HL Deb 18 June 1973 vol 343 cc1133-208

8.2 p.m.

House again in Committee.

Clause 73 [Reserve scheme contributions]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE moved Amendment No. 94:

Page 98, leave out lines 32 to 38, and insert: ("In those provisions as they apply by virtue of this subsection—

  1. (a) for "Great Britain" read the "United Kingdom; and
  2. 1134
  3. (b) in relation to contributions payable in Northern Ireland—
  1. (i) for the Secretary of State substitute the Northern Ireland Ministry (except where he is first referred to in Schedule 1, paragraph 6(2), and in paragraph 8), and
  2. (ii) for the Treasury substitute the Ministry of Finance.

(4A) Without prejudice to subsection (4) above, regulations may provide:

  1. (a) for treating secondary reserve scheme contributions payable (in respect of any earnings paid to or for the benefit of an earner) but not paid, as actually paid where the failure to pay is shown not to have been the consent or connivance of, or attributable to any neglect on the part of, the earner; and
  2. (b) for treating reserve scheme contribution wrongly paid, or paid as to the wrong amount, as paid (wholly or in part) in discharge of a liability for other reserve scheme contributions or for basic scheme contributions, or for a reserve scheme premium.")

The noble Earl said: If I may now resume my Social Security "hat" after that little interlude, in the first part of this Amendment paragraph (a) is required because since the reserve pension scheme covers Northern Ireland as well as Great Britain it is necessary to extend the provisions relating to Great Britain to include Northern Ireland where they are to be used for reserve scheme purposes. Paragraph (b) is required to bring the provisions into line with Amendments which have been made to the Bill generally with regard to Northern Ireland, Amendments which I moved earlier. The second part of the Amendment is new material; (4A)(b) is required to complete the set of provisions in conjunction with Amendments in Schedules 1 and 17 to permit reallocation of some funds which have been wrongly paid, or paid over to the wrong fund, as between reserve scheme contributions, reserve scheme premiums and basic scheme contributions.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD DIAMOND moved Amendment No. 95:

Page 99, line 12, at end insert: ("( ) Payments made as a primary contribution under this section shall attract relief from income tax as if the reserve scheme established by this part of this Act were a superannuation fund under section 208 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970 and this subsection shall be construed as one with that Act.")

The noble Lord said: If I may borrow from the noble Earl, Lord Gowrie, the "hat" which he said he has just put on his head, I beg to move Amendment No. 95 which refers to payments made under the reserve pension scheme and their consequential effect for income tax purposes. This Amendment is most important. Very shortly, what it deals with is the restoration of fairness and equity in the treatment of these contributions to the reserve pension scheme. I think it would be helpful to the Committee if I referred to the history of this issue.

When the matter was in Committee in another place, the equity to which I have referred was achieved by the Committee inserting an appropriate provision into the Bill with the assistance of no fewer than five Government supporters. Then the matter was considered in the full House in another place and this equitable arrangement was removed by a majority vote of four. Of those voting for the equitable situation which this Amendment provides, there were no fewer than eight Government supporters who voted against the Government and in favour of the equity as I shall demonstrate. Of course, there were many abstentions, but one is not able to be precise about them. That is why I have troubled the Committee with a short history of what has happened. I think a very special duty lies on this Committee to examine very carefully the reasons why the Government are proposing to treat uniquely prejudicially employees who are contributors to a reserve scheme and we should not hesitate, in my view. After all, this is not a money Bill; it is not a finance Bill. It is no part of the Government's case that this should await a Finance Bill and be dealt with in that way and there is nothing to prevent the fullest discussion, as I understand it, and, if necessary, a vote. I have of course reinforced my feelings by taking appropriate advice.

I think it would be simplest if the discussion were dealt with under four separate headings: first, tax principles; secondly, fairness as between individuals; thirdly, the financial effect of the Government's proposals and, fourthly, the argument sadduced by the Government in justification of what they propose. First as to tax principles. I am sure that your Lordships are aware that it is established tax treatment—it has been established over many years—that where you have pensions and provision for pensions the build-up of the pension is always treated as free of income tax; that is to say, the contribution made by the employee is treated as a deduction from his wages or salary. The income of the trust fund is not taxed, or if it is the tax is recovered. The build-up, I repeat, is free of tax, but the whole of the payment out of the trust fund—that is to say, the receipt of pension, of annuities by the annuitants—is fully taxed and treated mostly as earned income. This prompts me to say that the philosophy behind this is that pensions are a form of deferred wages, and so it is sensible that you should make a deduction from the wages to be taxed in the first place and then tax the receipt of the pension. Not only is this sensible, it is also convenient and acceptable, because normally the income of the annuitant is less than his income as a wage or salary earner, and therefore in terms of marginal rates he is better off to have part of his income treated as deferred to a retirement period. This is the universal rule, I think I can say, and there are many examples of it. The most obvious are the occupational schemes which are the alternative to the reserve scheme. There are some 11 million, according to Government figures, who are affected by the occupational schemes. So the employees, numbering 11 million, who are contributing to occupational schemes will get their contributions allowed as a deduction from their tax liability.

Another example which I must mention is that of Members of Parliament who have enacted their own contributory scheme on the usual basis; namely, that contributions made by Members of Parliament shall attract relief from income tax. But to avoid any misunderstanding, may I add that another example is the National Insurance scheme, which always had the same result for income tax purposes, but in recent years that relief and the taxation was supplanted by a lump sum addition to personal allowances to save administrative costs. And, if I may say so, a further example is the employer's contribution to the reserve scheme. The payment made by the employer is going to rank as a payment which is allowable for tax purposes. So I think I am right in saying that it is only the employee's contribution that is uniquely going to be treated in this way. So much for the tax principles. Here is a clear breach of tax principles which apply universally to all approved schemes but which are excluded and denied in the case of contributions by employees only to the reserve pension scheme.

I turn now to the question of fairness and equity as between individual taxpayers and individual contributors. As I have already indicated, the occupational scheme will allow employee contributors to have their contributions treated as a deduction for tax purposes. As your Lordships know, under the Bill there will be the alternative only of an occupational scheme or the reserve scheme. There will be no choice which the employee can take. The employer will decide whether his employees who are not members of an occupational scheme shall become members of an occupational scheme; and if not, automatically and compulsorily they become members of the reserve scheme. So if the employer makes that decision, they are put in a position of disadvantage as compared with all those who contribute to an occupational scheme, in the sense that the latter get tax relief while they, being contributors to the reserve scheme, get no tax relief. That is a simple injustice as between individuals.

The matter is made even more pointed because there are quite common circumstances in which there will be injustice not only as between occupational scheme members and reserve scheme members but as among reserve scheme members themselves. This will arise because an employee who has been a member of an occupational scheme and leaves his employment within the appropriate period or below the appropriate age will find, on his taking up new employment under which he becomes a member of the reserve scheme, that he will be, as it were, credited with the full amount of entitlement that he would have had if he had been a member of the reserve scheme the whole time, but with this difference: that the cost to him personally has been so much less, because of course all his contributions to the occupational scheme have been free of tax. So there will be two members employed side by side in the same firm of the same age, earning the same wages, both members of the reserve scheme, each being entitled at that particular point of time to the same ultimate pension, one having spent the full amount of his contributions and the other having spent 70 per cent. of his contributions, because he has had in effect a 30 per cent. rebate from the Inland Revenue. They are alike in all other circumstances, but have been put to different expenditure—70 to 100. It is quite absurd, quite anomalous and quite unjust.

Finally, on the question of equity, I would remind your Lordships that it was a distinguished Member of your Lordships' House, the noble Lord. Lord Boyle of Handsworth, who only two years ago recommended for the Parliamentary pension scheme contributions of three-eighths and five-eighths respectively for Members and State, because he said that that was normal in private schemes, and because they were the same as were proposed for the reserve scheme. So that that recommendation, which has been accepted and is now law, was based partly on the reserve scheme. Yet the situation is that Members of Parliament get tax relief on their contributions, but contributors to the reserve scheme, on which the Parliamentary scheme was based, are at the moment denied such benefit. So I am saying that there is a complete breach of tax principles and that the Arrangements provided are completely inequitable.

Thirdly, I turn to the financial effect. The financial effect is described most simply when I say that if you get your tax relief, then, in broad figures, for every £10 you contribute for your pension your cost becomes in effect £7, because 30 per cent. is the tax relief. Put the other way round, for every £1 of net cost a contributor incurs he gets, if he is entitled to tax relief, more than 40 per cent. additional pension as compared with the person who is not entitled to tax relief. So the contributor to the occupational pension scheme, who would be, for example purposes, in all respects equal, would be paying for his £1 of pension a given figure, and the contributor to the reserve scheme would be paying more than 40 per cent. in order to achieve the same benefit. That is the measure of the financial result of the inequity which the Government are at the present time proposing.

It will obviously have occurred to your Lordships that there must be some major explanation and reason why the Government are proposing to breach well-established tax principles, to incur inequitable and unfair treatment as between different individuals, and to cause such financial damage to one particular category. Well, the numbers affected are of the order of five to six million persons, and although one cannot categorise them, it is obvious from the way in which the occupational schemes have been formed that the five to six million contributors with whom we are concerned will mostly belong to the less well paid in the community. So the injustice is being perpetrated on no less than five to six million persons who are at the lower end of the wage-earning bracket.

The Government adduce three reasons for this extraordinary treatment. The first is that it would have been right (and this was the argument that the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, put forward on Second Reading) for the Government to enact a split in the contributions of fifty-fifty; that is, equal contributions by employer and employee, so that for a 4 per cent. total contribution each side would pay 2 per cent. The argument runs that 2 per cent. less tax is 1.4 per cent., which is broadly 1½ per cent. and therefore if the employee contributor is being asked to pay only 1½ per cent. he is getting broadly the same as if he had tax relief. This is a very interesting argument, but it is in fact quite wrong. Nevertheless, it is illuminating—illuminating because it shows that the Government accept that there should be tax relief and that there has to be justification for the absence of it. The Government's argument seeks this justification by a totally unsustainable assertion—the assertion that it would have been right to charge 2 per cent, from each side; in other words, for equal contributions to be made. It would not. As I have already quoted from the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, and as I shall quote, if I am asked, from the words of the Secretary of State—the normal contribution is something less than the figure of three-eighths proposed in the Bill and not fifty-fifty.

As this is so important, perhaps I should give the words of the Secretary of State at column 635 of Hansard of another place on May 9, 1973, when Sir Keith Joseph said this: I was guilty of a mis-statement in the House, for which I apologise. In an interjection in answer to a question I said that the split, which is 5 units on the employer to 3 units on the employee, in the reserve scheme, was better than in private occupational schemes. The fact is that I was wrong, and I apologise. The Government's proposal is roughly 37 per cent, on the employee. The average in occupational schemes is 33 per cent. on the employee. SO, far from fifty-fifty being a reasonable apportionment, the present apportionment which puts a responsibility of 37 per cent., in the Secretary of State's words, on the employee is worse than average. The average in the occupational schemes is 33 per cent. and your Lordships will of course recollect that the 37 per cent. is proposed to be not tax deductible while the 33 per cent. is tax deductible. Of course, the apology was accepted, but it illustrates the reason why the Minister, whom we all know and respect, was making the proposal. It was because he was under a misapprehension. He thought he was doing something which was fair and just. The figures showed that he was wrong and he apologised for his error.

That is the first argument that the Government adduced and I do not think I need address your Lordships any further in order to show that it simply is not sustainable. Nor indeed would any such tax as has been adopted achieve the purpose which the Government said was proper for them to attempt to achieve. The real reason did come out. The noble Lord. Lord Aberdare, did not refer to this on Second Reading, but the real reason was not hidden from the other place. It was expressed very clearly and it was to the effect that one could not give the State scheme and the occupational schemes an equal footing in terms of tax relief, because if that were done the occupational schemes would suffer. In short, the reserve scheme (the State scheme) had to be penalised in order that the occupational schemes should continue to be viable and attractive.

I do not know what noble Lords on the other side think of that argument. I know myself, being something of an entrepreneur, what I think of it. I reject it completely. I reject any argument which says that private enterprise can only be sustained against public enterprise if public enterprise is hobbled or shackled. I should not have thought there was any noble Lord on the other side who would want to rely on that kind of argument. I am encouraged to say that because the relevant interests have already said it. The Life Offices Association—and these pensions, of course, are mainly negotiated with the life offices—has written to the Secretary of State saying that it does not seek this exclusion from tax relief. The National Association of Pensions Funds —and this comprises the managers of the very pension funds which arise out of the occupational schemes—have stated that they favour allowing the tax relief.

Therefore in summary the Bill provides a scheme for the less well-paid wage earners, who will pay slightly more than the 11 million more fortunate members of occupational schemes but the cost, if no tax allowance is granted, will be over 40 per cent. more than is paid by their fellow members, fellow workers, fellow employees, fellow salary-earners who are in occupational schemes. That would fly in the face of justice and of well-established tax principle. It could be justified only if it were really true that in order to maintain privately-run occupational schemes you would need to shackle the Government's State scheme, the reserve pension scheme. Therefore it is not surprising that many elements of the Press and many Government supporters in both Houses have supported the elimination of this prejudicial treatment. One of the Members of the other place was in fact the Father of the House, and those of your Lordships who come from another place will know that he is more than an ordinary Member. Your Lordships will of course have heard what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter who, because he was making a maiden speech, was sensibly restrained in what he was saying. The noble Lord speaks with the experience of an ex-Minister of Pensions—not the only one in your Lordships' House, as I observe—and the noble Lord was also a Treasury Minister: he was in fact my predecessor as Chief Secretary, Treasury, and therefore had experience in the pension world, the insurance world, the social security world and the tax world. And although he was making a maiden speech he made his criticism very clear and very pointed. I am suggesting, therefore, that the Government have no longer any reason, the mistake having been discovered and the Secretary of State having apologised for it, for seeking to perpetrate this injustice on 5 million to 6 million contributors to the reserve scheme. I beg to move.

BARONESS SEEAR

After that detailed and impressive speech from the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, in moving the Amendment, I should like to say from these Benches that we strongly support this Amendment and can see no reason for discriminatory treatment of contributors to the reserve fund.

LORD REIGATE

On Second Reading I expressed my misgivings about the proposals of the Secretary of State regarding the penalising of the employee contributors to the reserve pension scheme. Your Lordships will fully understand how delighted I was that my words were later reinforced by the far more powerful and more authoritative voice of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, to whom the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, has referred. I sympathise with the Secretary of State in his dilemma. It is his wish to foster occupational pension schemes, and there I entirely agree with him because I have never known an occupational scheme which was not in essence superior to any kind of scheme which the State could ever propose. I think he was right in that connection. There are others who disagree. The noble Lord, Lord Diamond, said that the Life Offices Association are opposed to this proposal. I have made my own consultations, and I was interested to have the views of someone with great experience in this field who in a letter wrote this to me: My own view is that it should not be necessary for there to be a tax disability on those who join the reserve scheme. If occupational pension schemes require support of this order there is some ground for arguing they are not as well managed as they ought to be. As between the wisdom of the Secretary of State and the wisdom of the experts in life insurance, who am I to come down on one side or the other?

I have given this matter considerable consideration. I should be reluctant, for reasons I will give in a moment, to support the Amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has tabled and to which the noble Lord. Lord Diamond, spoke so eloquently. At this stage it might be wrong to add, say, £25 million to the inevitable burden which will fall on the taxpayer, but the inequity of it still sticks in my throat. I can understand that we should make the reserve pension scheme less desirable than the occupational schemes, but there are ways and ways of doing it. I object to discrimination between the two classes of contributors to the reserve pension scheme; that is to say, the employers and the employees. I wish to submit to my noble friend for his consideration the suggestion that if necessary—and I repeat the words "if necessary"—the contributions both of the employer and of the employee should cease to be tax exempt. That means that the employer and the employee jointly would have a strong incentive to formulate in each industry or business an occupational scheme which would be tailored to bear appropriate needs.

I can see one objection which would be raised straightaway: that this would be very hard on the small employer, the employer who employed five or ten people. I accept that. If my suggestion found itself acceptable in the eyes of the Government—which is doubtful—it might prove possible to make an exemption. After all, in the case of value added tax we have made an exemption limit up to £5,000, below which you do not have to pay V.A.T. Surely it would be possible to formulate a similar exemption for the small employer. In that case it would be possible to treat both classes of contributors to the reserve pension scheme equally equitably. I put that forward with some diffidence. I had thought of tabling an Amendment along those lines. To be frank, I have my failings as a Parliamentary draftsman and I found the task almost impossible. I must say to my noble friend that unless between now and Report stage the Government can find a more satisfactory and just solution to this problem than they are at present producing I shall find myself unable to accept it.

8.35 p.m.

LORD ABERDARE

It is true at first sight this Amendment appears very attractive. As the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, reminded us, it was sufficiently attractive in the other place to persuade one or two members of the Conservative Party to vote for it. But I must advise your Lordships once again not to accept the Amendment. I do this on the same grounds as were so exhaustively stated in another place, and I do not suppose that there is anything new in my reasons for advising your Lordships not to accept the Amendment. Basically it is our belief that were it to be accepted it could do serious damage to one of the most important aspects of this Bill—to encourage the development of occupational pension schemes. My noble friend Lord Reigate has just spoken of the importance of these schemes, and of encouraging them. It is for that basic reason that I hope that your Lordships will not upset a very delicate balance that has been struck between the occupational pension schemes and the reserve pension scheme.

As the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, said, it was our thought when we first approached the problem of a reserve pension scheme, that it would be fair to split the contribution of 4 per cent. equally between the employer and the employee. I gave some reasons for this in the course of the Second Reading debate. The employer's contribution to the reserve scheme is of a different order from that to his own occupation scheme, if he has one. In the case of his own scheme many factors enter into his decision which are not relevant to the reserve scheme. I gave the example of employers who pay more into their occupational schemes in order to provide back service benefits for existing employees, whereas the reserve scheme will relate solely to current service.

In the case of an occupational scheme the employer can assess the cost in deciding on his total wage bill and it can form part of the total remuneration package which he negotiates with the representatives of his staff. The noble Lord, Lord Diamond, referred to pensions as being deferred wages. I agree with him that they are a form of deferred wages, and in a normal occupational scheme the employer can take these deferred wages into account. But the reserve scheme is compulsory on him if he has no recognised occupational scheme. The very nature of his business may make it difficult for him not to rely on the reserve pension scheme. These were the reasons why originally we had thought of a 50-50 split. As the noble Lord also said, it is true we were not willing to penalise the employee by not giving an income tax rebate and, at the same time, not making compensation for it. It was for that reason that we went on to modify the split contribution to make it 1½ per cent. for the employee and 2½ per cent. for the employer. This would require the employee to contribute about the same amount as he would have contributed had he been paying 2 per cent. less tax relief. Incidentally, it is worthy of note that, by making it a split in contributions in this way, rather than by virtue of tax relief, we shall be helping those people on low earnings who do not pay tax equally with those who do pay tax.

When the noble Lord speaks of inequity, I would suggest to him that even under his proposals there would be inequity among members of the reserve pension scheme, between those who are taxpayers and getting the full relief on their contributions and those who are not who would not under his Amendment get any relief at all. But fundamentally if we were to give tax relief on the employee's share of the reserve scheme contribution, in addition to the uneven split of contribution in the employee's favour, we believe that this would gravely upset what is a delicate balance between the reserve scheme and occupational schemes. It would make the reserve scheme that much more attractive to the employee. He would be not only paying less on the split: he would also be getting the tax relief on his contribution, and it might well encourage him and those who represent him to resist an employer who might be considering introducing an occupational scheme. Indeed, it might influence an employer not to proceed with an occupational scheme proposal if he anticipated employee opposition to the rate of contribution that would be required as a result, contrasted with the reserve scheme.

My noble friend Lord Reigate made a suggestion that he thought there would be greater equity, if the employee is not to receive tax relief, if the employer did not, either. This was a suggestion made to us and one which we have investigated, but we do not believe that this is the right answer, either. It is our whole future pension policy to encourage the development of occupational schemes and we believe this to be in the best interests of all employed persons. But we are convinced that were we to accept this Amendment we could well significantly tip the scales against occupational schemes, and some millions of workers might find themselves in the reserve scheme when, as the Bill stands, they could become members of an occupational scheme.

LORD REIGATE

My noble friend, as I expected, rejected my suggestion, but I did not hear many reasons. He earlier said that it might tip the scale were an employer seeking to introduce a scheme, but the employee might be hostile because of the extra contribution that this would involve. This is exactly the situation which my proposal would meet because both parties would have a vested interest in an occupational scheme.

LORD ABERDARE

I take note of what my noble friend has said, but I think there are difficulties in stopping an employer from getting tax relief in this one instance, which make it particularly difficult in the circumstances. But I certainly will go into the matter again and talk to my noble friend about it.

We are not being unfair to the employee. I am quite sure that those of your Lordships who know—and all your Lordships know—my right honourable friend know that this is the last thing we would want to do. We are already asking from the employee less than half of the total contribution, and this benefits both those who pay tax and those who do not pay tax. On the other hand, if we change the present provision we may in the long run be unfair to very many workers who would find better provision in an occupational scheme. This is basically a taxation matter and I would think more appropriately decided in another place, where it was debated exhaustively and finally decided in the shape in which the Bill now stands. I would urge the Committee, and particularly my noble friends, to resist this Amendment.

8.45 p.m.

LORD STOW HILL

It is almost an impertinence, after the most admirable speech of my noble friend Lord Diamond. for me to intervene to try to supplement what he said. I should not have dreamed of doing so but for the answer to which we have just listened. May I take what the Ministers says. He is anxious not to upset the balance between the reserve schemes and the occupational schemes. But what an immense difference between the two of them these proposals make. If you pay £1 towards the reserve scheme you get £1 worth of pension; if you pay £1 towards an occupational scheme you get £1.41 pension. That is not just a slight tilting of balance; it is an enormous wide gap between them. I listened carefully to the impressive speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Reigate, and I thought, if I understood him correctly when he was reading the extract from a communication he had received from a person I understood to be of great experience, that the writer said that if the anxiety was that this reserve scheme, if tax relief were granted, might trench upon the occupational schemes, those in charge of the occupational schemes should bethink themselves as to whether they were really managing these occupational schemes properly.

The Minister said that, after all, employers who were minded to introduce occupational schemes might find hostility on the part of their employees if the employees could at a lower premium have a reserve scheme, instead of the higher premium they would have to pay for an occupational scheme. But that takes out of account, I should have thought, that the higher premium you would pay for the occupational scheme would bring you larger rewards in the form of enhanced pensions, and possibly even pensions related to arrears, which the reserve scheme does not provide for. So I submit that the scales are tilted monstrously unfairly against the reserve scheme. You are dooming it. You are saying that the reserve scheme is really only about two-thirds as good as the occupational schemes. Surely that is an unfair balance.

If one really looks into the figures (and it is perhaps relevant to look into them a little more) one sees that the Minister says notionally they start upon the basis that each pays fifty-fifty; the employee and employer should each pay 50 per cent. of the £320 million which represents 4 per cent. of the available income to pay for the scheme. Therefore, the Government say, "We will start by transferring £40 million of that£320 million from the shoulders of the employee to the shoulders of the employer." What is the result, if one just looks at it? You relieve the employee of £40 million, but you take away from him tax relief of £37,500,000 If your Lordships ask how I get at that figure, I would say that the figure is, as I understand from the figures the Government have put forward, that some 7 million people are likely to be affected by the reserve scheme. Of those, it is not true that a large proportion will be contributors who do not pay tax; the Government's own figure is that 5 million to 6 million out of the 7 million will be taxpayers, and the majority of them taxpayers at a basic rate of 30 per cent. If one takes a fraction, say, of 5½ million of those people who are taxpayers, as against the 7 million who will be affected, and applies that to the tax relief that is taken away from the contributor—the tax relief of £160 million, half the £320 million—it would be £48 million; and if you apply the fraction I have described you reduce the tax relief to £371 million. So that really all you do is to take away from the shoulders of the contributors £2½ million.

That is what this scheme proposes. Then if you look at it from the point of view of the employer, you put on his shoulders £40 million that you have taken from the shoulders of the employee, but the employer can treat that £40 million as a deduction in computing his profits for the purpose of corporation tax. If you take the figure which I think the Government work on as the notional corporation tax of 50 per cent., it means that it costs the employer only an extra £20 million a year. So you are taking from the employees £20 million and putting it on the shoulders of the employers; and you are relieving the 5 to 6 million taxpayers among the contributors of only £2½ million.

As my noble friend Lord Diamond said, it is grossly and monstrously unfair. It really cannot be justified by any consideration of a desire to encourage and protect the occupational schemes. That argument really will not stand up. If the Government wish to protect the occupational schemes they must find some less unfair method of doing so. What they have done is merely to make —I hope I do not use pejorative language, but what I would call a "bogus slant" in favour of the employer (because that is what it is) this change from fifty-fifty to 2½ to 1½ per cent. contributions. It is a purely fictitious benefit—a nonbenefit—conferred upon the employer. It is £2½ million and in that way the Government try to safeguard these occupational schemes.

I submit that it is grossly, monstrously and outrageously unfair. This Bill has a great deal of good in it but I submit that for an object which may be praiseworthy or otherwise the Government have been betrayed into a course of conduct which really cannot be justified and I beg the Minister to consider it again.

LORD DIAMOND

I do not want to delay your Lordships because in the absence of any speeches in support of the Government's proposals I sense that noble Lords have certain views about it and would wish to register those views. I want to deal very shortly only with three points which have arisen. First, there is the noble Lord, Lord Reigate, to whom I listened, as always, with great care and respect. He was anxious about an alleged £25 million which it would cost the Treasury to accept this Amendment. That is simply not so. The Government, as the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, has made pellucidly clear, are anxious to bolster up the occupational schemes so that everybody will become a member of the occupational schemes, so that everybody shall contribute to those schemes, so that everybody shall get tax relief on their contributions and so that the £25 million which otherwise would go to the Revenue will not get there. So I say to the noble Lord, Lord Reigate, that there is no question whatsoever of its costing anything in the Government's theory.

I say to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, that he must not introduce the argument that tax relief does not help those below the level of taxation. That is true; it is true in every field, and if the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, feels that something ought to be done about it why do not the Government introduce a minimum wage scheme or something of the kind, which will bring everybody up to the minimum level of taxability? He cannot pick on this particular thing and say that because one or one and a half million people out of the six to seven million people who will be contributors to the reserve scheme will not pay tax, therefore you should penalise the other five to six million. It is an argument that is not worthy of the noble Lord.

Finally, with regard to the revision which he claims now is the basis of the whole of his case, you start off with 50-50 and you revise. We have demonstrated that the revised figure is already inequitable in the sense that a contributor under the reserve scheme is, even so, being asked to contribute more than the average contribution to occupational schemes. But supposing you do start with this: what has the Minister done? In order to help the contributor he has made a rearrangement, as he says, broadly—and I am using the figures very broadly now—under which the contributor saves nothing; the employer contributes net an additional £20 million and the Treasury saves £20 million.

Your Lordships will forgive an "old hand" making this absolutely clear. This is what it is about and one should understand that this is what it is about. The question is whether the Treasury should get the additional £20 million or not. That is what is involved in this switch. It has been put on to the backs of the employers—£40 million less tax £20 million. I am suggesting to your Lordships that the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, has made it quite clear that he has nothing to tell us or to offer us, and we are going to protest against what my noble and learned friend Lord Stow Hill, who is a master of the understatement in your Lordships' House, has referred to as "this monstrous injustice".

LORD SHEPHERD

Before the noble Lord replies—and I hope my noble friend presses this Amendment to a Division—I should like to point out, for the record, that this is a debate of great importance. Yet there was one noble Baroness who sits on the Cross Benches and, until the last few minutes, apart from the Front Bench opposite there were four Members on the Benches opposite, of whom the noble Lord, Lord Reigate, himself was part. I only thought I would register the attendance of the Committee, because I know that there are numbers to be found in the building who no doubt will troop through the Division Lobbies.

LORD ABERDARE

I should like to make a couple of points to the noble Lord, Lord Diamond. First, I would deny most sincerely that this has anything to do with the Treasury. This is not a matter that we have decided because of the Treasury saying anything at all. It is simply, as I tried to explain in my speech, that we have struck a balance between the reserve scheme and the occupational schemes. In fact it seems to me that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stow Hill, was rather explaining the sort of balance that we had achieved: he was speaking about £40 million being taken off the shoulders of the employees as a result of their having to pay a lesser share —1½ per cent. rather than a full 2 per cent.—and he was explaining that this amounted to about the same figure (I think it was £37½ million) as they would

9.7 p.m.

Clause 73, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 74 agreed to.

have had if they had paid 2 per cent. contribution and had tax relief on it.

LORD STOW HILL

The sum of £40 million being taken off their shoulders and £371 million being put on their shoulders.

LORD ABERDARE

But that is not as a result of having reduced their contribution to 1½ per cent., which is what I have explained we have done. When the noble Lord twice in his opening speech said, first, that there was discrimination between people in the reserve scheme and also that he was concerned about the low paid, I think it is right to point out to him that one and a half million people of these six or seven million do not pay tax and therefore our way of distributing the contribution will be of benefit to them. It is only right that that point should be made.

9.0 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 95) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 20; Not-Contents, 39.

CONTENTS
Beswick, L. Longford, E. Shepherd, L.
Champion, L. Phillips, B.[Teller.] Stow Hill, L.
Diamond, L. Popplewell, L. Strange, L.
Garnsworthy, L. Rusholme, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Henderson, L. Seear, B. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Hoy, L. Segal, L. Wright of Ashton under Lyne, L.
Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. [Teller.] Serota, B.
NOT-CONTENTS
Aberdare. L. Denham, L.[Teller.] Limerick, E.
Amherst of Hackney, L. Derwent, L. Lothian, M.
Auckland, L. Drumalbyn, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Balfour, E. Dundee, E. Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]
Belstead, L. Elles, B.
Berkeley, B. Falmouth, V. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Ferrers, E. Rankeillour, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Sandford, L.
Brooke of Ystradfellte,B. Furness, V. Swansea, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Gowrie, E. Tweedsmuir, L.
Conesford, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Craigavon, V. Windlesham, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Crathorne, L. Hylton-Foster, B. Young, B.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Inglewood, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Schedule 17 [Supplementary provisions as to reserve scheme premiums]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

Amendment No. 96 was spoken to with Amendment No. 94. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 182, line 10, after second ("for") insert ("basic scheme or")—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 17, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 75 agreed to.

Clause 76 [Reserve scheme personal pension]:

LORD SHEPHERD had given Notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 97:

Page 104, line 16, at end insert— ("( ) The Secretary of State shall have power by regulation to amend Schedule 18 to this Act to provide for equal weekly pen-sons irrespective of sex of every £1 of each year's reckonable contribution factor and for ages of retirement between 60 and 65 inclusive but there shall be no power under this section compulsorily to raise the retirement age of women above 60.")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 97 is an Amendment of considerable principle, very much in line with Amendment No. 95 which was moved by my noble friend Lord Diamond and on which we have just had a vote. I see that the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, has her name to this Amendment also, and it may be that she wishes to deploy her argument in support of the Amendment. For myself, taking the experience of the debate on the last Amendment, I really question whether there is any real point in proceeding with Amendments of this importance. As the Committee will remember, just before the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, wound up our last discussion I pointed out that there were listening to the debate the noble Baroness who sits on the Cross Benches, apart from the two Ministers who are still on the Front Bench and four other Members on the Back Benches opposite. One of them was the noble Lord, Lord Reigate, who made his position quite clear in opposition to the views of Her Majesty's Government.

We then had a Division in which 39 noble Lords opposite went through, no doubt from the call of the Chairman of Committees to clear the Bar; they came into the Chamber without any idea about what they were voting on, trooped through without any knowledge, without any thought of what the Amendment was about, what degree of injustice was involved. I say this because it was a noble Lord opposite, the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, who sought to persuade the Committee not to divide because in his view the number in attendance was not sufficient. On that occasion there must have been some 30 or 40 Members present. On this occasion we were seeking to deploy an argument to four Members on the Benches opposite, including one who had already made his view clear.

This is not a satisfactory way in which this House should conduct its important consideration of this Bill, and for my part I do not intend to say anything further on this particular Amendment; I leave it entirely to the noble Baroness. Whatever may be the result of her speech and whatever may be the view of this Committee, this and those other Amendments which are in my name, Amendments which are of principle, I do not intend to move to-night, but will seek to do so on Report, when perhaps it may be possible that we have a better attended Committee.

BARONESS SEEAR

While agreeing in no small part with the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, I think it none the less necessary that this very important Amendment should be moved, because it is an Amendment which attempts to bring this Bill up to date. It is the feeling, I think, of a good many of the Members of your Lordships' House familiar with problems of social security that the major defect of this Bill is that the thinking is characteristic of the approach to social security of twenty years ago rather than of the next twenty years. In particular, the Bill fails to deal adequately with the need of both men and women for gradual and flexible retiring ages. With the great changes going on at the present time in industry, and with the very different ways of planning working life and retirement, it is surely desirable that there should be this opportunity for flexibility and choice in retiring age which is reflected in this Amendment.

Secondly, the Bill fails totally to recognise the very much changed position of women in the labour market. As was said earlier this evening, with the coming into force in 1975 of the Equal Pay Act, the position of women as wage-earners will be greatly changed, one hopes, even if one does so with a certain scepticism. Certainly for many women there will be the opportunity to earn more. Accordingly, they will be making, a bigger contribution to the fund, and it is highly desirable that when this state of affairs comes about the implications are fully grasped, as at present they are not, that it should be realised that women could stand equally to men with regard to pension rights. It is not thought that this will be changed in the body of the text of this Bill, but in this Amendment we are giving powers to the Secretary of State to make alterations in the Schedule, and by so doing when he sees fit, when the changed position really has come home to people, to bring in the possibility for flexible retirement and also equal treatment for men and women with regard to pension payments. I beg to move.

9.14 p.m.

LORD ABERDARE

I have listened with interest to what has been said on this Amendment. I must say that I am a little surprised at what the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said. He has been in this House long enough to know that you cannot force noble Lords to sit on these Benches if they do not wish to. He will have realised that this is a particularly difficult and complicated Bill and unfortunately it does not attract a great deal of attention from Members of this House. As he was speaking, there was only one noble Lord on the Benches behind him, who has subsequently been joined by another; there are now two. I think he realises that these are matters which are common to all Parliaments. I regret it to be so, but it is the fact.

I would say to the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, that I know her great and deep interest in this matter. She spoke on it at Second Reading. There are considerable difficulties in relating her proposal to the reserve pensions scheme when in fact the pensionable age for men under the Bill as a whole is 65 and there has been no proposal to amend it. The pensionable age in the reserve pension scheme is in line with the minimum pension age for men in the basic scheme. Of course, we do not know how many men who are at present under the age of 65 and in full-time employment would retire earlier if the minimum pension age were lower. There is no doubt that if a substantial number of them were encouraged to retire earlier than they would otherwise have done, the cost of basic pensions would increase considerably. In fact, it is estimated that if the age for men were reduced to 60, and if the present pattern of retirement between 65 and 70 were to be repeated between the ages of 60 and 65, the extra cost under the basic scheme would be of the order of £800 million a year, or £15 million a week. Reserve scheme pensions would, if paid at earlier ages, be of smaller amounts, and if a man were to retire at an earlier age on a level of pension that might not be adequate, they would then subsequently be more likely to have to depend on supplementary benefit. Certainly some other countries have attempted to experiment, but the results have not been reassuring.

As I pointed out on a previous Amendment, at the age of 65 the benefit scale for women would be very close to that for men, but this is a fortuitous result that arises because of the calculations that are made by the actuaries. It is balanced out between the men and the women. The effect of women's longer living reduces their pension at 65, if they take their pension at 65. In the case of the men, their pension is offset by the cost of the widowhood provision that they have to make from their contributions. So it has occurred that in fact at 65 there is a correspondence between the two pensions, but it is fortuitous, and in fact the widowhood cover at the moment included in the man's pension contributions assumes a widow's pension at half-rate. But if this widow's pension were to be increased, say, to two-thirds for example, which the revenue allowed, then the man's pension would be affected because he would have to make that much more provision for the widow's pension. Or equally, if there were unexpected changes in relative mortality between the two sexes, then again, under the present system of actuarial calculation, the pensions could be altered materially. That is the background to the present rates, and those are some of the difficulties that we would find if we were to adopt the noble Baroness's suggestion. I hope that the noble Lord will not press this Amendment.

BARONESS PHILLIPS

Before the noble Lord sits down, may I ask him whether he would not agree that it is very unfair that married women cannot opt out of the State reserve scheme—which we tried to suggest we should alter in the main provisions, and were defeated —and yet they still have the option of coming out of the basic pension payments?

LORD ABERDARE

This arises from die very nature of the reserve scheme in which you pay your contributions and you get your benefits. There is no equivalent provision, as there is in the basic scheme, for the wife to rely on her husband's contributions because it is a quite different kind of scheme. It is a scheme in which the contributions relate to the benefits, whereas the basic scheme is a transfer of money from those who are earning to those who need it, at one and the same time.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 76 agreed to.

Schedule 18 [Computation of weekly rate of reserve scheme personal pension]:

9.21 p.m.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE moved Amendment No. 98A: Page 183, leave out lines 14 to 18 and insert ("arrived at as follows.

(2) Take all the years for which the earner acquired a reckonable contribution factor and in which he was aged not less than 22 nor more than 64.

(3) For this purpose, treat the earner as having been, in any year, of the age which he had attained on the last day of that year.

(4) In relation to a year in which the earner was of the age specified in the first column of the Table below, take for each £1 of his reckonable contribution factor for that year the number of pence specified for him in the second column of the Table.

(5) The weekly rate of the pension is the aggregate of the sums produced by the calculation under sub-paragraph (4) above.").

The noble Earl said: With the leave of the Committee, I should like to take this Amendment together with Amendment No. 98B. These are drafting Amendments designed for clarification and the avoidance of doubt. They do not change the intention of the provision. The provision for the rounding of pension amounts for payment purposes—that is to say, paragraph 4(2) of the Schedule as as present; paragraph 5 in the Amendment—is designed to apply to the total weekly pension amount. It is necessary, therefore, for the paragraph dealing with the calculation with which the rounding provision is linked to refer unambiguously to pension as the aggregate of the amounts calculated for each year by reference to the Table. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 98B.

Amendment moved—

Page 184, leave out lines 23 to 26 and insert— ("5. Regulations may provide for adjusting the weekly rate of pension arrived at under paragraph 4 above so that the rate is in all cases a whole number of pence, and for adjusting the rate in prescribed circumstances, by amounts up to 10 pence and no more, with a view to facilitating administration and payment.").—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to. Schedule 18, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 77 and 78 agreed to,

Clause 79 [Supplementary provisions as to reserve scheme pensions]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

Amendments Nos. 101 and 102 are further Government Amendments relating to Northern Ireland, to which I spoke on Tuesday. I beg to move Amendment No. 101.

Amendment moved— Page 107, line 46, at end insert ("and in its application to Northern Ireland, the reference to a person's bankruptcy includes the vesting of a person's estate and effects in the official assignee under section 349 of the Irish Bankrupt and Insolvent Act 1857").—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 102.

Amendment moved— Page 108, line 2, leave out ("shall") and insert ("as they apply to Great Britain shall. for the whole of the United Kingdom").—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 79, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 80 agreed to.

Schedule 19 [Part IV of National Insurance Act 1965]:

LORD ABERDARE moved Amendments Nos. 102A, 102B, 102C, 103, 103A, 103B, 103C, 103D and 103E:

Page 184, line 42, leave out ("and").

Page 184, line 43, after first ("benefit") insert ("(except where the context otherwise requires)").

Page 184, line 47. at end insert:

("and "beneficiary" shall be construed accordingly;

  1. (c) "claimant" means a person who has claimed benefit or whose right to be excepted from liability to pay, or to have his liability deferred for, or to be credited with, a contribution is in question;
  2. (d) "contributions" means contributions under Part I of the Social Security Act or contributions or premiums under Part III of that Act or, as respects any period before the day appointed for the coming into force of section 2 of that Act, contributions within the meaning of section 114 of this Act;
  3. (e) "employed earner" shall be construed in accordance with section 1(7) of the Social Security Act and regulations under Part I of that Act;
  4. (f) "the Family Allowances Act" means the Family Allowances Act 1965:
  5. (g) "friendly society" means a society registered as a friendly society under the Friendly Societies Acts 1896 to 1971, being a society which as part of its ordinary business provides benefits during sickness or other infirmity, or in old age, or in widowhood, or for orphans, and not being a collecting society within the meaning of the Industrial Assurance Act 1923;
  6. (h)" the Industrial Injuries Act "means the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1965:
  7. (j)"prescribed" means prescribed by regulations; and
  8. (k)" regulations" means regulations made by the Secretary of State under this Act, or, as the case may be, under the Social Security Act.")

Page 185, line 40, after ("of") insert ("an")

Page 188, line 41, leave out ("and")

Page 189, line 1, after first ("benefit") insert ("(except where the context otherwise requires)")

Page 189, line 4, at end insert— ("and "beneficiary" shall be construed accordingly;

Page 190, line 25, leave out ("under this Act") and insert ("")

Page 200, line 30, leave out ("under this Act") and insert ("")

The noble Lord said: With your Lordships' permission, I would ask leave to move all the Amendments to Schedule 19—Nos. 102A, 102B, 102C, 103, 103A, 103B, 103C, 103D, and 103E—

LORD SHEPHERD

Are not these some of the Amendments to which I drew attention at the beginning of the Committee stage, of which my noble friend Lady Phillips and I had a first sight only to-day? I thought the response, both from the noble Lord the Leader of the House and the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, was that it was quite wrong for the Committee to consider these Amendments to-day, in view of the short notice which the Opposition and the Committee had been given for their consideration.

LORD ABERDARE

I thought we were in agreement that we should not move the Schedules which comprise the greater part of the Amendments which we were talking about earlier on. These were Schedules 22, 24 and 25. I was going to ask the noble Lord whether he would be kind enough to help me with Schedule 22, but this is another formal set of Amendments which, unless we put them in the Bill, will make the Bill almost incomprehensible if the noble Lord wants to read it properly at the Report stage.

LORD SHEPHERD

If that is so, whose fault is it? Is it the Committee's? Is it the Opposition's? Or is it the Minister's? These Amendments, as the noble Lord will know, were put down only at the end of last week, and for reasons of which only the noble Lord can be aware were not available to my noble friend Lady Phillips or myself until this morning. I put the case that neither of us, or for that matter the Committee, could judge whether these Amendments should be taken to-day because we had not had an opportunity to consider them. The noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, must understand—as I tried on previous occasions to say—that many of us have other employments and other outside occupations and we cannot just pick up Amendments at short notice within hours and be expected to consider them. I put that point of view and I thought that I had the sympathy of the Government. These Amendments are part of 76 pages of Amendments and I think it would be quite wrong for noble Lords to proceed with the movement of them.

LORD ABERDARE

I was proposing to leave out the greater part of the pages of Amendments to which the noble Lord rightly drew attention. I accept the full responsibility for what has happened—I very much regret it; I apologised earlier in the proceedings of this Bill. There have been many difficulties to overcome. We are not asking the noble Lord to accept anything that is in any way concerned with the principles of this Bill. He knows that. All I am informed, by those who know very much better than I do, is that unless we put in some of these Amendments, which are very formal Amendments and pull the whole Bill together and ensure that it makes sense, to anybody reading the Bill after the Committee stage it will not make good sense. I would ask the noble Lord, as courteously as I can, whether he would allow me to meet him by not moving the two vast Schedules at the end, Nos. 24 and 25, which I will willingly leave to Report stage; but I do ask him whether he will allow me to move the other Amendments drafted in the Bill because I believe that to those people who want to look at the Bill between the Committee stage and the Report stage it really will not make much sense unless we have these written into it. Then he can study the Bill as a whole, as it properly should be, and will be able to make any Amendments that he wants on these particular Schedules at the Report stage.

LORD SHEPHERD

I do not think it is a question of courtesy or discourtesy. Does the noble Lord not agree that the House, when it is being asked to accept Amendments, should be satisfied that they are right and that they have been, if possible, carefully considered, either in Committee or outside? That has not been possible in regard to all these 76 pages of Amendments. The noble Lord then goes on to say that he has been advised that it is necessary. The noble Lord has not said that in his view it is necessary. I do not think that this is good enough, but if the noble Lord is prepared to say, as the Deputy Leader of this House, that it is his strong advice that it is in the interests of the House that these Amendments are moved and are put in, that there is nothing dramatic in its drafting, I am prepared to meet him on one condition: that if we wish to consider the changes that have been made, the reconsideration will be done on recommittal and not on Report. There is a difference in procedure. I should be prepared to go as far as that if the noble Lord would indicate that he himself is satisfied as to the need for putting these Amendments in now, and if necessary and we wish to have further discussion it can be as a consequence of recommittal, not of the whole Bill, but of these particular Amendments.

LORD ABERDARE

I can certainly give the assurance for which the noble Lord asks. The advice I have received has been of the highest integrity, and I can perfectly well tell the noble Lord that in my opinion these Amendments do not involve any matters of principle. If I am wrong, and if the noble Lord can find matters of principle in these Amendments—not just drafting—then am quite happy that, if he so wishes, he should recommit those particular clauses.

BARONESS PHILLIPS

I should not wish to delay the noble Lord in any way, but it seems very mysterious to a simple soul like myself that a Bill which has been passing through the other House has now to include such simple things as: 'the Family Allowance Act' means the Family Allowance Act 1965". Where have the draftsmen been till now, that they should now put forward ail these obvious things? Who on earth drafted the Bill in the first place? It seems to me quite appalling.

THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES

The Question is that Amendments Nos. 102A, B and C, 103, 103A, B, C, D and E be agreed to.

LORD ABERDARE

The reason for these Amendments is that Schedule 19 contains the provisions of Part IV of the National Insurance Act 1965, relating to the determination of claims and questions, modified to meet the requirements of this Bill. The effect of the first six of these Amendments is to incorporate in Schedule 19 a list of definitions of expressions used in Part IV of the 1965 Act, thereby enabling Section 114 of that Act, which contains the existing list, to be repealed along with the bulk of the 1965 Act. The answer to the noble Baroness, therefore, is that what we are trying to do is to put everything we can into this Bill, so that in the future it can be read as one full Bill and we can thereby repeal parts of the 1965 Act. That is the object of it all.

BARONESS PHILLIPS

I understand that, but it seems mysterious to me. Surely, before the Bill was prepared those who were drafting it must have known that they were going to repeal this Act. I find it quite mysterious; and I would only say that were some of us in the position of carrying out our own work in this way I feel we should soon be receiving some of the social security benefits ourselves.

LORD ABERDARE

This has been a very intricate and very difficult Bill to produce. It has been bad enough trying to get it through your Lordships' House, without all the preliminaries that went on. Amendments 103D and 103E ensure that provisions in Sections 68(2) and 81(6) of the 1965 Act, relating to the submission of claims to insurance officers and deduction from benefit will apply, as was intended, to claims and benefit under this Bill. I beg to move.

LORD SHEPHERD

I shall certainly take note of what the noble Lord has said, and I shall look carefully at what is now being put into the Bill. I must say that, like my noble friend Baroness Phillips, I really wonder what has been going on in another place. The Bill did not start here: it has been in the House of Commons for I do not know how many months. Now, at short notice—a day's notice—your Lordships' Committee is being presented with these Amendments. It does not reflect much credit on the competence of the Government, their Ministers or the officials of the Department concerned.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Schedule 19, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 81 [Questions arising under the reserve scheme]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE moved Amendment No. 104:

Page 110, line 11, at end insert— ("(2A) In subsections (1) and (2) above, as they apply to Northern Ireland and questions arising there, the Northern Ireland Ministry shall be substituted for the Secretary of State.")

The noble Earl said: With the leave of the Committee, I should like to move Amendment No. 104 and, at the same time, speak to Amendments Nos. 105 and 106. These are further technical Amendments relating to the application of the Bill to Northern Ireland. I spoke to them on the first day of the Committee. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 105.

Amendment moved— Page 110, line 22, leave out from ("Act") to end of line 24 and insert ("or the corresponding Northern Ireland legislation: and the said Part IV or that legislation, as the case may be, shall then apply as if it were such a question as is referred to in section 80(5) of this Act.")—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 106.

Amendment moved— Page 110, line 30. leave out from ("Act") to end of line 33, and insert ("or the corresponding Northern Ireland legislation: and any question so prescribed shall in accordance with the regulations be so referred. and the said Part IV or that legislation, as the case may be, shall then apply as if it were such a question as is referred to in section 80(5) of this Act.")—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question Amendment agreed to.

Clause 81, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 82 [References and appeals from the two Boards]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

With the leave of the Committee, I should like to move the Amendments to Clause 82 en Hoc. They are technical Amendments relating to the application of the Bill to Northern Ireland.

Amendments moved—

Page 111, line 12, leave out ("High Court) and insert: ("court. (1A) In this section "the court" means—

  1. (a) in England and Wales, the High Court;
  2. (b) in Scotland, the Court of Session; and
  3. (c) in Northern Ireland, the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.")

Page 111, line 15, leave out ("High").

Page 111, line 32, leave out ("High").

Page 111, line 33, leave out ("High").

Page 111,line 36, after ("court") insert ("or by rules made under section 7 of the Northern Ireland Act 1962").

Page 111, line 37, leave out ("High").

Page 112, line 2, leave out ("High").

Page 112, line 4, tiller C' costs") insert (` or in Scotland, the expenses").

Page 112, line 11, leave out subsection (9).—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

LORD HOY

One o: these Amendments interests me. I take it that in Amendment No. 114 "expenses" in Scotland are simply the equivalent of "costs" in England and Wales.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I think the noble Lord made a point analogous to this one on the first day of Committee stage. He rapped my knuckles, rightly, for associating Northern Ireland and Scotland together in spite of the fact that a Scot meant an Irishman originally.

LORD HOY

I must say that I have done my best to help the Government up to now, but I must point out to the Minister that he had better not make any more jokes of that kind.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 82, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 83 agreed to.

Clause 84 [Administrative provisions adopted from the 1965 Act]:

9.38 p.m.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE moved Amendment No. 116: Page 113, line 1, leave out from ("which") to end of line and insert ("substantially replace").

The noble Earl said: With the leave of the Committee, I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 116 and 117 together. These are drafting Amendmets to provide a more accurate description of Schedule 20, parts of which extend to the Industrial Injuries Act and the Family Allowances Act. I beg to move.

LORD HOY

I find it difficult—and I am not being facetious—when in legislation of this kind you take out a "which" which does something and you put in "substantially replace". If "substantial replace" has any meaning at all, it means that only part is being replaced, even if a substantial part. It would be for the Minister to define that which is being substantially replaced and that which is not. To put in two words and say they are going to take the place of "which" cannot be good for legislation. I think the Minister ought to give the Committee a definition of these words.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

All that is aimed at here is a more accurate description. Very often, as the noble Lord knows, the paring away of redundant expressions, or tortological expressions as in this case, succeeds in providing a more accurate description. That is why I moved the Amendment.

LORD HOY

I will take the noble Earl's word for it, but I must say that I am not satisfied. I can assure him that if he had wanted to do this sort of thing in another place, we should have called for some more definitive definition of what the words mean. Merely to say that they are substantially replaced is to leave doubt in the legislation. It does not define; it merely says it is being substantially replaced, which means that something is being left out, and that is what I wanted to know.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE moved Amendment No. 116A: Page 113, line 7, leave from ("which") to ("sections") in line 8 and insert ("substantially replace").

The noble Earl said: I think that, with the leave of the Committee, this Amendment might conveniently be taken together with Amendments Nos. 117A, 120A, 121A and 129A. The general effect of the Amendments is to bring the provisions of the Industrial Injuries Act, 1965, relating to inspectors and penalties, into line with the relevant provisions in this Bill. The main change made is to provide that the maximum penalty for obstructing an inspector or refusing to answer his questions is £50, and £10 for each day on which the offence is continued. At present the maximum penalty is £10 a day for a first offence and £50 for a second or subsequent offence, with no provision for continuing offences. The Bill has already changed a penalty for offences committed under the Bill, and the Amendment makes the same change for similar offences committed under the Industrial Injuries Act, thereby achieving consistency. The other changes are of a drafting nature.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 117.

Amendment moved— Page 113, line 18, at end insert("and, to the extent mentioned in that Part of Schedule 20, apply also for the purposes of the Industrial Injuries Act and the Family Allowances Act").—(TheEarl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 117A.

Amendment moved—

Page 113. line 18, at end insert: ("(3) Part III of Schedule 20 to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of bringing section 64 of the Industrial Injuries Act (inspectors, etc.) into conformity with Part I of that Schedule in respect of penalties for obstruction and other matters.")—(The Earl of Gowie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 84, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 20 [Miscellaneous administrative provisions from former principal Act]:

LORD ABERDARE

This Amendment improves the present drafting in the Bill and ensures that the powers of inspectors apply in relation to reserve scheme premiums as well as to contributions under the basic and reserve schemes. I beg to move Amendment No. 118.

Amendment moved—

Page 201, line 25, leave out paragraph 2 and insert: 2.—(l) in accordance with this paragraph, persons shall furnish to an inspector all such information, and produce for his inspection all such documents, as he may reasonably require for the purpose of ascertaining—

  1. (a) whether any contributions or premiums are or have been payable, or have bc2n duly paid, by or in respect of any person; or
  2. (b) whether benefit is or was payable to or in respect of any person.
(2) The following persons are under the duty imposed by sub-paragraph (1) above—
  1. (a) the occupier of any premises or place liable to inspection under this Part of this Schedule;
  2. (b) any person who is or has been employing another;
  3. (c) any person carrying on an agency or other business for the introduction or supply to persons requiring them of persons available to do work or perform services;
  4. (d) the servants or agents of any such person as is specified in sub-paragraph (a), (b) or (c) above; and
  5. (e) any person who is or has been liable to pay contributions or a premium under this Act.
2A. In this Part of this Schedule references to contributions include reserve scheme, as well as basic scheme, contributions; and "premium" means a reserve scheme premium."—(Lord Aberdare.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Loan ABERDARE

This also is a drafting Amendment, designed to ensure that the provisions of Schedule 20 relating to prove of age, marriage or death apply for the purposes of the Industrial Injuries Act. I beg to move Amendment No. 119.

Amendment moved—

Page 203, line 28, at end insert: 10A. Paragraphs 8 to 10 above (except paragraph 10(b) shall apply for the purposes of the Industrial Injuries Act as they apply for the purposes of this Act."—(Lord Aberdare.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

9.45 p.m.

LORD ABERDARE moved Amendment No. 1 20:

Page 203. line 30, leave out paragraphs 11 to 13 and insert— 11.—(1) The Secretary of State may incur expenses for the purpose of furnishing the address at which a man or woman is recorded by him as residing, where the address is required for the purpose of taking or carrying on legal proceedings to obtain or enforce an order for the making by the man or woman of payments—

  1. (a) for the maintenance of the man's wife or former wife, or the woman's husband or former husband; or
  2. (b) for the maintenance or education of any person as being the son or daughter of the man or his wife or former wife, or of the woman or her husband or former husband.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1)(b) above "son or daughter" includes a son or daughter by adoption and a illegitimate son or daughter.

12. Regulations may provide—

  1. (a) for a voidable marriage which has been annulled, whether before or after the date when the regulations come into force, to be treated for the purposes of such provisions of, or of any regulations under, this Act, subject to such exceptions or conditions as may be prescribed, as if it had been a valid marriage which was terminated by divorce at the date of annulment;
  2. (b) for the purposes of this Act, the Industrial Injuries Act or the Family Allowances Act, as to the circumstances in which a marriage celebrated under a law which permits polygamy is to be treated as having the same consequences as a marriage celebrated under a law which does not;
and regulations made for the purposes of subparagraph (b) above may make different provision in relation to different purposes and circumstances.")

The noble Lord said: Amendment 120 goes with Amendment No. 51, which we have already passed, and Amendment No. 128. These are drafting Amendments, designed to ensure that the order in which the provisions set out in the Schedule follow the order of the enabling clause, which is Clause 84. The Amendments to Clause 90 and Schedule 12 are consequential.

LORD HOY

I should like to ask one question on the first subsection where, according to this Amendment: The Secretary of State may incur expenses for the purpose of furnishing the address at which a man or woman is recorded by him as residing. I cannot quite understand what that means. Is there some doubt as to where people reside, or has there to be some positive proof of it? If this Amendment is necessary, how does it differ from the previous provision? Did not the Secretary of State have this power before, or is this a new power that is being conferred upon him with a right to incur expenses for this particular purpose?

LORD ABERDARE

As I understand it, this is simply a redraft, and it is therefore a power that applied before. The purpose is, as is said in the clause, where the address is required for the purpose of taking or carrying on legal proceedings to obtain or enforce an order for the making by the man or woman of payments for maintenance and so forth.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I have already spoke to Amendment 120A with Amendment 116A. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 204, line 12, at end insert:

"PART III

AMENDMENTS OF INDUSTRIAL INJURIES ACT, SECTION 64

13A. In section 64 of the Industrial Injuries Act, in subsection (4), for the words after paragraph (b) substitute the following:

' he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than £50.

(5) Where a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (4)(b) of this section, and the refusal or neglect is continued by him after his conviction, he shall be guilty of a further offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £10 for each day on which it so continued.

(5A) No one shall be required under this section to ansv,er any questions or to give any evidence tending to incriminate himself or, in the case of a person who is married, his or her wife or hushand."—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 20, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 85 [Disclosure of information by Inland Revenue]:

THE EARL or GOWRIE

This is a further Government Amendment relating to Northern Ireland already spoken to. I beg to move Amendment No. 121.

Amendment moved— Page 113, line 46, at end insert ("or the corresponding Northern Ireland legislation"). —(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 85, as Amended, agreed to.

Clauses 86 and 87 agreed to.

Clause 88 [Offences, penalties and proceedings]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I have already spoken to Amendment No.121A when moving Amendment No. 116A.I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 117, line 26, at end insert: ("(8) Subsection (2) above (without paragraphs (a) and (b)), and paragraphs 1 to 4 and 6 of Schedule 21 shall have effect for the purposes of the Industrial Injuries Act as if in those provisions references to this Act or to regulations or an inspector included respectively references to that Act and to regulations and an inspector under that Act; and subsection (3) above shall have effect for the purposes of that Act (subject to any express provisions of that Act) but shall not apply to a contravention of, or failure to comply with, regulations under that Act requiring a person to submit himself to medical treat-ment")—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 88, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 21 [Proceedings]:

LORD ABERDARE

Amendment No. 122 is a drafting Amendment which corrects an error in paragraph 8 of Schedule 21 thereby ensuring that sums recovered under that paragraph are treated under paragraph 14 in the same way as ordinary contributions. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 206, line 26, leave out ("relevant Fund") and insert ("Secretary of State").(Lord Aberdare.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

9.48 p.m.

LORD ABERDARE

It might be for the convenience of the Committee if I move Amendments Nos. 123, 124 and 125 together. These are drafting Amendments which simplify and shorten the words applying to Schedule 21 proceedings to Scotland and put right certain drafting errors in the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendments moved.—

Page 206. line 37, after ("warrant") insert ("or, in Scotland, the complaint") Page 207, line 27, leave out paragraph 11 and insert— ("11.—(1) In England and Wales, where a person is convicted of any such offence as is mentioned in paragraph 7 or 8(a) above, and an order is made under Part I of the Criminal Justice Act 1948 placing the offender on probation or discharging him absolutely or conditionally, paragraphs 7 to 10 above shall apply as if it were a conviction for all purposes. (2) In Scotland, where a person is convicted on indictment of, or is charged before a court of summary jurisdiction with, any such offence, and an order is made under Part I of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1949 discharging him absolutely or placing him on probation, paragraphs 7 to 9 above shall apply as if—

  1. (a) the conviction on indictment were a conviction for all purposes; or
  2. (b) as the case may be, the making of the order by the court of summary jurisdiction were a conviction.")

Page 208, line 25, leave out paragraph 16—(Lord Aberdare.)

LORD HOY

I should like to ask two questions on these Amendments. To take Amendment No. 123 first, do I take it once again that "the complaint" in Scotland is equivalent to "warrant" in England? Is that what it means?

LORD ABERDARE

Yes.

LORD HOY

Let me then go to Amendment No. 124 Can I have some explanation of what all this means. It says: In Scotland, where a person is convicted on indictment of, or is charged before a court of summary jurisdiction with, any such offence, and an order is made under Part I of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1949 discharging him absolutely or placing him on probation, paragraphs 7 to 9 above shall apply as if— and then it goes on to give the reasons in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b). What are paragraphs 7 and 9 about? Do they refer to this Bill or are they paragraphs 7 to 9 in the 1949 Act? What in fact are we being asked to do?—because I am certain that members of the Committee do not have these particular paragraphs 7 to 9 before them and we ought not to be asked to agree to them unless we have some explanation.

LORD ABERDARE

Paragraphs 7 to 9 refer to Schedule 21 on the recovery of contributions cn prosecution. This Schedule, which is introduced by subsection (4) of Clause 88, refers to minor and consequential amendments to the existing legislation relating to institutional proceedings and to the recovery of contributions on prosecution.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Schedule 21, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 89 [Priority of certain debts in bankruptcy etc.]

THE EARL OF GOWRIE moved Amendment No. 126:

Page 117, line 27. leave out subsections (1) to (3) and insert— ("(1) Subject to and in accordance with Schedule 21A (Priority of debts in cases of personal and company insolvency) to this Act, the debts specified in subsection (2) of this section shall be included among those accorded priority under the relevant enactments specified in that Schedule (being enactments relating to personal insolvency, companies' winding-up and the remedies of debenture holders and chargees); and in subsection (2) below "the relevant event" has the meaning indicated by that Schedule.

(2) The debts referred to in subsection (1) above are—

  1. (a) any sum owed on account of Class 1 contributions (primary or secondary) or Class 2 contributions payable in either case in the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of the relevant event;
  2. (b) any sum owed on account of an earner's contributions to an occupational pension scheme, or of primary reserve scheme contributions, being in either case contributions deducted from earnings paid in the period of 4 months immediately preceding the date of the relevant event, or otherwise due in respect of earnings paid or payable in that period;
  3. (c) subject to subsection (4) below, any sum owed on account of an employer's contributions to a recognised occupational pension scheme in respect of recognised pensionable employment, and payable in the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of the relevant event (the reference to an employer being construed in accordance with regulations made under section 49(5) of this Act);
  4. (d) any sum owed on account of secondary reserve scheme contributions payable in the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of the relevant event; and
  5. (e) subject to subsection (5) below, any sum owed on account of a reserve scheme premium payable at any time before, or in consequence of, the occurrence of the reLevant event.

(3) Any priority accorded by the enactments relating to personal insolvency which are specified in Schedule 21A (Priority of deb.'s in cases of personal and company insolvency) to this Act to debts consisting of income tax assessed and unpaid shall be accorded, to the same extent and subject to the same limitations, to debts consisting of Class 4 contributions assessed and unpaid, so far as owed to the Inland Revenue and not to the Secretary of State.")

The noble Earl said: With the leave of the Committee, I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 126 and 127 to gether, and then move them in due order. These two Amendments may conveniently be taken together. Their main function is to achieve a simplification of the structure of the provisions of the Bill relating to the priority of bankruptcy, and so on, of contributions owed under the basic scheme, the Reserve Scheme, and recognised occupational pension schemes and premiums owed under the Reserve Scheme. This is achieved by listing in a new Schedule, Schedule 21A, the Statutes relating to personal and company insolvency in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively and at the same time restricting Clause 89 to a statement of the contributions and premiums that are to have priority. Amendment 126 also provides that no priority is to be given where a company is being wound up voluntarily merely for the purposes of reconstruction or amalgamation with another company. I beg to move Amendment 126.

On Question, Atnendment agreed to.

Clause 89, as amended, agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 127:

Amendment moved—

After Schedule 21, insert the following new Schedule—

("SCHEDULE 21A

PRIORITY OF DEBTS TN CASES OF PERSONAL AND COMPANY INSOLVENCY

1.—(1) The relevant enactments relating to personal involvency arc the following—

  1. (a) section 33 of the Bankruptcy Act 1914;
  2. (b) section 118 of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1913; and
  3. (c) the Preferential Payments (Bankruptcies and Arrangements) Act (Northern Ireland) 1964.

(2) For the operation of these enactments, "the relevant event" in section 89(2) is to be construed as follows—

  1. (a) in England and Wales, it means the receiving order or death;
  2. (b) in Scotland, it means the award of sequestration or death, or the concourse of diligence for distribution of the estate of a party being notour bankrupt; and
  3. (c) in Northern Ireland, it means the order of adjudication or the filing of the petition of arrangement, or the death.

2.—(1) The relevant enactments relating to companies' winding-un arc the following—

  1. (a) section 319 of the Companies Act 1948; and
  2. 1175
  3. (b) section 287 of the Companies Act (Northern Ireland) 1960;
but no priority under these enactments is extended by section 89(1) where a company is being wound up voluntarily merely for the purposes of reconstruction or amalgamation with another company.

(2) For the operation of these enactments, "the relevant event" in section 89(2) is to be construed as follows—

  1. (a) where the company is wound up com-pulsorily—
    1. (i) if it had previously commenced to be wound up voluntarily, "the relevant event" means the passing of the winding-up resolution, and
    2. (ii) otherwise, it means the appointment (or first appointment) of a provisional liquidator, or in the absence of such an appointment, the making of the winding-up order;
  2. (b); in any other case. "the relevant event" means the passing of the winding-up resolution.

3.—(1) The relevant enactments relating to the remedies of debenture holders and charges are the following—

  1. (a) section 49 of the Companies Act 1948;
  2. (b) section 19 of the Companies (Floating Charges and Receivers) (Scotland) Act 1972; and
  3. (c) section 92 of the Companies Act (Northern Ireland) 1960.

(2) For the operation of these enactments, the relevant event" in section 89(2) is to be construed as follows—

  1. (a) where a receiver is appointed on behalf of debenture holders or by or on the application of the holders of a floating charge, it means that appointment; and
  2. (b) where possession of any property is taken by or on behalf of debenture holders or the holders of a floating charge, it means that taking of possession."—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 90 [Assimilation of Industrial Injuries Acts to basic scheme]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE moved Amendment No. 128: Page 122, line 13, leave out ("11(b)") and insert ("12(b)")

The noble Earl said: This is a drafting Amendment which is designed to ensure that the order in which the provisions are set out in Schedule 20 follows the order of the enabling clause, Clause 84. The Amendments to Clause 90 and to Schedule 12 are simply consequential corrections to references. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 90, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 91 [Application of this Act to Northern Ireland]:

9.54 p.m.

LORD ABERDARE moved Amendment No. 128A: Page 122, leave out Clause 91 and insert—

Further provisions as to Northern Ireland

"91.—(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, Parts II and III of this Act, and this Part, extend to Northern Ireland.

(2) The following provisions of this Part of this Act, namely:

  1. (a) sections 80(1) to (5), 84, 88, 90(1) to (8), (10) and (11) and 93;
  2. (b) Schedule 20, paragraphs 1 to 6, 11 and 12, and Schedules 21 and 23; and
  3. (c) any provision applying for the interpretation of those sections and Schedules,
extend to Northern Ireland with the adaptations set out in Part I of Schedule 22 (Adaptation of certain provisions of Part IV for Northern Ireland) to this Act.

(3) The following provisions of this Part of this Act do not extend to Northern Ireland, namely:

  1. (a) sections 80(6), 83, 87, 90(9) and 95;
  2. (b) section 94, so far as it relates to regulations and orders made otherwise than by the Secretary of State or the Joint Authority;
  3. (c) Schedule 19 and paragraphs 7 to (IOA) of Schedule 20; and
  4. (d) so much of section 97 and Schedules 24 and 25 as has effect for the amendment and repeal of enactments not extending to Northern Ireland.

(4) The provisions of Parts II, III and IV of Schedule 22 to this Act (being provisions which correspond to, or replace, certain of those excluded by subsection (3) above or supplement those of section 94) extend to Northern Ireland only.

(5) The power of the Parliament of Northern Ireland to make laws shall include power to enact legislation corresponding to any provision of this Act, except sections 39(2) to (4) and 42(2); and this Act shall, so far as it relates to matters in respect of which that Parliament has power to make laws, be deemed for the purposes of section 6 of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 to have been passed before the day referred to in that section as the appointed day."

The noble Lord said: I would, if I might, at this stage make an appeal to the noble Lord opposite that we might take this particular group of Amendments. In fact, they comprise one of the large groups which I fully recognise that the noble Lord and his friends have not had proper time to look at. They are all related to applying the Bill to Northern Ireland and complete the series of Amendments that we have already taken through to do this. I appeal to the noble Lord simply because I genuinely believe that there are no matters of principle involved, merely a matter of administration and of applying the Bill to Northern Ireland. But, more than that, the Bill will be much more easily understood by those who wish to study it between Committee stage and Report stage if the whole of the Northern Ireland sections are complete in the Bill.

LORD SHEPHERD

Which Amendments are those?

LORD ABERDARE

Starting with Amendment No. 128A, then Nos. 128B, 137A, 137B, 137C, 137D, and 137E; and 138A, 138B, 138C and 138E. I say this only because I genuinely believe that it would be in the interests of all of us to have this large number of Amendments relating solely to Northern Ireland in the Bill at this stage. I confirm the previous agreement with the noble Lord that we will not move the new Schedules 24 and 25 to-night. I beg to move Amendment No. 128A.

LORD SHEPHERD

The noble Lord has made an appeal. He knows my feeling and I am in some difficulty. If I concede what the noble Lord has asked I can only regard that as contempt of Parliament, in that Parliament is asked to take pages and pages of detailed, complex Amendments. I do not feel willing to condone it. However, I will not resist the noble Lord on any of those Amendments to which I have referred-76 pages of them. I will leave the entire responsibility for the movement of these on the noble Lord, the Front Bench and the Department responsible for putting your Lordships' House in a situation which I think is beyond contempt.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 91, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 92 [Joint arrangements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland]:

On Question, Whether Clause 92 shall stand part of the Bill?

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move that Clause 92 be omitted. This Amendment is consequential on Amendment No. 47A moved last week.

On Question, Clause 92 disagreed to.

LORD HOY

May I find out where we are going from here? I am not sure how we have voted. Do I understand that the Motion before your Lordships was to leave out Clause 92?

THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (VISCOUNT HooD)

I put the Motion, That the clause stand part of the Bill?, and the "Not-Contents" gained the day.

Schedule 22 [Adaptation of this Act for Northern Ireland]:

LORD ABERDARE

I beg to move Amendment No. 128B.

Amendment moved— Leave out Schedule 22 and insert the following new Schedule—

("SCHEDULE 22

ADAPTATION OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF PART IV FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

PART I

ADAPTATION OF SECTIONS 80, 84, 88, 90, 93 AND 96 AND SCHEDULES 20, 21 AND 23

Introductory

1. In the provisions of this Act which are extended to Northern Ireland by section 91 (Further provisions as to Northern Ireland) (2), there shall be made the adaptations provided for by this Part of this Schedule.

General adaptations of references

2.—(1) For any reference such as is specified in column 1 of the Table set out in paragraph 2 of Schedule 12A there shall be substituted the reference specified in column 2 of that Table.

(2) In the application of that Table for the purposes of this Schedule, in column 1 of the Table▀×

  1. (a) for the words in brackets following the reference to the Secretary of State there shall be substituted the words "except in section 93(6) and section 96(2A)",
  2. (b) for the words in brackets following the reference to the Treasury, from "except "to" section 47A" there shall be substituted the words "except in section 93(6)".

Adaptation of particular provisions

3. In section 80(5) for "sections 68 to 72" substitute "sections 67 to 71".

4. In section 84—

  1. (a)in subsection (1) for "section 90(2) to (8)" substitute "section 86(2) to (8)";
  2. (b) in subsection (2)—
    1. (i) omit "91" and paragraph (a),
    2. (ii) for "sections 112 and 113" substitute "sections 104 and 105", and 105". and
    3. (iii) for "sectioi 12 of the National Insurance Act 1971" substitute "Article 12 1179 of the Social Services (Parity) Order (Northern Ireland) 1971"; and
  3. (c) in subsection (3), for "section 64" substitute "section 60".

5. In section 88—

  1. (a) in subsection (4)—
    1. (i) for "sections 94 and 95" substitute "sections 90 and 91", and
    2. (ii) for "the National Insurance Act 1966" substitute "the National Insurance (No. 2) Act (Northern Ireland) 1966;" and
  2. (b) in subsection (5) for "section 65" substitute "section 64".

6. In section 90—

  1. (a) in subsection (6) for "section 56(1)" substitute section 54(1)";
  2. (b) in subsection (7) for "schemes" substitute "regulations"
  3. (c) in subsection (10)—
    1. (i) for "sections 46 and 47" substitute "sections 45 and 46",
    2. (ii) for "section 82(2)" substitute "section 77(2)", and
    3. (iii) for "section 82(1)" substitute "section 77(1)".

7. Section 93(6) shall apply to regulations and orders which under this Act or Part IV of the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 can be made by the Northern Ireland Ministry as if the reference in that subsection to the Secretary of State or the Joint Authority were a reference to that Ministry and the references to the Treasury were references to the Ministry of Finance.

8. In section 96 there shall be made the adaptations specified in paragraph 14 of Schedule 12A.

9. In Part III of Schedule 20, for "section 64" substitute "section 60".

10. In Schedule 21—

  1. (a) in paragraph 1 omit in England or Wales":
  2. (b) in paragraph 3—
    1. (i) in sub-paragraph (2) for "or on behalf" substitute "the Northern Ireland Minister or a secretary or assistant secretary", and for "his knowledge" substitute "the knowledge of the Northern Ireland Ministry", and
    2. (ii) omit sub-paragraph (3);
  3. (c) in paragraph 9(2) omit "or, in Scotland, the complaint"
  4. (d)omit paragraph 10;
  5. (e)for paragraph 11 substitute—
  6. (f) in paragraph 13 omit "In England and Wales".

11. In Schedule 23—

  1. (a) in paragraph 2(2) for "the National Insurance Act 1946" substitute "the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1946";
  2. (b) in paragraph 3(2)(a) for "section 27 of the Redundancy Payments Act 1965" substitute "section 37 of the Contracts of Employment and Redundancy Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 1965";
  3. (c) in paragraph 7—
    1. (i) for "Her Majesty" substitute "the Governor of Northern Ireland";
    2. (ii) in sub-paragraph (a) for "105" substitute "99";
    3. (iii) in sub-paragraph (b) for "84" substitute "79", and omit "and any regulations having effect by virtue of section 22(2) of the Family Allowances Act".

PART II

PROVISIONS APPLYING TO NORTHERN IRELAND IN SUBSTITUTION FOR SECTIONS 80(6), 83 AND 87 OR SUPPLEMENTARY TO SECTION 94

Amendments of Part IV of the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1966

12. Part IV of the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 (determination of claims and questions), so far as it remains in force, shall be amended as shown in Part III of this Schedule and, as so amended and with the repeals effected by this Act, shall have effect as set out in Part IV of this Schedule

National Insurance Commissioners

13.—(1) For the purposes of section 80 of this Act, Part IV of the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 and Part III of the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1966, Her Majesty may from time to time appoint for Northern Ireland, from among persons who are barristers of not less than 10 years' standing, a Chief National Insurance Commissioner and such number of other National Insurance Commissioners as Her Majesty may think fit.

(2) If it appears to the Chief National Insurance Commissioner (or, in the case of his inability to act, to such other of the National Insurance Commissioners as the Chief National Insurance Commissioner may have nominated to act for the purpose) that any appeal falling to be heard by one of those Commissioners involves a question of law of special difficulty, he may direct that the appeal shall be dealt with, not by that Commissioner alone, but by a tribunal consisting of any two or three of those Commissioners, and if the decision of any such tribunal is not unanimous, the decision of the majority, or, in the case of a tribunal consisting of two Commissioners, the decision of the presiding member, shall be the decision of the tribunal.

(3) Unless the context otherwise requires, any reference in this Act to, or falling to be construed as a reference to, a National Insurance Commissioner shall, for Northern Ireland, be construed as a reference to a Commissioner appointed under this paragraph and any reference in this Act, the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 or the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 to, or falling to be construed as a reference to, a Commissioner appointed under this paragraph shall include a reference to any tribunal constituted under sub-paragraph (2) above.

Information to be given to employees

14.—(1) Every statement given to an employee under section 4(1) of the Contracts of Employment and Redundancy Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 (particulars as to term of employment, etc.) after the appointed day shall contain a note stating

  1. (a)whether, for the employment in respect of which the statement is given, a recognition certificate is in force;
  2. (b) if not—
    1. (i) whether the employer has applied, or intends to apply, to the Occupational Pensions Board for such a certificate and, if so, when he did so or, as the case may be, intends to do so; and
    2. (ii) that, during any period in which no such certificate is in force, reserve scheme contributions will be payable under section 73 of this Act in respect of the employee's earnings from the employment.

(2) The Contracts of Employment and Redundancy Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 shall be construed and amended as follows

  1. (a) any reference in subsection (5) of section 4 of the Act (alternative method of conveying information to the employee) or in subsection (4) or (6) of that section (changes in terms of employment, etc.) to that which is, or is to be, included, given or referred to in a statement under subsection (1) of that section shalt be construed as including a reference to a note under subparagraph (1) above;
  2. (b) any reference to that which is, or is to be, included, given or referred to in a statement under section 4(4) of the Act shall be construed in a corresponding way;
  3. (c) any reference in section 5(1) to (6) of the Act (employee's right of reference to industrial tribunal) shall be similarly construed, but subject to sub-paragraph (4) below; and
  4. (d) in section 4(8) of the Act (exclusion of section 4 requirements where information is given to employees in another way) after paragraph (b) there shall be added—

(3) Without prejudice to section 4 of the Contracts of Employment and Redundancy Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 or subparagraph (1) above, the Secretary of State may make such regulations as he thinks expedient for requiring employers to inform their employees, and keep them informed, in such manner and at such times as may be prescribed (including any time before the appointed day)—

  1. (a) whether an employment is or is not, or will or will not be, or has ceased or may cease to be, recognised pensionable employment in relation to any category of earners;
  2. (b) as to the employer's intentions in respect of applying to the Occupational Pensions Board for a recognition certificate for any employment, or for the cancellation or variation of such a certificate;
  3. (c) that, during any period in which a recognition certificate is not in force in respect of an employment, employees in that employment will be liable for reserve scheme contributions in respect of their earnings from it;
and regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph shall include provision requiring employers to afford to those of their employees who are concerned, or to organisations representing them, reasonable opportunities of making representations with respect to the matters which are to be included in a notice under the regulations.

(4) Nothing in section 5 of the Contracts of Employment and Redundancy Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 (reference to tribunal as to particulars of terms of employment) shall authorise or require a tribunal to determine any question whether an employment is or has at any time been, or will at any time be, recognised pensionable employment, or whether reserve scheme contributions are, were or will he payable in respect of earnings from any employment.

(5) The Contracts of Employment and Redundancy Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 and this paragraph shall be construed as if this paragraph were contained in that Act.

Regulations and orders

15.—(1) Any regulations made by the Northern Ireland Ministry wholly or partly by virtue of any of the following provisions of this Act, namely section 3(4), 5(9), 14(4), 40 or 41, and any order made by the Northern Ireland Ministry wholly or partly by virtue of section 12(3) or made by virtue of section 47A(2) shall be laid before the Parliament of Northern Ireland after being mad,: and shall take effect on such date as may be specified in the regulations or the order but shall (without prejudice to the validity of anything clone thereunder or to the making of new regulations or a new order) cease to have effect upon the expiration of a period of six months from that date unless at some time before the expiration of that period the regulations have, or the order has, been approved by a resolution of each House of that Parliament.

(2) Sub-paragraph (1) above shall not apply—

  1. (a) to regulations under section 40 of this Act, where the instrument containing the regulations states that ele regulations 1183 are made for the purpose of making provisions consequential upon the coming into force of an order under section 47A(2);
  2. (b) to regulations to be made for the purposes only of consolidating regulations thereby revoked;
  3. (c) to regulations which, in so far as they are made under the powers conferred by the provisions mentioned in subparagraph (1) above, only replace provisions of previous regulations with new provisions to the same effect.

(3) All regulations and orders made by the Northern Ireland Ministry under this Act, other than regulations or orders to which sub-paragraph (I) above applies, shall be subject to negative resolution within the meaning of section 41(6) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 as if they were statutory instruments within the meaning of that Act.

(4) Any reference in sub-paragraph (3) above to this Act shall include a reference to any enactment passed after this Act which is directed to be construed as one therewith, except in so far as the contrary intention appears in that enactment, and without prejudice to the generality of that direction.

16. Section 41(3) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 (procedure for laying statutory instruments or statutory documents before the Parliament of Northern Ireland) shall apply in relation to any instrument or document which by virtue of any provision of this Act is required to be laid before that Parliament as if it were a statutory instrument or statutory document within the meaning of that Act.

Part III

AMENDMENTS OF PART IV OF THE NATIONAL INSURANCE ACT (NORTHERN IRELAND) 1966

17.—(1) Throughout Part IV of the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 ("the Act"), except in section 69(1) and where the words first occur in section 79(1), for "the Commissioner" substitute "a Commissioner ".

(2) For section 63 of the Act substitute the following:— Interpretation of this Part.

63. In this Part—

  1. (a) "the Social Security Act" means the Social Security Act 1973;
  2. (b)" benefit" means benefit under Part I of that Act or, as respects any period before the day appointed for the coming into force of section 2 of that Act, under this Act or the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1946 and "beneficiary" shall be construed accordingly;
  3. (c) "claimant" means a person who has claimed benefit or whose right to be excepted from liability to pay, or to have his liability deferred for, or to be credited with, a contribution is in question;
  4. (d) "contributions "means contributions under Part I of the Social Security Act or contributions or premiums under Part 111 of that Act or, as respects any 1184 period before the day appointed for the coming into force of section 2 of that Act, contributions within the meaning of section 106 of this Act;
  5. (e)" employed earner" shall be construed in accordance with section 1(7) of the Social Security Act and regulations under Part I of that Act;
  6. (f) "the Family Allowances Act" means the Family Allowances Act (Northern Ireland) 1966;
  7. (g) "the Industrial Injuries Act" means the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1966;
  8. (h) "Ministry" and "Minister" mean respectively the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Minister of Health and Social Services;
  9. (j) "National Insurance Commissioner" means a Commissioner appointed under paragraph 2 of Part II of Schedule 22 to the Social Security Act;
  10. (k) "prescribed" means prescribed oy regulations; and
  11. (l) "regulations" means regulations made by the Ministry under this Act. or, as the case may be, under the Social Security Act."

18. In section 64(1), (2), (3) and (6) of the Act for "Supreme Court" substitute "Court of Appeal".

19. In section 64 of the Act:

  1. (a) in subsection (1), for "63(1)(a) to (c)" substitute "80(1)(a) to (c) or 81(1)(a) or (b) of the Social Security Act";
  2. (b) in subsection (2), for the words from "send notice" to the end of the subsection substitute:
  1. (a) in a case where the question arises on an application made to the Ministry, to the applicant; and
  2. (b>) in any case to such persons as appear to it to be concerned with the question."

20. In section 65 of the Act:

  1. (a) in subsection (1), for "63(1)(a) to (c)" substitute "80(1)(a) to (c) or 81(1)(a) or (b) of the Social Security Act";
  2. (b) in subsection (2), for "63(1)(d)" substitute "80(1)(d) of the Social Security Act".

21. In section 67(2) of the Act omit "under this Act" and for "66(1)" substitute "80(5) of the Social Security Act".

22. In section 68(2) of the Act for "63(1) or section 6(2) of the Act of 1970" substitute "80(1) of the Social Security Act or paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act".

23. In section 69 of the Act:

  1. (a) in subsection (1) for "the Commissioner" substitute a National Insurance Commissioner "; and
  2. 1185
  3. (b) in paragraph (c) of that subsection for "employed persons" substitute "employed earners", and for sub-paragraph (ii) substitute—

24. After section 69 of the Act insert the following new section: Deter mination of first arising on appeal to a local tribunal or Commissioner

69A. Where any question under the social Security Act(not being a question to which section 80(1) of that Act or paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act applies)tribunal or first arises in the course of an Commisioner. appeal to a local tribunal constituted under section 76 of this Act or a National Insurance Commissioner the tribunal or Commissioner may, if they or he thinks fit, proceed to determine that question notwithstanding that it has not been considered by an insurance officer ".

25. In section 70(1) of the Act for the words from "section 63(1)" to the end of paragraph (a) substitute— section 80(1) of the Social Security Act or paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act applies, he shall—

  1. (a) refer the latter question for determination in accordance (subject to any necessary modifications) with section 80 of that Act and sections 64 and 65 of this Act or, as the case may be, paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act; and".

26. In section 71 of the Act:

  1. (a) in subsection (1), for "sections 66" substitute "section 80(5) of the Social Security Act and sections 67";
  2. (b) for paragraph (c) of subsection (1) substitute:
  3. (c) in subsections (3) and (4) for "sections 66 to 69" substitute "the sections of the Social Security Act and this Act referred to in the introductory words of subsection (1)".

27. In section 72 of the Act—

  1. (a) in subsection (1)—
    1. (i) for "sections 63 to 71" substitute "section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act and sections 64, 65 and 67 to 71";
    2. (ii) after "any other provision of this Act "insert" or the Social Security Act":
    3. (iii) after "in connection with this Act" insert "or the Social Security Act":
    4. (iv) for "63(1)(d)" substitute "80(1)(d) of the Social Security Act";
    5. 1186
    6. (v) for "sections 63, 64(1) to (4), 65" substitute section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act and sections 64(1) to (4), 65, 67 ";
  2. (b) in subsection (2) for "63(1) or 73(1)" substitute "80(1) of the Social Security Act";
  3. (c) in subsection (4)—
    1. (i) for "Supreme Court" (twice) substitute "Court of Appeal";
    2. (ii) for "subsections (5) and (6)" substitute "subsection (6)"
    3. (iii) for "they apply" substitute it applies ".

28. In section 74 of the Act—

  1. (a) in subsection (I) for "provisions of sections 63 to 71 "substitute" foregoing provisions of this Part and of section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act";
  2. (b) after subsection (1) insert—
  3. (c) in subsection (2)—
    1. (i) for "section 63" substitute "section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act and sections 64, 65 and 67";
    2. (ii) after paragraph (c) insert—
      • "(d) that in such cases as may be prescribed one or more medical practitioners shall sit with a local tribunal either as additional members or as assessors and for the appointment by the Ministry of medical practitioners to act for this purpose either generally or for such cases or for such tribunals as the Ministry may determine;
      • (e) for extending and defining the functions of assessors for the purposes of this Act;
      • (f) for empowering the Ministry, a local tribunal or an insurance officer to refer to a medical practitioner for examination and report any question arising for its, their or his decision;
      • (g) for the non-disclosure to a person of the particulars of any medical advice or medical evidence given or submitted for the purposes of the determination of, or of any question arising on, any claim if, in the opinion of the prescribed authority, being the person or tribunal, or the chairman of the tribunal, by whom that determination falls to be made, disclosure of those particulars to that person would be undesirable in the interests of that person; ";
    3. (iii) for "sections 63 to 73" substitute section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act and sections 64, 65 and 67 to 72".

29. In section 75 of the Act—

  1. (a) in subsection (1)—
    1. (i) for "benefit under this Act" substitute "benefit under Part I of the Social Security Act";
    2. (ii) for 63(1)(d) "substitute "80(1)(d) of that Act';
    3. (iii) for "sections 66 "substitute" section 80(5) of the Social Security Act and sections 67;
  2. (b) in subsection (2) for "purposes of this Act" substitute "purposes of the Social Security Act".

30. In section 76 of the Act—

  1. (a) in subsection (1)—
    1. (i) for "sections 66" substitute "section 80(5) of the Social Security Act and sections 67";
    2. (ii) in paragraph (a) for "insured persons other than employed persons" substitute "earners other than employed earners";
    3. (iii) in paragraph (h) for "employed persons" substitute employed earners";
  2. (b) in subsection (3) for insured persons "substitute (in both places)" employed earners";
  3. (c) in subsection (5)(a)(iii) for "63(3)" substitute "80(4) of the Social Security Act".

31. In section 78 of the Act—

  1. (a) at the beginning there shall be inserted the following subsection—
  2. (b) in subsection (2)(a), for "section 9(3) of the National Insurance (No. 2) Act (Northern Ireland) 1966" substitute "subsection (I)";
  3. (c) in subsection (4) after "this Act" insert "the Industrial Injuries Act or the Social Security Act".

32. In section 79 of the Act—

  1. (a) in subsection (1) for "the Commissioner" where those words first occur substitute "a National Insurance Commissioner "; and
  2. 1188
  3. (b) in subsection (3) for "the foregoing provisions of this Part substitute" this Act, the Social Security Act".

33. In section 80 of the Act—

  1. (a) in subsection (1)—
    1. (i) for "subsections (2) to (5)" substitute "subsection (2)";
    2. (ii) for the words from "the national to" Act of 1970) "substitute the Ministry of any benefit";
  2. (b) after subsection (1) insert—
    1. (a) be paid by it into the Exchequer insofar as they represent benefit which under section 45(1)(a) of the Social Security Act is not payable out of the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund; and
    2. (b) otherwise be paid by it into that Fund."

PART IV

PART IV OF TIM NATIONAL INSURANCE ACT (NORTHERN IRELAND) 1966 AS AMENDED

[In this part of the Schedule words inserted by this Act are printed in heavy type and words repealed by this Act are denoted by dots]

Determinations of certain questions by the Ministry

63. In this Part—

Interpretation of this Part

  1. (a) the Social Security Act means the Social Security Act 1973:
  2. (b)"benefit"means benefit under Part I of that Act or, as respects any period before the day appointed for the coming into force of section 2 of that Act, under this Act or the National Insurance Act (Northern Ireland) 1946 and "beneficiary" shall be construed accordingly;
  3. (c) "claimant" means a person who has claimed benefit or whose right to be excepted from liability to pay, or to have his liability deferred for. or to be credited with, a contribution is in question:
  4. (d) "contributions" means contributions under Part I of the Social Security Act or contributions or premiums under Part III of that Act or, as respects any period before the day appointed for the coming into force of section 2 of that Act, contributions witthin the meaning of section 106 of this Act:
  5. (e) "employed earner" shall be construed in accordance with section 1(7) of the Social Security Act and regulations under Part I of that Act;
  6. (f) "the Family Allowances Act" means the Family Allowances Act (Northern Ireland) 1966;
  7. (g) "the Industrial Injuries Act" means the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1966;
  8. (h) "Ministry" and "Minister" mean respectively the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Minister of Health and Social Services;
  9. 1189
  10. (j) "National Insurance Commissioner" means a Commissioner appointed under paragraph 2 of Part II of Schedule 22 to the Social Security Act;
  11. (k) "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations; and
  12. (l) "regulations" means regulations made by the Ministry under this Act, or, as the case may be, under the Social Security Act.

Appeals from Ministry's decisions

64.—(1) Any question of law arising in connection with the determination by the Ministry of any question such as is mentioned in section 80(1)(a) to (c) or 81(1)(a) or (b) of the Social Security Act may, if the Ministry thinks fit, be referred for decision to the Court of Appeal.

(2) In the event of the Ministry determining in accordance with subsection (1) to refer any question of law to the Court of Appeal, it shall give notice in writing of its intention to do so—

  1. (a) in a case where the question arises on an application made to the Ministry, to the applicant; and
  2. (b) in any case to such persons as appear to it to be concerned with the question.

(3) Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Ministry on any question of law such as is mentioned in subsection (I) which is not referred in accordance with that subsection may appeal from that decision to the Court of Appeal.

(4) The Ministry shall be entitled to appear and be heard on any such reference or appeal as aforesaid.

(6) Notwithstanding anything in any Act, the decision of the Court of Appeal on a reference or appeal under this section shall be final.

Review of Ministry's decisions

65.—(1) The Ministry may, on new facts being brought to its notice, or if it is satisfied that the decision was given in ignorance of, or was based on a mistake as to, some material fact, review any decision given by it on any question such as is mentioned in section 80(1)(a) to (c) or 81(1)(a) or (b) of the Social Security Act but any such decision shall not be reviewed while an appeal under section 64 is pending against the decision of the Ministry on a question of law arising in connection therewith, or before the time for so appealing has expired; and section 64 shall apply with any necessary modifications to any case in which a question has been raised with a view to the review under this subsection of any decision as aforesaid.

(2) The Ministry may at any time and from time to time reconsider the exercise of its discretion with respect to any question such as is mentioned in section 80(1)(d) of the Social Security Act and decide that question again with such other effect as may seem to it to be proper in the circumstances of the case.

Determination of certain matters by insurance officers, local tribunals or Commissioner

Submission of claims and questions to insurance officers

67.—(1) Insurance officers for the purposes of this Act shall be appointed by the Ministry, subject to the consent of the Ministry of Finance as to number, to act for such areas or otherwise as the Ministry directs.

(2) Any claim for benefit … and any question to which section 80(5) of the Social Security Act applies shall be submitted forthwith to an insurance officer, who shall take the claim or question into consideration and, so far as practicable, dispose of it in accordance with this section and any regulations under section 74(2) within fourteen days of its submission to him.

(3) Subject to section 70, the insurance officer may in the case of any claim or question so submitted to him—

  1. (a) decide it in favour of the claimant; or
  2. (b) decide it adversely to the claimant; or
  3. (c) refer it to a local tribunal.

(4) Where an insurance officer refers a case to a local tribunal in accordance with subsection (3)(c), notice in writing of the reference shall be given to the claimant.

(5) Different aspects of the same claim or question may be submitted to different insurance officers under the foregoing provisions of this section, and for that purpose those provisions and the other provisions of this Part with respect to the determination of claims and questions shall have effect subject to any necessary modifications.

Appeals from insurance officer to local tribunal

68.—(I) Where the insurance officer has decided any claim or question adversely to the claimant, the claimant may, subject to subsection (2). appeal to a local tribunal, and the claimant shall be notified in writing of the decision and the reasons therefor and of his right of appeal under this section.

(2) Where any question to which section 80(1) of the Social Security Act or paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act applies has arisen in connection with the decision of the insurance officer, and has been determined, and the insurance officer certifies that the determination of that question is the sole ground of his decision, no appeal shall lie without leave of the chairman of the local tribunal.

(3) An appeal against a decision of an insurance officer shall be brought by giving notice of appeal to the Ministry within twenty-one days after the date of that decision or within such further time as the chairman of the local tribunal may for good cause allow.

(4) A notice of appeal under this section shall be in writing and shall contain a statement of the grounds upon which the appeal is made.

Appeals from local tribunal to Commissioner

69.—(l) Subject to the provisions of this section, an appeal shall lie to a National Insurance Commissioner from any decision of a local tribunal at the instance of—

  1. (a) an insurance officer;
  2. (b) the claimant;
  3. (c) an association of employed earners, or any other association which exists to promote the interests and welfare of its members, where in either case—
    1. (i) the claimant at the time of the appeal is a member of the association and was so immediately before the question at issue arose; or
    2. (ii) the question at issue in any way relates to a deceased person who was a member of the association at the time of his death.

(2) An appeal to a Commissioner must be brought within three months from the date of the decision of the local tribunal, or such further period as a Commissioner may in any case for special reasons allow, and such an appeal shall be brought by giving notice in writing in a form approved by the Ministry stating the grounds of the appeal—

  1. (a) in the case of an appeal by an insurance officer, to the claimant; and
  2. (b) in the case of an appeal by the claimant or an association such as is mentioned in subsection (1)(c), to an insurance officer.

(4) If it appears to a Commissioner that any appeal under this section involves a question of fact of special difficulty, he may direct that in dealing with the appeal or any part thereof he shall have the assistance of an assessor or assessors.

(5) A Commissioner may, if he thinks fit, refer any question arising for his decision to a registered medical practitioner for examination and report.

Determination of questions first arising on appeal to a local tribunal or Commissioner

69A. Where any question under the Social Security Act (not being a question to which section 80(1) of that Act or paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act applies) first arises in the course of an appeal to a local tribunal constituted under section 76 of this Act or a National Insurance Commissioner, the tribunal or Commissioner may, if they or he thinks fit, proceed to determine that question notwithstanding that it has not been considered by an insurance officer.

Reference of special questions

70.—(I) If on consideration of any claim or question an insurance officer is of opinion that there arises any question to which section 80(1) of the Social Security Act or paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act applies, he shall—

  1. (a) refer the latter question for determination in accordance (subject to any necessary modifications) with section 80 of that Act and sections 64 and 65 of this Act or, as the case may be, paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act; and
  2. 1192
  3. (b) deal with any other questions as if the question so referred had not arisen;
    1. (i) postpone the reference of or dealing with any question until other questions have been determined;
    2. (ii) in cases where the determination of any question disposes of a claim or any part thereof. make an award, or decide that an award cannot be made, as to the claim or that part thereof without referring or dealing with, or before the determination of, any other question.

(2) Subsection (1) shall apply to a local tribunal and a Commissioner as it applies to an insurance officer, except that a local tribunal or a Commissioner, instead of themselves or himself referring a question in accordance with subsection (1)(a), shall direct it to be so referred by an insurance officer.

Review of decisions of insurance officer, local tribunal or Commissioner

71.—(1) Any decision under section 80(5) of the Social Security Act and sections 67 to 69 of an insurance officer, a local tribunal or a Commissioner may be reviewed at any time by an insurance officer or, on a reference from an insurance officer, by a local tribunal, if—

  1. (a) he or they is or are satisfied, and, in the case of a decision of a Commissioner, satisfied by fresh evidence, that the decision was given in ignorance of, or was based on a mistake as to, some material fact; or
  2. (b) there has been any relevant change of circumstances since the decision was given; or
  3. (c) the decision was based on the decision of any question to which section 80(1) of the Social Security Act or paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 to that Act applies and the decision of that question is revised in accordance with the provisions of section 65 of this Act or reviewed in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 14 of that Schedule.

(2) A question may be raised with a view to such a review as aforesaid by means of an application in writing to an insurance officer, stating the grounds of the application.

(3) On receipt of any such application, the insurance officer shall proceed to deal with or refer any question arising thereon in accordance with the provisions of the sections of the Social Security Act and this Act referred to in the introductory words of subsection (1).

(4) Any decision given on a review under this section, and any refusal to review a decision under this section, shall be subject to appeal in like manner as an original decision, and the provisions of the sections of the Social Security Act and this Act referred to in the introductory words of subsection (1) shall, subject to the necessary modifications, apply in relation to any decision given on such a review as they apply to the original decision of a question.

Regulations for determination of questions

72.—(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act and sections 64, 65 and 67 to 71 but subject to any other provision of this Act or the Social Security Act, in the case of any question arising under or in connection with this Act or the Social Security Act, including any claim for benefit, other than a question such as is mentioned in section 80(1)(d) of the Social Security Act, provision may be made by regulations for the determination of that question by the Ministry or by a person or tribunal appointed or constituted in accordance with the regulations; and any such regulations may vary or revoke the provisions of section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act and sections 64(1) to (4), 65, 67 to 71 and 76 so far as they relate to any question to which the regulations relate.

(2) As respects any question as to the right to benefit other than such a question as is mentioned in section 80(1) of the Social Security Act and other than a question as to entitlement to a death grant, regulations under subsection (1) shall not provide for the determination of that question by the Ministry but, subject to subsection (3), shall provide—

  1. (a) for the submission of the question in the first instance to an officer appointed by the Ministry;
  2. (b) for authorising the said officer either himself to determine the question or to refer it to a local tribunal, and for enabling an appeal to be brought from the officer's decision to such a tribunal;
  3. (c)for enabling an appeal to be brought from such a tribunal to, or to a tribunal presided over by, a Commissioner.

(3) Regulations made by virtue of subsection (2) may provide for the submission of different aspects of the same question to different officers; and for that purpose paragraphs (a) and (b) of that subsection shall have effect subject to the necessary modifications.

(4) Regulations under subsection (1) may provide for the reference to the Court of Appeal for decision of any question of law arising in connection with the determination of a question by the Ministry, and for appeals to the Court of Appeal from the decision of the Ministry on any such question of law; and subsection (6) of section 64 shall apply to any reference or appeal under this subsection as it applies to any reference or appeal under subsections (1) to (3) of that section.

Supplementary provisions as to determination of claims and questions

Supplementary provisions

74.—(l) Subject to the foregoing provisions of this Part and of section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act, the decision of any claim or question in accordance with those provisions, and, subject to the provisions of any regulations under section 72, the decision of any claim or question in accordance with the provisions of those regulations, shall be final.

(1A) Subsection (1) shall not make any finding of fact or other determination embodied in or necessary to a decision, or on which it is based, conclusive for the purpose of any further decision; and this subsection applies not only to subsection (1) but also to provisions of earlier Acts corresponding to that subsection and applies as regards the effect to be given in any proceedings to any decision, whether the decision was given or the proceedings commenced before or after the passing of the Social Security Act.

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Part, regulations may, in relation to the determination of claims or questions in accordance with section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act and sections 64, 65 and 67 to 71 or in accordance with regulations under section 72, include provision—

  1. (a) as to the procedure which is to be followed, the form which is to be used for any document, the evidence which is to be required and the circumstances in which any official record or certificate is to be sufficient or conclusive evidence;
  2. (b) as to the time to be allowed for making any claim or appeal, for raising any question with a view to the review of any decision or for producing any evidence;
  3. (c) for empowering the prescribed person by summons to require such persons as he thinks necessary to attend and give evidence or produce documents and for authorising the administration of oaths to witnesses;
  4. (d) that in such cases as may he prescribed one or more medical practitioners shall sit with a local tribunal either as additional members or as assessors and for the appointment by the Ministry of medical practitioners to act for this purpose either generally or for such cases or for such tribunals as the Ministry may determine;
  5. (e) for extending and defining the functions of assessors for the purposes of this Act:
  6. (f) for empowering the Ministry, a local tribunal or an insurance officer to refer to a medical practitioner for examination and report any question arising for its, their or his decision;
  7. (g) for the non-disclosure to a person of the particulars of any medical advice or medical evidence given or submitted for the purposes of the determination of, or of any question arising on, any claim if, in the opinion of the prescribed authority, being the person or tribunal, or the chairman of the tribunal, by whom that determination falls to be made, disclosure of those particulars to that person would be undesirable in the interests of that person;
and except in so far as they may be applied by regulations made by virtue of this subsection neither the Arbitration Act (Northern Ireland) 1937 nor section 23 of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 shall apply to any proceedings under section 80(1) to (5) of the Social Security Act and sections 54, 65 and 67 to 72.

(3) it is hereby declared that the power to prescribe procedure includes power to make provision as to the representation of one person, at any hearing of a case, by another person whether having professional qualifications or not.

Determination of certain questions as to child or family

75.—(1) Where any question such as is mentioned in subsection (3) arises which respect to benefit under Part I of the Social Security Act (other than such a question as is mentioned in section 80(1)(d) of that Act), that question shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of section 80(5) of the Social Security Act and sections 67 to 72 in like manner, subject to any prescribed modifications and adaptations, as a corresponding question arising in respect of an allowance under the Family Allowances Act falls to be determined by virtue of section 5(2) of that Act.

(2) Any decision of any question such as is mentioned in subsection (3)(a) to (c) given under this Part, whether given for the purposes of the Social Security Act, the Industrial Injuries Act or the Family Allowances Act shall have effect also for the purposes of the others of those Acts.

(3) The questions referred to in subsections (1) and (2) are questions—

  1. (a) whether any person is or was a child or is or was under school leaving age;
  2. (b) whether any person has or had a family including a child or children, or is or was a child of some other person's family (but not whether a person is to be treated for the purpose of any provision as having a family including a child or children or as being a child of some other person's family);
  3. (c) whether any person could have been treated under paragraph 3 of the Schedule to the Family Allowances Act as, or but for certain facts would have been, or could have been treated as aforesaid as, a child of any other person's family:
  4. (d) whether, for the purposes of the payment to a beneficiary of any benefit in respect of a child, the child in question is living with the beneficiary.

Provision as to local tribunals, Commissioner, etc.

Constitution of local tribunals.

76.—(1) A local tribunal for the purposes of section 80(5) of the Social Security Act and sections 67 to 71 shall consist of—

  1. (a) one member drawn from a panel composed of persons representing employers and persons representing earners other than employed earners;
  2. (b) one member drawn from a panel of persons representing employed earners;
  3. (c) a person appointed by the Minister to act as chairman.

(2) The panels referred to in subsection (1) shall be constituted by the Ministry for the whole of Northern Ireland and each panel shall relate to such areas as the Ministry thinks fit, and be composed of such persons as the Ministry sees fit to appoint.

(3) Before appointing members to either of the panels, the Ministry may take into consideration any recommendation from local committees representing employers or employed earners or both, or from organisations concerned with the interests of employers or employed earners.

(4) The members of the panels shall hold office for such period as the Ministry may direct but the Ministry may at any time terminate the appointment of any member of a panel.

(5) So far as practicable, each member of a panel shall be summoned to serve in turn upon a local tribunal but—

  1. (a) no member of a panel shall sit upon a local tribunal during the consideration of a case—
    1. (i) in which he appears as the representative of the claimant; or
    2. (ii) by which he is or may be directly affected: or
    3. (iii) in which he has taken any part as an official of an association, or as an employer, or as a witness, or as a person to whom any question arising thereon has been referred for examination and report in accordance with section 80(4) of the Social Security Act or with regulations under section 72(1) or otherwise;
  2. (b) where the benefit claimed is unemployment benefit the member chosen from the first panel shall, if practicable, be a representative of employers.

(6) Any case may, with the consent of the claimant but not otherwise, he proceeded with in the absence of any member of the local tribunal other than the chairman, and in any such case the tribunal shall be deemed to he properly constituted and the chairman shall, if the number of the members of the tribunal is an even number, have a second or casting vote.

(7) A person appointed to act as chairman of a local tribunal shall hold and vacate office in accordance with the terms of his letter of appointment.

(8) Where several persons are appointed to act as chairmen for a particular area they shall as far as practicable be invited to preside over a tribunal in turn.

Retirement of, and superannuation allowances for, Commissioners

78.—(1) A National Insurance Commissioner shall retire when he attains the age of seventy-two years but where a Commissioner who is remunerated by means of a salary would, if he were so to retire, not have completed fifteen years' service, he may continue in office until the end of the completed year of service in which he completes fifteen years' service or attains the age of seventy-five years, whichever first occurs.

For the purposes of this section and Part II of the Judicial Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 1951, service before the coming into force of paragraph 2 of Part II of Schedule 22 to the Social Security Act by any person as a Commissioner, deputy Commissioner, umpire or deputy umpire for the purposes of this Act, the Industrial Injuries Act or the enactments re-enacted by this Act and that Act and remunerated by means of a salary shall be treated as service by that person as a Commissioner appointed under that paragraph and so remunerated.

(2) Without prejudice to the pension benefits conferred by the Judicial Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 1951, the Ministry may from time to time recommend to the Ministry of Finance that there shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament to a Commissioner who at the date of his retirement is remunerated by means of a salary an annual sum by way of superannuation allowances calculated in accordance with Schedule 6—

  1. (a) if he retires pursuant to subsection (1); or
  2. (b) if he retires after fifteen years' service and at the time of retirement has attained the age of sixty-five; or
  3. (c) if the Ministry is satisfied by means of a medical certificate that at the time of his retirement he is, by reason of infirmity of mind or body, incapable of discharging the duties of his office and that the incapacity is likely to be permanent.

(3) For the purposes of this section and Schedule 6—

(4) Subsection (2) shall have effect notwithstanding that a Commissioner may, during his period of service as such Commissioner undertake other duties of a judicial or advisory nature for the purposes of this Act, the Industrial Injuries Act or the Social Security Act and, for the purposes of that subsection and Schedule 6, the last annual salary of any such person shall include any salary payable in respect of those other duties.

(5) Subject to subsection (6)—

  1. (a) a person about to be appointed as Commissioner and remunerated by means of a salary;
  2. (b) a person who, being a Commissioner is about to be remunerated by means of a salary,
shall, before being so appointed or, as the case may be, remunerated, furnish to the Ministry satisfactory evidence that his health is suitable for the discharge of the duties of such office.

(6) A person of the kind referred to in subsection (5)(a) or (b) may elect that he shall not, before being appointed a Commissioner, or, as the case may be, remunerated by means of a salary, furnish evidence as to his health, and where a Commissioner is so appointed or remunerated after having made such an election, then, subject to subsection (7), as respects him—

  1. (a) subsection (2) shall not have effect until he has completed five years' service; and
  2. (b) Part II of the Judicial Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 1951 shall not have effect until he has completed ten years' service;
and where the Ministry is satisfied that his health has throughout his service been such that it has enabled him duly to discharge the duties of his office, the Ministry may, after the completion of the relevant period of service, direct that the said subsection or, as the case may be, the said Part, shall have effect as if he had not made that election.

(7) A Commissioner who has made an election under subsection (6) may at any time during his tenure of office furnish to the Ministry satisfactory evidence as to his health, and the Ministry may thereupon direct that for the purposes of subsection (2) and of Part II of the Judicial Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 1951 that Commissioner shall be treated as if Ile had not made that election.

(8) A person to vihom a superannuation allowance has been granted under this section before he has attained the age of seventy-two in consequence of an incapacity of the kind referred to in subsection (2)(c) shall, until he has attained that age, be liable to be required by the Governor to resume the duties of a Commissioner with the salary attached thereto, and if (being in a competent state of health) he declines when so required to resume those duties, or declines or neglects to execute those duties, he shall forfeit his right to the allowance so granted to him.

(9) Whenever a person has resumed his duties pursuant to subsection (8), the payment of the superannuation allowance granted to him shall be suspended during the period of his resumed service, but, subject to the provisions of that subsection, at the end of that period the superannuation allowance shall again be payable and be recalculated in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 6, and for that purpose the period of his resumed service shall be added to the period of his former service.

(10) The decision of the Ministry of Finance shall be final on any question arising as to—

  1. (a) the application of any of the provisions of this section to any person; or
  2. (b) the amount of any superannuation allowance under this section; or
  3. (c) the reckoning of any service for the purpose of calculating such a superannuation allowance.

(11) Where the rate of the superannuation allowance payable to any person under subsection (2) as Commissioner is or would be increased by virtue of regulations made under subsection (3)(c) in respect of service in some other capacity, any pension benefits paid to or in respect of him as having been Commissioner shall, to such extent as the Ministry of Finance may determine, having regard to the relative length of service and rate of remuneration in each capacity be paid and borne in the manner in which a pension payable to him wholly in respect of service in that other capacity would have been paid and borne.

(12) In this section, the expression "pension" includes any superannuation or other retiring allowance or gratuity, and the expression "pensionable" shall be construed accordingly; and the expression "pension benefits" includes benefits payable on retirement or death by way of lump sum or gratuity, and benefits payable in respect of a person's service or employment to other persons by way of widow's or children's pension or otherwise.

Remuneration and expenses of Commissioner and other persons

79.—(1) The Ministry shall pay to a National Insurance Commissioner such salary or other remuneration as the Ministry of Finance may determine and such expenses incurred in connection with the work of a Commissioner, as may be so determined.

(2) The Ministry may pay—

  1. (a) to any other person appointed under the foregoing provisions of this Part to determine questions or as a member of or assessor to any tribunal constituted under those provisions, such remuneration and such travelling and other allowances;
  2. (b) to any person required to attend at any proceedings under this Part, such travelling and other allowances; and
  3. (c) such other expenses in connection with the work of any person or tribunal appointed or constituted under any provision of this Part (other than a tribunal presided over by a Commissioner),
as the Ministry with the consent of the Ministry of Finance may determine.

(3) The Ministry may pay to any person required under this Act (whether for the purposes of this Act, the Social Security Act or otherwise) to attend for or to submit himself to medical or other examination or treatment such travelling and other allowances as the Ministry with the consent of the Ministry of Finance may determine.

(4) In this section references to travelling and other allowances include references to compensation for loss of remunerative time but such compensation shall not be paid to any person in respect of any time during which he is in receipt of remuneration under this section.

Recovery of benefit wrongly paid, interim payments of benefit, and arrears

80.—(1) Where benefit is or has been paid in pursuance of a decision which is reversed or varied on appeal, or is revised on a review, then, subject to subsection (2), the decision given on the appeal or review shall require repayment to the Ministry of any benefit which was paid in pursuance of the original decision to the extent to which it—

  1. (a) would not have been payable if the decision on the appeal or review had been given in the first instance: and
  2. (b) is not directed to be treated as paid on account of the benefit awarded by the decision on appeal or review, or as having been properly paid.

(IA) Any sums repaid to the Ministry in pursuance of subsection (1) shall—

  1. (a) be paid by it into the Exchequer insofar as they represent benefit which under section 45(1)(a) of the Social Security Act is not payable out of the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund; and
  2. (b) otherwise be paid by it into that Fund.

(2) A decision given on appeal or review shall not require repayment of benefit paid in pursuance of the original decision in any case where it is shown to the satisfaction of the person or tribunal determining the appeal or review that in the obtaining and receipt of the benefit the beneficiary, and any person acting for him, has throughout used care and diligence to avoid overpayment.

(3) Regulations may make provision as respect matters arising—

  1. (a) pending the determination under this Act (whether in the first instance or on an appeal or reference, and whether originally or on review) of any claim for benefit or of any question affecting any person's right to benefit or to the receipt thereof or any person's liability for contributions; or
  2. (b) out of the revision on appeal or review of any decision under this Act on on any such claim or question.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), regulations thereunder may include provision—

  1. (a) as to the date from which any decision on a review is to have effect or to be deemed to have had effect;
  2. (b) for treating any benefit paid to any person under an award or by virtue of any provision of the regulations, which it is subsequently decided was not payable, as properly paid or as paid on account of any other benefit which it is decided was payable to him, or for the repayment of any such benefit and the recovery thereof by deduction from other benefit or otherwise;
  3. (c) modifying subsections (1) and (2) in relation to sums paid by way of benefit in respect of a child of the family of a man and his wife living together where those sums would have been receivable, if properly paid, by either the roan or the wife;
  4. (d) making any such provision for the recovery of sums paid by way of benefit and required to be repaid by virtue of subsection (1) as is authorised to be made in a case where repayment is required by the regulations.

(6) Where, in the case of any person, any sum may by virtue of regulations under subsection (3) be recovered by deduction from benefit …., it may instead be recovered from him in whole or in part by deduction from any payment under the Industrial Injuries Act.

BARONESS SEROTA.

As one who has listened to a considerable part of the Committee stage of this Bill, I cannot understand the situation that the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, is having to defend. If the Bill does not make sense without this Amendment, why did it reach the Committee stage in this shape? Could the noble Lord explain that to us?

LORD ABERDARE

The original Bill did not make provision for the application of this scheme to Northern Ireland, and that is why we have been in the course of the last days' Committee, and this, moving a number of Amendments that apply the scheme in exactly the same form to Northern Ireland.

LORD SHEPHERD

It is a Northern Ireland Bill?

LORD ABERDARE

It is in a way: as the noble Lord says, it is very nearly a Northern Ireland Bill. This is one of the difficulties we have been in recently with Northern Ireland legislation.

BARONESS SEROTA

I thank the noble Lord for that answer and of course it relates to the specific group of Amendments at present under consideration. But that argument does not run for the rest of the 76 pages, and I am still at a loss to understand why the Committee is being placed in this most difficult position to-night. I sympathise with the noble Lord. I think we all recognise that he is carrying a very difficult "can" for somebody.

LORD ABERDARE

When we come to most of the other 76 pages, I am quite willing not to move them if the noble Lord would wish me not to. These are Schedules 24 and 25, which make alterations in other Acts that are affected by this Bill; they are minor changes and they are repeals. The reason we have to alter them is that a number of changes have been made as this Bill goes through Parliament that need to be put into the Bill.

LORD HOY

May I ask one other question because this is such a large Schedule to be put in the Bill at this time. I do not want to burden the Committee, because I am sure the noble Lord admits that it is a very substantial change; but a substantial change of this kind, before it can be approved, will of course have to go back to another place. I think that will be the procedure at the end of the day. Time is getting very short. Here we are dealing with one Amendment running to 27 pages—it is a fair sized Bill in itself. I do not know whether the noble Lord can give us an assurance for another place, but I do not think we can deprive them of the right to discuss it if they wish to do so.

LORD SHEPHERD

I have just one question because it is important on terms of procedure. When was the decision taken to include Northern Ireland in this legislation?— because if this Amendment had been moved in another place it would have been then open to the House of Commons to consider an Amendment to it. I suspect that by doing it this way we shall place the House of Commons in considerable difficulty in considering an Amendment of this size—as we have said, nearly a Bill in itself. It will be very difficult for the House of Commons to be able to consider these items individually and perhaps move Amendments if they consider them necessary. I wonder whether the noble Lord could say when it was decided to include it in the Bill.

LORD ABERDARE

I understand that these new clauses relate to the present legislation that exists in Northern Ireland and we have to adapt it in this Bill if we want the scheme to apply to Northern Ireland. I cannot give a more specific answer to the noble Lord at the moment, but. I certainly will drop him a line and let him know exactly what the position is.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 93 [Orders and regulations (general provisions)]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I spoke to this Amendment, No. 129, on the first day of the Committee stage. It is a Government Amendment relating to Northern Ireland, and I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 126, line 21, leave out ("48 and 92") and insert ("47A (The basic scheme in Northern Ireland) and 48").—(The Earl of Gowrie,)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

10.5 p.m.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE moved Amendment No. 129A:

Page 126, line 23. leave out from first ("of ') to ("any") in line 24 and insert ("this Act shall he exercisable in relation to").

The noble Earl said: It might be to the convenience of the Committee if were to answer the points made about Northern Ireland even though I have been moving my own Northern Ireland Amendments fairly rapidly because I spoke to them on a previous occasion. The point is that Northern Ireland has at present its own separate National Insurance scheme. The Northern Ireland scheme is virtually identical to the Great Britain scheme but is governed by Northern Ireland legislation. The changes being proposed in the group of Amendments under discussion at present are designed to bring these schemes into line with each other. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 93, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 94 and 95 agreed to.

Clause 96 [Interpretation]:

LORD ABERDARE moved Amendment No. 133:

Page 128, line 23, at end insert— ("" financial year", in section 70(6) and 72(1) and in Schedule 16, Part II, means the period from the beginning of April in one year to the end of March in the next.").

The noble Lord said: This Amendment ensures that the term "financial year" will have the same meaning for the reserve scheme as it already has for moneys provided by Parliament. Identical accounting years will make for easier comprehension of the accounts. The Secretary of State's account of reserve scheme contributions and the Board's own accounts will cover the same period as the account relating to the basic scheme. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

Here again we are dealing with the Northern Ireland question. I beg to move Amendment No. 134.

Amendment moved—

Page 129, line 2, at end insert— (""the Ministry of Finance" means the Ministry of Finance for Northern Ireland; the Northern Ireland Minister "and" the Northern Ireland Ministry "mean respectively the Minister and the Ministry of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland").—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 135.

Amendment moved— Page 129, leave out lines 18 to 20.—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 136.

Amendment moved— Page 129, line 36, leave out ("a context") and insert ("otherwise stated, or the context is one").—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendment No. 137.

Amendment moved—

Page 129, line 39, at end insert: ("( ) Where any provision of this Act refers to regulations and the authority with power to make them is neither specified nor to be implied from the context, the reference is to regulations made by the Secretary of State except that, in and for any purpose of Part I as it applies to Northern Ireland, it is to regulations made by the Northern Ireland Ministry.")—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I fear I have been remiss. I have apparently already spoken to the Amendments Nos. 137A to 137E inclusive. I beg to move these five Amendments en bloc.

Amendments moved—

Page 129, line 40, after C' Act") insert ("except section 91 (Further provisions as to Northern Ireland) (5)")

Page 129, line 43, at end insert: ('(3A) Where a provision of this Act which extends to Northern Ireland contains a reference to a government department and does not expressly or by implication from the context refer only to a department of the Government of the United Kingdom, then in the application of that provision to Northern Ireland the reference is to be taken to be, or to include, (as the context may require) a department of the Government of Northern Ireland.")

Page 131, line 28, at end insert ("and any reference in this Act to an enactment of that Parliament shall include a reference to an enactment re-enacting it with or without modification.")

Page 131, line 33, leave out first ("Act") and insert ("enactment").

Page 131, line 36, leave out ("Act") and insert ("enactment").

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 96, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 97 [Transitional provisions; minor and consequential amendments; repeals]:

10.10 p.m.

Clause 97 [Transitional provisions; minor and consequential amendments; repeals]:

THE EARL OF GOWRIE

I beg to move Amendments Nos. 138A to 138E inclusive.

Amendments moved—

Page 131, line 43, after ("1972") insert ("and the corresponding Northern Ireland legislation").

Page 131, line 8, after ("enactments") insert ("and Orders").

Page 131, line 8, after (enactments") insert ("and Orders").

Page 131, line 9, after ("provisions") insert ("and other provisions which are no longer required or will cease to be required on the coining into force of the amendments made by Schedule 24").

Page 131, line 11, at end insert— ('(3) Where this Act amends an enactment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, the enactment as amended shall be subject to the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 in the same, way as an Act of that Parliament is so subject. (4) Section 38 of the Interpretation Act 1889 (effect of repeals) shall have the same operation in relation to any repeal by this Act of an enactment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland (or of an order made under, or having the same effect as, an enactment of that Parliament) as it has in relation to the repeal of an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, references in that section of the Act of 1889 to Acts and enactments being construed accordingly.).—(The Earl of Gowrie.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 97, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 23 agreed to.

Schedule 24 [Minor and consequential amendments]:

LORD ABERDARE

had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 138F, to leave out Schedule 24 and insert a new Schedule. The noble Lord said: I shall follow whatever the noble Lord wishes to do on this Amendment. Would he prefer me not to move it and to leave it to Report stage, as I originally agreed to do?

LORD SHEPHERD

I suggest that we leave it because there is a point I should like to discuss at the end of the Committee stage as to how we are to deal with the Report stage of what the noble Lord himself has said is a very highly technical and complex Bill. That is something on which we should like to make a submission to the noble Lord. In the circumstances, therefore, I do not think that we ought to carry out any further amending the Bill unless it falls within those categories for which the noble Lord has taken responsibility.

LORD ABERDARE

Amendment No. 138F is not moved.

Schedule 24 agreed to.

Clause 98 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

On Question, That the House do now resume?

LORD SHEPHERD

I fear that I have on occasions had to be rather rough with the noble Lord and, I think, with justification, but the noble Lord and the noble Earl, Lord Gowrie, to use the popular phrase, have "kept their cool" and whatever bricks or mud have been thrown they have always reacted with the greatest of courtesy. We on this side of the House appreciate that the noble Lord is "carrying the can" for others, but that is the job of all Ministers. The point I should like to make to the noble Lord and to the Deputy Chief Whip is that we know we have printing problems; we have no Hansards at the moment and it seems to me that it will he very difficult to embark on the Report stage of this Bill, which we all recognise to be extraordinarily complex and difficult. We are, of course, legislating for many years to come; therefore it is right and proper that we get this work done. I feel very strongly on this point because I have a suspicion that a great deal of what we have been called upon to do in this Committee stage was to avoid a time-scale problem in another place. What ought to have been done—particularly the submission of those Amendments which sought to tidy up—ought to have been done in another place but were left for your Lordships' House.

So I make a plea to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, that we shall need adequate time in the programme, taking into account not only the fact that there is no Hansard but that we have to consult with our colleagues. That is a factor that clearly will have to be borne in mind. I conclude by saying to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, and to the noble Earl, Lord Gowrie, that having got over the technical points it has not been too bad a Committee. It has been rough, but I think it was justified.

LORD ABERDARE

I am grateful to the noble Lord for his kind words. Certainly my noble friend Lord Gowrie and I have appreciated the fact that in the end we have had a very great deal of co-operation from the noble Lord opposite and we have gone a long way. I know it has been difficult and unpleasant and we have not managed our affairs very well in presenting so much paper work at such a late hour, but I hope we shall be able to arrange things better on Report stage.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported, with the Amendments.

House adjourned at a quarter past ten o'clock.