§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. BRYANT GODMAN IRVINE in the Chair]
§ 6.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Paul Dean (Somerset, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Godman Irvine. May I seek your advice about New Clause No. 3, which has not been selected? I understand that it is out of order. It seeks to provide parliamentary pensions at the age of 80 for former Members and widows who are at present entitled to no pension.
The Minister of State said clearly on Second Reading that the intention of the Bill was to carry out the recommendations of the Boyle Report. In paragraph 34 of that report a specific reference was made to the possibility of pensions for former Members at the age of 80. No recommendation was made, but it was specifically said that Parliament might wish to consider, and come to a decision on, this matter.
Do I understand that the Government have drawn the Bill so tightly that Parliament is being prevented from accepting the invitation issued by Boyle and prevented from coming to a specific decision on the matter? If that is so, it is disgraceful that when we are specifically invited by a Committee to consider a matter the Government should deny us the opportunity.
§ The Second Deputy Chairman (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)
The Bill is so drafted that it deals only with contributory pensions, and therefore the hon. Gentleman's new clause is out of order.
§ The Second Deputy Chairman
The hon. Gentleman may find some other method of discussing the matter, but he cannot do so under the Bill.
§ Mr. Hal Miller (Bromsgrove and Redditch)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Godman Irvine. We are in a very difficult position. In the Bill there is 1290 proposed a retrospective extension on a non-contributory basis for people who are already Members. They are entitled to accumulate extra credits for pension purposes for a non-contributory period, but we are excluding those of their colleagues who have subsequently left the House, although as far as one can see they were on the same basis. Why should one category be awarded a pension that is denied to others who were in the same boat at the same time?
§ Mr. Michael English (Nottingham, West)
On a point of order, Mr. Godman Irvine. I, too, have a little beef about the questions that have been ruled in order and out of order by the Chairman of Ways and Means.
I put down only one amendment and one new clause. The amendment had the object of enabling us to discuss the difference between our pension scheme, which at present has a 5 per cent. contribution rate, raised by the Bill to 6 per cent., and the Civil Service scheme, which is non-contributory, except in respect of the pensions of civil servants' widows, for whom I think civil servants contribute 1½ per cent. or 1¾ per cent. That amendment has been ruled out of order, with the result that we cannot bring Members of Parliament on to a basis of equality with the civil servants who serve them.
My new clause, which was also ruled out of order, concerns a question on which no Member was consulted. The Trustees, on the Treasury's advice, decided to opt us out of the State pension scheme. I was told earlier by Officers of the House that the Bill would provide an opportunity for Members to discuss that issue. That will not happen if my new clause is ruled out of order, yet it is a matter about which no Member has been consulted, apart from the Trustees. At some time, somewhere, we should have the opportunity of deciding for ourselves whether we shall be opted out of or into the State scheme.
§ Clause I ordered to stand part of the Bill.