HL Deb 09 March 1993 vol 543 cc1011-2

9.11 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Employment (Viscount Ullswater) rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 15th February be approved [21st Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, as your Lordships may know, this order, which is being made under powers contained in Section 149 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, is one of a series presented at roughly annual intervals. It is concerned with the calculation of redundancy payments in the field of local government, and amends the original order passed in 1983 by bringing in some newly created employing bodies.

It may be helpful if I explain that an employee made redundant after at least two years' service is due a payment calculated according to his period of service with his last employer. Local authorities are legally distinct employers so that, other things being equal, an employee could receive a payment every time he became redundant, even though he moved on to another local government job.

This would not, however, properly reflect what actually happens in local government where a normal career progression commonly involves moving from one local authority to another, perhaps several times during an individual's working life. Consequently the law provides for redundancy entitlements to be based on total aggregated service in local government.

Unfortunately, there is no convenient definition of what constitutes local government. It is therefore necessary to list in a succession of statutory instruments all the employers with whom service can count, including many which have gone out of existence following statutory reorganisations as well as such new ones as are from time to time created. This latest order brings the list up to date by adding a few bodies, mainly in the higher education field, which have recently come into being. It also puts right a slight error in the numbering of the list which arose in the 1991 amending order.

I trust I have said enough to satisfy your Lordships that these amendments are necessary, reasonable and uncontroversial. I commend the order to the House.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 15th February be approved [21st Report from the Joint Committee]. —(Viscount Ullswater.)

Baroness Turner of Camden

My Lords, from this side of the House I thank the noble Viscount for the clarity with which, as usual, he presented the order. We are in favour, of course, of the principle of continuity as set out in the order and we believe in the principle that aggregate service should count towards redundancy. We accept that the list had to be updated and that the bodies added are in the field of higher education. We think that that is right and proper and we welcome the order.

Lord Rochester

My Lords, this is a straightforward amendment, the effect of which has been clearly explained by the noble Viscount. I am happy on behalf of my noble friends to accept it.