Amendment 16

Part of Financial Services Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 14th April 2021.

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Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat 5:15 pm, 14th April 2021

My Lords, while sitting here listening to this debate, I could not help but get the feeling that there had been a drawing of lots in the Government Whips’ Office when they were preparing to take on these amendments and the noble Lord, Lord True, lost. All of the issues here are good and real issues. If these amendments were accepted and brought forward, they would probably make our lives that little bit better.

Before I bring my full attention to the amendment brought forward by the noble Lord, Lord Young, I will say that we deserve to hear at least about a plan of action to deal with all these issues. If the Minister cannot provide that now, giving some idea of when they will be considered is very important. They are real issues; please deal with them. That is what we are here for. The only justification for us being in this Chamber is to deal with them, so can we hear about that?

When the noble Lord, Lord Young, first raised the issue in his amendment, I said that he had put his finger on an absurdity. I have not changed my mind. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Blunkett, basically said that the cock-up school of history is alive and functioning. The rest of us who were in Parliament at the time and involved in those Bills take our share of the blame because we did not spot it either. Can we change this?

The noble Lord, Lord Young, made about half a dozen arguments in his speech for why the amendment should be accepted or acted on. The most convincing one was that, for a comparatively modest sum of, say, £3,000, you have about four or five days-worth of paperwork. That is paperwork that you might not be very good at and which you might have to repeat, over and again, to get the money out—and usually the person doing the paperwork to get the money to support the child put that money in the bank in the first place. This is beyond belief; it is Kafkaesque. Will the Minister make sure that the people who put the money in to support a child can take it out to do so? What method are the Government taking? The law does not allow it at the moment, but we change the law all the time—we are doing it now. Please can he give us a plan of action on this?

The noble Lord, Lord Young, said that he did not expect to vote on this. The ball is of course firmly in his court on this one, but, dependent on what the Minister says, I hope the noble Lord will decide whether that is the correct approach here. I know it will annoy the Whips if we have a vote on this, but if the Minister cannot give him something that is at least in some way positive, I will certainly herd my colleagues through to support it.