HC Deb 13 December 1993 vol 234 cc790-802

Queen's Recommendation having been signified

10.53 pm
The Minister for Social Security and Disabled People (Mr. Nicholas Scott)

I beg to move, That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Statutory Sick Pay Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of any expenses incurred in consequences of the Act by a Minister of the Crown.

The resolution is in a form that will be familiar to the House, so I shall not weary hon. Members with a lengthy explanation of it. Sufficent to say that the Statutory Sick Pay Bill abolishes the right of employers to recover 80 per cent. of statutory sick pay paid to their employees from their remittances of national insurance contributions. It also requires employers to pay statutory sick pay to working women who fall sick and become incapable of work before reaching the age of 65. Both proposals will result in increased expenditure by the Government in their role as an employer. Hence the need for a money resolution, which I commend to the House.

10.25 pm
Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)

I am conscious of the fact that I rise at quite a late hour to initiate what I imagine will be a short debate on the resolution.

It is a tribute to the co-operation extended in the House and the speed with which we do our business that we have managed to dispose of four votes in a smidgen over 50 minutes. That does not suggest tardiness by my right hon. and hon. Friends.

I am also aware that the Committee of Selection—I am not sure in what particular human form—is waiting in the wings with some quite important motions. Therefore, it behoves us not to hold up the House unduly. I want to raise a number of issues with the Minister, however, and I know that the right hon. Gentleman, being a courteous man, will want to respond and explain the exact significance of the money resolution.

We find ourselves in a somewhat odd position, because we are debating the money resolution before we have the guillotine, the Second Reading or any other proceedings. Although my memory goes back 20 years in the House, my naivety or comparative inexperience means that I am used to debating the money resolution after the Second Reading. The more cynical among us remember occasions in which the money resolution has been used as an overflow debate for those who did not get called in the main show. Their contributions may have stretched the rules of procedure to the limit, but they were able to put some of their arguments.

People who are wiser in the ways of the House than I am, and to whose knowledge I defer, tell me that it is not without precedent to discuss the money resolution before the Second Reading. To discuss it before the guillotine motion, however, is rather odd, but then, as I am sure that you have noted, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we are dealing with an unusual situation. We are, for example, specially empowered by the House as a result of a motion that we discussed on Friday to put down amendments for consideration in Committee, before the guillotine or the Second Reading. It is in that wrong-way-round world that we now find ourselves discussing the money resolution. When the Minister no doubt courteously replies, he might deal briefly with whether it is normal to have such an order of events, or whether we have put the cart before the House. That is one of a number of metaphors that I intend to mix in my comparatively short speech.

The Minister was good enough to give the House a potted description of the Bill. I am conscious that we are not debating its merit now, but, as the right hon. Gentleman said, it deals with substantial sums. Those employers who are responsible for 85 per cent. of the work force will have to find £750 million. Some offset for those employers is proposed in other legislation covering reduced employers' national insurance contributions. Whether matters will be made neutral as a result is a matter for debate.

As the Minister also said, we will, at a later date, discuss the rather interesting peculiarity by which the concept of retirement age is replaced with the definition of 65 years. As the right hon. Gentleman said, that means that women over 60 years, but not yet aged 65, will be able to draw statutory sick pay and their state retirement pension. The Minister is more expert than I and he will correct me if I am wrong, but, as I understand it, the rules on overlapping benefits will not apply. It will therefore be possible for a woman between the age of 60 and 65 to receive both statutory sick pay and the state retirement pension. Otherwise, I hastily concede, the peculiarity will exist only until the year 2020. But that, as they say, is not tomorrow. It is an interesting situation which I am sure that we shall debate later.

Although substantial sums of money are at stake, we are told clearly in the explanatory and financial memorandum that the effect of the Bill on public service manpower is nil. It says: The Bill is expected to have no effect on public sector manpower. For all that, we are considering a motion which invites us to consider expenses incurred as a consequence of the Act by a Minister of the Crown. I do not suppose that that means expenses incurred in a personal sense. I should have thought that that was a narrow interpretation of the motion. We are talking about the administration expenses within the Minister's Department. I presume that it has that rather wider meaning.

I should like the Minister to say a word or two about exactly what the expenses are. After all, we know that the Bill will bring about a reduction in public spending, or perhaps have a neutral effect, if we take into account the offset and widen it to take in the secondary legislation that affects the employers' contribution. As we have been told that the Bill will have no effect on manpower—or personnel power—and as the Bill is intended to produce a reduction in public expenditure, which suggests a reduction in the work load, or at best will have a neutral effect, I am not clear where the additional administrative expenses arise. I put this as a serious point to the Minister. He owes us some explanation, because there is no reduction in manpower.

It would not be unreasonable to expect a reduction in staff responsibilities, so why do we require the money resolution? After all, there will not be the substantial—I am sure that it must be substantial—administrative coming and going and expense which is at present the consequence of paying the 80 per cent. of sick pay reclaimed by the majority of employers. Clearly, that must involve a great deal of paperwork. It must involve the monitoring, processsing and satisfying of claims. If all that is to be swept away, that is a big plus which presumably would result in a reduction in the administration expenses for which the Minister is responsible. It is certainly not clear to me where the additonal expenses, which not only offset the reductions but overtake them and produce a net gain in expenses, come from.

I want to be fair. Other features of the Bill might give rise to some additional expense, at least in the short term. We know, for example, that the definition of the small employer has been changed and that the sum involved in national insurance contributions will rise from £16,000 to £20,000. That may bring in a few more employers who formerly were not categorised as small employers, but now will be. I shall be interested to know whether the Minister can give us an estimate of how many employers will be dragged into that category as a result of the change.

Even if we assume that the change is significant—at present only 15 per cent. of the work force is employed by employers in that category—I do not see how it can overtake the very large cut in administrative expenses that I would expect from the loss of the responsibility to pay the 80 per cent., which is the main thrust of the legislation.

Mr. David Willetts (Havant)

Does the hon. Member accept that, in his zeal to prove that the money resolution is unnecessary, he has proved that the substantive Bill is extremely sensible?

Mr. Dewar

That is extremely ingenious. The hon. Member, whose constituency I cannot remember—[HON. MEMBERS: "Havant."] Thank you. The hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts) is noted for his ingenuity, which has stood him in good stead in many debates. He is right; in broad terms, I would welcome a reduction in administrative expenditure. However, I would not do so when it is bought at the expense of damage to the competitiveness of British industry and to the position of those people who have been evicted from invalidity benefit, have failed to qualify for incapacity benefit and who may find their position in the job market prejudiced.

Those are not matters that I can canvass now, although I have been tempted by the hon. Member for Havant. However, if he is telling me that the only argument in favour of the Bill—the decisive argument in his mind—is the fact that there is a small reduction in administrative expenses, which might mean that we do not need a money resolution, that is not the test that I would apply. There are much more serious arguments and, in very short order, we shall be able to continue those later this week, unfortunately much restricted by the guillotine.

My final argument in this passage of my speech is that even if one takes the retirement age, translated into the 65 cut-off point for men and women, that could be seen as a simplification—perhaps after an initial period. Again, I would have expected administrative savings, so it reinforces and buttresses my argument about why we need this resolution, which is taking up the time of the House.

I hope that the Minister of State will offer an explanation. Perhaps a money resolution is an automatic process; perhaps it is a sort of Pavlovian reaction within the Department or among the parliamentary draftsmen; or perhaps it is there as a sort of safety net. After all, we know that under present management the Department of Social Security is very fond of safety nets and looks almost longingly towards any such concept.

I do not think that that is good enough for the House. To mix metaphors—as I threaten to do—if it is a belt and braces situation, in which the money resolution exists just in case, we should not be troubled or bothered with it. The onus falls squarely on the Minister of State to explain away the substantial administrative savings, which seem likely to result from this jettisoning of a major state responsibility, which is to help British industry to remain competitive. The Minister has to explain that away and tell us from where the increase will come that will more than offset the reduction in expenditure that may result.

I recognise that the Minister of State is not a Treasury Minister, but he is obviously expert in such matters, and is no doubt well briefed. I am asking him to complete my education—[Laughter.]—on this narrow subject. I recognise that we are all capable of improvement over a wide field—[Interruption.] Let me explain, as it is an important question and it illustrates my puzzlement. No doubt the Minister of State can deal with it quickly.

As I understand it there will not be a money resolution on the Social Security (Contributions) Bill, which is running in tandem with this Bill. Perhaps there is a simple explanation for that, but I do not understand it, because that Bill will raise a substantial sum for the Treasury. However, that is not the point, and I entirely accept that. I should have thought that administrative expenses would be incurred by the change in the system, if only because there will be more paperwork and changes in the flow of money coming in. I should have thought that some sort of administrative consequences would be inevitable from that Bill. Yet we obviously do not need a money resolution there.

I hope that I have argued reasonably succinctly about the likely savings on the administrative expenses side. If we can do without a money resolution in the Social Security (Contributions) Bill, I do not see why we must be burdened in this way in the Statutory Sick Pay Bill.

The Minister can no doubt explain my final point because, again, it is a "side-way entrance" to the argument about the money resolution. It concerns the position of Northern Ireland. Although I recognise that Northern Ireland has always had a different system and has been seen as a different entity, clause 4(3) of the Statutory Sick Pay Bill says: There shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament any expenses incurred by a Minister of the Crown in consequence of this Act. Basically, that is what we are also authorising in the money resolution. There seems to be a duplication, but I suppose that that is how the system works. However, clause 4(4) says: Section 3 and this section extend to Northern Ireland",

but provided in brackets is the important exception, "except subsection (3)".

So any talk of money being provided by Parliament to cover Ministers' expenses will apply on mainland Britain but not in Northern Ireland. I presume that that is because an equivalent to the money resolution applies to Northern Ireland. If administrative expenses occur on mainland Britain and are covered by a money resolution, parallel expenses will inevitably flow from the same changes being introduced in Northern Ireland. I understand that there is no money resolution for Northern Ireland. Indeed, it is specifically excluded from the arrangements that we are discussing by the exclusion in clause 4(4).

When the Minister replies, I hope that he can advise me on the arrangement in Northern Ireland, because those expenses will obviously arise. I presume that they will have to be met by money provided by Parliament, but not under the current arrangements and certainly not by the Bill. Why does no money resolution cover Ireland? Where is the alternative provision? We are then entitled to ask why we need a money resolution for mainland Britain.

I hope that those are reasonably understandable points. They have raised logical and interlinking questions in my mind. As I do not wish unnecessarily to prolong the debate, I am happy to leave it at that point and listen, in a minute or two, to the explanation which the Minister of State will provide.

11.12 pm
Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

I should like to follow the excellent example set by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) by raising just one or two questions that reinforce some of the pertinent questions that he raised.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why we are in this position. There may have been a breakdown in the negotiations between the two major parties through the usual channels, to which I am not a party. I freely offer myself as a bona fide go-between. Being a nice, natural, trustworthy character, I might be able to sort out the problem and everybody might get home for Christmas in better order.

I am pleased to see that the Leader of the House is present. The hon. Member for Garscadden started by making one or two perfectly pertinent procedural points, with potential precedents attached to them. If the Government start willy nilly, without real justification, interfering with the clear understanding that money resolutions follow Second Readings, they will encourage other people to adopt the same tactics in the future. That is not in the best interests of the House. The Minister of State owes us an explanation about why the Government have seen fit to introduce this money resolution before the Bill's Second Reading.

I know that, in general, money resolutions have fallen into desuetude in terms of the real purpose for which they were originally intended, with the honourable exception of the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) and one or two others who specialise in the important task. I pay tribute to them because huge sums of money are voted through in money resolutions—not on this Bill, perhaps, but certainly on others.

The House should pay proper attention to money resolutions and the debates on them are of much better quality if they follow Second Reading. For all I know, different hon. Members will be in the Chamber for Second Reading. It is a worrying sign if the usual rules and established precedents and traditions of the House are discarded without valid reason. Of course, I have read in the press of the procedural differences between the two major parties. I cannot understand why the money resolution has been tabled now.

I want to refer to the merits of the money resolution. It is a restricted motion because clause 4(3) of the Bill states: There shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament any expenses incurred by a Minister of the Crown in consequence of this Act. That is a very restricted statement on which to base a money resolution.

The hon. Member for Garscadden was right to press the Minister on his explanation for introducing the money resolution today. As I understood the Minister, he said that the only additional expenses that would be incurred would be in the Government's role as an employer. The right hon. Gentleman must give us a little more to go on than that. I listened carefully to the hon. Member for Garscadden and it appears that all that clause 1 does is abolish a right.

Mr. Scott


Mr. Kirkwood

I am about to be enlightened.

Mr. Scott

All that we are discussing tonight is the narrow matter of a money resolution. The Government require money to meet their duties under the Bill. The actual thrust of the Bill will be discussed later in the week. Tonight, we are limited to discussing the money resolution. The hon. Gentleman is at risk of going beyond the scope of that.

Mr. Kirkwood

I am prepared to take guidance on procedure from the Chair, but I am not prepared to take it from the Treasury Bench. I shall repeat my question because I think that it is a valid money resolution question—on what is the money to be spent? Clause 1 simply abolishes a right and entitlement under the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992. How on earth can that incur administrative expenses? I just do not understand. There may be something hidden in the depths of clause 2, which is an enabling clause. The House should consider carefully giving Ministers power to table regulations on such matters.

Although it may be a matter for substantive debate on Second Reading, the Minister knows that those who speak on behalf of small businesses are unhappy about this sort of legislation. If the Minister is saying that clause 2(1) gives Ministers the power to introduce the sort of changes relating to a new small businesses scheme that we have been hearing about in Budget speeches and so on, it is disgraceful that that should be done by secondary legislation under clause 2(1).

Even if it is true that the Government are introducing a new administrative scheme for small businesses, together with all the other changes that we have heard about in Budget speeches, how on earth will that cost extra money? As the hon. Member for Garscadden said, it should cost less because it saves money—and amen to that. Had the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts) seen fit to stay for the Minister's reply to the debate, he might have raised a reasonable question about whether it is right or wrong to save money. Like others, I am in favour of saving money.

The Minister's explanation did not persuade me that he has a case for tabling the money resolution today. I object to the enabling powers in clause 2 if the intention is to introduce substantial changes such as those to which I referred. It is not even clear to me whether the resolutions that would be brought forward by way of regulation, which might cost money, would be by the negative or the affirmative procedure. The Minister would do the House a service if he gave the answer.

I am not sure that the money resolution is necessary in any case. Ministers have the ability under national insurance fund and other social security powers to introduce such expenditure without an additional money resolution. No case for one has been made.

Will the additional funding come through departmental expenditure? Will it show up in departmental estimates? Where will right hon. and hon. Members find the increased expenditure that the money resolution presages? It is not clear to me why there are any increases in the first place.

There is no proper justification for this measure. The people who will be affected by the Statutory Sick Pay Bill are afraid of part of its content, and the Minister has not come close to persuading me that the money resolution is proper, appropriate or necessary.

11.20 pm
Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

The usual procedure for money resolutions has been observed; the Minister moved the resolution as perfunctorily as he possibly could. The House will not let him get away with that tonight, because the resolution is linked with a Bill that, under a resolution yet to be tabled, will be dealt with in some three hours from start to finish—or six hours from start to finish, including the guillotine resolution.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris)

Order. That does not have much to do with administrative expenses, does it?

Mr. Cryer

Yes, it does.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Not in my judgment.

Mr. Cryer

One problem is that the Deputy Speaker's judgment is always accepted as superior—and I accept it as such. I was merely pointing out that the 45 minutes allocated to a money resolution is usually ignored, but it is being used on this occasion because of the limited time that will be allowed to debate the Bill on the Floor of the House and because the House feels that it is being robbed.

Those 45 minutes should be made use of on every occasion. It is important to obtain an explanation from the Minister in this instance, because there will be little opportunity to obtain one otherwise.

The money resolution allows the Minister to be reimbursed for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Statutory Sick Pay Bill". We know that the Bill will abolish the reimbursement of 80 per cent. of sick pay to a number of employers but not all. To compensate, national insurance contributions will be reduced.

The Bill's explanatory and financial memorandum states that the saving in annual public expenditure will be about £695 million in 1994–95, rising to £720 million in 1995–96 and £750 million in 1996–97. Do those figures include or exclude the £100 million cost to Government revenue through the reduction in national insurance contributions? If they are reduced, there will be a loss of revenue. Is that part of the authority that the Minister thinks is required by the money resolution?

The resolution covers "any Act", but the delegated legislation is not on the face of the Bill. We know that the Minister will bring forward delegated legislation because on 1 December, the Secretary of State for Social Security stated: So far, we have been helping employers whose national insurance bill was £16,000 or less a year. I am raising that limit to £20,000. That means that the numbers of small firms, as defined by the national insurance contributions, will be widened. The Secretary of State went on to say: So far, we have been reimbursing 100 per cent. of statutory sick pay for absences of longer than six weeks. I shall start giving 100 per cent. help after four weeks. That will help an extra 50,000 employers, at a cost of £25 million."—[Official Report, 1 December 1993; Vol. 233, c. 1038.]

Is that the extent of the delegated powers which the Minister has in mind? He is seeking the authority of the House in the money resolution for any Act, which includes Acts which are carried out by means of the delegated powers which the Minister hopes will be approved by the House. The Bill dealing with statutory sick pay does not provide details of the extension of the reimbursement for small firms which the Minister is to give.

Frankly, we should not allow open-ended money resolutions to pass through the House without raising questions. The extent and the degree to which we give delegated powers to Ministers in Bill after Bill is wrong. It is not unreasonable, and it is directly connected with the money resolution, to ask questions of the Minister before we hand over those powers to him. How will he use the delegated powers which are contained in the Bill as they affect the money resolution?

At the moment, the information that we have from the Secretary of State is that the arrangements which he is to bring in for small firms will cost about £25 million. That presumably is £25 million which has been authorised by the money resolution. Is that the full extent, or is that figure to increase in future years?

Why was not that information included in the financial effects of the Bill? The Bill was printed on 1 December, but the statement by the Secretary of State was on 30 November. If the information given by the Secretary of State has relevance to the financial effects of the Bill, why was not it included? We are dealing with a money section now. Why was not that information included in the explanatory and financial memorandum?

What is the memorandum for? It is designed to help hon. Members in their understanding of the effects of the Bill. As it is always linked to money resolutions, the memorandum enables hon. Members to have some knowledge of the Minister's ideas when presenting the Bill and obtaining the necessary financial authority through the money resolution. I would ask the Minister why the points made by the Secretary of State were not included in the Bill.

These are relevant questions, and I hope that the Minister, who keeps frowning, will give a reasonable explanation to the House. The three hon. Members who have spoken in the debate have raised pertinent questions. I hope that the Minister will not say, as some do, that he thinks that it is clear in the Bill that the money resolution is wanted and that the House can take it or leave it.

We have only 45 minutes and I want to give the Minister time to reply. We have not got much time for the rest of the Bill. The fact is that we are taking the money resolution first because of the desperation of the Government to get the Bill through. Ordinarily, we would be dealing with it later, but the Government are running out of time before the Christmas recess. In those circumstances, it behoves the Minister to give the fullest explanation he can, because there will not be much time when the Bill is debated under the guillotine.

11.28 pm
Mr. Scott

A brave attempt has been made to press the Government on the reasons for this money resolution. I will attempt to cover the points which have been raised during the short debate.

I want to start with the latter point raised by the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer). Under the heading, "Financial effects of the Bill", the Bill makes it absolutely clear that clause 1 will reduce annual public expenditure by the various amounts set out in the explanatory and financial memorandum. It makes it clear that The savings will be offset by reduction of employers' national insurance contributions. The key reason why we need a money resolution for the Bill does not involve the general impact of the Bill upon employers outside Government. It is to provide the Government with the money they will need to fulfil their responsibilities as an employer under the terms of the Bill.

As the House will be aware, clause 1 will amend the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 so as to abolish the right of employers to recover the 80 per cent. of statutory sick pay paid to employees. In addition, as I explained earlier, it extends entitlement to SSP to working women who fall sick and become incapable of work after attaining state retirement pension age of 60 until the age of 65. That change is necessary because abolishing reimbursement to SSP turns that into a form of pay rather than a social security benefit. It thus falls outside the scope for the pension age derogation from the equal treatment directive.

The provisions of the Statutory Sick Pay Bill and the Social Security (Contributions) Bill interact. The latter Bill is being introduced at the same time as the SSP provisions to offset the impact of the abolition of the reimbursement of statutory sick pay. It has been made clear that, overall, the impact will be to reduce the burden on business by £100 million more than business is having to expend to meet SSP without any reimbursement at all. In other words, the reduction in national insurance contributions will exceed the extra cost of business by well over £100 million. Business as a whole will not be out of pocket.

I estimate that the impact on the Government of the Statutory Sick Pay Bill and the Social Security (Contributions) Bill, which we will be discussing later this week, will be broadly neutral. However, in terms of the narrow effect of the Statutory Sick Pay Bill, it is necessary to have this money resolution so that the Government can meet their responsibilities in terms of the SSP element. They will also benefit, in the same way as employers outside will, from the national insurance contributions provisions that will apply outside as well as inside Government.

Mr. Cryer

Will the Minister answer my point about extending the compensation to small firms? The definition of small firm is to be raised from those paying £16,000 a year in NI contributions to those paying £20,000, and the Secretary of State said that the additional cost of providing 100 per cent. reimbursement after four weeks would be about £25 million. Is that also covered by the money resolution? Will that be the limit? Will it be applied under delegated powers?

Mr. Scott

It is of course included in the package being considered by the House this week and it is included in the sums that I have discussed. We have deliberately tilted the balance of the package to give extra help to smaller companies, particularly those employing people on lower earnings. Therefore, any extra burdens that occur are likely to fall on larger employers with higher paid employees. I believe that, for a variety of reasons, the House would expect us to tilt the balance in that direction.

Again, we are going outside the relevant scope and getting into the merits of the legislation that we will discuss later this week. Today, we are concerned with the narrow point that we need the money provided by the resolution so that Departments, in their role as employers, can meet their obligations. We shall be able to conduct the rest of the arguments about the legislation, albeit under a guillotine, later this week.

Mr. Dewar

I shall confine myself to the narrow point that the Minister raises and make sure that I understand it. Is he saying that it is not a case of additional administrative costs for administering the system, that it refers to the additional expense incurred by the Government as an employer, and that there will be women civil servants between the ages of 60 and 65 working after 60—I do not know how many there will be in the civil service, but let us assume that there are some—who will be entitled to statutory sick pay which previously was not available to them?

Is there also another expense arising from the 80 per cent. change? In a sense, that is a little illogical. After all, the Government were reimbursing the employer. It seems rather odd to have the fiction that the Government were receiving reimbursement as employer from themselves as a Government. That is a circular argument and not a genuine increase in expense. Is it only the other argument that the Minister is founding his case on?

Mr. Scott

With respect to the hon. Gentleman, the national insurance fund is contributed to by Departments in their role as employers, in the same way that any other employer has a relationship with the national insurance fund. Departments have the same responsibilities as other employers. The hon. Gentleman is right that it is simply to meet the responsibilities of Departments in their role as employers—not the cost of the number of people administering the scheme, but to cope with the abolition of their right to recover the 80 per cent. and the extra costs of women between 60 and 65.

Mr. Dewar

My intervention will take only a couple of minutes—[Interruption.] Someone has woken up. I ask the Minister to deal with a Northern Ireland point. It is a genuine curiosity on my part. Exactly the same matter arises in Northern Ireland, but I do not know what the authority for the initial expenditure is. There must be a parallel resolution for the money resolution that we are being invited to pass.

Mr. Scott

For a brief period some years ago, I was Minister for Finance in Northern Ireland. I anticipate that, as the exclusion was at the request of the Northern Ireland Department of Health and Social Services, appropriate provision will be made through Order in Council in due course. I could be wrong about that, but, as I recall my experience as Finance Minister in Northern Ireland, it is likely to be the answer.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 229, Noes 78.

Division No. 30] [11.37 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Fabricant, Michael
Alexander, Richard Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Fenner, Dame Peggy
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Fishburn, Dudley
Amess, David Forman, Nigel
Arbuthnot, James Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Ashby, David Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Aspinwall, Jack French, Douglas
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Fry, Peter
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Gale, Roger
Baldry, Tony Gallie, Phil
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Gardiner, Sir George
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Garnier, Edward
Bates, Michael Gill, Christopher
Batiste, Spencer Gillan, Cheryl
Beggs, Roy Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Bellingham, Henry Gorst, John
Bendall, Vivian Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Beresford, Sir Paul Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Biffen, Rt Hon John Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Grylls, Sir Michael
Booth, Hartley Hague, William
Boswell, Tim Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie (Epsom)
Bowis, John Hampson, Dr Keith
Brandreth, Gyles Hannam, Sir John
Brazier, Julian Hargreaves, Andrew
Bright, Graham Harris, David
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Haselhurst, Alan
Browning, Mrs. Angela Hawkins, Nick
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Hawksley, Warren
Budgen, Nicholas Heald, Oliver
Burns, Simon Hendry, Charles
Burt, Alistair Hicks, Robert
Butcher, John Hill, James (Southampton Test)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Horam, John
Carrington, Matthew Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Cash, William Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Chapman, Sydney Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Clappison, James Hunter, Andrew
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Jessel, Toby
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Coe, Sebastian Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Colvin, Michael Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Congdon, David Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Conway, Derek Key, Robert
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Kilfedder, Sir James
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Knapman, Roger
Couchman, James Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Cran, James Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Day, Stephen Knox, Sir David
Devlin, Tim Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Dorrell, Stephen Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Dover, Den Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Duncan, Alan Legg, Barry
Dunn, Bob Leigh, Edward
Durant, Sir Anthony Lennox-Boyd, Mark
Dykes, Hugh Lidington, David
Eggar, Tim Lightbown, David
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Luff, Peter
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Evennett, David MacKay, Andrew
Faber, David McLoughlin, Patrick
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Madel, David Spink, Dr Robert
Maitland, Lady Olga Spring, Richard
Malone, Gerald Sproat, Iain
Mans, Keith Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Marlow, Tony Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Steen, Anthony
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Stephen, Michael
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Stern, Michael
Merchant, Piers Streeter, Gary
Milligan, Stephen Sumberg, David
Mills, Iain Sweeney, Walter
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Sykes, John
Monro, Sir Hector Tapsell, Sir Peter
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Moss, Malcolm Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Neubert, Sir Michael Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Thomason, Roy
Nicholls, Patrick Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Thurnham, Peter
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Oppenheim, Phillip Tredinnick, David
Ottaway, Richard Trend, Michael
Paice, James Trotter, Neville
Pickles, Eric Twinn, Dr Ian
Porter, David (Waveney) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Viggers, Peter
Powell, William (Corby) Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Richards, Rod Waller, Gary
Riddick, Graham Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm Waterson, Nigel
Robathan, Andrew Watts, John
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Wells, Bowen
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Whitney, Ray
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Whittingdale, John
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Widdecombe, Ann
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Willetts, David
Sackville, Tom Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas Wolfson, Mark
Shaw, David (Dover) Wood, Timothy
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Yeo, Tim
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Sims, Roger Tellers for the Ayes:
Skeet, Sir Trevor Mr. Irvine Patnick and
Soames, Nicholas Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.
Spencer, Sir Derek
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Donohoe, Brian H.
Beith, Rt Hon A. J. Dowd, Jim
Bermingham, Gerald Enright, Derek
Boyes, Roland Etherington, Bill
Bradley, Keith Evans, John (St Helens N)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Fatchett, Derek
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Cann, Jamie Foulkes, George
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Fyfe, Maria
Clelland, David Godman, Dr Norman A.
Coffey, Ann Hall, Mike
Connarty, Michael Hanson, David
Cryer, Bob Hinchliffe, David
Davidson, Ian Home Robertson, John
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'I) Hood, Jimmy
Dewar, Donald Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Dixon, Don Hoyle, Doug
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Miller, Andrew
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Morgan, Rhodri
Illsley, Eric Morley, Elliot
Ingram, Adam Mudie, George
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Pickthall, Colin
Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S) Pike, Peter L.
Kilfoyle, Peter Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Kirkwood, Archy Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Litherland, Robert Primarolo, Dawn
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Purchase, Ken
Lynne, Ms Liz Rendel, David
McCartney, Ian Short, Clare
McKelvey, William Skinner, Dennis
Maclennan, Robert Smith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)
McMaster, Gordon Spearing, Nigel
McNamara, Kevin Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Maddock, Mrs Diana Turner, Dennis
Mahon, Alice Tyler, Paul
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S) Wallace, James
Martlew, Eric Watson, Mike
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan Tellers for the Noes:
Michael, Alun Mr. Terry Lewis and
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Mr. Harry Barnes.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Statutory Sick Pay Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of any expenses incurred in consequence of the Act by a Minister of the Crown.

  1. ENVIRONMENT 37 words
  2. c802
  3. HOME AFFAIRS 30 words
  4. c802
  6. c802
  7. TRADE AND INDUSTRY 31 words
  8. c802
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