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Lord Boyd-Carpenter: My Lords, it seems to me that the noble Baroness is on to a point of some significance. I have no doubt that the Government realise fully that it would be very wrong indeed if the civilian pension of someone called up under the Bill should be endangered. Many pension schemes, as those who have experience of them know, insist on continuity

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of membership and contribution. Therefore I shall be particularly interested to hear what the Minister says. As matters now stand, it seems a point about which the House would do well to concern itself.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, we on these Benches support the amendment. Consideration of their rights is often raised by people as regards the Territorial Army. When considering a six to nine months' commitment, the issue will be important to them. However, one area which must be looked at even more closely is making the information about how pension contributions will be supplied available to those considering taking up the special agreements. Without that detailed knowledge, many people will be scared away in case their pension is put at risk.

Earl Bathurst: My Lords, I, too, beg the Minister to pay heed to the amendment. Without the provision, or something similar, I do not believe that members will join the reserve forces if only because of persuasion by their families if their pensions are interfered with in any way as a result of that service. I beg my noble friend to find some way of meeting the point put by the noble Baroness.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Baroness. I find myself in agreement with the sentiments expressed by all noble Lords who have spoken. The Government understand the necessity to safeguard the civilian pension provisions of reservists; that was made abundantly clear during the consultation process. That is why we have a power to permit us to do it in Clause 82(2) and (3).

In Committee and again today the noble Baroness expressed concern that the provisions in the Bill are not sufficient. I believe that she implied that having a permissive power was not the same as using it. I can assure the House that we intend to use the power. Indeed, the concerns expressed by reservists have been such that we do not believe that the Bill would be properly effective without protection for civilian pensions. We are aware from the responses that we received during the various rounds of consultation on the Bill that reservists see pension provision as very important. Their primary concern is that a period of called out service should not reduce the eventual retirement benefits from their civilian pension scheme. We therefore have it as a policy objective to safeguard the reservists' civilian pension during a period of permanent service. In essence, so long as the individual were prepared to pay any employee's contribution due, we would pay the employer's contribution, thus ensuring that there was no loss of period of reckonable service.

As I imagine noble Lords are aware, the field of pensions is very complex. We therefore see even more than the usual benefit from a period of consultation on the regulations in this area. Informal discussions with the pensions industry, reservists and employers are already under way. Many variations are possible. However, the essential choice is between complicated administration with precise benefits and simpler

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schemes which fit the Bill on average but not exactly in every case. The precise arrangements, therefore, have yet to be worked out.

I think that a statutory duty would be difficult to word. The formulation tabled as amendment to Clause 8 is somewhat imprecise. I feel that such a statutory provision would add little or nothing to the undertaking that I have given this afternoon. If the noble Baroness wishes for further assurance, she might find it in the Government's recognition that action on civilian pensions is necessary to maintain the support of reservists themselves for the more flexible use of reserves. I hope that the assurances I have given will be sufficient to persuade the noble Baroness to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Turner of Camden: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that detailed statement. I note in particular his comment that provided the individual concerned paid the employee's contribution, the Government would be prepared to pay the employer's contribution in a number of instances. That is very important because that is the way in which continuity would be maintained in many cases. I am grateful indeed for the assurances that have been given. I note that the noble Earl thinks that the wording is a little vague and perhaps not precise enough. We are committed to the notion that there should be a statutory duty to ensure that pensions are fully safeguarded. However, in the detailed statement he has gone a long way to meet the concerns that we had on this side of the House. In those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 9 [Enlistment of men in the reserve forces]:

Lord Judd moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 4, line 10, leave out from beginning to ("of") in line 13 and insert--
("(c) any consul-general, consul or vice consul or any other person duly exercising the functions of a British consul in any place outside the United Kingdom.
(3) A recruit may not be enlisted in any country or territory outside the United Kingdom which is specified for the purposes").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in our view enlisting is a serious and significant matter. Clause 9 recognises that. Clause 9(2)(a) refers to an enlisting officer as,

    "a lord-lieutenant or deputy lieutenant holding office under Part VI of the Reserve Forces Act 1980; or an officer of the regular services or of any reserve force".
There follows a strange reference to,

    "any other person authorised for the purpose".
We believe that that diminishes and demeans the act of enlistment. The wording is altogether too casual, vague and wide. We have put forward the amendment in the hope that it will make the process specific wherever it takes place, whether within the United Kingdom or overseas.

The second part of the amendment deals with Clause 9(3). I say in all humility that it is simply a matter of drafting. We hope that the amendment simplifies the language and expresses clearly the intention. I beg to move.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Judd. As I said in Committee,

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Clause 9(2)(c) perhaps emerged in too broad a form. It is, though, prudent to retain the ability to recruit overseas, should the need arise. I therefore gladly agree to the proposed amendment, which brings the wording into line with that of Section 1 of the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955.

With the leave of the House, I wish to raise an issue relating to the clause brought to my notice by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor. It concerns lord-lieutenants who are named in Clause 9 as persons who may act as enlisting officers. Lord-lieutenants are appointed under the power in Sections 130 and 131 of the Reserve Forces Act 1980. That is not changed by the Bill, although there is a proposal for a consolidation measure to bring the provisions relating to lord-lieutenants into a single Act. As the House will recall, the Reserve Forces Act 1980 was a consolidation measure. The power in Section 130 of that Act replaced powers in the Local Government Act 1972. Section 131 replaced powers in the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. Unfortunately, the change did not come to the attention of those responsible for appointing lord-lieutenants.

My noble and learned friend believes that that oversight may place the validity of the appointments in a certain amount of doubt. He wishes to remove any possible doubt. The position is being investigated with urgency and I hope that the Government will be able to bring forward a suitable amendment at a later stage of the Bill, we hope on Third Reading.

Lord Judd: My Lords, we are grateful to the Minister for his response and for the gracious way in which he made it. We take the point made by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. I commend the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

3.30 p.m.

Clause 19 [Orders and regulations as to enlistment etc.]:

Lord Judd moved Amendment No. 5:

Page 7, line 38, leave out from ("forces") to end of line.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendment stands in the names of my noble friends Lord Williams and Lady Turner, and myself. To take the noble Earl's words, we again found that in Clause 19 the wording was somewhat broad. We debated the matter thoroughly in Committee. There could be an anxiety lest regulations under Clauses 4 and 19 could override matters on which there is already expressed statutory provision. As we understand it, that is not the Government's intention. I hope that the amendment is helpful because it is designed to remove any possible grounds for misunderstanding. I beg to move.

Earl Howe: My Lords, we had an interesting debate on the matter in Committee. I believe that there was a general welcome for the flexibility of the provisions in the clause for enlistment and re-engagement. Experience has shown that the equivalent provisions of the 1980 Act were too rigid.

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However, I recognise that there were concerns about the apparent scope of the power in the clause as drafted. I have considered what the noble Lord said on the issue and am happy to accept the proposed amendment, which gives those powers greater clarity.

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