Guardian's Allowance Up-rating (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:15 pm on 24th March 2006.

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Photo of Lord Biffen Lord Biffen Conservative 1:15 pm, 24th March 2006

My Lords, I apologise to noble Lords and particularly to the Minister for not being present at the beginning of this debate. Having had an enervating morning in a hospital bed, I have come along to offer a small comment. It will not be of the same contentious nature as those offered by my noble friend Lady Noakes and the noble Lord, Lord Oakeshott, which demonstrated the great anxieties about how this policy has been executed. I will confine my remarks to the tax credits uprating regulations.

In the situation revealed in this morning's debate, there must be some anxiety over the divorce between the objectives of policy and how they are being achieved. I cannot believe that this is entirely the result of Treasury ineptitude. I therefore wonder whether use has been made of consultants in the preparation and execution of this policy. Perhaps the Minister could confirm whether that is so and, if appropriate, indicate those consultants' names. I am asking for no more than that. Of course, I do not expect it to be answered in the Minister's wind-up to this short debate, but it would be helpful to have it on the record.