Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill
Lord Goodhart (Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, I shall be very brief. I sat here at the end of the first day of Report stage when the noble Baroness, Lady Castle, was mugged by a number of her noble friends. Like the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, I found that an unpleasant occasion. On this occasion she has been mugged in an entirely different way--she has been mugged with kid gloves instead of boxing gloves by having her amendment accepted.
The Minister makes a face showing incredulity, but it is obvious that the amendment is simply symbolic and a peg on which the noble Baroness, Lady Castle, could hang a speech in favour of earnings linking. That is not something on which we could have followed her all the way, but what we do believe--and what I am prepared to say now--is that there are times when it is right that the basic pension should be increased for all pensioners by a sum above the rate of the RPI for that year. In view of what happened yesterday in particular, this is one of those occasions. We believe--and I wish to say so now--that the basic pension for all pensioners should have been increased this year, or should be increased next year, by £5.