers far above my pay grade are always being asked to reveal their advice. The hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith is far more experienced than me and will know that, as is always the case, the Minister cannot reveal it. Surely, however, the legal advice from the Scottish Attorney-General and the lawyers who have disputed this matter over the past few years must be in the public domain and should be taken into consideration. I struggle to accept the Bill given that seven years into proceedings on this matter, lawyers have still not agreed on the appropriate legal and constitutional way forward. In that respect, I am greatly concerned that we might pass a Bill that would be enmeshed in legal process.

I merely wanted to make those observations. I fully understand the purpose of the Bill, as clearly one would wish to stop the things it aims to stop, but the bitter experience of my previous legal career and those of others—many lawyers have considered this particular point—leads me to question whether this is the right way forward.

5 Sep 2014 : Column 617

2.3 pm

Mr Russell Brown (Dumfries and Galloway) (Lab): As a layperson, not someone with a legal background, I fully recognise some of the arguments the hon. Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman) makes, but my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) is exactly right: for the last several years, there has been constitutional bickering and wrangling over who is responsible for this matter. I ask the few of us left in the Chamber: how many of us have not come across an awkward individual who, inadvertently or otherwise, has parked their vehicle in a way that prevents someone with a child in a pram or a pushchair or a disabled person in a wheelchair from getting along the footway? I fully appreciate the point made over the last 10 or 15 minutes, but it is surely an obstruction. Of course it is, but in Scotland, the wrangling goes on.

The Bill, introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith, is all about determining where competence lies. It is abundantly clear that the Scottish Parliament want to do this, but the problem is in gaining the clarity, which I hope today’s debate will allow to happen.

Only last week, I was out one evening on the referendum trail—as I have been on most evenings, most afternoons and most mornings of late—when I came across a property that had a boundary wall, a footway and a grass verge. A guy had pulled his vehicle across that grass verge. By pure chance, a lady coming along the footway in the opposite direction to me was in one of these small, not very wide mobility chairs—so she got through. She said, however, “I’ve been lucky, haven’t I? If I’d been in a normal-sized one, I would have had to go on to the road”. That is pure inconsiderate driving—in fact, downright bad driving. We are living in a era, however, where this guy could not pull his vehicle into his driveway because there were another two vehicles there. This is happening more and more often. The issue is to a certain extent about road users being inconsiderate.

Mr David Davis: Forgive me, but I speak as an English, rather than as a Scottish, Member of Parliament. The issue is not—for many of us, I think—whether or not the legislation is generally a good idea; it is the confusion over why the Scottish Parliament cannot carry this out itself. What is stopping the Scottish Parliament; what is the confusion?

Mr Brown: I think my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith explained that. There is some bickering about how this can best be dealt with.

Guy Opperman: Briefly, can the hon. Gentleman clarify this for me? If, as I understand it, this measure has cross-party support, and if the issue has been a matter of consideration by the Scottish Government for seven years, why have that Scottish Government not passed this Bill?

Mr Brown: I would not say indiscretions, but certain little loopholes might have arisen. Even when my party was in coalition with the Liberal Democrats in Scotland for a number of years—

Mr David Davis: We feel for you!

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Mr Brown: We won’t go there. It seems to have been an inability to move the Scottish Parliament forward. I recognise, particularly when the three wise men are in their places right at the back on the Government Benches—

Mr Nuttall: There are only two.

Mr Brown: Only two, is that right? Okay, in that case I will let the two argue it out with the other one.

The issue is not about clogging up the whole legislative programme; it is simply about deciding that this power could be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. I am speaking at the Dispatch Box for the Opposition today, while the Government have a Transport Minister here. If the Bill were given a quick, clean bill of health, it would not fall to the Department for Transport to deal with, because the power would fall back through the Scotland Office. The Bill will not snarl up the programme of legislation for the Department for Transport.

If it comes down to money, we should look at the amount being spent by local authorities for dropped kerbs for people in wheelchairs and the like, and recognise that we still see inconsiderate behaviour by drivers who still block those kerbs. I emphasise again to Government Members that this is not a massive piece of legislation.

Mr Nuttall: I appreciate that this is not a massive piece of legislation, but could the shadow Minister give the House an idea of the extent of the problem in his constituency, representing, as he does, a Scottish constituency? Does he get a lot of complaints about this at his surgery, for example?

Mr Brown: I appreciate that my constituency is 300 miles away from here, but I think the experiences of my constituents who may use wheelchairs and such like is the same as that of people the length and breadth of the UK. It is not as if this is a specific problem there, but I would be very surprised if Members on the Government Benches had not encountered problems, and even seen it with their own eyes and thought, “That’s a bit of bad parking.”

If this Bill is going to be talked out, I do not want that to come from me, however, so let me just say that this is about doing nothing more than devolving power to the Scottish Parliament to deal with this once and for all.

2.10 pm

Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): I am certainly not going to talk this Bill out, because I hope we will have a chance to get on to my Bill, which would ensure we had to spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on defence. That is a very topical Bill, and even if we do not have a chance to debate it extensively, I hope it will get a Second Reading on the nod.

My first problem with the Responsible Parking (Scotland) Bill is its title, as everything the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) said in introducing it suggested he was trying to address the issue of irresponsible parking, so I think he has got the wrong title to his Bill.

Mark Lazarowicz: I was advised by the Clerks that “Irresponsible Parking” would not have been acceptable but “Responsible Parking” would be.

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Mr Chope: Clause 1, however, refers to “Obstructive parking”. If that phrase is all right in clause 1, surely it would have been all right in the title of the Bill?

I have more serious reservations about this Bill, however. As has been said already, it is premature because of the proximity of the referendum. However, it does not matter which way the people of Scotland: if they vote for independence, which I sincerely hope they will not, they will take over the responsibilities set out in this Bill; and, as I understand it, a deal has been done—I am not saying it has been approved by this House—by all the leaders of the main political parties to the effect that if the people of Scotland vote against independence, they will be allowed what is called devo-max. I do not know exactly what devo-max involves, but I think it probably includes allowing the Scottish Government to decide on such issues as obstructive parking, rather than having them dealt with by the United Kingdom Government.

Philip Davies: Does my hon. Friend agree that there is a slight irony in the fact that Opposition Members are on the one hand arguing that we should not have independence for Scotland and that we are better together, while on the other hand they are acknowledging that this is an issue that is the same right across the UK but that it should be dealt with by more independence for Scotland? Is there not some slight irony and contradiction in the arguments they are putting forward?

Mr Chope: Well, there is nothing new in that, as my hon. Friend knows.

I was surprised, however, that the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) did not deploy the argument, in support of the no campaign in the referendum, that if Edinburgh was to become a diplomatic capital, the amount of obstructive parking by cars with diplomatic number plates would make the situation far worse than at present. If the people in his constituency and Edinburgh as a whole think there is a problem with obstructive parking, they should be very determined to vote no in the referendum to ensure it does not get any worse, with a whole lot more diplomatic vehicles there. That is a point that I make on behalf of the hon. Gentleman; it is a pity that he did not refer to it himself.

A further issue is that the Bill duplicates existing legislation. On too many occasions—not only on Fridays—the House tries to legislate on activities that are already against the law. The problem is that the existing law is not being properly enforced. I think the hon. Gentleman would accept that it is already against the law to obstruct the highway or to park on the pavement, thereby preventing disabled vehicles, buggies and people who are blind or have other handicaps from being able to move along the pavement. That is already against the law, and if that law is not being enforced, that should be a matter for the law enforcement authorities rather than for the lawmakers. People keep saying that we want more lawmaking, but let us think about whether we really want to litter the statute book with another piece of duplicate legislation.

There is a strong argument for applying the same road traffic laws across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, and I am not quite sure why Scottish Ministers want to get involved in introducing separate offences for obstructing the highway.

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Philip Davies: My hon. Friend is touching on some important points. Does he agree that Opposition Members have probably fallen into the Scottish nationalists’ trap? The nationalists are saying that they do not have the power to make these changes, simply in order to hide their own uselessness in governing Scotland. Rather than challenging them and telling them that they do indeed have that power and they need to pull their finger out and do something for the people they are supposed to be representing, Labour has fallen into the nationalists’ trap and accepted that more legislation is needed, thus giving the nationalists an excuse for not doing what they should be doing.

Mr Chope: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Why would we want to give the Scottish Parliament more powers when it seems to be agonising at great length over issues as trivial as the one we are discussing today? I do not think it has demonstrated that it can be decisive and in control of events.

Mr David Davis: There is another way in which the Bill is a gift to the Scottish nationalist argument. No one has argued that this problem is unique to Scotland. Indeed, it occurs across the whole country. If the Bill were passed, it ought to be called simply the Responsible Parking Bill, rather than the Responsible Parking (Scotland) Bill. Why should Scotland be different in this respect?

Mr Chope: I agree with my right hon. Friend. I believe in the United Kingdom. I was lucky enough to be educated at a Scottish university, and I would like to think that my degree will still be regarded as a United Kingdom degree, rather than one from a foreign country. I have given my reasons for not thinking that the Bill is in a fit state to go further in the House.

2.18 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Claire Perry): I sincerely thank the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) for the debate that we have had today. He clearly cares deeply about this important issue, and I commend him for the concern that he is showing. I should also thank my assiduous colleagues across the House for their interesting and thoughtful interventions. My hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman), who is no longer in his place, brought to the debate the benefit of his experience as a legal expert on all matters related to parking. He highlighted the point at the heart of the debate, which is the complexity of the legal and constitutional issues as they relate to this Parliament and to the one north of the border.

It was also interesting to hear from my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr Chope). I wonder whether he shares my view that devo-max sounds more like a new form of bathroom cleaner. It is a very clunky term, but it does point up the need and the desire for this issue to be a matter for the Scottish Parliament. My hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) raised the matter of the inconsistency in the application of laws north and south of the border, and I hope to be able to clarify that point in a moment.

I want to talk about the spirit behind the Bill, which I suspect all Members share. I also want to discuss the criminalisation of parking offences, which I believe the

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Bill seeks effectively to provide the headroom to do in Scotland. I also want to say a few words about the legal and constitutional question, although as Members and the occupant of the Speaker’s Chair will appreciate, this is not a time to be making policy announcements, given what is going to happen in less than two weeks’ time.

The hon. Member for Dumfries and Galloway (Mr Brown) spoke eloquently about the problems that parking on pavements causes for pedestrians, whether or not visually impaired; older pedestrians, ladies such as my mother, who are pushing along a mobility device find it difficult to navigate, as do people with pushchairs. I well remember my experience as a mother of three bumping buggies up and down pavements, trying to find dropped kerbs. That is not easy and, as soon as children get older than six months old one cannot carry them in baby slings, and therefore they need to be on wheels.

I wonder whether other hon. Members recall going during last year’s party conference season to some of the fantastic stands put up by the association, Guide Dogs, to help us understand what living streets should look like. I note that Guide Dogs has challenged the Prime Minister, not to the ice bucket challenge, although that cannot be far behind, but to a blindfolded walk—a chance for people from all walks of life, including Members, to get out there and experience the real impact of street clutter, including the challenge of vehicles parked on the pavement.

One thing the Bill and the debate has not touched on is the damage to pavements and the cost to local authorities of this irresponsible parking. It can be a serious problem in terms of maintaining road services and street services. I seek to reassure the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith and all Members across the House that I think everyone would agree with the spirit of what he is trying to achieve, which is to make parking more responsible, both north and south of the border, and to make the street journey of all sorts of pedestrians, including ladies and men with children, people in wheelchairs and people who are visually impaired, easier and safer.

Mr Nuttall: On this point about keeping pavements clear, is the Minister aware that following guidance from her Department on the removal of unnecessary signs on the pavement, more than 9,000 such signs have been removed, right across the United Kingdom?

Claire Perry: As always, my hon. Friend makes a detailed and well-made point. The Government strongly believe in removing all sorts of unnecessary street clutter, not only for pedestrians, but for drivers. The evidence base suggests that having more signs and confusing information reduces road safety, so I thank him for mentioning the work that is already being done.

As the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith has set out, his Bill seeks to devolve powers in relation to parking on pavements to the Scottish Parliament, enabling that body to legislate on this area and, specifically, to criminalise the act of parking on pavements—that is how I understand it. I will deal a little later with what happens in England. As he will know, that is complicated, as in some places there is a blanket ban on such parking and in other areas there is freedom to park on pavements, and we have a devolved approach on actually opting

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out of that. In some areas there are criminal sanctions, whereas in others there are civil sanctions. It is not clear that there is a role model south of the border for what he is trying to achieve with the Bill north of the border. I think what the Bill is trying to achieve is to clarify the legal position in this area—the hon. Member for Dumfries and Galloway referred to the ping-pong that has gone on between Parliaments for many years on this issue—to clear the way for the passing of a Member’s Bill in the Scottish Parliament on this matter.

Let me make brief reference to the Bill being presented by Sandra White, which intends to allow freedom of movement for all pedestrians by restricting parking at dropped kerbs, on pavements and double parking. The proposal was lodged on 24 January and although she has secured the right to introduce the Bill, it has not yet been introduced, despite having cross-party support. I suspect that, like me, the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith shares some disappointment that it is not higher up the priority list for the Scottish Parliament, because that Bill could improve the passenger and pedestrian experiences for people north of the border.

As we heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham, the legal situation as to who does what where in the parliamentary protocol is complicated. Under the Scotland Act 1998, transport in Scotland is. in general, the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government, although some aspects remain reserved to the UK Parliament, including subjects covered by the Road Traffic Act 1998 and the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. For example, section 19 of the 1998 Act contains a provision relating to heavy goods vehicles parking on verges, central reservations and footways, so that remains a reserved matter for the UK Government.

Other legislation makes specific provision on parking. Section 43 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 gave the Secretary of State the power to create

“permitted and special parking areas outside London”

on application by local authorities. In those areas, certain offences under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and other Acts do not apply. Instead a penalty charge is payable by the owner of the vehicle. That continues to be enforced in Scotland, but in England and Wales it has been largely replaced by the Traffic Management Act 2004, which contains provision for parking on dropped footways in England and Wales.

In Scotland, the powers of the Secretary of State for Transport to make the permitted and special parking areas are exercised by Scottish Ministers. The Scottish statutory instrument made under the power states that the power was passed on devolution to Scottish Ministers.

I promised to set out the Government’s approach to parking policy in England, which may help to inform the debate. As I said in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley, we devolve responsibility to English local authorities for policy in respect of the provision of parking and parking facilities, such as the charge to park, the provision of bays, installing restrictions, and installing residents’ parking bays. What is proposed today is consistent with that policy of devolving power down to those who sit closest to the local road and pavement users in a particular area.

Local authorities implement local restrictions by traffic regulation orders for which they are responsible. The delivery of these local schemes is entirely in keeping

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with this Government’s commitment to decision-making being taken at a local level. We are also committed to providing better scrutiny of those decisions.

Let me take a 30-second deviation to illustrate a local problem. In some areas of my constituency, including parking areas around Great Bedwyn station, there has been a long-running debate over residents’ parking bays and the traffic overflow that arises from free parking at that station.

On 30 August, the Department for Communities and Local Government published a discussion paper on a mechanism for giving a new right to local residents or local firms to raise a petition that will require a council review of the use of yellow lines or other parking provisions. I am sure that all Members will welcome the announcement made on 21 June regarding a package of measures to rein in over-zealous local parking practices. Those include restricting the use of CCTV for parking enforcement to schools, bus lanes, bus stops and red routes; introducing a new right to allow local residents and local firms to demand a review of parking in their area; reforming operational parking guidance so that it is less heavy-handed with motorists and positively supports local shops—something to which we are all passionately committed—introducing mandatory 10-minute “grace periods” at the end of on-street paid-for and free parking; and possibly a widening of the powers of parking adjudicators.

Turning back to the issue of civil versus criminalisation of parking offences, it may be worth noting that more than 90% of local authorities now enforce parking civilly. The Traffic Management Act 2004 imposes an explicit duty on local authorities to manage their network so as to reduce congestion and disruption. There are many advantages of civil parking enforcement rather than criminal enforcement, including the fact that local authorities are responsible for their local road network and therefore know best where the clutter and congestion are and where the pavements need to be clear. Of course that then frees up the police to focus their resources on the more serious matters. I am sure that will be a popular with many Members of this House. We want the police to be focused on the most serious crimes. Where we have the capacity, we want local authorities and others to carry out civil enforcement in a way that most benefits the local communities.

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There are some endorseable parking offences. Broadly, those involve dangerous or obstructive parking, although there is often a lack of clarity over those offences. A driver's licence can be endorsed with penalty points or withdrawn.

Turning to Scotland, I have mentioned that Scottish Ministers have powers to make permitted and special parking areas in Scotland and therefore under the decriminalised parking enforcement scheme in Scotland any local authority can apply to Scottish Ministers for orders decriminalising certain parking offences. Under those parking enforcement regimes, a local authority can go out and place penalty charge notices on vehicles contravening parking regulations. That now applies to about half of the local authorities that are operating the system—

2.30 pm

The debate stood adjourned (Standing Order No. 11(2)).

Ordered. That the debate be resumed on Friday 12 September.

Business without Debate

Health Service Commissioner for England (Complaint Handling) Bill

Motion made, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Hon. Members: Object.

Bill to be read a Second time on Friday 17 October.

Defence Expenditure (NATO Target) Bill

Motion made, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Hon. Members: Object.

Bill to be read a Second time on Friday 12 September.

Wild Animals in Circuses Bill

Motion made, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Hon. Members: Object.

Bill to be read a Second time on Friday 17 October.

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Burial Space (London)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Dr Thérèse Coffey.)

2.31 pm

Dr Matthew Offord (Hendon) (Con): Burial provision is not something that many people wish to discuss, but I believe that as a consequence of such reticence the need to create additional space in London will require hard decisions to be made.

Much of what I have to say this afternoon draws heavily on the work of Julie Rugg and Nicholas Pleace and their report produced for the Greater London authority. I make no apology for that, as I believe their conclusions need the widest possible circulation. Way back in 1997 it was estimated that there was only nine years’ supply of burial space in inner London. In outer London supply was uneven: six boroughs would run out of space before 2016 but some had sufficient burial space for the next 100 years. The significant change introduced to address the lack of provision was the London Local Authorities Act 2007, under which burial authorities in the capital were given power to disturb human remains in a grave where burial rights had been extinguished and when the intention was to increase the space for interments in the grave.

The provision relates to graves that are at least 75 years old, and it was anticipated that the ability would facilitate what has been termed a “lift and deepen” approach to grave reuse, whereby any disinterred remains from a particular grave would be placed in another container and reinterred deeper in the same grave, freeing the desired depth for reuse. The change in the legislation therefore offers local authorities the option to reuse purchased graves when the right has been extinguished and the necessary faculty has been secured. The regulation does not apply to unpurchased or common graves as no rights exist in those graves.

Back in June, I asked the Secretary of State for Justice what estimates had been made of the number of local authorities that had adopted those powers and what the estimated number of grave spaces introduced as a result was. The Minister responded that no estimate of the number of grave spaces created or of the number of local authorities that have used powers under the Act to reuse graves has been made. He also said that he was keeping the issue of burial space under active review, including considering what legislative changes might be necessary to address a shortage of graves.

It appears that as yet no London borough has adopted these powers. In many respects, this was just a sticking plaster in addressing the underlying lack of burial space, but a combination of my asking the parliamentary question and securing this Adjournment debate seems to have hastened concern within the Department. I am grateful to the Minister for organising a meeting next week.

This brings me to my area of concern. The supply of burial spaces was already regarded as problematic in the mid-1990s, but how have local authorities overcome the problems as all burial authorities appear not to have adopted permitted grave reuse measures?

The Rugg and Pleace report asserts that supply has been underpinned by the creation of graves in areas of cemeteries where burials were not originally anticipated,

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but, as we know from the old adage about God not creating any more land, that is not sustainable. The use of this initiative will also prevent future capacity as the 75-year expiration will be extended to additional parts of cemeteries, rendering them unusable.

One reason I have become interested in the availability of burial space resulted from pressures within my constituency. In recent months, Barnet council received an application for the construction of a mausoleum next to Westminster cemetery in Mill Hill. The application was dropped following opposition from many local people. I met the applicants and they explained the rationale behind the application. Although the application was dropped, I believe that a new application will be made, and I expect the planning committee on Barnet council to consider the possible merits.

To ensure that Barnet council considers the application appropriately, I asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance the Department had published for local authorities in determining planning permission applications for the creation of cemeteries. The former Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Nick Boles), replied that applications are considered on their own merits, and by law must be determined in accordance with the development plan for the area, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. But I ask, do we need more space?

The Office for National Statistics indicates a projected decline in deaths in London between 2010 and 2031. It is anticipated that total deaths in the city will fall from 57,400 in 2010 to 46,700 in 2031, with decline being fairly steady throughout that period. But mortality projections alone are insufficient data on which to calculate demand for burial space. London has a great deal of economic in-migration, and the outward migration of households following retirement. It is not possible to estimate the number of deaths in this city of migrants whose bodies are then repatriated, or where deaths may take place outside London but result in a cremation or burial in the capital.

The extent of demand for burial space will be influenced by the incidence of cremation. In 2008, ONS figures indicated that there were 50,476 deaths in London, which resulted in 37,700 cremations in London crematoria —a crude cremation rate of 75%. But data supplied by the Cremation Society of Great Britain indicate that in London cremation numbers have been falling. Between 1997 and 2009, the number of cremations in crematoria located in London dropped from 48,275 to 36,736—a fall of 24%. In the years between 2001 and 2009, the falling number of cremations was proportionately higher than the falling mortality rate, at 15.9% versus 10.7%.

It was not possible during the course of the research to interrogate that reduced incidence of cremation. There may have been a growing preference among Londoners for burial, but a more likely explanation could be the religious and ethnic groupings in London. Research has been produced on attitudes to grave reuse among different religious denominations. Using that research, it can be estimated that while almost three quarters of Christians can be expected to opt for cremation, and between 80% and 90% of Sikhs and Hindus would choose the same, just 4% of Jewish people and 1% of Muslims would choose cremation. That is of great significance to constituents in my seat of Hendon, as I have large Jewish and significant Muslim populations.

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There are three burial authorities operating in Barnet—the London borough of Camden, the City of Westminster and the London borough of Barnet itself. The latter owns Hendon cemetery and crematorium. Twenty years ago, it was estimated that there were 1,343 graves remaining. In addition, there was half a hectare of space adjacent to the cemetery, purchased by the cemetery company but never brought into use. In 2009, the site itself still had unused areas, but had also completed an exercise to establish where space might be available between graves and where there were “half spaces” suitable for children’s interments. Overall, it was estimated that around 25 years’ use was left, but it is uncertain whether the extension was brought into use.

I think I have painted a picture of a problem that exists not only in my constituency but in other parts of London. To add to the mix are the predictions of the London Mayor’s London excessive deaths framework. That predicts the average death rate per week of 922 people in the capital. Based on a prediction of a 75% cremation rate, 230 people are buried each week in the capital. However, in the event of a situation that the document describes as “highly likely” to occur, such as a heatwave or cold weather, or a communicable disease, it is predicted that the death rate could leap to 1,980—an increase of 1,058 deaths per week. The most likely scenario for coping with such an eventuality is that local authorities would need massively to increase their mortuary space. Having visited the mortuary in Barnet, I can say that it would not take a huge number of additional deaths for the present capacity to be reached.

Consequently, I believe that the capital—and the country—is facing this problem. Back in May I was a member of the Delegated Legislation Committee that considered the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure. At that Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston) stated that in one part of her constituency there were only 16 burial plots. In his response, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, my right hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry), said,

“she has identified what I suspect is something of a lacuna in the legislation about who is responsible for making provision for new cemeteries and new burial ground places.”—[Official Report, Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee, 12 May 2014; c. 5.]

I should be grateful to the Minister if he advised on this point and explained the actions that need to be taken to address this vital issue.

2.39 pm

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Simon Hughes): I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon (Dr Offord) on securing this debate on the provision of burial space in London and on his well-informed and up-to-date analysis of the position in his part of the capital city. This is self-evidently an important issue. I am aware that my coalition colleague and former Justice Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Mrs Grant), responded to a debate on a slightly broader but similar topic—burial space and the treatment of death—in September 2012.

Government responsibility for burials is shared between two Departments—the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Communities and Local Government. My Department, as my hon. Friend knows, has responsibility

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for burial law and policy; the DCLG has responsibility for local burial authorities. I am obviously responding today on behalf of the whole Government.

I shall make a few general points. Burials and funeral arrangements more widely are, of course, not just important in policy terms, but hugely important to individuals at various stages in their lives and to families. People are faced, sometimes unexpectedly, with the task of making practical arrangements, while dealing with a wealth of emotion—their own and that of other grieving friends, relatives and neighbours—and they may never have been through this process before.

Burial space has increasingly become an issue in some parts of England and Wales. One of the big questions is whether this is a national problem that needs to be addressed by central Government, or a local or regional problem—for example, a Greater London problem—best dealt with by existing or new local measures.

Back in 2005, when the Home Office was responsible for burial law and policy before the Ministry of Justice was created, it conducted a survey of burial provision that indicated that, at that time, the median remaining life of cemeteries was between 25 and 30 years. Since the Greater London authority report to which my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon referred was published in 2010, York university cemetery research group published an audit of burial space in 2013, which concluded that the situation in London was more critical than elsewhere, but that this was not true of all London burial authorities. Certainly, its analysis was that the position was not critical in Barnet—my hon. Friend’s local authority—because it is a borough in which the relevant authorities have planned ahead. My information is that there is enough burial space in general for what was then assessed to be at least the next 60 years. So Barnet is very well provided for.

Until early in the last century, burial was the only lawfully available option for disposing of the dead in this country. Parliament then responded to the growth of interest in and understanding of cremation. The Cremation Act 1902, which permitted cremation for the first time, was followed by the Roman Catholic Church lifting its own ban on cremation.

My hon. Friend gave the figures for London. The most recent national figures that I have available show that just over 70% of all disposals of bodies after death in England and Wales are now done by cremation. However, for many people, there are strongly held views behind their wish to be buried, or for burial for the family member for whom they are responsible. For many people in all our constituencies, the faith that they have and hold or the views that they have and hold mean that burial is the only acceptable option to deal with the bodies of the dead.

For example, in my constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark, which is made up of the northern two fifths of the London borough of Southwark, we have a very diverse and constantly changing community. We have a large Christian community of many denominations and a large Muslim community. They are the largest two faith communities. We have smaller communities of Buddists and Baha’is and people from every other major world faith, as well as people of no religious faith. My hon. Friend’s constituency will have the same variety of faith views, although the numbers obviously differ in different parts of London.

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In addition, relatives—often husbands and wives—wish to be buried together, no matter how long apart the deaths have occurred. The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for issuing the exhumation licences that can make that possible. None of us, I am sure, would underestimate the importance of those final arrangements and the wish of families to fulfil the dying wishes of whoever has died. There are important reasons for the fact that there continue to be 150,000 burials across the country every year.

I myself asked, what is the law on burials? Where can people be buried? It is worth putting the answer on the record for clarification. There are few regulations concerning where someone can be buried, although the landowner must give permission. The local authority will usually give guidance on any regulations that they expect to be observed. It would be wise of people also to contact the Environment Agency. However, there is nothing in law to prevent burial on private land such as a garden, as long as certain steps have been taken. The landowner has to authorise the burial, and the local environmental health officer has to be informed of the proposed burial and be content for it to take place there because, depending on the nature of the location, there may be public health implications. Woodland and green burials, which I understand to be more common, also require the permission of the landowner.

From my hon. Friend’s contributions and his questions earlier this year, and from my own constituency and ministerial experience, I know that there are three separate issues to be considered. First, on projections of demand, I shall not repeat into the record the figures that my hon. Friend gave, which are commonly available. They are from the Office for National Statistics and the Greater London authority, and they must inform our debate. They predict a decline in death in London, as my hon. Friend said, but of course he is right to say that as faith groups in particular change as a proportion of the London community, the demand for burial will change.

The London cremation rate in 2008 was 75%. The best figures that I have are that 27% of Christians opted for burial, while 91% of Buddhists, 96% of Jews and 96% of Muslims chose that option. As my hon. Friend rightly said, Hindus and Sikhs have a strong preference for cremation. Some 50% of those with no religion opted for burial. The logic of those figures is that boroughs with larger proportions of certain faith communities are likely to face increased pressure for burial space and greater reluctance to reuse graves—a point I shall come to in a moment. In my hon. Friend’s borough of Barnet, as I anticipated he would say, there is likely to be continued demand for burial space for the Jewish community, which is significant in that borough and some others in London.