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The Lord Advocate (Lord Hardie) moved Amendments Nos. 64 to 66:

Page 54, line 1, leave out ("sections 14(11) and 15(6) above") and insert ("subsection (1A) below").
Page 54, line 3, at end insert--
("(1A) Regulations with respect to proceedings before the Commissioners (whether for the determination of any matter or for leave to appeal to or from the Commissioners) shall be made by the Lord Chancellor; and where the Lord Chancellor proposes to make regulations under this Act it shall be his duty to consult the Lord Advocate with respect to the proposal.").
Page 54, line 37, at end insert--
("( ) In this section "Commissioner" has the same meaning as in Chapter II of Part I.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

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Clause 78 [Parliamentary control of regulations]:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 67. This amendment seeks to--

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns moved Amendment No. 67:

Page 54, line 40, after ("7,") insert ("10,").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, if the noble Baroness had been prepared to give way at this very early stage to my modest request in Amendment No. 67, I would have been happy not to take to my feet and allow the noble Baroness to move my amendment for me.

The amendment would ensure that the affirmative procedure should apply to regulations under Clause 10. At Committee stage, when speaking in support of an amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, I referred to the 10th Report of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee. Paragraph 10 of the report specifically covers the provisions of Clause 10. It states:

    "These powers may seem wide but the explanatory memorandum"--
that was provided by the DSS--

    "explains that they will be used for only two limited purposes. Provided that the Minister is prepared to give an undertaking to this effect, the committee therefore considers that the negative procedure is appropriate".
The corollary of that is that if the Minister is not prepared to give such an undertaking, the negative procedure would not be appropriate.

At Committee stage I invited the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate to give that undertaking. He declined to do so. He said that he could not give an explicit assurance that the powers would be used for these two purposes given the fact that, in a sense, the Government at that stage were steering into uncharted waters and needed some flexibility. I believe it is right that we should follow the judgment of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee. I hope therefore that the noble Baroness will agree with that proposition. I move this amendment to make the statutory instrument regulations under Clause 10 subject to the affirmative procedure. I trust that that is acceptable to the Government. I beg to move.

Lord Goodhart: My Lords, I rise only to say that, for the reasons given by the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, I wish to support the amendment.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, I am now overwhelmed by the strength of opinion coming from the Liberal Democrat Benches in support of the amendment. That was clearly the all-purpose back pocket support speech. I agree with the views put by the noble Lord and I wish to second them for those reasons.

The amendment seeks to make the regulation making powers contained in Clause 10 on superseding decisions subject to affirmative resolution. Conscious of your Lordships' views on the importance of parliamentary scrutiny and the Government's accountability to this House, we have looked at this matter closely. I am sorry

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but we feel unable to accept the amendment. These will not be novel or contentious regulations and will in the main continue current rules and processes.

The Select Committee on delegated powers took the view that the regulation-making powers in Clause 10 were appropriate to the negative resolution provided that certain assurances were given about the limited circumstances in which they would be used. I am more than willing to give those assurances--given Pepper v. Hart--in Hansard.

Clause 10 allows the Secretary of State to supersede decisions in the case of circumstances prescribed in regulations. When a decision is superseded, a fresh decision is made and takes its place. Our intention is to use the powers in the clause in two circumstances; first, when the original decision needs to be replaced by a fresh one because there has been a change in circumstances; and, secondly, when an error in the original decision has not been identified within the dispute period of one month.

The provision of these regulations has been debated in this House and during consideration of the Bill in another place. The 10th Report of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation expressed the view that it would be content to keep the regulations subject to negative resolution provided reassurances given in the House of Commons were given in this House. I have repeated those reassurances in the House tonight. We take the views of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee extremely seriously. I believe that we have met its concerns. In the light of that, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for giving the explicit assurance which her noble and learned colleague the Lord Advocate was not able to give in Committee. I am pleased that the recommendations of the Select Committee have been adopted. I therefore beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Hardie moved Amendment No. 68:

After Clause 78, insert the following new clause--

Reports by Secretary of State

(".--(1) The Secretary of State shall prepare, either annually or at such times or intervals as may be prescribed, a report on the standards achieved by the Secretary of State in the making of decisions against which an appeal lies to an appeal tribunal constituted under Chapter I of Part I.
(2) A copy of every such report shall be laid before each House of Parliament.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 6 [Transitory provisions]:

Lord Hardie moved Amendment No. 69:

Page 64, line 19, at end insert--

("Constitution of appeal tribunals

. In relation to any time before the commencement of section 7 of this Act so far as it relates to appeals under section 12 of this

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Act, section 41 of the Administration Act (constitution of social security appeal tribunals) shall have effect as if--
(a) in subsection (1), for the words "and two other persons" there were substituted the words "sitting either alone or with one or two other persons";
(b) in subsection (2), for the words "The members other than the chairman" there were substituted the words "Any members other than the chairman";
(c) for subsection (6) there were substituted the following subsection--
"(6) Where the appeal tribunal hearing a case consists of more than one member it shall, if practicable, include at least one member who is of the same sex as the claimant."").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Hardie moved Amendment No. 70:

Page 65, line 34, leave out ("has") and insert ("means").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I wish to speak also to Amendments No. 71 to 73.

Schedule 6 contains transitory provisions to give effect to the policy behind certain provisions in the Bill for the purposes of the current adjudication and appeals system. It will have effect for the period between Royal Assent and the date when the corresponding provisions in Part I of the Bill take effect.

Amendment No. 70 simply corrects a drafting error. It replaces the word "has" with the word "means", thereby restoring the proper sense of the provision. Amendment No. 71 will clarify the restrictions on arrears of benefit which are imposed through the provisions of paragraph 5 of Schedule 6. Paragraph 5 of Schedule 6 amends Section 69 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 until the commencement of Clause 27 of the Bill. The provisions ensure that restrictions on arrears of benefit will apply to claimants who applied for a review of their decision either before or after the determination of a lead case. Claimants in this position will have any change to benefit applied from a common start date--the date of the "determination" of the commissioner or the court in the lead case.

The amendment makes it clear that the restrictions on arrears under the transitory provisions will only apply to reviews requested after the passing of this Bill. Reviews requested prior to implementation of paragraph 5 of Schedule 6 will be dealt with under the law as it stands currently.

This is a simple amendment which is intended to make clear that the provisions of paragraph 5 of Schedule 6 do not apply to cases already in the pipeline as they will be dealt with under the law as it stands now. As such I trust that noble Lords will agree to the amendment.

Amendments Nos. 72 and 73 are simple drafting corrections to replace "appropriate officer" with "social fund officer". Social fund officers will continue to make determinations during this interim period. When the new decision-making arrangements are introduced they will be replaced by "appropriate officers" under Clause 38 of the Bill. Therefore "social fund officer" is the correct term for the transitory provisions. I commend the amendments to your Lordships.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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