Previous SectionIndexHome Page

Mr. Boswell: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Butterfill: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. McCartney: I shall give way in a second.

The letter continues:

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm whether this meeting has taken place? Perhaps he will share the minutes with us—perhaps by placing them in the Library—so we can all have a debate about privatising the basic state pension.

The letter then says:

It sounds as if he is asking his hon. Friend to fill out a clue in The Times crossword. In fact, he is being asked to prepare a plan in secret to privatise the basic state pension.

Mr. Boswell: I do not often claim particular associations for our side, and I do not do so on this occasion. But bearing it in mind that 1.8 million people no longer have an occupational pension—a TUC statistic—will the Minister tell the House whether he was proud when the basic state pension was increased by 75p a week?

Mr. McCartney: If it had been left to the Tories, 12 million pensioners would be without a basic state pension. The Government introduced the minimum income guarantee. Will the Tories scrap it? They are against it. We introduced winter fuel payments. Will they scrap them? Every anti-poverty measure introduced by the Government has been opposed by the Tories. The hon. Member for Havant has had three opportunities now to share with the House and the nation his views, and those of the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield, of their plans to privatise the state pension. Silence is not golden. It means that he is not prepared to tell the British people the truth about Tory policy.

Mr. Butterfill: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. McCartney: The hon. Gentleman has been in and out of the Chamber and wants to speak when it suits him. I am sorry, but I am not giving way to him.

The hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield made some amazing claims about those Tory proposals. I make a commitment to study them to see what they really mean about the future of state pensions and the cost, not only in monetary terms but in terms of leaving people to the vagaries of the marketplace.

Mr. Boswell: It is the same speech every time.

Mr. McCartney: And we hear the same arguments from the Tories every time. They do not seem to accept

2 Jul 2002 : Column 188

it when we say that we are the party that wants to end pensioner poverty, the party that will support the basic state pension and will create a second state pension to protect 14 million low-paid workers, 2 million carers and 2 million people with disabilities. The one time we ask them a simple question about privatisation of the state pension, they lose their voice and can do nothing but smirk and catcall. A smirk and a catcall are no answer to a serious question on behalf of the pensioners of Britain.

We have a strategy. It is about getting the balance between private and state provision right. We are well on the way to ensuring that all pensioners have a decent income, but we are not complacent—far from it. The area of private pensions needs looking at, and that is why we have various reviews on the go: the Pickering, Sandler and Inland Revenue reviews, as well as the quinquennial review of the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority.

When those reviews produce their reports in the coming weeks and months, we will engage in a debate across the nation, based on facts—on reality. The reality is that 89 per cent. of employees work for an employer with some form of pension provision; 53 per cent. of employees in companies with more than 20 staff have access to a final salary scheme; a quarter of employees in such companies are active members; and 45 per cent. have an employer who sponsors provision.

The position is not as the Tories said, completely dead and buried. We are building a position of strength. That is why partnership and the simplification process are important. Final salary schemes are important to employers, too. They meet their employees' needs in a better way and cost the company less in the long term, because they control long-term investment policy. They avoid the problem of a scheme that is not under control, as well as the problem of running a closed final salary scheme against an open direct contributions scheme. They also provide an important part of a company's remuneration package, investing in pensions to retain, recruit and better reward staff. Defined benefit schemes should be argued for, and we are a Government who will provide a background to ensure that they can continue.

The Government tackled the legacy of pensioner poverty. The Tories refused to give a commitment tonight that, if they ever got to power, they would continue an anti-poverty strategy. All that we can think is that they do not give a damn about millions of pensioners who cannot provide for themselves. They left us in a mess with SERPS. Millions of people were affected and it took this Government to put billions of pounds in over the next few years to put right that inherited mess.

We have ensured that compensation will be paid to those who were conned in the mis-selling scandal. According to the hon. Member for Havant, the £13.5 billion is just chickenfeed—an accident that just happened. It was no accident: it was the incompetence of his policies.

The meanest blow of all was when the Tories started to charge pensioners for eye tests. Who would have expected, at the end of the 20th century, to have had a Government who would charge pensioners for eye tests while saying that they were serious about improving their health and social care?

David Maclean (Penrith and The Border) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

2 Jul 2002 : Column 189

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 140, Noes 381.

Division No. 286
[10 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cameron, David
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Collins, Tim
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, Rt Hon Iain
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Key, Robert
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Letwin, Oliver
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prisk, Mark
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (Mid–Norfolk)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mrs. Cheryl Gillan and
Dr. Julian Lewis.


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald
(Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barrett, John
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Breed, Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Bruce, Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Paul
Cable, Dr Vincent
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Cairns, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Carmichael, Alistair
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis–Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Brian H
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Ewing, Annabelle
Farrelly, Paul
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Francis, Dr Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Harvey, Nick
Healey, John
Heath, David
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Heppell, John
Hermon, Lady
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Jimmy
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Irranca–Davies, Huw
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kirkwood, Archy
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laws, David
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, Elfyn
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Moore, Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Price, Adam
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr John
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, Rt Hon John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Dr Richard (Wyre F)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Tynan, Bill
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
Weir, Michael
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wishart, Pete
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Nick Ainger and
Mr. Jim Murphy.

Question accordingly negatived.

2 Jul 2002 : Column 192

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

The House divided: Ayes 327, Noes 188.

Next Section

IndexHome Page