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Regulations with respect to decisions

Amendment made: No. 12, in page 7, line 15, leave out

'then, unless regulations otherwise provide'.--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

Clause 4

Unified appeal tribunals

Amendments made: No. 10, in page 3, line 11, leave out 'and'.

No. 11, in page 3, line 13, at end insert

(d) section 11 of the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997,'.--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1122

Schedule 1

Appeal tribunals: supplementary provisions

Amendments made: No. 21, in page 53, line 18, leave out 'allowances or gratuities' and insert 'or allowances'.
No. 22, in page 53, line 21, leave out 'allowances or gratuities' and insert 'or allowances'.--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire): I beg to move amendment No. 3, in page 54, line 15, at end insert--

'Appeals in certain types of case

10.-(1) The President shall make arrangements for the identification of appeals made under section 13 of this Act which appear to him to raise questions of general importance relating to the interpretation or application of the law in respect of which the Secretary of State has decision making functions under section 1 or section 2 of this Act.
(2) The President shall, in making such arrangements as are referred to in sub-paragraph (1) above, delegate such of his powers in that regard as seem to him appropriate to any full-time chairmen of appeal tribunals who hold office for the time being.
(3) The President shall, when he identifies any cases as are mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) above, make such further arrangements as are necessary to ensure that such appeals are determined as soon as reasonably practicable in priority to other pending appeals.'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord): With this, it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 4, in schedule 4, page 59, line 29, at end insert--'Appeals in certain types of case--

8. The Chief Social Security Commissioner shall be under the same duty as respects appeals pending under section 15 of this Act, as is the President under paragraphs 10(1) and (3) of Schedule 1 to this Act.'.

Mr. Kirkwood: I detect that the House wants to move on quickly--[Hon. Members: "Yes."] However, if I am provoked, I might speak for a long time. I want to insinuate a thought into the Minister's mind. The amendments deal with some important procedural aspects of the Bill. Some of the clauses, especially clauses 26 and 27, contain some dramatic and far-reaching changes, about which I am concerned. Through amendmentsNos. 3 and 4, I want to ask the Government to consider mitigating some of the consequences of clauses 26 and 27.

The House may not be fully aware of the powers with which clauses 26 and 27 deal, but they allow the Secretary of State to direct a social security tribunal or commissioner not to hear a case where another similar and test case is pending. That is an unprecedented power. It allows a member of the Executive to direct how members of the judiciary or quasi-judiciary shall deal with appeals that are before them in certain circumstances. That is a new power, and one that is unprecedented and the Government should be careful about the circumstances in which that sort of power is used.

The amendments would require that suitable arrangements are made for identification and hearing of test cases--[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The conversation in the Chamber is growing louder. I know that hon. Members

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1123

are anxious that we should now proceed quickly, but the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) should be heard in silence.

Mr. Kirkwood: I want the Government to think about the possibility of looking at special provisions for identification and hearing of test cases as priority matters for social security appeal tribunals and commissioners. It can only help claimants and appellants in test cases to have their cases determined within a reasonable time against the background of the powers in clauses 26and 27.

The amendments are perfectly self-explanatory. The Minister may say that the same results can be achieved via an administrative route or, indeed, he may even say that the Government already have the power, in the Bill, to do that. If so, I ask him to consider putting it on the face of the primary legislation. If he is unable to agree to that tonight, will he give careful consideration to making those changes so as to expedite the process? That would go with the grain of what the Government are trying to do in other parts of the Bill, while at the same time mitigating some of the new powers the Executive is taking to control appeal tribunals and commissioners. If he can give me an assurance that he will at least consider the matter between now and the Bill going to the other place, I should be happy not to press the amendments.

Mr. Keith Bradley: The amendments would impose additional duties on the president of the appeal tribunal and the chief social security commissioner. Each year, there are 300,000 appeals and such detailed examination of all of them would not be practical, given that fewer than one in 3,000 may eventually become a so-called test case. Examining each case would also create further unnecessary delays in the appeals process. The appropriate time to consider whether there is a general issue of importance is after a tribunal has decided an appeal and one of the parties has applied for leave to appeal on a point of law.

Commissioners already have complete discretion to expedite specific cases and we shall continue with that. It is our intention to speed up the process for all appeals. The amendment would create further delays, but I can assure the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) that I shall look carefully at what he has said and consider whether any further action is appropriate. With that assurance, I hope that he will withdraw his amendment.

Mr. Kirkwood: I give in--I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 2

Decisions against which no appeal lies

Amendments made: No. 23, in page 55, line 19, after 'section' insert '64(1), 71(6), 113(1) or'.

No. 24, in page 55, line 32, leave out

'in the circumstances referred to in section 160(2)'

and insert

'or income-based jobseeker's allowance in the circumstances referred to in section 160(2) or 160A(2)'.--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1124

Clause 22

Suspension in prescribed circumstances

Amendment made: No. 13, in page 14, line 30, at end insert--
'( ) Regulations made under subsection (1) above may also provide that, in prescribed cases or circumstances, entitlement to a relevant benefit shall cease from a date not earlier than the date on which payments were suspended.'--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

Clause 56

Collection of Contributions by Secretary of State

Amendments made: No. 14, in page 37, line 19, leave out
'provide for interest to be charged'
and insert
'subject to sub-paragraph (3A) below, provide for interest to be charged by the Secretary of State'.
No. 15, in page 37, line 48, at end insert--
'(3A) Regulations under sub-paragraph (2)(e) above may provide that, in such cases or circumstances as may be prescribed, interest under those regulations may be charged by the Inland Revenue (instead of the Secretary of State) as if the regulations were made by virtue of paragraph 6 above.'
No. 16, in page 38, line 4, at beginning insert
'subject to sub-paragraph (4A) below,'.
No. 17, in page 38, line 17, at end insert--
'(4A) Regulations under sub-paragraph (2)(h)(ii) or (iii) above may provide that, in such cases or circumstances as may be prescribed, penalties under those regulations may be imposed by the Inland Revenue (instead of the Secretary of State) as if the return in question were a contributions return within the meaning of paragraph 7 above.'.--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

Clause 70

Power to reduce child benefit for lone parents

Amendment proposed: No. 1, in page 46, line 35, leave out from beginning to end of line 1 on page 47.--[Mr. Webb.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 107, Noes 457.

Division No. 115
[10.38 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Austin, John
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Barnes, Harry
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Canavan, Dennis
Caton, Martin
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clwyd, Ann
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna
Dafis, Cynog
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Dawson, Hilton
Dobbin, Jim
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Etherington, Bill
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fearn, Ronnie
Forsythe, Clifford
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fyfe, Maria
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godman, Norman A
Gorrie, Donald
Grant, Bernie
Harris, Dr Evan
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Hinchliffe, David
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Iddon, Dr Brian
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Kirkwood, Archy
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Livingstone, Ken
Livsey, Richard
Llwyd, Elfyn
McAllion, John
McCartney, Robert (N Down)
McDonnell, John
McGrady, Eddie
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
McNamara, Kevin
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Marek, Dr John
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Paisley, Rev Ian
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Rendel, David
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Swinney, John
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thompson, William
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Wallace, James
Wareing, Robert N
Webb, Steve
Welsh, Andrew
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Willis, Phil
Winnick, David
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Paul Tyler and
Mr. Andrew Stunell.


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Arbuthnot, James
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benton, Joe
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Bermingham, Gerald
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Blunt, Crispin
Boateng, Paul
Body, Sir Richard
Borrow, David
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
(Dunfermline E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burns, Simon
Butler, Mrs Christine
Butterfill, John
Byers, Stephen
Caborn, Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Cash, William
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Church, Ms Judith
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Colvin, Michael
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Corston, Ms Jean
Cran, James
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Denham, John
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Dismore, Andrew
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Drew, David
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Fatchett, Derek
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flight, Howard
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Galbraith, Sam
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Garnier, Edward
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hammond, Philip
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Heald, Oliver
Healey, John
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hunter, Andrew
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Adam
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkin, Bernard
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Key, Robert
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Leigh, Edward
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Letwin, Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Loughton, Tim
Love, Andrew
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
MacKay, Andrew
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLeish, Henry
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Madel, Sir David
Major, Rt Hon John
Malins, Humfrey
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Maples, John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Maxton, John
May, Mrs Theresa
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Moss, Malcolm
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Mudie, George
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Palmer, Dr Nick
Paterson, Owen
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickles, Eric
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prior, David
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Randall, John
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Rt Hon George
(Hamilton S)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Ruffley, David
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
St Aubyn, Nick
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sayeed, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Shipley, Ms Debra
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Singh, Marsha
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Snape, Peter
Soames, Nicholas
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steen, Anthony
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Streeter, Gary
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyrie, Andrew
Vaz, Keith
Viggers, Peter
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Watts, David
Wells, Bowen
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Wicks, Malcolm
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. David Jamieson and
Mr. Jim Dowd.

Question accordingly negatived.

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1128

Clause 72

Restrictions on backdating of benefit

Amendment made: No. 18, in page 47, line 24, leave out
(b) in subsections (2) and' and insert--
'(b) in subsection (2), for the words "12 months", in the second place where they occur, there shall be substituted the words "one month"; and
(c) in subsection'.--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

Schedule 6

Minor and consequential amendments

Amendments made: No. 34, in page 65, line 15, at end insert--
'. In subsection (2) of section 51 of that Act (supplementary powers to make regulations)--
(a) in paragraph (a), for sub-paragraph (iii) there shall be substituted the following sub-paragraph--
"(iii) the making of decisions under section 16 or 17;"; and
(b) paragraph (b) shall cease to have effect.'.

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1129

No. 35, in page 66, line 8, leave out
'In paragraph 2 of Schedule 4A to that Act'
and insert
'In paragraph 1 of Schedule 4A to that Act (interpretation), the definition of "review" shall cease to have effect.
( ) In paragraph 2 of that Schedule'.
No. 36, in page 66, line 9, after 'directions)', insert '(a)'.
No. 37, in page 66, line 10, at end insert
(b) in sub-paragraph (c), for the words "a departure application and a review are to be dealt with" there shall be substituted the words "a decision on a departure application and a decision under section 16 or 17 are to be made".'.
No. 38, in page 75, leave out lines 8 to 10 and insert--
'84. In section 164 of that Act (destination of payments etc.), subsection (5)(a) shall cease to have effect.'.
No. 25, in page 77, leave out lines 38 and 39 and insert--
'(a) for sub-paragraph (a) there shall be substituted the following sub-paragraph--
"(a) Appeal tribunals'.
No. 26, in page 77, line 42, leave out 'paragraph' and insert 'sub-paragraph'.
No. 27, in page 77, leave out lines 45 and 46 and insert--
'(a) for sub-paragraph (a) there shall be substituted the following sub-paragraph--
"(a) Appeal tribunals constituted under'.
No. 28, in page 80, line 33, at end insert--
'.--(1) In subsection (3) of section 16 of that Act (severe hardship), for paragraph (b) there shall be substituted the following paragraph--
"(b) it appears to him that the person concerned has, without good cause--
(i) neglected to avail himself of a reasonable opportunity of a place on a training scheme; or
(ii) after a place on such a scheme has been notified to him by an employment officer as vacant or about to become vacant, refused or failed to apply for it or to accept it when offered to him; or".
(2) For subsection (4) of that section there shall be substituted the following subsection--
"(4) In this section--
'employment officer' means an officer of the Secretary of State or such other person as may be designated for the purposes of this section by an order made by the Secretary of State;
'period' includes--
(a) a period of a determinate length;
(b) a period defined by reference to the happening of a future event; and
(c) a period of a determinate length but subject to earlier determination upon the happening of a future event;
'training scheme' has such meaning as may be prescribed.".'
No. 29, in page 80, line 33, at end insert--
'.--(1) In subsection (2) of section 17 of that Act (reduced payments), for the word "either" there shall be substituted the word "any".
(2) In subsection (3) of that section, for paragraph (b) there shall be substituted the following paragraphs--

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1130

"(b) he has given up a place on a training scheme, or failed to attend such a scheme on which he has been given a place, and no certificate has been issued to him under subsection (4);
(c) he has lost his place on such a scheme through misconduct."
(3) For subsections (4) and (5) of that section there shall be substituted the following subsections--
"(4) Where a young person who has given up a place on a training scheme, or failed to attend such a scheme on which he has been given a place--
(a) claims that there was good cause for his doing so; and
(b) applies to the Secretary of State for a certificate under this subsection,
the Secretary of State shall, if he is satisfied that there was good cause, issue a certificate to that effect and give a copy of it to the young person.
(5) In this section--
"training scheme" has such meaning as may be prescribed;
"young person" means a person who has reached the age of 16 but not the age of 18.".'
No. 30, in page 80, line 38, at end insert--
'. In subsection (2)(b)(ii) of section 20 of that Act (exemptions from section 19), for the words "he has failed to complete a course of training" there shall be substituted the words "the condition mentioned in section 17(3)(b) or (c) is satisfied".'
No. 40, in page 80, line 46, at end insert--
'. In subsection (1) of section 36 of that Act (regulations and orders), for the words "9(13) or 19(10)(a)" there shall be substituted the words "9(13), 16(4) or 19(10)(a)".'.
No. 41, in page 81, leave out lines 24 to 28.--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

Schedule 7


Amendments made: No. 42, in page 83, line 15, column 3, after 'qualified', insert'adjudicating'.
No. 43, in page 84, line 51, column 3, at end insert 'Section 51(2)(b).'.
No. 44, in page 85, line 10, column 3, after 'Schedule 4A,', insert
'in paragraph 1 the definition of "review",'.
No. 45, in page 85, line 51, column 3, at end insert 'Section 164(5)(a).'.
No. 46, in page 87, line 10, leave out '23' and insert '23(1)'.
No. 47, in page 87, line 13, column 3, at end insert--
'In Schedule 8, paragraphs 21(1) and 23.'.
No. 48, in page 87, line 39, at end insert--
'1996 c.23. Arbitration Act 1996. In Schedule 3, paragraph 54.'.

--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]

Clause 81

Short title, commencement and extent

Amendments made: No. 19, in page 52, line 8, leave out 'sections 50,' and insert '(a) sections'.
No. 33, in page 52, line 8, leave out '77' and insert '79'.

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1131

No. 20, in page 52, line 8, after 'this section,' insert 'and
(b) section 50 so far as relating to a sum which is chargeable to tax by virtue of section 313 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988,'.--[Mr. Keith Bradley.]
Order for Third Reading read.

10.58 pm

Ms Harman: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The Bill is an important step towards our aim of building a modern, fair and efficient welfare service that commands the support of everyone in society. It lays the foundations for transforming the future delivery of welfare and for eradicating the failures of the past.

The Bill has received rigorous and constructive scrutiny, both in Committee and in today's debates. I am grateful to all the Committee members for their work and, in particular, to the Chairmen, my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. O'Hara) and the hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale). I also thank my ministerial team--the Under-Secretaries of State for Social Security, my hon. Friends the Members for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Bradley) and for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham)--for the tremendous amount of hard work that they have put into the Bill, taking it through the House thus far.

Today, we have had extensive and wide-ranging debates that have focused on just two clauses: on backdating and lone parents. Perhaps the House will allow me to mention briefly the other 79 clauses in the Bill. Those clauses pave the way for us to modernise the system that we inherited from the last Administration--a confusing system of incomprehensible rules, laborious form filling and complex processes that trap millions of people on benefit who want to work. That system is both unacceptable and unsustainable.

This Government believe that welfare should focus on investing in people's opportunities and success, which means providing an integrated service--a service that concentrates on meeting the needs of those whom it is intended to help, and is not constrained by artificial organisational boundaries. That is better government. It means recognising that individuals' lives do not easily fit into departmental boxes, and working throughout Government making use of new information technology to deliver a complete modern service to the citizen.

Service delivery is central to our approach to welfare reform. Our services must actively help people to move from welfare into work, where they can be much better off than they would ever be on benefits. Our services must be focused on what clients need; they must ensure that help goes to those who need it, not to the fraudsters who would rip off the system; they must be efficient, and offer the best possible deal to clients, taxpayers and our staff. That is what we mean by an active, modern service.

The Bill lays the foundations for the provision of such a service. It paves the way for a modern, integrated service, enabling people to give us information just once in a way that is convenient for them. We shall then be able to advise them how that affects all their dealings with the Department. The Bill will create a much simpler decision-making process, reducing the number of types of decision maker from six to one--who will act on my behalf--and enabling decisions to be presented quickly,

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1132

correctly and in a way that is easy to understand. It will enable us to provide a streamlined, straightforward system for claimants to appeal against decisions to an independent tribunal, cutting out unnecessary duplications and frustrating delays.

Not only will my proposals streamline the current process; I will assume responsibility for the administration of the appeals system through a new Department of Social Security executive agency established for the purpose of improving the administration of appeals. The Bill will also reinforce people's responsibilities in relation to the welfare system by imposing tougher penalties on those who try to evade their responsibility to make national insurance contributions. It will close loopholes exploited by those who seek to save money by doing their employees out of the contributions that are essential to their future pension entitlements. It will also make it easier for employers to pay their fair share by aligning the ways in which certain benefits and expenses are dealt with in the tax and national insurance systems.

The Bill, introduced in our first three months of government, is an important step towards meeting the commitments that we made to the British people in our manifesto. They gave us a strong mandate to reform welfare--to tackle poverty and welfare dependency and to tackle them wisely, extending opportunities to all. We will transform welfare delivery into an active, modern service that meets people's needs and helps them to fulfil their aspirations. The Bill puts in place the building blocks to do just that, and I commend it to the House.

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