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Superannuation Bill

Part of Freedom of Information (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 9:11 pm on 7th September 2010.

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Photo of John Hemming John Hemming Liberal Democrat, Birmingham, Yardley 9:11 pm, 7th September 2010

I am suggesting that the Government could try to ensure that there are not two redundancies in the same household, whatever circumstances we are in. We all accept that redundancies are going to occur in the public sector, so why cannot we try to minimise the effect on households by ensuring that both partners need not be made redundant?

Similarly, there are opportunities whereby people can transfer to the private sector. Obviously the objective is to help people to find jobs in the private sector. A severance fee, equivalent to voluntary redundancy in some senses, paid when people find a job in the private sector could be a way of reducing costs to the public sector but doing so in a way that does not make public servants suffer. At the end of the day, we should be thinking about the effect on the public servants who work hard for this country. We need to recognise that and work in partnership with them.

There are all sorts of opportunities within my own company. I have had people take sabbaticals in the past. In certain circumstances the employer will say, "We can plan for that person to go away for a year and then come back." It suits them to do that, it has reduced the cost to the public purse, and it is in the interests of the employee. Possibilities can be considered, in partnership with the work force, that improve the situation so that everybody wins.

As a consequence of the reduction in the national cake-gross domestic product or however one wishes to see it-we face a very difficult situation that has to be dealt with. The Labour party has proposed its own version of a unilateral contract change and we have a different version, but something needs to happen. I will support the Government tonight, because I agree with the exact proposals put forward in the Bill. We need a negotiating position so that the trade unions cannot veto any changes, and I have responded clearly to my constituents by saying that I do not think the trade unions should have a veto on contractual changes. The time has hit 20 minutes past, so I shall finish by saying that I shall support Second Reading.

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