HC Deb 26 October 1965 vol 718 cc118-9

Order for Second Reading read.

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

9.14 p.m.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

I can be a lot kinder to this Bill than to the Matrimonial Causes Bill. This is a Bill taking into account a multitude of different Acts from 1834 to 1965, and any of us who had any dealings earlier in the Session with the latest superannuation Measure know what a jungle it was to understand it—searching through the many earlier Superannuation Acts for references. We therefore welcome this consolidation Bill. Nevertheless, perhaps one should put on record just one or two things concerning it—the good points and the doubtful point.

The first good point is that, unlike the Matrimonial Causes Bill with which we have just dealt, this Bill waited for an Act amending a number of anomalies in the law before consolidation. That was clearly stated before the Joint Committee.

Secondly, it adopts what I would submit is the very proper practice of putting the transitional positions into a schedule instead of keeping the Act alive for some special reasons or purposes. In a Consolidation Bill with which we dealt earlier in the Session, a number of almost spent or obsolescent Acts were kept alive just for a special purpose. In the present case the parts of them to which one still needs to refer are kept alive by putting them in a schedule to the Bill and repealing the Acts themselves; so that the Bill really is a Consolidation Bill and the only document to which one has to refer when dealing with superannuation.

The third good point, I would have thought, is that the Statutes which can no longer have any effect are repealed. The spent Statutes are removed from the Statute Book.

However, there is one doubtful point about the Bill in that it embodies certain Statutory Orders. We dealt at length on the National Insurance Consolidation Bill with the question whether it was the right thing in Consolidation Bills to include Statutory Orders. Fortunately, in the case of the Superannuation Bill the position is very different from that under the National Insurance Bill. In the present case, the two orders which are embodied in the Bill are merely embodied in the form of dates. As I understand the position, the Orders were Orders which fixed a date for the end of the 1939 emergency. In doing so, the Orders themselves were spent by fixing the date. That was all that was required, and the Order was finished. The dates are now introduced into Clauses 30 and 31 of the Bill and, therefore, no bad precedent has been set by re-enacting Statutory Instruments in a Consolidation Bill. I strongly objected to it in a previous Bill, but in the present case it is nothing like that. I wanted to say that in order to protect myself should I wish to raise the point in future that I raised on the National Insurance Bill. On the Superannuation Bill, it is quite different.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. George Rogers.]

Committee Tomorrow.