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Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, I wish to thank all the speakers who have participated in this splendid debate. We have had some marvellous contributions, nearly all of them well informed. I congratulate all speakers who have taken part. I need refer only to the brilliant speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Coity. Assuming that we were in a general election mode, it was a wonderful, rabble-rousing speech; it would have been a highly successful contribution to the hustings. Unfortunately, he got the date wrong, the time wrong and the place wrong. Apart from that it was a marvellous speech.

The only other comment I have on the noble Lord's speech is that he boasts about having been a trade union leader. If I may say so modestly, as a young man I was too. If I belonged to a trade union with a leader who was prepared to penalise severely disabled, poor people--living on a poverty level income, on £8,000 or whatever--I would join a different trade union.

The Minister has spoken with her usual eloquence. My noble friend is a great expert in this field. She is far more expert than anyone else in the House--with, perhaps, the exception of the noble Earl, Lord Russell. Both of them are exceptional speakers. However, I must pick her up on one or two small points.

She began her contribution by saying that there had been a splendid variety of views. I heard no variety of views at all; all I heard was unanimous condemnation.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, that will teach me to indulge in irony.

Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, there was unanimous condemnation in the House of the Government's policies--except from our great friend, the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Coity.

The Minister said that my amendments were not really compromise. I know that my noble friend is good at fiddling figures--

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Never! Never!

Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, playing with figures perhaps. All I shall say is this: my amendments halve the money that the Government tried to save and squeeze out of disabled people.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, that is not correct. The Government's original proposals were for £700 million. My noble friend's proposals will bring that down to approximately £190 million.

Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, the last Government proposals that I saw were £500 million.

8 Nov 1999 : Column 1210

They were left with £350 million if my amendments were accepted. We could not lean over backwards further than that to be more compromising. I was against the principle--as was the noble Lord, Lord Higgins--of hitting severely disabled people in this way. As the noble Earl, Lord Russell, said, we gave way on the principle; we tried to compromise and to be reasonable because we recognise that the Government have this great majority in the House of Commons. That is the point.

Another point is that my noble friend mentioned those great examples of people on incapacity benefit who have marvellous pensions of £23,000 or £30,000. For her to quote those kinds of extreme examples shows the desperation of the Government. The wages necessary to receive a pension of that kind will be somewhere in the region of £100,000 or £200,000--I do not know. It requires an enormously high salary. How many severely disabled people applying for IB will have earned that kind of vast fortune? Maybe a dozen; maybe two dozen; maybe 100; maybe 1,000--but, out of the 310,000 people that we are talking about, that is nothing.

My noble friend seemed to be proud of excluding people from the measures in the Bill. It is a strange Bill where one has a Minister standing up to say "I am proud that this Bill does not cover these people and does not cover those people". The Bill is supposed to help people; it is to make specific provisions for IB to help people.

Perhaps I may round off in this way. My noble friend did not dispute that the Government's concessionary position leaves some disabled people in poverty of one kind or another. Someone receiving £8,000 is not a wealthy person to be hit by these proposals. She did not deny that the tax rate for these people is 70 per cent compared with 40 per cent for millionaires. She did not deny that the concessions given by the Government relate only to some 20,000 people with the high rate of DLA and 22,000 people with the disabled person's tax allowance.

Speeches have been made in the House by various speakers. I do not intend to go through them all. The Minister has failed to deal with them adequately. When she tries to frighten the House by mentioning all the good things in the Bill that are at risk, I shall say this: she knows that no one has been a stronger supporter of this Government than me; no one has been a stronger supporter of this Bill than me; no one has been a stronger supporter of welfare reform than me. I started my speech by saying that I admired the Secretary of State; I said how good he was and how wonderful was the record of the Government. But on incapacity benefit the Government are acting disgracefully by hitting these people. We are not jeopardising the good things in the Bill; we are simply challenging the Government for hitting people on incapacity benefit.

I hope that the House will support my amendments. As far as concerns the future, my options are open. I commend my Motion to the House.

8 Nov 1999 : Column 1211

6.28 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 260; Not-Contents, 127.

Division No. 2


Ackner, L.
Addington, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Alderdice, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Annaly, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Banbury of Southam, L.
Barker, B.
Bathurst, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Bell, L.
Berners, B.
Bethell, L.
Biddulph, L.
Biffen, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blatch, B.
Blease, L.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Buccleuch and Queensberry, D.
Buckinghamshire, E.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Calverley, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chesham, L.
Clancarty, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clwyd, L.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Coleridge, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cranborne, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Cumberlege, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dundee, E.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Exmouth, V.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fitt, L.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gage, V.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geraint, L.
Glanusk, L.
Glasgow, E.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gormanston, V.
Gray, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greenway, L.
Grey, E.
Hampton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Hardinge of Penshurst, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Higgins, L.
Home, E.
Hood, V.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ironside, L.
Jacobs, L.
Jeger, B.
Jopling, L.
Kemsley, V.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kintore, E.
Kirkwood, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lawrence, L.
Layton, L.
Leigh, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Limerick, E.
Lincoln, Bp.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lloyd-Webber, L.
Long, V.
Longford, E.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McCarthy, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
May, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Mills, V.
Molloy, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Mountevans, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Newall, L.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Noel-Buxton, L.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Ogmore, L.
Onslow, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Orme, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pender, L.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plumb, L.
Prentice, L.
Prior, L.
Quirk, L.
Rathcavan, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Rennard, L
Renton, L.
Richardson of Calow, B.
Rix, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Russell, E. [Teller]
Ryder of Warsaw, B.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sandys, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Selsdon, L.
Shannon, E.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaughnessy, L.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Sterling of Plaistow, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strafford, E.
Suffolk and Berkshire, E.
Swansea, L.
Swinfen, L. [Teller]
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Temple of Stowe, E.
Tenby, V.
Teviot, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thurso, V.
Tordoff, L.
Torrington, V.
Trenchard, V.
Trumpington, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Walpole, L.
Weatherill, L.
Westbury, L.
Wharton, B.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Wise, L.
Wright of Richmond, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Ailesbury, M.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Diamond, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Marlesford, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Monkswell, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Serota, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thornton, B.
Thurlow, L.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.

8 Nov 1999 : Column 1213


43Clause 58, leave out Clause 58.
The Commons disagreed to this amendment but proposed the following amendments to the words so restored to the Bill--
43APage 66, line 27, leave out from ("(1)") to end of line 42 and insert ("Where--
(a) a person is entitled to incapacity benefit in respect of any period of a week or part of a week,
(b) a pension payment is payable to him in respect of that period (or a period which forms part of that period or includes that period or part of it), and

8 Nov 1999 : Column 1214

(c) the amount of that payment (or, as the case may be, the amount which in accordance with regulations is to be taken as payable to him by way of pension payments in respect of that period) exceeds the threshold,
the amount of that benefit shall be reduced by an amount equal to 50 per cent. of that excess.
(1A) In subsection (1) above "the threshold" means--
(a) if the period in question is a week, £85 or such greater amount as may be prescribed; or
(b) if that period is not a week, such proportion of the amount mentioned in paragraph (a) as falls to be calculated in accordance with regulations on such basis as may be prescribed.
(1B) Regulations may secure that a person of any prescribed description does not suffer any reduction under subsection (1) in any amount of incapacity benefit to which he is entitled.
(2) Regulations may provide--
( ) for sums of any specified description to be disregarded for the purposes of this section;").
43BPage 67, line 1, after ("for") insert ("the aggregation of").
43CPage 67, line 3, after ("payable)") insert ("in respect of the same or different periods;
( ) for such sums or aggregate sums").

Lord Ashley of Stoke rose to move, That this House--

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