Clause 12

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:45 pm on 24th January 2008.

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Photo of Paul Rowen Paul Rowen Shadow Minister, Work & Pensions 1:45 pm, 24th January 2008

I wish to speak about amendment No. 86 in particular. The purpose of amendments Nos. 20 and 86 is to probe the Government as to what methods they intend to use to ensure that the values of the earnings limits are maintained. I know that the EEF would like to see the qualifying band uprated in line with earnings, rather than leaving it to the Secretary of State, as the Bill proposes. That is not necessarily our view; we believe that the Secretary of State should have discretion.

Amendment No. 86 would, however, ensure that whatever discretion the Secretary of State used on uprating, the limits would be reported to the House. That would be an important safeguard to ensure that savings and the amounts paid keep their value. I am not saying that a future Secretary of State—whoever that might be—would not ensure that they would maintain their value, but we believe there should be a mechanism to ensure that Members are able to respond to the proposals put forward by the Secretary of State. I look forward to hearing how Ministers will ensure that Members are kept informed of the rates proposed each year.