Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Avebury, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barker, B.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Bridges, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnett, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carrington, L.
Cathcart, E.
Chadlington, L.
Chidgey, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Colwyn, L.
Cotter, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
De Mauley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dear, L.
Deech, B.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dundee, E.
Dykes, L.
Eccles, V.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elton, L.
Falkland, V.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Garden of Frognal, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glasgow, E.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodlad, L.
Greaves, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.


2 July 2008 : Column 253

Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hooson, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lindsay, E.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luce, L.
Lyell, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar, C.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Moynihan, L.
Neuberger, B.
Neville-Jones, B.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Patel, L.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Roper, L.
Rowe-Beddoe, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saatchi, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Selborne, E.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shephard of Northwold, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Steinberg, L.
Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Teverson, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Tonge, B.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trimble, L.
Tyler, L.
Ullswater, V.
Verma, B.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Windlesham, L.

NOT CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Adams of Craigielea, B.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B. [Lord President.]
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Billingham, B.
Bilston, L.
Borrie, L.
Bradley, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.


2 July 2008 : Column 254

Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dixon, L.
Eames, L.
Elder, L.
Elystan-Morgan, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkender, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Ford, B.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Henig, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Joffe, L.
Jones, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
Jordan, L.
Judd, L.
Kerr of Kinlochard, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Moonie, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Handsworth, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Moser, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Patel of Bradford, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prosser, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Quin, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B. [Teller]
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Snape, L.
Soley, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
West of Spithead, L.
Whitaker, B.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Hornsey, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

4.15 pm

Baroness Noakes moved Amendment No. 2:



2 July 2008 : Column 255

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 2 [Amount to be specified as upper earnings limit: Northern Ireland]:

Baroness Noakes moved Amendments Nos. 3 and 4:

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Pensions Bill

4.20 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES in the Chair.]

Clause 55 [Right of employee not to be unfairly dismissed]:

Lord Skelmersdale moved Amendment No. 109:

The noble Lord said: Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow rolls on this happy Bill. We turn now to a rather unhappy situation; that of unfair dismissal. For some reason, government Amendment No. 109A,

2 July 2008 : Column 256

although it refers to the same clause, has been grouped with this. But I make no complaint: with a bit of luck we can speed up a bit through the rest of the day. Under Clause 55, when an employee is sacked because the employer has leant on him in one direction or another about auto-enrolment, that will be unfair dismissal. That is a summary of the clause as I understand it.

I have tabled a simple, probing amendment. It would seem that subsections (1)(a) and (b) of proposed new Section 104D of the Employment Rights Act 1996 are in direct contradiction to subsection (2)(a). They appear to say that a requirement that does not apply in favour of an employee could be enforced as if it were. It is quite possible that I have totally misread this clause. If I have, I have no doubt that the Minister will explain how and why. I beg to move.

Lord Tunnicliffe: In responding to the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, I shall speak also to government Amendment No. 109A. Clause 55 provides a new day-one employment right for employees not to be unfairly dismissed on grounds related to membership of a qualifying pension scheme. This protection will cover circumstances in which employees are dismissed for claiming entitlements to save in a qualifying workplace pension as a result of the new employer duties introduced under our reform. As with existing unfair dismissal rights, we want that protection to extend to employees who are dismissed for making a claim to such an entitlement, even if it is an incorrect claim, provided that it is made in good faith. That is what proposed new Section 104D(2) of the Employment Rights Act, as inserted by Clause 55, would do.

The noble Lord’s amendment would remove the provision, which would mean that employees would not be able to claim unfair dismissal in relation to the new duties in certain circumstances. For example, an employee earning below the qualifying earnings band who was dismissed for asking his or her employer automatically to enrol them into a qualifying scheme would not be able to claim unfair dismissal. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, will agree that this effect would not be desirable.

Government Amendment No. 109A is a drafting amendment that puts right an inconsistency in the wording of proposed new Section 104D of the Employment Rights Act, as inserted by Clause 55(2). The amendment clarifies that it is a Chapter 1 requirement and that its enforcement should be referred to rather than rights. That makes the approach in Clause 55 consistent with the approach in Clause 53. I therefore would ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Skelmersdale: The Government are being unduly suspicious. The Minister has just said that if an employee earning less than £5,035 a year asks his employer to auto-enrol him—or, to put it another way, claims his auto-enrolment rights—and, as a result, the employer sacks him, that would be unfair dismissal. I cannot envisage such an event, but I will look again at what the noble Lord has said. Incidentally, as I should have said at the beginning, I have no objection to government

2 July 2008 : Column 257

Amendment No. 109A, nor, indeed, have I ever had. I will look carefully at what the noble Lord said and hope that I do not have to return to this matter on Report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Tunnicliffe moved Amendment No. 109A:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 55, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 56 [Restrictions on agreements to limit operation of this Part]:

Baroness Turner of Camden moved Amendment No. 110:

( ) is a person appointed by The Pensions Advisory Service.”

The noble Baroness said: This part of the Bill deals with advice. Clearly, it is necessary that people who are involved in securing their pension entitlement should have access to good advice. Indeed, the clause lists the various types of people who could be approached for advice. I want to add to this list a person appointed by The Pensions Advisory Service because I would like to draw attention to a really rather remarkable advisory service.

The service was established originally some 20 years ago as a charity. I was involved from its inception until last year, when my term of office came to an end. The intention was to set up a countrywide network of professionally trained people who would be prepared to offer free advice to individuals. It has operated on that basis ever since. These professionally qualified individuals consist in the main of people who have retired from working in the pensions and financial services industry, often on quite good pensions themselves, and want to give something back by utilising their professional qualifications to assist their fellow citizens.

The service has operated in that way for a long time. It has ceased to be the charitable organisation it once was; for quite some time it received funding via the Occupational Pensions Board and then via OPRA. It now receives financial assistance via the DWP, although we were very keen to ensure that when we came under the aegis of the DWP we nevertheless maintained our independence.

The Pensions Advisory Service is, as I said, a countrywide set-up of independently qualified people who are willing to give their services free to individuals and do so on a very successful basis. I therefore think it would be a good idea if this suggestion were to be written into the Bill. It may be said that it can be done via regulations, which is perfectly true. However, now that the service comes under the aegis of the DWP and its status is formally recognised, it would be a good idea if this proposal could be written into the Bill. I beg to move.



2 July 2008 : Column 258

4.30 pm

Lord Skelmersdale: Some of us were glad to be invited to the 25th anniversary party of TPAS last night. I agree that, where a case of employment law goes to the employment tribunals, advice must be given before the complainant goes to such a tribunal. Since we are talking about pensions in this case, that advice should be given by someone with relevant experience. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Turner. However, I wonder whether this matter is not covered in subsection (6), which provides that a person is a relevant adviser if they work at an advice centre or, under paragraph (d), if they are,

Either of those could apply, but I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Turner, that this matter is so vital that it should be expressed in the Bill. I therefore support her.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay: I join the noble Baroness, Lady Turner, and the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, in paying tribute to TPAS. Like them, I think that there is no reason why this provision should not be in the Bill and so am happy to support the amendment.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: I declare an interest as a trustee of TPAS. I hesitated about whether to speak. Although in the context of the Thoresen review this is only one of many areas in which advice may be needed, it seems that identifying TPAS by name may give a signal—it is not a word that I like to use—that TPAS is an appropriate body, agency or resource for other and wider areas of financial information and advice. In that context, it would be helpful if the Minister could give a positive answer.

Lord McKenzie of Luton: I thank my noble friend Lady Turner for tabling the amendment and for providing an opportunity to discuss the clause and the role of TPAS. I thank other noble Lords, too, for their contributions. Before I discuss the amendment, let me acknowledge the valuable role that TPAS plays in providing information and guidance to members of the public on a wide range of pension-related issues. It helps thousands of people each year and is successful in helping to resolve issues that are brought to it. My noble friend has given long and distinguished service in that cause, as my noble friend Lady Hollis is now doing.

The amendment is to Clause 56, which specifies the conditions regulating compromise agreements under the Act. Under them, it is possible for employer and worker to agree to limit or exclude the employer duties or individual rights arising from these reforms. This is possible only in very limited circumstances relating to conciliation proceedings. One of the conditions is that an individual must have received advice from a relevant independent adviser on the terms and effect of the proposed agreement and on the ability to pursue their rights before an employment tribunal. The Bill lists at Clause 56(6) the types of person who can act as a relevant independent adviser. This includes qualified lawyers and certified trade union officials. The amendment

2 July 2008 : Column 259

would list in addition persons appointed by TPAS to act as independent advisers.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page