House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Civil Partnership Bill [HL] - continued          House of Commons

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Part 6 - Amendments of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 (c.8)

852.     Paragraphs 99 to 109 amend the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992.

853.     Paragraph 99 amends the definition of "couple" in section 2AA to align it with the new definition introduced into the Contributions and Benefits Act for the purposes of entitlement to the income-related benefits (see commentary on Paragraphs 38 to 42 above). This extends the conditionality/work-focussed interview provisions applicable for partners to same-sex couples.

854.     Paragraph 100 amends section 3 to extend to civil partners the special late claim provisions for bereavement benefits in cases where death is difficult to establish.

855.     Paragraph 101 amends section 13A to extend the conditions under which mortgage interest payments are made within income support and jobseeker's allowance (income-based) to ensure that same sex couples are treated in the same way as married couples and opposite-sex unmarried couples living together as husband and wife.

856.     Paragraph 102 amends section 69 so that provisions relating to the recovery of overpayments applicable to both members of a couple, regardless of which one is the claimant, will also apply to civil partners.

857.     Paragraph 103 amends section 71 so that provisions relating to overlapping benefits applicable to both members of a couple, regardless of which one is the claimant, will also apply to same sex couples.

858.     Paragraph 104 amends section 72A to provide that where maintenance payments are being collected on behalf of an income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance claimant, the same arrangements will apply to same-sex couples as currently apply to married couples and opposite-sex unmarried couples who are living together as husband and wife. Where part or the whole of any payments are retained, they are disregarded in the calculation of the claimant's benefit.

859.     Paragraph 105 amends section 74 so that provisions relating to the recovery of social fund awards applicable to both members of a couple, regardless of which one is the claimant, will also apply to same sex couples.

860.     Paragraphs 106 and 107 amend sections 100 and 102 to extend the provisions on liability to maintain for income support and jobseeker's allowance (income-based) to civil partners. Where one spouse or civil partner claims, the other member of the couple may be required to make payments which offset some or all of the benefit paid unless or until the couple divorce or, as the case may be, dissolve their civil partnership.

861.     Paragraph 108 amends section 103B to ensure that, like spouses, civil partners will not be required to provide information which could incriminate their partner.

862.     Paragraph 109 amends section 136 to apply the same annual uprating rules to civil partners awarded a state pension on the basis of their deceased partner's contributions as currently apply to spouses. Where a person has in payment an additional State Pension on the basis of the contributions of a deceased civil partner as well as an additional State Pension based on their own contributions, the Uprating Order shall not apply in respect of the contributions of the deceased civil partner where the civil partner died in the tax year preceding the tax year in which the Uprating Order comes into force and the person's final relevant tax year was an earlier tax year. The Uprating Order shall not apply in respect of the contributions of the person where their final relevant tax year is the tax year preceding the tax year in which the Uprating Order comes into force and the deceased civil partner's final relevant year was an earlier tax year.

Part 7 - Amendments of the Jobseekers Act 1995 (c. 18)

863.     Paragraphs 110 and 112 amend the definition of terms relating to family membership within the Jobseekers Act 1995 in line with those for other income-related benefits (see Paragraphs 38 to 42). For jobseeker's allowance there are additional effects of being treated as a couple. Where either the claimant or their partner was born after 28th October 1957 and is 18 and over and neither is responsible for children in certain circumstances, then they are required to make a claim for jobseekers allowance as a 'joint claim couple'. There are sanctions implications for joint claim couples where one member of the couple does not comply with jobseekers directions requiring them to attend opportunities to improve their job prospects. These provisions will apply in the same way to same-sex couples who are civil partners or "living together as if they were civil partners".

864.     Paragraph 111 extends the provisions that currently allow for the recovery of spousal maintenance where an award of jobseeker's allowance has been made to that spouse to cover civil partners in the same circumstances.

Part 8 - Amendments of the Child Support Act 1995 (c. 34)

865.     See note under Part 1.

Part 9 - Amendments of the Child Support (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (S.I. 1995 / 2702 (N.I. 13))

866.     Paragraphs 115 and 116 amend Article 4(7) of the Child Support (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. These amendments are to definitions so as to bring same-sex couples who are civil partners or living together as if they were civil partners within the scope of Article 4, which provides for child maintenance bonus (repealed by the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000, so they relate to the old scheme only).

Part 10 - Amendments of the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (S.I. 1995/2705 (N.I. 15))

867.     Paragraphs 117 to 119 amend the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.

868.     Paragraph 117 amends Article 2 so that definitions of "couple" etc are brought in line with those for the other income-related benefits.

869.     Paragraph 118 amends the Article 3 definition of "joint-claim couple". For jobseeker's allowance there are additional effects of being treated as a couple. Where either the claimant or their partner was born after 28th October 1957 and is 18 and over and neither is responsible for children in certain circumstances, then they are required to make a claim for jobseekers allowance as a 'joint claim couple'. There are sanctions implications for joint claim couples where one member of the couple does not comply with jobseekers directions requiring them to attend opportunities to improve their job prospects. These provisions will apply in the same way to same-sex couples who are civil partners or "living together as if they were civil partners".

870.     Paragraph 119 amends Article 25 to extend the provisions that currently allow for the recovery of spousal maintenance where an award of jobseeker's allowance has been made to that spouse to cover civil partners in the same circumstances.

Part 11 - Amendments of the State Pension Credit Act 2002 (c. 16)

871.     Paragraphs 120 to 123 ensure entitlement to state pension credit on the same basis as spouses and opposite-sex couples living together as husband and wife for, respectively, same-sex civil partners and same-sex couples who are "living together as if they were civil partners"; and amends the definition of terms relating to family membership within the State Pension Credit Act 2002 in line with those for other income-related benefits (see Paragraphs 38 to 42). Sub-paragraphs (3) and (5) of paragraph 122 amend the definitions of "foreign war widow's or widower's pension" and "war widow's or widower's pension" to recognise that surviving civil partners will be able to receive these pensions.

Part 12 - Amendments of the Tax Credits Act 2002 (c.21)

872.     Paragraph 124 (2) amends section 3(3)(a) of the Tax Credits Act 2002 by replacing existing references to a married or unmarried couple with a single reference to a "couple". This will provide that joint tax credit claims may be made by same-sex couples in the same way as joint claims by married and unmarried opposite-sex couples.

873.     Paragraph 124(3) deletes subsections (5) and (6) in section 3 of the Tax Credits Act, which respectively define a "married couple" and an "unmarried couple", and replaces them with a new subsection (5A) to define the term "couple". This definition includes married and unmarried opposite-sex couples and same-sex civil partnerships in which the civil partners are neither formally separated nor separated and likely to remain so permanently. The definition also extends to same-sex couples in which the parties are not civil partners but are living together as if they were civil partners.

874.     Paragraphs 125 and 126 amends various sections in the Tax Credits Act.

875.     Section 4(1)(g) - section 4 allows for detailed rules about tax credit claims to be set out in regulations. In particular, subsection (1)(g) provides that in certain circumstances, the regulations enable one member of a married or unmarried couple to be treated as acting on behalf of the other member when making a joint claim, for example when responding to an end-of-year notice to renew a tax credit award. These regulations are in the Tax Credits (Claims and Notifications) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002 No. 2014, as amended by S.I. 2003 No. 3240). Subsection (1)(g) is amended to allow the regulations to be extended in due course to provide that a claim made by one party in a couple, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, is to be treated in prescribed circumstances as also made by the other party in that couple.

876.     Section 11 (6)(b) and (c) - section 11 provides for the elements making up the working tax credit to be set out in regulations. By virtue of subsection (6)(b) and (c) respectively, a working tax credit award may include an element for being a member of a married or unmarried couple or for being a lone parent who is not a member of a married or unmarried couple. These elements are described as the "second adult element" and the "lone parent element" in regulations 3(1), 11 and 12 of the Working Tax Credit (Entitlement and Maximum Rate) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002 No. 2005, as amended by S.I. 2003 No. 701 and S.I. 2003 No. 2815). Subsection (6)(b) is amended so that entitlement to the second adult element may extend to being a member of a same-sex couple. Subsection (6)(c) is amended to refer to a person not being a member of a couple, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, but who is responsible for a child or qualifying young person.

877.     Section 17(10)(b) - section 17 provides that the Inland Revenue should send recipients of a tax credit award a notice after the end of each tax year. The notice requires the recipients to confirm that the circumstances affecting their entitlement (such as the number of children, whether a recipient is disabled, and the level of income) are as stated in the notice or, if different, to say how they differ. This must be done within the time limit specified in the notice. Subsection (10)(b) enables regulations to be made setting out the circumstances in which one member of a married or unmarried couple is taken to be acting for the other in responding to the notice. The regulations are in the Tax Credits (Claims and Notifications) Regulations 2002, referred to above. Subsection (10)(b) is amended to refer to members of a couple, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, so that appropriate changes may be made in due course to the regulations.

878.     Section 24(2) - section 24 provides that payment of a tax credit award must be made to the person to whom that award has been made. Subsection (2) provides that in the case of a married or unmarried couple receiving a joint tax credit award, regulations are to prescribe to whom payment is to be made. These regulations are in the Tax Credits (Payments by the Board) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002 No. 2173). Subsection (2) is amended to add a reference to an award made to members of a couple, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, to enable appropriate changes to be made to the regulations in due course.

879.     Section 32(6) - section 32 provides that penalties may be imposed on a person (whether the tax credit claimant or an employer) who fails to comply with a request by the Inland Revenue to supply information or evidence in connection with a tax credit claim. Subsection (2) provides for an initial penalty of £300 followed by a further penalty of up to £60 a day for each day on which the failure to supply information or evidence continues after the imposition of the initial penalty. Subsection (6) provides that the penalties to be imposed on the members of a married or unmarried couple are not to exceed the aggregate limits contained in subsection (2). Also, if both members of a married or unmarried couple fail to notify the Inland Revenue of changes in circumstances which may reduce their tax credit award, then the aggregate amount of the penalty imposed on that couple must not exceed £300. Subsection (6) is amended so that the same penalty provisions will apply, when appropriate, in respect of tax credit claims made jointly by a same-sex couple.

880.     Paragraph 127(1) amends section 48 of the Tax Credits Act so that the list of terms there becomes the new subsection (1) of section 48.

881.     Paragraph 127 (2) inserts a definition of "couple" in the list of terms in the new subsection (1) of section 48. This refers to the new subsection (5A) of section 3 of the Tax Credits Act inserted by paragraph 124(3) of this Schedule. The paragraph also deletes the definitions of a "married couple" and "unmarried couple" currently in section 48 of the Tax Credits Act.

882.     Paragraph 127(3) inserts a new subsection (2) in section 48 of the Tax Credits Act. It provides that two people of the same sex will be treated as living together as if they were civil partners if, but only if, they would be regarded as living together as husband and wife if they were instead two people of the opposite sex.

Part 13 - Amendments of the State Pension Credit Act (Northern Ireland) 2002 (c. 14 (N.I.))

883.     Paragraphs 128 to 131 amend the State Pension Credit Act (Northern Ireland) 2002

884.     Paragraphs 128 to 131 ensure entitlement to state pension credit on the same basis as spouses and opposite-sex couples living together as husband and wife for, respectively, same-sex civil partners and same-sex couples who are "living together as if they were civil partners"; and amends the definition of terms relating to family membership within the State Pension Credit Act (Northern Ireland) 2002 in line with those for other income-related benefits.

885.     Paragraph 130(3) and (5) amends the definitions of "foreign war widow's or widower's pension" and "war widow's or widower's pension" to recognise that surviving civil partners will be able to receive these pensions.

Schedule 25 - Amendment of certain enactments relating to pensions

Paragraph 1 - Fire Services Act 1947

886.     Section 26 of the Fire Services Act 1947 gives the Secretary of State power, by order, to bring into operation a Firemen's Pension Scheme to provide for pensions, allowances and gratuities to be paid to persons employed as members of fire brigades or to their widows, children and dependants. The current Scheme is in the Firemen's Pension Scheme Order 1992, S.I. 1992/129, as amended. Paragraph 1 of Schedule 25 extends section 26 to include a member of a fire brigade's surviving civil partner. It also clarifies the position in relation to widowers, by substituting the words "surviving spouse" for "widow".

Paragraph 2 - House of Commons Members' Fund Act 1948

887.     Section 4 of the House of Commons Members' Fund Act 1948 gives the trustees of the fund powers to make periodical or other payments to former members of the House of Commons or to their widows, widowers and orphan children, having regard to their circumstances. Paragraph 2 of Schedule 25 extends this to include a surviving civil partner of a former member.

Paragraph 3 - Parliamentary and Other Pensions Act 1972

888.     Section 27 of the Parliamentary and Other Pensions Act 1972 makes provision for the payment of pensions to the widow, widower and any eligible children of a former Prime Minister or Speaker of the House of Commons. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 25 extends this to include the surviving civil partner of a former Prime Minister or Speaker.

Paragraph 4 - Theatres Trust Act 1976

889.     Section 3(d)(iii) of the Theatres Trust Act 1976 gives the trustees power to enter into agreements with insurance (or other) companies to provide gratuities or pensions to a Trust employee, his widow, family and dependants. Paragraph 4 of Schedule 25 extends this to include an employee's surviving civil partner.

890.     It also clarifies the existing law in relation to widowers by substituting the words "surviving spouse" for "widow" to ensure that it is clear that the same arrangements apply to surviving spouses of both male and female employees.

Schedule 26 - Amendment of certain enactments relating to the armed forces

891.     This Schedule amends a number of statutory provisions relating to the armed forces. These provisions deal variously with the pension rights of Service personnel and of employees of Service charities, and of the spouses and surviving spouses of such personnel and employees; appeals in relation to such rights; the application of the property of deceased Service personnel; financial compensation in respect of service by members of the reserve and auxiliary forces; and appeals on behalf of deceased persons convicted by courts-martial. Each provision is amended so that it applies to a civil partner as it applies to a spouse, to civil partnership as it applies to marriage, and to a surviving civil partner as it applies to a surviving spouse.

Schedule 27 - Minor and Consequential Amendments

892.     This schedule amends various pieces of primary legislation to include civil partners as appropriate.

Paragraph 1 - Law of Distress Amendment Act 1908 (c. 53)

893.     Paragraph 1 extends the exclusion from the application of the Law of Distress Amendment Act 1908 to goods belonging to the civil partner of a tenant. At present the exclusion from the application of the Act applies to the husband or wife of a tenant.

Paragraphs 2-3 - Trustee Act 1925 (c.19)

894.     Paragraph 2 amends section 31(2)(i) of the 1925 Act. That section relates to the accumulation by trustees of the residue of income by investment. Sub-paragraph (i) refers to the marriage of the infant for whom the residue is held. This is amended to refer to either the marriage or civil partnership of such person. Section 33 relates to the holding of income on protective trusts for the benefit of any person. The reference to husband or wife is amended to include either spouse or civil partner.

Paragraph 4 - Law of Property Act 1925 (c.20)

895.     Paragraph 4 amends the definition of "purchaser" in the Law of Property Act 1925. The term is defined as a purchaser in good faith for valuable consideration. "Valuable consideration" is further defined as including marriage. This paragraph provides that the definition of valuable consideration shall be changed to include civil partnership in addition to marriage.

Paragraph 5 - Landlord and Tenant (Requisitioned Land) Act 1942 (c.13)

896.     Paragraph 5 extends the definition of "member of the family" (in relation to any tenant) in section 13(1) to include civil partner.

Paragraphs 6 - 8 - Marriage Act 1949 (c. 76)

897.     Paragraphs 6, 7, and 8 of the Schedule provide for amendments to section 1 and Schedule 1 of the Marriage Act 1949. Currently, section 1 and Schedule 1 of the Marriage Act, taken together, prohibit or restrict eligibility for marriage between people related within specified degrees by parentage, descent or marriage. Schedule 1 to the Bill provides for parallel prohibitions and restrictions to apply to civil partnerships between people who are related within the same degrees by parentage, descent, marriage or civil partnership. Paragraphs 6 and 8 of this Schedule provide for the extension of the prohibitions and restrictions that already apply to marriage so as to include relationships by civil partnership.

898.     Paragraph 7 of the Schedule provides for the amendment of section 78(1) (interpretation) of the Marriage Act 1949 to make clear that the term "child", when used in the Act to express a relationship, applies to persons over, as well as persons under, the age of 18.

Paragraph 9 - Maintenance Orders Act 1950 (c.37)

899.     The Maintenance Orders Act 1950 concerns the enforcement of maintenance orders as between the various jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. Paragraph 9 amends section 16(2)(a) of this Act so that maintenance orders made in England and Wales in respect of civil partners and children of the family can be enforced in Scotland and Northern Ireland in the same way as maintenance orders made in respect of married couples under that Act.

Paragraph 10 - Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 (c. 20)

900.     Paragraph 10 extends the definition of "relative" in Section 41 of this Act to include relatives by civil partnership as well as by marriage. This will qualify civil partners and those related to them to give information concerning a death to a registrar of births and deaths, providing the civil partner meets the prescribed conditions in order to give this information.

Paragraph 11 - Pharmacy Act 1954 (c.61)

901.     Section 17 of the Pharmacy Act, 1954, ("the 1954 Act") provides that the benevolent fund of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain may make provision for widows, orphans and other dependants of deceased members of the Society, registered pharmaceutical chemists or registered chemists and druggists. The amendment to the 1954 Act reflects existing practice by referring instead of "widows" to surviving spouses, and also adds surviving civil partners to this provision.

Paragraph 12 - Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Special Provisions) Act 1957 (c.58)

902.     Section 1 of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Special Provisions) Act 1957 confers power to provide by Order in Council for the recording of births, deaths and marriages among the armed forces outside the United Kingdom. This Paragraph extends the Act so as to apply also to the recording of civil partnerships.

Paragraph 13 - Maintenance Orders Act 1958 (c. 39)

903.     This Act enables orders made in a High Court or county court to be registered in a magistrates' court and orders made in a magistrates' court to be registered in the High Court. Paragraph 13 amends sections 4(5A) and 4(5B) which apply section 60(4) to (11) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 regarding the variation of maintenance orders, disregarding certain provisions of specified Acts which by this amendment will include this Bill (as enacted). It also amends subsection 4(6B) which excludes variations of certain registered orders made under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 so that the exclusion will be extended to the variation of certain registered orders made under Schedule 7 to the Civil Partnership Bill (as enacted).

Paragraph 14 - The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 (c. 57)

904.     The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires employers to insure against their liability for personal injury to their employees. Insurance is not required however where the employee is a specified relation of the employer. This Paragraph extends the list of relations identified by section 2(2)(a) of the Employer's Liability Act to include a civil partner of the employee and any other relationships formed by virtue of a civil partnership.

Paragraph 15 - Administration of Justice Act 1970 (c. 31)

905.     Paragraph 15 amends Schedule 8 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 to extend the definition of maintenance orders to include orders made under the Civil Partnership Bill (as enacted).

Paragraph 16 - Immigration Act 1971 (c. 77)

906.     Paragraph 16 amends the Immigration Act 1971. Section 3 of the 1971 Act provides that a person is liable to deportation if another person to whose family he belongs is or has been ordered to be deported. Section 5 of the 1971 Act states that, for the purposes of deportation, a person ('A') is to be regarded as belonging to the family of another person ('B') if A is B's spouse or child under the age of eighteen. Paragraph 16 amends section 5 of the 1971 Act to make clear that in cases where a person is deported or is ordered to be deported and a member of his family can currently also be deported, his civil partner may also be deported.

Paragraphs 17 - 23 - Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (c. 18)

907.     Paragraphs 17 to 23 of the Schedule amend the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Amendments to sections 11 and 14 ensure that a marriage will be void if at the time of the marriage either party was already a civil partner. Provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act dependent upon marriage or remarriage are extended so as to be dependent upon marriage, remarriage or upon the formation of a civil partnership.

 
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Prepared: 7 July 2004