Pensions Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 30th March 2004.

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[Mr. James Cran in the Chair]

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne 9:30 am, 30th March 2004

On a point of order, Mr. Cran. I wish to refer to two issues on which, quite unwittingly, Ministers may have misled the Committee at our previous sitting. We had a lengthy discussion about prospects for compensating the 60,000 workers who have already lost their pension rights. Members of the Committee may have read in The Times on 27 March that the Government have commissioned a study from the Association of Corporate Trustees on the size of the problem. It has been asked to assess how much a bail-out could cost. That unaccountably slipped Ministers' minds during our detailed discussion about such matters. Surely they would have considered that it was something of more than passing interest to the Committee.

At our sitting last Thursday, I pressed the Minister about the priority order, to which he responded:

''Our proposals . . . which we hope to introduce to the Committee as soon as possible after Easter, will be part of the Bill.—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 25 March 2004; c. 459.]

That has caused some confusion and consternation among those in the know and I understand that the hon. Gentleman may have made an error. Now might be a good opportunity for him to correct the position.

Photo of Mr James Cran Mr James Cran Conservative, Beverley and Holderness

I am perfectly happy with the hon. Gentleman's point of order, although he and the Committee will understand that it has nothing to do with me, but doubtless others whom it relates to will respond at the appropriate time if they wish to do so.Clause 121 Duty to assume responsibility following reconsideration