HC Deb 08 July 1971 vol 820 c1639
Mr. Alison

I beg to move Amendment No. 9, in page 5, line 21, leave out '£2.00' and insert '£3.00'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvey Anderson)

I hope that it will be convenient to take with this Amendment Amendment No. 10, in page 5, line 21, leave out '£2.00' and insert '£4.00'.

Mr. Alison

This Government Amendment implements a promise made in Committee about protected earnings, the level below which a person's income may not be reduced by the operation of post-dispute benefit recovery arrangements. It replaces £2 by £3 as the amount by which protected earnings are to exceed a former striker's supplementary benefit requirements

Mr. O'Malley

During Committee the hon. Gentleman defended the proposals of the Bill as being entirely fair and reasonable and promptly agreed to move the figure from £2 to £3, and we are grateful for that. However, the protected earnings for a man, his wife and three children, one child over 5 and two between the ages of 5 and 10, have moved from £11.70 of £12.70. The figure is still low in view of the fact that some people have to meet mortgage repayments for which they can get no help from supplementary benefit. They therefore have acute problems which continue during the oft-work period. Therefore, although we would have preferred our figure to have been included in the Bill, we welcome this move from £2 to £3.

Mr. Alison

Having weighed the arguments on both sides, I would point out that the figure originally was £2, the Opposition wanted the figure to be £4, and we have settled for £3. This is probably a fair result; it is a typical bit of British compromise. The hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that it remains a buoyant figure because it is automatically carried up by the regular upratings of supplementary benefit. Therefore, I trust that the figure of £3 will prove to be acceptable.

Amendment agreed to.

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