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Clause 45 - Regulations and orders

Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 11th July 2013.

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Amendment proposed: 15, in clause 45, page 23, line 36, after ‘section 3’, insert ‘17(5)’.—(Gregg McClymont.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided: Ayes 5, Noes 8.

Division number 8 Decision Time — Clause 45 - Regulations and orders

Aye: 5 MPs

No: 8 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

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

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

When we get to what are marked as “final and other provisions”, it is normally assumed that they are the inconsequential bits at the end of the Bill, but clause 45 is important. As Opposition Members have pointed out, quite a lot of the detail in some parts of the Bill remains to be filled in. The clause specifies which statutory instruments will be subject to the affirmative procedure and which to the negative procedure. I will say a word or two about those that we believe should be subject to the affirmative procedure.

Regulations under clause 3 will deal with the single-tier start rate, which is pretty important. The uprating thereafter will be the statutory minimum, but the start rate is not set out in the Bill, so we think that an affirmative procedure debate is appropriate. Regulations under clause 18(5) will amend the minimum qualification requirement for a deferral payment as specified in clause 17(2). They will amend primary legislation, which is why we have  chosen the affirmative procedure. Regulations under clause 27 for bereavement support payment will be subject to the affirmative procedure because we entirely acknowledge that a good deal of detail has been left to regulations, so we think it only right that the House should have a proper debate on that without having to seek one.

The first set of regulations made under clause 10, which deals with the inheritance of graduated retirement pension under single tier, will be subject to the affirmative procedure. Although they apply primary legislation, we regard them as very technical so we think that further debate on minor tweaks should not be necessary. Similarly, with regulations under clause 20, on overseas pensions under single tier, the issue is important but minor subsequent exercise of the power—[Interruption.] I hope that that is news of a wicket falling. [Hon. Members: “No!”] Actually, I do not hope that. I had forgotten that England are batting.

Photo of Gregg McClymont Gregg McClymont Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

I was enjoying the Minister’s remarks so much that I thought I would start a party.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman is getting into the groove of the debate. Just in case the Committee missed that, the first set of regulations under clause 20 will be subject to the affirmative procedure because the basic issue is important, but minor changes thereafter need not be debated. Orders under clause 44— the Henry VIII power that we discussed a moment ago—and regulations under schedule 16 for automatic transfers will be subject to the affirmative procedure because of the amount of detail that is left to the regulations.

I would like to clarify something that I said in an earlier debate. I said that Parliament would debate the protected persons regulations, but they are actually subject to the negative resolution procedure. I apologise if I gave an inaccurate impression about that. As with all statutory instruments subject to the negative procedure, if the House wishes to debate those things, the usual process of prayer against a regulation will trigger a debate. I am happy to give the assurance that if we lay those regulations and they are prayed against, we will use our good offices to ensure that such a debate takes place.

I hope that that is helpful in clarifying the thinking behind which secondary legislation will be subject to the affirmative procedure, and which to the more standard negative procedure.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 45 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.