§ The Lord Chancellor
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. The Bill is the first of two linked consolidation Bills in my name on the Order Paper. If I may, I shall speak to them together and then move the second formally.
The two Bills restate most of the employment legislation which remained unconsolidated after the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Your Lordships will note that the Bills have the same short titles as Bills which were introduced in the last Session of Parliament, and indeed their form and content are very similar as well. The previous two Bills did not complete their passage through this House as a number of relevant developments took place after they had been considered by the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills. These included amendments which were made during the passage of the Bills which became the Pensions Act 1995 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the making of new regulations providing for 468 consultation with the representatives of employees who are to be made redundant in circumstances where they are not represented by a trade union, and the increase of various monetary limits in the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978.
Each of those developments needed to be reflected in the two consolidation Bills. Taken together, however, they would have necessitated heavy amendment of those Bills at a comparatively late stage in their progress. I concluded therefore that the better course of action would be not to proceed further with the consolidation Bills in the last Session but to introduce new Bills this Session, which could then be considered afresh.
If your Lordships are content to give the Bills a Second Reading, they will be referred in the usual way to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills. I commend the Employment Rights Bill to your Lordships.
Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.