Clause 11 - Citation

Age-Related Payments Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 25 May 2004.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Shadow Minister, Economic Affairs

It would not be right to let the Bill's relatively short passage through Committee not be marked by a return to the central criticism that many of us made on Second Reading and earlier today. It is misleading to call this legislation the Age-Related Payments Act; it should be the election-related payments Act.

Although it might have failed miserably in its intent, the Bill is clearly designed to buy off trouble over council tax increases, which are in large measure a result of Government action or policy, and to try to get them out of a hole on 10 June. I do not think that it will win them a single extra vote; it will just cost £500 million. We do not begrudge £100 to the over-70s, whether they need it or not. I hope that those who get it make good use of it. It is only a pity that they will not get it until eight months after they need it. On that basis, I have serious reservations about whether it is in order for this to be called the Age-Related Payments Act rather than the election-related payments Act.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike Labour, Burnley

I remind the Committee that the debate is narrow, but the Minister can respond to that point.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Minister for pensions, Department for Work and Pensions

I will not be provoked, Mr. Pike.

Just occasionally—every two minutes, in fact—the hon. Gentleman wanders off into the long grass, much of it political. I think that the people of the United Kingdom who are in eligible households will be pleased to receive £100. Given the concern about council tax, that is important.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 11 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill to be reported, without amendment.

Committee rose at seventeen minutes past Three o'clock.