HC Deb 16 November 1962 vol 667 cc781-2
Mr. Houghton

I beg to move, in page 6, line 41, to leave out from the second "the" to end of line 43, and to insert "1st July 1962".

This is a claim for retrospection of the benefits of the Bill to 1st July of this year. I am bearing in mind in this connection that during July the Chief Secretary, on behalf of the Government, took the unusual step of announcing to the House that it was the intention of the Government to introduce another Pensions (Increase) Bill. Usually, announcements of legislation for the following Session axe reserved for the Gracious Speech, but for reasons which the whole. House will understand the right hon. Gentleman felt it desirable to announce this in July, before we rose for the Summer Recess.

The right hon. Gentleman probably did so because he knew that the House was not only attentive, but was perhaps a little impatient about this matter and wanted to hear something before we rose for the Summer Recess. Hon. Members on both sides of the House were greatly encouraged when they heard the Chief Inspector's—[Laughter.]—I am sorry, I mean the Chief Secretary's announcement. That was a Freudian slip, going back to my days in the Inland Revenue. My "Chief Inspector" is quite a different one from the one that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South East (Mr. Callaghan) might have in mind.

It seems appropriate that, the announcement having been made in July, people should not have to wait until next January for the benefit. When decisions of this kind are taken it is customary to implement them speedily, It is not usual to announce something well ahead and then go away for a long summer holiday, coming back in the autumn and saying, "Oh, yes, it will start next January." Therefore, it seems to me that there is a strong case for allowing this modest amount of back dating.

I realise the difficulty that we may be imposing upon local authorities who have to share in the cost of the Bill, and who may say, "We have not made provision for it." It is very difficult, but we nevertheless want to see reasonable justice done, whatever the financial difficulties may be. In the circumstances, we do not think that retrospection to 1st July is unnecessarily burdensome to the authorities concerned. As to whether we have to do anything about the effective date 1st January, 1963, that is a different matter. At present, we are concerned solely with the question of retrospection. I believe that this is a reasonable proposal, and I hope that the Chief Secretary will agree.

It being Four o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.