§ 5.15 p.m.
§ LORD DONALDSON OF KINGS-BRIDGE rose to move, That the Pensions (Increase) (Northern Ireland) Order 1974, laid before the House on July 31, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Order was passed at the very end of the last Session of Parliament with general approval from everybody, but it did not get through the Assembly in Northern Ireland in time. I am now moving the Order simply to bring conditions over there to parity with this country.
§ One of the items then considered was the Pensions (Increase) Bill, and the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, in introducing it explained that its purpose was to provide supplements for public service pensioners whose pensions on award had been affected by stages 1 or 2 of the counter-inflation policy. The Bill did not apply to Northern Ireland and the object of this Order in Council is to produce parity legislation. In fact the measure had reached the second stage when the Assembly was prorogued. The Order now before your Lordships will bring the same provisions into effect and it is made under the procedure provided for in Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 1457 1974. It applies only to those pensions beginning in 1973, 1974 and 1975, calculated on pay and affected by stage 1, stage 2, or both, of the statutory pay controls. It provides for the percentage supplements, set out in the Schedule to the Order, to be added to the pensions on award. It will benefit Northern Ireland public service pensioners, such as teachers, firemen and others.
§ The Order also makes amendments to the Pensions (Increase) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971. One of these raises the age limit for increases of children's pensions under the 1971 Act from the age of 16 to the age of 17, and another removes the age restriction for the payment of increases to widows without dependant children. These changes follow those brought about in Great Britain by the Pensions (Increase) Act 1974. It is estimated that the cost in the first year will be about £100,000, of which about £90,000 will fall on the Northern Ireland Consolidated Fund and £10,000 on local government revenue. Subsequently, the cost will decrease as the number of pensioners affected is reduced. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Pensions (Increase) (Northern Ireland) Order 1974, laid before the House on July 31, be approved.—(Lord Donaldson of Kings-bridge).
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.