§ Further consideration of amendments on Report resumed.
§ Clause 66 [Loss of benefit regulations]:
Baroness Hollis of Heigham moved Amendment No. 118:
Page 70, line 39, at end insert—
("( ) a provision prescribing the manner in which the applicable amount is to be reduced for the purposes of section 63(3),
( ) a provision prescribing the manner in which an amount of joint-claim jobseekers allowance is to be reduced for the purposes of section 64(3)(a),
( ) a provision the making of which is authorised by section 63(4) or 64(4),").
§ The noble Baroness said: My Lords, Amendment No. 118 introduces measures to make the powers in Clause 63(3) and (4)—loss of benefit provisions—that specify the level of benefit reduction for income support and hardship payments for jobseeker's allowance subject to the affirmative resolution procedure as specified in Clause 66(4). This is in response to the recommendation of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee, which I am happy to accept.
§ In addition, the amendment provides that regulations to be made under Clause 64(3)(a) and (3A)—reduced rate payments of JSA and hardship 864 payments which may operate when the sanction applies to couples who claim JSA jointly—should also be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. Although not covered by the report of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee, these are to be included in the list of powers subject to the affirmative procedure to ensure consistency.
§ This is a measure concerned with conditions attached to benefits which we believe is right in principle. But, principled as we are, we have no wish to extend this policy widely without understanding its effects. That is why we are testing it first through pilots which will be thoroughly evaluated. We shall not extend the pilots nation-wide before considering carefully the findings of the evaluation and making them public. I urge your Lordships to accept this entirely beneficial government amendment which extends the affirmative resolution procedure to those parts of the clauses that deal with rates of reduction and hardship payments. I beg to move.
§ Lord Goodhart
My Lords, wearing my hat as a member of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee, I am happy to welcome the amendment. It appeared to us that the issues raised were important and that the regulations should be considered first by your Lordships' House before being implemented.
On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ [Amendment No. 119 not moved.]
§ Clause 67 [Appeals relating to loss of benefit]:
§ [Amendment No. 120 not moved.]
§ Earl Russell moved Amendment No. 121:
§ After Clause 67, insert the following new clause—