State Pension Credit Bill [Lords]

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Mr. Clappison: Now tell us who is the Titanic.

Mr. Boswell: Then we come to the Minister of State. I am ashamed to say that my hon. Friend the Member for HertsmereŚI owe him much thanks for his ability to explain things, and, above all, to avoid any commitments on spending or anything elseŚlikens the Minister to the Titanic, but he is wrong. The Minister is much more like a pocket battleship; he carries heavy firepower in the shape of his eight grandchildren and in that respect I am sadly outgunned, as I have only one. Therefore, I might appear to be running away from a fight. However, we should remember what happens to pocket battleships in warfare. Sometimes, a group of lightly armed cruisers work together to hole them and do severe damage.

I say that in good spirit, because this has been a most enjoyable Committee. If a Committee can enjoy a state pensions credit Bill, its members must be a remarkably agreeable and farsighted set of people. I agree with the Minister that there are important aspects of substance in the Bill. Points made by hon. Members in our debates may eventually bear fruit in the regulations and in the administration of the Pension Service. We all have constituents who are pensioners. We know their difficulties and worries, and how important they are to our communities. We want to do the right thing by them. We may not always have agreed, but we have had some valuable exchanges and developed a better understanding and a common commitment. That is why this has been such an agreeable Committee.

The Chairman: I thank the Minister of State and hon. Members for their kind words. On behalf of my co-Chairman, the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths), may I say that it has been a pleasure to chair the Committee, which has been good natured and constructive. It has been as good an example of a constructive Committee as one could have hoped to find. The Bill is complex, extensive and important, and has been dealt with expediently, efficiently, and with clarity and good humour. I am impressed by the Minister's and the Opposition's command of a detailed and difficult subject.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose at fifteen minutes past Four o'clock.

Column Number: 285

The following Members attended the Committee:
Atkinson, Mr. Peter (Chairman)
Boswell, Mr.
Brazier, Mr.
Brennan, Kevin
Cairns, David
Clappison, Mr.
Cruddas, Jon
Eagle, Maria
Ewing, Annabelle

Column Number: 286

McCartney, Mr.
Mann, John
Mercer, Patrick
Osborne, Sandra
Selous, Andrew
Smith, Angela
Turner, Mr. Neil
Tynan, Mr.
Webb, Mr.

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Prepared 25 April 2002