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Orders of the Day

TAX CREDITS BILL AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE BILL [Lords] (PROGRAMME)

Ordered,


That the following provisions shall apply to--
(a) proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments to the Tax Credits Bill,
(b) proceedings on the Motion in the name of Mrs. Barbara Roche relating to Access to Justice Bill [Lords] [Ways and Means], and
(c) Consideration and Third Reading of the Access to Justice Bill [Lords].
1.--(1) The proceedings to which this Order applies shall be taken in the order specified in the Table.
(2) Each part of the proceedings to which this Order applies shall, if not previously concluded, be concluded today at the times shown in the Table.

Table

Proceedings Conclusion
Tax Credits Bill: Consideration of Lords Amendments
Amendment 1 5.30 p.m.
Amendment 26.30 p.m.
Remaining Amendments7.00 p.m.
Motion on Access to Justice Bill [Lords][Ways and Means]7.15 p.m.
Access to Justice Bill [Lords]: Consideration and Third Reading
New Clauses and amendments relating to Part I 8.45 p.m.
Government new Clauses and new Schedule 10.15 p.m.
Remaining new Clauses11.00 p.m.
Remaining amendments and Motions, and Third Reading Midnight

Conclusion of proceedings on Tax Credits Bill


2.--(1) This paragraph applies for the purpose of concluding any proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments to the Tax Credits Bill in accordance with paragraph 1.


(2) The Speaker shall first put forthwith any Question already proposed from the Chair and not yet decided.
(3) If that Question is for the amendment of a Lords Amendment the Speaker shall then put forthwith--
(a) the Question on any further amendment of the Lords Amendment moved by a Minister of the Crown, and
(b) the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown, That this House agrees or disagrees to the Lords Amendment or (as the case may be) to the Lords Amendment as amended.
(4) The Speaker shall then put forthwith--
(a) the Question on any Amendment moved by a Minister of the Crown to a Lords Amendment, and
(b) the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown, That this House agrees or disagrees to the Lords Amendment or (as the case may be) to the Lords Amendment as amended.
(5) The Speaker shall then put forthwith the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown, That this House disagrees to a Lords Amendment.

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(6) The Speaker shall then put forthwith the Question, That this House agrees to all the remaining Lords Amendments.
(7) As soon as the House has agreed or disagreed to a Lords Amendment, or disposed of an Amendment relevant to a Lords Amendment which has been disagreed to, the Speaker shall put forthwith a separate Question on any other Amendment which is moved by a Minister of the Crown and relevant to the Lords Amendment.
(8) The Speaker shall put forthwith the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for the appointment, nomination and quorum of a Committee to draw up Reasons and the appointment of its Chairman.
(9) A Committee appointed to draw up Reasons shall report before the conclusion of this day's sitting.

Conclusion of proceedings on Access to Justice Bill [Lords]


3.--(1) This paragraph applies for the purpose of concluding any proceedings on the Access to Justice Bill [Lords] in accordance with paragraph 1.


(2) The Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others)--
(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;
(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;
(c) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown; and
(d) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded.
(3) On a Motion made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.
(4) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under sub-paragraph (2)(c) on amendments moved or Motions made by a Minister of the Crown, the Speaker shall instead put a single Question in relation to those amendments or Motions.

Common provisions


4.--In the case of any proceedings to which this Order applies--


(a) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply;
(b) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply;
(c) the proceedings shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House;
(d) no dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, the proceedings shall be made except by a Minister of the Crown (in which case the Question on the Motion shall be put forthwith);
(e) if the proceedings are interrupted by a Motion for the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 24 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on the Motion shall be added to the period allowed for the interrupted proceedings; and
(f) if the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before the proceedings are concluded no notice shall be required of a Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.--[Jane Kennedy.]

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Tax Credits Bill

Lords amendments considered.

Madam Speaker: I draw the House's attention to the fact that privilege is involved in Lords amendment No. 4. If the House agrees with that Lords amendment, I shall ensure that the appropriate entry is made in the Journal.

Clause 6

Payment of tax credit by employers etc


Lords amendment: No. 1, in page 3, line 31, at beginning insert ("Subject to subsection (1A),")

3.43 pm

The Paymaster General (Dawn Primarolo): I beg to move, That this House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Madam Speaker: With this, it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendment No. 3.

Dawn Primarolo: The amendments together would allow employers with fewer than 10 employees to elect that any tax credit payable to their employees should be paid by the Inland Revenue board. The amendments would also enable regulations to be made governing the making and revoking of such elections.

The amendments were introduced in Committee in another place. This House has, of course, debated and firmly rejected similar amendments seeking to exempt various categories of employers from paying tax credits through the payroll to their employees. I shall ask the House to reject amendments Nos. 1 and 3, because they are ill thought out, would be disastrous for the tax credit policy as a whole and would be an administrative nightmare.

There are two important points to make on the policy implications of the amendments. First, as their lordships are well aware, payment via the employer is central to our tax credit policy. It will be vital in showing unambiguously that work really does pay. Not only will the tax credits be much more generous than the benefits that they replace, but they will also be inextricably linked to the rewards of work because they will be shown on the employee's pay slip as an addition to the net take-home pay. Embedding the tax credits in the tax system will help to break the perceived link with benefits and will reduce the stigma which is often attached to claiming in-work support.

For those reasons, we should not be looking for ways of taking large numbers of employers out of the scheme, thereby depriving many thousands of employees of their right to receive their tax credit through the payroll. Payment through the pay packet will be the predominant method of payment from April 2000, and we want that to apply in every case where it is appropriate and practical.

Mr. Steve Webb (Northavon): How many employees, not firms, would be taken out of payment through the pay packet by the amendments?

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Dawn Primarolo: I shall answer the hon. Gentleman's point when I explain why I am asking the House to reject the amendments.

The second, more general, point of policy is that amendments Nos. 1 and 3 would give employers the right--

Mr. Eric Pickles (Brentwood and Ongar): Will the hon. Lady give way?

Dawn Primarolo: I am happy to give way, but will the hon. Gentleman confirm that the Opposition's policy is still as stated by the hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith)--that a Conservative Government would abolish the working families tax credit and deprive millions of children of the benefits of that?

Mr. Pickles: The hon. Lady is most courteous, but I seek only to help her out. Can she confirm that the amendments would take out only 13 per cent. of people, and that 87 per cent. would still be able to receive the working families tax credit through the wage packet?


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