HL Deb 09 March 1965 vol 264 cc13-9

3.5 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 Shepherd.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD MERTHYR in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 [Miscellaneous amendments]:

LORD SHEPHERD moved to insert, after "Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1948": the County Courts Act 1924, the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925, the County Courts Act 1934 The noble Lord said: This Amendment, No. 1 on the Marshalled List, is a paving Amendment to Amendment No. 4, and Amendment No. 5 would be consequential to Amendment. No. 4. We have just voted into the Bill the main cause for the presentation of this Bill the need for a private pension and superannuation system for the new Diplomatic Service. As I explained on Second Reading, the Government thought it right to take this opportunity of dealing with a number of anomalies that have arisen and also to make it easier for later consolidation. This Amendment falls into that category.

The purpose of the Amendments is to clarify the law which governs superannuation of certain superior officers of the Supreme Court and county courts and to make two detailed improvements of that law. The people concerned are the masters and registrars, and certain high officials of the Supreme Court, and registrars of the county courts and other courts. These people are not civil servants, but for superannuation purposes have always been treated as such. The superannuation position of these people is governed by the provisions of the Acts of 1924, 1925 and 1934. These provide that the provisions of the Superannuation Acts—probably, but not quite certainly in all cases, only those which are in force at the time—are to apply to these officers subject to prescribed modifications. The most important modification is that a pension accrues at a higher rate and full pension is earned in 20 years instead of in 40.

Since these Acts of 1924, 1925 and 1934 were passed, there have been a number of other Acts, in 1935, 1946, 1949, 1950 and 1957 (five in all), and now we have this present Bill. The question is which provisions of these later Acts, subject always to the prescribed modifications, do in fact apply or ought to apply. The point has been obscure for some time without causing any difficulty, but an attempt is now being made to consolidate the Superannuation Acts and for this purpose the point now needs to be cleared up.

The present position is unsatisfactory in two ways. First, in the case of some officers, those covered by the 1935 Act, it is possible, but not certain, that some of the provisions of the later Acts do apply when it is inappropriate that they should apply. An example is the provision in the 1946 Act which allows the grant of added years to count towards pensions for late entrants. This is inappropriate, because the modification giving full pension after 20 years, which I have just mentioned, is designed for this very purpose, and it would be wrong to accelerate the rate of accrual still further. This has caused no difficulty in practice, since the provisions have never had to be applied, but it seems right to have the law clear on this matter.

Secondly, there are two minor provisions which should apply to all these officers but which certainly do not apply in some cases, and may not apply in others. The first Amendment, combined with the Amendment to Schedule 4 (that is, Amendment No. 4), which I have mentioned, accordingly clears up the situation by stating, where necessary, what does not apply, and by adding two provisions which should. These two provisions represent the only changes in current practice which will result from the Amendment. They are contained in paragraph 24(1). Their effect, briefly, will be to allow any of these officers who marry after they have retired, but before the age of 70, to allocate part of their pensions for the benefit of their wife or their husband; and, secondly, to make these officers eligible for special benefits which apply to civil servants who are injured on duty, and to their dependants. With those brief words, I will commend this Amendment, and Amendments Nos. 4 and 5, which I will move subsequently, to your Lordships. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 11, after ("1948") insert the said words.—(Lord Shepherd.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 6 to 9 agreed to.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Amendment of Superannuation Acts and of other pension Acts]:

LORD SHEPHERD moved, after paragraph 7, to insert as a new paragraph:

"Reckoning of service of former teachers

1946 c. 60. . In section 6(2) of the Superannuation Act 1946 (which provides that, in the case of a civil servant who was formerly a teacher, certain service as a teacher shall be treated as if it were service as a civil servant)—
(a) for paragraph (b) there shall be substituted the following paragraph—
1946 c. 72. (b) service which is recorded as first class service under regulations made under section 101 of the Education (Scotland) 1946 c. 72. Act 1946 (as substituted by section 10 of the Education 1956 c. 75. (Scotland) Act 1956) or section 102 of the Education (Scotland)
1956 c. 75.
1962 c. 47. Act 1962 or any amendment thereof (hereinafter referred to as "the Scottish Regulations"); or';
(b) in paragraph (c), for the words 'the Scottish Teachers Scheme' there shall be substituted the words 'the Scottish Regulations;
(c) in the proviso—
(i) for the words 'subsection (2) of Article 14 of the Scottish Teachers Scheme' there shall be substituted the words the Scottish Regulations';
(ii) for the words 'be cancelled in the record of service maintained under the Scottish Teachers Scheme' there shall be substituted the words 'or in reckoning periods of first class service under the Scottish Regulations'."

The noble Lord said: This Amendment corrects, in the interests of consolidation, an anomaly which has accidentally arisen over the qualifying for the purposes of Civil Service pension of previous service as a teacher in Scotland. Section 6(2) of the Superannuation Act, 1946, lists the kinds of teaching service that may qualify and includes in subsection (2)(b) service which is recorded under the Scheme framed and approved under the Education (Scotland) Superannuation Acts, 1919–1939, and any Act amending the same (hereinafter referred to as 'the Scottish Teachers' Scheme'). At the time the 1946 Act was passed only contributing service as a Scottish teacher was "recorded". Since then, however, subsequent legislation has been passed, and regulations made under which contributing service is still recorded (as first-class service) but non-contributing service of two kinds is also recorded (as second-class and third-class service). The new regulations also did away with the phraseology of "the Scottish Teachers' Scheme".

These changes in Scottish legislation went unnoticed at the time and have not been paralleled by any change in the Superannuation Acts. The result now is that, contrary to the intention of the 1946 Act, not only contributing service but also non-contributing service as a Scottish teacher may qualify under the section. This certainly would be wrong, since such non-contributing service may, for example, be outside employment, which is recorded simply for the purpose of keeping previous contributing service eligible for pension if a person returns from it to teaching, and there is no reason why it should qualify for Civil Service pension. In practice, such noncontributing service has never been allowed to qualify, and no case has so far been traced in which it has been proposed that it should do so, so that no practical problem has arisen. It is, however, very desirable to get this bit of law right before it is consolidated. The Amendment which I have before the Committee therefore limits the service that may qualify to first-class service and makes the necessary translations of the obsolete term "Scottish Teachers' Scheme" in the rest of Section 6(2). I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 12, line 45, at end insert the said new paragraph.—(Lord Shepherd.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD SHEPHERD moved, after paragraph 16, to insert: 1949 c. 44. 17. In proviso (ii) to section 36(1) of the Superannuation Act 1949 (which refers to what would have been the retiring age for a civil servant if he had continued in the employment in which he was when he was last a civil servant) the reference to that retiring age shall be construed on the assumption that in continuing in that employment he would have been employed in the United Kingdom.

The noble Lord said: This Amendment is to remove a possible doubt affecting the retiring age of persons who have served in unhealthy climates abroad. Section 36(1) of the Superannuation Act, 1949, defines the circumstances in which a person who has left the Civil Service with a pension may be re-employed and earn additional pension. One of the conditions is that only service after reaching the retiring age may count towards the addition: if a man is re-employed from, say, the age of 58, he must wait till he reaches 60 before his additional service begins to count.

There is, however, a possible doubt. Proviso (ii) to Section 36(1) provides that no account shall be taken of his reemployed service before he attains the age which would have been the retiring age for him if he had continued in the employment in which he was when he was last a Civil Servant. Section 42 of the 1949 Act allows service in certain unhealthy climates (the scheduled territories) to count as time and a half for pension, and also allows the retiring age to be reduced by three months for each completed year of service under the section. A man who has served in a scheduled territory and has retired before reaching his retiring age as reduced under the section—for example, because of illhealth—may later be re-employed in the United Kingdom again before retiring age. He might then claim that if he had continued to serve, instead of retiring on ill-health, his employment would have continued to be in a scheduled territory, thus earning a further reduction in his retiring age, and that his additional service ought therefore to begin to count not from his actual retiring age, 60, less the reduction already earned when he retired, but from the age which would have been the retiring age if he had continued to serve in a scheduled territory throughout. If such a claim were conceded he would be able to claim re-employed service at, say, 58 instead of 59, and thus retire on maximum pension a year earlier than he should.

The same point has already been dealt with in the Bill in other places where the same doubt could arise—for example, in Clause 1(1), and paragraphs 4 and 15 of Schedule 2. Its application to Section 36 was not then noticed, and it is particularly desirable to set this right since the fact that the point is covered in those other contexts might reinforce the doubt over Section 36 if it were not covered there also. The Amendment removes the doubt by providing that the reference to the retiring age in proviso (ii) to Section 36 shall be construed on the assumption that the officer concerned would have continued his service in the United Kingdom. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 15, line 38, at end insert the said new paragraph.—(Lord Shepherd.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I spoke to this Amendment when I moved Amendment No. 1. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 21, line 14, at end insert— (".—(1) In section 4 of the County Courts Act 1924, section 128 of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925 and section 21 of the County Courts Act 1934 (which apply the Superannuation Acts 1834 to 1935 to certain judicial officers) the reference to the said Superannuation Acts shall include a reference to section 33 and, subject to subparagraph 2 of this paragraph, section 41 of the Superannuation Act 1949 (which relate respectively to the allocation of pension for the benefit of the spouse of a retired civil servant and to injuries and diseases contracted in the discharge of duty). (2) In subsection (3) of the said section 41, as it has effect by virtue of this paragraph, references to an additional allowance shall include references to a lump sum under section 2 of the Administration of Justice (Pensions) Act 1950 and the reference to Part I and Part II of the said Act of 1949 shall include a reference to section 8 of the said Act of 1950. (3) Notwithstanding section 118 of the said Act of 1925 (under which certain judicial officers are deemed for the purpose of pension to be permanent civil servants of the State), nothing in the Superannuation Act 1946 or, except as provided by this paragraph, in the Superannuation Act 1949 shall apply to the officers to whom that section applies.")—(Lord Shepherd.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Schedule 4 [Repeals]:


As I indicated earlier, Amendment No. 5 is consequential on Amendment No. 4. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 23, line 24, column 3, at end insert ("In section 63(1), in the definition of superannuation allowance', the words from and does not include' to the end.")—(Lord Shepherd.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Remaining Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported, with Amendments.