§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. Houghton
Clause 3 brings a very welcome change in what has been commonly called the 12-hour rule. At a time when the Minister is having so many knocks over not improving the benefits in the Bill as many of us would wish, we should acknowledge that he has brought in a remedy for a grievance which particular types of employees have felt for some time.
I acknowledge straight away that I have a very important constituency interest in Clause 3, and so have some of my hon. Friends, those representing textile 1096 constituencies particularly. The lifting of the earnings rule, accompanied by the old condition that to work more than 12 hours is inconsistent with retirement, placed many, women especially, in the position that they could not reach the limit of earnings now prescribed by working 12 hours or less. They have felt that that was a very great disadvantage with other workers, especially men, who were able to absorb the margin permitted in the earnings rule with 12 hours' work a week or less, while the woman could not.
This Clause now proposes that a person shall be treated as not in a position inconsistent with retirement if he or she, irrespective of the number of hours worked, earns not more than the limit of earnings. I think that that will completely remedy the position. It will mean that they can go to the limit of the earnings rule irrespective of the number of hours worked without finding themselves questioned as to whether what they are doing is inconsistent with retirement. Therefore, I wish to thank the Minister for bringing this Clause into the Bill.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clauses 4 and 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ To report Progress and ask leave to sit again.—[Mr. Hughes-Young.]
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.