Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eighteenth Report

Instruments reported

The Committee has considered the following instruments, and has determined that the special attention of both Houses should be drawn to them on the grounds specified.

1 S.I. 2003/521: defective drafting

Social Security (Credits) Amendment Regulations 2003 (S.I 2003/521)

1.1  The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they are defectively drafted.

1.2  Paragraph (1) of regulation 8B of the principal Regulations of 1975 provides that, for the purposes of entitlement to a benefit by virtue of a person's earnings or contributions, he shall be entitled to be credited with earnings equal to the lower earnings limit than in force, in respect of each week to which the regulation applies. Paragraph (2)(a)(i) provides for the regulation to apply to a week in which, in relation to the person concerned, each of the days was a day of incapacity for work under section 30C of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992. Regulation 2(2)(a) of the present Regulations amends the latter paragraph by adding at the end the words "or would have been such a day had that person been entitled to incapacity benefit by virtue of section 30A of that Act". It was not clear to the Committee what effect this amendment was intended to achieve, nor whether the Explanatory Note correctly reflected the effect of the amendment.

  1. In a memorandum printed in Appendix 1, the Department for Work and Pensions explains that the policy intention is that credits should only be available in respect of a week where each day of the week is a day of incapacity for work for the purposes of incapacity benefit. It accepts, however, that the amendment made by regulation 2(2)(a) is superfluous, since regulation 8B(2)(a)(i) prior to the amendment gave effect to that policy. It undertakes to make amending regulations omitting the words inserted by regulation 2(2)(a). The Committee also notes that the Explanatory Note explaining the effect of the amendment is unnecessarily obscure. The Committee reports regulation 2(2)(a) for defective drafting, acknowledged by the Department.

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