Schedule 24 - Social security, child support and tax credits
Civil Partnership Bill [Lords]
2:30 pm

Photo of Ms Jacqui Smith

Ms Jacqui Smith (Minister of State (Industry and the Regions and Deputy Minister for Women), Department of Trade and Industry; Redditch, Labour)

I beg to move amendment No. 79, in schedule 24, page 319, line 19, at end insert—

'In section 8 (role of the courts with respect to maintenance for children), after subsection (11)(e) insert—

''(ea) Schedule 6, 7 or 8 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004; or''.'.

Photo of Mr Frank Cook

Mr Frank Cook (Stockton North, Labour)

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendments Nos. 80 to 95.

Photo of Ms Jacqui Smith

Ms Jacqui Smith (Minister of State (Industry and the Regions and Deputy Minister for Women), Department of Trade and Industry; Redditch, Labour)

These amendments to do with social

security legislation have been identified in addition to those already included in schedule 24. If I spell out what schedule 24 covers, it may be helpful in understanding the amendments.

The schedule makes consequential changes to legislation covering child support, social security, pensions, benefits and tax credits. The amendments are a necessary consequence of the Bill's proposals for a new legal status for same-sex couples in the UK and are technical in nature. They do not seek to change the way in which the social security system operates but will ensure parity of treatment between opposite-sex and same-sex couples. The general intention is to ensure that civil partners are treated in the same way as married couples.

Furthermore, provision is made for same-sex couples who are not in a civil partnership but who live together as if they were civil partners to be treated in the same way as unmarried opposite-sex couples who are living together as husband and wife. These general principles are applied throughout the schedule.

Parts 1, 2, 8 and 9 cover child support arrangements. Parts 3 and 4 make a range of arrangements in respect of the income-related benefits, including income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit, child benefit and guardian's allowance, adult dependency increases and state pensions, bereavement benefits, and various miscellaneous administrative arrangements. Parts 5 and 6 make similar social security arrangements in respect of certain benefits in Northern Ireland; parts 7 and 10 cover claims for jobseeker's allowance from joint claim couples; part 11 covers state pension credit and part 12 amends tax credits legislation.

Schedule 24, as I am sure hon. Members who have had a chance to read it in detail will confirm, is very full. However, we identified in addition to the areas already covered in schedule 4, a few amendments. Government amendments Nos. 79 to 95 are a necessary consequence of the Bill's proposals for a new legal relationship of civil partnerships for same-sex couples in the UK. They do not seek to change the way that the social security legislation operates but simply ensure the parity of treatment that I have outlined. They are in addition to the considerable range of issues already covered in schedule 24. On that basis I commend them to the Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 80, in schedule 24, page 320, line 32, at end insert—

'In Article 10 (role of the courts with respect to maintenance for children), after paragraph (11)(d) insert—

''(da) Schedule 16, 17 or 18 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004; or''.'.

No. 81, in schedule 24, page 325, line 16, at end insert—

'In section 61A (contributions paid in error), in subsection (3)—

(a) after ''spouse'' insert ''or civil partner'', and

(b) in paragraph (b), for ''widows or widowers'' substitute ''widows, widowers or surviving civil partners''.'.

No. 82, in schedule 24, page 326, line 13, at end insert—

'In section 113 (general provisions as to disqualification and suspension), in subsection (1), for ''wife or husband,'' substitute ''wife, husband or civil partner,''.'.

No. 83, in schedule 24, page 328, line 4, at end insert—

'In section 171ZL (entitlement to statutory adoption pay), in subsection (4)(b)—

(a) after ''married couple'' insert ''or civil partnership'', and

(b) after ''spouse'' (in each place) insert ''or civil partner''.'.

No. 84, in schedule 24, page 328, line 20, at end insert—

'( ) In paragraph 5(2)(a)(ii) of Part 1, after ''spouses'' insert ''or civil partners''.'.

No. 85, in schedule 24, page 330, line 5, leave out paragraph 58 and insert—

'58 (1) Amend section 107 (recovery of expenditure on income support: additional amounts and transfer of orders) as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)(b), after ''wife'' insert ''or civil partner''.

(3) In subsection (15), after paragraph (a)(ii) of the definition of ''maintenance order'' insert—

''(iii) any order under Schedule 8 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 for the making of periodical payments or for the payment of a lump sum;''.'.

No. 86, in schedule 24, page 334, line 14, at end insert—

' In section 61A (contributions paid in error), in subsection (3)—

(a) after ''spouse'' insert ''or civil partner'', and

(b) in paragraph (b), for ''widows or widowers'' substitute ''widows, widowers or surviving civil partners''.'.

No. 87, in schedule 24, page 335, line 10, at end insert—

'In section 113 (general provisions as to disqualification and suspension), in subsection (1), for ''wife or husband,'' substitute ''wife, husband or civil partner,''.'.

No. 88, in schedule 24, page 337, line 3, at end insert—

'In section 167ZL (entitlement to statutory adoption pay), in subsection (4)(b)—

(a) after ''married couple'' insert ''or civil partnership'', and

(b) after ''spouse'' (in each place) insert ''or civil partner''.'.

No. 89, in schedule 24, page 337, line 19, at end insert—

'( ) In paragraph 5(2)(a)(ii) of Part 1, after ''spouses'' insert ''or civil partners''.'.

No. 90, in schedule 24, page 339, line 13, at end insert—

'In section 3 (the income-based conditions), in subsection (1)(dd) and (e), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.

In section 15 (effect on other claimants), in subsection (2)(b), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.

In section 15A (trade disputes: joint-claim couples), in subsection (5)(c), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.'.

No. 91, in schedule 24, page 339, line 15, at end insert—

'In section 31 (termination of awards), in subsections (1) and (2), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.'.

No. 92, in schedule 24, page 339, line 40, at end insert—

'In Schedule 1 (supplementary provisions), in paragraph 9C(1),

for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.'.

No. 93, in schedule 24, page 341, line 33, at end insert—

'In Article 5 (the income-based conditions), in paragraphs (1)(dd) and (e), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.

In Article 17 (effect on other claimants), in paragraph (2)(b), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.

In Article 17A (trade disputes: joint-claim couples), in paragraph (5)(c), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.'.

No. 94, in schedule 24, page 341, line 35, at end insert—

'In Article 32 (termination of awards), in paragraphs (1) and (2), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.

In Schedule 1 (supplementary provisions), in paragraph 9C(1), for ''married or unmarried couple'' substitute ''couple''.'.

No. 95, in schedule 24, page 341, line 35, at end insert—

Amendments of the Social Security Act 1998 (c.14)

(1) Amend section 72 (power to reduce child benefit for lone parents) as follows.

(2) In subsection (2), after ''spouse'' (in each place) insert ''or civil partner''.

(3) After subsection (2) insert—

''(3) For the purpose of this section, a parent is to be regarded as living with another person as his civil partner if, but only if, he would be regarded as living with the other person as his spouse, were they instead two people of the opposite sex.''

Part 10B

Amendments of the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/1506 (N.I. 10))

(1) Amend Article 68 (power to reduce child benefit for lone parents) as follows.

(2) In paragraph (2), after ''spouse'' (in each place) insert ''or civil partner''.

(3) After paragraph (2) insert—

''(3) For the purpose of this Article, a parent is to be regarded as living with another person as his civil partner if, but only if, he would be regarded as living with the other person as his spouse, were they instead two people of the opposite sex.''.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Schedule 24, as amended, agreed to.