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Lord Goodhart: My Lords, does the Minister accept that, under her proposals, if the disabled person does not have a pension but an investment income of £39,000, £50,000 or £100,000, they will lose none of their incapacity benefit?

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Yes, my Lords. But if one looks at the profile of savings and wealth compared to the profile of pensions, one will find that people protected by that are a tiny handful compared to the number of people who will be protected under the amendment of my noble friend Lord Ashley. His amendment protects pension income; an occupational pension is the big source of income for white-collar people. We think it not unreasonable, if they are not in financial need, to consider the interlocking of that pension with disability benefits.

I was asked by my noble friend Lord Barnett what would be the cost of accepting my noble friend's amendment removing the clause. It would remove savings of £45 million in year one, £190 million in year three, and £550 million in year 10 as provided for in the

13 Oct 1999 : Column 436

Government's original proposals. That money would not then be available to help the poorest, those on income support and those born with a disability or who acquired it in their youth. There are choices to be made.

The gap between us is large. The Government are giving most help to the poorest--those on severe disablement allowance topped up by income support. We are also protecting the most severely disabled, those on the highest rate of DLA. My noble friend's proposals would mean that much less could be done for both those groups and instead protect people with generous white-collar pensions and less severe disability. The Secretary of State will consider all the factors. However, I hope that noble Lords will accept that the Government's case is not only principled but also fair and decent and one that deserves support.

Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend again on a splendid presentation of the Government's case. My noble friend and I have crossed swords on the detail of this issue for many months. It would be remiss of me to bore the House with a repetition of the details set out in our debates at Second Reading and in Committee.

My noble friend has not justified the Government's proposal for hitting people who have a pension income of over £50 a week at the extraordinary rate of 50p in the pound. Nor has she persuaded me that this is not a case of disabled people who are poor being forced to pay for those who are very poor. That is not a philosophy I can accept.

My noble friend seemed proud of the number of people who will not be affected by the provision. But we are concerned with those who will be affected. That is the whole point of the debate. My noble friend spoke of people on “generous white-collar pensions". I visualised millionaires driving up by the million in Rolls-Royces to draw their incapacity benefit. But we are not concerned with millionaires. We are concerned with people on a pension of £50 or just above being robbed of 50p in every pound over that amount. This is an extraordinary proposal. One speaker in this splendid debate described it as bizarre. How true that is.

At the beginning of the debate I said that if the Government were unable to accept my reasoned, honourable amendments--despite the scorn poured on them by my noble friend, they are a genuine attempt to reach a compromise sooner rather than later and there must be a compromise at some time--I would not press Amendments Nos. 134 and 135 but would seek a Division on Amendment No. 136. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 135 not moved.]

Lord Ashley of Stoke moved Amendment No. 136:


Leave out Clause 59

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I should like to test the opinion of the House on Amendment No. 136, which seeks to delete the clause.

13 Oct 1999 : Column 437

7.43 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 136) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 198; Not-Contents, 90.

Division No. 4

CONTENTS

Ackner, L.
Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bathurst, E.
Bell, L.
Berners, B.
Biddulph, L.
Blatch, B.
Blease, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bradford, Bp.
Bradshaw, L.
Brentford, V.
Bridgeman, V.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buccleuch and Queensberry, D.
Buchan, E.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carnarvon, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Cathcart, E.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clement Jones, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cox, B.
Cranbrook, E.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
De L'Isle, V.
De Ramsey, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denbigh, E.
Denham, L.
Devonport, V.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donegall, M.
Downshire, M.
Dunleath, L.
Eccles, V.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Geddes, L.
Geraint, L.
Glanusk, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray, L.
Greenway, L.
Hambro, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Higgins, L.
Hogg, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooper, B.
Inchyra, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Kintore, E.
Knutsford, V.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lawrence, L.
Leigh, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Montrose, D.
Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Moynihan, L.
Munster, E.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Nathan, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Norrie, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
Ogmore, L.
Onslow, E.
Orme, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Rathcavan, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L
Renton, L.
Rix, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Russell, E. [Teller]
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Seaford, L.
Seecombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Tebbit, L.
Tenby, V.
Teviot, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thurso, V.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Torrington, V.
Townshend, M.
Trefgarne, L.
Tryon, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Vivian, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Waverley, V.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Wise, L.
Young, B.

NOT CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Nicol, B.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thornton, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

13 Oct 1999 : Column 439

7.54 p.m.

The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, in Division No. 2 this afternoon the number of votes was announced as follows: Contents, 164; Not-Contents, 185. It has been agreed by the Tellers that the figures should have been: Contents, 163; Not-Contents, 184.


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