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Lord Inglewood moved Amendment No. 35:


Page 20, line 18, leave out ("two years") and insert ("one year").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 35 I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 39, 72 and 77. They are technical amendments. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Inglewood moved Amendments Nos. 36 to 38:


Page 20, line 22, leave out from beginning to ("3") in line 24 and insert ("shall not exceed whichever is the greater of--
(a) £50,000, or
(b) the amount determined under subsection (2A).
(2A) The amount referred to in subsection (2)(b) is--
(a) in a case where a penalty under this section has not previously been imposed on the holder of the digital programme licence during any period for which his licence has been in force,").
Page 20, line 28, leave out ("shall, in any other case, not exceed") and insert ("in any other case").
Page 20, line 30, leave out ("(2)(a)") and insert ("(2A)(a)").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 25 [Enforcement of digital additional services licences]:

Lord Inglewood moved Amendments Nos. 39 to 42:


Page 22, line 39, leave out ("two years") and insert ("one year").

5 Mar 1996 : Column 227


Page 22, line 43, leave out from beginning to ("3") in line 45 and insert ("shall not exceed whichever is the greater of--
(a) £50,000, or
(b) the amount determined under subsection (2A).
(2A) The amount referred to in subsection (2)(b) is--
(a) in a case where a penalty under this section has not previously been imposed on the holder of the digital additional services licence during any period for which his licence has been in force,").
Page 23, line 3, leave out ("shall, in any other case, not exceed") and insert ("in any other case").
Page 23, line 5, leave out ("(2)(a)") and insert ("(2A)(a)").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 43 to 46 not moved.]

Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned. In moving this Motion, I suggest that the Report stage begins again at 25 minutes before nine o'clock.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Reserve Forces Bill [H.L.]

7.35 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 121 [The lieutenancies]:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe) moved Amendment No. 1:


Page 63, line 25, at end insert--
("(2) It is hereby declared that the validity of the appointment of a lord-lieutenant after 20th April 1980 is not affected by the fact that the instrument appointing him refers to the power of appointment previously contained in the Local Government Act 1972 or the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and not the corresponding power under the Reserve Forces Act 1980.
This subsection shall come into force on the passing of this Act.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, when last week the House was considering this Bill on Report, I raised an issue relating to the appointment of lord-lieutenants which had been brought to my attention by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, and I said that I hoped the Government would be able to bring forward a suitable amendment on Third Reading.

The statutory powers governing the appointment by Her Majesty of lord-lieutenants for each county in England and Wales are contained in Section 130 of the Reserve Forces Act 1980. That was a consolidation Act, and the provisions of that section repeat word for word provisions previously contained in Section 218 of the Local Government Act 1972. In Scotland the corresponding provisions are in Section 131 of the 1980 Act, which re-enacted Section 205 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

Until 1980 the instruments of appointment rightly referred to the 1972 or 1973 Act, depending whether the appointment was in England and Wales or in Scotland. Thereafter, they should of course have referred to the Reserve Forces Act 1980, but regrettably that was not

5 Mar 1996 : Column 228

always the case; many of them continued to refer to the 1972 or 1973 Act. It is quite likely that those appointments are nevertheless legally valid, but it is thought sensible to make it clear that that is indeed the case. The purpose of this amendment is therefore to dispel any doubts there may be about the validity of these appointments, and about the validity of any acts done by a lord-lieutenant whose instrument of appointment cites the wrong Act. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 122 [Safeguard of employment for members of reserve forces]:

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 2:


Page 63, line 40, leave out subsection (3) and insert--
("(3) For subsection (1) of section 17 (prohibition of dismissal for liability to whole-time service) there shall be substituted the following subsection--
"(1) If the employer of a person who may be required to enter upon a period of whole-time service--
(a) terminates that person's employment without his consent at any time when he is not in that service, and
(b) does so solely or mainly by reason of any duties or liabilities which that person may be liable to perform or discharge--
(i) if required to report at any time or place with a view to entering into whole-time service; or
(ii) if he enters upon a period of whole-time service,
the employer is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale."").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 2 I shall speak also to Amendment No. 3.

These amendments relate to the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985. I mentioned them during the Report stage. The change to Section 17 of the 1985 Act will mean that individuals who report as required on call-out or recall but are, for whatever reason, not accepted into service, remain entitled to the protection of the Act. The omission of Section 20(4) is consequential. The change to Section 20(3) introduces an explicit reference to maternity leave, and follows up a point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Turner. I beg to move.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, I support the amendment but ask for a point of clarification. I take it that the phrase "whole-time service" does not include members of the reserve forces who sign up to become members of the high readiness reserve.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I believe the noble Lord is correct. If I am wrong, I shall write to him straight away.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 3:


Page 64, line 3, at end insert--
("( ) For subsections (3) and (4) of section 20 (interpretation) there shall be substituted the following subsection--
"(3) A period of whole time service shall not be regarded as having ceased by reason of any absence on leave (including sick leave or maternity leave) before release from service or discharge."").

5 Mar 1996 : Column 229

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment when moving Amendment No. 2. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 11 [Repeals]:

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 4:


Page 97, line 28, column 3, at end insert ("140, 151").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, Amendment No. 4 relates to pensions issues. As I mentioned during the Report stage, the Bill includes the repeal of almost the whole of the Reserve Forces Act 1980. Some sections of that Act are superseded entirely by the Bill and will be repealed immediately the relevant provisions are brought into force. Other sections will continue to have effect for limited purposes and will be repealed when they become spent.

Sections 140 and 151 of the 1980 Act give authority for the payment of war pensions to former members of the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Home Guard. It has been suggested to me that the inclusion of those sections in the repeal schedule might give the impression that it was the Government's intention to cease the payment of pensions to the individuals concerned, or perhaps to exclude new applicants who develop a disability attributable to their service. That is very much not the case, and to put the matter beyond doubt I have put forward this simple amendment to remove those two clauses from the ambit of the repeal. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

An amendment (privilege) made.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill do now pass. This is an important Bill. It will bring the law on reserves up to date, and it will permit those reserves to be used more flexibly. The Bill is complex and, in many respects, technical. Its scope means that it is necessarily lengthy. For the record, I might say that it runs to 132 clauses and 11 schedules, covering 98 pages.

The Bill has been the subject of a very extensive consultation exercise. I believe that that has been most productive. The policy which the Bill implements has been fully aired, and the provisions themselves considered widely. I am sure that that has been an important factor in the general support which the Bill has received from all sides of the House.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank all noble Lords who have contributed to our debates, at Second Reading, in Committee, on Report and indeed today. I am most grateful for the constructive spirit in which the Bill has been considered.

Although time prevents me from mentioning every noble Lord who has contributed, I should like to express my particular and genuine thanks to the noble Lords, Lord Williams and Lord Judd, and the noble Baroness, Lady Turner. I very much appreciate the considerable efforts they have made to improve the Bill. I have, of course, felt it necessary to oppose some of the amendments that they have put forward, but I have

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always recognised that their motivation has been positive. However, in very many more cases I have been able to agree with the points which they have raised, and to accept amendments which they have tabled.

Perhaps I may also mention the contribution to our debates of the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, who has provided some useful insights on a range of issues. I am grateful to him. I am confident that your Lordships' careful scrutiny of the Bill has delivered up a better Bill and that it will considerably ease the burden on those in another place when they come to consider it.

I should now like to touch briefly on some of the topics which we have debated during the passage of the Bill. We spent some time in Committee on various matters concerning special agreements under Part IV of the Bill. I believe it was a very useful debate, and I hope that the details I was able to supply were helpful to your Lordships. Special agreements are necessary if we are to be able to guarantee the availability for operations of individuals with particular skills. They will be skills in short supply in the reserve forces, meaning that it would not be sensible to rely on seeking volunteers possessing those skills at a time of crisis.

The noble Earl, Lord Attlee, tabled amendments concerning the sponsored reserve concept under Part V of the Bill. I was grateful for his contributions on this, as on other matters, and was able to offer him reassurance in Committee and further details in correspondence. We believe that the Bill offers a flexible framework within which each service will be able to adapt the concept to suit various applications as they arise. In assessing the suitability of a given area of work for the concept, particular attention will be paid to the maintenance of operational capability.

The flexibility I mentioned includes scope to adjust the training syllabus for sponsored reserves according to the circumstances. There are a number of useful precedents for the assimilation of support personnel with particular skills and qualifications into the service rank structure when they are needed, and we do not expect any difficulty on that score. We do believe that the concept will allow the extension of the market testing programme into new areas, to the benefit of both the services and the defence industry.

The noble Lords, Lord Williams and Lord Judd, and the noble Baroness, Lady Turner, raised a number of issues connected by a common thread--their concern for the position of the individual. I might include in that category the amendments they tabled concerning the position of conscientious objectors; discrimination against reservists by employers; and statutory protection for civilian pensions. I believe that in each case I was able to explain that the present or, in the case of pensions, proposed arrangements were sufficient.

On conscientious objectors, the existing longstanding arrangements apply to both regulars and reservists. They work well, and I would not wish to make any change to them. Both in Committee and on Report the noble Baroness, Lady Turner, pressed for the Bill to include a provision prohibiting discrimination by employers. I hope that I said enough to persuade her that, far from encouraging the employment of reserves, such a move

5 Mar 1996 : Column 231

would be likely to harden employers' attitudes, and would be counterproductive. Furthermore, to achieve an effective provision would require quite a substantial Bill in its own right.

On the question of pensions, I repeat the assurance I gave on Report. The Government understand the necessity to safeguard the civilian pension provision of reservists. As the House will recognise, pensions issues are complex. We will be consulting closely with the pensions industry, employers and other interested parties as ideas are developed.

I think that the issue which prompted the greatest interest among your Lordships was the maximum length of obligatory service after call-out for peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief operations. Certainly, the debate on Report on the amendment moved by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall, drew contributions from the noble and gallant Lords, Lord Carver and Lord Craig of Radley, from my noble friends Lord Vivian and Lord Renton, from the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and from the noble Lord, Lord Williams. I mention last, but it goes without saying very much not least, the most interesting point made by the noble Lord, Lord Callaghan of Cardiff. My thanks are due to all those noble Lords for their contributions.

I explained that the period of nine months in the Bill was the result of very careful consideration. I added that the nine month period was supported by the TA colonels, including my noble friend the Duke of Westminster, and by the chairmen of the 14 Territorial, Auxiliary Volunteer Reserve Associations. The nine months would be a maximum period of obligatory service after call-out, but it was our intention that reservists, like regulars, would not normally serve more than six months on operational tours. As the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall, put it, the penny has dropped on that point. Indeed, if I may say so, the notional penny has been in its fallen position for some considerable time. It was on that understanding that the noble and gallant Lord agreed to withdraw his amendment.

Altogether I have listened with great attention to the various debates on the Bill's provisions. Your Lordships have, with no little knowledge and insight, made your usual valuable contributions. I am grateful for the broad support the Bill has received from all sides of the House. I hope that that will continue in another place. As I said earlier, I am confident that your Lordships' careful scrutiny of the Bill will considerably reduce the consideration that is required there. I commend the Bill to the House.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Earl Howe.)


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