§ 5.10 p.m.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM rose to move, That the Draft Superannuation (Northern Ireland) Order 1973, laid before the House on April 10, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the second of these Orders standing in my name on the Notice Paper. The need for this draft Order arises from the reorganisation of local government in Northern Ireland which we have debated in your Lordships' House on a number of occasions. Inevitably any reorganisation of this nature alters the pattern of certain jobs, either by changing their relative importance or by abolishing them altogether. In these circumstances certain senior officers of existing local authorities and other bodies may prefer to retire and take their pension early, rather than be declared redundant or have to accept a post of lesser status or salary. Any senior officer who is affected in this way may, of course, have a claim to compensation, and normally this would he provided within the framework of what is known as the "Crombie Code"—a well-established code of compensation which has been used in all local government reorganisation throughout the United Kingdom. In anticipation of the reorganisation due to be put into effect in England and Wales next year, a number of amendments to this Code have recently been agreed. These revised arrangements stem from proposals by the Royal Commission on Local Government.
§ The provisions of the draft Order before your Lordships give effect to the Government's undertaking that staff who are affected by the reorganisation in Northern Ireland will enjoy the benefit of compensation terms equal to those available to their counterparts in other parts of the United Kingdom. They closely follow Section 260 of the Local Government Act for England, which makes similar provisions. The Order will enable senior officers of the existing local authorities and certain other bodies affected by reorganisation, such as the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority or the Fire Authority for Northern Ireland, to have an option to retire early with the benefit 223 of additional years added to their reckonable service for superannuation. Regulations to be made under Article 3 will lay down those who may be entitled to exercise this option. It is anticipated that the scheme will be limited in practice to chief officers and deputy chief officers of 50 years of age or more who may not fit easily into the new organisation. My Lords, the Order is a short one, dealing only with the limited purpose which I have described. It follows the practice in the rest of the United Kingdom, and accordingly I commend it to your Lordships.
§ Moved, That the Draft Superannuation (Northern Ireland) Order 1973, laid before the House on April 10. be approved.—(Lord Windlesham.)
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, we have no comment to make from this side of the House except to say that we welcome the Order. It appears to deal justly with those affected by local government reorganisation and we are glad that the provisions are to be made.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.