HL Deb 01 February 1990 vol 515 cc481-2

7.38 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 15th January be approved [5th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the purpose of the order is well known. It has been laid in accordance with Section 148 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978. This requires the Secretary of State to review the upper limits on the amount of a week's pay used for calculating certain payments and awards under employment protection legislation.

In reaching our decision this year, the Government have sought to quantify an obligation that we acknowledge exists for this limit to keep some pace with the overall level of inflation. At the same time the Government are mindful of the effect that any increase could have on business. We are not required to consult but nonetheless we have as usual undertaken consultations with relevant employer and employee organisations. These reveal, not surprisingly, that employers are in general against any increase on the grounds of the extra costs imposed on industry while employees, on the other hand are in favour of increases that are in line with average earnings. Having very carefully considered these views and having taken into account other factors, as the Secretary of State is required to do, we have decided to increase the limits by roughly 6.8 per cent. Thus the limit on a week's pay will rise from £172 to £184 and the limit on the daily amount of guarantee pay will go up from £11–85 to £12–65. Certain other limits relating to guarantee pay will not be increased this year and the Secretary of State has laid a report explaining that. I commend the order to the House. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 15th January be approved [15th Report from the Joint Committee].—(Lord Strathclyde.)

Baroness Turner of Camden

My Lords, I rise to thank the Minister for his clear explanation of this order. We on these Benches certainly do not oppose increasing these limits. I note that workers, as one would expect, want an increase in line with the wages index, and I can understand that. However, on the other hand I think that in current circumstances the amount, which is roughly in line with current inflation figures, is broadly acceptable. With those comments, we have no objection to offer to the order.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure until five past eight.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 7.41 to 8.5 p.m.]