Clause 2

Part of Welfare Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 24th February 2009.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Employment and Welfare Reform; Minister for London), Department for Work and Pensions 4:00 pm, 24th February 2009

No. The hon. Gentleman misses the point, and the import of “made” versus “shall”. He would condemn everyone to reconsideration whether or not that was requested. We have said collectively until we are blue in the face that this is about rights as well as responsibilities, and about individuals establishing a relationship with their personal adviser that is in their mutual best interests. The direction is not one way, with imposition from the Jobcentre Plus personal adviser, nor is it one way in the other direction. Although it seems that using the word “made” would be radically different from using “shall”, I concur with the hon. Member for Hertsmere that that would not achieve what the hon. Member for Rochdale wants. The hon. Member for Rochdale can reconsider the matter and try to come up with something that gets to where he wants to be, but his amendment does not do that.

Given that interplay, I say as gently as possible that amendment 11, which was tabled by the hon. Member for Hertsmere, also would not do that. The amendment would remove the words “in prescribed circumstances”, but the prescribed circumstances do not refer to the individual, the relationship or anything that we have discussed. They refer to the prescription of those from the wider population of lone parents to whom the circumstances refer. I do not understand what the amendment would achieve.