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House of Commons
Session 2003 - 04
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Tuesday 24th February 2004

The House met at half-past Eleven o'clock.

PRAYERS.

1    Housing Bill,-Mr Peter Pike reported from Standing Committee E, That it had gone through the Housing Bill, and made Amendments thereunto, and had amended the Title as follows:

    A Bill to make provision about housing conditions; to regulate houses in multiple occupation and certain other residential accommodation; to make provision for home information packs in connection with the sale of residential properties; to make provision about secure tenants and the right to buy; to make provision about mobile homes; to make other provision about housing; and for connected purposes.

    Bill, as amended in the Standing Committee, to be considered to-morrow; and to be printed [Bill 59].

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to be printed [No. 392].

2    Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-Mr Alan Hurst reported from the Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the Sustainable Energy (CHP Provisions) Order 2003 (S.I., 2003, No. 2987).

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.

3    Civil Service Bill,-The Order for reading the Civil Service Bill a second time on Friday 27th February was read and discharged.

    Bill to be read a second time on Friday 5th March.

4    Consolidation, &c., Bills,-Ordered, That the Lords Message of 23rd February relating to the Joint Committee on Consolidation, &c., Bills be now considered.

    Lords Message considered accordingly.

    Ordered, That the Committee appointed by this House do meet the Lords Committee as proposed by their Lordships.

    Message to the Lords to acquaint them therewith.

5    Schools (Vending Machines),-Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to prohibit the sale of high fat and high sugar content food in vending machines in schools: And that Mr Jon Owen Jones, Mr David Amess, Paul Flynn, John Austin, Ms Debra Shipley, Mr Win Griffiths, Mr Bob Blizzard, Mrs Jackie Lawrence, David Taylor and Chris Ruane do prepare and bring it in.

6    Schools (Vending Machines) Bill,-Mr Jon Owen Jones accordingly presented a Bill to prohibit the sale of high fat and high sugar content food in vending machines in schools: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 30th April and to be printed [Bill 58].

7    Social Security,-Resolved, That the draft Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2004, which was laid before this House on 4th February, be approved.-(Mr Secretary Smith.)

8    Pensions,-Resolved, That the draft Guaranteed Minimum Pensions Increase Order 2004, which was laid before this House on 22nd January, be approved.-(Mr Secretary Smith.)

9    Opposition Day [5th allotted day: second part],-It being an allotted day at the disposal of the Leader of the Opposition in pursuance of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business), the House proceeded to consider Opposition business.

    Pension Scheme Wind-ups,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House condemns the Government's inaction in the face of the crisis in occupational pensions; regrets that the Pensions Bill will do nothing to encourage people to save for their retirement or companies to keep open existing defined benefit schemes, let alone start new ones; recognises with regret that the Pensions Bill will do nothing to help the estimated 60,000 members of schemes who have lost all or most of their pension entitlement; notes that the Government has twice reduced the minimum funding requirement as well as removing 35 billion in extra taxes from pension funds and has conspicuously failed to amend the priority order on wind-up, despite offers of co-operation from the Official Opposition; expresses its surprise that the Government has refused calls to instigate an independent inquiry into the extent of the problem; and calls upon the Government to take urgent action to tackle the current crisis in pensions and to mitigate the unfairness caused to thousands of current and future pensioners across the United Kingdom-(Mr David Willetts);

    An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 2, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'supports the Government's strategy to tackle pensioner poverty, and to deliver simplicity, security and choice in working and saving for retirement; condemns the pensions inheritance of 1997, with millions in poverty and the legacy of pension mis-selling; notes that the Government is spending 9 billion extra per year in real terms on pensioners compared with the 1997 system; condemns the unfair, unaffordable and unsustainable pensions policies of Opposition parties; expresses its sincere sympathy for those who have lost part or all of their pension as a result of their employer becoming insolvent; believes the Government should continue to look at all available options to help people affected, but that it would be cruel to raise expectations if no workable solution can be found; welcomes the publication of the Government's Pensions Bill; further believes that the Pension Protection Fund will bring real security for over 10 million defined benefit pension scheme members if their employer becomes insolvent and pensions schemes wind up in the future; further believes that firms should honour pension promises they have made; welcomes the Bill as a balanced package, with a new regulator and measures to simplify pensions legislation, making it easier for employers to run good schemes; further believes that pension reform should be a common cause; and calls on all Members of this House to support the Government's Pensions Bill', instead thereof.-(Mr Secretary Smith.)

    And the Question being proposed, That the original words stand part of the Question;

    Mr Patrick McLoughlin rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

    And the Question being put, That the Question be now put:-It was agreed to.

    And the Question being accordingly put;

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Hugo Swire, Mr Mark Field: 193.

      Tellers for the Noes, Margaret Moran, Mr Nick Ainger: 319.

    So the Question was negatived.

    And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments);

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Margaret Moran, Mr Nick Ainger: 313.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Mark Field, Angela Watkinson 187.

    So the Question was agreed to.

    The Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

    Resolved, That this House supports the Government's strategy to tackle pensioner poverty, and to deliver simplicity, security and choice in working and saving for retirement; condemns the pensions inheritance of 1997, with millions in poverty and the legacy of pension mis-selling; notes that the Government is spending 9 billion extra per year in real terms on pensioners compared with the 1997 system; condemns the unfair, unaffordable and unsustainable pensions policies of Opposition parties; expresses its sincere sympathy for those who have lost part or all of their pension as a result of their employer becoming insolvent; believes the Government should continue to look at all available options to help people affected, but that it would be cruel to raise expectations if no workable solution can be found; welcomes the publication of the Government's Pensions Bill; further believes that the Pension Protection Fund will bring real security for over 10 million defined benefit pension scheme members if their employer becomes insolvent and pensions schemes wind up in the future; further believes that firms should honour pension promises they have made; welcomes the Bill as a balanced package, with a new regulator and measures to simplify pensions legislation, making it easier for employers to run good schemes; further believes that pension reform should be a common cause; and calls on all Members of this House to support the Government's Pensions Bill.

10    Regulatory Reform,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 18 (Consideration of draft regulatory reform orders), That the draft Regulatory Reform (Sunday Trading) Order 2004, which was laid before this House on 22nd January, be approved-(Paul Clark);

11    Public Petitions,-Public Petitions from

    (1) residents and workers of the Dacorum district of Hertfordshire against the threatened downgrading of Hemel Hempstead General Hospital, and

    (2) Gadebridge Community Centre and residents of Gadebridge against the closure of Gadebridge Sub-Post Office

    were presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.

12    Adjournment,-Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.-(Paul Clark.)

    And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till Eight o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 8.00 p.m.

Michael J. Martin
Speaker


Mr Speaker will take the Chair at half-past Eleven o'clock.


APPENDIX I

Papers presented or laid upon the Table:

Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:

    1    Electricity,-Draft Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2004 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Ms Secretary Hewitt].

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

    2    Environmental Protection,-Pollution Prevention and Control (Unauthorised Part B Processes) (England and Wales) Regulations 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 434), dated 21st February 2004 [by Act] [Secretary Margaret Beckett].

    3    Proceeds of Crime,-Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Recovery of Cash in Summary Proceedings: Minimum Amount) Order 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 420), dated 19th February 2004 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].

    4    Universities of Oxford and Cambridge,-Statute, made by the Governing Body of Queen's College Oxford, amending the Statutes of the College [by Act] [Mr Christopher Leslie].

Other Papers:

    5    Constitutional Affairs,-Government Response to the First Report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill, Session 2002-03 [by Command] [Cm. 6121] [Mr David Lammy].

    6    Culture, Media and Sport,-Government Response to the First Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 2003-04, on Cultural objects: developments since 2000 [by Command] [Cm. 6149] [Secretary Tessa Jowell].

    7    Members' Interests,-Register of Members' Interests as at 31st January 2004 [pursuant to the Resolutions of 22nd May 1974, 28th June 1993, 6th November 1995 and 14th May 2002]; to be printed [No. 265] [Clerk of the House].

    8    Probation Board (Northern Ireland),-Accounts of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland for 2002-03, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Statutory Instrument]; to be printed [No. 379] [Clerk of the House].

    9    School Standards and Framework,-Accounts of-

    (1) Leicester Education Action Zone,

    (2) New Addington Education Action Zone,

    (3) Newcastle Education Action Zone,

    for the period 1st April to 31st August 2003, with the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [Nos. 374, 375 and 376] [Clerk of the House].

    10    Supreme Court (Northern Ireland),-Land Purchase Account of the Supreme Court of Judicature, Northern Ireland, for 2002-03, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 378] [Clerk of the House].

Papers withdrawn:

    11    Electricity,-Draft Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2004 [laid 10th February].

APPENDIX II

Reports from Select Committees

    1    Constitutional Affairs,-(1) Second Report from the Constitutional Affairs Committee [Asylum and Immigration Appeals], together with Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings relating to the Report [No. 211]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Civil Legal Aid: adequacy of provision]; to be printed [No. 391-i]; and

    (3) Memoranda laid before the Committee [Civil Legal Aid: adequacy of provision]; to be printed [No. 391-II]

    [Mr A. J. Beith].

    2    Culture, Media and Sport,-Third Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee [Broadcasting in Transition], together with Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings relating to the Report [No. 380] [Mr Gerald Kaufman].

    3    Draft Gambling Bill,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Joint Committee on the Draft Gambling Bill; to be printed [No. 139-xiv and -xv] [Mr John Greenway].

    4    Environmental Audit,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Environmental Audit Committee [Pre-Budget Report 2003]; to be printed [No. 233-iv] [Mr Peter Ainsworth].

    5    Foreign Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee [FCO's Human Rights Annual Report 2003]; to be printed [No. 389-i] [Mr Donald Anderson].

    6    Home Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Home Affairs Committee [Identity Cards]; to be printed [No. 130-iv] [Mr Martin O'Neill].

    7    Statutory Instruments,-Ninth Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, together with Memoranda laid before the Committee; to be printed [No. 82-ix] [Brian White].

    8    Trade and Industry,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Trade and Industry Committee [UK-ASEAN Trade Relations; Progress towards the knowledge driven economy]; to be printed [No. 388-i and 262-iv] [Mr Martin O'Neill].

    9    Treasury,-(1) Fourth Report from the Treasury Committee [Annual Report for 2003]; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings relating to the Report [No. 386]; and

    (2) First Special Report from the Committee [Government Response to the Second Report from the Committee, on Child Trust Funds]; to be printed [No. 387]

    [Mr John McFall].


[W.H., No. 24]

Minutes of Proceedings of the Sitting in Westminster Hall

The sitting commenced at half-past Nine o'clock.

    Adjournment,-Resolved, That the sitting be now adjourned.-(Mr Nick Ainger.)

    And accordingly the sitting was adjourned till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 4.27 p.m.

Sir Alan Haselhurst
Deputy Speaker



 
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