We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 3 — Abolition of starting and savings rates and creation of starting rate for savings

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 28th April 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Labour, Birkenhead 9:15 pm, 28th April 2008

No. I am sorry, but I am anxious for others to contribute to the debate.

The fifth part of the package was about the payments. I have always understood—I apologise if I have misled anyone—that a Government starting from scratch and trying to affect 5.3 million people would not be able to strike an overall deal on the basis of 5.3 million personalised deals; whatever is done will be done to groups and to averages. Jo Swinson, who is no longer in her place, spoke earlier, but what she said about the extent of the losses was not true, unless there are more weeks to the month in Scotland than we have south of the border.

If hon. Members look at the evidence given to the Treasury Select Committee, they will see that the distribution of losses is narrow and that many losses are of about £2 a week. Therefore, I was under no illusion that—starting from scratch—there could be a personalised losses service. Average payments would be made to groups. Some would gain marginally and others would marginally lose, but for most people it would be practically the sum that they lost. That is what the agreement would be about.

As important as that, I understood that all the different components of the package, when they were announced—they may be announced at different times during the year, as the Government are able to do so—would be backdated to 1 April this year. Those are the six points that I thought were in the package and that I believe will be in the package.

My concluding comments are to tell the Committee that I have no intention of voting for the Tory amendment. I am not beguiled by it; I am not fooled by it. Although I am pleased about the Tories' new position in defending our poorer constituents, the move to ensure that the Government developed their policy—let us euphemistically put it like that—came from this side of the House. We should remain in possession of this package.

I know that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, my very right hon. Friend Jane Kennedy—who was the first person from the other side of the river to stand up publicly and fight Militant and who was not scared at all of some of the worst fights that we have had to face in our region and beyond—does not need any threatening from our side.

My final comment is not a threat. I want to say that any Minister, however good, needs as much force as they can have behind them when they are dealing with officials. We on this side would hope to have quite a lot of the information available before we reach consideration on Report. We will have the Select Committee reporting by then. We should have the outlines of how the Government are going to develop that. My right hon. Friend can be as tough as possible with her officials and say that we have another chance to return to our amendment, although I do not expect someone as tough as her to be overcome by any resistance in the Treasury. Should she be, we will be behind her and moving that amendment on Report.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website