HC Deb 27 October 1953 vol 518 cc2751-3

Lords Amendment: In page 5, leave out line 7 and insert "may be prescribed."

Mr. H. Strauss

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

It will be convenient to deal with this and the next two Lords Amendments together:

In line 10, leave out "the Treasury may direct," and insert "may be prescribed";

In line 14, at end, insert: (3) In this paragraph the expression' prescribed' means prescribed by regulations made by the Treasury by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament; and regulations under this paragraph—

  1. (a) may be made generally or subject to specified exceptions or in relation to specified cases or classes of case;
  2. (b) may provide that in calculating relevant service either the whole of a person's prescribed service of any description shall be taken into account or such part thereof only as may be determined by or under the regulations;
  3. (c) may make different provision for different cases or classes of case."
These Lords Amendments give effect to an undertaking given by my right hon. Friend on Second Reading. The subject dealt with is the pension position of an ex-civil servant or other pensionable servant of the Crown who becomes a Chairman or deputy-Chairman of the Commission. On Second Reading the right hon. Member for Huyton, and I think also the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), pointed out certain defects in the Clause as drafted and it was agreed by all that the appropriate way would be to deal with the matter by regulation. That provides the necessary flexibility while leaving the control with Parliament.

Mr. H. Wilson

I should like again to thank the hon. and learned Member for the fact that the Government have caused Amendments to be made in another place and to be brought forward here to give effect to what we had in mind. To put him right on a small point of history, we moved Amendments in Committee and the discussion took place then, not on Second Reading.

Mr. H. Strauss

I am sorry.

Mr. Wilson

I think probably the right way to deal with it is to provide that regulations shall be made by the Treasury. As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) said, there is a precedent under the National Insurance Act. As I understand it, these regulations will be subject to the control of the House by negative Resolution, so that we shall be able to deal with them as they come up.

We are not quite certain even now—and this is a rather difficult technical point—whether the hon. and learned Gentleman has got hold of the point we tried to make in Committee. If not. that is no doubt our own fault. The hon. and learned Gentleman intends to ensure in the regulations that there will be no question of a civil servant who, before completing his normal period of office as a civil servant, is appointed to the Monopolies Commission, drawing two pensions for the same period of time. Although he can count Crown employment prior to his employment by the Monopolies Commission as approved service to add to his Monopolies Commission service, the Treasury will obviously ensure that he cannot draw two pensions in respect of the same period of employment.

But that, of course, was not quite the point which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering and I tried to argue with the Government in Committee. It is not enough, I submit, merely to ensure that the ex-civil servant in question is not entitled to draw two pensions in respect of the same period of service. We were concerned to ensure that in respect of that service which he had recorded in the Civil Service proper he should draw a rate of pension appropriate to that Civil Service employment and should not be allowed normally to count it as approved service for the higher rate of pension applicable to an officer of the Monopolies Commission.

What we had in mind was the inequity which would result if there were two civil servants, one of whom continued to serve in an ordinary Government Department and in respect of his whole period drew pension appropriate to that service, while his brother civil servant, who was appointed for some years to the Monopolies Commission, drew not merely the higher pension applicable to his period of service with the Monopolies Commission—no one could complain about that—but also a higher rate of pension in respect of his Civil Service employment under the approved regulations.

I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman, and in particular the Treasury, will have this very much in mind when these regulations are drawn up and will take account not merely of what is already in the Government's mind but also the other point which we have tried to put forward. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman will recognise, and the Treasury certainly will, that all kinds of difficulties are being created—the same was true under the late Government—when civil servants are appointed, either on retirement or before retirement, as in the case which we have just heard, to perhaps a more lucrative appointment under a public board. This is bound to cause difficulties within the Civil Service, and we do not want to add to those difficulties. I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will go into this question and ensure that the regulations, on which we shall have an opportunity of commenting, will look after that point.

Question put, and agreed to.

Remaining Lords Amendments agreed to. [Several with Special Entries.]