HL Deb 10 May 1948 vol 155 cc713-21

4.5 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Pakenham.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL FORTESCUE in the Chair.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2:

Pensions of persons transferring to different employment.

(2) The classes of employment referred to in subsection (1) of this section are the following, that is to say—

  1. (a) employment as a civil servant; and
  2. (b) employment as a member of the metropolitan police staff; and
  3. (c) employment by virtue of which the person employed is or is deemed to be a contributory employee or local Act contributor within the meaning of the Local Government Superannuation Act, 1937, or the Local Government Superannuation (Scotland) Act, 1937; and

LORD PAKENHAM moved, in sub-section (2) (c), after "be" to insert: or, but for any rules made under this section, would be or be deemed to be.

The noble Lord said: This is primarily a qualifying Amendment. It might almost be called a drafting Amendment on a large scale. The purposes for which the powers in this clause are needed are to enable nurses entering the employment of local health authorities from district nursing associations when the Health Service comes into being, to remain on the federated superannuation scheme for nurses, if they wish, rather than to enter the statutory local government superannuation scheme; but of course, at the same time, to have the employer's contribution paid by the local authority or other employers under the new Health Services Act. A precisely similar arrangement is provided for in the regulations dealing with the hospital service. The clause as it stands at present, without the Amendment, can apply only to local authority employees who are contributory employees within the meaning of the Local Government Superannuation Act; it cannot apply to those nurses if they are never to come under that Act. The additional words provided for in the Amendment bring them in and, therefore, enable the purpose of the clause to be carried out. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 22, after (" be ") insert the said words.—(Lord Pakenham.)


The noble Lord's explanation has done something to pierce the gloom which surrounded the words of this clause, and the arguments he has advanced in regard to the Amendment appear to be eminently reasonable. I shall certainly make no demur, and we accept the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3:

Former employees of Approved Societies, etc., becoming civil servants.

3.—(1) Rules to be made by the Minister of National Insurance with the consent of the Treasury may make provision with respect to the pensions payable to and in respect of persons who have been employed full time—

  1. (a) by an Approved Society; or
  2. (b) by some other body (including a body of which the Society is a branch or section) administering the affairs of an Approved Society; or
  3. 715
  4. (c) by a body administering a special scheme under Section seventy-three of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1935,
and, whether before or after the passing of this Act but before such date as may be specified in the rules, become civil servants.

(3) Where the persons having pension rights under any pension scheme or interested in any pension fund include both such persons as are mentioned in subsection (1) of this section and other persons in respect of whom the following conditions are fulfilled, that is to say—

  1. (a) that they have been employed full time by any such society or body as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section; and
  2. (b) that they have lost that employment; and
  3. (c) that the loss of employment is directly attributable to the passing of the National Insurance Act, 1946, or the making of any regulations thereunder,
the rules to be made under this section may apply in relation to pensions payable to and in respect of those other persons as if they were persons such as are mentioned in the said subsection (1), and may provide for payments out of moneys provided by Parliament in respect of the pension rights of those other persons, so, however, that nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring identical provision to be made in relation to persons who fall, and persons who do not fall, within the said subsection (1).

LORD TWEEDSMUIR moved, in subsection (1) (b), to omit "or" and insert: not being persons who were so employed wholly or mainly on business other than health insurance business; or.

The noble Lord said: This is a very straightforward Amendment. The general purpose of Clause 3 of this Bill is to safeguard the various pension rights of persons who are engaged in approved society work and who take up work with the Ministry of National Insurance. Wide powers are given to the Minister to enable him to make rules in respect not only of persons employed by approved societies, but also others who are employed full-time by bodies administering the affairs of an approved society; whether such persons are employed full-time, part-time, or not at all on approved society work. Certain of the staff of industrial insurance societies have been engaged for part of their time on work in connection with contribution cards and benefit payments of certain approved societies. The proportion of their time spent on this work has been slight. Their remuneration is excluded from the definition of "pensionable remuneration" for the purposes of staff pension schemes. It is, therefore, appropriate that any employee in industrial societies' offices engaged partly or not at all in approved society work, and who voluntarily transfers his service to the Ministry of National Insurance, should be excluded from the scope of this clause. This Amendment is drawn in exactly the same terms as the wording of the National Insurance Act, 1946, Section 67, subsection (1) (a), and those concerned would like an assurance that there is no intention to make any rule requiring the transfer to the Ministry of pension fund monies in respect of employees who are not wholly or mainly engaged on Health Insurance business. It is that simple assurance for which we are asking to-day and, as a substantial number of people are concerned, I hope the Amendment will be accepted. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 46, leave out ("or") and insert the said new words.—(Lord Tweedsmuir.)


I have a great deal of sympathy with what the noble Lord has just said, and I can give him an assurance that it is in fact the Government's intention generally to limit the application of the clause to employees of approved societies and similar bodies who are wholly or mainly engaged on National Health Insurance work. He may ask: "Why then cannot it be placed in the Bill?" The reason is that the Approved Society Staffing Advisory Committee, which comprises an equal number of approved society and trade union representatives, recommended to the Minister of National Insurance that, although they agree with the general point that has just been made by the noble Lord, there would be certain hard marginal cases, indistinguishable from the bulk though not, perhaps, conforming exactly to a strict interpretation of the term "wholly or mainly," which ought to be included. I can, I repeat, give the noble Lord an assurance that the general intention is to be as he wishes, but it might be hard on certain marginal people if we attempted to put it in legal form in the Bill.


I am grateful to the noble Lord for his reply. It is sometimes said that hard cases make bad. law, but I understand that the potential number of hard cases is substantial. In view of the assurance he has given, I am prepared to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD TWEEDSMUIR moved, in subsection (3), immediately before the words "and may provide" to insert: and such rules may include provisions if such persons enter other pensionable employment for the payment if they so desire of their transfer value to their new employer or otherwise as the Minister may in their interest think proper.

The noble Lord said: There is no clause in this Bill similar to Section 54, subsection 2, of the Electricity Act, which provides that employees shall not be placed in any worse position by means of any amendment, repeal or revocation of existing pension rights. This matter was earnestly argued in another place. It was brought up on Second Reading and the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, then thought he could see his way to give me a modified assurance. If it is the intention—and it is hard to see that it will not be the result—of the present wording of the Bill to freeze employees' existing rights and pay a deferred pension at the superannuation age, fixed by the approved societies superannuation fund rules, I suggest it is an injustice to such an employee, in addition to losing his pension in the approved society and all chance of future increases in earnings, to have his pension frozen at his existing salary at July 3 of this year. I hope the noble Lord will see his way to meet me at least part of the way.

Amendment moved— Page 7, line 39, at end insert the said words.—(Lord Tweedsmuir.)


Before replying to the noble Lord I would like to say that he was so generously swift in withdrawing the last Amendment that I did not rise fast enough to inform him that in fact there will be very few of the deserving cases that we were then discussing. I mention that only because, although I do not think it was any part of his argument, I thought he was under the misapprehension that there would be a great number of cases. Perhaps he will agree that the argument we pursued just now is not affected by what I am saying.

Coming now to this Amendment, I am advised that there is already power in the clause as now drawn for rules to be made containing the provisions outlined in the noble Lord's Amendment. I will go part of the way (and I hope he will feel it is sufficiently far) by giving him the assurance that the Minister will refer this master to the Approved Societies. Advisory Committee, which was set up, as your Lordships know, to advise him on superannuation and other matters relative to the displacement of approved society staffs. Further, I can promise that the Minister will give careful consideration to the matter before making rules under his clause. This will not be going all the way, but I hope the noble Lord will feel that it is far enough to enable him to withdraw his Amendment.


The noble Lord has not been very accommodating, if I may say so. The assurance which I wished to receive, notwithstanding the tact that there is nothing in the Bill covering it, is that this point regarding transfers will be covered in the rules. The noble Lord has given me some ray of comfort by saying that these decisions will be referred to that Committee which is, I know, a very representative body containing, I believe, fourteen members representing the approved societies and fourteen representing the trade unions. In view of the moderate assurance which the noble Lord has given, I suppose that we must be content merely to take what we are given. Accordingly, I am prepared to withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clauses. 4 and 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 [Special provisions as to local government superannuation schemes during periods of emergency]:


This Amendment is again what I would call a large-scale drafting Amendment. It repairs an obvious omission in subsection (5) of this clause. The clause safeguards the superannuation rights of local authority employees who are dismissed because of cuts in expenditure at the present time, and subsection (5) enables such a person to count his period out of local government service in the reckoning of the qualifying period for eligibility for benefits when he returns to local government service. The whole clause is, however, drawn up in relation to the specific period of absence from the service—the period mentioned is five years, or longer if the Minister of Health agrees in a particular case. This Amendment seeks simply to incorporate in the clause a reference to that period. I hope that the Committee will see fit to agree to it.

Amendment moved— Page 12, line 30, after (" has ") insert (" before the expiration of the relevant period under subsection (3) of this Section.")—(Lord Pakenham.)


We have no objection to this Amendment which the noble Lord has explained with such clarity. I think it tidies up something that ought to be tidied up.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 7 to 9 agreed to.

Clause 10 [Amendment of Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1945, s. 3]:


This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 7, leave out (" of Education.")—(Lord Pakenham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This, too, is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 10, leave out (" of Education.")—(Lord Pakenham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Schedule [Part III—Amendments of the Education (Scotland) (War Service Superannuation) Act, 1939]:

LORD PAKENHAM moved to add to Part III: 3. Where a person who is in war service immediately before the end of the period of the present emergency continues in the same service after the end thereof in pursuance of a legal obligation so to do arising by reason of his voluntary continuance of his service without the consent of the education authority, governing body or other body of managers by whom he was employed immediately before undertaking war service, nothing in the definition of ' period of war service ' in Section seven of the Act shall be construed as enabling so much of the said service continued as aforesaid as falls after the end of the period of the present emergency to be treated as part of his period of war service.

The noble Lord said: In the absence of the noble Lord, Lord Morrison, I beg to move this Amendment which stands in his name. It simply applies to Scotland the same plan as the Bill elsewhere provides for England.

The position of teachers who remain in the Forces after the end of the emergency is not fully covered by the Education (Scotland) (War Service Superannuation) Act, 1939. Some of the teachers who remain in the Forces will be there with the consent of their former employers, or because of a legal obligation into which they were compelled to enter. Paragraph 2 of Part III of the Schedule provides that the whole of their service in the Forces under such conditions is to continue to be treated as war service, even after the end of the emergency. Others will be there because of a legal obligation into which they entered voluntarily, and without the consent of their former employers. It would be possible for them to take advantage of a provision in the Act which enables two extra years to be reckoned as war service in order to cover periods during which they were prevented or hindered, as a result of war service, from obtaining employment as teachers. This concession, of course, was intended to cover periods of injury, illness or unemployment, and not periods of voluntary service in the Forces. The new paragraph 3 proposed in the Amendment will stop up this loophole by applying the same rule to Scotland as it is proposed to apply to England. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 25, line 41, at end, insert the said new paragraph.—(Lord Pakenham.)


I did not much care for the noble Lord's choice of words when he said this provision "simply applies to Scotland." However, this Bill is mainly designed for the removal of anomalies, and I think this is one more anomaly which is rightly to be removed.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed.

Then, Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended (pursuant to Resolution of May 6), Amendments reported: Bill read 3ª, with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.