CHILD SUPPORT, PENSIONS AND SOCIAL SECURITY
BILL: AMENDMENTS TO BE INTRODUCED AT LORDS COMMITTEE STAGE
LETTER TO THE CHAIRMAN FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY
OF STATE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY
BARONESS HOLLIS OF HEIGHAM
I am writing to let you know that I have tabled two
amendments to the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security
Bill on 9th May. These amendments, to clauses 62 and 64 of the
Bill (loss of benefit provisions), introduce new delegated powers
and amend delegated powers currently in the Bill. The first amendment
corrects an omission in the current drafting to enable hardship
payments to be made in joint-claim Jobseeker's Allowance cases.
The second amendment puts into effect the recommendation of the
Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee to change the regulation-making
procedures which applied to clause 61(3) and 61(4) from negative
to affirmative, and provides additionally for regulations made
under 62(3)(a) and the new 62(3A) to be subject to the affirmative
AMENDMENT TO CLAUSE 62
Clause 62 sets out how the community sentences benefit
sanction will apply to joint-claim Jobseeker's Allowance, which
was introduced by section 59 of, and Schedule 7 to, the Welfare
Reform and Pensions Act 1999.
The amendment inserts a new sub-section (3A) into
clause 62. This amendment is needed to correct an omission in
the Bill that will allow hardship payments to be made in cases
where both members of a joint-claim couple for Jobseeker's Allowance
(JSA) are sanctioned for alleged breach of a community sentence
or for employment-related reasons. The power to make hardship
payments where only one member of the couple is subject to a community
sentence sanction is contained in clause 62(3) and (4) of the
The new sub-section provides the Secretary of State
with the power to prescribe:
- the rate at which hardship payments shall be
- the information to be provided by the couple
- the circumstances in which hardship payments
shall be made (3A(c)).
It is intended that hardship payments for joint-claim
JSA couples where both members are subject to a community sentence
or employment sanction will be made in a similar manner to those
made for other JSA claimants and for joint-claim couples where
both members are subject to an employment sanction.
It is intended that the regulations will provide
that the amount of JSA payable will be reduced by 40% of the appropriate
personal allowance for a single person (20% if a member of the
couple is pregnant or seriously ill). It is intended that regulations
made under 62(£A)(b) will provide that the couple will have
to give the Benefits Agency details of their financial circumstances.
They will also have to provide details of the availability of
essential items such as food, clothing and accommodation so that
the risk of hardship occurring can be assessed. As will be the
case with hardship payments in respect of an employment sanction,
if it is decided that the joint-claim couple would suffer hardship
if JSA is not paid, a reduced rate JSA hardship payment will be
Following the recommendation in the report of the
Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee, these amendments extend the
list of powers subject to the affirmative resolution procedure
in clause 64(4) to include those made under clause 61(3) and (4).
In addition, the Government has decided to make regulations
made under 62(3)(a) (the amount of hardship payment which may
apply when the sanction applies to one member of a joint-claim
couple in a JSA claim) and the new 62(3A) described above also
subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.
Copies of this letter go to Dr Philippa Tudor (DPSC
Secretariat) and the Library.
10 May 2000