State Pension Credit Bill [Lords]

– in a Public Bill Committee on 18th April 2002.

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[Mr. Win Griffiths in the Chair]

Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 9:30 am, 18th April 2002

On a point of order, Mr. Griffiths. You will recall that at the end of our previous sitting we were discussing amendment No. 14. I had concluded my remarks and I do not intend to re-open that discussion. Can Ministers comment on the imputed calculation of income as a result of yesterday's Budget? Given that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has now scrapped that in respect of other tax credits, some commentators have said that the position of the pension credit is left exposed and anomalous. No doubt we will return to that matter when discussing later clauses so, in a sense, I am giving notice to Ministers that such issues will be raised then. Representatives of organisations that deal with older people have said that 5 million pensioners are likely to become involved in the system of income-related benefits. Can Ministers respond briefly to my concerns?

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths Labour, Bridgend

I am sure that the Ministers have heard your comments, Mr. Boswell. It would not be appropriate for them to respond immediately, but I am sure that something will be said during the debate.

Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney Minister for pensions, Department for Work and Pensions

Nothing that was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday or in his pre-Budget statement will affect the structure of the Bill or any matters relating to it. If there had been, the Government would have had to table amendments to the Bill. As the Committee will notice, we have tabled only one small technical amendment. We can rest assured that the job of the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) as Opposition spokesman has not been made any harder by changes that were announced in the Budget statement yesterday.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire

With respect, I think that the Minister is slightly missing the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry, which was that the treatment of earnings under the State Pension Credit Bill will now be different following the announcements made by the Chancellor yesterday in respect of other credits and arrangements for pensioners. My hon. Friend was referring to that particular aspect of the Budget.

Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney Minister for pensions, Department for Work and Pensions

I know exactly what the hon. Gentleman was saying. But nothing that was said yesterday affects the structure or the clauses of the Bill and resulting calculations.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths Labour, Bridgend

I think that the Committee has exhausted that point of order. I am sure that we shall hear some questions on the matter later in our proceedings.