Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe: My Lords, I welcome this amendment--and I assure the Minister that there is no sting in the tail of my welcome. He will be pleased to hear that.

The credit for this change does not go entirely to the Opposition. Those of us who have a civil service background pointed out the deficiencies of the changes through the TUC. As we near the end of this Session, it is proper to record that the TUC suggested that there could be a more sensible and cost-effective approach. It was proposed that hundreds of tax officials should meet employers and examine pay-as-you-earn and national insurance records, yet they were prevented by the

8 Jul 1999 : Column 1141

legislation from passing on information to their other colleagues who were considering the national minimum wage. We urged a change in that area, and I think that the TUC should be congratulated--especially in view of the fact that the Opposition have been congratulating themselves so much this evening.

This is the right thing to do and I trust that it will not set a precedent. It will ensure that the national minimum wage is implemented properly and complied with by employers throughout the country.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I reiterate the point that I made earlier: this measure does not set a precedent for ever-widening changes across government. It is limited and specific. The noble Baroness made the point previously that records that are used for one purpose should be available to cover other purposes. We have never objected to that proposal; we think it is a very good idea. We thought only that her previous amendment was not necessary in order to achieve that aim.

On that basis, I am happy to say that the noble Baroness has played a part in this process. I assure her that this is a very specific and limited measure. I think that the whole House agrees that it is a sensible way to reduce bureaucracy.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 144:


After Clause 33, insert the following new clause--

DISMISSAL OF SCHOOL STAFF

(".--(1) In paragraph 27(3)(b) of Schedule 16 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (dismissal of staff: representations and appeal) for "for a period of two years or more (within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996)" there shall be substituted ", within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996, for a period at least as long as the period for the time being specified in section 108(1) of that Act (unfair dismissal: qualifying period)".
(2) In paragraph 24(4)(b) of Schedule 17 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (dismissal of staff: representations and appeal) for "for a period of two years or more (within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996)" there shall be substituted ", within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996, for a period at least as long as the period for the time being specified in section 108(1) of that Act (unfair dismissal: qualifying period)".")

The noble Lord said: This technical amendment is needed to ensure that the provisions governing the dismissal of school staff on fixed-term contracts under Schedules 16 and 17 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 take account of recent reductions in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal. These provisions are due to commence on 1 September and provide for the proper treatment of staff on fixed-term contracts whose contracts will not be renewed. Under the Acts, school governing bodies will be required to hear representation of appeals before terminating the contracts of staff on fixed-term contracts where they have been employed for two years or more. This two-year period was the qualifying period for unfair dismissal current at the time the Act was passed. But

8 Jul 1999 : Column 1142

the qualifying period in the Employment Rights Act was changed by order on 1st June from two years to one year. This amendment reflects that change.

The Government would always encourage the fair treatment of staff whatever their length of service but consider that statutory rights and proceedings in relation to unfair dismissal should be required only after one year's service.

By referring to the qualifying period that may be specified under the Employment Rights Act rather than an actual length of time, the amendment would ensure that the change on 1st June and any change to be made by a future order is accurately reflected in the dismissal provisions of the School Standards and Framework Act. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 145:


After Clause 33, insert the following new clause--

NATIONAL SECURITY

(". Schedule (National security) shall have effect.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 8 [Repeals]:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendments Nos. 146 to 148:


Page 96, column 3, leave out lines 35 to 38
Page 100, line 14, at end insert--

("8A. EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS: EMPLOYMENT OUTSIDE GREAT BRITAIN


ChapterShort titleExtent of repeal
1996 c. 18.Employment Rights Act 1996.
Section 196.In section 199(6), the words "Section 196(6) does not apply to an employee, and".
In section 201(3)(g), the word "196,".
Section 204(2).
In section 209(2)(g), the words "196(1) and".
In section 209(5), the words ", 196(2), (3) and (5)".")

Page 101, line 22, at end insert--

("11. NATIONAL SECURITY

ChapterShort titleExtent of repeal
1995 c. 50.Disability Discrimination Act 1995.Paragraph 4(1)(b) of Schedule 3, and the word "or" immediately before it.
1996 c. 17.Employment Tribunals Act 1996.Section 4(7).
Section 28(5).
1998 c. 23.Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.Section 11.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

8 Jul 1999 : Column 1143

Clause 38 [Extent]:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendments Nos. 149 and 150:


Page 17, line 22, leave out subsection (2)
Page 17, line 30, at end insert--
("( ) Apart from section (Minimum wage: information) and subject to subsection (1), the preceding sections of this Act shall not extend to Northern Ireland.")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Ministerial and other Salaries Order 1999

9.21 p.m.

Lord Carter rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 29th June be approved.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend the Leader of the House, I wish to draw the attention of the House to the order. The purpose of the draft order before your Lordships is to implement increases in salary for a number of Ministers and certain other office holders in this House.

The increases in question are those recommended by the independent Senior Salaries Review Body in its Report No. 43 in March of this year. The Prime Minister announced the Government's acceptance of these recommendations in a Written Answer in the other place on 31st March, Commons Hansard, WA col. 716.

I should perhaps declare an interest at the outset. As will probably not have escaped your Lordships' notice, one of the salaries to be increased is my own. Hence my enthusiasm for seeking your Lordships' agreement to the order. The procedure is that changes in salary of this kind--by which I mean increases of salary other than the normal annual uprating--are authorised by an Order in Council under the relevant sections of the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 1975. The Act requires the text of the order to be approved in draft by each House before being submitted to Her Majesty. It is that approval that I am inviting the House to give today.

The changes affect a number of offices and it would perhaps be helpful if I listed them. They are: Ministers of State; Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State; the Government Chief Whip and the Deputy Chief Whip; the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Opposition Chief Whip. I have every hope that the inclusion of these last two posts will lead to an unusually warm degree of cross-party enthusiasm for the order.

In addition, the SSRB recommended, and the Government accepted, equivalent increases for the Chairman of Committees and the Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees. These salaries do not appear in the order itself, but they will be implemented administratively when the order comes into force. The individual increases are set out in the draft order. In brief, the SSRB recommendation was that the salaries of each of the posts I have mentioned should be increased by £8,500, in addition to the standard annual uprating which other ministerial posts have received. This produces the figures in the order.

8 Jul 1999 : Column 1144

These are quite substantial increases. The recommendation reflects the SSRB's finding that, since the 1996 changes to the pay arrangements for Ministers in another place, the salaries of these posts in your Lordships' House has fallen behind to an unreasonable extent.

The proposed one-off increase is, broadly speaking, equivalent to the amount by which the MPs' salary paid to Ministers in the Commons was abated prior to the 1996 changes and so restores that relativity. The arguments, which the Government accept, are set out in detail in Chapter 4 of the SSRB's Report No. 43.

The draft order implements precisely the Senior Salaries Review Body recommendations and I commend it to the House. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 29th June be approved.--(Lord Carter.)


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page