Fifth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.


Wednesday 21 March 1990


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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Sir John Stradling Thomas

Allason, Mr. Rupert (Torbay)

Amess, Mr. David (Basildon)

Barnes, Mr. Harry (Derbyshire, North-East)

Bendall, Mr. Vivian (Ilford, North)

Bruce, Mr. Ian (Dorset, South)

Chapman, Mr. Sidney (Chipping Barnet)

Cummings, Mr. John (Easington)

Emery, Sir Peter (Honiton)

Fatchett, Mr. Derek (Leeds, Central)

Fry, Mr. Peter (Wellingborough)

Greenway, Mr. Harry (Ealing, North)

Ground, Mr. Patrick (Feltham and Heston)

Hill, Mr. James (Southampton, Test)

Hinchliffe, Mr. David (Wakefield)

Janner, Mr. Greville (Leicester, West)

Nicholls, Mr. Patrick (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment)

Patchett, Mr. Terry (Barnsley, East)

Wallace, Mr. James (Orkney and Shetland)

Ms. E. C. Samson, Committee Clerk

3 Fifth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. Wednesday 21 March 1990


Draft Redundancy Payments (Local Government) (Modification) (Amendment) Order 1990

10.30 am

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Patrick Nicholls): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Redundancy Payments (Local Government) (Modification) (Amendment) Order 1990. The order, which is being made under powers in section 149 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, is concerned with the basis on which redundancy payments are calculated in local Government service. It amends the Redundancy Payments (Local Government) Modification Order which the House approved in July 1983. The 1983 order was previously amended in 1985 to take account of changes arising from the Local Government Act 1985 and was amended again in 1988 and 1989 bringing in several bodies that were omitted in 1983 and 1985, or had since come into existence. Perhaps I should explain that under the provisions of part VI of the 1978 Act, an employee who is discharged as redundant after at least two years service is entitled to be paid a redundancy payment, calculated, among other things, according to his period of continuous service with his last employer. Local authorities and related institutions are legally distinct employers, so that, on the strict basis of the statutory scheme on its own, an employee would be entitled to a payment every time he became redundant, even though he intended to move on to a post elsewhere in local government. All this, however, would not exactly reflect the realities of local government service, in which a normal career progression commonly involves moving from one authority to another, perhaps several times during an individual's working life. Local government collective agreements therefore provide for local authorities to base their redundancy payments on total aggregated service in local government and the 1983 order secures a similar effect in the statutory redundancy scheme, by replacing service with one employer with total "relevant local government service". Unfortunately there is no convenient and all embracing definition of what constitutes local government employment. It is therefore necessary to list in the order all the employing authorities and bodies with whom service counts as local government service. Two lists are necessary: the first, in schedule 1 to the 1983 order, lists those employers currently in being, by 4 whom anyone may be made redundant; the second, in the appendix to schedule 2 in the same order, lists those bodies with which service may still be reckoned for redundancy purposes. This amending order is essentially a tidying-up measure. It simply adds to the lists in schedule 1 of the 1983 order bodies which have come into existence since the last amendment was made or which were omitted in 1983, 1985, 1988 and 1989. The number of employers likely to be affected is small. I shall respond to any questions hon. Members may wish to ask, but meanwhile I commend the order to the Committee.

10.32 am

Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central): It was at a somewhat late hour, Sir John, that I realised that this pleasant responsibility was to be thrust in my direction.

The Chairman: Some have greatness thrust upon them.

Mr. Fatchett: Some assume it naturally, and I am not sure which category I fall into. I took the opportunity to read the debates on previous orders to see how the orders have changed over the years. I can assure the Minister that his speech lasted as long as previous speeches on the orders by previous Ministers. I shall not disappoint the Minister and the Committee by trying to break the record of length of speech by hon. Members in my position, so I too will be brief. We welcome the order, in that it tidies up the rules, and extends the bodies in which continuous local government service can be achieved. We disagree with the primary legislation that makes the order necessary, but I shall not indulge in a further opportunity to debate the primary legislation. I shall this afternoon be making a sentimental journey in one sense, across the river to County hall for a last meeting in that building as a local government establishment. The abolition of the Inner London Education Authority is presumably one of the reasons why we are here this morning. I suspect that many problems will be created by that abolition, but I shall not be tempted, Sir John, to debate them. We object to the primary legislation, but recognise the need for the order, and thank the Minister for the way in which he has introduced it and explained its purpose.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Redundancy Payments (Local Government) (Modification) (Amendment) Order 1990.

Committee rose at twenty-five minutes to Eleven o'clock.



Sir John Stradling Thomas (Chairman)

Amess, Mr.

Barnes, Mr. Harry

Bendall, Mr.

Chapman, Mr.

Emery, Sir P.

Fatchett, Mr.

Nicholls, Mr.

Patchett, Mr.