HC Deb 30 June 1980 vol 987 cc1220-2
Mr. Tebbit

I beg to move amendment No. 53, in page 23, line 34, leave out 'by virtue of section 2 of this Act'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendment No. 62.

Mr. Tebbit

I think that we now come into calmer waters. This amendment relates to matters concerning pensions and contracts of employment. One has to consider with care what one is doing. I assure the House that there is nothing Machiavellian in the amendments before the House. I am not sure whether that assurance helps or damages my case. I assure the House that there is no change of policy and no worsening of the interests of employees regarding contracts of employment or pensions. The effect is to extend the application of paragraph 2 of schedule 1 to reflect fully the circumstances in which there are pension rights.

The amendments are necessary because we found a discrepancy between paragraph 2(3)(a) and paragraph 2(3)(b) which deal respectively with reckonable service for pension purposes in the case of employees of the British Airways Board and employees of the board's wholly owned subsidiaries. We found that paragraph 2(3)(a) as drafted was drawn too narrowly.

10.15 p.m.

The intention is that previous service with the British Airways Board, including that with its predecessors, BOAC and BEA, and with its wholly owned subsidiaries, should be treated for the purposes of any relevant pension arrangements as employment by the successor company or a wholly owned subsidiary of the successor company. This includes both continuous employment and where a person is re-employed after a break of employment.

The intention is achieved satisfactorily for present and past employees of the wholly owned subsidiaries by paragraph 2(3)(b). But, as drafted, paragraph 2(3)(a), which deals with employees of the mainstream organisation, would only have the desired effects for those employees of the British Airways Board who became employees of the successor company on the appointed day by virtue of clause 2. In other words, it would apply only to those with continuity of employment between the board and the successor company and not to those who left the employment of the board before the appointed day and were re-employed by the successor company after the appointed day. We do not intend that there should be different treatment in this respect.

The amendment to delete by virtue of section 2 of this Act rectifies the situation by bringing paragraph 2(3)(a) into line with paragraph 2(3)(b) and treating previous periods of employment with BOAC, BEA or the British Airways Board as reckonable whether or not the employment was continuous.

I should perhaps add that the provisions of paragraph 3 are declaratory for the avoidance of doubt and, as amended, will properly reflect the relevant provisions of the airways pension scheme.

(1) The powers of the British Airports Authority under section 2 of the Airports Authority Act 1975 (which sets out the Authority's functions) shall include power (whether alone or in association with other persons)—
5 (a) to provide or assume the management of any aerodrome outside Great Britain; and
(b) to provide services or facilities which are in the Authority's opinion necessary or desirable for the operation of aerodromes outside Great Britain; but its duty under subsection (8) of that section shall not apply in relation to the management and administration of any aerodrome outside Great Britain.
10 (2) The Authority shall not, by virtue of subsection (1) above, exercise any power to provide or assume the management of any aerodrome or to provide services or facilities except—
(a) with the consent in writing of the Secretary of State; and
15 (b) if the exercise of that power involves capital expenditure by the Authority, or the guaranteeing by the Authority of any liability, with the consent of the Secretary of State given with the approval of the Treasury.
This subsection does not affect the power of the Authority to provide services by virtue of subsection (5) of section 2 (provision of technical advice or assistance, including research services, as respects any matter in which the Authority has skill
20 or experience), notwithstanding that the services also fall within subsection (1)(b) above.
(3) It is hereby declared that—
25 (a) the power of the Authority under subsection (5) of section 2 includes power to provide the advice or assistance there mentioned for any person outside Great Britain; and

Once this amendment has been made, subparagraph (4) becomes redundant, if that is not an inappropriate word in this context. If it were not deleted it would contradict the wider interpretation of subparagraph (3). So the second of this pair of amendments is consequential.

I repeat that neither of the amendments adversely affects in any way the pension arrangements or contracts of employment of employees of the British Airways Board or its wholly owned subsidiaries. Those obligations will be vested in the successor company and its wholly owned subsidiaries by virtue of clause 2. The only change will be with the name of the employer.

I think that these amendments will clear up some posible problems which might have arisen had they not been made.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 62, in page 23, leave out lines 41 to 46.—[Mr. Tebbit.]

Mr. Tebbit

I beg to move. That consideration of new clauses 3, 4, 15 and 18 be postponed until after the consideration of new clauses 2 and 1. I understand that this will be for the convenience of the House.

Question put and agreed to.

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