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Viscount Thurso: My Lords, before the Minister sits down perhaps I could ask one specific question which follows on from the points made by my noble friend Lord Razzall. It is in relation to areas. He chose the example of shops at each end of a street in Surrey. However, if my memory is correct, and perhaps he can confirm this, the Scotland Bill makes the national minimum wage a reserved matter. Consequently, in future, on a larger scale, as between England and Scotland, if Scotland wish to have a different rate or a different application of the Bill--and if I were lucky enough to be elected to the Scottish parliament it might be a higher rate than the one proposed but it might equally be a lower rate--would Scotland have to return, under those circumstances, to England, to primary legislation, to achieve its objective? In that circumstance, would it not be possible for some exception to be available to the Secretary of State so that she might at least be able to act by order for Scotland?

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, I believe that primary legislation would be required. But this would not be the only situation of that kind. We are dealing with the Low Pay Commission report; and with the text of this Bill as drafted at present. The philosophy underlying that is as I have indicated.

I do not believe that there is reason to deal with the matter on the regional basis that the noble Lord implies he supports. However, we shall come to that on a later amendment.

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4 p.m.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I was disappointed with the Minister's remarks on two counts. First, it is a pity that between Committee and Report stages the compliments I received from the other side of the Chamber about the eloquent way in which I presented the amendments have now become references to a ramshackle Second Reading speech. I found that disappointing.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, it was the case presented, not the speech.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, clearly it was not effective, as the noble Lord described my speeches in Committee. However, that is a mild comment which caused me disappointment.

My second disappointment is that the Minister's mind is closed to what I have been saying. It is true--I accept it--that we do not like the national minimum wage but we accept that we shall have it. My amendment attempted to save the Government from trouble in the years to come if parts of the legislation for the national minimum wage do not work properly. The Minister's first few words indicated that the Government had not got everything right. I know that politicians do not like to have their words quoted to them but that was said only a moment or two ago.

The fact is that other countries have a minimum wage, and they have exceptions. I do not suggest, as the noble Baroness, Lady Turner, may have thought, that we require all the exemptions provided in the amendment. The President of the Board of Trade may find that she needs certain exemptions. If so, she should be able to deal with the matter by statutory instrument and not have to come back to the House for primary legislation when there clearly would not be time for it. She does not have to exercise that power; it does not wreck the Bill. The Minster referred to a wrecking amendment. It is not a wrecking provision. It need never be used.

The President of the Board of Trade may agree with the statement from the Sunday Times that the provision might be more harmful in certain parts of the country. The Minister referred to a hairdresser in Surrey and somewhere else that I cannot recall. There are certain deprived areas in the country. She may well need the power. I believe that that was the intention of the amendments brought forward by noble Lords on the Liberal Democrat Benches. They agree with the national minimum wage but understand that there may be a need for exemptions.

The Minister states that they may not have got everything right. While countries such as the United States of America and in Europe have exemptions, I cannot understand why the Government nevertheless believe that this country does not need them. I believe that that is totally inappropriate. I was trying to save the Government, not the employers, from making a horrendous mistake. I am not satisfied with the reply and feel it only right to test the opinion of the House.

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4.5 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 161; Not-Contents, 103.

Division No. 1


Abercorn, D.
Aberdare, L.
Addington, L.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Balfour, E.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Beloff, L.
Belstead, L.
Biddulph, L.
Biffen, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brentford, V.
Bridgeman, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Cadman, L.
Calverley, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carew, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chelmsford, V.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clement-Jones, L
Cockfield, L.
Courtown, E.
Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cranborne, V.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Dholakia, L.
Dilhorne, V.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elibank, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Exmouth, V.
Ezra, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gainford, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glentoran, L.
Gormanston, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Grey, E.
Halsbury, E.
Hamwee, B.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Higgins, L.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Home, E.
Hothfield, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ilchester, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Lauderdale, E.
Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.
Long, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Ludford, B.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacFarlane of Bearsden, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monson, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Munster, E.
Naseby, L.
Newall, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Norfolk, D.
Northesk, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Palmer, L.
Pender, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Porter of Luddenham, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Renwick, L.
Richardson, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Savile, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sharples, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Strange, B.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Teviot, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thurso, V.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Westbury, L.
Whitelaw, V.
Wigoder, L.
Wilcox, B.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Wise, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.


Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Henderson of Brompton, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Jakobovits, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Lockwood, B.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nathan, L.
Orme, L.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

20 Jul 1998 : Column 596

20 Jul 1998 : Column 597

4.15 p.m.

Clause 2 [Determination of hourly rate of remuneration]:

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