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The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I thank his Grace the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General for that response. I have of course listened carefully to what he has said, but I feel that Amendment No. 118 is a moderate and reasonable amendment that does not affect government policy in any way. If the Government are successful in meeting their targets--we all hope that they will be--the amendment simply would not come into force. It is only if the targets are not met that further protection would be given under the benefits system until those targets are met.

In all conscience I cannot see the logical objection to this provision. I should like to test the opinion of the House.

6.27 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 118) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 161; Not-Contents, 116.

Division No. 3

CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Addison, V.
Ailesbury, M.
Alderdice, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bath and Wells, Bp.
Bathurst, E.
Beaverbrook, L.
Biddulph, L.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle, E.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chesham, L.
Clancarty, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clitheroe, L.
Coleraine, L.
Coleridge, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cranborne, V.
Crathorne, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Denbigh, E.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles, V.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Freeman, L.
Gage, V.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Geraint, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gray, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greenway, L.
Grey, E.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harrowby, E.
Haslam, L.
Hemphill, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Higgins, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooper, B.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Iveagh, E.
Jakobovits, L.
Jopling, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lawrence, L.
Leigh, L.
Lichfield, Bp.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar, C.
Marlesford, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Morris, L.
Mountevans, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Newall, L.
Newby, L.
Norfolk, D.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
Nunburnholme, L.
Ogmore, L.
Onslow, E.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pender, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rodney, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Russell, E.
Sandwich, E.
Savile, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Southwark, Bp. [Teller]
Stewartby, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Teviot, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thurso, V.
Tordoff, L.
Torrington, V.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Waddington, L.
Warnock, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Wise, L.
Young, B.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Glanusk, L.
Goldsmith, 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.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Kennet, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kintore, E.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Patel, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thornton, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Wharton, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

20 Oct 1999 : Column 1154

6.37 p.m.

Clause 90 [Persons for whom support may be provided]:

Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 119:


Page 60, line 29, leave out subsection (2)

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this amendment stands in the name of my noble friend Lord Cope of Berkeley. It seeks to remove subsection (2) of Clause 90. I do not think that we are very far apart on this issue. I refer your Lordships to our proceedings in Committee on 21st July when (at col. 1105 of the Official Report) the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, gave an assurance that regulations would be introduced to cover circumstances in which it would not be appropriate to provide someone with support under the scheme who otherwise appeared to be destitute.

The views on this clause of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee have had quite an airing. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, reminded

20 Oct 1999 : Column 1155

us that they had been quoted ipsissima verba twice in Committee. On page 3 of its report the committee stated:


    “We question the need for clause 85(2)"--

the clause numbers have changed since the Committee stage--


    “which would enable the Secretary of State to remove this linchpin of support from those who, in the words of clause 85(1) are 'destitute or ... likely to become destitute', and recommend its deletion from the bill, or at very least that the circumstances under which the power may be exercised are set out on the face of the bill".

As it stands, Clause 90(2) has serious Henry VIII implications, and we propose that it should be deleted. In view of the earlier assurance by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, we suggest that the Government's power, in appropriate circumstances, to withhold benefit from asylum seekers otherwise appearing to be destitute would not be inhibited. I beg to move.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, I support the amendment moved by the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman. I should also like briefly to raise the more general matter, which we have raised previously, of delegated powers issues.

As noble Lords on the Government Front Bench will know, we are very concerned about those clauses and amendments which still raise substantial issues with regard to the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee, and in particular those that have not been able to be considered by the committee. We shall debate a number of new clauses later, and I raise the matter now so as to avoid having to do so in regard to each of them. We fear that phrases used in the government amendments--for example,


    “for the purposes of that section and in that paragraph"--

do little to meet the committee's concerns. Some of the new clauses virtually set up totally new systems of regulation. I refer, for example, to the proposed addition of a new schedule before Schedule 8, and to the new Schedule 8 itself, which has only recently been tabled. The new proposals give huge powers for regulatory provision to the Secretary of State. The provisions arise in area after area--in terms of support, the treatment of asylum seekers and many others.

The proposal in this amendment--namely, to remove the power by regulation to exclude people from support--relates to only one example. A large number of later amendments also give rise to the objection that the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee has not had an opportunity to be heard on these matters. Therefore, we should very much like to know how Ministers intend to discharge their earlier pledge in regard to the amendments that are presently before the House.


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