I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
This Clause, which stands in my name and the name of my hon. Friend the Member for the Park Division of Sheffield (Mr. Burden), deals with a matter of a somewhat similar character to the Clause which I moved a moment ago. In this case the Clause is intended to safeguard the superannuation rights of certain local government officials who will be affected by the provisions of this Bill. This Clause really seeks to establish certain superannuation rights which were already established by the Local Elections and Register of Electors (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1939 and the later Act of 1940. Now those provisions will be repealed by the present Bill, and this Clause will therefore be necessary in order to ensure that those officers whose superannuation rights were safeguarded by the earlier provision will, in fact, be safeguarded by this Bill. I understand that my right hon. and learned Friend takes a more favourable view of this new Clause than he took of the last one; at least I hope he will take a more favourable view of the principle which this Clause seeks to establish than he took of the principle which was raised by the last Clause.
In those circumstances I think that I need not dwell for long on the rather complicated details of this matter, but I ought to refer quite shortly to the fact that at the foot of page 44 there are two Amendments to Schedule 5 standing in my name and the name of my hon. Friend the Member for the Park Division of Sheffield. Both those Amendments are related to this Clause and it might, therefore, be a convenient course if we were to discuss them together. I do not think that will involve any further observations on my part, because the two matters are really knitted together, and in view of the attitude which I understand my right hon. and learned Friend finds himself able to take on this matter, I think I need say no more.
At this late hour I will only detain the Committee for a few moments. As the hon. and learned Member for Ilford (Mr. Hutchinson) said, this is a very long complicated Clause dealing with what is perhaps a very complicated matter, but as it appears to me—I may be incorrect—unless a Clause similar to this is included in the Bill a number of local government officers who, by virtue of previous legislation, have under temporary war-time conditions continued to pay superannuation on their earnings in connection with registration work, will have paid superannuation for perhaps four or five years and on authority given by this House will be deprived not only of their superannuation on that extra amount when they reach superannuation age, but, in addition, will have lost the payments they had made, because there will be no return for the amount which they have paid in the shape of enhanced superannuation. I am sure the Minister and his advisors would not desire an anomaly, an injustice, of that kind, small as it may seem in connection with the big matters which we have been discussing, but big to the individual concerned, because when superannuation time comes every pound or so that a person receives is a matter of very real consideration to him. Therefore, I hope that the Minister will be able to give us some satisfactory assurance in regard to this new Clause.
I agree with my hon. and learned Friend that this new Clause should be considered together with the two Amendments to Schedule 5 which stand in the names of my hon. Friends. My hon. and learned Friend is right in his surmise that the merits of this Clause commend themselves to the Government. We are satisfied, from an examination of this Clause and the facts known to us, that there would be certain inequalities if not inequities if we left matters as they stand at the moment. Therefore, we must do something, and we can properly do something within the ordinary rules. We do not very much like some of the drafting of this Clause, and we would prefer, if my hon. and learned Friend could see his way to do so, that the Clause should be withdrawn on the understanding that there will be introduced on Report Stage a Clause which I think will meet all the points, as we understand them, which this Clause is designed to meet. It will be somewhat differently drafted and will at the same time, if necessary, deal with the two Amendments to the Schedule. We are not at the moment convinced that anything has to be done there, but we will look into that again. With that assurance, that I think we can meet the whole of the point here, I trust that my hon. and learned Friend will withdraw his Clause.